How S&P Got Obama to Defend The Tea Party
August 08, 2011
There is an absurd quality to the debate over the S&P downgrade that captures the perverse incentive structure of our political system. House Republicans successfully played chicken with the debt ceiling and have vowed to continue doing so. As a result S&P downgraded Treasury debt: The "conclusion was pretty much motivated by all of the debate about the raising of the debt ceiling," John Chambers, chairman of S&P's sovereign ratings committee, said in an interview.
Is the U.S. Ambassador to Syria Being Unfairly Blamed for the Administration’s Bad Policy?
August 04, 2011
On Tuesday, as Syrian shells rained down on the besieged city of Hama, the White House took the opportunity to press for senate confirmation of its ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford. At his hearing, the ambassador described the regime of Bashar Al Assad as either “unable or unwilling to lead democratic transition, but either way it doesn’t matter: it’s not in our or [the] Syrian peoples’ interest.” After months of hedging and obfuscations from the Obama administration about the United States’ stance towards the Syrian regime, Ford’s words were a breath of fresh air.
Sudan seems to bring out a perverse diffidence in both the Obama administration and the international community. This is especially clear in their response to a growing body of evidence that atrocities are being committed in South Kordofan, a border state in what is now Northern Sudan. Indeed, the more proof that accumulates about the targeted destruction of the African Nuba people, the less the White House and the U.N. seem inclined either to speak out forcefully or to announce a course of action. U.S.
On Sunday, in the first national elections in four years, Thailand’s voters decisively backed the populist Puea Thai Party, delivering an apparently crushing blow to Thailand’s establishment—urban elites, the military, and the powerful royal family. The establishment had backed the Democrat Party, which took power in the wake of a palace-backed coup in 2006 that deposed Puea Thai’s predecessor, another party run by business tycoon and then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the first Thai politician to truly court the votes of the poor.
This is no time for gloating, neither for Americans nor for Europeans. For both sides are in deep economic trouble, only in different ways. The U.S. runs the worst deficit (as share of GDP) since World War II, and yet Keynesianism to the max won’t budge the unemployment rate—pace Professors Krugman and Stiglitz. What does fall is the dollar and the price of real estate, a double-whammy if ever there was one. The euro, meanwhile, may be rising, at least against the greenback, but the common currency, now ten years old, is about as stable as was Confederate script back in the Civil War.
Can Foreign Investment Revive U.S. Manufacturing?
June 20, 2011
Amid growing concerns over Greek debt and the probability of another economic slowdown, the administration quietly launched SelectUSA last week, an initiative designed to attract foreign direct investment to the United States. While announced at a Business Roundtable event, SelectUSA went relatively unnoticed by the media, far less so than the highly-publicized National Export Initiative of 2010. However, this does not mean that foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States is less important than growing U.S.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund released its annual World Economic Outlook, this year entitled, “Tensions from the Two-Speed Recovery: Unemployment, Commodities, and Capital Flows.” The two speed recovery emerges from the different post-crisis status in developed countries and emerging markets. While the United States and Europe are facing the prospect of slowly recovering employment and growth, emerging and developing economies are expected to grow by 6.5 percent this year. Developing countries are gathering mass in the world economy faster than expected.
U.S. Metros: Open for Business Despite Everything
April 08, 2011
Whether or not the federal government shuts down this weekend, I have an announcement: U.S. metropolitan areas are open for business and striving innovatively to create jobs and transform the economy. How do I know it?
Small Urban Manufacturers Make it in the U.S.A.
February 11, 2011
Last year, my then-six-year-old daughter went through a period of being enamored by all things made in China.
2011--The Year of the U.S. Economic Comeback?
January 14, 2011
Jim O’Neil, an economist at Goldman Sachs and the man who coined the acronym “BRICs” (standing for Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and thereby promoted those countries to the forefront of U.S. and European consciousness, is now saying that the year 2011 is “the year of the U.S. comeback.” Now, it’s true, analysts at investment banks make a lot of lousy predictions. And as our last “MetroMonitor” showed and as everyone in touch with reality already knows, the U.S. economy is still struggling.