Friday, February 08, 2008

Krugman: Next President Must Have Two Key Attributes for Economic Success

It's the Economy ... and the Incompetency ... and jobs, and healthcare, and interest rates, and housing, and the war ...

From Krugman:

.....some highly respected economists are issuing dire warnings. There has been a lot of buzz about a new paper by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff that compares the United States in recent years to other advanced countries that have experienced financial crises. They find that the U.S. profile resembles that of the “big five crises,” a list that includes, for example, Sweden’s 1991 crisis, which caused the unemployment rate to soar from 2 percent to 9 percent over a two-year period. January the White House will have a new occupant. If the slump is still going on, which is likely, this will offer a chance to consider other, more effective measures.

We need a new 'put america back to work' public-private initiative

In particular, now would be a good time to think about the possibility of going beyond tax cuts and rebate checks, and stimulating the economy with some much-needed public investment — say, in repairing the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

The usual rap against public spending as a form of economic stimulus is that it takes too long to get going — that by the time the money starts flowing, the recession is already over. But if this turns out to be a prolonged slump, which seems likely, that won’t be a problem.

But we won’t get any innovative action to help the economy unless the next president has a couple of key attributes.

First, he or she has to be free of the ideological blinders that make the current administration and its allies fiercely oppose the idea that the government can do anything positive aside from cutting taxes.

Second, he or she has to be knowledgeable about and interested in economic policy. Presidents don’t have to be their own chief economists, but they do need to know enough to take the right advice.

Will we have that kind of president? Stay tuned.

Here's what I think we need with a new president starting on day one:

a new 'put america back to work' WPA type public-private initiative with a focus on including:

• repairing/updating/improving all aspects of the infrastructure; include job training and career-shift education which puts americans to work in good paying jobs (with benefits) created from public-private partnerships;

• a commitment to oil/gas-free energy independence/green technology/energy innovations (mostly avoid biofuels because it does more harm than good in the long run; see recent research/reports);

• a focus on fast-tracking science and technology education for public schools, community colleges, universities (includes job-training/ed for adults); create public private partnerships and feeder schools in urban, suburban, rural hubs -- those things focus on both items above.

Those are just the off-the-top-of-my-head ideas about what the current admin has failed to do in all its glorious incompetence and abysmal domestic failures and what the next president must be held accountable to do, in addition to healthcare coverages, repairing the damage of the Iraq War, fixing the failing Afghanistan War failures, etc.

and I think it's compatible w/ what Krugman is discussing in today's column.

Krugman's entire column:


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