In an excerpt from his new book The Price of Civilization, liberal economist Jeffery Sachs argues that without a robust middle class and even more government spending, the U.S. will remain stagnant for years.
The excerpt is in next week’s special Money package in TIME Magazine, in which Sachs traces the history of the U.S. economy throughout the 20th century, from FDR’s massive New Deal legislation in the 1930s, to the rapid economic growth and narrow financial inequalities of the 1950s and ‘60s, to the “government-is-the-problem” Reagan years and finally to today, where inequality is as lopsided as it’s been since 1929.
(MORE: U.S. Poverty Rate at its Highest Since 1993)
Sachs argues that President Obama treated the 2008 financial crisis as a short-term snag when the economy should’ve been dealt with as a much more fundamental problem. Sachs hopes the last 30 years were only a blip on the U.S.’s economic radar, and that lawmakers finally realize that it’s time to build the skills and productivity in our society that will allow us to compete effectively in the 21st century.
To read more, pick up next week’s TIME Magazine.