Leonhardt looks at how to raise long-term economic growth

September 29, 2009

David Leonhardt and Richard Parker, Lecturer in Public Policy.

David Leonhardt and Richard Parker, Lecturer in Public Policy.

September 29, 2009 — In his Shorenstein Center brown-bag talk, “How Do We Grow From Here? The American Economy After the Great Recession,” New York Times Economic Scene columnist David Leonhardt stressed the importance of maintaining economic growth in the United States and suggestions for increasing it.

It’s the “worst recession in a generation,” Leonhardt said, estimating that the unemployment rate could reach 10 percent. In this situation, “it’s not only easy to worry about the short term, but proper.” However, not losing sight of the “big picture” is essential: “We are not sufficiently focused on what the long-term challenges are for the economy.”

Leonhardt looked at the importance of economic growth which affects living standards and the national interest. He challenged the theory that tax cuts always bring economic growth and suggested investments in education and health care as ways to lift economic growth over the long term.

When asked about the possibility of government subsidies for newspapers, Leonhardt replied that he doesn’t think they are necessary for nationals like The New York Times. He does see a “painful transition ahead,” but is “relatively optimistic” that a workable business model will be developed.

As for government support for local journalism, Leonhardt described himself as an “agnostic” but worries that the continuing trend of local newspapers closing is a “serious detriment to civic life and accountability.”

This article was written by Janell Sims and the photos taken by Leighton Walter Kille, both of the Shorenstein Center.