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Mexicans Protest Against NAFTA talks, as Their Government Fights to Save It

 08/17/2017 - 06:11
Civil organizations demonstrate to protest the start of NAFTA renegotiations, in the streets of Mexico City, Mexico, 16 August 2017. EPA/Jose Mendez

While Mexican government negotiators fight to save the North American Free Trade Agreement during talks in Washington, thousands of members of social and trade unions on Wednesday protested in Mexico City against the deal, claiming it marginalizes local farmers and hurts the country.

Plain Text Author: 
Andrea Rodés/ EFE

[OP-ED]: El gran debate de Trump sobre el crecimiento económico

 08/15/2017 - 10:01
No hay suficiente dinero para satisfacer todas nuestras demandas, incluso a tasas más altas de crecimiento económico. Habrá conflictos entre gastos privados y gubernamentales; entre gastos nacionales y locales; entre gastos de salud y gastos de no-salud; y entre gastos dedicados a los ancianos versus los jóvenes. El presente es polémico; el futuro quizás sea peor.

La discusión entre el gobierno de Trump y sus críticos sobre una tasa de crecimiento económico sostenible suscita profundas preguntas sobre el futuro de Estados Unidos. ¿Ingresamos en un período prolongado de crecimiento económico lento? Si es así, ¿cómo altera eso la sociedad y la política? ¿O acaso las medidas “correctas” elevarán el crecimiento económico a niveles del pasado?

[OP-ED]: Trump’s great growth debate

 08/09/2017 - 08:58
There isn’t enough money to satisfy all our demands, even at higher rates of economic growth. There will be conflicts between private and governmental spending; between national and local spending; between health spending and non-health spending; and between spending on the old versus the young. The present is contentious; the future may be worse.

The argument between the Trump administration and its critics over a sustainable rate of economic growth raises profound questions about America’s future. Have we entered a prolonged period of slow growth? If so, how does that alter society and politics? Or will the “right” policies raise growth to past levels? 

If you haven’t paid attention, here’s a brief overview of the debate.

[OP-ED]: Deficits forever?

 07/20/2017 - 12:15
The federal budget remains badly out of whack, even though we are near or at “full employment” (June unemployment rate: 4.4 percent). We cannot afford tax cuts; we need tax increases.

House Republicans, who are now deliberating the government’s 2018 budget, pledge to eliminate deficits within a decade. Well, good luck with that. It must be obvious that chronic deficits reflect a basic political impasse that can be broken only if majorities in Congress do things they’ve refused to do: trim Social Security benefits; raise taxes significantly; control health spending. There is a giant mismatch between what Americans want from government and what they’ll pay for with taxes.

[OP-ED]: ¿Déficits para siempre?

 07/20/2017 - 12:10
El presupuesto federal permanece en muy mal estado, aunque estemos cerca de un “empleo pleno” (Tasa de desempleo de junio: 4,4 por ciento). No podemos permitirnos recortes de impuestos; necesitamos aumentos de impuestos.

Los republicanos de la cámara baja, que ahora están deliberando sobre el presupuesto de 2018, prometen eliminar los déficits en una década. Bien, buena suerte con eso. Debe ser obvio que los déficits crónicos reflejan un impasse político básico que puede ser interrumpido solo si las mayorías del Congreso hacen lo que se han negado a hacer: recortar los beneficios de seguridad social; aumentar los impuestos significativamente; controlar los gastos de salud. Hay una gran discordancia entre lo que los estadounidenses quieren del gobierno y lo que están dispuestos a pagar en impuestos.

[OP-ED]: Trump’s NAFTA delusion

 06/16/2017 - 08:41
El presidente mexicano, Enrique Peña Nieto agradeció la visita de la canciller alemana, Angela Merkel, en un "momento crucial" y destacó la visión compartida de ambos países en democracia, libre comercio, medio ambiente y derechos humanos. EFE

The Trump administration is determined to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -- which created a single market from Mexico’s southern border to the Yukon -- but the main political appeal of this policy rests on a popular myth: that “fair” trade requires the United States to have a surplus or balanced trade with both Mexico and Canada.

