The $64 Trillion Question (Part 1)
June 22, 2010
That we seem to have avoided another Great Depression doesn’t mean our economy is anywhere near as strong as it should be. In fact, most indicators—from unemployment to private investment—prove quite the opposite. What can be done? How can we ensure the U.S. enjoys not merely a modest recovery but the kind of buoyant prosperity we saw in the decades after World War II and briefly in the 1990s? We put the question to few political economists and will run their thoughts over the next couple weeks.
Why Should We Cry for Our Shrinking Manufacturing Sector?
December 22, 2009
Several commenters have responded to my recent story (and blog posts) about the decline of U.S. manufacturing by insisting it's no big deal if the manufacturing sector shrinks. The United States will gradually replace current manufacturing-sector work with higher-value-added manufacturing and service-sector work, the argument goes, just as we replaced agriculture with manufacturing during the last century.
December 18, 2009
One of the themes that came up while I was profiling White House manufacturing czar Ron Bloom earlier this fall was managerial talent. A lot of people talk about reviving the domestic manufacturing sector, which has shed almost one-third of its manpower over the last eight years. But some of the people I spoke to asked a slightly different question: Even if you could reclaim a chunk of those blue-collar jobs, would you have the managers you need to supervise them? It’s not obvious that you would.
Obama's Tough Love
December 11, 2009
The bailout of the auto industry was “throwing bad money after a bad cause,” television talk show host Larry Kudlow warned in National Review. Kudlow’s opinion was shared by conservative economists and politicians. And Tea Party types continue to cite the auto bailout as an example of the Obama administration’s unwarranted largesse toward big business and big labor. But if you compare how the Obama administration handled General Motors and Chrysler with how European leaders dealt with a similar crisis in their industry, Obama’s approach looks tougher and more realistic. That’s at least the ve
Today at TNR (December 8, 2009)
December 08, 2009
Everything You Know About American Involvement in Iran Is Wrong by Abbas Milani Will You End Up Paying More for Health Insurance Under the Current Senate Bill? by Jonathan Cohn Why Clausewitz Would Not Be Happy With Obama’s New Afghanistan Strategy by William R. Gruver Is Expanding Medicare the Best Alternative to the Public Option? by Jonathan Cohn Decoding the Bible by Understanding Its Poetry by Adam Kirsch Exploding Taxis, Police Beatings, and Boiled Sheep Heads: How Will Johannesburg Host the World Cup Next Year?
What would Ron Bloom Say?
December 07, 2009
My eye was drawn to the provocative headline, “Alcoa head says weak dollar is bad for US industry.” How could that be? Aren’t American manufacturing firms being hurt by an overvalued dollar that increases the price of their goods made here relative, say, to imports from China? That may be true, I learned, but that is not what bothers Klaus Kleinfeld, the CEO of Alcoa. He is worried because a weaker dollar makes the products that Alcoa manufactures outside the United States more expensive inside the United States. “It is actually hurting us substantially,” Kleinfeld told the Financial Times.
Today at TNR (December 7, 2009)
December 07, 2009
Meet Ron Bloom, the Schlub Who Might Just Save American Industry, by Noam Scheiber Democrats Shouldn't Compromise on the Public Option, by Jacob Hacker The George W. Bush Presidential Library Is So … Conservative, by James Gardner Should We Be Cowed by the Idea of a Kinder, Gentler Trotsky? by Adam Kirsch Why Health Reform Must Pass by Christmas, by E.J. Dionne Jr. What’s the Most Depressing Day of the Week? by Zubin Jelveh Did Missiles Win the Cold War? A Soulless New Book Gets the History Wrong. by Peter Scoblic Why is Bernanke Pandering to Republicans? by John B.
Meet the White House Manufacturing Czar
December 07, 2009
I just wanted to highlight my latest print piece for readers who come straight to this blog rather than clicking through from the homepage. It's about White House manufacturing czar Ron Bloom, a longtime steelworkers union official and an investment banker before that. Just prior to his current gig, Bloom led the administration's restructuring of Chrysler as a deputy to Steve Rattner, then head of the auto task force. There are details in the piece more relevant to Bloom's current job and the future of U.S.
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.
An Agenda for the New Manufacturing "Czar"
September 09, 2009
On Labor Day, President Obama appointed Ron Bloom, head of the administration’s auto industry task force, as his manufacturing “czar.” A former United Steelworkers staffer, Bloom recognizes the importance of high-wage manufacturing to the U.S. economy and to the well-being of the Great Lakes metropolitan areas that have been its center for more than half a century. But his experience is mainly in structuring financial deals. Does he understand the non-financial obstacles to reviving American manufacturing?