What’s Eating David Axelrod?
September 27, 2010
Among the many distinctions David Axelrod has achieved in his career, there is one that requires special elaboration: He is, it turns out, one of the few customers to have ever run a tab at Manny’s, the Chicago cafeteria and deli. This is not because the odd knish ($4.25) or side of potato chips ($0.75) threatened to leave him cash-poor. It is, rather, because Axelrod has long styled himself someone who accumulates wisdom at places regular people frequent, not the lacquered haunts of downtown Washington. What the Oval Room is to Beltway consultant-dom, Manny’s is to Axelrod.
What You Need to Know About Austan Goolsbee (and Then Some...)
September 10, 2010
[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] One of the least suspenseful decisions in Washington became official today when President Obama named Austan Goolsbee to be the chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers. Goolsbee, who’s on leave from the University of Chicago, is a longtime Obama adviser currently serving as a member of the three-person Council.
Confusion Reigns at TNR on the Stimulus … For Good Reason
August 19, 2010
This month, various contributors to TNR have argued about economic stimulus: It works, it doesn’t work, or we don’t know if it works or not. On August 17, Josef Joffe asserted (with caveats) on Entanglements that we know stimulus doesn’t work because (1) economic trendlines in the United States have not improved dramatically since it was instituted here, and (2) those countries that have spent a lot on stimulus don’t seem to be doing as well as some countries that have not.
Eyes on the Prize
June 07, 2010
WASHINGTON--The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has created a double bind for the Obama administration. How it deals with a challenge even more complicated than it looks will determine the kind of summer the president has and the kind of election the Democrats will face this fall. The obvious problem is how the administration can get ahead of a disaster that promises to be a running story for much of the year.
Obama's Learning Freeze
January 26, 2010
I defer to Noam on the administration’s motives for announcing this spending freeze and on the real impact of the freeze on spending. But I want to say two things about it. First, if it was done to appease bond traders (where have we have heard that before?), it is ridiculous. Interest rates aren’t exactly soaring these days. It is not 1993.
Good News on Unemployment, With One Ominous Sign
December 04, 2009
So it's hard not to like today's unemployment report: the economy only lost 11,000 jobs in November, a number so small the Labor Department considers the employment level "essentially unchanged" from October. That's after shedding an average of 135,000 jobs in each of the previous three months. And even that 135,000 figure looks better than it used to. The September and October payroll reports, which had prompted a lot of hand-wringing in Washington, were revised downward from -219,000 to -139,000 and -190,000 to -111,000, respectively.
Unending Stimulus, or Temporary Stimulus Followed by Restraint?
November 03, 2009
While Congress slogs through the final months of the health reform debate, the American people remain focused on the economy. With good reason: We’re in a very deep hole, and it’s not clear how we’re going to get out. As Christina Romer, chair of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, pointed out in her recent testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, “The shocks that hit the U.S. economy last fall were, by almost any measure, larger than those that precipitated the Great Depression.” And despite unprecedented government action, the labor market has reflected these shocks.
Is it curtains for the strong public option? Over the past week, the White House has taken a lot of heat for not going to bat for it, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has reportedly just decided that the Senate bill will include a watered-down proposal that would allow states to opt out of a national public plan.
October 22, 2009
Christina Romer on the declining impact of the stimulus. Chart of the Day: State-level ideology splits. Andrew Leonard: Big banks won't be broken up. Why Incentive pay doesn't work at high levels. TED Video: "How the Current Economy Has Affected Dentists, Vasectomies, Guns and Shark Attacks."
The Stimulus Paradox
October 06, 2009
The Department of Labor’s release last week of the worse-than-expected job numbers for the month of September set off the now typical back and forth debate about whether the federal stimulus is working. Joe Biden, Larry Summers, and Christina Romer have commented that the economy is still moving in the right direction and the loss of 263,000 jobs last month could have been worse had there been no federal stimulus at all. Another army of usual suspects claims that the dismal jobs report is proof that the stimulus package has yet to produce economic recovery. In a way, both camps are right.