A national debate about the strength and fairness of American capitalism is taking place against a backdrop of vast levels of income and wealth inequality, growing pessimism about the state of economic opportunity and mobility, increased market concentration in many sectors, and a precarious fiscal situation.
Gale argues that although historically low interest rates reduce the cost of government borrowing, they are not a "get out of jail free card." Rising debt will slowly but surely make it harder to grow the economy, boost living standards, respond to wars or recessions, address social needs, and maintain the nation’s role as a global leader.
Van Reenen argues the U.S. should pursue a robust innovation policy composed of tax credits, direct subsidies, and human capital investments, which have been shown to spur innovation and wage growth. He proposes combining these approaches into a 10-year $1 trillion Grand Innovation Challenge, which would reinvigorate R&D investment, promote American technological leadership, and advance policy goals of inclusive growth.
Garthwaite argues that the current public debate about Medicare For All fails to take into account the likely consequences that such a large change to the health-care system would bring about. For example, if such a system adopted the existing Medicare price schedule, the average quality of health services would likely decline.
Kearney and Mogstad argue that, in practice, a UBI would be an extremely expensive, inefficiently targeted, and potentially harmful policy that would solve none of the economic challenges it purports to address.
It's not a new idea, but few could have predicted that talk about universal basic income (UBI) would be receiving as much attention as it is today — especially among candidates for president of the United States.
American capitalism is at a serious inflection point. Many Americans, including the two of us, are alarmed by enormous levels of inequality and by declining economic mobility. We are concerned that in many cases American markets are no longer the most competitive in the world. And, we worry that our country’s long-term economic strength will slowly deteriorate because of an unsustainable fiscal trajectory that leaves future generations worse off.
We, the undersigned members of the AESG, have collectively worked at the highest levels of the policy, business, government, academic, and civic communities. We believe that our nation’s economic policies need to be adjusted so that more people participate more fully in our economic success.
Amidst a resurgence in COVID-19 caseloads and continuing economic devastation from the pandemic, we urge Congress to enact legislation that focuses on the core measures necessary to provide additional fiscal relief as quickly as possible and no later than the end of this calendar year.