A defining feature of United States history is that each generation of Americans has enjoyed a higher standard of living and access to opportunities not available to their parents. This tradition is at risk because we are failing to make critical investments in human, physical, and environmental capital while the global economy is becoming increasingly competitive.
At the same time, the recession that began in 2007 has been one of the worst periods for American families since the Great Depression. Americans are living with the uniquely acute fears that are produced by economic insecurity. In this weak economic environment, much of government policy should be focused on the short and intermediate terms.
In this paper, The Hamilton Project argues that even in these difficult times it is vital that we begin to confront the challenges that pose a greater risk to our long-run prosperity than the Great Recession. Our perspective is that America’s future growth requires reprioritizing expenditures toward increasing workforce productivity, innovation and infrastructure, savings, and government effectiveness. However, the ability to make these investments is increasingly compromised by our difficult fiscal position. As part of this strategy to shift focus to long-run prosperity, the United States should begin to confront the deficit as soon as the economic recovery has gained sufficient momentum.
Since 2006, The Hamilton Project has encouraged leading thinkers to put forward concrete policy proposals commensurate with the challenges of our time. The Project’s economic strategy reflects a judgment that long-term prosperity is best achieved by fostering economic growth and broad participation in that growth, by enhancing individual economic security, and by embracing a role for effective government in making needed public investments. This paper sets out an ambitious agenda for The Hamilton Project as we continue to develop and disseminate bold and innovative policy recommendations to promote broad-based growth.