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Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

Deal-maker Trump Can't Deal

| Aug. 28, 2017

Trump has threatened new trade barriers against China while simultaneously depending on Beijing’s help to rein in North Korea’s alarming nuclear weapons program. These two aspects of US policy toward China are at odds.

It feels inappropriate to write a column that treats the two issues on a par. To state the obvious, the stakes are vastly higher in a potential US-North Korean military conflict, especially when it comes to the real danger that nuclear weapons will be used, but even if they are not. But we need to consider the Chinese trade issues together with the Korean nuclear issues because the Trump White House does. (Chief strategist Steve Bannon, for example, had the priorities reversed. Just before he was fired he said that the Korea issue was a “side show” compared with the all-important “economic war with China.”)

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

Fiscal Education for the G-7

| May 26, 2016
As the G-7 Leaders gather in Ise-Shima, Japan, on May 26-27, the still fragile global economy is on their minds.  They would like a road map to address stagnant growth. Their approach should be to talk less about currency wars and more about fiscal policy.Fiscal policy vs. monetary policyUnder the conditions that have prevailed in most major countries over the last ten years, we have reason to think that fiscal policy is a more powerful tool for affecting the level of economic activity, as compared to monetary policy.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

The US & Europe Could Look South to Re-learn Countercyclical Fiscal Policy

| Oct. 28, 2010
During much of the last decade, U.S. fiscal policy has been procyclical, that is, destabilizing.   We wasted the opportunity of the 2003-07 expansion by running large budget deficits.   As a result, in 2010, Washington now feels constrained by inherited debts to withdraw fiscal stimulus at a time when unemployment is still high.   Fiscal policy in the UK and other European countries has been even more destabilizing over the last decade.  Governments decide to expand when the economy is strong and then contract when it is weak, thereby exacerbating the business cycle.