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Archive: November 2008

Auto Bailout

I've been following the debate around the proposed auto bailout and have ended up commenting a bit in the media. Today I appeared on "Tell Me More," the NPR program hosted by journalist Michel Martin.

You can listen to the whole segment (about 20 minutes) here. The other two guests on to talk about the auto bailout were Washington Post columnist Warren Brown and Detroit-based journalist Mary Chapman.

UPDATE 12/03/08: On November 18, I participated in an hour-long public affairs program on the auto and financial bailouts on PressTV.com (video here); and, on November 25, I appeared with Jonathan Tasini on the Angie Coiro Show in San Francisco to discuss the auto bailout (podcast here).

The Guardian: In Praise of CEPR

Today's Guardian has an editorial entitled "In Praise Of ... the Center for Economic and Policy Research." It is hard to imagine higher praise for my employer. Here is the editorial in its entirety:

It may be billed as a summit to redraw the world economic order, but the Washington conference this weekend is bound to attract more than its fair share of compromise merchants and faint-hearts. Happily, a few grumps will be on hand to puncture complacencies and challenge the consensus. Among them are likely to be Mark Weisbrot and Dean Baker, the driving forces behind the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Set up in 1999 with a total budget smaller than some other thinktanks' entertainment funds, CEPR has been a professional thorn in the side of orthodoxy. The dotcom bubble? It called that, while others frothed about a new economic era. The American housing bubble? Baker saw it coming in 2002, and even sold his family home. But if CEPR were only about spotting market trends, it might as well have gone into fund management. No, what makes the institution so valuable is that it is one of the few US thinktanks to analyse domestic and international economics from an avowedly progressive point of view. It helped successfully defend America's social security system against George Bush. It attacks the terrible policies of the International Monetary Fund with the fervour of a terrier (Weisbrot was at it again yesterday, telling reporters "the IMF needs to get out of the development game"). Every assault is made with economic rigour, so that even hard-boiled conservatives acknowledge their case. In a world of Goliaths, CEPR makes a rather effective David.

Peter Schiff Was Right

One of the best things about the internet is its ability to hold people accountable for what they've said in the past. Back before the internet, people such as Ben Stein and Arthur Laffer could make predictions that were horribly wrong with little or no consequences to their reputations. The internets, particularly YouTube, though, has changed all that. The video below contrasts the almost criminally incorrect economic analysis of Stein, Laffer, and a host of other economic talking heads and business-news hosts, with the completely prescient views of Peter Schiff.

I find the consistently mean-spirited dismissiveness aimed at Schiff particularly appalling. The apologists openly laugh at Schiff as he's speaking and the hosts subtely and at least one time openly mock him --providing some of the most compelling examples I've seen of exactly how social forces work to resist rational, evidence-based attempts to denounce financial bubbles.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan, via JB.

Yes, We Did!

Getty image of Obama in the rain

We're At The Crossroads

Is there a greater American than Bruce Springsteen?

I doubt it.

Vote Early

Poster of Obama flexing bicep: Yes, We Can!

Economists Letter Supporting Stimulus

If you're an economist, and you think the economy needs a two-to-three percent of GDP shot in the arm, you have until November 14 to sign the economists letter that CEPR is helping to circulate. Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Solow (both Nobel Prize winners) and Eileen Appelbaum are the lead signers.

World Champions

My sister called this the "greatest moment ever on Channel 6" (the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia). Hang in there for the first 22 seconds, even if you're not a Phillies fan.