Lew urged U.S. lawmakers to approve increased spending on infrastructure “to make investing in America even more appealing.”
“Building our roads, railways, bridges, and ports has been one of the most historically bipartisan ways to create jobs today and lay a foundation for future economic expansion,” he said.
The U.S. also needs to “create more higher education options,” he said. “We should ask ourselves if earning an undergraduate degree in three years might be a better, more cost-effective option for some students to get their education.”
Lew, in a panel discussion after his speech, said Europe has more to do to bolster its economy. He reiterated his view that countries with current-account surpluses “could be doing more to generate demand.” Lew will visit Germany, one of the countries he has said could boost demand, next week.
Lew also said he is concerned that Europe’s efforts to strengthen its banks are insufficient and not moving quickly enough.
On China, Lew said the leaders of the world’s second-largest economy understand that they need to move toward market- determined exchange rates. “They need to do it sooner rather than later because it very much affects the ability of the United States and China to work closely economically,” he said.
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