Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kewl news on Obama economic advisors

Not only is Paul Krugman on the team of people advising the President-elect, but Joseph Stiglitz was asked to be part of Obama's Administration (Stiglitz declined, saying "I've gone beyond the age where I would want to be in Washington full time"), meaning that Obama takes the advice of both men quite seriously.
Krugman had to correct the NY Times for saying that no one saw the housing crisis coming.  He did, so did Dean Baker and the blog Calculated Risk. As the Economist puts it, Krugman "
was, in many ways, the first economics blogger." Stiglitz wrote about the cost of the Iraq War ultimately costing the US about $3 Trillion.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why can’t Congress limit executive pay?

Kind of amazing how things actually work out in real life as opposed to how they're presented in the newspapers:
[Washington] Post readers may ask that question given that the Post told them that: "Congress wanted to guarantee that the $700 billion financial bailout would limit the eye-popping pay of Wall Street executives."

The rest of the article explains how the bailout legislation, as approved by Congress, is not likely to impose any serious limits on executive pay. So, Congress was apparently unable to do what it wanted.

The author then notes how Congress is usually able to make legislation do what it wants, but gee, it just seems unable to limit executive pay! Not that such an inability has anything to do with campaign contributions! No, no, no, no, that couldn't be the reason!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The “higher taxes” bugaboo

We have here a fellow who's very highly motivated to find the "pulse" of the public, to seek out what concerns regular voters.

Saul Anuzis, the Michigan GOP chair who's running for chairman of the Republican National Committee, has issued a 24-page "Blueprint for a GOP Comeback" to RNC members that details his agenda and vision for returning the party to political power.
He goes on to say that the party must "stand proudly" on its core principles. "When Democrats try to raise taxes, we’ll mobilize the American people to stop them. When the Democrat spending spree begins, we’ll end it...
(But if these GOP ideas are winners, then why do 70% in a new Washington Post/ABC poll say that Obama should fulfill his campaign promise...
and why did just 3% say in the latest NBC/WSJ poll that taxes are the most important economic issue facing the country?)

In other words, the old saw about the Republicans "protecting" the American public from (*gasp!* *shriek!!*) higher taxes!!1!!*! is just one of the old talking points that liberals can safely disregard.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Joseph Stiglitz - Five Errors

Joseph Stiglitz identifies "five key mistakes—under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II—and one national delusion."

The Five Errors are:

1. Firing the sensible pro-regulation Paul Volcker and hiring the Ayn Rand disciple Alan Greenspan.

2. Repealing the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999.

3. The (younger) Bush tax cuts.

4. Screwing up accountability for corporations.

5. Bungling the response to the belated realization that the economy was in "deep doo-doo."

Major, overall problem: Too much faith in free markets.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Concise explanation of energy policy

Dean Baker explains how it works.


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Rich Gardner