The Electorate is Diverse; We Need a Policy Framework to Match That

By: Wednesday November 7, 2012 11:35 am

It’s pretty obvious that what set President Obama to a re-election victory begins and ends with a new electorate. Obama won less of the white vote than Michael Dukakis. He still won the election, because America looks different than it did in 1988.


Senate Dems Can Wait for Stronger Caucus to Deal With Fiscal Issues

By: Wednesday November 7, 2012 6:55 am

President Obama’s re-election win last night was so scrutinized and double-scrutinized, I doubt I have anything to say about it that’s new. But the Senate races, where if the current standings hold Democrats will have won 25 of the 33 seats up for grabs last night, and expanded their majority to 55 (on the assumption that Angus King caucuses with them), deserves to be looked at more. Because it’s not just a partisan victory for Democrats, but an ideological one.

Natural Disasters and Economic Disasters Require the Same Urgent Response

By: Friday November 2, 2012 7:00 pm

David Callahan had a smart column in The American Prospect about natural and economic disasters, and why they must be met with the same level of urgency.

Another Study Shows Payroll Tax Cut Expiration Damaging to the Economy

By: Saturday October 20, 2012 4:00 pm

I don’t know that we needed another analysis of the effect of the expiration of the payroll tax cut, but JPMorgan Chase provided that yesterday. They estimate a cut to GDP of 0.6% next year from canceling the payroll tax cut, which will suck $125 billion out of the economy.

Goldman Sachs: Even the Least-Worst Economic Forecast Looks Negative for 2013

By: Monday October 8, 2012 8:30 am

As I always point out, Goldman Sachs has an excellent research department, led by Jan Hatzius. Their economic forecasts are almost always on target; if there’s one thing Goldman understands, it’s money. They were the ones who found that federal fiscal policy turned negative in mid-2010. And they now have updated that forecast, incorporating the possibilities for the fiscal slope.

Debate Preview: Where Are the Jobs Questions?

By: Wednesday October 3, 2012 5:15 pm

Thoughts turn to tonight’s Presidential debate, which is scheduled to focus on domestic issues, particularly the economy. These debates actually matter less than the media would have you believe, at least according to the political science literature. But they may be crucial in ways outside the mere political sphere and in terms of the policy going forward.

Assessing the Impact of QE3

By: Friday September 14, 2012 4:00 pm

Stocks have leveled off after yesterday’s boost from the Federal Reserve’s resumption of quantitative easing, this time in a more modest but open-ended capacity.

Most analysts take for granted that this new QE3 will work, in fact, better than the first two rounds despite its smaller footprint. That stems from the use of the expectations channel, and the Fed communicating that they will continue to take steps at monetary easing even after the recovery takes hold and the labor market improves. This represents a kind of admission of guilt on the part of Ben Bernanke, whose Jackson Hole speech was full of defenses of his prior view of the monetary situation. Basically, Bernanke said “we didn’t do enough, we’re changing course.”

Moody’s Follows Other Rating Agencies Into Incoherence About Fiscal Cliff

By: Tuesday September 11, 2012 12:50 pm

Good to know that the credit rating agencies have learned approximately nothing since last year. Then, they initiated a downgrade of the United States, determining that their debt would be a riskier instrument after the debacle of the debt limit deal. Investors responded by pouring money into US Treasuries and dropping the yields at one point to under 1.5% (it’s at around 1.676% today). The markets, then, thoroughly ignored the warnings of the rating agencies, and by extension discredited them. They saw US treasuries as a safe instrument rather than a downgraded one.

So what does Moody’s come out and say today? That the US credit rating depends on fiscal cliff talks:

Bill Clinton Manages to Trust America to Listen to 46 Minutes of Policy

By: Thursday September 6, 2012 6:00 am

Bill Clinton gave a heck of a speech tonight. I’d put up the transcript, but it’s only about 35% of the speech; the vast majority of it came off the hip. What’s incredible about this is that Clinton didn’t fill the rest of that time by telling old war stories; he filled it with a fairly detailed set of policy arguments, about Medicare, Medicaid, the economy, taxes, the deficit (I personally could have done without that one), jobs, energy, and pretty much everything in the domestic portfolio of a modern President, with distinct lists of variances between the two candidates on these issues.

Doing Just Enough: Why Ben Bernanke and Company Irk Me

By: Friday August 31, 2012 2:10 pm

For half a second I felt like I was being too hard on Ben Bernanke and his Jackson Hole speech. Mr. Market certainly thinks it presages another round of quantitative easing, with stocks up big today. And it’s considerate Fed-speak to merely hint and nod at a policy change before embarking on it, probably at the September 13 meeting.

But all of that went away when Joe Weisenthal got to the heart of his disappointment in the speech, and really in Bernanke’s tenure as well as the whole of the economic policy apparatus

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