Friday, July 2, 2010

Stimulus v. Austerity & Debt Reduction

We have a really interesting public policy debate ongoing about stimulus vs. debt reduction. One part of me thinks debt reduction very good (score Taleb, Ferguson, Sachs, Merkel, and Cameron), but maybe not now (score Keynes, Krugman, DeLong, and the Obama Administration). Following are a number of sites that have discussed the issue and reported about the positions of the various parties. It's really an intelligent policy debate, and one that can have real consequences for our daily lives.

  1. http://www.emerginvest.com/Source/EconomicForecastsOpinions/2010/6/30/ferguson-roubini-vs-krugman-slowdown-or-depression-for-the-u.s.html
  2. http://www.businessinsider.com/niall-ferguson-europe-banks-2010-6?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+clusterstock+%28ClusterStock%29
  3. http://www.businessinsider.com/niall-ferguson-sovereign-debt-2010-5#-1
  4. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdesk/2010/06/nassim-taleb-answers-viewer-qu.html. Here I must say that Taleb, going with his enigmatic persona, is too brief and really dodges a good, direct question challenging his position vis a vis Krugman's arguments. It seems to me that a lack of growth can create instability: consider the the Depression era politics of Europe, and more specifically, Germany.
  5. http://www.businessinsider.com/if-youre-not-bored-youre-not-paying-attention-to-the-stimulus-vs-austerity-debate-2010-6. I think that this writer has a valid point: it's probably not an all-or-nothing perspective that we should take on the austerity vs. stimulus argument, and many other factors should receive consideration as well.
  6. http://www.businessinsider.com/my-question-for-paul-krugman-and-brad-delong-2010-6. Another good perspective considering both arguments. The real problem: we (the U.S. specifically) carried way too much debt coming into this crisis. Without this prior debt load, the Keynesian perspective makes sense without question (freshwater economists not withstanding). But that's not where we're at. Are we in damned if we do and damned if we don't?
  7. http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/06/the-historian-vs-the-economist. From Tom Ashbrook's radio program "On Point".
  8. http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/06/niall-ferguson-a-checkup-on-global-financial. Here you can listen to the program and see the great video of rapping Keynes vs. rapping Hayek. Great economics teaching tool!


     

    Okay, this has been quite a collection. It does show that economic policy decisions are not an easy matter, yet they can greatly affect our daily lives. Thanks for reading.