U.S. economist Robert Gordon predicts that the next 20 years will be the slowest period of growth in U.S. history.
Four reasons. First, the retirement of the baby boomers means more Americans won't be contributing productively to the economy. Instead, they'll be living off savings and social welfare. Second, the turbo boost of the Internet is over, and we shouldn't expect workers to pick up productivity enough to compensate for the dead-weight boomers. Third, education levels have flat-lined, which is putting the breaks on productivity. Fourth, slow productivity gains will contribute to slowly rising income and living standards (GDP per person), which will make it all the harder to pay back our debt or fix our problems.
Peter Coy passes along this chart to illustrate the point:
A lot can change in 20 years. It always does.