From trying to make sense of Politico. Silly Jared! Politico never makes sense:
Reading this Politico piece about how to get the economy growing in earnest again, I was struck by how out of sync the conventional/DC story is compared to what I and other growth analysts think is going on (h/t: DS).
Here’s the agenda:
…tax reform that goes way beyond individuals and rates; much deeper Social Security and Medicare changes than currently envisioned; quick movement on trade agreements, including a proposed one with Europe; an energy policy that exploits the oil and gas boom; and allowing foreign-born students with science expertise to stay here and start businesses.
Do this and there could be not an economic recovery — but a boom, many argue.
Really? I gotta say, I don’t see it. In fact, pretty much everything on that list is a) conventional wisdom in DC and b) largely a distraction from where I think the evidence is actually pointing, as I’ll stress in a moment. To be clear, raising more tax revenues and slowing health care costs are critical in terms of getting our long-term debt situation under control, and immigration reform that provides a path for folks here to stay is also a great idea. A domestic energy boom is already underway and trade agreements do squat for growth (which doesn’t mean they’re not worth it—but their growth potential is hugely overhyped).
What’s holding back growth is inattention to the need for stimulus in the near term in an economy where monetary policy is at least partially hamstrung (zero lower bound), premature fiscal contraction (premature contraculation?), too much income and wealth inequality, and, over the longer term, the lack of a deep investment agenda in public goods, including education and worker training.