New Economic Perspectives

Yes We Can Pay for Increasing Social Security Benefits

Some time ago, in the pages of USA Today, Duncan Black, better known to some as Atrios voiced the immediate need for increased Social Security benefits of 20% or more even if it means raising taxes on high incomes, or removing the payroll tax cap on salaries.

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How Inequality is Crushing Workers, Families and Communities

The debate over inequality has shifted. It is no longer whether greater inequality exists (it indisputably does) or whether it is a good thing (even David Brooks and Marco Rubio concede that it is not).  Instead, the big issue is whether the rise of the top one tenth of one percent with their extraordinary concentration of wealth has anything to do with the rise of inequality between the middle and the bottom. The answer is, of course it does, in ways that are both simple and complex.  Let us begin to count the ways...

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The White House is Stuffed With People Who are Clueless About Economics

I am a strong supporter of Janet Yellen and believe her support for the fiscal and monetary policies best designed to produce a stronger, prompter recovery from the Great Recession makes her the superior replacement for Ben Bernanke.  The criticism of Larry Summers’ position on fiscal stimulus, however, was generally inaccurate.  Within the Obama/Biden administration, the best known economists (Summers, Christina Romer, and Jared Bernstein) proved dramatically better economists than did the non-economists who eventually came to dominate Obama’s economic policies (Timothy Geithner, Jacob Lew, and William Daley).  Summers, Romer, and Bernstein were strong voices in favor of fiscal stimulus.  Summers deserves some additional praise because he had to break from his mentor’s (Bob Rubin’s) pro-austerity straightjacket to reach his anti-austerian position.

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A Bold Plan for All the Detroits Out There

Should the federal government bailout Detroit?  That’s the question everyone is debating.  We think the discussion should be expanded well beyond this narrow question.  Detroit is the canary in the coal mine, but it’s symptomatic of a bigger problem, which is the lack of jobs and decent demand in the economy.

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Why Do Conservatives and Libertarians Support Obama in Subsidizing Big Banks?

Glass-Steagall prevented a classic conflict of interest that we know frequently arises in the real world. Commercial banks are subsidized through federal deposit insurance. Most economists support providing deposit insurance to commercial banks for relatively smaller depositors. I am not aware of any economists who support federal “deposit” insurance for the customers of investment banks or the creditors of non-financial businesses.

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10 Reasons Austerity Is a Crock

Steve Kraske of The Kansas City Star recently interviewed me for a piece about austerity.  The story ran in today’s paper. It doesn’t provide much depth (unlike bloggers, journalists have strict space constraints!), so I followed up with a few comments on the Star’s website.  I thought I’d share them here, since I’m always trying to improve the way I communicate these ideas with non-economists.  So here’s my best effort to make the anti-austerity case in simple terms.

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Why Economic Criminals View Bangladesh as a Model for Workers Everywhere

As I write, there are terrible reports indicating that the death toll in Bangladesh, where the building housing garment factories collapsed, is far greater than currently reported.  The initial reports from a disaster often prove inaccurate in important ways so I urge caution and the need to confirm whether the newer reports are accurate.

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Robert Reich is a Good Man But He Falls Into the Austerity Trap

Robert Reich has written a column entitled “Why this is the Worst Recovery on Record.”  It’s an odd title because the article makes no reference to this being “the worst recovery on record.”  Unlike a newspaper column, we know that Reich chose the title, because it comes from his own blog.

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Obama's New Treasury Secretary Pushes Austerity That Spreads Global Misery

The two most revealing sentences about the gratuitous Eurozone disaster – the creation of the deepening über-Depression – was reported today.  The context (rich in irony) is that U.S. Treasury Secretary Lew spent his Spring Break in Europe meeting with his counterparts.  The Wall Street Journal’s article’s title explains Lew’s mission and its failure:U.S. Anti-Austerity Push Gets Cool Reception in Europe.”  Here are the sentences that capture so well why Germany’s destructive economic policies caused the über-Depression:  “Nobody in Europe sees this contradiction between fiscal policy consolidation and growth,” said Mr. Schäuble. “We have a growth-friendly process of consolidation.”

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Seriously? New York Times Calls Wall Street Front Group "Center-Left"

Some lies will not die.  As I have demonstrated repeatedly, Third Way is Wall Street on the Potomac.  It is funded secretly by Wall Street (it refuses to reveal its donors), it is openly run by Wall Street, and it lobbies endlessly for Wall Street.  Third Way, like every Pete Peterson front group, is dedicated to shredding the safety net as its highest priority and throwing the Nation back into a gratuitous recession through self-destructive austerity. 

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