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.
My favorite moment from last month’s White House jobs summit came when the president asked if Washington had been doing something to discourage hiring. At this point, a man named Fred Lampropoulos, the CEO of a Utah-based medical device manufacturer, chimed in that yes, in fact, it had. “[T]here’s such an aggressive legislative agenda that businesspeople don’t really know what they ought to do,” Mr. Lampropoulos told the president, according to The New York Times. Political uncertainty, he said, “is really what’s holding back the jobs.” Well, okay.
A while ago, I criticized a new paper on the supremacy of the U.S. healthcare system that was being touted by Gary Becker and Greg Mankiw. The paper, by Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that mortality trends for prostate and breast cancer were much better in the U.S. than in other advanced countries. My main beef was that Preston and Ho's research design was too blunt to really pick up on why this was the case. But I see that an updated NBER version of the paper has more details on what could be behind the better U.S.
I. That investment in education is critical for economic growth, improved health, and social progress is beyond question. That poverty is a scourge that the international aid community and industrialized countries should work to eradicate is also beyond question. There is also no doubt that terrorism is a scourge of the contemporary world.