Ben Bernanke

Low productivity is a drag on U.S. living standards

Forget job creation, tax cuts or returning any bygone industry or sector back to its glory days. I ran into former Federal Reserve Chair Ben S. Bernanke in the green room of "CBS This Morning" recently, and he reminded me that the real key to boosting economic growth and, more importantly, living standards is labor productivity.

The reason is easy to understand. "In the long run, what we can consume as a nation is closely tied to how much we can produce," wrote Bernanke more than a decade ago.

Productivity is a measure of economic performance that compares the amount of goods and services produced with the number of labor hours used to produce them....