Category Archive for: Fiscal Times [Return to Main]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Helping the Unemployed Also Helps the Economy

I know that policymakers have forgotten about the unemployed and moved on to other things, but I just can't help pointing out that's a big mistake:

The Job Delusion: Growth is Just Around the Corner, by Mark Thoma

The main point of the column is that the best way to cure our problems is economic growth, and putting people back to work is an essential part of growth maximization. As the column says, there's plenty we can do if we are willing to try.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vouchers Won’t Solve Our Health Care Cost Problem

I have a new column that explains why a voucher system for Medicare won't work:

Vouchers Won’t Solve Our Health Care Cost Problem

After explaining the problems with vouchers, the column ends with:

We know what works for health care cost control. Other countries deliver universal care at a lower cost and similar quality, and I believe that once we’ve tried other avenues that fail, this is where we will end up. It won’t happen anytime soon, and there will be lots of false starts and dead-ends along the way –a voucher program, if pursued, is one of those dead ends. But the day will come when we realize that using successful systems in other countries as models for reform is the best way to provide universal access to health care at the lowest possible price.

More here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No, They Can’t Just Get Along

Here's another column:

No, They Can’t Just Get Along

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Inflation vs. Jobs: Fed’s Move Can Seal Its Fate

Haven't had a chance to write much the last few days, but here's something you can yell at me about in comments (or not):

Inflation vs. Jobs: Fed’s Move Can Seal Its Fate

Update: I forgot to mention that CBS MoneyWatch asked me to write about a similar topic yesterday (I tried to say something different, but there's still a bit of repetition):

Bernanke’s New Quarterly Press Conferences

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why Politics, Ideology and the Fed Don’t Mix

We are, as they say, live. Senator Shelby blocking Peter Diamond's appointment to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and this talks about whether there is any justification for doing so, and how the appointment process might be improved:

Why Politics, Ideology and the Fed Don’t Mix

I'm not sure you'll agree with this one.

Update: One thing that doesn't come through very well in the column is that a president's first few appointments to the Board of Governors should be given due deference (and a lot is due). After that scrutiny, even blocking, is justified since a president's ability to stack the Board should be limited -- that's the Senate's role. Scrutiny over Krosner was appropriate since Bush had ample opportunity (and then some) to shape the ideological makeup of the Board. Blocking Diamond as payback for blocking Kroszner is not appropriate since Diamond is clearly qualified and among the first few nominations.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The End of the Line for Unions?

A new column is up and running:

The End of the Line for Unions?

[Will Wilkinson comments on a very condensed version of this argument.]

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fannie, Freddie, and Business Cycle Externalities

We are live:

What to Do with Fannie and Freddie

Part of the argument is that business cycle externalities have been overlooked:

... One of the biggest risks in mortgage markets is the business cycle, and the costs of business cycles fall disproportionately on lower and middle income households. These households feel the unemployment problem more acutely than higher income households, and much of the foreclosure problem is due to the millions of households who are now unemployed.
Because middle and lower income households are more vulnerable to business cycles, they are more risky to mortgage lenders. This causes these households to face higher down payments and higher mortgage rates than otherwise, and many are excluded from home ownership altogether. But there is no reason why these households should be forced to pay the full costs of these societal risks – business cycles are not their fault – so help for these households is justified. Government mortgage insurance for loan values below some threshold is not necessarily the best way to provide this help, but it’s one way to do it. ...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Do Deficits Steal from Our Children?

This one is now live:

Do Deficits Steal from Our Children?

It seemed like a good time to talk about this.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Need for Social Insurance

A recent column of mine:

Reinforcing America’s Social Safety Net

It covers familiar territory for many of you, but as budget discussions begin to get more serious, it doesn't hurt to remind people of the important role that social insurance plays.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Laffer Curve for Inequality?

We are, once again, live:

A Laffer Curve for Inequality?

I've resisted this, but I've come to the conclusion that income redistribution may be the only way to ensure that the gains from economic growth go to everyone, not just those at the very top.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Smarter Bailout Could Have Shortened the Recession

We are, as they say, live:

A Smarter Bailout Could Have Shortened the Recession

Policy did not respond optimally to our "balance sheet recession." Though I didn't talk about this in the column, it's looking like we have a very slow recovery ahead of us, so it's not too late to do something about this and speed the recovery. We won't do anything of course, the current political environment won't allow it, but hopefully we can still learn something and improve policy the next time a balance sheet recession hits the economy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Republicans are Wrong to Oppose Quantitative Easing

I have a new column on QEII: 

Faith in the Fed: QE2 Will Not Spur Inflation

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The GOP Victory and Macroeconomic Policy

I have a new column:

GOP Victory May End Government Economic Intervention: One of the oldest, most controversial issues in economics is how active government should be in managing the economy. Views on this have varied greatly through the ages, and we are in the middle of yet another large change in attitudes about the proper role of government. ...

I hope I'm wrong about this, and I think there's a decent chance that I am.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shadow Banks Pose Major Threat to Financial Stability

New column:

Shadow Banks Pose Major Threat to Financial Stability

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The U.S. Needs a New and Improved New Deal

I have a new column at the Fiscal Times:

The U.S. Needs a New and Improved New Deal

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Insulating Fiscal Policy from a Dysfunctional Congress

I have a new column up at the Fiscal Times:

Insulating Fiscal Policy from a Dysfunctional Congress: The economic crisis has made two things clear. First, monetary policy won’t always be capable of stabilizing the economy on its own. When the problems become large enough, fiscal policy must be part of the response.

Second, even when our economic problems are severe and righting the ship ought to be the primary concern, Congress is incapable of implementing fiscal policy with the timeliness and effectiveness that is needed. As Alan Blinder said recently, “I’m looking at the political system turning itself into a paralyzed beast.” ... [...continue reading...]

Is there a way around this problem?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Congress vs. Fed Independence

Here is my first column for the Fiscal Times, and there will be more to follow:

Congress vs. Fed Independence

Some of you will be unhappy with the outlet. But I can't change the minds of people I can't talk to, and when it comes to certain groups, they aren't coming to me. So into the belly of the beast to stop the beast from being starved. Or something like that. I should add that I expect to have complete freedom in what I can say. If that turns out to be a false expectation, then I will stop doing this and I will let people know why. Also, I chose to begin by talking about the Fed's relationship to Congress, but it occurs to me that given how much many of you disagree with my views on the Fed, I might have chosen a different topic to start this off.