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Dr. Dean Baker is a macroeconomist and Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He received his Ph.D in economics from the University of Michigan.
(13 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 22, 2015 The Federal Reserve Board and the Presidential Candidates
If the presidential candidates have not incorporated the Fed's reactions into their economic plans, then they really don't know what they are talking about. They will have no hope of boosting growth if they have a Fed determined to prevent the economy from creating more jobs.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 29, 2011 The Deficit Hawks Target Nurses and Firefighters
When Pozen talks about cutting benefits for higher-income earners he is not thinking of people like Peter Peterson or Robert Rubin. He has his gun sights on people earning $40,000 to $80,000 a year. In other words, Pozen wants to cut benefits for workers like schoolteachers, firefighters and nurses.
SHARE Monday, January 5, 2015 The profit on the TARP and Bernie Madoff
For folks like Timothy Geithner it is a big thing to boast about the profit the government made on the TARP. We got more of this children's story in the NYT yesterday in an article reporting on the end of the TARP. It is worth understanding the meaning of profit in this context.
(5 comments) SHARE Thursday, August 30, 2012 Poverty: The New Growth Industry in America
The vast majority of the people in this country rely on work for the bulk of their income and that would also be true for the tens of millions of people in poverty, if work was available. These people cannot find jobs in today's economy, or at least not full-time jobs that pay anything close to a living wage.
(13 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 3, 2013 The Real Reason For The Government Shutdown
The reason the Republicans are prepared to go to the wall to stop Obamacare is simple: They are terrified that people will get it and like it. This would destroy the central political message of their party for the last four years. While Republicans have attacked just about everything President Barack Obama has or has not done during his presidency, there is nothing that has aroused more vitriol than the ACA.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 1, 2012 The CEO Plan to Steal Your Social Security and Medicare
Many of the same folks who brought the economy to ruin just a few years ago are now going to come up with a plan that is supposed to set the budget and the economy on a forward path. At the center of their proposal are big cuts in Social Security and Medicare.
SHARE Monday, November 9, 2015 Economic myths are a bipartisan affair
Since we can identify a monster myth for both parties, we should have the basis for a deal. Suppose the Republicans agree to stop touting tax cuts as a way to send growth soaring and the Democrats agree to stop saying that Clinton's balanced budgets gave us the economic boom of the late 1990s. It will lead to a much more honest debate on economic policy.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, January 1, 2018 Dumb and Dumber: Trump on Amazon and the Postal Service
The loss claimed by the Citigroup study is clearly wrong and Donald Trump is wrong to be using it to attack the Postal Service, Amazon, and Jeff Bezos. On the other hand, Amazon has gotten a subsidy worth tens of billions of dollars since its creation as a result of not being required to collect sales taxes in most states for most of its existence. So people do have serious cause to complain about Amazon.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 5, 2018 No You a**holes, Obama Did Not Do It Too
The news in the report often moves financial markets. If the president can share information about the report with his favored audience then Donald Trump's friends will make money at the expense of everyone else's retirement accounts. For this reason, past presidents have been very careful to keep their mouth shut about the report until after it is available to the general public.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, March 23, 2015 Big stakes on drug patents
Last fall, India's new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, met with President Obama in Washington. According to the public accounts, the meeting was friendly with both sides hoping for stronger diplomatic and economic ties. The Obama administration was eager to report that India had agreed to set up a working group to re-examine its patent laws, with the implicit goal of making them stronger.
(6 comments) SHARE Friday, January 1, 2016 Why Your Retirement Prospects are Bleaker Than Ever
It's increasingly obvious that there's a major hole in the retirement system, and that the government can help fill it. That's why President Obama asked the Treasury Department to set up a new low-cost, low-maintenance savings plan for workers -- called myRA for "my retirement account."
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, August 4, 2014 Finance in America: Promoting inequality and waste
In the crazy years of the housing boom the financial sector was a gigantic cesspool of excess and corruption. There was big money in pushing and packaging fraudulent mortgages. The country paid a huge price for the financial sector's sleaze. Unfortunately, because of the Obama administration's soft on crime approach to the bottom, the same things are restarting.
(10 comments) SHARE Friday, October 17, 2014 World's richest man tries to defend wealth inequality
While Gates wants us to believe that his software innovations were a great service to the world, most users of his software would probably not agree. His efforts to corner the market may have made him rich, but they slowed down the process of software development.
SHARE Wednesday, November 7, 2012 Romney's Global Warming Joke Should Haunt Him
When Romney gave his acceptance speech at the Republican convention he quipped that President Obama wants to slow the rise of the oceans and that he, by contrast, wanted to help American families. Perhaps he wants to tell the people of New York and New Jersey who have seen their homes -- and in some cases lives -- destroyed by the rise of the oceans, how silly President Obama is for taking steps to counter global warming.
(7 comments) SHARE Monday, April 13, 2015 The End of the U.S. Boom
It would be difficult to identify anyone at the Federal Reserve Board, International Monetary Fund, or any other major economic policy or regulatory agency who lost their job because they failed to recognize the housing bubble and the risks it posed to the economy. It is unlikely anyone even missed a scheduled promotion.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 3, 2015 Secretary Clinton's economic agenda: is it progressive?
Secretary Clinton's proposals to date do not appear to be an effective way to advance her stated agenda. Most of the candidates from both parties are pledging to help the middle class. Presumably the winner will be the person who does the best sales job in this area. Hopefully, the sales pitch will be grounded in economic reality.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 22, 2020 The Washington Post's Debt Cult
The Washington Post is always telling us that debt, especially government debt is bad, very bad. It's not quite sure why or how, but debt is definitely bad. This piece is desperately trying to create a problem where one does not exist.
SHARE Saturday, July 7, 2018 Does the U.S. Have a Lot of Leverage with China? Mr. Arithmetic is Skeptical
China's trade surplus fell by 4.4 percentage points of GDP from 2008 to 2009, yet its economy still grew by more than 9.0 percent that year and by more than 10.0 percent the next year. While all of China's annual data should be viewed with some skepticism, few doubt the basic story. China managed to get through the recession without a major hit to its growth.
(7 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 23, 2011 Why Is President Obama So Anxious to Cut Social Security?
Most people would be surprised to know that 5 percent of the wage growth projected over the next three decades would be sufficient to keep Social Security solvent. After all, there is a well-funded and well-connected industry of people spreading disaster stories about Social Security and its massive deficit.
SHARE Monday, July 17, 2017 ObamaCare is Only "Exploding" in the Red States
Where Republican governors have sought to sabotage the program, they have largely succeeded. Where Democratic governors have tried to make the ACA work, they too have largely succeeded. Republicans have been so successful in keeping many of their residents from getting insurance, they think the country should trust them to overhaul the ACA.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 19, 2014 How Should Social Security Benefits Respond to an Economic Collapse?
Workers care about their after-tax wages which are primarily determined by what they earn before taxes. Due to economic mismanagement and trade and regulatory policies that were designed to redistribute income upward, most workers have seen very little growth in before-tax wages over the last three decades.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 16, 2015 Scott Walker Ends Freedom of Contract in Wisconsin
Proponents of "right to work" are fine with almost any demand that an employer wants to make on workers, including pay cuts. Their answer is if you don't like it, work somewhere else. The idea of a union contract is that workers collectively are reaching an agreement with their employer that imposes a set of rules for the workplace.
(10 comments) SHARE Monday, October 28, 2019 Senator Warren's Answer on Taxes and Medicare for All is Exactly Right
The reporters are determined to make this a "she will raise your taxes story." This is an absurd narrowing of the issue. There is no reason that Warren should cooperate with their silly game. She is determined to talk about the substance of the issue, whether or not the reporters want to hear it.
SHARE Saturday, February 17, 2018 The Washington Post's Long-Running Attack on Unions
The immediate issue before the court is whether the government can sign a contract with a union that requires that everyone who benefits from union representation has to share in the cost of the representation. Under current law, companies can impose all sorts of conditions on their workers, such as wearing stupid hats, and even having insurance that comports with the boss's religious beliefs.
(15 comments) SHARE Saturday, October 28, 2017 The Problem of Doctors' Salaries
If we want to stop paying a $100 billion premium for health care that doesn't make us healthier, we're going to need to overcome political barriers. Getting U.S. health care costs down is a herculean task; getting doctors' pay in line is a big part of the solution. It's time we broke up the doctor cartel.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 3, 2013 Everyday Low Wages at Walmart: Brought to You by Government Policy
The folks pushing for the higher pay at Walmart and other chains of low-paying stores and fast food operations are not just asking for a helping hand. They are demanding that we end a government policy that has the effect of redistributing income to the large shareholders at Walmart and other members of the one percent.
(4 comments) SHARE Thursday, February 4, 2016 New Yorker Shooting Blindly at Bernie Sanders
we are seeing endless shots at Sanders' plans for financial reform, healthcare reform and expanding Social Security. Many of these pieces raise perfectly reasonable questions, both about Sanders' goals and his route for achieving them. But there are also many pieces that just shoot blindly. The view of many in the media is that Sanders is a fringe candidate. The New Yorker is clearly in this attack mode.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 12, 2019 Declining Birth Rates: Are We in Danger of Running Out of People?
The United States badly lags other rich countries in providing support to new parents. We are the only wealthy country that does not guarantee workers some amount of paid parental leave or sick days. While many companies offer these benefits, millions of new parents, especially those in lower paying jobs, cannot count on any paid leave.
(8 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 29, 2011 Time to Retake Politics From the One Percent in Both Political Parties
It's time to expose the lies for what they are. The monied class has rigged the deck to accomplish the most massive upward redistribution in the history of the world. These are not people who care about free markets, capitalism, right & wrong: they care about making themselves richer at the expense of everyone else & they are willing to go to any lenghts to continue their looting.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, October 26, 2015 Monopoly patent protections endanger middle class jobs
We used to have all these relatively high-paying jobs in manufacturing and other sectors requiring routinized work, which are now being displaced by machines or, in the near future, robots. Pretty soon robots will also be driving our cars, buses and trucks, as the technology for self-driving vehicles becomes cost efficient.
(6 comments) SHARE Monday, December 23, 2013 Ben Bernanke's tenure at the Fed wasn't net positive
Bernanke deserves credit for sticking to his guns through this ordeal and taking the limited steps available to the Fed for boosting demand. Given that the economy is still far below full employment, and that we are likely to be haunted by the bigger than ever Wall Street behemoths long into the future, it is hard see Bernanke's tenure as net positive.
SHARE Monday, February 17, 2020 Trump Wants to Inflict Severe Pain on Disabled Community Just Because He Can
The "need" to strip benefits from poor and working people to help maintain the lifestyles of the Mar-a-Lago set is one of the fundamental principles of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. The rich always "need" more tax cuts, so when budget deficits get in the way, those at the middle and bottom are just going to have to sacrifice.
(7 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 28, 2017 Janet Yellen and Barack Obama's Economy Is Looking Good
It is important that people recognize that the economy is going in the right direction for now. This is the economy that Janet Yellen and Barack Obama's policies gave us. We will have to see what the impact of the new regime's policy will be.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 12, 2019 Progressive Policies May Hurt the Stock Market. That's Not a Bad Thing.
Last week, we saw the media terrified over a plunge in the stock market following an escalation of Donald Trump's trade war with China. There are good reasons to be concerned about Trump's ill-defined trade war and reality TV tactics, but the plunge in the stock market is not one of them.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, May 18, 2009 The Health Care Industry: Protectionism the Free Traders Love
Suppose people in the US paid twice as much for our cars as people in Canada, Germany and every other wealthy country. Economists would no doubt be pointing out the enormous amount of waste in the US auto industry. They would insist we take advantage of the lower cost cars available elsewhere and take steps to make our own industry more efficient. For some reason, economists do not have the same attitude toward health care.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, September 30, 2019 There Is No Economic Justification for Drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge
There are companies that expect to profit from this degradation of the environment, but they are not the driving force here. There just is not that much money at stake. Rather, people in power are spitting in the face of people who value the environment to show they can wreak destruction for no good reason whatsoever.
SHARE Friday, January 1, 2021 New York Times Joins Trump's Anti-China Crusade
The New York Times reported if China's leadership had responded effectively to the pandemic, it could have been quickly contained and not spread around the world. The biggest problem with this assertion is that there is evidence that the pandemic was already present in Europe before the end of 2019.
(6 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 28, 2015 The Battle Over the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fast-Track Gets Hot
Not all economists agree that all reductions in trade barriers are good. But more importantly, the TPP is not primarily about reducing trade barriers. The TPP is essentially a pact in which the Obama administration invited industry representatives to get together a wish list and see what they could impose on the other parties to the deal.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 21, 2014 The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Warnings From NAFTA
As has frequently been noted, the TPP is not really about trade. The tariff barriers and quotas between the TPP countries are already low in most cases. Rather the point of the deal is to put in place a structure of regulations that will be more friendly to the large corporations who are in many cases directly part of the negotiating process.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 21, 2018 Bernie Sanders wants corporations to fulfill Trump's tax cut promise
There is no evidence of any speed-up in wage growth due to the tax cut. Wages are in line with baseline projections. At this pace, workers are going to have to wait a very long time to make up the ground lost during the recession. The Sanders-Khanna bill raises important issues. Perhaps it will be a step in the process of bringing CEO pay back down to earth.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 7, 2012 Beating Back the CEO Attack on Social Security and Medicare
There are few issues more important to voters than Social Security and Medicare. People should harangue their local newspapers and television stations to ask candidates their positions on cuts to these programs. This is far more important than most of the gossip about the campaigns that dominates news coverage.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 2, 2014 Obamacare secret: if you quit your job, you have a plan -- and keep wages up
It's too early to say much from the data we have, but the early impacts of Obamacare are getting clearer as it passes the signup milestone: not just more people with insurance than had it before -- more people looking for better work, more people able to spend time with family, more people retiring when they want and, yes, maybe even some job creation.
SHARE Tuesday, October 2, 2012 Cracking Down On China Means Cracking Down On Mitt Romney
As a superpower, no one expects China to simply accept a list of demands handed to them by the US president. Inevitably there is a negotiation process and if the US gets concessions on the value of the currency, it will almost certainly come at the expense of progress on other demands.
SHARE Tuesday, December 31, 2019 Bill Greider and Secular Stagnation
Bill Greider died on Christmas day. Greider, who was 83, was an old-time journalist who believed that the job meant exposing the corruption of the rich and powerful, rather than becoming their friends in order to get inside stories.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, February 5, 2018 Donald Trump as Mr. Magoo
Donald Trump will undoubtedly continue to boast about his great economy. He is right about the economy looking comparatively good, but the credit belongs to Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen and President Obama, not to Mr. Magoo in the White House.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 22, 2015 Paul Ryan Wants to Shut Down the Government, Permanently
In addition to wanting to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, Ryan has indicated that he essentially wants to shut down the federal government in the sense of taking away all of the money for the non-military portion of the budget.
(23 comments) SHARE Thursday, February 18, 2016 NYT Invents Left-Leaning Economists to Attack Bernie Sanders
Whatever standard of scrutiny the NYT chooses to apply to presidential candidates it should apply them equally. It is not good reporting to apply one standard to Senator Sanders, and even inventing credentials to press its points, and then apply lesser standards to the other candidates.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 27, 2017 Diverting Class Warfare Into Generational Warfare: Round LVIII
We're not supposed to talk about any of the items that will hurt the living standards of our children and grandchildren. The generational warriors insist that our children's problem is their parents' Social Security and Medicare. Their argument doesn't make much sense, but you can get lots of money for saying it, and you can count on getting your stale recycled arguments printed in the nation's leading publications.
(125 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 9, 2015 Growth is not necessarily bad for the environment
Growth is not necessarily bad for the environment. And, as a practical matter the only way we will be able to advance environmental goals is by tying them to a growth strategy. At the same time, growth is not an end in itself. It is important for ensuring people decent standards of living, but more growth is not always better.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 2, 2015 The Federal Reserve Board's Plan to Kill Jobs
It is important that the public be paying attention to the Fed's interest rate policies and let them know how they feel about raising interest rates to kill jobs. The Center for Popular Democracy has organized an impressive grassroots campaign around the Fed's interest rate policies. Those who don't want to see the government deliberately trying to kill jobs might want to join in.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, November 2, 2019 Mark Zuckerberg is a Rich Jerk
if Facebook wants to compete with print and broadcast outlets for advertising dollars, it should be held to the same rules as these outlets. There is no justification for special treatment for rich jerks from Harvard. There is no reason to waste any effort trying to convince Mark Zuckerberg what is good for democracy.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, October 28, 2018 Yes, the Republicans Want People with Health Problems to Pay Up the Wazoo
If we allow people to just pay for the cost of their own health care and no more, then we are telling people with heart conditions, cancer survivors, and other serious medical issues that they are screwed. Trump and the Republicans may think this is a good thing, but we should be clear on what they are doing. They want people with health problems to suck up their health care costs.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 15, 2017 Ten Years After Financial Crisis, Our Elites Have Learned Nothing
The economic disaster that cost millions of people their jobs and/or their homes, and forced tens of millions to accept lower wages, was 100 percent avoidable if the people responsible for making economic policy had been awake. Turning the story of the housing bubble into a story about the financial crisis is an effort to make issues that are quite simple seem very complicated.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 22, 2013 The media's complicity in cutting Social Security and Medicare
f we had tax rates comparable to those of the 1990s, then the budget would pose no problem whatsoever long into the future. Even with current tax rates, the deficit is a relatively distant and minor problem. Unfortunately, the papers have endless space to tout the Wall Street agenda for the need to cut Social Security and Medicare.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, August 11, 2017 Do Corporate Media Need to Lie to Promote Trade Deals?
people can have reasonable differences of opinion on trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but why is it that the proponents have to insist, with zero evidence, that not doing the deal was an economic disaster? The political argument, which seemed to arise late in the game, that US standing in the world has collapsed because we didn't follow through on the TPP.
