September 19, 2004 |
Economist friends who have served in government like to joke that after a newly arrived president has finished admiring the Oval Office, he starts hunting for the secret room containing the knobs that control the economy. It's always a fruitless search. Still, presidents are not completely powerless to affect the economy. Since World War II, the economy seems to have performed better under Democratic presidents than under more overtly pro-business Republican chief executives.
November 18, 1985 |
Nobel laureate Franco Modigliani headed the procession of intrigued American economic theorists. He had come, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor was reported as saying, to see "the Argentine miracle." To which one of those Argentine economic theorists depicted in newspaper comic strips holding forth from park benches replied: "It really would be a miracle if he finds the miracle."
January 5, 2014 |
As the acute problems of the Affordable Care Act become increasingly apparent, it also has become clear that we need new ways of ensuring access to healthcare for all Americans. We should begin with an examination of health insurance. Insurance is about protecting against risk. In the health arena, the risk at issue is of large and unexpected medical expenses. The proper role of health insurance should be to finance necessary and expensive medical services without the patient incurring devastating financial consequences.
December 4, 2009 |
Congress used to raise taxes to pay for America's wars. Isn't it time to return to that practice? In 1798, Congress enacted its first direct tax -- on land, houses and slaves -- to pay for the naval expansion in what historians now call the Quasi-War with France. In 1804, Congress levied a 2.5% tax on top of import duties already in effect to create a Mediterranean Fund to pay for additional ships and naval operations against the Barbary pirates. Eight years later, Congress doubled existing import duties and levied new taxes, then issued bonds when that revenue proved inadequate to pay for the War of 1812 against Britain.
December 10, 2002 |
John W. Snow underscored a major shift Monday in his brief remarks after being nominated as the next Treasury secretary. He mouthed the usual platitudes about "small businesses," "medium-sized businesses" and "large businesses." And then he hastened to add, "and investors." That's the reality of postindustrial America today: It's the investor class, stupid. Which is why Paul H. O'Neill, the ousted Treasury secretary, and White House economic advisor Lawrence B. Lindsey had to go.
March 3, 2001 |
Hollywood studios and writers over the last six weeks barely inched toward a resolution of critical financial issues to avert a possible strike, despite an impression in the industry that they were making progress, according to participants on both sides of the contract talks. Although negotiations between studios and the Writers Guild of America did not break off formally until Thursday, both sides say they realized talks would be fruitless almost immediately after they started on Jan. 22.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 3, 1998 |
The essential difference between politicians and investors is that when uncertainty rises, politicians generally want to do more, while investors generally want to do less. "Doing more" usually means increased public expenditure and economic regulation. "Doing less" means reducing investors' exposure to risk; they sacrifice a higher rate of return for a higher level of security. In other words, politicians are naturally at cross-purposes with investors.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 28, 1993 |
Republican haggling about the party's future is clouded and confused by jargon and slogans. In this debate, no word is more abused or less relevant than "conservative." Is Barry Goldwater a conservative? He favors a woman's right to choose abortion. Alan Greenspan? He supports President Clinton's plan to increase income taxes and impose an energy tax. How about Milton Friedman and William F. Buckley Jr.? They want to legalize marijuana. Richard Nixon?
January 6, 1991 |
While Jan. 2 was a day of personal triumph for a hard-working, attentive, nice guy from Anaheim, it was also a day of disappointment for conservatives. Once more, opportunity and conviction lost out to moderation and management. Once again, activist conservatives are reminded in what little regard our new governor holds the dominant wing of his party. Lost opportunity because Pete Wilson could have selected someone like Gaddi Vasquez or Dave Dreier to replace him in the Senate.
June 23, 1987 |
Let's begin with the obvious. Any central banker knows how to overcome inflation. Since 1945, central bankers in Western Europe, Latin America and elsewhere have repeatedly, if temporarily, halted and reversed price escalation. All that the central banker needs to do is slow the printing presses, push interest rates up, discourage business and consumer borrowing--and precipitate a recession.