Skip to main content

In Lew of Geithner and more

Yep the chances for a fiscal expansion, already a difficult proposition with a GOP dominated House and a reluctant and fiscal conservative Obama, are now even more unlikely with the eminent nomination of Jack Lew as the new Treasury Secretary in lieu of Geithner, even though some tend to think he is too liberal (see here). Yet ass noted by Mike Norman: "Lew is an avowed deficit hawk and has been very vocal about reducing the government's deficit and supporting the president's push for a "Grand Bargain." This means that Lew will almost certainly be pushing for more austerity."

Meanwhile Olivier Blanchard at the IMF has admitted that the IMF was wrong on austerity. In a recent paper he says:
We find that, in advanced economies, stronger planned fiscal consolidation has been associated with lower growth than expected, with the relation being particularly strong, both statistically and economically, early in the crisis. A natural interpretation is that fiscal multipliers were substantially higher than implicitly assumed by forecasters.
This is a case in which I could say "I've told you so." By the way, by fiscal consolidation, Blanchard means austerity.


  1. Gah! As much as I like to think Obama has learned from his past mistakes, there are some that he just won't stop repeating. That we've often been protected from his bad instincts by the Democratic leadership in the house and senate -- and by the Tea Party's extremism -- is hardly reassuring.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What is the 'Classical Dichotomy'?

A few brief comments on Brexit and the postmortem of the European Union

Another end of the world is possible
There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…