SHARE Wednesday, October 9, 2019 Trump's Trade War: a Report From the Front
The trade war doesn't look like it is going well for Donald Trump, at least by his chosen measure of success. If trade deficits mean other countries are ripping us off, then they are ripping us off considerably more under Trump than when Barack Obama was in the White House.
SHARE Thursday, June 29, 2017 Thomas Friedman Whines About His Lost TPP
If the TPP had been approved by Congress last year we would be dependent on the Trump administration to enforce these parts of the agreement. Even the most egregious violations could go completely unsanctioned, if the Trump administration opted not to press them. Given the past history with both Democratic and Republican administrations, this would be a very safe bet.
SHARE Thursday, December 5, 2019 The Big Deal in Warren's Prescription Drug Plan
Drugs are almost invariably cheap to manufacture and distribute. They are expensive because government-granted patent monopolies make them expensive. We have this perverse situation where the government deliberately makes drugs expensive, then we struggle with how to pay for them.
SHARE Monday, February 24, 2020 Bloomberg's 2008 Story About the Great Recession Is Still Racist and Untrue
The fact that Bloomberg made false and pernicious remarks about the housing bubble in 2008 isn't necessarily disqualifying, but that he was so quick to look in the direction of this blame-the-victim story does not speak well for him. If he is still pushing this line now, in spite of all the evidence showing it to be wrong, then it would be very hard to take his candidacy seriously.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 8, 2017 Donald Trump And The Crazy Rich
While Donald Trump is undoubtedly very rich, no one who sees him in action would value his insight on any major policy issue. As president he has considerable power, and he also would have power simply because he controls a large amount of money. But the guy clearly has no understanding whatsoever of the major policy issues confronting the country and world.
(10 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 25, 2013 Bill Keller's Center-Left Is the Reason We Are Growing Less Rapidly
It is actually fairly easy to summarize the distinction between Keller's center-left and his left-left. His center-left wants to continue the policies that have led to a massive upward redistribution of income over the last three decades. The left-left wants to reverse these policies and replace them with policies that will lead to more equitable and more rapid growth.
(8 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 24, 2017 The Democratic Party Must Part Ways with Wall Street
Many view the waste and corruption of Wall Street as being an obstacle to a more efficient productive capitalist economy. Given the enormous damage caused by the collapse of the last two Wall Street driven bubbles, there is a pretty good case here.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 17, 2016 If You Thought a Trump Presidency Was Bad ...
The Washington Post editorial page decided to lecture readers on the meaning of progressivism. For framing, the villains are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who it tells us "are embracing principles that are not genuinely progressive."
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, June 18, 2015 David Brooks Declares War on 'Democratic Tea Party'--Unarmed With Facts
The Washington chattering class is really upset that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) looks like it's going down. David Brooks pulled out all the stops, using his New York Times column (6/16/15) to yell at "Tea Party" Democrats for not supporting the fast-track authority that would facilitate passage of the TPP.
SHARE Friday, December 28, 2018 More Fun with the Stock Market Plunge
People do not distinguish between corporate profits, which are very high, especially after the tax cut, and the returns to shareholders. This is not a question of feeling sorry for shareholders, since the rich hold such a disproportionate share of stock wealth. It is simply a question of whether shareholders have been doing especially well in the last two decades.
(7 comments) SHARE Saturday, November 9, 2019 A Bold Plan to Strengthen and Improve Social Security Is What America Needs
The Social Security 2100 Act proposed by Connecticut Representative John Larson is getting closer to being passed by the House of Representatives. It now has more than 200 co-sponsors. If it were to be approved and become law, it would both improve the program's benefit structure and its financial picture.
(13 comments) SHARE Monday, March 18, 2019 On Paying for a Green New Deal with Modern Monetary Theory
We should perhaps not blame politicians who advocate a GND without telling us how they plan to pay for it. After all, Republican politicians have been getting elected for 40 years by promising big tax cuts without saying how they would pay for them. It is understandable that Democrats might think that they should also be able to promise now and pay later.
SHARE Tuesday, April 7, 2015 The Terrible Twos: Central Bank Inflation Targets
The reason the Fed would want to keep people from having jobs is that it is worried that a strong labor market would lead to more rapid wage growth, which in turn would be passed on in higher prices. In other words, keeping people unemployed is a way to keep inflation under control.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, July 1, 2019 Replace Patent Monopolies With Direct Public Funding for Drug Research
In almost all cases, drugs are cheap to manufacture. It is government-granted patent monopolies or some other form of exclusivity that makes drugs expensive. In a truly free market, drugs are cheap. The restrictions on prices being proposed are simply efforts to limit the extent to which drug companies can exploit the monopolies the government has given them.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, November 3, 2017 Blaming Inequality On Technology: Sloppy Thinking For The Educated
Technology never produces inequality; it is policy on technology that leads to inequality. Once we recognize this basic fact we can have a more serious debate on how best to structure technology policy going forward. If technology, not policy, is the culprit, it means inequality is something that happened, not something we did.
(7 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 11, 2017 How Rich Would Bill Gates Be Without His Copyright on Windows?
Even without copyright protection Mr. Gates would probably still be doing fine -- he seems reasonably bright, works hard and comes from a wealthy family -- but he would not have amassed his huge fortune if he could not get government-granted monopolies on his software.
SHARE Monday, June 17, 2019 I Say No to Frac-Sand Mining Near My Home -- for Myself and the Planet
As was the case with the Keystone XL Pipeline and tar sands oil, if this mine is blocked, it will raise the cost of frac sand, which will raise the cost of fracking. Given the damage that fossil fuel burning is doing to the planet, we should all want to raise the cost of fracking as much as possible.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 17, 2017 Adults in the Room: The Sordid Tale of Greece's Battle Against Austerity and the Troika
There is no reason to question Varoufakis' commitment. He left a comfortable life as an academic in Austin, Texas, to take up what he certainly knew to be an incredibly difficult job as Greece's finance minister in the middle of a financial crisis. The newly elected populist government was despised by most of the business and political establishment in Greece and across Europe.
(4 comments) SHARE Thursday, June 4, 2015 The TPP Gang That Can't Shoot Straight
The TPP hasn't been made available to the public as Congress prepares to vote. TPP supporters say it doesn't matter, since lawmakers can see the draft text any time they like. That's nice, but they must review the jargon-filled text without bringing along staff. Nor are they allowed to discuss the text with others.
(9 comments) SHARE Friday, January 25, 2013 Aaron Swartz, Financial Fraud and the Justice Department
The Justice Department's determination to commit time and resources to prosecuting Swartz presents a striking contrast to its see-no-evil attitude when it comes to financial fraud by Wall Street banks. People should recognize this is not just a rhetorical point. The Justice Department opted to not pursue investigations that could have landed many high-level people at places like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup behind bars.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, September 18, 2017 Janet Yellen and the Fed: Progressives Should Pay Attention
There is a long list of reasons that Trump should not get another term in office, and the list will surely lengthen in the next three years. This should be the basis for unseating him, not the sabotage of the economy. We should all hope that Janet Yellen gets another term as Fed chair.
(4 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 28, 2019 Trump's Trade War With China and "Our" Intellectual Property
The origins of the trade war can be traced to campaign promises Trump made to go after China over its large trade surplus with the United States, which he attributed to "currency manipulation." The argument was that by intervening in currency markets (buying up U.S. dollars), China was propping up the value of the dollar against its own currency.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, November 11, 2019 The Effort to Impeach Trump Is Not a Distraction
Trump fully intends to use the power of government against his political opponents, and the current position of the Republican party is that if Donald Trump does it, it's fine.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 18, 2012 Does President Obama Want to Cut Social Security by 3 Percent?
No one should have to go the polls this fall not knowing whether or not President Obama wants to cut Social Security. If reporters were treated like school teachers, and tens of millions of voters go to the polls not knowing the answer to this question, then they would all be fired.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, July 31, 2017 A Better Deal Than What?
The Democrats have set a very low bar for themselves. Nonetheless, the agenda does offer some basis for hope that the Democrats may be prepared to reverse some of the upward redistribution of the past four decades, if they ever regain power.
(5 comments) SHARE Sunday, October 30, 2016 How Intellectual Property Rules Help the Rich and Hurt the Poor
While the future may actually be one of continually rising inequality, it is important to realize that technology is not the culprit. It is not the technology that determines who gets the benefits of major innovations; it is laws that govern technology, which in turn are made by politicians.
SHARE Saturday, November 24, 2018 The Politics of the Viciousness: the US After the Midterms
There will be an effective check on Donald Trump's power. In a wide variety of areas, beginning with his personal finances, Trump has ignored longstanding precedents and procedures. The Republican-controlled House and Senate were prepared to say that all manner of conflict of interest and abuse of power were fine.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 25, 2017 Paul Ryan's Next Attack on Workers' Retirement a Win for Wall Street
Republicans claim workers need government protection. These are the same people who are trying to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and working to eliminate the fiduciary rule, requiring investment advisers to act on behalf of their clients. The only common principle in these actions is giving more money to the banks.
SHARE Sunday, December 10, 2017 Why Not Make the Rich Compete?
The Right has managed to use its control of the rule-setting process to engineer an enormous upward redistribution of income. The process involved the leadership of both political parties, so it's certainly not a story in which right-wing Republicans exclusively can be seen as the villains.
SHARE Tuesday, January 2, 2018 Rubbing SALT in the Wounds of Republicans
Fortunately, there are ways to undermine the Republican effort. An obvious one is to partially replace the state income tax with an employer side payroll tax. This can lead to a situation in which the state tax on wage income ends up being fully deductible against federal income taxes even for people who do not itemize on their tax forms.
SHARE Tuesday, October 10, 2017 Kevin Warsh As Fed Chair: The Art Of Marrying Rich And Falling Upward
While there are considerable grounds for criticizing the Fed's performance in recent decades, the people who were appointed as chair all had clear credentials that would justify their selection. That is not the case with Kevin Warsh. More importantly, when he has been in a position to weigh in on the key economic policy issues of the time, he has a near perfect track of being almost 100 percent wrong.
(5 comments) SHARE Thursday, February 8, 2018 Taking Issue with Paul Krugman, We're Still Not at Full Employment
Labor markets can get considerably tighter before we start to see serious problems with inflation. This is an important issue because if we allow the Fed to crack down when there is still room for the economy to expand further we could be needlessly keeping millions of people from getting job and tens of millions from getting pay increases.
SHARE Thursday, September 6, 2012 Romney's Success at Bain Capital: The Business as Scam Model
Private equity companies like Bain Capital are not primarily about producing wealth. They profit largely by siphoning off wealth created elsewhere in the economy. There are many different ways in which this diversion of wealth is accomplished. It is not clear that Mitt Romney understands that fact, but certainly the general public should when it goes to vote this fall.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, March 30, 2018 Will Interest Payments Take Up the Entire Federal Budget?
The deficit hawks hyperventilate endlessly about the former route of paying for things, but completely ignore the latter, even though it poses a much larger burden. In the case of prescription drugs alone the burden is more than $370 billion a year (we pay more than $450 billion for drugs that would likely cost less than $80 billion in a free market).
SHARE Tuesday, November 10, 2015 The TPP's Children's Table: Labor Rights and Currency
Proponents of the TPP are hoping that the rest of us will be happy that we got seats at the children's table. We will be hearing much about this table as they push to have the deal approved. But it's long past time that the rest of us be treated like adults. Trade and investment policy does not have to be designed to make the rich richer.
(7 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 27, 2016 Donald Trump and his Cabinet Will Trade on Inside Information as President
Has Trump given us any reason to believe that he will resist the temptation to profit from his position as president? The fact that he can't keep himself from tweeting bizarre and absurd claims at all hours of the night does not give confidence in his self-restraint. being president involves some sacrifices. If he didn't understand this fact, he shouldn't take the job.
SHARE Monday, October 14, 2019 Trump Has Been Giving Up Ground in His Much-Vaunted "Trade War"
Trump has put protecting the intellectual property of U.S. corporations front and center.
This is not a battle that most of us should want to see Trump win. Ordinary workers have no real interest in making people in China and elsewhere pay more for drugs, medical equipment, software, and other items to which US companies have intellectual property claims.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, March 19, 2018 Are the Trump Tax Cuts Working and Does Anyone Care?
If the tax cuts actually did produce the sort of investment boom promised by proponents, there would be a good case for cutting the corporate tax rate. We now have good preliminary evidence that the investment boom exists only in the realm of political propaganda. Workers will not be getting any big dividends from this tax cut.
(11 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 21, 2016 The Secret To The Incredible Wealth Of Bill Gates
We have pushed the case for patent and copyright protection overseas, making it a top priority in trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Instead of using our economic and political power to push for things like labor rights or a better environment, we have demanded that other countries pay Disney more for its movies and Pfizer more for its drugs.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 17, 2013 The End of the Assault on Social Security and Medicare
At a time when we are seeing the largest upward redistribution in the history of the world these organizations have attempted to divert attention from the class war on the nation's middle class and poor. Instead they are trying to convince young people that their financial difficulties stem from the size of their parents' Social Security checks.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Is The Trans-Pacific Partnership Obama's Vietnam?
It's hard to see how we gain credibility by pushing a bad trade deal that was designed to serve the interests of our largest corporations. If we want a new trade deal with these and other countries, it would be better to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. If President Obama can't sell the TPP based on its economic merits, then it would be best to let it quietly die.
(3 comments) SHARE Friday, August 19, 2011 John Kerry, the Lazy Senator Who Would Not Learn
t is more than a bit infuriating that Senator Kerry and his colleagues would now be lecturing the country on the need for hard choices. If they could have been bothered to do their damn jobs just a few years ago, we would not be in this situation today. As a result of their failure, tens of millions of workers are unemployed or underemployed.
(6 comments) SHARE Sunday, June 26, 2016 Elizabeth Warren Should Stay in the Senate
Remaining in the Senate would provide the best platform for Elizabeth Warren to advance a progressive agenda during a Clinton administration. The inalterable reality is that her agenda is fundamentally different from the agenda Clinton will want to pursue, and no president is going to give their vice president a blank check to sabotage their agenda.
(6 comments) SHARE Saturday, August 11, 2018 Fact Checking the Fact Checker on Medicare for All
As an economist and certified numbers geek, I can sympathize with Kessler's complaint that the Democrats aren't giving the full story. But is this really a three Pinocchio offense when we have many leading politicians, like the president, who literally just make things up and just deny well-established facts?
SHARE Monday, November 6, 2017 Productivity Growth Is Up, Are the Robots Finally Coming?
Higher pay also gives employers more incentive to invest in technology in order to reduce their need for workers. And we have seen an uptick in equipment investment over the last year, which is consistent with businesses trying to economize on labor.
SHARE Thursday, July 18, 2019 The Coal Industry is Not a Major Employer
It is a bit peculiar that the earlier declines in coal mining employment, which were primarily due to productivity growth (specifically, replacing underground mining with strip mining -- a policy often opposed by environmentalists), received relatively little attention in the media or from politicians.
SHARE Tuesday, December 19, 2017 Bubbles: Are They Back?
Should we be concerned about a bubble now? Stock prices and housing prices are both high by historical standards. House prices are also high by historic standards. Inflation-adjusted house prices are still well below their bubble peaks, but are about 40 percent above their long-term average.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 12, 2020 The Pandemic's Catastrophic Hit to the Labor Market
There is some good news in this horrible picture, 78.3 percent of the unemployed are temporary layoffs, meaning they expect to get their old jobs back. That won't always be the case, but this is much better than the opposite.
(5 comments) SHARE Friday, November 1, 2019 Economy Creates 128,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Edges Up to 3.6 Percent
The economy is adding jobs at a healthy pace. There are signs of weakness in key sectors such as construction and manufacturing (even when pulling out the effect of the GM strike). Also, wage growth is surprisingly weak given the low unemployment rate, but there is no sign of a recession anywhere in sight.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 5, 2017 Houston, Bangladesh, and Global Warming
The emissions from the United States and other wealthy countries will result in a lot of Harvey-like disasters in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the developing world. We should be moving quickly to try to limit the harm. We should also be giving these countries the assistance they need to deal with the disasters that we have caused them.
SHARE Tuesday, February 27, 2018 Employer-Side Payroll Taxes: Cuomo Goes to War Against Republican Tax Plan
Cuomo's plan has a $40,000 zero bracket, which means the tax is not paid on the first $40,000 in wages. He also made it voluntary so that employers could opt into this payroll tax system -- thereby saving workers money on their income taxes -- but they would not be required to go this route.
SHARE Tuesday, August 22, 2017 Social Security: Still The Most Efficient Way To Provide Retirement Income
If we want to supplement the income provided by Social Security, we should look to the program as a model. Keep it simple and keep the costs low. If people want to speculate in financial markets they are welcome to do so, but retirement policy means simple and cheap, and if that reduces profits for the financial industry, that's good too.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 10, 2018 New York State's Big Middle Finger to the Republican Tax Plan
It is likely that the employer-side payroll tax device will catch on quickly, even though it is not mandatory. It would be great if other liberal states adopted similar workarounds to preserve most of the SALT deduction for their residents. We would get a situation where the only people who lose the benefit of the SALT deduction would be higher-income people living in Republican states.
SHARE Tuesday, January 2, 2018 The Trump Investment Boom: Is It Really His Fault Oil Prices Jumped by 40 Percent
The investment in the mining and oil sector is almost certainly far more attributable to the rise in world oil prices than anything Trump has done in office. Oil prices collapsed in 2015 and 2016, falling from close to $100 a barrel in 2014 to a low of $32 a barrel last year. This slump led to a plunge in investment in oil and mining in 2016.
