- June 2011: Vol. 23 No. 6

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Opportunity Knocks: Will the U.S. Economy Be Able to Take Advantage of Post-Recession Opportunities?

by Claude Gruen

When people at a party find out I am an economist, the question I have gotten most often since early 2008 is, “When will we get out of the recession?” Like the surgeon at the patient’s bedside after the operation, I assure them that the economy will recover, but it is going to take several years before its effects are over. My answer probably scores no better than barely adequate, but those concerned with the long-term health of the economy are not asking the right question. The right question is, “How will the policies of U.S. businesses and governments have changed when we come out of the recession?”

Since the 1970s, the U.S. economy has been infected with the mutually reinforcing malignancies of a growing trade deficit and slow economic growth. The resulting underlying weakness was a contributing factor to the fall the economy took in 2007. But the recession that became worldwide was actually precipitated by financial imprudence in real estate lending and related

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