Saturday, August 19, 2006

Taxes, Housing, Growth, and War

The following seem to be a standard set of tenets for anti-Bush crowd:

  • The Bush tax cuts were irresponsible.

  • The housing boom was unhealthy.

  • Employment growth over the past five years has been inadequate.

I’m no fan of W myself, but I’m puzzled by this triplethink. What macroeconomic policies were people hoping for? What policies would have increased employment without exacerbating either the budget deficit or the housing boom?

Let’s look at an alternative path in which the tax cuts hadn’t taken place. The tech bubble would have burst anyhow. (It started to burst long before the first tax cut.) Without the 2001 tax cut, the recession would have been deeper and lasted longer. Without the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, the painfully slow recovery would have been even slower. Quite possibly the Fed would have cut rates all the way down to zero. (That’s only one percentage point away from what actually happened.) The housing boom – as the only major source of demand facilitating a recovery – would have been pushed to an extreme that would make last year’s experience look mild. (Exercise for the reader: calculate the present value of a perpetual stream of housing services discounted at 0%.)

If anything, the tax cuts were not irresponsible enough. Instead of tax cuts on capital income, designed to encourage virtuous activities like saving and investment, what we needed were sleazy, Keynesian tax cuts to encourage Joe Sixpack to switch to high-quality microbrews. (Fortunately, the tax cuts were entirely ineffective at encouraging saving.) Or perhaps, instead of tax cuts, we should have built a lot more bridges to nowhere back when we were facing an excess of unbroken windows.

The only alternative economic stimulus would have been a weaker dollar. You may recall, though, that Europe and Japan were facing inadequate growth at the same time, and the other Asian countries had plenty of unexploited potential. A deliberate weak dollar policy, back in 2001-2004, would have fallen into the classic “beggar thy neighbor” category. And with the rest of the world playing the same game, it’s implausible that ordinary fiscal, monetary, and “talking down” policies could have made the dollar so weak as to substitute for the stimulus of the tax cuts. That would have required dramatic intervention against the dollar, on a scale never even imagined, and with the explicitly aggressive intent of forcing the Asians (under threat of bankruptcy) to give up their own intervention policies. I don’t recall anyone advocating such actions at the time.

If you want to blame Bush for the economic problems of this decade, don’t blame his economic policies; blame his foreign policy. Whatever its ex ante merits may have been, the Iraq war, along with the atmosphere of tension it induces in the region, has clearly been partly responsible for the rising price of oil, which is exactly what has placed such a tight limit on the current recovery. (Try this thought experiment: assume the actual path for the cost of non-energy value added in the US, and suppose that the price of oil had risen much less. What would the inflation rate be? Would the Fed have kept tightening so long?)

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Calculated Risk said...

I disagree. It's not the size of the Bush tax cuts, it's that the structure was an inappropriate response. See Economists' statement opposing the Bush tax cuts

What did the higher income Americans do with their extra money? Buy 2nd houses. Invest in China or emerging markets. How did that help the U.S.? Ok, it helped a little, but the U.S. received very little bang for the buck.

Sure. Blame Bush's foreign policy. But also blame Bush's domestic policies.

And Bush should be blamed for the housing boom and coming bust too. If Bush's fiscal policies had been more in line with the above recommendations, the Fed probably wouldn't have had to hold rates at emergency levels for an extended period.

And I think it was outrageous to permit DAPs (now considered a scam by the IRS), lax lending standards, the proliferation of Option ARMs, etc. Where were the regulatory agencies?

I think you are being too nice.

Bush deserves the blame.

Sat Aug 19, 07:30:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


When many of us criticize Bush's tax cuts, what we generally mean is that Bush's tax cuts were backloaded and contributed very little to the recovery. For example, Bush opposed the Democratic proposal to give tax rebates as a way to stimulate demand. One can argue whether or not those rebates had much stimulative effect, but it's hard to argue that Bush's tax cuts had much effect because we were pretty well past the NBER dating of the recession before those tax cuts kicked in.

The fact that most of the investment boom came in the form of a housing boom effectively means that most of our investment is also in the nontradeable goods sector, which will be a problem down the road as we try to get our trade imbalance straightened out. More aggressive investment tax credits in manufacturing and education/training was something that Bush didn't really push. In fact, Republicans were actually wanting to make investment tax credits permanent, which would have completely defeated the purpose of investment tax credits because it would not have accelerated the timing of the investments.

Finally, whenever Bush opponents pointed out that a $1 increase in spending had more fiscal punch than a $1 reduction in taxes, Bush frequently replied that he was not tailoring his tax cuts as short term fiscal pump priming. So in this sense Bush was no more than an accidental Keyensian and I think it's a bit odd of the Administration to want to claim credit for being wise Keynesians when at the time they went to great efforts to pooh-pooh pump priming.

Sun Aug 20, 05:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger knzn said...

These comments seem to take the “half a loaf is worse than none” view. I can’t agree that “it's hard to argue that Bush's tax cuts had much effect because we were pretty well past the NBER dating of the recession before those tax cuts kicked in.” First of all, the NBER dates are irrelevant: the labor market recession continued a good 2 years beyond the NBER recession, and its recovery was quite sluggish for the nearly 2 years after that. If the tax cuts reduced the risk of a Japanese-style “growth depression,” they were clearly helpful. The second tax cut was not designed specifically as a fiscal stimulus, but that side effect was clearly intentional. (The Bush administration was well aware at the time that the recovery was not proceeding as hoped.) And the evidence suggests that the (semi-)permanent nature of those tax cuts significantly magnified the stimulus. (Consumption rose much faster than disposable income, and it rose disproportionately among the income categories most affected by the tax cut.) I don’t think the evidence supports the way CR characterizes what higher income Americans did with the extra money. The 2nd houses and foreign investments came out of existing savings, and their consumption went up anyway.

I grant the point that if Bush had been a hard core Keynesian, he could have gotten more bang for the buck. But I’m skeptical as to whether he could have gotten a lot more bang for the buck, and I think there is reason to suspect that real Keynesians would have been overoptimistic about how much bang they could get for only a few bucks. Ex post it’s not a big deal, because it is apparent that the monetary stimulus was sufficient, but ex ante, facing a possible liquidity trap, I think we were safer with an expensive tax cut than with a more targeted but significantly cheaper one.

Sun Aug 20, 10:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Laurent GUERBY said...

There's more Bush stupidity than just irresponsible tax cuts.

Mon Aug 21, 01:58:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you ignore the possibility of FICA cuts? Or extending the FICA income limit and using the income to lower income taxes on the lower end of the income scale?

To say the US is better off with the tax cuts is like saying the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. Both may (or may not) be true, but we should all reject these Hobson's choices, look at a few more alternatives and try to focus on getting the best policies possible.

