Is there an ‘easy button’ for the economy?

Date posted: September 22, 2010

Everyone is looking for a way to improve the economy, add jobs and increase incomes. But is there an easy way to reach these goals? N.C. Cooperative Extension economist Mike Walden responds.

“Many economists, I think, are coming to the conclusion that there really isn’t an easy way. We have some major problems in our economy that we are simply going to have to let time take care of. The biggest one is the fact that we went into this recession — households did — with very high debt loads. They are working those debt loads down. They are saving more money. They are spending less. And that means the economy is going to move ahead very slowly, and that that simply is going to have to work itself out. There is no … easy button we can push to make that all go away.

“In fact, a new study that was released that looked back historically at the economy and the impact of public policy (and) really gives us some sobering thoughts here. Because the authors found in their view that it’s really fundamental factors in the economy like inventions and improvements in productivity and the economy becoming more efficient that really drives our economy rather than things that public policy makers can do. And that is really a sobering thought.

“So we may be looking at a period of frugality here until we get back to a level that we can sustain a faster-growing economy.”

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