On Facing the Future, Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby joined me to discuss Concord's new fiscally-responsible economic growth agenda, which concerns key topics like health care, workforce development, R&D investment, Social Security and immigration reform.
“Projections from CBO, the federal reserve and other nonpartisan economists, all seem to indicate that they are projecting less than two percent economic growth per year,” Bixby said. “That’s a big change and it makes the fiscal situation even worse; digging out of a big fiscal hole when you have a slow growing economy is even more difficult”
He said that elected leaders still need to bridge the structural deficit within the federal budget, which requires addressing spending growth and revenue shortfalls and getting key programs on a more sustainable track. “You can't borrow your way to prosperity … you can’t have your whole economy based on perpetual borrowing, particularly when it’s done to support consumption spending.”
But policymakers must also look at methods to encourage long-term economic growth.
Bixby said the nation’s demographic shift plays a big part in our long-term challenges. “Economic growth is basically dependent upon workforce growth and the productivity of that workforce.”
The workforce is expected to grow at a third-the-rate of its historic average, fertility rates are down and the workforce is becoming less productive. And future economic growth, in part, relies on making the slower growing workforce more productive.
So, Concord partnered with authors from other nonpartisan organizations to publish papers on and examine five key areas that can impact long-term economic growth, some of which will require additional investment.
“If there’s one message I could get across, it’s that fiscal responsibility is an economic growth agenda,” Bixby said. “Economic growth and fiscal responsibility are sometimes posed as opposing issues … we need to have a coordinated strategy to increase economic growth … and incorporate that economic growth agenda in a way that is fiscally responsible, and that means sustainable over the long term.”
Hear more on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, NHTalkRadio.com (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.