The U.S. economy is in its fourth year of a moderate recovery. The continued expansion in the economy and the labor force is the result of past policy interventions to strengthen the recovery against broad and large obstacles, such as high household debt, the lingering European crisis, and states’ fiscal struggles. Smart, targeted policies make a difference, and in recent years policymakers have shown a willingness to work together to move the economy forward.
But those obstacles remain serious threats to the recovery, and policymakers need to keep the recovery’s momentum going instead of stalling it by, for instance, not resolving the current fiscal showdown in Congress a little more than a month before a series of automatic federal spending cuts and tax hikes go into effect.
We should build on the momentum with targeted initiatives that keep teachers and other key public employees in their jobs, invest in key industries such as manufacturing and construction, and help the middle class get out from under a still-crushing mountain of debt by maintaining key income support measures and tax cuts.