SHARE Friday, October 30, 2015 David Brooks Praises Marco Rubio for Pushing 20-Year-Old Ideas on Welfare Reform
Brooks' characterization of Speaker Ryan as a forward looking moderate is questionable. He has repeatedly advocated extreme positions that are far outside of the mainstream of both parties. He has called for privatizing Social Security and Medicare and shutting down the non-military portion of the government by the middle of the century.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, November 13, 2017 An Honest Approach to Simplifying Corporate Income Taxes
The Republicans are trying to pitch their tax cut plan as being a major step toward simplifying the tax code. While there is little doubt the plan will mean large tax cuts for corporations and their shareholders it is not clear that there will be much simplification. Corporations will still be able to have large tax savings by hiding profits overseas and other tricks.
SHARE Monday, December 17, 2018 Ivy Leagues Are Handing Out Millions in Fees to Hedge Fund Managers
This dismal track record is a big deal because these endowments invest heavily in what is called "alternative investments," primarily hedge funds and private equity funds. The people who run these funds often make tens of millions a year, in some cases hundreds of millions a year.
SHARE Wednesday, October 17, 2018 Catastrophic Hurricanes Should Force US to Reassess Climate Policy
Major news outlets are unlikely to run major columns demanding action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions when the front page has pictures of flooded streets and grieving family members. Politicians raising such demands are likely to be treated with derision.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 18, 2016 The Old Debt And Entitlement Charade
The use of the term "entitlements." While this has a clear meaning to policy wonks, it is likely that most viewers won't immediately know that "entitlements" means the Social Security and Medicare their parents receive. It's a lot easier for politicians to talk about cutting wasteful "entitlements" than taking away seniors' Social Security and Medicare.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, January 20, 2014 "Freedom" Industries? Property Rights, Regulation, and Brain Dead Environmentalists
Property rights mean not having someone else throw their waste on your property. If this is a difficult concept to understand, try erecting a slaughterhouse where the waste gets dumped on Bill Gates' front lawn. It's a safe bet that you will quickly be given a court order to stop immediately. If you ignore it, you will quickly find yourself in jail.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, November 17, 2018 Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
The most visible place where government-granted monopolies have a large effect is with prescription drugs. We will spend close to $440 billion (2.2 percent of GDP) this year on prescription drugs. If these drugs were sold in a free market without patents or related protections they would likely sell for less than $80 billion. The difference of $360 billion is roughly five times annual spending on SNAP.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, May 13, 2019 The US Labor Market Is Deteriorating for Black Men
The situation for Black Americans, and especially Black men, is disturbing. While the data are erratic, we now have enough of it to indicate that the employment prospects of Black men may actually be deteriorating even as the overall labor market continues to improve.
(7 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 26, 2013 Technology didn't kill middle class jobs, public policy did
Since 2000, the increase in employment has occurred almost entirely in low-wage occupations. There has been a decline in relative employment for both workers in middle wage and high wage occupations. If this "occupational shift story" explained trends in wages we should expect to see sharply rising wages for retail clerks, custodians and other workers employed in low-paying occupations.
SHARE Thursday, March 21, 2019 Trillion Dollar Wall Street Bailouts, Bernie Sanders, and the Washington Post
Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post Fact Checker gave Bernie Sanders two Pinocchios this week for saying that the Wall Street banks got a trillion dollar bailout. Kessler raises several points of contention. Whether the Wall Street banks actually got that much money. Or whether it can really be called a bailout since the government made a profit on the loans. And the bailout was necessary to keep the financial system running.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, December 22, 2017 Corporations Are Trying To Sell The GOP's Narrative On Tax Cuts
The Republican lawmakers have sold the corporate portion of their tax cuts with the claim that it is actually about helping workers. Their argument is that the corporate tax cut will lead to so much growth that the increase in wages will actually be considerably larger than the tax cut itself.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, September 16, 2017 No: Corporate taxes should be reformed, not cut
as a matter of simple arithmetic, if our corporations pay less in taxes, the rest of us will have to pay more. Yes, Republicans promise us tax cuts will lead to a surge of investment and growth, but we've heard this one before. It didn't happen when we had big tax cuts under Ronald Reagan and it didn't happen when we had big tax cuts under George W. Bush.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 31, 2017 The Tax Scam We Know and the Tax Scam We Don't Know
Any tax cut will have to go through Congress with representatives and senators having to cast a vote that in principle they can be held accountable for. The other scam requires no vote; it is about Donald Trump appointing a crony tax avoider as temporary head of the Internal Revenue Service. For the rich, paying taxes could become a voluntary contribution to the government rather than something they are required to do.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 23, 2011 How Occupy Stopped the Supercommittee
Everyone should enjoy their Thanksgiving, grateful that the supercommittee turkey is dead. If the 99% can keep up the pressure, Congress will return to reality after the holiday.
SHARE Saturday, October 14, 2017 The Republican Tax Plan To Slow Growth
Capital in intellectual property is responsible for a large and rapidly growing share of U.S. corporate profits. Tracking down the real source of these profits would be a herculean task in the best of circumstances and one almost certainly beyond the means of a neutered I.R.S.
SHARE Tuesday, July 18, 2017 Mulvaney's MAGAnomics Mix of Groundhog Day and Flat Out Lies
Mulvaney apparently missed the fact that energy prices have plummeted in the last three years. Oil had been over $100 a barrel; today it is less than $50. While it is always possible that it could fall still further, any boost to the economy from further declines will be trivial compared to what we have seen already.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 17, 2020 Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
The industry acknowledges the value of the research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and in fact, is the biggest lobbyist for it. But they say that if NIH were to move downstream and actually finance the development of drugs and do clinical trials, they would turn into a bunch of bureaucratic bozos who couldn't do anything right.
(3 comments) SHARE Friday, January 20, 2017 The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Cost cutting would mean reducing the incomes of drug companies, doctors, and insurance companies -- the big winners under the current system. It seems unlikely the Republicans will go this route. They are more likely to restore a version of the pre-ACA situation, in which many more people are uninsured and most workers know that their insurance is only as secure as their job.
SHARE Sunday, March 11, 2018 Down on the Farm: More Hysteria About Steel Tariffs
Changes in the dollar's value have much larger impacts on the fate of agriculture. There is essentially a world price for products like wheat, corn, and soy beans. If the dollar rises in value by 10 percent against the currencies of our trading partners, then the price of these goods in dollar terms will fall by roughly 10 percent.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 28, 2017 The Data Defying The Job-Killing Robot Myth
The robot story is likely attractive to many people since it appears to pin the blame for inequality on the natural development of technology. This undoubtedly explains why we hear it so frequently even though there is zero evidence to support it. Maybe if the proponents understood their own argument better they would stop repeating it.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 8, 2015 Congress Starts the New Year Off By Kicking the Disabled
Tens of millions of people made New Year's resolutions last week, but few were as creative as the one pushed through Congress yesterday. Apparently, the new Congress decided that its first order of business should be to go after workers who are no longer able to hold jobs due to injury or illness.
(6 comments) SHARE Monday, January 29, 2018 It's Still the Yellen-Obama Economy
In the State of the Union address we are likely to hear Donald Trump boast about the great economy. He has a case, except he will be boasting about the economy of his fired Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and President Obama, not one that he has yet been shaped by his policies.
(3 comments) SHARE Friday, December 28, 2012 Why are we debating cuts to Social Security?
Why is the leadership of both political parties so anxious to cut Social Security? The Republican party has long been controlled by interest groups hostile to government social programs. The Republican party is pretty open in pushing the case for making the rich richer. And the Democrats? Follow the money. A dollar paid out in Social Security benefits is a dollar that could be in their pockets.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, July 2, 2018 Response to "Janus": Take Their Intellectual "Property"
For the last four decades, the right has been actively working to rig the rules to undermine progressives both politically and economically. They aren't just interested in winning an election; they want to destroy any basis for progressive change. This is why they have been so intent on attacking unions.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 18, 2015 "Obamacare" is transforming the job market
the increase in voluntary part-time employment was almost entirely among young parents. Thanks to the ACA, it appears that more than 1 million parents of young children are now able to spend more time with their kids. Evidence also suggests an increase in self-employment, although the impact is not as large.
SHARE Tuesday, February 6, 2018 More Thoughts on the Stock Crash
People who have invested heavily in the stock market have nothing to complain about. If they didn't understand that it doesn't always go up then they should keep their money in a savings account or certificates of deposit. In short, calm down. The economy is not going to collapse.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 28, 2017 Should South Korea Worry About Donald Trump?
The list of absurdities surrounding Trump is literally endless. He has his staff prepare him two briefing books a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, of positive news stories about him. He is convinced he is widely adored and all his speeches are resounding successes even when they are in fact profound embarrassments.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, September 26, 2016 The Anniversary of Lehman and Men Who Don't Work
Our leading economists had no clue about what was going on when Lehmen collasped, and they still don't seem to have a clue today.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, potential GDP is now 10 percent less ($1.9 trillion) than the amount projected for 2016 before the downturn. This is a recurring loss of GDP that amounts to almost $6,000 a year for every person in the country.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 23, 2013 Edward Snowden and Financial Speculation Taxes
Apparently there is a lot that the United States can and will do to prevent sovereign countries from granting Snowden asylum. When it actually wants something to happen, the Obama administration, like its predecessors, is prepared to do a full Snowden. And in nearly every case, it will get what it wants.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 3, 2016 Clinton, Trump, and Budget-Busting Tax Cuts
The idea of spending more and running larger budget deficits is a good one. Trump may take it too far and want to give all the money to rich people, but he is not wrong for wanting to increase the budget deficit to boost the economy. This is a position that progressives should embrace and ideally force the Democratic presidential candidate to embrace.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, October 31, 2011 Washington Post Discards All Journalistic Standards In Attack On Social Security
News outlets generally like to claim a separation between their editorial pages and their news pages. The Washington Post has long ignored this distinction in pursuing its agenda for cutting Social Security, however it took a big step further in tearing down this barrier with a lead front page story that would have been excluded from most opinion pages because of all the inaccuracies it contained.
SHARE Saturday, October 27, 2018 Containing CEO Pay
Nothing in politics is ever as easy as it should be. But we do have good cause to worry about CEO pay, which is grossly out of line both with its past levels and with respect to pay in other countries. And rich shareholders are an ally in this story.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Donald Trump's Big Pharma First Agenda
After handing huge tax cuts to the country's richest people and taking away health care insurance for millions, Donald Trump took another giant step toward abandoning his populist agenda last week. Instead of having Medicare negotiate to bring drug prices down, Trump put out a plan that is focused on making foreign countries pay more for drugs.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 20, 2018 A Note to Media: Don't Tell Us Republicans Care About Deficits
There is one point that should be very clear by now: Republicans do not act like people who are concerned about budget deficits. Given the opportunity, they pursue policies that increase budget deficits. This is not just true in the present; it was also true when George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were in the White House.
SHARE Thursday, May 9, 2019 Krugman v. Sanders on Medicare-for-All
Last week Krugman devoted a column to dismissing the Democrats septuagenarians (Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders) as not being prepared to deal with the presidency in today's political environment. Part of his indictment of Sanders was an unwillingness to compromise, most notably on health care reform.
(6 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 11, 2014 The Good Jobs News on the Affordable Care Act
The CBO assessment was that because people could now get access to health insurance through the exchanges rather than having to get insurance through their jobs, many people might decide not to work or to work fewer hours. This voluntary reduction in work hours is one of the goals of Obamacare, it is not an unforeseen consequence. The takeaway from the CBO report is overwhelmingly positive.
SHARE Monday, September 11, 2017 Welfare for Wall Street: Fees on Retirement Accounts
Whether it comes from religious belief or a sense of basic decency we feel are an obligation to provide the basic necessities of life for the poor. But how would we feel about being taxed $1,000 a year to provide six figure salaries to people in the financial sector? Although no candidate to my knowledge has ever run on this platform, this is the nature of the retirement system the federal government has constructed for us.
SHARE Tuesday, June 21, 2011 The Endgame on the Debt Ceiling
When everyone remembers what the endgame looks like, they will realize that there is no need to put essential programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block to get Republican support for raising the debt ceiling. The gun is pointed most directly at Wall Street's head, and this incredibly powerful lobby is not going to let Congress pull the trigger.
SHARE Sunday, April 1, 2018 Roger Lowenstein, F**k Your Stock Portfolio
Congress should pass fiscal stimulus and the Fed should lower interest rates to sustain demand. The destruction of the counterfeiters' money should allow us to have demand in areas that meet the needs of the rest of us rather than the counterfeiters.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 30, 2018 Trump Tax Cuts at Election Time: Failing on Schedule
The Republican tax cuts passed last year were supposed to usher in a new wave of prosperity. The promise was an investment-led economic boom, which would lead to higher wages and income across the board. It is still a bit less than a year since Congress passed the tax bill, but it is already pretty clear that things are not going as promised.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 4, 2016 Thomas Friedman's Grand Bargain Scheme: Lie About the Folks You Disagree With
As Friedman reminds us, a big part of the Grand Bargain was cutting Social Security and Medicare. Is it really true, that in a world where few workers now have traditional pensions and most are not able to accumulate substantial sums in 401(k)s or other savings, Social Security is too generous? The vast majority of the public does not hold this view. On what basis has Thomas Friedman decided it is true?
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, April 4, 2011 It's Time for Representative Ryan to Man Up
The basic economic reality is very simple and everyone in Washington knows it. There is no way that future generations of workers will be poorer than the current one due to benefits like Social Security and Medicare. They could end up poorer if we continue to see the benefits of growth shifted to the top.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 5, 2016 Bill Gates to Fund Huge XPrize to End Austerity in Europe
If Gates really did want to help the world, it's hard to envision a better use of $1 billion or so of his money than to post this sort of prize, especially at a time when needless austerity is threatening the survival of the European Union. In the wake of the Brexit vote, we may need an XPrize winner to keep the European Union alive.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 21, 2015 The Simple Progressive Economic Agenda for Hillary Clinton (or Anyone Else)
A progressive presidential candidate should commit to appointing people to the Federal Reserve Board who place a top priority on its legal mandate to promote high employment. If the Fed is not prepared to allow the labor market to tighten, any employment gains from reducing the trade deficit could be reversed by higher interest rates choking off growth.
(6 comments) SHARE Saturday, August 15, 2015 Is There Anything Progressive About Hillary's Economic Plan?
It is still early in the campaign and we need many more specifics, but Secretary Clinton's proposals to date do not appear to be an effective way to advance her stated agenda. Most of the candidates from both parties are pledging to help the middle class. Presumably the winner will be the person who does the best sales job in this area. Hopefully, the sales pitch will be grounded in economic reality.
SHARE Tuesday, July 4, 2017 Republicans Craft Health Care Plan to Screw Trump Voters
The costs for older insurees should be especially important for Trump voters, because this is the group where he had the biggest vote margin. While Trump lost the under-40 vote by double digit margins, he carried the 50 to 64 age group by a margin of 52 to 44 percent. So it looks like the Republicans are prepared to make these people pay a real price for their votes.
SHARE Tuesday, January 27, 2015 Reducing Disability Rolls: The Rand Paul Way and the Federal Reserve Board Way
Republican leaders like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) justified cutting Social Security benefits by insisting that half the people getting disability had the sort of back aches and occasional anxieties that we all face. The difference is that they get checks from the government rather than working. For this reason, Rand argued the program is in serious need of reform.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 23, 2018 The Corporate Tax Cut Bonanza
Corporate America is clearly putting on a public relations show to thank the Republicans who pushed through the tax cut. They are trying to convince people that the Republicans in Congress were doing something that was good for the country, not just rewarding big donors to their campaigns. But this is not the sort of stuff that the public should take seriously.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 22, 2016 Financing Infrastructure: Trump's Plan Seems Like a Joke
Because Trump's plan relies on a tax credit, only projects that generate revenue would fit the bill. That's fine for toll roads and bridges, but this won't repair our water systems and schools or even pay for repairing existing roads and bridges that are publicly owned. And items like early childhood education would clearly not be on the agenda.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 18, 2009 Stop Baby Boomer Bashing: Protect Social Security and Medicare
....an all out assault on the program financed by billionaire banker Peter Peterson. Peterson has spent much of the last two decades trying to cut Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits for the elderly. He recently contributed a billion dollars to a foundation bearing his name that is primarily committed to this goal.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 26, 2013 Macho Men, Social Security, and the Chained CPI
There we have it, a Democratic president in the White House, along with the many of the top Democrats in Congress, who is willing to give seniors a larger hit to their income than he is to the income of the wealthy. It sure makes you admire their toughness. The macho men in Washington, D.C. want to cut Social Security, and they don't have time for no stinkin' research.
(11 comments) SHARE Monday, March 30, 2009 Geithner's Plan Will Tax Main Street to Make Wall Street Richer
The new consensus among the experts who missed the housing bubble is that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's plan to subsidize the purchase of junk mortgages and their derivatives will help alleviate the stress on the banking system. Oh, by the way, some people will get very rich off the Geithner plan.
SHARE Monday, June 10, 2019 Donald Trump's Capricious Tariffs Open the Door to Corruption
Donald Trump has repeatedly proclaimed his love for tariffs, even dubbing himself "Tariff Man." While Trump clearly does not understand how tariffs work, some of the discussion in the media has been off target as well. It's worth trying to get the basic story straight.
SHARE Tuesday, May 3, 2011 Why Does Senator McCaskill Want to Bankrupt Our Children?
If McCaskill and the other senators are upset about this recent rise in spending then they should be going after the incompetents at the Fed and Treasury who somehow could not recognize the $8 trillion housing bubble whose collapse wrecked the economy. This was indeed a horrendous mistake that has been devastating to the country, but it has nothing to do with government spending.
(5 comments) SHARE Monday, July 2, 2012 A Wall Street Gambling Tax: The Remedy to Inequality
Taxing Wall Street speculation is a great way to raise whatever money might be needed to meet deficit targets. However, because the folks in Washington are so dependent on Wall Street money, it is more likely that they will be looking to target the benefits of people struggling to get by on their $1,100 a month Social Security checks.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Are Debt Whiners Fools or Just Liars?
The debt whiners are fond of telling stories about how the debt is a burden on our children, or how the debt can lead to financial crisis and other bad things, but these claims are inventions, not economic realities.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 23, 2018 Don't Fall for the GOP's Cheap Tricks on Preexisting Health Conditions
Republicans are doing everything they can to make it so that people with serious health problems pay more for their health insurance. The basic point is very simple. There is an enormous skewing of health care costs based on people's health. Most of us are lucky enough to be in reasonably good health most of our lives. That means we can generally count on facing low health costs in any given year.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 15, 2018 Krugman on Drugs
it is pretty crazy that we expect people when they are sick or dying to pay for research that has already been done. In almost all cases, the cost of manufacturing and delivering drugs is cheap, we make it expensive with government-granted patent monopolies. If we asked questions about paying for possibly life-saving drugs at their actual production costs, it would almost always be a no-brainer.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 28, 2018 High CEO Pay: It's What Friends Are For
The explosion in the pay of corporate CEOs is well documented. While the heads of major corporations were always well paid, we saw their pay go from 20- to 30-times the pay of ordinary workers in the 1960s and 1970s to 200- or 300-times the pay of ordinary workers in recent years. Paychecks of more than $20 million a year are now standard.
SHARE Monday, June 27, 2016 In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
The UK is hardly the only country where much of the public is unhappy with the EU. If the UK can engineer a relatively painless departure, then other countries may wish to follow its lead. From this vantage point, punishment is important since it will show the rest of Europe that leaving the EU really hurts. If the EU goes tit for tat and tries to punish Britain, Brexit will be the first round of a very unhappy story.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 19, 2013 Debt-to-GDP Nonsense
If it seems hard to believe that the very well-credentialed people who control economic policy can be utterly clueless about the economy, remember these are people that missed a $10 trillion stock bubble. They also missed an $8 trillion housing bubble. There is no reason to believe that their understanding of the economy has improved as a result of their past mistakes.
SHARE Wednesday, December 28, 2016 Trump and Growth
whether or not innovation puts downward pressure on the wages of workers or leads to broadly shared prosperity, as it did in the period from 1947 to 1973, depends on the institutional structure in place. In the last four decades the structure has been designed to redistribute upward.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Jeff Bezo's Quest to Find America's Dumbest Mayor
America eagerly awaits the next big event: the announcement of the winner in Jeff Bezos' contest to determine which combination of state and local governments is prepared to give him the most money to be home to Amazon's new headquarters.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 25, 2014 Taxing the Money Shufflers -- Wall Street Boys Gone Wild
While Dodd-Frank reforms will curb some of the worst abuses, the Wall Streeters are still making huge fortunes shuffling money rather than doing anything productive. A modest tax can raise a huge amount of money for productive ends, such as infrastructure and education, while making shuffling money a bit less profitable.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 18, 2014 The Problem of "Stupid" in Economics
There is some truth to Gruber's comment in that most people are ill-informed about major public policy issues, including health insurance. But when people do take the time to get informed, the media let them down badly. Stories even in the best of outlets, like the New York Times and National Public Radio, often present information in ways that are misleading and often meaningless to nearly all readers.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 19, 2016 Is Donald Trump Serious About Trade, Or Anything?
If Trump thinks this is a story of beating up China he has missed the boat. It's a story first and foremost of beating up the U.S. corporations that profit from the trade deficit with China. And, it means telling a lot of other companies that their concerns are going to take a back seat in negotiations with China, since our priority is getting the trade deficit down.
SHARE Thursday, March 15, 2018 If Trump wants to get reelected, he should rethink his Federal Reserve picks
Most Americans don't pay much attention to the Fed. People usually perceive its decisions about interest rates and inflation as affecting only Wall Street and big investor types. But the Fed has an enormous impact on the lives of ordinary workers. When it chooses to raise interest rates, as it has been doing for the last 15 months, it is making a conscious decision to slow the economy.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 18, 2017 Paul Ryan Has a Plan to Take Away Insurance from Tens of Millions of People
Republicans have published an outline of their proposal for an Obamacare replacement. It seems designed to ensure that tens of millions of people lose their health insurance coverage. Republican deserve credit for devising a plan to reduce the cost of insurance for healthy people. It just means that tens of millions of people who actually need insurance won't be able to get it.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, September 3, 2012 Canada proves the decline of unions is not inevitable
Almost half of all successful unionization drives in the US do not lead to a contract. While the company is legally obligated to negotiate in good faith, this is generally not much of a requirement. Delaying a first contract is an effective way to undermine support for a union and often leads to a union being decertified. Provinces with first contract arbitration have higher rates of unionization.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 17, 2018 Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
When we have a world in which the so-called experts are not held accountable for their failures, even when they are massive, and they consistently look down on the people who question their expertise, it undermines belief in truth.
SHARE Tuesday, September 6, 2016 Labor Day 2016: Moderate Progress in Last Year
On the plus side, real wages are growing again. The average real hourly wage for non-supervisory workers rose by more than 2 percent during the last year. This is the second consecutive increase of this size, following seven years of virtual stagnation in wages for most workers.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, August 7, 2011 How to Think About Standard and Poor's Downgrade
If S&P were being honest, it would have written about the need to fix the U.S. health-care system. Instead it talked about the need to cut Medicare. Of course, if U.S. health care costs were comparable to those in any other country in the world, then we would be looking at massive surpluses in the long-term, not deficits.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, March 12, 2018 Steel Tariffs and Doctors: A Teachable Moment?
Over the last four decades our trade policy had been quite explicitly designed to put steelworkers and other manufacturing workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world. Trade deals made it as easy as possible for US corporations to locate factories in Mexico and other developing countries and import their production back into the United States.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 30, 2021 The Coronavirus Vaccine Fail and International Elites
The vaccine rollout process has been painfully slow in the United States. More than 40 days after the first vaccine was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, just over 6.0 percent of our population has been vaccinated.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 19, 2015 Loss of Manufacturing Jobs Isn't "Tectonic" -- It's a Policy Choice
We have at least acquiesced in, if not actively supported, policies that have led to a seriously over-valued dollar. The result of these policies is a large and persistent trade deficit, which puts further downward pressure on the wages of those workers who have been most exposed to international competition.
SHARE Monday, January 8, 2018 Big Tax Game Hunting: Employer-Side Payroll Taxes
this tax increase was explicitly designed to make it more expensive for progressive states to provide services like health care and education to their people. In this context, it's time to take the gloves off. These states absolutely should look to fight back by finding ways to avoid the tax increase.
SHARE Monday, June 25, 2018 Trade: It's About Class, Not Country
If Chinese corporations use technology developed by Boeing, Microsoft, or other US giants, this is bad news for their stockholders, but it doesn't directly harm the rest of us. In fact, if the Chinese corporations can then produce the same products at a lower price and then export them to the United States, this would be a gain for non-stockholders. This is the classic argument for free trade.
SHARE Monday, November 26, 2018 Restore Higher Tax Rates for Corporations That Can't Contain CEO Pay
While the idea of forcing people to help themselves doesn't make much sense for these anti-poverty programs, they could make considerable sense for the governance of major US corporations. The problem is that shareholders seem to be unable to avoid paying out tens of millions of dollars to CEOs, even when these CEOs are not especially competent.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, July 1, 2015 The Federal Reserve Board, Jobs and the Rewriting of Economic History
History should be an important feature in the current debate on the Fed's interest rate policy. The point is that virtually the whole profession got the economy completely wrong in the 1990s. Given this track record, why would anyone think they are now getting the economy right today?
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, May 31, 2018 Donald Trump and ZTE: a Party of One
Donald Trump stunned political observers and many of his supporters with a tweet expressing concern about the jobs being lost in China due to the troubles facing ZTE, a Chinese electronics manufacturer. He told his Commerce Secretary, Wilber Ross, to see what he could do to help ZTE.
SHARE Thursday, October 25, 2018 The Midterms: It's All Up for Grabs
The main reason this election is so important is that Donald Trump has demonstrated an unprecedented level of disrespect for basic norms of democracy and the rule of law. Republicans in Congress, with almost no exceptions, have been willing to go along in his abuses of power. If the Republicans manage to maintain control of both houses of Congress, there will be little ability to block Trump's attack on democracy.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 18, 2017 Republican Part-Time Nation: Going Involuntary
Extending health care insurance to 20 million people was a really big deal and an important driver for the ACA. Arguably an even bigger deal was providing security to people who already had insurance. But providing security to the nation's workers is obviously not the Trump-Ryan agenda.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 16, 2011 The S&P Downgrade Market Plunge Myth
The Wall Street crew that wants to cut your Social Security and Medicare benefits are sensing that victory is in sight. They have managed to knock jobs completely off the agenda and have made deficit reduction the near exclusive focus of economic policy in Washington. They are now setting the stage to have the Congressional "super-committee" produce a deal that will mean large cuts in both programs.
SHARE Monday, December 22, 2014 What's Behind Those New Budget Office Numbers On Family Incomes?
As we watch the Fed fiddle with interest rate trigger, deciding when to start slowing the economy, it is important to keep this lesson in mind. When the Fed starts raising rates and keeping people from getting jobs, it will be acting to prevent the middle class from getting its share of growth.
SHARE Thursday, July 21, 2016 Brexit, Austerity and the Future of the European Union
The euro zone countries could take advantage of the low borrowing costs to build up their infrastructure, pay for energy conservation measures and/or clean energy, and improve their education and health care systems. This policy would both boost the economy in the short-run and increase productivity and output in the long-run.
(6 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 1, 2016 The Elites and the Rise of Donald Trump
There is no excuse for supporting a racist, sexist, xenophobic buffoon like Donald Trump. But we should be clear; the workers who turn to him do have real grievances. The system has been rigged against them. And it is a bit hypocritical of those who have benefited from this rigging to be mocking the poor judgment of its victims.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, November 3, 2013 Plutocrats vs. Populists: Good Piece Until the End -- Answers are Easy
It is bizarre to assert the problem is a lack of answers. The plutocrats have managed to seize control over politics in the United States and elsewhere. There is no lack of good answers, the problem is that the plutocrats have power to stop them from being put into practice.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, October 15, 2016 A Little Pre-Election BS From the White House on Income Inequality
The wealthiest 1 percent often have considerable control over the timing of their income. They knew the top tax rate would rise from 35.0 percent for 2012 to 39.6 percent in 2013. This gave them a very strong incentive to declare income in 2012 that would have otherwise appeared in 2013. This makes 2012 look really good for the 1 percent and 2013 much worse.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 17, 2016 Can Donald Trump Teach Us About the National Debt?
If we don't change the interest burden, why would anyone care that we lowered the notional value of the debt? The answer is that Washington debates on budget and economic policy are chock full of people who care hugely about the notional debt. Anyone who tries to evaluate generational equity by the size of our national debt is clearly clueless and should be laughed off the stage more quickly than Donald Trump.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 16, 2015 Biggest lesson from financial crisis: Wall Street gets what it wants
The story of the decade of double-digit unemployment from which we were supposedly spared by the bailout depends on Congress sitting on its hands and doing nothing through the worst slump in 70 years. This is a political prediction, not an issue of economics. And it is a political prediction that has absolutely zero basis in modern history.
(6 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 4, 2016 Secrets in Plain View: Obamacare Is Working
We have to reduce the amount that people pay out of pocket, end charges for many kinds of preventative screening and introduce a Medicare-style public option in the health care exchanges. But these and other steps can only take place if politicians who support the ACA feel comfortable talking about it. That will only be the case when people recognize the benefits it has brought.
SHARE Monday, July 30, 2018 Quick Thoughts on Trump's "Amazing" Economy
It is important to point out that for almost everyone but economist types, growth does not mean anything. People care about whether they have a job and whether their pay is rising. On the last point, the news has not been good, as real wages have been flat over the last year.
SHARE Thursday, March 22, 2018 CON: Kudlow's fossilized beliefs could lead Trump further astray
Kudlow is an ideologue. This could be a serious problem with a president who often shoots from the hip without seriously considering the ramifications of his policies. Rather than trying to get Trump to consider various perspectives, Kudlow may just reinforce Trump in his ill-considered plans.
SHARE Thursday, April 24, 2014 Economic Policy in a Post-Piketty World
Thomas Piketty's new book has done a remarkable job of focusing public attention on the growth of inequality in the last three decades and the risk that it will grow further in the decades ahead.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 15, 2012 The Deficit Hawk Industry: Fear Mongering the Federal Debt
The Campaign to Fix the Debt and the rest of the deficit hawk industry will be operating at full speed at least until a budget deal is reached over the current impasse. If CBO adjusts its long-term health-care cost projections downward then their whole rationale for gutting Social Security and Medicare will disappear. Now that is really a crisis.
SHARE Wednesday, December 13, 2017 Mick Mulvaney and the Bad Actors Club
Mick Mulvaney openly holds the CFPB in contempt. When he was still in the House of Representatives he referred to it as a "joke." Mulvaney has made it clear that he would be happier if the CFPB did not exist. Appointing him as acting director is a bit like selecting a hard--core atheist as the next pope.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 8, 2014 All eyes on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, America's leading progressive
There are many areas where de Blasio could be an innovator. He could try experiments with free transit on the buses and the subway to see how much ridership would increase and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced. He could also look to have modest subsidies for retrofitting homes and businesses to make them more energy efficient. This would also be a great way to help generate employment.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 16, 2014 The Biggest Economic Myths, Debunked
We know how to get out of a depression. It's called spending money. Even if the dominoes had been allowed to fall and all the Wall Street banks had collapsed, we still could have picked up the pieces and avoided a depression. And we would be freed of the albatross of a bloated financial sector.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, June 27, 2011 Right to Rent: Will the Obama Administration Finally Fix Housing?
As part of the foreclosure process, homeowners would be offered the opportunity to stay in their home, paying the market rent, as determined by an independent appraiser. This is the same sort of appraisal process that banks use when considering a mortgage application. It can also be structured to ensure that millionaires are not gaming the system.
SHARE Friday, September 1, 2017 Job Growth Weakens in August
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 156,000 jobs in August, somewhat less than most economists had expected. This figure, combined with downward revisions of 41,000 to the prior two months data, brought the average over the last three months to 185,000.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 13, 2018 Anti-Union Measure in Missouri Loses by Massive Margin
Unions not only boost the pay of the workers they represent, but they have been the backbone of most major progressive economic initiatives, including Social Security, Medicare, the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, and recent efforts to raise the minimum wage and require paid family leave and sick days.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, August 12, 2013 Fiddling with Fannie and Freddie only sets us up for another crash
President Obama's announcement of his plans for a restructured mortgage market was painful for those who remember the bubble and crash. It seems as though he learned nothing from this disaster. It's difficult to see what the problem is. But Obama wants to wind Fannie and Freddie down and replace them with a new and ostensibly improved public-private system.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, June 3, 2013 Recession culprits? Start with Alan Greenspan and Jean-Claude Trichet
The economic wreckage destroying tens of millions of lives across the globe was an entirely preventable disaster. In the case of both the United States and Europe unsustainable asset bubbles were allowed to grow to ever more dangerous levels. It was inevitable that the bubbles would burst and when they did the outcome would be a severe downturn from which it would not easy to recover.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, August 11, 2016 Trump's Economic Agenda: Mostly, More of the Same
The Trump agenda looks like the Republican agenda that we have seen many times before: It centers on large tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, something that has not worked in the past to create either strong growth or rising living standards for working people. Trump does offer a different perspective on trade, but it is too contradictory to be able to determine if it will actually benefit ordinary workers.
SHARE Monday, December 5, 2016 How to Gain Support for Trade: Stop Rigging It to Redistribute Upward
The point of making it as easy as possible to move a factory to Mexico, and then import the output back to the United States, is to get access to low cost labor. The predicted and actual effect of this policy is to reduce the number of jobs available to manufacturing workers in the United States.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 3, 2019 Resolutions to Improve Debates on Economic Policy in 2019
Okay, it's that time of year when we are all supposed to commit ourselves to performing nearly impossible tasks over the next 12 months. I will play the game. Here is the list of areas where I will try to bring economics into economic policy debates in 2019
SHARE Tuesday, October 11, 2016 Trump and Trade: He's Not All Wrong
the trade deficit is a major source of job loss. Our current trade deficit of $500 billion a year (@ 2.8 percent of GDP) is a major drag on demand and employment. For this reason, a politician would be absolutely right to cite trade as a big factor in the weakness of the labor market.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 1, 2011 Debts Should be Honored, Except When the Money Is Owed to Working People
A main goal of state bankruptcy is to allow states to default on pension obligations. This means that states will be able to tell workers, including those already retired, that they're out of luck. Teachers, highway patrol officers and other government employees, some of whom worked decades for the government, will be told that their contracts no longer mean anything. They will not get the pensions that they were expecting.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 25, 2015 The Stock Market Is Not the Economy
The stock market is not the economy. The stock market has fluctuations all the time that have nothing to do with the real economy. The most famous was the 1987 crash, which did not correspond to any real-world bad event that anyone could identify.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, October 14, 2013 The Tea Party and the New York Times Shut Down the Government
The reason that many people might be sympathetic to shutting down the govPolls consistently show that people grossly overestimate the amount of money going to many less popular categories of spending. This is where the New York Times comes into the picture.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, July 16, 2018 Corporations and Mainstream Media Trumpet the "Horrors" of Higher Wages
Many in the media are terrified by the prospect that as the labor market gets tighter, workers might get a larger share of the pie. Perhaps this should not be surprising when billionaires control major news outlets, but it does mean that economic reporting might be getting pretty far out of line with economic reality.
