The U.S. economy, by some measures, has recovered from the Great Recession: The unemployment rate is only half what it was at the worst, real gross domestic product is about 10% larger than the previous peak, and personal wealth has risen by more than $20 trillion as the stock market and the housing market have bounced back.
But everyone knows the recovery has been uneven.
Total employment may have grown by 6 million since the recession began in 2008, but employment in manufacturing is down nearly 1.5 million. Real disposable incomes may be up by 16%, but because most of the increase has been captured by the richest sliver of society, the median family’s annual inflation-adjusted income is still down more than $3,000.
Most troubling, there’s still very little investment in the buildings, equipment and intellectual property that we ought to be putting into place today as the foundation of our prosperity tomorrow.
Who’s preparing the United States for the 21st century? Nobody, really. Not the 22 million private businesses, not the 118 million households, and not the 90,000 state, local or federal government agencies.
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A nation which can "afford" to pour $6.5 trillion down a military rathole, but which invests nothing in its future, has no future.