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It is commonplace today to assert that American politics and governance are dysfunctional. In many respects, the received wisdom is correct. The authors survived the most severe financial crisis and economic downturn since the 1930s without falling into another Great Depression, but the country still faces enormous economic challenges. These include reducing near double-digit unemployment, stabilizing a collapsed housing market, restoring a healthy and sustainable rate of economic growth whose dividends are shared widely among Americans, making investments in education, scientific research, clean energy, and infrastructure that give one a chance to prosper in the new economy, strengthening the global financial system, and dealing responsibly with huge budget deficits and debt accumulation that threaten their solvency in the intermediate and long run.
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