Blogs: Kelly Hanlon
Since the 2011 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama continues arguing that we must “out-educate and out-innovate” all other nations. Among the newest agencies and councils created to examine the question of innovation is the Council for Jobs and Competitiveness* at which the President stated, “We've got to make sure that we've got the best infrastructure to move people and goods and services throughout the economy.”
The question of course is what kind of infrastructure the President might have in mind. A close reading of his recent speeches and writings reveals that though the President has moderated his rhetoric, his actual positions are unyielding. He remains on a spending spree. Among other items, Obama plans to “invest” in research and development programs for clean energy, biomedical research, and information technology and to revamp the America’s education system with his program, “Race to the Top.” However, the government’s investment policy is really its spending policy. And, we cannot spend our way into prosperity nor, for that matter, into jobs and competitiveness.
James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, was interviewed on CNBC’s SquawkBox on February 28, 2011. During the final round of questions, Dr. Bullard responded to a question about the effectiveness of the many new policies implemented during the Great Recession. Perhaps not surprisingly, he replied that the totality of the Fed’s policies—including their liquidity policies at the time of the original crisis, their purchases of the mortgage-backed securities, and QE2—were most effective. He identified TARP as a “mixed bag” but continued on before concluding that it was “mostly successful.” Finally, Bullard declared the “marginal impact” of fiscal policy by reasoning that people understand that all that happens is that there is a “jumbling up” in the timing of taxation and expenditures.
Playing Chicken in a “Topsy-Turvy World”: The debate over the debt-ceiling and what it means (and doesn’t mean) for America's long-term economic order
A recent Washington Times article argued that the current discussion on Capitol Hill about raising or lowering the Treasury's debt ceiling was akin to playing a game of chicken. The real game of chicken isn't between the Republicans and Democrats over the appropriate level for our debt-ceiling but rather how we racked up $14.3 trillion in debt. And, rather than play the blame game, Congressmen and women should focus on restoring economic order for the long-run.
Last Sunday, Americans gathered in their living rooms with friends and family across the country to watch the Super Bowl—the gold standard of American athletic events. No other championship game in this country draws the attention that the Super Bowl does.
Those who turned in for the pre-game coverage were treated to an exciting and, at times, hostile interview between Bill O’Reilly and President Barack Obama. As the session moved from the particular politics of the day to the lagging economy over the last few years, O’Reilly asked the President what he found most surprising about the job. After a bit of give and take, Obama replied, “When you're in this job, everything you say could affect markets.” In the world that we currently inhabit, we know this to be true—press releases and speeches by public officials are closely guarded until they are delivered. Even then, their public release is carefully orchestrated. When politicians and bureaucrats speak, markets respond.
BY KELLY HANLON: