Is There Anything That Can Be Done?

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ECONOMY AUGUST 22, 2011

Is There Anything That Can Be Done?

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of America’s current economic crisis is its persistence. The problems that began in 2007 with the collapse of the sub-prime housing market—a market that few in the world had previously heard of—are still burdening us today. And it’s not yet clear whether our national economic stagnation, high-levels of unemployment, and rising political polarization are going to dissipate anytime soon.

Considering the extraordinary nature of our economic situation, we’ve decided to go in search of extraordinary economic solutions. Over the course of this week, TNR will feature a number of prominent economists and otherwise eminent thinkers offering novel ideas for pulling our economy back from the brink.

None of these ideas are guaranteed to work, and some of them can’t realistically be implemented given Washington’s political dysfunction. But at a time of rising fatalism, as Americans are hungering for glimmers of optimism, all of them should serve as much-needed food-for-thought.

Peter Diamond on why we should fix Social Security first.

Felix Salmon on why more workers would help create more jobs.

Jim Manzi on why we should be thinking small. 

Jonathan Cohn in response to Peter Diamond.

Richard Posner on why we're in a depression, not a recession.

Stephen Rose on why a slow economic recovery isn't so bad.

Jared Bernstein on Obama's many options to right the economy.

Ruy Teixeira on how to exploit America's contradictory relationship to Keynes.

Robert Shapiro on how Obama is completely mishandling the economy.

Dean Baker on how Standard and Poor's downgrade didn't cause a stock market crash.

Robert Shiller on how we can do stimulus without adding debt.

Mark Thoma on why we should be helping households, not banks.

Return here throughout the week for contributions by Jagdish Bhagwati, Mark Thoma, and others.

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posted in: economy, washington, felix salmon, jim manzi, jonathan cohn, peter diamond

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