(4 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 14, 2014 The Deficit Is Down and the Deficit Hawks Are Furious
Last week the Congressional Budget Office reported that the deficit for the 2014 fiscal year that just ended was $460 billion, considerably lower than they had previously projected. This puts the deficit at 2.7 percent of GDP. At that level, the size of the debt relative to the economy is actually falling. If anyone thought this would make the deficit hawks happy, they are badly mistaken. They are furious.
(7 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 7, 2014 Obamacare and Those Invincible Youngsters
There is an ongoing media obsession with the number of young people who sign up for health care insurance through Obamacare. We have been repeatedly told that the success of the program depends on large numbers of healthy young people -- the "young invincibles" -- signing up for the program.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, February 13, 2017 The Trouble With Trade: People Understand It
Manufacturing employment dropped by more than 3.4 million, or more than 20 percent, in the seven years from 2000 to 2007. This was trade. The trade deficit exploded over this period to almost 6 percent of GDP, which would be more than $1.1 trillion in today's economy.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, February 4, 2013 Larry Summers and the Davos scam
Here we have one of the most prominent economists in the world making up a fantasy story to pass along to the rich and powerful. The other economists present must have just implicitly consented to ignore the nonsense, since these are facts well-known to anyone who follows policy debates.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 17, 2016 Trumponomics: It's Not All Crazy
We may once again see issues with inflation and a need for higher interest rates to slow the economy. That will have some negative effects, but at least it will put an end to the long period of high unemployment and secular stagnation. This will be a good thing; it's just unfortunate that we needed a Trump administration to get there.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 11, 2015 Will We End Up Like Greece? The Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
The result of TPP could be the persistence long into the future of large U.S. trade deficits, with the resulting loss of demand and millions of jobs. This drag on growth may not give us the same sort of cataclysmic downturn that Greece has seen, but it is a much more real concern than the possibility that no one will buy U.S. government debt.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 29, 2016 Full Employment And The Democratic Platform: Hillary Can Fix What Bill Broke
We will not get back the 4.4 million manufacturing jobs we've lost since Bill Clinton took office, but a smaller trade deficit could get back 1-2 million, and that would make a noticeable difference in the labor market. It would be a big step forward if Hillary reversed a mistake made by Bill Clinton and reaffirmed the Democratic Party's commitment to full employment.
SHARE Saturday, December 1, 2018 Our Elites Refuse to Accept Responsibility for Leaving Behind the Left Behind
The assumption is that being left behind is the result of the natural workings of the market -- developments in technology and trade -- not any conscious policy decisions implemented in Washington. This is quite obviously not true and it is remarkable how this assumption can go unchallenged in policy circles.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 15, 2014 Larry Summers joins the reality-based economics community
In embracing the secular-stagnation view, Summers is rejecting the religious faith in a self-correcting market that still dominates the mainstream of the profession. While we all should welcome this important convert, he might try a more ecumenical approach to policy from within his new framework. The main goal must be to get people back to work. It is less crucial that it be done through any important person's chosen route.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, June 20, 2011 The Endgame on the Debt Ceiling
There is a strong chance that when this global economic meltdown is over, the U.S. financial sector will never hold the same place in the world. That means that with or without the ironclad financial backing of the U.S. government standing behind them, the Wall Street gang might never again be the dominant actor in international financial markets.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 9, 2014 Benefits of Obamacare: More People Are Able to Work Less
Obamacare was a huge step forward not only because it insured millions of previously uninsured people but, even more importantly, because it freed tens of millions of workers from dependence on their employers for insurance. This is especially important for workers who have serious health conditions or have family members with serious health conditions.
SHARE Monday, April 12, 2021 A Vaccine Summit: Taking the Pandemic Seriously
You might think that, after a year in which have seen millions of deaths and tens of millions of infections, and trillions of dollars in economic losses, our leaders would take the pandemic seriously. But apparently, that is too much to ask.
SHARE Saturday, September 3, 2016 Job Growth Slows In August
This downward trend could indicate slower hiring in the future. It also seems to contradict the common assertion in the business press that employers are having difficulty finding qualified workers. If this were true, they would be pushing the workers they have to work longer hours. Wage growth also shows no evidence of accelerating. The average hourly wage increased by 2.4 percent over the last year.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 26, 2016 Mission Possible: Breaking Up the Big Banks and Universal Medicare
Senator Bernie Sanders is getting a lot of heat from political establishment types for proposals they view as outlandish. The top of the list is breaking up the big banks and universal Medicare. The complaint is that these proposals are so far off the political agenda, Sanders is wasting everyone's time by raising them.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, September 17, 2012 Chicago school teachers give us all a lesson
The widely held view in the media, that the school teachers and their union are an anachronism, turns reality on its head. The so-called "school reform" movement is by now old news. These people have been more or less calling the shots in public education for the last two decades. Their policies have been tried and failed.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 8, 2018 Helping Blue States Preserve the SALT: We Know the Beneficiaries Are Higher Income People
If we want to see headway on quality affordable child care, free college, expanded health care coverage, it will come from states like New York and California. The Republicans quite explicitly wanted to make it more difficult for states to be able to pursue progressive policies, which is why they limited the SALT deduction. So no, I have no problems trying to reverse this cheap trick.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, January 7, 2019 States Lead the Way on Retirement Policy
With the federal government largely out of the game over the last decade on issues like the minimum wage, paid family leave and paid sick days, many states and cities have taken the lead to protect their own residents. Although it has gotten much less attention, this has also been the case with retirement policy.
(4 comments) SHARE Saturday, November 1, 2014 Democrats Run Away from Success of "Obamacare"
The Democrats have mostly hidden from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In fact, they have done their best to convince voters that they have nothing to do with this program; interestingly, so have many Republicans. The Republicans are fully aware of the danger they can face because of their opposition to extending health care insurance. Unfortunately, the Democrats have yet to catch on.
SHARE Sunday, October 5, 2014 Why a Tiny Decrease in Unemployment Means a Big Pay Raise for the Poor
We can decrease the unemployment rate through policies that reduce average work hours. One obvious policy is work sharing. This program, which 26 states already have in place as part of their state unemployment insurance (UI) systems, allows employers to cut back hours instead of laying off workers.
SHARE Monday, October 9, 2017 Employment Falls for the First Time in Seven Years
Employment fell by 33,000 in September, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics establishment survey, the first decline since September of 2010. The drop was due to the effects of the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. This is shown clearly from the loss of 104,700 jobs in restaurants.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 15, 2015 What Congress isn't seeing when the government spends
The House of Representative's move to change the way lawmakers consider tax and spending bills wrongly assumes that the economy will continue growing when citizens pay fewer taxes, says Dean Baker, co-director of the central for Economic and Policy Research.
SHARE Tuesday, February 7, 2012 Debt, Toll Roads and Patents
Given the huge amounts of excess capacity in most sectors, it is likely that the deficits are actually increasing investment by increasing demand. In this sense, deficits are making our children richer. This would be even more true insofar as the deficits are being run to build infrastructure or to finance education and training, all of which will make the economy more productive in the future.
(4 comments) SHARE Saturday, July 11, 2015 Jeb Bush wants us to work more for the collective good. Who's the socialist now?
Those that agree with Jeb Bush's premise that Americans need to work more argue that we need more workers in order to sustain economic growth at all. In particular, they posit that, as our population ages, we will have to keep people in the work force beyond the current retirement age and get more hours of work from them each year until they do retire.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, April 1, 2019 As U.S. Economy Weakens, Economists Struggle to Predict Next Recession
With wages growing at a respectable pace, and job growth remaining healthy, we should see enough consumption demand to keep the economy moving forward. That means slower growth, but no recession. People should not spend time worrying about the curse of the inverted yield curve, at least not unless something else bad happens to the economy.
SHARE Tuesday, May 10, 2016 Will the Unfair TPP Turn Silicon Valley Into Detroit?
The TPP can accurately be described as a pinata, that is chock full of special deals for the corporate interests who negotiated it. It will likely do more to impede trade than promote it, and in the process it creates rules that potentially override democratic decision-making at all levels of government. In reality, it's about advancing corporate interests and free trade has nothing to do with it.
SHARE Wednesday, March 13, 2019 Donald Trump Deserves an "F" on Trade
Trump has made one of his central issues prohibiting requirements that US companies investing in China transfer their technology to a local partner. This is great for US companies looking to invest in China, but it's bad news for workers here since the new rules make outsourcing jobs to China even more attractive.
SHARE Wednesday, February 25, 2015 Trade Crazy: The Push for Fast-Track Trade Authority
President Obama's trade agenda is dominated by a list of measures that are likely to increase inequality. And if his trade deals are defeated because they refuse to take any steps to redress the trade deficit and the loss of well-paying manufacturing jobs to trade, it will not be bad news for the country.
SHARE Tuesday, July 17, 2012 Technology doesn't cause inequality -- deliberate policy change does
When a government adopts a one-sided approach to enforcing labor laws, so that courts intervene to benefit management and weakens unions, it will reduce workers' bargaining power. This will mean lower pay for ordinary workers and higher corporate profits and pay for those at the top. It was done by human hands with the fingerprints of the one percent everywhere.
(8 comments) SHARE Monday, September 22, 2014 Democrats Run Away from Success of Obamacare
The ACA appears to be an enormous success. It has extended coverage, it has helped to hold down costs, and given workers the freedom to leave jobs they don't like. Ordinarily, this would be the sort of policy that politicians would fight over to get credit. But the Democrats apparently still have not recovered from their defeat in 2014. As a result they are running from Obamacare, instead of bragging about it.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Trade, Truth, and Trump
If respectable leaders in politics and the media continue to repeat glib cliches, rather than taking the economic reality of trade policy seriously, it should not be surprising that the victims of trade will look to demagogues like Trump. It is unfortunate when we get a more honest discussion of a major policy issue from Donald Trump than the New York Times.
SHARE Monday, June 18, 2018 The Tax Cut and the Pay Increase: Halfway There
Some companies did announce pay increases, or more typically one-time bonuses, following the tax cut, but the increases going to workers are a small fraction of the money being used to buy back stocks. Many tax cut critics had pointed to this imbalance as evidence that workers will not benefit to any substantial extent from the tax cut.
SHARE Tuesday, August 14, 2012 Representative Ryan's Far-Right Agenda: The Media Can't Take the Truth
Representative Ryan only seems to object to government programs and policies that benefit lower- and middle-income people. In this sense he seems to have perfectly captured the philosophy of the modern Republican Party: "a dollar in the pocket of a middle class person is a dollar that could belong to a rich person."
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 11, 2015 Disciplining Corporate Directors: The Real Culprits in CEO Pay
The most obvious story is that there is no effective check on CEO pay. While most workers have bosses who don't want to pay them a nickel more than they have to, CEOs don't live in that world. The pay of CEOs is determined by corporate directors who decide their compensation package.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 10, 2013 Don't be fooled: 7.7% is likely a short-lived low in the US unemployment rate
We have an economy that had been growing at a not-very-healthy pace through the second half of 2012 -- and which is virtually certain to be slowed by contractionary fiscal policy through the rest of 2013. Unless there is a rapid reversal of policy, the 7.7% unemployment rate is likely to represent a low we may not see again for some time.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 31, 2016 The reign of the robots: economists getting it badly wrong
The story of the rising robots should mean that we are seeing a rapid increase in the amount of output per hour of work. The logic is that the robots are doing work that humans used to do, so we have more output for every hour of human labor. In fact, we are seeing the exact opposite. The rate of productivity growth, which measures output per hour of work, has slowed sharply in recent years.
(4 comments) SHARE Sunday, May 25, 2014 Stress Test: The Indictment of Timothy Geithner
It is striking that Geithner and his friends could be very creative in finding ways to rescue failed banks and financial institutions, but they were largely at a loss when it came to helping underwater homeowners. He tells us that allowing for cram down of mortgage debt in bankruptcy was a political non-starter that couldn't pass Congress. Clearly it did not pass, but we can only wonder how hard the Obama administration tried.
(5 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 13, 2015 Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Cracking Down on Wall Street
Sanders FTT would almost certainly do more to change behavior on Wall Street then everything that Clinton has proposed taken together by a rather large margin. It's sort of like evaluating the New England Patriots' Super Bowl prospects without discussing their quarterback.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 28, 2014 Time to retire fears over aging populations
If the pattern of income growth we have seen over the last three decades continues, with most of the gains going to the richest 1 percent, then most of our children will not fare well. Global warming also poses enormous threats to living standards, as a changing climate will make many areas uninhabitable and possibly lead to severe shortages of food and water in many parts of the world.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 28, 2012 Romney Pledges a Fed That Will Screw Workers
When it comes to issues that will have a large impact on the living standards of ordinary working people, there is not even a debate in this election. We will probably be arguing over the status of the Bush tax cuts for the rich for at least another decade; meanwhile, the elites in both parties will be doing everything they can to ensure that most people have no taxable income.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 25, 2014 The Texas-California Job Growth Derby
The most obvious difference that would hit anyone comparing California and Texas is the enormous difference in housing costs. The fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Santa Clara County, which includes San Jose, is $1,649 a month. It was just $894 in Dallas County in 2010, the most recent year available.
SHARE Sunday, February 28, 2016 The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Team Pfizer
Obama and other proponents of the TPP speak of the stronger and longer patent and copyright rules in the deal as though these are provisions that offer benefits for the country as a whole. The reality is 180 degrees in the opposite direction. These protections offer benefits to the executives of these companies and to their shareholders, but they are likely to mean fewer jobs and lower income for the rest of the country.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 27, 2012 There Is No Santa Claus and Bill Clinton Was Not an Economic Savior
Rubin and his allies control the Democratic Party with their money at the moment. Their financial power will not be easily overcome. However, it is important that people understand that the Rubin-Clinton team is every bit as much about redistributing money from the rest of us to the very rich as the Republicans.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 26, 2020 Quick Note on the Federal Reserve Board
There can be little doubt that Republicans in Congress will do everything they can to sabotage the economy under President Biden. In this context, it is especially important that the Fed has the ability to take the steps necessary to counteract crises that could arise.
SHARE Tuesday, May 27, 2014 Don't buy the "sharing economy" hype: Airbnb and Uber are facilitating rip-offs
We need to ensure that the regulatory structure allows for real innovation, but doesn't make scam-facilitators into billionaires. For example, rooms rented under Airbnb should be subject to the same taxes as hotels and motels pay. Uber drivers and cars should have to meet the same standards and carry the same level of insurance as commercial taxi fleets.
SHARE Tuesday, May 1, 2018 Making Finance Pay
It would be ideal if we could count on government agencies to regulate industry rather than be ripped-off by it, but that is clearly not the way business is done in Donald Trump's America. In this case, we can hope for more efficient public alternatives, which will take away the customers from Mulvaney's campaign contributors.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 24, 2018 Trump Does the Unthinkable: Criticizes the Fed
Folks in the media should get over their hysteria about Trump criticizing the Fed. (Really folks, at this point in the Trump administration, criticizing the Fed is what gets you up in arms?) He does have a partially valid point about rate hikes slowing the economy, but he seems confused about the factors that affect the value of the dollar.
SHARE Tuesday, September 8, 2015 Labor Unions: The Folks Who Gave You the Weekend
In the last several years many state and local governments have raised their minimum wage, even as the Republican Congress has stymied any efforts at the national level. In every case where a higher minimum wage has approved, either by a legislature or through a referendum, the support of the labor movement has been essential.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, April 2, 2018 Why Should the Poor Pay High Drug Prices?
We have seen a lot of hyperventilating in political circles over Donald Trump's recently proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. While these do not seem like well-considered policies, and are likely to do more harm than good even from the narrow standpoint of increasing manufacturing employment, they are not by themselves the horror story being presented.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, September 30, 2013 The Media's broken record on the need to cut Social Security and Medicare
There was actually important news in the CBO projections that went unmentioned in the New York Times and Washington Post. CBO lowered its projections for healthcare cost growth, meaning that Medicare, Medicaid, and other government healthcare programs are now projected to cost less in the decades ahead than had been assumed in prior years.
SHARE Monday, October 19, 2015 George Will, Bernie Sanders, Freedom and Income Inequality
We have to try to create a situation in which a single-parent can provide a comfortable upbringing to their children. This means child care, paid sick days and family leave, and decent wages. But that may require some government interventions of the sort advocated by Bernie Sanders.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, February 27, 2009 Housing Price Decline Accelerates
For the fourth consecutive month, prices declined in all twenty cities in the index. While prices continue to decline rapidly in former bubble markets, there were also sharp drops in some markets that had been less affected by the bubble. For example, prices in Minneapolis fell 4.1 percent in December and have fallen at a 31.5 percent annual rate over the last quarter.
SHARE Friday, December 2, 2016 Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
While Trump and Pence may have saved the jobs of 1,000 workers (apparently 400 jobs are still going to Mexico), it is not clear what the price to the state of Indiana or the US government is. It appears that vice president-elect and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence may have made some concessions, and perhaps Trump made promises as well.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 3, 2014 How Can We Solve Our Unemployment Crisis? Taking More Vacation
The best aspect of the sharing the work route is that state and local governments can take the initiative to improve both the work environment and employment prospects for their workers. They don't have to wait for action from Washington. That's a good thing, since those waiting for Washington to take steps to bring the economy back to full employment are likely to be waiting a long time.
