Politics, Moderate



Trump’s Risky Nationalism

“For the first time since the end of the Second World War, the future relationship of America to the world is not fully settled.”

-- Henry Kissinger, in an interview with The Atlantic in its December issue.

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump is an avowed economic nationalist. He promises to put American interests “first” in ...Read more

Why Italy Matters

WASHINGTON -- Italy may be the next stop on the world’s journey to more economic nationalism. First we had Brexit -- Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Then we had the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president, pledging to put “America first” in his policies. Now Italy may be treading down the same path.

...Read more

Jobless by Choice -- or Pain?

WASHINGTON -- The work ethic is such a central part of the American character that it’s hard to imagine it fading. But that’s what seems to be happening in one important part of the labor force. Among men 25-to-54 -- so-called prime-age male workers -- about one in eight are dropouts. They don’t have a job and, unlike the officially ...Read more

Greenspan: Why Productivity Lags

WASHINGTON -- Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, weighed in last week on one of the pressing issues facing the Trump administration and the country -- slow economic growth. Greenspan's explanation is novel and is bound to be controversial. To preview: He blames the welfare state and overall uncertainty for ...Read more

Trump's mission impossible?

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump, it seems, embraces the old dictum: Make no small plans. Already, he's published an agenda for his first 100 days in office, recalling Franklin's Roosevelt's launching of the New Deal. Not surprisingly, near the top of Trump's to-do list is a pledge to double economic growth from its recent desultory rate of 2 ...Read more

The dysfunction goes deeper than the candidates

WASHINGTON -- Regardless of who wins this bitterly contested election, the victor will face the same basic, daunting, task: reconciling the vast promises that have been made, both in this campaign and earlier, with the government's limited ability to meet those promises.

It won't be easy.

You can blame Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or ...Read more

The Real National Embarrassment

WASHINGTON -- However this election turns out, the 2016 campaign for the White House will undoubtedly be remembered for its vulgarity, mean-spiritedness and mendacity. It has been a national embarrassment. But a parallel failing is less noticed: the unwillingness of both candidates -- Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump -- to come to grips with ...Read more

Why We Should Worry About Deutsche Bank

WASHINGTON -- Deutsche Bank is in trouble -- and that's bad news for all of us.

Deutsche Bank is Germany's biggest bank with 100,000 employees around the world and operations in more than 70 countries. Its assets total about $1.7 trillion. One worrying sign of the bank's distress is its stock price, which is trading now at about $14 a share, ...Read more

Why This Campaign Was So Nasty

WASHINGTON -- To understand this nasty and nutty campaign, you have to go back to 1973, which is before roughly 60 percent of today's Americans were alive. The backward trip in time illuminates how the United States and, indeed, most advanced nations, became addicted to rapid economic growth and how this, in turn, polluted our politics. It bred ...Read more

Measuring Economic Progress

WASHINGTON -- Where are living standards the highest? You might think that's an easy question to answer. Just take a country's total income (in the United States, that's now about $18 trillion) and divide by the nation's population (U.S.: now about 320 million). The result is per capita income (now about $56,000 for every man, woman and child in...Read more

Split Your Ticket

WASHINGTON -- There was a time when ticket splitting was common. Voters would support one party's candidate for president and the other's for Congress. At its peak in 1972, ticket splitters represented 30 percent of voters, reports political scientist Alan Abramowitz of Emory University. Since then, the practice has gone into eclipse. In 2012, ...Read more

Trump vs. The Media

WASHINGTON -- Regardless of who wins the election, the press -- or, at any rate, what used to be called the "mainstream" media -- may be the big loser. Donald Trump is making a case that he's the victim of an orchestrated media campaign to defeat him, and although the charge is not true, it may stick among his devoted followers.

We live in an ...Read more

Financial crisis 2.0?

WASHINGTON -- While everyone fixates on the U.S. election, developments in the world economy threaten to create problems for the next president and, possibly, trigger a major financial crisis. A little-noticed study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delivers the bad news. It finds that global debt -- including the debts of governments, ...Read more

The New Reactionaries!

WASHINGTON -- A reactionary is someone who wishes to return, usually unrealistically, to an earlier and more appealing era. We have two reactionaries running for president. Both peddle agendas that promise to re-create a reassuring past. We are being fed different varieties of nostalgia. Neither will work.

Donald Trump is most explicit. He ...Read more

Trump's BFF: Rosy Scenario

WASHINGTON -- Rosy Scenario is alive and well. There is a long and dubious tradition among politicians of projecting high -- usually unrealistic -- rates of economic growth as a way of avoiding unpopular political choices. We can do everything, because rapid growth and torrents of tax revenues will pay the bills. That's Rosy's message, and ...Read more

Will TPP Rise From the dead?

WASHINGTON -- The question about the TPP -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Obama's signature trade agreement -- is whether it's already gone to the political morgue or whether it's still in intensive care. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump oppose the agreement, while the president has urged ratification. With Obama's term ending ...Read more

The Wrong Immigration Debate

WASHINGTON -- The conversation -- or argument -- we've been having on immigration has been remarkably skewed. It's been all about the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, otherwise known as the "undocumented." Actually, what counts far more are the estimated 31 million immigrants who are here legally and the roughly 1 million who gain legal ...Read more

The Last Days of Free Trade?

WASHINGTON -- Guess what? A President Trump could adopt his new trade agenda without any authorization from Congress -- and this could trigger a global trade war and a deep U.S. recession. Policies that promise to make us stronger economically could do the opposite.

That's the main take-away of a study by the Peterson Institute, a Washington ...Read more

The Old Fed is Dead

WASHINGTON -- The betting is that the Federal Reserve won't raise interest rates at this week's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, its key policymaking body. There are already complaints that the Fed, which cut short-term rates to near zero in late 2008, is waiting too long to reverse low rates. Last December, the Fed increased rates ...Read more

Will the Real Child Poverty Rate Please Stand Up?

WASHINGTON -- America is on the mend. Witness the good news in the latest version of the nation's "economic report card": the Census Bureau's annual estimates of the median household income and the poverty rate.

Here are the crucial numbers. In 2015, median household income -- the midpoint, with half of households above and half below -- rose 5...Read more

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