Steven Pearlstein

December 18, 2011

Steven Pearlstein, the Washington Post's Pulitzer-prizewinning business columnist, is having an off day. Ordinarily Pearlstein's columns are well-reasoned, deeply researched, and a pleasure to read. I would say this even if he hadn't recently invited, and paid, me to speak about income inequality to his class at George Mason. But today Pearlstein's column expresses harrumphing condemnation of partisan bickering on both sides as the root of all evil in Washington, dressed up with a little game theory: "These days, Washington is stuck in a nasty Nash equilibrium.

Is the Sun Belt Behind the Slow Recovery?
June 01, 2011

The venerable columnist Steven Pearlstein has a great piece in today’s Washington Post concerning overall job creation and the role of creative destruction. I won’t summarize it in its entirety--the whole thing is worth a read and it dovetails nicely with our recent thoughts around jobs and innovation---but there’s one specific point that really pleased me. In addition to citations from noted economist John Haltiwanger, including the “chainification” of American businesss, Pearlstein introduces his own rationale for slower job creation during the nascent economic recovery: geography.

Mindlessness On Public Investment
January 26, 2011

I suspect that President Obama's emphasis on public investment reflects less a desire to increase spending on infrastructure, R&D and the like than a platform from which to oppose anticipated Republican cuts. He's attempting to distinguish federal spending that subsidizes consumption (like Medicaid or farm subsidies) from that which actually increases productivity and raises future living standards (such as air traffic controllers.) Thus far, as Steven Pearlstein points out, the GOP refuses to recognize any such distinction: Asked about investment on the television talk shows Sunday, House

Think Locally, Export Globally
September 10, 2010

Recently, the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein had an interesting, if bleak (the actual headline was “The bleak truth about unemployment”) column about the nation’s Great Recession-induced structural economic changes and how they’re holding back employment growth. Pearlstein’s crux: "At this point, there is only one clear path out of the unemployment box we have created for ourselves. "Right now, the United States is running a trade deficit that is likely to reach $450 billion this year.

How Regulation Can Be Good For Innovation
July 16, 2010

Steven Pearlstein has a good column in The Washington Post today about how smart government regulation can actually foster technological innovation. It's a useful counterpoint to conservative claims that a cap on carbon emissions will crush the economy and shunt us back to the Dark Ages: It's been 20 years since Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter provided scholarly support for the notion that, rather than hamper economic growth and competitiveness, well-crafted regulation could actually promote it. ...

The Wrong Euro-Villains
May 21, 2010

Steven Pearlstein has a good column today explaining that Germany, not Greece, is Europe's real problem: While European governments surely have long-term structural budget problems, the immediate fiscal challenge comes from the decline in tax revenues and the increase in transfer payments that result from slow growth and high unemployment. The right policy response to that -- along with the very real threat of price deflation in Europe -- isn't to put the entire continent in a fiscal straitjacket that makes the recession even worse.

I’m Serious: We’re Finally Getting Serious
May 12, 2010

The fiscal policy terrain is shifting radically—and rapidly. Europe’s response to the Greek crisis combines debt and enforced austerity. In the UK, the official Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition agreement states that “deficit reduction and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain” and commits to a “significantly accelerated reduction in the structural deficit over the course of a Parliament” (that is, between now and 2015).

Snowstorm Defeatism
February 10, 2010

"I realize there are lots of problems that cannot be solved just by throwing money at them," writes Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein, "but snow removal is not one of them. We have the know-how, we have the technology and we have the money and economic self-interest to do it right." I'm not certain this is true. Oh, sure, at the extreme, we could spend a lot of money and clear out all the snow.