New York Times
FOR the typical American, the past decade has been economically brutal: the first time since the 1930s, according to some calculations, that inflation-adjusted incomes declined. By 2010, real median household income had fallen to $49,445, compared with $53,164 in 2000. While there are many culprits, from declining unionization to the changing mix of needed skills, globalization has had the greatest impact. Continue reading
Let’s agree that a lot of bad stuff happened along the way to the 2008
financial meltdown and that a good portion of the responsibility can justifiably
be laid at the feet of the Wall Street community. Whether or not laws were
broken, the lack of discipline and inadequate controls around many lending and
risk taking practices certainly merit some version of the vigorous rethink of
the regulatory apparatus that is now in process.
I can’t speak to the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of much of Ron Suskind’s new book, “Confidence Men,” but based on attending almost daily meetings at the White House during the first six months of the Obama Administration, I can say this: Suskind’s narrative does not resemble my experience working for President Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers on the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler. Continue reading
In a fusillade of debates and speeches President Barack Obama and his Republican challengers have firmly established the economic policy combat lines for next year. What an electoral battle it will be – a clash of ideologies the likes of which America has not seen in decades. Continue reading
New York Times
IN the middle of all the debt default drama and stock market turbulence, the leading Republican presidential candidates have begun to fill in the shadowy outlines of their positions on major economic issues. Continue reading
Read what you choose into the gyrating US stock market. Blame, if you like, the dysfunction in Washington and the unsatisfying deal that led Standard & Poor’s to remove America’s triple A rating. Or worry about Europe, lurching from one phase of its sovereign debt crisis to another. And of course, many investors fear that torrid growth in emerging market countries is slowing quickly.
The A-List on Ft.com
Like a video game in which the combatants periodically ascend to a higher, more intense level, the budget talks in Washington have ratcheted up, with Barack Obama now engaged in direct talks with Republican leaders. And while the initial goal of an agreement by July 2nd has been missed, the president has successfully bullied the Senate into cancelling its Independence Day recess and returning to Washington today, allowing negotiations to resume early this week. Continue reading
New York Times
FEELING the need for an example of government policy run amok? Look no further than the box of cornflakes on your kitchen shelf. In its myriad corn-related interventions, Washington has managed simultaneously to help drive up food prices and add tens of billions of dollars to the deficit, while arguably increasing energy use and harming the environment.
Foreign Affairs, July/August
As Americans fret about persistent economic challenges, particularly high unemployment, a nearly opposite mood pervades Germany. Neither the economic crises in the rest of the eurozone nor the instability in the Middle East has dampened a deep-seated conviction among German business leaders and economists that two decades after the costly reintegration of East Germany the country has reestablished its position as an economic juggernaut.
At first glance, Germany’s decision not to insist on compulsory participation by private lenders in the latest bail-out of Greece may seem like a defeat for Chancellor Angela Merkel and Europe’s largest economy. But appearances can be deceiving. On another, more important level, Germany came out of the latest round of brinkmanship exactly where it may well have wanted to be – with the common currency intact and Germany able to motor forward. Continue reading