According to many prominent economists, the short and long term outlook for the U.S. economy isn't looking good. Who do they think will become the next economic super power? China.
Leading thinkers in the dismal science speaking at an annual convention offered varying visions of U.S. economic decline, in the short, medium and long term. This year, the recovery may bog down as government stimulus measures dry up.
In the long run, the United States must face up to inevitably being overtaken by China as the world's largest economy. And it may have missed a chance to rein in its largest financial institutions, many of whom remain too big to fail and are getting bigger.
On the one hand, Harvard's Martin Feldstein said he believes the outlook for U.S. economic growth in 2011 is less sanguine than many believe.
First, the boost to growth from government spending will be drying up this year, he said. Renewal of expiring tax cuts is no more than a decision not to raise taxes, and the impact of one-year payroll tax cut is likely modest, he said.
"There's really not much help coming from fiscal policy in the year ahead," he said. Woes from the dire situations of state and local governments may actually be a drag on growth, he said.