There’s a growing consensus that the U.S. needs to export more, and import less. The basic argument here is that huge recent imbalances between the consumption-mad U.S. on the one side and exporting China, Japan, Germany, and the Persian Gulf on the other can’t go on and that we need to “rebalance” the global economy. And it sounds good, especially when Larry Summers says it. The only problem is, it’s not clear to whom we would do all this new exporting.
Alright, here we go on the climate front. After nearly a year of secretive discussions, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) will release global warming legislation Wednesday intended as a “starting point” for Senate negotiations that they hope will lead to an eventual conference with the House. That’s good. Congress needs to get back to work on climate.
President Obama gave a good speech yesterday in Troy, N.Y.
President Obama spoke today at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y.
So it looks like the housing sector will soon start contributing--a little, in some places--to the economic recovery after contributing mightily to national breakdown. According to the Census Bureau, privately owned housing starts in August rose 1.5 percent above July levels to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 589,000, which represents the fastest building pace since last November.
Some of us here at The Avenue are always poking our heads into each other’s offices and referencing great “metro” songs, ranging from the obligatory anti-sprawl anthem “My City Was Gone” by the Pretenders to PJ Harvey’s romantic “You Said Something” to Art Brut’s witty defense of public transportation in “The Passenger.” Always choice, despite their vintage, are songs by Talking Heads. David Byrne, the band’s lead songwriter, embraced space and geography in many songs with scales ranging from neighborhood, to municipal, to metropolitan, to the super-regional and national.
With speeches by White House economic advisor Larry Summers on Friday and President Obama today on Wall Street, the Obama administration is moving from triage as the chief aim of economic policy to recovery. Which is good: The job picture remains dismal, and many economists now assume any recovery will feature weak hiring and strong productivity growth as it did from 2001 to 2003. No wonder a lot of people are asking: From where will the next round of high-quality growth come? Which brings me to my answer: The next round of high-wage growth will come from metropolitan areas.
Wish you were here! Today, I'm in sunny Las Vegas to help roll out an interesting new Brookings initiative and realizing I'm residing at ground zero of America's current economic quandary. No large U.S. Metro has suffered greater house price declines in the last year. No large metro has a higher concentration of foreclosures. Gross metropolitan product has declined by 3 percent since its 2007 peak.
There was a lot of standard defense of Team Obama stimulus policy in Vice President Biden’s speech on the recovery act here at Brookings today.
With the President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package (aka, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or ARRA) six months old now, it's fair to ask like everybody else is: How’s it working? One way to decide is to simply count the jobs created and jobs preserved. And on that front the commentariat has been quick to pronounce.