Evolution in Action
Larry Meyer on the Chairman

These Are Not the Ones We Have Been Waiting for...

Ed Luce writes:

Politics & Foreign policy : Barack Obama on Wednesday set up a high-level panel of American chief executives in his effort to double US exports over the next five years, even as economists were sceptical of his chances of getting anywhere near that target. The move, which the US president said would help create higher-paying manufacturing jobs, comes amid mounting concern about the persistence of high unemployment in the build-up to November’s midterm elections.... “Simply put, export growth leads to job growth and economic growth,” said Mr Obama. “This isn’t just about where American jobs are today. This is where American jobs will be tomorrow.” Mr Obama’s new Export Council will be headed by James McNerney, chief executive of Boeing, and Ursula Burns, chief executive of Xerox.

Mark Zandi is polite:

"There has never been a five-year period where the US has doubled its exports,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, a research group. “If you wanted to achieve this, you would probably have to overhaul the US tax system and have a value added tax as well as engineering a depreciation in the US dollar. This would be a tall order.”

But Obama thinks he has to do something--and according to Ed won't lift a finger to do something that might actually create jobs:

Because of the backlash against spending, Mr Obama has made only token efforts to push the bill. He is caught between the rock of anti-spending sentiment and the hard place of an economy that is seeing a fall in demand.

It is remarkable. I had expected that we economists would have to fight Democratic political advisors who would be pushing for policies that were bad in the long run but that gained votes in the short run. I had never expected to be fighting Democratic political advisors who are pushing policies that are:

  • bad in the long run.
  • bad in the short run.
  • lose votes too.

And Ed quotes me:

“It looks like President Obama’s political advisers are getting the upper hand in the debate about the need for a second stimulus,” says Brad DeLong, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “If they talked to political scientists, they would know that in an election year the health of the economy determines the voters’ mood and right now that mood is looking ominous.”

I wish... I wish... I wish for an administration that would commit itself to attempting to pursue the best possible policies, and to go out and publicly make the case for them.

I also wish for a pony: