America's economic recovery is finally taking hold and current deficits are down from the record highs during the recession. At the same time, far too many American families are being left out of the recovery, and our nation still faces an unsustainable long-term fiscal outlook. Lower unemployment and improvements in growth are fueling renewed optimism, yet the nature of the recovery is uneven and the longer term trends of income stagnation are of great concern. On everyone's minds is the questionable state of opportunity in America.
The current economic environment allows more room to maneuver and provides a window to plan for success—making smart, reasoned decisions that will benefit America over the long term. Seizing the opportunity to build a solid fiscal foundation will help enable the economic opportunity that is the basis of the American dream. With a fiscal outlook that is stable and sustainable, we can better ensure that we have sufficient resources to invest in our future, which can lead to greater economic growth and more widely shared prosperity for future generations.
In the interest of enriching the discussion on the state of economic opportunity in America today, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation asked two experts, representing different viewpoints, to recommend policy options to foster greater economic opportunity and mobility. Their papers are presented in this volume.
About the Authors
Jared Bernstein has been a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities since May 2011. From 2009 to 2011, Bernstein was the Chief Economist to Vice President Joe Biden and a member of President Obama's economics team. In addition to hosting On The Economy at jaredbernsteinblog.com, Bernstein has written several books, including The Reconnection Agenda: Reuniting Growth and Prosperity, released in April of this year. He is a regular contributor to the Washington Post and The New York Times, is a commentator on MSNBC and CNBC, and tweets often at @econjared.
Scott Winship, the Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has written extensively on the topic of living standards and economic mobility. Previously a fellow at the Brookings Institution, his areas of expertise include living standards and economic mobility, inequality, and insecurity. Earlier in his career, Winship was the research manager of the Economic Mobility Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and a senior policy advisor at Third Way. Winship writes a column for Forbes.com and his research has been published in City Journal, National Affairs, National Review, The Wilson Quarterly, and Breakthrough Journal, among others. He has also testified before Congress on the issues of poverty and inequality. Winship received a B.A. in sociology and urban studies from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in social policy from Harvard University.