nytimes.com — The U.S. economy finally seems to be recovering in earnest, with housing on the rebound and job creation outpacing growth in the working-age population. But the news is good, not great — it will still take years to restore full employment — and it has been a very long time coming. Why has the slump been so protracted? The answer — backed by overwhelming evidence — is that this is what normally happens after a severe financial crisis. But Mitt Romney’s economic team rejects that evidence. And this denialism bodes ill for policy if Mr. Romney wins next month.
washingtonpost.com — Everywhere you turn, President Obama is accused of not offering a clear second-term agenda. It’s not surprising that Republicans say it, but you also hear it from quarters sympathetic to the president. But how true is the charge? The president does lack a crisp, here’s-my-plan set of sound bites. What’s less obvious is whether this should matter to anyone. Mitt Romney’s five-point plan sounds good but is quite vague and, upon inspection, looks rather like five-point plans issued by earlier Republican presidential candidates. Moreover, Romney has been resolutely unspecific about his tax plans, leading to the understandable suspicion that he’s hiding something politically unsavory, either in the popular deductions he’d have to slash or in the programs he’d have to get rid of. Obama, by contrast, has been far more straightforward about what he would do about the deficit.
independent.co.uk — A presidential election campaign approaches its climax, as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney criss-cross the land in search of the last few votes. But my thoughts have turned to a couple of candidates from long ago, who have been back in the news these past few days. One is recently deceased George McGovern, best known for his landslide defeat at the hands of Richard Nixon 40 years ago.. The other is Robert Kennedy, indirect subject of a new documentary on HBO devoted to his widow Ethel. But the mere names of Bobby Kennedy and George McGovern get you thinking: whatever happened to the old-fashioned American liberalism under whose banner they so proudly fought? Not today's diluted "liberalism" as practised by Obama, and which is little more than a schoolyard taunt hurled by right-wing talk-show hosts, but the liberalism that set out to right the wrongs of American society, first and foremost the scourge of poverty.
thenation.com — Here’s a twist: in the second presidential debate, one candidate used the word “poverty” without saying anything about poverty; the other didn’t use the word at all but managed to speak a fair amount about it. Make sense? Stay with me. Governor Romney used this talking point: “There are 3 1/2 million more women living in poverty today than when the president took office”; and again, “I mentioned 3 1/2 million women more now in poverty than four years ago.” He also used what has become a staple of his campaign as a bludgeon against President Obama’s record: “There are more people in poverty—one out of six people [lives] in poverty.” What he didn’t do was offer any notion as to how a Romney administration would create opportunities for low-income people—people who decidedly aren’t included in his binders.
consortiumnews.com — America’s growth-inhibiting inequality is making it less able to compete, and less able to serve as an exemplar for others, in the global arena. Ideologically driven myopia, which mistakenly cherishes anything in the private sector status quo, even when it is destructive of free markets and vigorous competition, and disdains anything government does, even when it is necessary for economic growth and the fullest use of human capital, is needlessly weakening the relative as well as absolute position of the United States.
economix.blogs.nytimes.com — If tax cuts for high-income earners generate substantial real economic activity and job creation, then we should expect to see two things in the data. First, employment growth should be stronger in the years after tax cuts for these earners. Second, parts of the country with a larger share of high-income earners should experience stronger employment growth after national tax cuts for these taxpayers, because the places where they live receive a larger share of the national tax cuts. What do we actually see after combing through a half-century of economic data? Neither of these predictions is borne out. Tax cuts for everyone else are a much more effective path to job creation. Our research found a statistically significant and positive relationship between tax cuts for the bottom 95 percent and job growth at both the national and state levels.
nytimes.com — Mitt Romney talks a lot about jobs. But does he have a plan to create any? You can defend President Obama’s jobs record — recovery from a severe financial crisis is always difficult, and especially so when the opposition party does its best to block every policy initiative you propose. And things have definitely improved over the past year. Still, unemployment remains high after all these years, and a candidate with a real plan to make things better could make a strong case for his election. But Mr. Romney, it turns out, doesn’t have a plan; he’s just faking it. In saying that, I don’t mean that I disagree with his economic philosophy; I do, but that’s a separate point. I mean, instead, that Mr. Romney’s campaign is telling lies: claiming that its numbers add up when they don’t, claiming that independent studies support its position when those studies do no such thing.
thegrio.com — Following President Obama’s strong performance in Tuesday’s debate, Republicans, including Mitt Romney, have seized on a new line of attack: the president isn’t being specific enough about his second term agenda. Non-partisan analysts are making the same claim, namely that Obama must provide more details about what he would do in his next four years to win. They’re wrong. Even though he’s not talking about these ideas much on the campaign trail, it’s likely Obama would push for immigration and energy reform and a long-term budget deficit reduction deal in a second term. But perhaps the most important goal of an Obama second term, one he has nodded at himself at times, is preserving the accomplishments of his first term.
Monday's final campaign debate focuses on foreign policy. Will it focus on our policy of running huge trade deficits with China? Every dollar of trade deficits makes our country a dollar poorer. That trade deficit is the deficit that our Washington elites should be worried about.
Last summer, my family took what we would later decide was our favorite family vacation thus far. We packed the car and headed north of Washington, DC, to Chautauqua Institute in New York state. I didn't know it at the time, but our trip took us through New York's 29th congressional district, represented by Republican congressman Tom Reed — a big "zero" on middle class issues.
The 29th has an interesting history. It was a "packed" Republican district until 2002, when redistricting turned it into a "cracked" district where neither party had a significant voting bloc. The 2008 election reversed the "crack" in Democrats favor. An unfortunate series of events in 2010 opened the "crack" in the 29th again, and Tom Reed fell through it.