SHARE Saturday, July 10, 2021 Buying Democracy in a Good Way
Democrats can get around a Republican filibuster on voting rights: make it about money. The key problem facing any voting rights measure is that the Republicans are determined to filibuster anything that limits the ability of states to suppress the vote or gerrymander congressional and legislative districts.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 30, 2012 Inequality: The Silly Tales Economists Like To Tell
Most economists are not paid for knowing about the economy. We can look forward to many more people telling us that all the money going to the rich was just the natural workings of the economy. When it comes to all the government rules and regulations that shifted income upward, they just don't know what you're talking about.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 19, 2013 Three card Monte with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
Many economists are running around arguing that we have to cut Social Security, Medicare and other programs that primarily benefit the elderly in order to help our children. This speaks to the incredible corruption of the economics profession. Economists know that the upward redistribution of income is the real threat to future living standards.
SHARE Wednesday, November 30, 2016 The huge costs of Trump energy plans
The story of the North Dakota oil and gas industry captures the absurdity of President-elect Trump's plans to remove environmental restrictions on fossil-fuel production. Apparently, he wants us to believe a boom in production would lead to massive job growth and plunging energy prices and no negative consequences. But the story of an energy boom just around the corner is an illusion.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 22, 2011 Can Harry be a Hero?
There is no doubt that the forces arrayed against Social Security are enormously powerful. The wealthy hate the idea of government money going to anyone but them, and since the vast majority of Social Security benefits are going to low and middle-income families, the program is an outrage to their sensibilities.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 22, 2016 Why Don't We Have Free Trade for Highly Paid Professionals in the US?
We can have free trade in the highly paid professions. The potential benefits for the economy would be enormous. And unlike much of the gains from the current pattern of trade, these benefits would be broadly shared. We just have to overcome the protectionist inclinations of our politicians and trade negotiators.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 1, 2013 Obama's Tax Threshold Concession Bodes Ill For Debt Ceiling Talks
This is a president who has explicitly put cuts to Social Security on the agenda, while keeping taxes on Wall Street speculation off the agenda. And a president who decided to put deficit reduction, rather than job creation, at the center of the national agenda. Given his track record, there is little doubt that Obama can be trusted to make further concessions, possibly involving Social Security and Medicare.
(5 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 1, 2013 Leisure Or Unemployment? It's A Political Question
While most workers in the US do get some paid time off, few get anywhere near as much as their counterparts in other countries. And a substantial number get nothing at all. Twenty-three percent of all workers report getting neither paid vacation nor paid days off on federal holidays.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 17, 2015 President Obama's Forum: High Theater on High Drug Prices
The Obama administration is sponsoring a forum this week on the problem of high drug prices. Publicly funded clinical trials would be the sort of item that would be on the agenda at serious discussion of high drug prices. Unfortunately, innovative alternatives to patent-supported research are not likely to be discussed at the Obama administration's show this week.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 26, 2013 Senate Unanimously Votes Against Cuts to Social Security, Media Don't Notice
The battle over the chained CPI provides a great case study in the state of American democracy. We will get to see whether the rich and powerful are able to attack a program that is vital to the security of almost all working people, even when the vast majority in both parties stand against them.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, December 3, 2018 Sanders-Khanna Bill Would Stop Monopoly Drug Pricing in the US
In the United States, we pay high drug prices because the government gives pharmaceutical companies patent monopolies, where it threatens to arrest anyone that sells a drug in competition with the patent holder. As a result, drugs often sell for prices that are several thousand percent above their free market price.
SHARE Tuesday, October 6, 2015 Why is Donald Trump's tax plan ridiculed but the TPP deal gets a pass?
The Obama administration opted not to include currency values in the deal. The lack of interest in currency rules says pretty much everything we need to know about the TPP. It was a deal done for corporate interests over the heads of the American people. Now we get to see how our representatives in Congress will respond on the final vote, in an election year.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 19, 2011 President Obama's Big Deal: Cuts for Social Security, but No Taxes for Wall Street
President Obama wants a "big deal" on the budget, which will involve cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. The last is especially ironic, since Social Security is financed by its own designated tax. Therefore, it does not contribute to the deficit. If there is no money in the Social Security trust fund, then benefits will not be paid.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 29, 2011 President Obama's job creation mirage
There are reports that President Obama may propose some sort of tax subsidy for job creation. Such a subsidy can be bad or not so bad. One of the proposals, temporarily eliminating the employer side of the payroll tax, is a great plan -- if your intention is to give still more money to business and undermine social security.
(13 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 16, 2015 Lehman Day: Making Fun of the Second Great Depression Crowd
Rather than acknowledge that they made a colossal blunder, it's much better to build up the myth that it's all so complicated. And, if we didn't give Wall Street everything it wanted, we would be subject to the curse of the second Great Depression (SGD).
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, April 27, 2018 Dems' Job Guarantee Isn't Nearly as Easy as It Sounds
None of this means we should reject a job guarantee out of hand. We can start with a lower wage and limit the program to long-term unemployed, or in other ways restrict the size. But we should also look to measures to weaken the economic power of those at the top.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, June 5, 2015 Job Growth Picks Up in May
More people entered the labor market, but this was associated with a small increase in the number of unemployed, causing the unemployment rate to edge up to 5.5 percent. On the positive side, the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) rose to 59.4 percent, its highest level in the recovery.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 16, 2016 Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and the Money
Suppose Bernie Sanders had spent four years in President Obama's cabinet during which time he did everything he could to try to break up the big banks and have corporate criminals put behind bars. Does anyone believe Goldman Sachs would pay him $250,000 to recount his experiences?
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, October 21, 2013 Obamacare: The big job creator?
If 5 percent of older workers can quit their jobs because of Obamacare, that would open up 1.2 million jobs for younger workers. That number may prove to be too high, and it certainly would not happen immediately, but in a slow-growing economy, the decision of more older workers to quit could be an important source of new jobs for younger workers. If so, job creation will be another major benefit of the ACA.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, October 24, 2011 Are Regulations Killing US Jobs?
Right-wing politicians repeatedly blame government regulation for the failure of the economy to generate jobs. Even though there is no truth whatsoever to the claim, right-wing politicians know that the media will treat their nonsense respectfully in news coverage.
SHARE Thursday, July 30, 2015 Export-Import Bank debate reveals the corruption of economics
The whole point of the Ex-Im Bank, of course, is to have the government subsidize selected companies by giving them access to credit at below-market interest rates. This is totally at odds with free trade. It means the government is allocating credit rather than markets.
SHARE Monday, August 25, 2014 Truth Has No Place in the Attack of Inflation Hawks
If the Fed raises interest rates to prevent inflation, it would be slowing the economy and keeping people from getting jobs. Furthermore, slower job growth will weaken the labor market by raising the unemployment rate.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 21, 2012 The Shrill and the Serious
The budget deficit is the current obsession in Washington. You can get big bucks spinning scare stories of huge budget deficits that will bankrupt the government and sink the economy. However, the indisputable reality is that the large budget deficits of recent years are due to the economic downturn following the collapse of the housing bubble.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 10, 2013 Smart People, Stupid People, and Budget Politics
The absurdity of the current method of reporting budget numbers is that everyone knows it is awful. No reporter thinks that most of their readers understand the huge budget numbers that appear in news articles, especially when it is often not even clear the number of years involved.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 23, 2014 Release of Fed Transcripts Shows Fed Scary Ignorant in 2008, WaPo Scary Ignorant in 2014
It's great to be an economist in a top policymaking position in the United States. Unlike dishwashers, cab drivers, and most other workers, you are not held accountable for the quality of your work. We already knew that, since almost none of the people responsible for allowing the housing bubble to grow large enough to collapse the economy have paid any career price.
SHARE Wednesday, May 25, 2016 Getting High On Interest Rates: What's New at the Fed
If the Fed deliberately weakens the labor market at the first hint of wage acceleration, it will be locking in place this redistribution from workers to corporations. This is money going from ordinary workers to those who own large amounts of stock, as well as CEOs and other top executives. People who get hit hardest by high unemployment are those at the bottom of the income ladder.
SHARE Sunday, April 22, 2018 Message to NYT Times: Growth in Our Trading Partners Is Good for the United States
Politicians like to call their deals "free trade" agreements because intellectual-types then think they have to support them. In reality, this pact includes the imposition of a number of regulatory measures that have nothing directly to do with free trade and enhanced patent, copyright, and related protections, which are explicitly protectionist.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 28, 2014 The Ebola Vaccine, Traffic Congestion, and Global Warming
There is a real cost of having determined selfishness as a fundamental political principle. Maybe it's too complicated for a typical politician to understand how supporting mass transit can help even people who don't take mass transit. It may require too much concentration for them to realize that paying to get India or China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions helps people in the United States.
SHARE Tuesday, December 20, 2011 The Cowardly Senator Wyden
In the land of the 1 percent, the way you show your courage is by demonstrating your willingness to beat up on the elderly. That gets you bucket loads of campaign contributions, high praise from the Washington Post in both its news and opinion pages, and could even get you named Person of the Year by Time.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 1, 2012 Britain "does" austerity so the US doesn't have to
The bad news for the British people can be good news for the United States. Thanks to their generous offer to experiment with austerity, people in the United States can now see more clearly than ever that austerity does not work.
(4 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 2, 2016 If Bill Gates Turned to Philanthropy: Publicly Funded Clinical Drug Trials
There are serious questions about the industry's actual research spending. Much money goes to marketing, since the industry has enormous incentive to promote the sale of a drug selling for 300 times the cost of production. So, will any philanthropic types among the wealthy step for a free market and better health care system?
SHARE Friday, April 6, 2018 Disagreeing With Krugman: Is China Stealing Knowledge?
These rules were about forcing developing countries to pay more money to companies like Pfizer and Microsoft for everything from drugs and medical equipment to seeds and software. It shouldn't be surprising that developing countries like China might not like these rules.
SHARE Monday, April 18, 2016 Summing Up the Clinton-Sanders Policy Debate in One Line
the single Medicaid mother as victim is a silly scare story being passed off as serious policy expertise. It isn't, and the fact that serious policy wonks are trying to sell it as such is exposing more about them than Senator Sanders' proposal to move to single-payer.
SHARE Monday, August 31, 2015 China stock panic could pop housing bubbles
China is going through a transition from growth led by investment and exports to growth led by domestic consumption. The stock market run-up helped this transition as people increased their consumption based on bubble-generated wealth. The plunge in prices will hurt this process, but note that stock prices are still almost double their level of last summer.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 20, 2013 Larry Summers as Ineffectual Regulator: Tall Tales From the White House
The opponents of Summers appointment recognize him for who he is, one of the leading architects of the bubble driven growth that has given the country the worst downturn since the Great Depression. In addition to being a leading proponent of financial deregulation in the 1990s, Summers was also an architect of the failed East Asian bailout that led to the over-valued dollar and massive trade deficits of the last 15 years.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 22, 2012 Mortgage and Securitization Fraud: Where Is the Task Force?
Undoubtedly most of the bad debt was due to stupidity, which does not seem to be in short supply on Wall Street despite the high paychecks. The folks running the major banks somehow could not see the largest asset bubble in the history of the world.
SHARE Tuesday, April 24, 2018 The Irresponsibility of Fiscal Responsibility
Economic policy will continue to suffer as long as the loudest voices in the debate have no understanding of how the economy works. Deficits can undoubtedly be harmful. When the economy is reaching its limits, as indicated by a shortage of workers or other inputs and rapidly rising wages and prices, a higher deficit will make this problem worse.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 21, 2016 Is the "Gig Economy" Here to Stay?
The gig economy operates over the Internet and involves workers in a wider range of occupations, some relatively skilled. However, just as some day-labor companies hope to profit by evading regulations and cheating workers, many gig economy companies hope to legally skirt labor laws that apply to other employers.
SHARE Thursday, April 7, 2016 DC Press Corps Spins Itself Silly Over Sanders' Specifics
When asked how he would break up the big banks, Sanders said he would leave that up to the banks. That's exactly the right answer. The government doesn't know the most efficient way to break up JP Morgan; JP Morgan does. If the point is to downsize the banks, the way to do it is to give them a size cap and let them figure out the best way to reconfigure themselves to get under it.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, July 15, 2015 Hard Work With Jeb Bush
Bush is not alone. There are people in both parties who argue that people need to work more. This comes up in a variety of contexts, like reducing the number of workers getting disability benefits or weakening requirements for overtime pay. While Bush's comments may have been poorly chosen for a presidential candidate, they represent a commonly held view in policy debates.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 27, 2013 The London Whale, Cyprus and Washington -- The Hubris of the Wall Street Gang
The regulators lack either the will or competence to rein in the big banks. The big banks are going to get away with everything they want, regardless of the provisions of Dodd-Frank. If the big banks are too big to regulate and, according to Attorney General Holder, too big to prosecute, then the only sensible course is to break them up.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 16, 2019 Medicare for All 64-Year-Olds
A switch-over from the current system to M4A will not be popular in many districts. Many people are satisfied with the insurance they have now and will be reluctant to support what they will view as a big leap into the unknown. Perhaps these people can be convinced over time that a universal Medicare-type system will be at least as good for them, but they are not there now.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 22, 2013 After Budget Deal, Time to Move Forward
Obamacare is about giving people insurance. It is not about death panels or putting a government bureaucrat in their doctor's office. When people, including conservative Republicans and Tea Party supporters, begin signing up for Obamacare or seeing their family members and friends sign up, they will realize the Republicans in Congress had been peddling nonsense all this time.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 20, 2015 Democrats Take on Wall Street With Financial Transactions Tax
The Van Hollen proposal would raise the cost of trading stock and other financial instruments back to where to where it was 15-20 years ago. The United States had a large and dynamic capital market in 1995; it would have a large and dynamic capital market in 2015 if trading costs returned to their levels of 20 years ago.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Social Security: Downturn Does NOT Affect Long-Run Picture
It is not surprising that Social Security's annual financial picture deteriorates in a downturn. This is entirely predictable and in fact desirable. Social Security's tax revenues fall as workers lose their jobs.In short, as a result of the economic collapse there is even more uncertainty than usual around the long-term projections. This is a good reason to put off for the moment any plans to substantially alter the program.
SHARE Tuesday, October 11, 2011 When Being Rich Makes Us Poor, People Should Occupy Wall Street
Somehow creating jobs doesn't rank as high on the priority list in Washington as cutting Social Security and Medicare. In short, we have an economic system that, even when it is working, has been rigged to redistribute income to the rich. And we have a political system that at a time of immense economic distress is more focused on undercutting the means of support for working families than fixing the economy.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 6, 2014 New York Times Turns Paul Krugman Into His Opposite
It was striking to see the NYT opinion page's description of Krugman's column last week that has Krugman referring to a "fiscal crisis." Krugman absolutely does not believe there was a fiscal crisis. Krugman's column discussed the financial crisis and the economic downturn that followed the collapse of the housing bubble. The NYT description was surely a mistake.
SHARE Tuesday, September 27, 2011 Why Don't the Deficit Hawks Want to Tax Wall Street?
The Post ran a news article on the budget last week featuring the views of two people who headed Peter Peterson-funded organizations. These views were complimented by the views of an unnamed Republican staffer and a long-time corporate lobbyist. This was Fair and Balanced reporting at the Post.
SHARE Tuesday, June 17, 2014 Doing for the Poor and Doing to the Poor
The government is actively working to deny low- and moderate-income families jobs and opportunities in a really big way. The people in Washington involved in the decision-making process that leads to this outcome may not think about the impact of these policies in this way, but who cares?
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 3, 2015 Is Hillary Clinton in the Bottom 3 Percent?
Clinton, Bush, and Bowles are among the thousands of prominent and successful individuals who have sat on the boards of major corporations. It's good work if you can get it. The pay is typically several hundred thousand dollars a year in exchange for showing up at six to 10 board meetings.
(6 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 25, 2013 Obamacare: It's Better Than You Think
Tens of millions of people who are uninsured now will likely be insured in the next year or two as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, this is actually the less important aspect of the program. The more important part is that those of us who now have insurance will have real health care insurance for the first time.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Alan Simpson: The Washington Elite's Attack Dog
Sen. Simpson plays the role of trying to divert the public's attention from the 1 percent's assault on the rest of us to generational issues, hence his continual push for cuts to Social Security and Medicare. He has been quite explicit in this effort, on at least one occasion urging his audience to "leave the rich alone."
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, July 9, 2012 The DC Blackouts and Global Warming
Putting it all together, we are easily talking about tens of millions and possibly hundreds of millions of dollars of damage caused by just this one weather event. And that doesn't even count the threat to life and health to the sick and elderly people who had to endure intense heat without air conditioning.
SHARE Friday, August 7, 2015 Explaining Donald Trump's Rise With Economic Misinformation
It is not just non-college grads who have struggled since the turn of the century. Most college grads have seen little or no wage gains since then. The data clearly show that most people have been seeing little or none of the gains from economic growth over the last decade, not just people on the bottom.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, April 29, 2013 Political Corruption And The "Free Trade" Racket
This is yet another case where the government is working for a tiny elite against the interests of the bulk of the population. And it is doing it in a way that would be difficult to caricature: making powerful corporate interests direct negotiating partners, while excluding democratically elected representatives from the process. It is tempting to say that Washington could not get more corrupt, but it probably will.
SHARE Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Money in Hyping the Generational War Story
As long as the wealthy can focus public debate on retirement benefits for ordinary workers, they can keep the focus away from the policies that allow them to get rich at everyone else's expense. And the rich are prepared to spend lots of money to keep the public distracted. We can expect to see many more pieces about Social Security bankrupting our children.
