Broken Contract

Jason Bordoff
Jason Bordoff Associate Director for Energy and Climate Change

June 1, 2007

For the first time in its history, America is in danger of breaking its quintessential economic promise: that with hard work and education, each generation will have the opportunity to do better than the one that preceded it. Many Americans sense this danger: According to two polls taken in recent years, a majority are “worried and concerned” about reaching their economic goals and believe that their children will be worse off than they are. Their anxiety is understandable. Despite strong macroeconomic performance, many workers today are not fully sharing in the prosperity of the new global economy and must cope with growing levels of economic risk.

Some on the right continue to respond to these troubling economic trends by arguing that unfettered free markets always produce the best of all possible outcomes and denying that insecurity and inequality are much of a problem. Others, predominantly on the left …