Simon’s reaction to Obama’s speech last night is up at The New Republic.I think Simon and I agree that the speech was strong on long-term issues, but did not shed much-needed light on how we can emerge from our short-term challenges. One way to position this is to say that if we really are facing a potential “lost decade,” then talking about the long term is a bit premature. Imagine ten years of zero real GDP growth as opposed to 2.5% real GDP growth (with population continue to grow at 1-1.5% or something like that). That would take decades to make up (if it is even possible) and could outweigh any well-meaning efforts to bolster our long-term government finances.
On the other hand, I’m a bit more positive than Simon, because I wasn’t expecting the details of the banking rescue plan in a major speech to the whole country, for both practical reasons (I don’t think they are ready yet) and political ones (Obama wants to keep some measure of distance from whatever Geithner does). If I have time later today I’ll say something about the long-term issues.
Originally published at the Baseline Scenario and reproduced here with the author’s permission.
Edwin G. Dolan is an economist and educator with a Ph.D. from Yale University. Early in his career, he was a member of the economics faculty at Dartmouth College, the University of Chicago, and George Mason University. From 1990 to 2001, he taught in Moscow, Russia, where he and his wife founded the American Institute of Business and Economics (AIBEc), an independent, not-for-profit MBA program. Since 2001, he has taught at several universities in Europe, including Central European University in Budapest, the University of Economics in Prague, and the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, where he has an ongoing annual visiting appointment. During breaks in his teaching career, he worked in Washington, D.C. as an economist for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and as a regulatory analyst for the Interstate Commerce Commission, and later served a stint in Almaty as an adviser to the National Bank of Kazakhstan. When not lecturing abroad, he makes his home in San Juan Islands, Washington.
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