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Need to Know: March 29, 2013: Economic inequality and mobility

On this week’s Need to Know, Jeff Greenfield leads a round table discussion on economic inequality, mobility, debt, and the state of the American economy four years after the official end of the recession.

We’ve invited three highly-respected economic thinkers from different perspectives, to see if there is some common economic ground, and whether that common ground tells us anything about how we can improve our economic health.

Read the full transcript.


Roundtable participants

Guests include Jared Bernstein, former Chief Economic Adviser to Vice President Biden, Rana Foroohar of Time Magazine and John Makin of the American Enterprise Institute.

State economics: Budget recipes

Delve into “The Foundation for Growth,” “The Path to Prosperity,” “Back to Basics and others. Otherwise known as the competing plans from the House (GOP), Senate (Democrats) White House and others.


March 29, 2013: Full roundtable discussion by PBSNeedtoKnow

Above: Listen to the full, unedited audio of the roundtable discussion, featuring Jared Bernstein, former Chief Economic Adviser to Vice President Biden, Rana Foroohar of Time Magazine and John Makin of the American Enterprise Institute.

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  • justhinkin

    26 of the most informative minutes I’ve experienced with TV recently. Thank you.

  • Vivian Rudmin

    I think that economic growth will not happen until the dollar is worth a little less next year than it is worth this year. When that happens, corporations that are sitting on their billions of dollars will see it economical to release those dollars into jobs and hiring. Until 2008, a very small inflation kept our economy going; it kept it fluid. People were hired, salaries increased a tad each year, giving people the feeling that all was well. The psychology of well-being, of movement kept our economy healthy.
    Then after 2008, all this changed. So why is the Federal Reserve not allowing a very small inflation to get things going like it worked so well in the past? Are they uninformed? I hardly think so. So what is their “game”? What are their motives in keeping the American economy stagnant by keeping the dollar’s worth stagnant?

  • Bob schmidt

    Jeff Greenfield’s guests missed one key point on income inequality and economic growth. During 70s-80s blue collar families maintained their consumption levels despite stagnant wages by having wives return to the workforce. Already have two income households now, so same pattern cannot be counted on to sustain econ. growth these days unless we send kids or grandparents into the workplace.

  • Jeff Black

    Very informative but again, a discussion on economic growth which failed to address the elephant in the room; Fair Trade laws! Close the borders to cheap labor, require manufacturers to build their products in the US if they want to sell their products in the US. see:

  • RJ

    Your first paragraph has a ton of validity in it and I never thought of it that way. Kudos…
    I would add corporate greed has revealed the ugly side of capitolism. At what point do big companies feel it is time to pay the government back, either by paying more in taxes, or keeping they tax rate the same, but hiring more workers.

  • Karl Marx

    Rana, spews the line of the debunked economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, that “Growth in a Time of Debt.” It found that economic growth was notably lower when a country’s gross public debt equaled or exceeded 90 percent of its gross domestic product. Well we now found that their paper was wrong. Hard to take Rana, as being aware of the facts.