Former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and Larry Summers may reside in opposite parties — Paulson, of course, is the Republican — but they both agree on the status of the economy: it needs to expand faster.
"The good news is we're growing, we're creating jobs, property values are rising. The bad news is we're not growing quickly enough, and there's tremendous income disparity," Paulson told CNNMoney
GDP increased only 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter, and the Atlanta Federal Reserve's forecasting model puts first-quarter growth at just 0.1 percent.
"The greatest threat is our own political inability to deal with the sorts of things we need to deal with to strengthen and revitalize our economy," Paulson noted.
Summers has expressed concern that the economy is in the midst of a long period of below-trend growth. And he believes we need more infrastructure investment by the government to pull us out of the muck.
"We are doing less investment in infrastructure than at any time since the Second World War on a net basis," Summers told CNNMoney.
"[This] is a moment for us, as a country, to do what a business would do, which is to take advantage of low borrowing costs to invest in our future," he said. "This is not the right moment for a lurch to austerity."
The 10-year Treasury yields only 1.90 percent.
Meanwhile, Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report says the global economic picture isn't bright, and central banks are largely to blame.
"The global economy is not strengthening. It is weakening," he told CNBC
. "China is weakening. The U.S. economic statistics recently have been on the weak side." China's economy grew 7 percent in the first quarter, its worst showing in six years.
The Fed made a mistake in cutting short-term interest rates to almost zero, Faber said. "The monetary policies as conducted by the Fed have created a lot of unaffordability in the system," he said.
And Faber feels the same way about the easing programs of other central banks. "There's a big bubble in debt, in financial assets," he said. "But the biggest bubble is the belief that central bankers know what to do. They have no clue. That is the biggest bubble," he said.
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