Jan 07 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: The Big Fail

It’s that time again: the annual meeting of the American Economic Association and affiliates, a sort of medieval fair that serves as a marketplace for bodies (newly minted Ph.D.’s in search of jobs), books and ideas. And this year, as in past meetings, there is one theme dominating discussion: the ongoing economic crisis.

This isn’t how things were supposed to be. If you had polled the economists attending this meeting three years ago, most of them would surely have predicted that by now we’d be talking about how the great slump ended, not why it still continues.

So what went wrong? The answer, mainly, is the triumph of bad ideas.

New York Times Editorial: The Next Round of Tax Increases

When the White House announced the deal on the fiscal cliff last week, it was quick – and correct – to note that much was left undone. There was still “substantial” room, the administration said, to raise taxes on high-income Americans, to reform corporate taxes and to reform entitlements, with the aim of “balanced” deficit reduction.

The White House seems to think the deal has established a firm foundation for building a new fiscal house. In fact, the deal could make tax reform less likely. And without reform to raise new revenue, deficit reduction would have to rely heavily on spending cuts, an outcome that can be averted only by persuasive and sustained leadership from President Obama.

Mark Weibrot: Why Paul Krugman Should Be President Obama’s Pick for US Treasury Secretary

Not only is he the world’s best-known economist, Krugman has the intellect and integrity to resist Wall Street’s calls for austerity

President Obama hasn’t picked a treasury secretary yet for his second term, so he has a chance to do something different.

He could ignore what Wall Street and conservative media interests want and pick somebody who would represent what the electorate voted for. And not even just the people who voted for him: there are a lot of Republican voters out there who are also unemployed.

It would be great to have a treasury secretary who can cut through all that crap. And since most of Wall Street’s money went to Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the run-up to the November election, Obama doesn’t owe anything to the people who crashed our economy and are now fighting to make senior citizens, working and poor people reduce their living standards.

The renowned actor and human rights activist Danny Glover has launched a petition to the president for him to nominate Paul Krugman for secretary of the treasury. It’s worth signing.

Michael Moore: Six Years Ago, Chuck Hagel Told the Truth About Iraq

You might have seen that on Monday President Obama will likely nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, to be Secretary of Defense.

But what you probably haven’t seen — because everyone has forgotten — is that back in 2007, Chuck Hagel went totally crazy and told the truth about our invasion of Iraq. Here’s what he said:

   People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.

Robert Reich: The Hoax of Entitlement Reform

It has become accepted economic wisdom, uttered with deadpan certainty by policy pundits and budget scolds on both sides of the aisle, that the only way to get control over America’s looming deficits is to “reform entitlements.”

But the accepted wisdom is wrong. [..]

Taming future deficits requires three steps having nothing to do with entitlements: Limiting the growth of overall healthcare costs, cutting our bloated military, and ending corporate welfare (tax breaks and subsidies targeted to particular firms and industries).

Robert Kuttner: The Jobs Numbers and the Deficit

The private sector created 155,000 jobs in December, almost exactly the average for the 11 previous months of 2012 and for all of 2011. Once again, it is a record far too weak to produce real progress towards either an adequate recovery or decent growth in wages and salaries. At this rate of job creation, according to the Economic Policy Institute, it will take another decade to get back to the employment rate of early 2008.

According to the Labor Department, there were 7.5 million net jobs lost in the recession, and a gain of only 3.5 million net jobs so far in the recovery. We have 4 million fewer jobs now than five years ago, and a much larger labor force.

Consider the connection between these tepid job figures and the debate that still occupies center-stage in Washington — deficit reduction. Supposedly, businesses are not creating enough jobs because business leaders are anxious about the Federal debt.