Is the problem with the U.S. economy the aftermath of the Financial Crisis, the Ken Rogoff argument, or an ongoing innovation crisis, the Peter Thiel-Tyler Cowen-Robert Gordon argument. Rogoff, not surprisingly, talk his own book in a new column:
With cash-strapped governments deferring urgently needed public infrastructure projects, medium-term growth also will suffer. And, regardless of technological trends, other secular trends, such as aging populations in most advanced countries, are taking a toll on growth prospects as well. Even absent the crisis, countries would have had to make politically painful adjustments to pension and health-care programs.
Taken together, these factors make it easy to imagine trend GDP growth being one percentage point below normal for another decade, possibly even longer. If the Kasparov-Thiel-Gordon hypothesis is right, the outlook is even darker – and the need for reform is far more urgent. After all, most plans for emerging from the financial crisis assume that technological progress will provide a strong foundation of productivity growth that will eventually underpin sustained recovery. The options are far more painful if the pie has ceased growing quickly.
Again, we should assume the worst and plan accordingly.