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economic growth

[OP-ED]: The curse of middle-aged capitalism -- for Trump and all of us

 08/21/2017 - 13:57
In 1995, the largest five firms by market “capitalization” (the value of a company’s shares) were old-line businesses: Exxon, AT&T, Coca Cola, General Electric and Merck. By 2015, only Exxon (now Exxon Mobil) remained.

 A persisting puzzle about the U.S. economy is how it can seem both strong and weak. On the one hand, it remains a citadel of innovation, producing new companies like Uber. On the other, the economy is expanding at a snail’s pace of 2 percent annually since 2010. How could both be true? Why isn’t innovation translating into faster growth? The answer -- or part of the answer -- is that American businesses are running on two separate tracks. Call them the “youthful” and “middle-aged” tracks.

[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]: Trump’s trade trap

 07/11/2017 - 15:30
Trump may believe that trade and environmental issues can be kept separate from geopolitical matters, such as North Korea’s nuclear program. On the contrary, history suggests that trade and geopolitics go hand in hand. EFE

Donald Trump’s foreign policy, such as it is, rests on a massive and apparently indestructible contradiction. Trump wants the United States to remain the “essential” nation, the best embodiment of Western ideals of freedom and democracy, while at the same time deliberately alienating many of our traditional “allies,” whose support the United States desperately needs. American leadership becomes difficult, if not impossible.

[OP-ED]: Trump isn’t destiny

 06/13/2017 - 15:17
To some extent, the future of America depends on Donald Trump. But it depends even more on how these social and economic trends evolve -- how we cope with them and whether we become a more cohesive society or a more contentious one. EFE

 It’s time to take a brief break from Donald Trump. Whatever you think of him, there’s no denying that he dominates the news cycle. We seem to assume that the nation’s future depends on Trump’s fate, for better or worse. The reality is otherwise: The nation’s future also hangs on larger economic and social trends that no president can shape.

[OP-ED]: Globalization’s false sins

 05/17/2017 - 08:26
Las importaciones a menudo son más baratas que los productos norteamericanos, ayudan especialmente a las familias de bajos ingresos, cuyos presupuestos constan de más productos manufacturados, donde el descenso de los precios fue agudo.

Globalization has gotten a bad rap. The Trump White House associates it with all manner of economic evil, especially job loss. The administration has made undoing the damage a central part of its economic strategy. This will almost certainly fail and disappoint, because globalization’s ill-effects have been wildly exaggerated.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson

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]: Trump’s stock boom -- illusion or reality?

 04/25/2017 - 10:10
Stock valuations are tricky. With hindsight, the market can stay above or below levels reflecting economic fundamentals for long stretches. Whatever the case today, stocks are nowhere near the absurd heights of the “tech bubble” at the turn of the century. EFE

The last thing President Trump now needs is for the stock market to go south on him. After all, he’s got worries aplenty: abroad, North Korea, Syria, Russia and Brexit; at home, the stalled effort to repeal Obamacare; and uncertainty surrounding “tax reform.” Compared with this tapestry of troubles, the stock market has been a splendid blessing.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson

[OP-ED]: Is the American Dream killing us?

 04/04/2017 - 10:31
One theory attributes the spike in “deaths of despair” to growing income inequality. There would be fewer suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths if incomes were distributed more equally, the argument goes. People take out their frustrations and anger by resorting to self-destructive behavior.

It isn’t often that economics raises the most profound questions of human existence, but recent work of economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton (husband and wife, both of Princeton University) comes close. You may recall that a few years ago, Case and Deaton reported the startling finding that the death rates of non-Hispanic middle-aged whites had gotten worse — they were dying younger.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson