Obama’s Latest Fiscal Slope Offer: I’m Missing the Part Where Republicans Give Up Something

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 6:00 am

The headlines here is that the Obama Administration narrowed the demand they maintained for four years, for tax rates to increase above $250,000, and they would agree to a benefit cut for Social Security and $400 billion in unspecified Medicare cuts, and in exchange they would mostly extend current law on a few fronts (but not all) and get an unspecified amount, no more than $50 billion, in infrastructure spending.

We Have an Unemployment Problem, Not A Deficit Problem

By: Wednesday December 12, 2012 2:10 pm

The good news is that the Federal Reserve vowed to keep interest rates low until unemployment fell below 6.5%. The bad news is that they implied it would take until 2015 to get there. And it will take that long, if we continue to pull back on fiscal policy in the middle of a lukewarm [...]

Boehner’s Counter-Offer: Based on Impromptu Bowles Super Committee Testimony

By: Tuesday December 4, 2012 6:20 am

In trying to make a quick understanding of the Boehner counter-offer on the fiscal slope yesterday, I knew that his reference to the “Bowles plan” was not a reference to Bowles-Simpson but rather something Bowles wrote or said in November 2011. It turns out that it came from testimony before the failed Super Committee, where [...]

White House Makes Aggressive Opening Bid in Fiscal Slope Negotiations

By: Thursday November 29, 2012 3:54 pm

In the context of doing a deficit reduction deal at all, this is an extremely strong bid that Tim Geithner delivered to John Boehner today. Now we know why Boehner whined and cried all afternoon. Let’s walk through it. House Republicans said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John [...]

Deficit-Obsessed Media Leaves Unemployment Story at the Side of the Road

By: Wednesday November 28, 2012 2:07 pm

Not to harp on Raul Grijalva, but his media critique in this op-ed is spot-on, even if you strip away the partisan lens through which he frames this. The real story is that we have a jobs shortage crisis in this country, and Republicans haven’t lifted a finger to help. Democrats have put up the [...]

Sandy-Induced Unemployment Spike Shows Need to Focus on Jobs, Not Austerity

By: Thursday November 15, 2012 7:02 am

First-time jobless claims spiked to 439,000 after nearly a year under 400,000. The reason for this sudden weakness in the US economy? Suprestorm Sandy. This sharp increase is due to Hurricane Sandy as claims increased significantly in the impacted areas. Note the spike in 2005 related to hurricane Katrina – we are seeing a similar [...]

For the Long-Term Unemployed, It Is A Fiscal Cliff

By: Tuesday November 13, 2012 6:19 am

Liberals are working hard to more accurately name the fiscal cliff. They want to remove the sense of immediacy, the idea that the world would end on January 1 if Congress takes no action on expiring tax and spending policies. Democrats would benefit from a strategic standpoint from “going over the cliff” in many cases, [...]

Fiscal Policy, Even “Avoiding the Cliff,” Looks Negative for 2013

By: Monday October 8, 2012 6:20 am

As I always point out, Goldman Sachs has an excellent research department, led by Jan Hatzius. Their economic forecasts are almost always on target; if there’s one thing Goldman understands, it’s money. They were the ones who found that federal fiscal policy turned negative in mid-2010. And they now have updated that forecast, incorporating the [...]

Fiscal Cliff Talks Convene in Washington

By: Thursday September 20, 2012 10:56 am

Members of Congress and the White House have begun to hold more serious talks on the fiscal cliff (actually, fiscal slope is the better term for it, as the fiscal contraction does not all hit right away). Predictably, the talks are focusing on Bush tax cuts, even though the automatic spending cuts and the payroll [...]

Fiscal Policies Already in Place Will Depress US Economy in 2013, Regardless of Fiscal Cliff

By: Thursday August 23, 2012 7:41 am

As I noted yesterday, it’s not the threat of recession from the fiscal cliff that is despairing so much as it’s the CBO estimate that, even if the fiscal cliff gets put off, we’re staring at anemic 1.7% growth for 2013, and an unemployment rate remaining above 8% by the end of next year. This [...]

Unemployment Benefits for 2 Million Will Expire at End of 2012, Without Congressional Action

By: Wednesday August 15, 2012 8:55 am

Perhaps the most unassuming of “fiscal cliff” policies that expire at the end of the year is extended unemployment benefits. Benefits have already been reduced from 99 weeks to, at most, 79 weeks, in the states, and they will fall to a maximum of 73 weeks by the end of the year. But a series [...]

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