SHARE Tuesday, December 6, 2011 The Stop Online Piracy Act: Class War in Cyberspace
In reality, the higher costs that the SOPA will impose on consumers both directly, and indirectly by raising costs to intermediaries, are money out of their pockets. The SOPA is big government at its worst: an intrusion into the market to help the 1 percent at the expense of everyone else.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, August 21, 2014 Public Pressure Can Influence The Federal Reserve
In assessing the potential impact of public protests on Fed policy it is perhaps worth going back to the 1990s when there were also some public efforts, sponsored by unions and community groups, to influence Fed policy. Public pressure on the Fed can have an impact on its decisions, which otherwise are likely to be far too responsive to bankers' concerns about inflation.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Liberals Working for the Right
It is not difficult to find other examples where conservatives want a big role for the government. Of course conservatives are opposed to big government social programs. That is because their goal is redistributed income upward rather than ensuring a decent standard of living for the whole population.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 13, 2013 Fix the Debt and a Wall Street Sales Tax
We have a group of rich finance types using their wealth to advance their agenda. There's nothing new in this story, that's the way Washington politics has always worked. The question we should then ask is, why do the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and the Sunday morning talk shows take these people seriously?
SHARE Saturday, January 19, 2013 More of the Same at the U.S. Treasury
After leaving the Clinton administration, Lew served a stint as a top executive in Citigroup, leaving just as the financial crisis was peaking in order to enter the Obama administration. He collected several million dollars for his work. Lew is not someone who is likely to be hostile to the Wall Street banks. We can expect that Lew will continue the current obsession with the deficit and ignore the economy's weakness.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 23, 2009 Spreading the Wealth Around to the Insurance Industry and Friends
Since there are trillions of dollars at stake, the effort is understandable. The basic story is simple. The insurance, pharmaceutical and medical supply industries, along with the hospitals and the American Medical Association, have rigged the deck so that they get rich at the public's expense.Their latest compromise is a system of small cooperative insurers that will have no bargaining power. That's a cute joke....
SHARE Tuesday, December 18, 2012 Michigan Republicans Deny Police Officers and Firefighters the Right to Work
The real story is quite simple. We have a group of rich business owners who are willing to lie, cheat and steal to get even richer. The greed of this elite has already had devastating consequences for the economy. But the latest attack on workers' rights in Michigan shows that they have no intention of backing off.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 29, 2020 Is the Distribution of Vaccines the Biggest Trump Screw Up Yet?
Along with massive production of vaccines, they should have been pre-positioned to allow for faster distribution. We should have had major warehouses located around the country so that as soon as the FDA green-lighted a vaccine, it could quickly be delivered to hospitals and clinics in every corner of the country.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, September 16, 2013 Anniversary Present For Wall Street Banks: A Financial Speculation Tax
The reality is that there is no good reason not to tax the Wall Street folks who gave us this crisis. The only reason financial speculation taxes are not front and center on the national agenda is the power of the financial industry. Just as was the case five years ago, they are using this power to get ever richer at the expense of the rest of us.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, July 11, 2011 Manufacturing deficit fear
As survey after survey shows, the vast majority of the public are incredibly ignorant of the most basic facts about the budget and the economy. If we treated their teachers in the media the way the educational reformers treat public school teachers, few economics and budget reporters would have jobs.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, August 6, 2010 Crazy Economists Are Still Defending The Wall Street Bailout As The Recession Gets Worse
It is amazing that angry mobs have not risen up and chased all the economists out of the country. While the greed of the Wall Street gang provided the fuel for the bubble, the economists played an essential role as enablers. The Fed absolutely had all the tools needed to stop this disaster. They just lacked either the competence or the integrity, or both.
SHARE Friday, November 8, 2013 Economy Adds 204,000 Jobs in October, Even as Labor Force Declines by 700,000
Clearly most of the bad news in the household survey is attributable to the shutdown with hundreds of thousands of government employees showing up as unemployed. However even accounting for the shutdown the picture is not bright. Private employment is down from its levels of three months ago and only 1.3 million above year ago levels.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, October 28, 2013 Alan Greenspan owes America an apology
This man has nothing to tell the country about the economy and the media is not doing its job to imply otherwise. If Greenspan doesn't have the decency to keep himself out of public view after all the damage he has done to the country, then the media should do it for him. The only thing he has to say that would be newsworthy is that he's sorry.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 9, 2013 Paul Krugman for Treasury Secretary
The major reason that Krugman is not on anyone's short list is that he has been right about most of the important issues in economic policy over the last decade. The list where Krugman has been right and the Washington insiders have been wrong is a long one. As a result, we should be very, very afraid.
SHARE Tuesday, September 20, 2011 Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme? Is the Washington Post a Criminal Enterprise?
There is no realistic basis for the comparison between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme. The proper response to Governor Perry's charge should have been to ask if he had any understanding about the country's most important social program. He committed a gaffe of monumental proportions. The media should have focused on exposing the governor's ignorance, not trying to imply that in some alternative universe he might be right.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 1, 2016 We Poisoned Kids in Flint to Keep Their Parents From Having Jobs
when we ask why the federal government could not ensure that the people of Flint, Michigan had safe drinking water, or address the enormous infrastructure needs around the country, the answer is that our politicians didn't want more people to have jobs. That's a great reason for poisoning kids.
SHARE Saturday, April 30, 2016 Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Business lobbyists have complained that Obama's new regulations will hurt business, costing jobs and leading to higher prices. In actuality, in each case, Obama is simply implementing common-sense reforms that should have been in place long ago.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, January 10, 2014 Unemployment Falls to 6.7 Percent Due to Workers Leaving the Labor Force
The drop in hours is ominous, although one month's data should also be considered with caution. With an upward revision to last month's data, job growth for the last three months has averaged a respectable 172,000.
Wage growth continues to be weak. The average hourly wage increased at a 1.68 percent annual rate over the last quarter, down very slightly from a 1.77 percent rate over the last year.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 5, 2016 A Trade Deal for the 21st Century: An Alternative to the TPP
The major media outlets are doing their full court press to lay the groundwork for the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In recent weeks the news and opinion pages have been filled with articles and columns on the wonders of trade and why all good people should support trade deals like the TPP.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 5, 2013 Glass-Steagall now: Because the banks own Washington
If foreign governments want to subject themselves and their economies to greater risk as a result of bad financial regulation, that is not an argument for us to do the same. Are we anxious to be the next Iceland or Cyprus? In short, the senators are on the right track pushing for a new Glass-Steagall. The public should hope that the bankers' lobby doesn't derail their efforts.
SHARE Monday, March 21, 2016 NYT Promotes Study by Private Pension Company That Says Not to Trust Public Pensions
Economist Dean Baker shows why this is bunk and scare tactics.
The only thing he got wrong is that even Detroit was not broke either, as I showed in my article "Detroit is Not Broke!" a couple of years ago.
But the main point remains: corporate-bank funded studies are designed to make you distrust government & put your retirement savings in "trusty" big banks instead.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 17, 2009 The Granny Bashers: Different Facts, Same Policy
The lobby includes the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, with an endowment of more than $1 billion from the private equity tycoon himself. It also includes The Washington Post, which liberally sprinkles assertions about the need to cut Social Security and Medicare
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, April 11, 2016 From DC's Deficit Panic to Flint's Poisoned Water
Since the crash in 2008, we have needlessly foregone more than $7 trillion in potential output. Millions of people have been kept out of work, with their children thereby growing up in families that were in or near poverty levels. We also have the stories like the children in Flint exposed to lead, all because Milbank and his friends want to whine about budget deficits.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, July 28, 2011 President Obama Doesn't Understand the Origins of the Deficit
The deficits were very much containable until the collapse of the housing bubble sank the economy. It was the economic collapse that gave us large deficits. Wall Street will suffer more than anyone from a default and will not let it happen. The public should know this, certainly Wall Street does.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 21, 2015 Wolfgang Schauble, the Hero of the Greek Austerity Crisis?
The Greek government had not prepared itself for the process of leaving the euro. Perhaps the world will be surprised and the deal it reached with its creditors will provide a basis for renewed growth. But if not, it may want to get back in touch with Mr. Schauble.
SHARE Wednesday, January 6, 2016 Making America safer for predatory capitalism
In today's economy, getting rich does not necessarily require better serving your customers. A series by the New York Times on arbitration clauses in contracts shows that one of the best ways to make money is to find ways to rip off your customers. The point of these arbitration clauses is to take away the right of consumers to bring class action lawsuits against improper practices.
SHARE Tuesday, September 29, 2020 It's Not Vaccine Nationalism, It's Vaccine Idiocy
Evidence of long-term effects may not show up for years. Ideally, researchers would have enough understanding of a vaccine so that they would largely be able to rule out problems showing up years down the road, but we know they do sometimes overlook risks. In any case, the possibility of longer-term problems would still be there with a longer initial testing period.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, November 30, 2015 Economic Weakness No Excuse for Inaction on Global Warming
If governments commit themselves to rapidly transitioning to clean energy sources for electricity, to retrofitting homes and businesses to reduce energy use, and to promote mass transit and/or electric cars, they can collectively generate trillions of dollars of additional demand and employ millions of workers who would otherwise be unemployed.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 5, 2009 What It's Going to Take to Stave Off Another Great Depression
The pundits' concern should have caused people to throw their television sets, radios and newspapers out the window. Let's suppose that the pundits are correct and the economy sinks farther and later grows more slowly than the Obama administration assumed in planning its budget. Would the pundits have Obama therefore cut more spending & raise more taxes? If the unemployment rate is 12% when Obama's first term ends!!!
SHARE Friday, March 18, 2016 How to Fight Poverty Through Full Employment
Although full employment is not the complete solution to poverty, reaching it would go a long way. It should also be an area of bipartisan agreement. After all, conservatives are supposed to like the idea of people working hard to lift themselves up. But they can only work hard if jobs are available, and they can only lift themselves up if their wages are just.
(4 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Can Health Insurers Whine Louder Than Bankers?
Wall Street bankers have impressed the world with their ability to take or borrow trillions of taxpayer dollars and then complain about excessive government intervention into their business. This display of audacity is extraordinary even by the standards of US politics. However, the health insurance industry is gearing to give the bankers a serious contest for top spot as the biggest whiners on the national stage
(8 comments) SHARE Monday, December 21, 2015 The Fed's premature rate hike
The prospect of higher interest rates in the United States and economic weakness elsewhere has caused the dollar to rise against most other currencies. This makes our goods and services less competitive in the world economy. The Fed should be much more concerned about the economy's continuing weakness than the prospect its strength will lead to spiraling inflation.
SHARE Tuesday, November 8, 2011 Greece, Home of Democracy, Deprived Of a Vote
It is true that the Greek government had lied about its budget situation. But the word among finance types is that everyone knew they were lying and went along with the joke. Goldman Sachs even designed a nifty swap that allowed it to profit from the lies.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 21, 2010 Saving Social Security: Stopping Obama's Next Bad Deal
In order to avoid this train wreck, supporters of Social Security and Medicare have to restructure the options. They have to push President Obama to announce in advance that he will never sign a debt ceiling bill that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, the country's two most important social programs.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 10, 2011 The Economic Illiterates Step Up the Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Rather than being a left-right split, this is a top-bottom split. The guiding philosophy of this drive is that public money that goes to programs for middle income and poor people is money that could be in the pockets of the wealthy. For this reason, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are an offense to their sensibilities.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, July 31, 2014 Did Yellen slay the "tech bubble" dragon?
The financial crisis and Great Recession have convinced most economists, including those in top positions at the Fed, that asset bubbles must be taken seriously. This still leaves the question of how best to rein in bubbles. Providing information to financial markets is the lowest cost path imaginable to bubble containment. We should all hope that it works.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 30, 2011 Do Liberals Have to Be Losers?
There is nothing efficient about the policies that conservatives have used to restructure the economy over the last three decades. Progressives can design policies that are every bit as efficient, if not more so, that lead to greater equality in the distribution of before tax income. This is where the money is and this should be the focus of our political efforts.
(5 comments) SHARE Monday, April 15, 2013 Will Social Security be unchained?
Those approaching retirement are likely to be even more dependent on Social Security than current retirees. If we want to ensure that people who have spent their lives working can enjoy something resembling a decent retirement, we will need to be expanding, not cutting benefits.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, May 13, 2013 Destroying The Lair Of The Budget Balancing Cretins
If the value of the dollar were lower we would export more and import less, bringing our trade closer to balance. If the deficit hawks were really concerned about our children's future, they would be focusing on the over-valued dollar, not yelling about budget deficits.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 5, 2009 Outsourcing the Bosses: The Lesson of Fiat-Chrysler
If we compare wages for assembly-line workers in Europe and the United States, there would not be much difference between the pay of UAW members and their counterparts in Europe. However, there would be a very large difference between the multi-million dollar pay packages of the top executives at the US companies and their European counterparts. The pay gaps persist among the more highly paid engineers and management personnel
SHARE Friday, December 6, 2013 November Job Growth Pushes Unemployment Rate Down to 7.0 Percent
In addition to the growth in jobs, there was an also an uptick of 0.1 hours in the length of the average workweek. This could suggest more employment growth in future months. The index of total hours worked increased by 0.5 points, tying the previous record for the upturn. There is zero evidence of accelerating wage growth in this report.
SHARE Tuesday, March 5, 2013 The Kids Will Be Rich, Unless Peter Peterson's Kids Take Their Money
Most workers have seen little benefit from growth because the gains have gone to those at the top. This is why the yapping about the burden of Social Security and Medicare is so pernicious. If workers share in the gains of economic growth then there is no way that the cost of these programs will impose a serious burden on their living standards.
SHARE Thursday, May 14, 2009 Why We Can't Wait To Move On Bank Reform
If we didn't live in the world we actually live in, putting Wall Street reform on hold until we fix the immediate problems with the banks might make sense. But in the world we do live in, it is precisely because the banks have an immediate problem that there is some hope of reining them in. Here's why putting that off would lead to failure.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 19, 2016 Wall Street Rocks!
As economic theory tells us, the remedy for weak demand is more demand. The quickest way to get more demand is to have the government spend money on things like infrastructure, clean energy, education, health care and all sorts of other goodies. That would create jobs today and make the economy stronger in the future.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, September 8, 2011 Getting Those Republican Attacks Right
Tens of millions of people are suffering from this downturn. It's not fun and games. Reporters have a job here. The reporters that just copy down outlandish claims by politicians without making any effort to verify them should switch places with one of the unemployed who would like to work for a living.
SHARE Tuesday, September 9, 2014 The Inflation Fighters Want to Increase the Debt Burden on Our Children
people should know that if they want to see lower deficits they should be trying to keep the Fed from raising interest rates. The prospect of higher unemployment and lower wages are the real reasons for opposing Fed rate hikes. But hey, if people really care about budget deficits, then they should join the anti-rate hike coalition.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, August 20, 2010 When Wall Street Rules, We Get Wall Street Rules
The middle class is getting whacked by the Great Recession. Fifteen million people are out of work, another 9 million workers can only find part-time jobs, and millions more have given up looking for work altogether. Those lucky enough to be employed are unlikely to see any substantial wage gains for years to come.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, July 5, 2013 Upbeat June jobs report still leaves US economy in a deep hole
The June jobs data falls into the "it could have been worse" category -- which is fast becoming the official slogan of the recovery. We are seeing an economy that is likely to be well below its potential level of output for more than a decade. This means that tens of millions of people will needlessly be unemployed or underemployed.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 11, 2012 The Budget Thugs: What Do They Know About the Economy?
When we get a whole bunch of seemingly important and knowledgeable people telling us that we must cut Social Security and Medicare because the markets demand it, we have to remember that these are people who just recently were shown to be completely out to lunch in their economic judgment.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 29, 2016 Think Trump's 45 Percent Tariffs Are Bad? Try Obama's 10,000 Percent Tariffs
The Obama administration is pushing for stronger and longer patent and related protections in the TPP and other trade deals. Unfortunately most media outlets are perfectly happy with protectionism when the main beneficiaries are drug companies. It is only when someone proposes protectionist measures with the idea that they could help ordinary workers that they get upset.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, July 16, 2015 Five years later, Dodd-Frank naysayers are still wrong
The bottom line is that the lack of liquidity on major markets can be a serious concern, but we just have no reason to believe that it is one now or likely to be as a result of Dodd-Frank or other financial reforms. One peculiar day in October doesn't change that reality.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, April 29, 2019 What We Have Learned From the Trump Tax Cut
A tax cut targeted to the rich and corporations was a terrible way to boost demand. We should have done it by investing in infrastructure, education, child care and other productive uses. If we were going to do tax cuts, they should be targeted to the low- and moderate-income people who need it most.
SHARE Monday, April 16, 2012 The War on Public Sector Workers
Welcome to the latest episode in the long-running battle to redistribute ever more income to the rich. Having already achieved great success in depressing the pay of workers throughout the private sector, the call is to cut the pay and benefits of workers in the public sector. Won't you join the cause?
(4 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 10, 2009 Competing Views of Government: Universal Medicare or Government-Protected Insurance Companies
These competing views of government are coming to a head in the debate over national health care reform. Those who think that the role of government is to serve the public good are likely to favor some form of universal Medicare. Such a system would almost certainly save a huge amount in administrative costs at the level of insurers, providers and government oversight.
SHARE Tuesday, May 15, 2012 Deficit Reduction: The Great Distraction
This is the week of the third annual Deficit Fest, where many of the people most responsible for the current downturn come together to tell us why we should be worried about the deficit at a time when 25 million people are unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work altogether and millions face the prospect of losing their homes.
SHARE Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Obama's Misguided Agenda: Doing the Business of DC's Elites
Rather than deal with the reality -- that we need deficits to sustain demand in a context where the private sector will not do it -- the politicians in Washington have gotten hysterical. This is like complaining about our use of water when the school is on fire with the kids still inside.
