Economic Program | Report

The Bargain

by Jim Kessler, Jonathan Cowan and Ed Gerwin

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What if we lost a point off growth—not just next year, but every year? Mainstream economists now predict that U.S. economic growth over the coming decades will be a point less than the growth we experienced between World War II and the Great Recession. One point may not seem like a lot, but it makes all the difference in the world.

This report is the first to quantify what this slower growth would mean for the economy and middle class Americans. This one point over the course of 15 years between 2018 and 2032 means five million fewer jobs, $2.5 trillion less in personal income, and $5 trillion less in government revenue. It’s the difference between a nation that is vaulting forward and one trying to keep up.

Last summer, President Obama and Speaker Boehner nearly reached a historic budget agreement. But the deal, as we know, broke down. In this report, we propose a series of grand bargains modeled on what the President and Speaker sought to achieve. We also provide a roadmap for these seven bipartisan grand bargains, showing where each party needs to give ground and change their thinking.

Taken together, these grand bargains would modernize our economy for a new and fierce era of global economic competition. Without them, America’s sixty-year span of automatic, robust economic growth will draw to a close.

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