A Failure to Communicate, Not a Failure to Stimulate

It’s a little difficult to reply to Prof. Mishra’s latest op-ed because it doesn’t really have a point. It goes all over the place. As far as I can tell, the only actual argument he makes against President Obama’s American Jobs Act is:

…the first stimulus bill in 2008, a $700 billion package geared toward government spending to stimulate the economy, and financed with borrowed money, has obviously failed to create new jobs.

He never offers any evidence to support this claim.

I’ve disproven this hypothesis before, but I’ll do so again — first by repeating what I said last time, then with even more evidence. If you’ve already read the first part, you might want to skip to the new stuff, though it can’t hurt to refresh your memory…   Continue reading “A Failure to Communicate, Not a Failure to Stimulate”

An Ode to the Unemployed: Someone’s Gotta Write It

You know who never writes op-ed columns? Unemployed people.

Think about it. By definition, every op-ed columnist is employed — by the newspaper (or a syndicate). Unemployed people don’t have a voice in the press. Literally.

There are 14 million unemployed people in the United States, and not a single one gets to tell the world how they feel.

So when we debate the $447 billion American Jobs Act proposed by President Obama earlier this week, the people who are most affected by it have the least say in its success or failure. There’s something fundamentally undemocratic about that.   Continue reading “An Ode to the Unemployed: Someone’s Gotta Write It”

Chandra Mishra Rides Astride a Trojan Horse

When Professor Mishra and I debated the Bush tax cuts a few weeks ago, we agreed to limit the debate to income taxes, but the Professor went a bit off-topic. He spent half his op-ed talking about corporate taxes, and I didn’t get a chance to respond.

Until now.

First, let’s see what I’m responding to:

A high corporate tax rate moves jobs overseas. Currently American companies are sitting on more than $2 trillion of cash overseas, which is used for hiring and investments in foreign operations.

The United States has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world. Two things we must do to spur job growth and expand the taxpayer base in the America: Cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, the median tax rate for the developed countries, and eliminate the taxes on repatriation of foreign earnings.

Wow. Every sentence there is either wrong or very misleading.   Continue reading “Chandra Mishra Rides Astride a Trojan Horse”

Don’t Blame the Fed for Holding Back the Recovery

Rick Perry must not spend much time in banks.

How else can you interpret his accusation that Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, “is almost treasonous” for “printing money”?

He must think that banks spend every dollar they get from the Fed. He must think that banks depend solely on the Fed for funding. Because that’s the only way that “printing money” — if that’s even what you could call what the Fed does — could result in any damage for the United States.

Rick Perry lives in the Bizarro World of Banking.

Here on Planet Earth, U.S. banks are holding $1.6 trillion in excess reserves. That’s $1.6 trillion that they’re not spending or loaning or investing. It’s just sitting there. Not doing anything for the economy.

Just to give you a little context, before this recession, excess reserves had never been higher than $20 billion.

In other words, most of the money that Perry is so angry about is just minding its own business. Nobody is spending it. Nobody is borrowing it. It’s not contributing to inflation or the depreciation of the dollar. It’s not eroding your purchasing power.   Continue reading “Don’t Blame the Fed for Holding Back the Recovery”

$63 Billion? Chump Change!

When Professor Mishra and I debated the Bush tax cuts last week, he made the following point:

Should we let the Bush tax cuts expire for those who earn more than $200,000, in order to rein in the current budget deficits, at an all-time high, to pay for government spending? It would bring in revenue of only $630 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

In other words, we have a chance to reduce the budget deficit by $63 billion per year, but we shouldn’t do it. Not because anything bad would happen. Just because it’s “only” $63 billion.

“Because it’s too small” is not a good reason. There is no magic bullet. If you’re looking for an economically neutral way to cut $1.3 trillion all at once, it doesn’t exist. You cut $50 billion here, you raise $100 billion there, and eventually you’ve reduced the deficit significantly.   Continue reading “$63 Billion? Chump Change!”