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What Are the Odds of a U.S. Recession by 2020? Larry Summers Says They’re Pretty High

November 16, 2018, 10:58 AM UTC

Harvard economist Larry Summers believes there’s an almost 50% chance the U.S. will fall into recession by 2020.

The former U.S. treasury secretary told CNBC Thursday that an economic retraction was a “near certainty” because of jitters within global finance, heightened political tensions worldwide and the actions of the Federal Reserve.

A survey this summer of business economists revealed that a majority also think the next recession will arrive by 2020.

If these theories are proved correct, it will bring an end to a lengthy period of economic expansion that started in June 2009. Indeed, should the U.S. economy continue to expand until July 2019, it would become a record-breaking streak, according to the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research.

Summers was the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury during the administration of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, which also happened to be during the record-setting ten-year economic expansion from 1991 to 2001.

Summers has criticized the current administration’s economic policies, from trade to its unprecedented comments on the Federal Reserve, and repeated both points to CNBC. Still, he weighed in on Fed policy himself, noting that the risks of inflation might be preferable to the risks of choking growth prematurely.

He has also been advocating for more investment in infrastructure since before the current administration. In Thursday’s interview, he said, “It is crazy that a country that can borrow for 30 years at 3 percent in a currency that we print ourselves isn’t repairing its airports, our highways, and isn’t putting in place a modern infrastructure.”