So says Jay Ackroyd at Atrios regarding Christina Romer’s farewell note, which recognizes the severity of the crisis we’re in but recommends very, very weak tea as a remedy:
The pressing question, then, is what can be done to increase demand and bring unemployment down more quickly. Failing to do so would cause millions of workers to suffer unnecessarily. It also runs the risk of making high unemployment permanent as workers’ skills deteriorate with lack of use and their labor force attachment weakens as hope of another job fades.
Policymakers should also take sensible actions to increase confidence. While some in the business community talk about regulatory uncertainty as one reason they are cautious about hiring and investing, I suspect that uncertainty about future sales is a much larger determinant of firms’ actions. We can, however, do more to highlight and codify our pragmatic approach to regulation. As OIRA Administrator Cass Sunstein detailed in his recent Congressional testimony, the estimated net benefits (that is, the benefits minus the costs) of the Obama Administration’s regulatory actions during its first year far surpass those of the first year of the two previous administrations. For the health of the economy, we should continue and trumpet this prudent regulatory approach.
While we would all love to find the inexpensive magic bullet to our economic troubles, the truth is, it almost surely doesn’t exist. The only surefire ways for policymakers to substantially increase aggregate demand in the short run are for the government to spend more and tax less. In my view, we should be moving forward on both fronts.
I was talking to a French expat yesterday and I don’t think the idiots in charge have the slightest clue what is really wrong with the economy from the ground floor. The expat told me that she felt robbed when she came to this country. Everything comes with a fee slapped on it. Her salary is higher than her French colleagues, this is true. But everything here costs more. And her taxes here in the US are very high. She didn’t feel that she was getting the same bang for her taxpayer buck.
Now, it’s true that in France, you have to put up with a lot of striking workers. But they have a mass transit system that we can only dream about. Here, college is unaffordable for most people. There, college is nearly free. In France, maternity leaves are long and the government gives you a stipend for each child. Tax deductions are generous. Here, if you’re not employed, good luck with health insurance. There, the unemployed are covered and there are no Glenn Becks making the unfortunate feel guilty about collecting on the money they have paid into the system all their working lives.
The French are now complaining about their version of social security. The transit workers are going on strike to protest a proposed raise in the retirement age- to 62.
If that’s socialism, I’d take it. Yeah, they have problems but you don’t have to worry about becoming destitute over there. Here, you can be pretty sure that every sufficiently developed company has a sophisticated Metropolis algorithm optimization program designed to deprive you of the last disposable dollar in your wallet. There are fees on top of hidden costs on top of private free market taxes everywhere you turn. It has gotten a lot worse since Bush took office in 2000.
But we must be prudent with regulation. We must not hire a champion like Elizabeth Warren to look out for the consumer, who can’t pinch pennies any longer and pay both governmental and capitalist taxes. Heaven forfend we ask people who benefitted most from the Bush tax cuts to give them back. No, let’s just starve state and local governments, lay more people off and scratch our heads when businesses can’t seem to sell anything to anyone. And I am beyond appalled that Obama would appoint the Catfood Commission to find ways to cut social security, just about the only thing we have left between old age and poverty. He would do this on the backs of working people who have paid into social security all of their working lives and are now seeing pensions and 401Ks drying up. He would have us all starving in order to prevent him from going to the very rich and ask them to give back and act like they care about their fellow Americans. And to think that Alan Simpson has the ability to cut the military benefits of my brother and widowed mother enrages me beyond belief.
I want him gone. I want him out of the White House in 2012. No, I am not negotiable on this. There is nothing Democrats can say or do to make me want to have him running things for four additional years. Dont. Even. Ask. He is everything I feared he would be: self-centered, inexperienced and cowardly. He doesn’t have a clue how to get us out of this mess and he’s trying to please the wrong people. He’s got to go.
Filed under: financial bailout, Financial Meltdown of 2008 | Tagged: Barack Obama, capitalist taxes, catfood commission, Christina Romer, Economy, Elizabeth Warren, fees, military benefits, Social Security, unemployment | 109 Comments »