Export Promotion, American Style
March 16, 2010
This past summer, National Economic Council Director Larry Summers laid out a new vision for the next American economy: one that is export-oriented, low-carbon, innovation-fueled, and opportunity-rich. Dr.
March 03, 2010
You think it’s so great being Rahm Emanuel?
The Trouble with South Park
February 11, 2010
Andrew Sullivan, in his diligent and sentimental response to my complaint against him the other day, retreats immediately to the personal. “I have Irish blood and a Catholic conscience.” “There will be times in which the emotion of the moment will overwhelm me.” “Am I insensitive? At times, I’m sure I am.” “I’m a South Park devotee, for Pete’s sake.” What, precisely, does any of this extenuate? There will be times in which the emotion of the moment will overwhelm me, too--and those are the times in which I will choose not to write.
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.
Obama's Spending Freeze
January 26, 2010
The big news today is that Obama plans to propose a freeze on domestic discretionary spending in Wednesday's State of the Union address. For what it's worth, I talked to some administration officials about the thinking behind this in December, not long after the idea was first floated. Here's the gist of what I found: Within the administration, White House budget director Peter Orszag appears to have settled on another solution.
Barack Obama, You Remind Me of Herbert Hoover
January 05, 2010
Barack Obama has been compared to almost every American President of the last hundred years--favorably to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan; and unfavorably to Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.
Geithner on the Populist Backlash
December 24, 2009
There's an interesting back-and-forth between Dan Gross and Tim Geithner in Newsweek's year-end interview issue: GROSS: There have been, and continue to be, calls for you to go. How do you deal with those? GEITHNER: I spent most of my professional life in this building. Watching the politics of the things we did in the past financial crises in Mexico and Asia had a powerful effect on me. The surveys were 9-to-1 against almost everything that helped contain the damage.
Spend and Save
December 10, 2009
White House dilemma: Die now or pay later.
December 07, 2009
A few weeks after the 2008 presidential election, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard got a call from an Obama transition aide frantic for advice on the collapsing auto industry. Gerard put his numbers guy on the call, a former investment banker named Ron Bloom, who proceeded to offer a detailed disquisition on the financial situations of GM and Chrysler. Unlike other experts the transition team had consulted, Bloom was refreshingly blunt about the companies’ prospects, which he deemed grim.
Should Obama Boost Jobs More Directly?
November 09, 2009
Via Matt Yglesias, I see that Alec MacGillis had an interesting piece on this question in yesterday's Washington Post. There are a variety of ways the administration could target employment directly, of course, from a WPA-style federal jobs program to tax credits that subsidize hiring. Zubin and Kevin Drum have pointed out some problems with proposals near the WPA end of the spectrum. A more feasible approach might be a policy the Germans put in place, which apparently happens on a smaller scale in a few U.S.