SHARE Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Seance on Wall Street
Interest rates appear to be directly contradicting the seers' assertions about financial markets. The interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds is currently near 3.5%. The interest rate is not determined by people rattling off their visions about future debt defaults. It is determined by investors putting their money on the line.
SHARE Tuesday, July 24, 2012 Raising the Minimum Wage Is Cheap and Easy
The wealthy have used their power to rig the deck so that most of the benefits of growth have gone those at the top. They have used their control of trade policy, the Federal Reserve Board, and more recently the Wall Street bailout, to ensure that those at the top have gained at the expense of everyone else.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 30, 2010 Senator Simpson's Quick Budget Quiz
President Obama is apparently content to have an abrasive and abusive senator's son sit as co-chairman of his deficit commission. We can assume that these traits were a direct result of Sen. Alan Simpson's privileged upbringing and he is not going to change now that he is in his late 70s.
SHARE Thursday, June 9, 2011 To Republicans: Political Advice on Medicare
It doesn't look like the Republicans will either be able to keep their opponents from talking about their vote to end Medicare or to convince the public that they didn't really vote to end Medicare. However the Republicans do still have a third option: admit that the vote was a mistake and reverse it.
SHARE Tuesday, December 4, 2012 The Serious People Are on the War Path
It is not only federal employees who Corker and the other deficit hawks want to whack. They also want to cut Social Security benefits, raise the age of eligibility for Medicare to 67 and to cut Medicaid, which covers the cost of most nursing home care for the nation's elderly.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 30, 2013 Cruel Arithmetic and President Obama's Big Speech
Obama knows economics and basic arithmetic. He is a second-term president. If he is not in a position to tell the truth -- that we need larger deficits to boost the economy -- then no one is. It is long past the time where he should have been using the platform of the presidency to explain basic economics to the American people. The cost of not doing so has already been enormous. It will grow even larger the longer he waits.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, May 10, 2009 Rate of Job Loss Slows Moderately, Unemployment Rate Rises to 8.9 %
Previously reported job loss has been revised upward by an average of 86,200 in the last five months. There appears to be some decline in the rate of private sector job loss, but this will largely disappear if the revisions follow the same pattern as in prior months. Furthermore, the slowdown in wage growth (almost zero in April) suggests that workers' purchasing power will be falling in the months ahead.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, April 8, 2019 The "Independent" Fed Isn't Quite What It Is Cracked Up to Be
On the issue of the dollar rising in the wake of the financial collapse in 2008, this was actually bad news for the U.S. economy. After the plunge in demand from residential construction and consumption following the collapse of the housing bubble, net exports was one of the few sources of demand that could potentially boost the U.S. economy. The rise in the dollar severely limited growth in this component.
SHARE Tuesday, January 3, 2012 Keystone Jobs Versus Competitive Dollar Jobs
If we want to create jobs and have put the stimulus genie off the table for superstitious reasons, a more competitive dollar provides an excellent alternative to the Keystone Pipeline. It can create many more jobs and it won't threaten the environment.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, May 17, 2010 Family Friendly Cuts to Social Security: The Myth of Affluence Testing
Social Security enjoys enormous bipartisan support because all workers pay into it and expect to benefit from it in retirement. Taking away the benefits that better-off workers earned would undoubtedly undermine their support for the program. This could set up a situation in which the program could be more easily attacked in the future.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 8, 2009 A Trillion Dollars for the Banks: How About a Second Opinion?
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants to have the government lend up to a trillion dollars to hedge funds, private equity, funds and the banks themselves to clear their books of toxic assets. The plan implies a substantial subsidy to the banks. It is likely to result in the disposal of these assets at far above market value, with the government picking up the losses.
SHARE Tuesday, September 13, 2011 Does President Obama Want to Impose a Crushing Burden on Our Children?
We have two choices. We can fix our health care system and get payments to providers down to reasonable levels, as every other country in the world has done. Or, we can protect the insurers, the pharmaceutical companies, the hospitals, and the highly paid medical specialists, and tell people that they will have to do without care.
SHARE Tuesday, December 8, 2015 Republicans attempt to weaken consumer financial protections
If the Republicans want to have a public debate on allowing the financial industry to pursue deceptive practices, they can do that with freestanding bills. When Obama vetoes the bills, they will have the ammunition they need to make this issue play a central role in the 2016 elections. Then the public will get to decide.
SHARE Wednesday, November 28, 2012 Fighting back against the eurozone tyrants
The right has been using the levers of the market to redistribute income upward for the last 30 years. If progressives are too lazy to think of ways to rig the market to produce more equal distributions, then they will be losing for the next three decades as well.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 7, 2016 Weak Job Numbers Will Delay Fed Rate Hikes
The economy and the labor market is still very far from normal, as the May jobs report reminded us. It doesn't make sense to have an interest rate policy that is consistent with a normal economy at a time when the economy is still badly in need of stimulus and remains far below its potential level of output.
SHARE Tuesday, November 15, 2011 The Myth of the Wealthy Elderly
As retirees age, rising Medicare premiums will be reducing the buying power of their Social Security check each year. And this is the median; half of all seniors will have less income than this to support themselves.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 21, 2012 "Courage" in Washington Doesn't Have the Same Meaning
Biden lives in a city where calling for cuts to Social Security is the way to demonstrate your manhood. The bigger the cuts and the more frequent the calls, the higher your status. And, there are plenty of rewards for those politicians who go down fighting for Social Security cuts. Just check out the salaries for the lobbying jobs of the Blue Dog Democrats who have left office in recent years.
SHARE Tuesday, April 22, 2014 Time To Rein In Grossly Overpaid CEOs
In order for CEO pay to be brought down to earth, it will be necessary to change the behavior of the directors who decide their pay. In most cases, sitting on a corporate board means attending four to eight meetings a year and walking away with an annual paycheck of several hundred thousand dollars.
SHARE Tuesday, October 13, 2015 Getting the Export-Import Bank to Pay Dividends
If we have to give handouts to big corporations it seems reasonable to put some conditions on the cash. After all, we put all sorts of conditions on TANF benefits of $500 a month, it seems reasonable to ask something of the companies that get tens of millions of loan subsidies through the Ex-Im Bank. This should be a great opportunity to see where people really stand.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 26, 2009 Blue Cross Millionaires Are Scared to Compete With a Public Plan
Given the high salaries that Blue Cross of North Carolina pays its top executives and the other administrative expenses that it bears as a result of being a private sector plan with high overhead, it is not surprising that it would be afraid of a public plan. A public plan would likely charge much lower prices, thereby pulling away a large share of Blue Cross of North Carolina's business.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, April 23, 2009 Goldman Sachs Shook Tens of Billions Out of Tax-Payers
The Wall Street crew has relied on its political power to rig the rules to make them incredibly wealthy. They are relying on this political power to ensure that the rules remained rigged, even though their crooked deck wrecked the economy, costing tens of millions of people their jobs, their homes and their life savings. So far, it looks like the Wall Street boys are winning.
SHARE Wednesday, January 25, 2012 The Surefire Way to End Online Piracy: End Copyright
The real lesson from the SOPA debacle is that we need to develop alternatives to copyright to support creative work. The institution of copyright dates back to the late middle ages. It may have served a useful function back then, but we will need something better for the Internet Age.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, June 29, 2009 Why Won't the Democrats Back a GAO Audit? Waterboard the Fed
Congress has lent more than $700 billion to bankers at below market interest rates through the TARP. This was to keep the banks from going belly up. At the same time, the Fed has lent more than $2 trillion to banks and non-financial institutions to maintain liquidity.While more than 130 Republican members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, just over 30 Democrats are co-sponsors.
SHARE Thursday, July 2, 2009 Pecora Commission II: Super-Sleuths or Keystone Cops?
Not only did the committee confuse the public...it also undermined efforts to bring the Iran-Contra criminals to justice. Going against the wishes of Lawrence Walsh, the special prosecutor appointed to deal with the case, the committee gave most of the key figures immunity for their public testimony.
This time, the basic story of the current crisis is very simple. We had an $8 trillion housing bubble as prices hugely diverged
SHARE Tuesday, November 5, 2013 The Weak Economy and Deficit Reduction: Deniers and Terrorists
The grand bargainers are prepared to allow for some additional stimulus, leading to growth and jobs now, but only in exchange for reducing the benefits that provide security for the country's workers in their old age. They are effectively insisting that they will keep millions of innocent people out of work or under-employed until they get a commitment to cut Social Security and Medicare payments.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, January 21, 2013 More of the Same at Treasury
While there was considerable sentiment for breaking up the large banks in the wake of the financial crisis, the big banks are now larger than ever as a result of several major mergers in the middle of the crisis. The Obama Administration kept Congress on a short leash when it was producing a financial reform bill. As a result, the system is little changed.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 7, 2013 Has NPR Joined Peter Peterson's Crusade Against Social Security and Medicare?
The Fix the Debt crew and their allies repeatedly talk about cutting benefits going to affluent elderly. This is basically a joke because there are very few elderly that would fit conventional definitions of "affluent." In order to save substantial amounts of money on Medicare and Social Security it would be necessary to cut benefits for people with incomes in the range of $50k-$60k, levels that are very much middle class.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 29, 2009 The Obama Administration and the Bankers: 100 Days of Solicitude
The Obama administration has yet to get serious about setting the long-term economy on a sound footing by bringing the value of the dollar down to a competitive level.
In the area of financial policy the Obama administration gets poor marks for its first 100 days. Instead of a letter grade, we'll just say: "needs improvement."
SHARE Thursday, July 10, 2014 Three paths to full employment
The disaster that hit our economy when the housing bubble collapsed in 2007 and 2008 was entirely predictable and preventable. Tens of millions of people have seen their lives uprooted by this preventable tragedy. There is no excuse not to do everything we can to bring this needless suffering to an end.
SHARE Wednesday, May 13, 2009 The Bankrupt Debate Over Bankrupting Our Children
Suppose that the federal government decided to give every newborn baby $200,000. That might seem like an extremely generous gift. [B]y the peculiar accounting of those who claim to be watchdogs for future generations, this policy would be bankrupting our kids. If that is hard to understand then you haven't been reading The Washington Post or listening to the Blue Dog Democrats or following the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, April 6, 2019 Deflation Is Not Preventing Consumers from Buying Items in Japan
Japan borrows long-term at a negative nominal interest rate, meaning that investors pay the Japanese government to borrow money from them. The story of Japan's economy being in desperate straits is entirely a media invention, it is not based in reality.
SHARE Tuesday, October 8, 2013 Republicans Are Shutting Down the Government Because They Want to Stop Obamacare
Perhaps President Obama and the other grand bargainers who think these sorts of cuts to seniors make sense have some theory under which budget cuts in a downturn boosts private sector demand, but most of us have to live in the real world, not the dreams of budget cutters. Whacking seniors with a cut to their Social Security and higher medical expenses makes this situation worse.
SHARE Tuesday, January 22, 2013 Four More Years Of "It Could Have Been Worse"
With President Obama beginning his second term, it is a good time to take stock of where the economy stands. In spite of having dropped 2.2 percentage points from its peak, at 7.8 percent the unemployment rate is still as high as the peak in the 1990-1991 recession and more than a full percentage point above the peak of the 2001 recession. We are down almost 4 million jobs from the pre-recession peak in 2007.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 14, 2009 If the Bank Bailout Fails, Will Anyone Get the Boot?
This is a rude question to many people, which is why it is so important that it be asked. The Obama administration is moving forward with a massive bailout program to rid the banks of their bad assets. The plan could involve as much as $1 trillion of the taxpayers' money.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 3, 2009 GM Bailout Makes Most of Bad Situation
Somehow, this gift to Goldman aroused nowhere near as much anger as the bailout of General Motors. This is especially ironic, since the proximate cause of the crisis at GM and Chrysler is the crisis brought on by the irresponsible behavior of the Wall Street banks.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Big Bank Immunity: When Do We Crack Down on Wall Street?
If it turns out that we give them a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to criminal activity then we are giving these banks an incentive to engage in criminal activity. When the attorney general tells us that the laws cannot be fully enforced against the big banks he is saying that we are giving them incentive to break the law in the pursuit of profit.
SHARE Tuesday, June 26, 2012 The Regulation Monster
The fact that Republican claims of massive regulatory burdens are so out of line with reality should be a cause of ridicule. The media should be pressing them to produce some evidence to back up what they are saying. After all, the public has a right to know whether the people running for or holding office are completely out touch with reality.
SHARE Tuesday, July 26, 2011 Cutting Social Security by Stealth
In the push to cut benefits, many have claimed that "all economists agree" that we should switch to the social security adjustment to the CCPI and thereby lower benefits. While the claim is not true, it is also worth pointing out that "all economists" have a very bad track record.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 1, 2009 Pay for Play? Tax Credits for Paid Time Off
Congress has underestimated the severity of this downturn all along, passing a stimulus package in 2008 that everyone now concedes was inadequate. This will soon be the case with the more recent package. When Congress again realizes its mistake, there may be interest in a paid time off tax credit as the quickest and best way to get the economy back to full employment.
SHARE Tuesday, May 7, 2013 Debt Derangement
it is not concerns about China that prevent us from cracking down on Chinese practices that are harmful to the U.S. economy. Rather it is the power of the U.S. interests that benefit from an under-valued yuan that prevents us from cracking down. Wal-Mart does not want to see all the goods it imports from China rise in price by 20 percent. The enemy in this picture is here, not in China.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 25, 2013 The Ben Bernanke Premature Taper Blues
The Fed may not always be able to boost the economy as much as it would like, but there is little doubt that it can slow growth and job creation by raising interest rates. If the Fed believes the unemployment rate cannot safely fall below a 5.5-6.0 percent range without generating inflation then it can ensure that unemployment will never fall enough to test this hypothesis.
SHARE Wednesday, April 13, 2016 Will ObamaCare End "Job Lock"?
The Center for Economic and Policy Research analyzed the rise in part-time employment in the first year after the ACA took effect and found that the increase was largest among young parents. This suggests that many parents are choosing to spend more time with their kids now that they have the option to buy healthcare insurance on the exchanges.
SHARE Wednesday, July 24, 2013 Buy American: A counter to anti-deficit bias
It would be nice to think that we won't be in a situation again where we need another large stimulus package, but does anyone really believe this? If we want these trade deals to be a boost rather than an impediment to growth, they will have to leave some room for home country preferences for government expenditures.
SHARE Tuesday, February 21, 2012 Greece and those wild and crazy guys at the European Central Bank
The peripheral countries have to regain competitiveness by having their prices fall relative to prices in the core countries. If these countries still had their own currencies, this could be accomplished quickly through a devaluation of the currencies of the peripheral countries.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 16, 2009 NPR, the IMF, and the Global Savings Glut
(This article was written before the vote and posted after. An alert seemed to say the IMF gets its money.) The Obama administration is having a tough time getting its request for $108 billion for the IMF through Congress. Bank bailouts are rapidly losing popularity. And bailouts of foreign banks are probably even less popular than bailouts of U.S. banks. But, NPR is rushing to the rescue.
SHARE Tuesday, January 31, 2012 A Competitive Dollar: The Missing Link in President Obama's Manufacturing Agenda
President Obama failed to commit himself to restoring the competitiveness of dollar as part of his agenda for bringing back manufacturing jobs. The value of the dollar really has to be front and central in any effort to restore U.S. competitiveness since it is by far the most important factor determining the relative cost of U.S. goods compared with goods produced elsewhere.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 24, 2013 Deficits Are Bad and the Sun Goes Around the Earth
Imagine that a substantial group of the most prominent astronomers insisted that the sun goes around the earth, as anyone can plainly see. There would likely be huge numbers of people who refused to accept that the earth goes around the sun. This is the state of modern economics.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, June 1, 2009 To Get a Systemic Risk Regulator Fire Bernanke
The Fed has often stepped outside the narrowly defined realm of monetary policy when it perceived larger risks to the economy. Two obvious examples are its efforts to stem the stock market crash in 1987 and its intervention in the unraveling of the Long-Term Capital hedge fund in 1998. In both cases the Fed acted because it argued that there would be much greater damage to the economy if it just let the market run its course.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 10, 2009 Progressives & Thinking out of the Box
The economic crisis brought on by the collapse of the housing bubble offers progressives unprecedented opportunities. But we have to be prepared to actually think big, and not just think about big programs.
There is a long list of ways in which the rules set by the government determine economic outcomes.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 3, 2009 The Santelli Screed Hits Wrong Target on Mortgage Bailout
Santelli's screed is part of a continuing effort to blame the poor and minority communities for the economic meltdown. Furthermore, with house prices dropping at more than a 20 percent annual rate, the Cubs have a better chance of winning the World Series than these folks have of accumulating any equity in their home.
SHARE Monday, July 13, 2009 The Washington Post (a.k.a. Fox on 15th Street) Wants 15 Million People to Be Unemployed
In short, given its near perfect track record of being 180 degrees wrong on the economy, the Post's opposition to more stimulus makes a compelling case for its merits. But, let's look at the argument. Remember back in January of 2008 when the Post told readers that: "There is not yet any proof of a recession, .... Nor is there any consensus that a recession, if one comes, will be severe."
SHARE Wednesday, February 11, 2009 With No Clear Strategy, the New Bank-Rescue Plan Offers Only More Uncertainty
The basic point is extremely simple. We have a large number of bankrupt banks. We have a public interest in keeping the banks functioning, but we have zero public interest in giving taxpayer dollars to bank shareholders or to the executives that wrecked the banks they ran.
Chalk it up to business as usual.
SHARE Monday, August 28, 2006 Conservatives Love Government
President Bush and other conservatives like government every bit as much as any big-spending liberal. The difference is on what the conservatives want the government to do. Liberals and progressives think that government should be acting to ensure the population a decent standard of living and provide it with essential services like health care and education.
Conservatives want the government to redistribute income upward.