The Fed and Authoritarian Capitalism

Chinese authoritarian capitalism, on display this week in Beijing, has me thinking about America’s democratic capitalism and how we practice it. Start with the U.S. economy’s most powerful government agency: The Fed, of course. Its decision this week to hold short-term interest rates steady was wrong, in my view; it should have lowered them because […]

McCain, Obama, and the Inherent Advantage of Caring More About Ends Than Means

We’ve been here before: The Republican attack machine at full throttle, spewing lies in best-selling books, on Fox News, on talk radio. The mainstream media reporting on the controversy, thereby giving it more air time and squeezing out the Democrats’ affirmative message. Followed by accusations by Democrats that Republicans are playing unfairly. Responded to by […]

Questions and Answers on What to Do About Oil and Energy

Answering questions posed by the media during an election campaign is like shouting down a well. Responses never seem to sink in. The same questions are asked over and over. Question: Won’t McCain’s plan to increase offshore drilling lower gas prices soon? Answer: No. The Energy Department’s own Energy Information Administration admits offshore drilling will […]

The Real Competition Behind the Olympic Games

The real competition lurking behind the upcoming Olympic games is between democratic capitalism and authoritarian capitalism. For years American policy toward China assumed that trade and economic growth would generate a large Chinese middle class, and this middle class would demand democratic reforms. We were right on the first part. The games will showcase a […]

The Heart of the Economic Mess

The Federal Reserve Board’s “beige book” for June and July offers a clear explanation for why the economy has slowed to a crawl. It shows American consumers cutting way back on their purchases of everything from food to cars to appliances to name-brand products. As they do so, employers inevitably are cutting back on the […]

A Short Primer on McCainomics Versus Obamanomics: Top-Down or Bottom-Up

McCain and Obama represent two fundamentally different economic philosophies. McCain’s is top-down economics; Obama’s is bottom-up. Top-down economics holds that: 1. If you give generous tax breaks to the rich, they will have greater incentive to work hard and invest. Their harder work and added investments will generate more jobs and faster economic growth, to […]

Why Most Who Lose Their Jobs Don’t Get Unemployment Benefits

The great American jobs machine is grinding to a halt. In response, Congress has just extended unemployment benefits 13 additional weeks, over and above the 26 weeks normally provided. That’s good as far as it goes. But most people who lose their job these days don’t qualify for any unemployment benefits at all. How can […]

The Wage Gap is being Fueled by the Gas Gap

In a society like ours is now — in which most of the gains from growth are going to the top earners, and the very top 1 percent has about 20 percent of all income (and a far greater share of all wealth) — almost every major issue has a large distributive consequence. But because […]

Unleash Fiscal Policy Now, or More Severe Recession Ahead

The economy is failing. Banks are hurting and credit continues to dry up. Consumer debt is dangerously high; foreclosures and credit-card defaults are mounting. Consumer demand is dropping precipitously and exports can’t begin to make up the difference. It’s now clear the Fed can’t and won’t stimulate the economy. This leaves fiscal policy as the […]

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