Republican healthcare plan will cost 23 million people their coverage, CBO says

 05/25/2017 - 03:55
Republican Speaker of the House from Wisconsin Paul Ryan speaking to the media, in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 18 May 2017. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

The healthcare reform proposed by President Donald Trump to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare, and which was narrowly approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, would leave 23 million people without healthcare coverage over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

Plain Text Author: 
EFE

Trump administration announced a tax reform that means: "cut taxes for the rich"

 04/27/2017 - 03:35
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (R) and National Economic Director Gary Cohn (L) participate in a news conference to discuss the tax reform plan of US President Donald J. Trump, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 26 April 2017. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday outlined President Donald Trump"s tax overhaul plan, which calls for slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. Critics immediately called it “basically a huge tax cut for the rich”.

Author: 

[OP-ED]: The Age of Disbelief

 02/28/2017 - 16:14
There are plenty of skeptics -- including me -- who think Trump’s agenda is largely impractical or undesirable. To take one example: Since at least John F. Kennedy, presidents have pledged to increase economic growth.

We live in an age of disbelief. Many of the ideas and institutions that have underpinned Americans’ thinking since the early years after World War II are besieged. There is an intellectual and political vacuum into which rush new figures (Donald Trump) and different ideas (America First). These new ideas and leaders may be no better than the ones they displace -- they may, in fact, be worse -- but they have the virtue of being new.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson

[OP-ED]: Two cheers for a carbon tax

 02/19/2017 - 20:55

Fossil fuels now supply four-fifths of the world’s energy, a share that has dropped only slightly since 1990. To stabilize CO2 concentrations, we must essentially stop burning fossil fuels. How is this to happen? Supporters of a carbon tax hope that the market mechanism -- higher prices for fossil fuels -- will unleash a torrent of innovation: safer nuclear, less costly solar, better batteries. This is a leap of faith. Higher prices do not guarantee technological breakthroughs.
 

By all means, let’s have a carbon tax. It’s the best way to deal with global climate change. It would require Republicans and Democrats to compromise -- a good thing -- and would provide revenues for a government that desperately needs more revenue. Fine. But let’s not pretend that a carbon tax is a panacea for either climate change or too much debt.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson

[OP-ED]: El TPP está vivo--quizás

 02/16/2017 - 07:50
El déficit comercial de bienes y servicios de EEUU se elevó en 2016 un 0,4 %, hasta los 502.300 millones de dólares, en lo que se supone la cifra más alta desde 2012. La cifra corresponde al último año de Gobierno del ya ex presidente Barack Obama, quien había prometido duplicar en 2010 la cifra de exportaciones estadounidenses al fin de su mandato, algo que se ha mostrado inviable.

Entre las primeras medidas del presidente Trump estuvo la orden de retirarse del TPP. Eso cumplía la promesa de la campaña de Trump de torpedear ese acuerdo de alto perfil entre Estados Unidos y otros 11 países de la Cuenca del Pacífico, liderados por Japón y México. Igualmente importante, simbolizó la convicción de Trump de que los acuerdos comerciales negociados con ineptitud constituyen la esencia de los problemas económicos de Estados Unidos.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson

[OP-ED]: Trump’s senseless war on Mexico

 02/03/2017 - 08:10
 
Photo courtesy of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who spoke during an event in Mexico City, Mexico, at the conclusion of the 33rd Ordinary General Assembly of the National Agricultural and Livestock Council. Peña Nieto remarked today that the country "doubles its commitment" to openness and free trade, despite opposing voices such as that of his counterpart Donald Trump and in the framework of the future renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA). EFE / Presidency of Mexico

”Mexico braces for a trade war with Washington,” headline in the Financial Times, Jan. 31, 2017.

Let’s hope not, because a trade war triggered by President Trump would be an act of pure economic aggression, unjustified either by the United States’ economic and political interests or by Mexico’s behavior. It would be the economic equivalent of Russia’s seizure of the Crimea, a raw exercise in bullying.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson