As part of The Atlantic's Second Annual Economy Summit
, Robert Kuttner
weighed in on the post-recession economic health of the U.S. in the wake of the financial crisis. Joined by a panel of esteemed experts, Kuttner—a respected economics speaker and author—explored the causes of the crisis and the problems the country has to address on the road to recovery. One of the biggest issues presented during the panel was the question of debt—both national and private—and how to address the problem. As composed and insightful as always, Kuttner discussed the argument of austerity as a means for deficit reduction, the future of spending and debt in the healthcare and education sectors, and the competing ideas for improving the economy. In the panel and his other keynotes, Kuttner argues that post-recession policies should be focused more on robust recovery than on deficit-reduction. Here are some of Kuttner's highlights from the discussion:"The same people who are promoting fiscal austerity have never said word one about let's spend more money on kids, let's spend more money on shoring up our coasts. It really is an ideological cleavage.""I don't think social security and medicare belong in a grand bargain to reduce the deficit for the next several years because the source of the current deficit is not mainly social security and medicare. It's the aftermath of financial collapse which devastates revenues—that's where the deficit came from." "There is too much consensus among the Republicans and the Democrats on the scale of deficit reduction that needs to come between now and 2023."