One of the enduring fault lines in American politics has been over how to best increase economic growth. Conservatives and libertarians have generally argued for lower taxes and fewer regulations. Liberals have called for government investment in infrastructure and measures designed to boost consumer spending. Supply-side versus demand-side stimulus gets debated, and the impact of trade and immigration policies cleaves party lines. Even issues like unemployment insurance and education reform are argued about in terms of their contribution to a growing economy.

They may have wildly different ideas about how to get there, but all sides have agreed on the basic destination: a growing economy. Until recently.
Lately, on the Left a new strain of thought has risen that questions whether growth is a good thing after all. “Growth shouldn’t be any president’s economic goal,” writes former labor secretary Robert Reich. Reich complains that “almost all the gains from growth have gone to the richest 1 percent.” He goes on to suggest that rather than growing the economy, the government should be concerned with creating more jobs, even if that means sacrificing innovation or efficiency that might benefit the economy as a whole.