Lew: Business and government must work together toward stronger growth

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to say Wednesday that government and business must work together to ensure the vitality of nation’s economic future.

Lew is planning to say that while the federal government can help push economic efforts along, the strength of the private sector will be the main driver of growth.

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"While government can eliminate obstacles and provide important tools, the government is not what makes an economy,” he is expected to say in a speech at the Economic Club of New York, according to excerpts released by the Treasury Department on Tuesday night.

“The private sector is the defining feature of our economy and the joining of sound policy with a surging private sector will determine our economic future.”

The economy is in a period of fundamental change with an aging population, shifting workforce skills, intensifying global competition and rapidly advancing technological changes, he will say.

"We have the capacity today, as we have in our past, to address these concerns as long as both the private sector and the public sector commit to policies that strengthen workers, innovators and investment,” Lew will say.  

“It is up to each of us — government and business — to make choices that will secure our future."

He will argue that questions linger about whether the United States can maintain strong rates of growth and doubts about whether the benefits of technology, innovation and prosperity will be shared broadly.

“We can only expand our potential if we focus on the three pillars that have made the U.S. economy a global powerhouse: the dynamism of our workers, investments that make us more productive and our capacity for innovation,” he will say.

“We can debate how to invest, but there is no debating that investment in these three critical areas is the key to our long-term growth.”

Lew also will highlight that business and consumer confidence is on the rise and “are stronger now than any point in a long time" and should give business and government a fresh look at where to make investments.

“To get long term investment back where it should be, you need to do your part, and we need to do ours," he is expected to say.

Lew will say that those confidences should be further boosted because instead of "recurring government crises, we have a path for predictable and stable policy for the next two years."

In meetings with foreign leaders, Lew has been repeatedly told that the United States an ideal place to invest because of strong rule of law and intellectual property protections, closeness to large consumer markets and a thriving energy sector.

“If we take the right steps, our economy will be primed to take advantage of the next innovation," he will say. 

“Doing so will require an engaged American workforce, a business sector investing in America, and a government whose policies are aimed at the future and shared prosperity.”