Thursday, August 09, 2012

No Quick Fix

Jeffrey Sachs critcizes both the Left and the Right for fostering the expectation that our economic woes can be solved easily.  The solution is long term and requires long term discipline.
The U.S. needs long-term public investments -- in education, skills, and infrastructure -- so that its dual economy can once again become an inclusive middle-class economy. Out kids should be in school and training, rather than in unemployment or low-skilled work. The Eurozone needs debt relief, cleaned-up banks, and social inclusion in the south that matches the more successful north. The entire rich world needs to understand that it faces a new era, in which its growth will be earned the hard way, by having sufficient skills and technology to warrant a significant wage premium over the emerging economies.

And all countries rich and poor will need to plug two more structural holes. The first is the explosion of tax havens, the kind where Mr. Romney reportedly keeps his savings. Without adequate taxation of corporate and high-end income, there is no way to close budget gaps in the U.S. and Europe. The second is ecological. No economic trick, no amount of education and training, will suffice, if we do ourselves in by human-induced droughts, heat waves, famines, and floods. It's time, in short, to put away the gimmicks and to start thinking about the sustainable economic prosperity, built on education, skills, social inclusion, and environmental responsibility.

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