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Politics

Why we should impeach and remove

EDITORS -- Effective Nov. 1, columns by Robert J. Samuelson will be available for print publication only.

WASHINGTON -- No one has worked more aggressively to trigger impeachment than the president. You may remember that, during the campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump suggested that, should he win, he might become one of the most "boring" ...Read more

Why the global economy remains so weak

EDITORS -- Effective Nov. 1, columns by Robert J. Samuelson will be available for print publication only.

WASHINGTON -- We've seen this movie before. The top economists at the International Monetary Fund -- the global agency created after World War II to promote stability and growth in the world economy -- unveil their latest forecast, which is...Read more

Dissent at the Fed

EDITORS -- Robert J. Samuelson is away. We expect his next column to move Wednesday, Oct. 16, for immediate release. Until his return, you are welcome to run ANY of our other syndicated columns in his place, including by writers your publication does not subscribe to. Go to syndication.washingtonpost.com, click on the Syndicate tab, open a ...Read more

Trump and Powell make for an odd couple

WASHINGTON -- If ever there was a case of political miscalculation, it's the collapsing relationship between President Trump and the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Jerome ("Jay") Powell.

Trump seems to have believed that he could easily manipulate Powell into embracing an aggressively easy monetary policy whose main objective was Trump'...Read more

Boomers crush millennials. Read all about it!

WASHINGTON -- As a case study in the workings of modern democracy, the handling of Social Security by successive presidents and Congress over recent decades is a deeply disturbing exercise. The facts are not in dispute. Congress and the White House have agreed to benefits for retirees and the disabled that are woefully underfunded. Rather than ...Read more

Should we love or hate 'negative' interest rates?

WASHINGTON -- The idea that interest rates could be "negative" seems so counterintuitive that it defies easy understanding. Yet, here we are. Some foreign central banks (among them, the European Central Bank and the central banks of Denmark and Sweden) have adopted them. No less a figure than former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has ...Read more

Will the real poverty rate please stand up?

WASHINGTON -- It has always been hard to measure poverty, because poverty is as much a state of mind as a condition of material well-being. Still, we seem to have made a bad situation worse.

Consider the Census Bureau's latest estimates. In 2018, the official poverty rate was 11.8%, down from 12.3% in 2017 and the lowest rate since 2001. This ...Read more

The globalization backlash

WASHINGTON -- The verdict of history is that the trade war that's now raging between the United States and China will lead to no good -- with consequences that could go well beyond trade and threaten the world's geopolitical and economic stability.

How this plays out is anyone's guess, but we should not pretend that there is no danger in ...Read more

Should the Fed fight back?

WASHINGTON -- "To the barricades."

That's one way of characterizing Bill Dudley's recent proposal that the Federal Reserve fight back against President Trump's unrelenting attacks. Although it's a phenomenally bad idea, it has the curious and paradoxical effect of revealing the primary defects of Trump's economic policies.

First, some ...Read more

Have we lost our economic dynamism?

EDITORS -- This column is intended to published on Monday, Sept. 2.

WASHINGTON -- On this Labor Day, the American economy -- the source of jobs for almost all of us -- is full of promise and peril. It is hard not to be impressed with its job-creation capacity. Since the low point of the 2007-09 Great Recession, payroll employment has increased ...Read more

The elderly aren't so poor after all

WASHINGTON -- It was probably inevitable that we would have a "retirement crisis" as hordes of baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) sprint and stumble into their "golden years." But it's a fake crisis, even though it's already becoming a staple of journalism and politics. It presumes that most Americans can't afford to retire ...Read more

The great deficit gamble

WASHINGTON -- It's getting harder and harder to write these budget columns, because it must be obvious to almost everyone by now that hardly anyone in Washington (or perhaps any place) cares about the budget deficits. The assumption is that we can raise spending and cut taxes forever -- or until some crisis occurs that forces us to do ...Read more

To heck with profits!

WASHINGTON -- We've been here before: one of those portentous moments when corporate America promises to be more socially "responsible." These episodes are, it seems, a permanent feature of modern capitalism.

Just this week, the Business Roundtable, a group representing the leaders of major corporations, issued a "statement on the purpose of a ...Read more

Learning from the great depression

WASHINGTON -- What is striking about the latest bouts of financial turmoil -- the recent wild swings in global stock and bond markets -- is that they provide a sobering reminder of the potential hazards of economic instability. There are parallels between the present tumultuous situation and past episodes of economic disruption, including the ...Read more

Here's why we may be underspending on defense

WASHINGTON -- I've written several columns this year on military spending, contending -- against conventional wisdom -- that we don't spend more than the next eight countries combined, including China and Russia. That startling claim is often made, and if it's untrue, we've been deluding ourselves for years.

Rather than overspending on defense,...Read more

Is the economy turning against Trump?

WASHINGTON -- To have a recession or not -- that is the question.

It also encompassed last week's most important political news, notwithstanding all the public attention understandably focused on the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. There is growing evidence of a possible recession. If one materializes, President Trump could lose his most ...Read more

The Fed's jobs machine

WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has not been shy about saying what he's trying to do: prolong the economy's expansion so that it creates more jobs for those who, in the past, have often felt left out. The Fed increasingly sees itself as a social agency dedicated to job creation. That -- more than the effect on stock prices -...Read more

The indestructible welfare state

WASHINGTON -- It seems unavoidable. Like it or not, the U.S. welfare system is bound to play a big role in the 2020 election. The recent Democratic debate on health care is just a prelude to a broader discussion.

The battle lines are clearly drawn. Democrats deplore rising inequality. They see a revitalized welfare state -- with universal ...Read more

Are we shortchanging the military?

WASHINGTON -- The military-industrial complex isn't bankrupting us -- though some on the left still cling nostalgically to the belief that it is. It's fiction. We need to be clear about this. As I've written before, one of the great uncovered stories in Washington is the defense budget versus the welfare state. Defense is getting drubbed, ...Read more

The Fed's dreary choices

WASHINGTON -- It's a done deal. Almost everyone, or so it seems, believes the Federal Reserve will cut short-term interest rates next week when its main decision-making body meets. President Trump favors lower rates. So do many economists, including some fierce Trump critics. Similarly, Fed Chairman Jerome "Jay" Powell says the Fed wants to ...Read more

 
 

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