The U.S. economy is dealing with a number of problems including large household debt; lingering wealth losses; fiscal challenges for state, local, and federal governments; and overseas economic crises. Job and economic growth are sluggish as a result.
Policymakers have tools that can accelerate both job creation and economic expansion—they just need to use them. They acted decisively in the past with extended unemployment insurance benefits, payroll tax cuts, and infrastructure investments when they had a sense of urgency about helping America’s struggling middle class and strengthening the recovery. There’s no reason they shouldn’t have that urgency now.
Policymakers’ top concern should be sustained and faster job creation. They can also boost household incomes through extended unemployment insurance benefits, higher minimum wages, and more opportunities for employees to join a union. In addition, policymakers need to focus on helping households build wealth faster through measures that strengthen the housing market, help households save more money, and allow families to lower their debt burden.
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