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Prepare for Weaker Economic Growth, Budget Office Says

Prepare for Weaker Economic Growth, Budget Office Says
Photograph by Jessica Peterson

For the past three years, economists have been arguing about whether growth—the way we’ve understood it in developed economies—will ever return to the wonder years of the end of the 20th century. This week, cautiously, quietly, the Congressional Budget Office weighed in: Maybe economic growth is slowing for good.

In 2011, Tyler Cowen, who teaches at George Mason University and blogs at Marginal Revolution, argued in a short e-book that developed economies had already picked all the “low-hanging fruit” of rapid growth. Families all had cars and appliances, farm kids had been educated, the available land had been tilled, and the technological innovations of the Internet would not drive growth the way, say, indoor plumbing had.