Debate: Progressive Economics and the Great Recession

February 1, 2012

The Great Recession has given way to a less-than-great recovery and the pressure is on for Washington to respond. ITIF President Rob Atkinson has taken on traditional Keynesians for pushing for additional public pump priming and for what he sees as their focus on distribution of the economic pie rather than the growth of the pie. But Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, rejects Atkinson's critique.

In a recent exchange in Breakthrough Journal, he asserted Atkinson's "potshot" at progressive economics misses the mark in many respects. The two agreed to hash out their differences in a public debate. Is traditional stimulus spending and assistance to individuals useful but inadequate responses to the Great Recession? Does the slow recovery suggest something more is needed to restore U.S. competitiveness, such as corporate tax reform that encourages innovation and investments in high-end manufacturing, more rigorous trade enforcement, and government support for R&D? Where do today's Keynesians and innovation economists find common ground?