Economy

No, Doctors Don't Hate Obamacare
January 19, 2012

[Guest post by Harold Pollack and Vivek Murthy] Forbes has published another slam against health reform. This one is written by Sally Pipes, president, CEO, and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. She is the author of a forthcoming book, The Pipes Plan: The Top Ten Ways to Dismantle and Replace Obamacare, put out by the conservative publishing juggernaut, Regnery. This follows Pipes’ previous volume, The Truth About Obamacare.

Dylan Ratigan on an Exciting New Form of Online Gaming
January 10, 2012

I’ve been making my way through Dylan Ratigan’s new book, Greedy Bastards, and can report that it includes a number of truly sensible thoughts on everything from health care to energy policy. (Also, there’s the occasional cultural nugget I somehow missed—like the fact that butlering has apparently become a major U.S. growth industry.)  But one of the more intriguing ideas comes courtesy of Dick Grasso, the former New York Stock Exchange chairman who was ousted in 2003 amid a compensation scandal, and who Ratigan spoke with for the book.

Boston Globe Endorses Hunstman; Romney Smiles
January 06, 2012

It’s tempting to believe that anything that boosts Mitt Romney’s rivals is bad news for Romney himself. In fact, that’s not the case, and today’s Boston Globe endorsement of Jon Hunstman illustrates why.  According to the latest Suffolk University tracking poll, Romney has a 23-point lead in New Hampshire over Ron Paul, his closest competitor. Barring a near-miraculous turn of events, Romney will win next Tuesday’s primary contest. The real question, as I noted yesterday, is whether any of the non-Paul contenders can use New Hampshire to establish himself as a credible alternative.

A Recovery, Or Another Headfake?
January 06, 2012

[Guest post by Matt O'Brien] This finally might be an economic recovery worthy of the name. There have certainly been several headfakes before (remember "green shoots" and "Recovery Summer"), but, to borrow a dangerous phrase, this time might be different. Economic data has surprised on the upside for the past few months, and the December jobs report continued this positive trend.

How Rick Santorum Could Cost Romney the Presidency
January 04, 2012

Last night we re-learned an important lesson from 2008: In Iowa, the Republican candidate with momentum way exceeds his final poll numbers; the Republican candidate named Mitt Romney ... doesn’t. In 2008, Mike Huckabee exceeded his final polling average by about five points; Romney actually dropped off by about a point-and-a-half. This time out, Rick Santorum exceeded his final polling average by almost ten points. Romney was up about two-and-a-half.  In both cases, the explanation was pretty obvious: Romney was well known heading into caucus night and not much loved.

In Praise of Jeremy Stein, Obama's New Fed Board Nominee
December 27, 2011

Just a quick word about Jeremy Stein, the Harvard financial economist Obama is nominating to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. I suspect critics on the left (and perhaps on the right) will seize on the fact that Stein was close to Larry Summers, who brought him into the Obama administration to work at the NEC. For what it’s worth, I actually became pretty familiar with Stein’s track record while researching my forthcoming book on the Obama economic team. I can report that he’s an absolutely terrific choice.

Who's to Blame for the Economy's Lost Year?
December 22, 2011

The daily research report from the economists at Goldman Sachs asks a question I grappled with as I finished my forthcoming book: How should we apportion blame for the 2-2.5 percentage points by which growth fell short of most economists' expectations this past year?  The Goldman team divvies it up as follows:  The supply shocks that arose from the Arab spring (in the form of higher gas prices) and the Japanese earthquake (which wreaked havoc on supply chains) shaved 3/4 of a percentage point off GDP growth. Shrinking state and local budgets crimped GDP growth by 1/2 of a percentage point. The

Why the European Central Bank Has To Stop the Euro-Crisis—And Why It Won’t
December 09, 2011

It’s not yet certain whether European leaders will arrive at an agreement at today’s summit in Brussels, but what’s already clear is that Europe is running out of time. After two years of kicking the can down the road, contagion from the continent’s debt crisis has begun to infect Europe’s core. Indeed, the credit rating agency S&P recently threatened to downgrade the credit ratings of the entire Eurozone due to the increased risk of financial cataclysm.

A Recovery, If We Can Keep It?
December 02, 2011

[Guest post by Matt O'Brien] Note: This post has been updated. First, there were “green shoots.” Then came “Recovery Summer.” Now, there are yet again signs that a stronger economic recovery may be gaining momentum in the United States, with the November jobs report offering the latest reason for guarded optimism. The headline-grabber was that the unemployment rate declined 0.4 percentage points to 8.6 percent. This was for both good and bad reasons. The good was 120,000 jobs were added in November—more on that in a bit.

How the IMF Got Its Keynesian Groove Back
December 02, 2011

In a speech before Parliament last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron posed a rhetorical question as he harangued the opposition Labour Party: “Is there a single other mainstream party anywhere in Europe who thinks the answer to the debt problem is more spending and more borrowing?” Cameron was meaning to taunt Europe’s Social Democratic parties, rubbing in the fact that they lack the power to implement the types of programs they’d prefer.

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