Fri Aug 25, 01:00:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

豆豆聊天室 aio交友愛情館 2008真情寫真 2009真情寫真 aa片免費看 捷克論壇 微風論壇 大眾論壇 plus論壇 080視訊聊天室 情色視訊交友90739 美女交友-成人聊天室 色情小說 做愛成人圖片區 豆豆色情聊天室 080豆豆聊天室 小辣妹影音交友網 台中情人聊天室 桃園星願聊天室 高雄網友聊天室 新中台灣聊天室 中部網友聊天室 嘉義之光聊天室 基隆海岸聊天室 中壢網友聊天室 南台灣聊天室 南部聊坊聊天室 台南不夜城聊天室 南部網友聊天室 屏東網友聊天室 台南網友聊天室 屏東聊坊聊天室 雲林網友聊天室 大學生BBS聊天室 網路學院聊天室 屏東夜語聊天室 孤男寡女聊天室 一網情深聊天室 心靈饗宴聊天室 流星花園聊天室 食色男女色情聊天室 真愛宣言交友聊天室 情人皇朝聊天室 上班族成人聊天室 上班族f1影音視訊聊天室 哈雷視訊聊天室 080影音視訊聊天室 38不夜城聊天室 援交聊天室080 080哈啦聊天室 台北已婚聊天室 已婚廣場聊天室 夢幻家族聊天室 摸摸扣扣同學會聊天室 520情色聊天室 QQ成人交友聊天室 免費視訊網愛聊天室 愛情公寓免費聊天室 拉子性愛聊天室 柔情網友聊天室 哈啦影音交友網 哈啦影音視訊聊天室 櫻井莉亞三點全露寫真集 123上班族聊天室 尋夢園上班族聊天室 成人聊天室上班族 080上班族聊天室 6k聊天室 粉紅豆豆聊天室 080豆豆聊天網 新豆豆聊天室 080聊天室 免費音樂試聽 流行音樂試聽 免費aa片試看A片 免費a長片線上看 色情貼影片 免費a長片 本土成人貼圖站 大台灣情色網 台灣男人幫論壇 A圖網 嘟嘟成人電影網 火辣春夢貼圖網 情色貼圖俱樂部 台灣成人電影 絲襪美腿樂園 18美女貼圖區 柔情聊天網 707網愛聊天室聯盟 台北69色情貼圖區 38女孩情色網 台灣映像館 波波成人情色網站 美女成人貼圖區 無碼貼圖力量 色妹妹性愛貼圖區 日本女優貼圖網 日本美少女貼圖區 亞洲風暴情色貼圖網 哈啦聊天室 美少女自拍貼圖 辣妹成人情色網 台北女孩情色網 辣手貼圖情色網 AV無碼女優影片 男女情色寫真貼圖 a片天使俱樂部 萍水相逢遊戲區 平水相逢遊戲區 免費視訊交友90739 免費視訊聊天 辣妹視訊 - 影音聊天網 080視訊聊天室 日本美女肛交 美女工廠貼圖區 百分百貼圖區 亞洲成人電影情色網 台灣本土自拍貼圖網 麻辣貼圖情色網 好色客成人圖片貼圖區 711成人AV貼圖區 台灣美女貼圖區 筱萱成人論壇 咪咪情色貼圖區 momokoko同學會視訊 kk272視訊 情色文學小站 成人情色貼圖區 嘟嘟成人網 嘟嘟情人色網 - 貼圖區 免費色情a片下載 台灣情色論壇 成人影片分享 免費視訊聊天區 微風 成人 論壇 kiss文學區 taiwankiss文學區

Wed Apr 01, 07:55:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wed Apr 01, 10:33:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店領檯,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,酒店兼職,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,酒店兼職,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店經紀,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,酒店傳播,酒店經紀人,酒店,酒店,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,招待所,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店上班,暑假打工,酒店公關,酒店兼職,禮服店 , 酒店小姐 ,酒店經紀 ,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店,酒店,酒店經紀,酒店領檯 ,禮服店 ,酒店小姐 ,酒店經紀 ,酒店兼差,暑假打工, 酒店上班,禮服店 ,酒店小姐 ,酒店經紀 ,酒店兼差,暑假打工, 酒店上班,禮服店 ,酒店小姐 ,酒店經紀 ,酒店兼差,暑假打工, 酒店上班,酒店經紀,酒店經紀,酒店經紀

Tue Apr 21, 07:07:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some new style Puma Speed is in fashion this year. chaussure puma is Puma Shoes in french. Many france like seach “chaussure sport” by the internet when they need buy the Puma shoes or buy the nike max shoes.The information age is really convenient. By the way ,the puma CAT is really good chaussures puma ,don’t forget buy the puma mens shoes and nike air max ltd by the internet when you need them . Do you know Nike Air Shoes is a best Air Shoes .

Spring is coming, and how to choose the polo shirts is the main concern of many people. ralph lauren polo shirts is a classic type and reliable. ed hardy clothing is more in line with the aesthetic ideas of young people, so many young people filled with a variety of ed hardy clothes in their wardrobes. New style ed hardy womens shirt match the new style ed hardy sunglasses , it is a good idea.
Do you think this season is not for ugg boots ? maybe yes .but this season is best time that can buy the cheap ugg boots. Many sellers are selling discounted. Do not miss . Please view my blog and fc2 blog .thank you .

Tue May 19, 05:18:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Faint hint of the love of friendship

Faint hint of the love of friendship. There is a friend, I think that is a cheap wow gold kind of love and friendship between the feelings between, you will occasionally miss a time to silence him, reminds him, the warm heart, a beautiful, a moving. Sad and worried at the time, you will think of him, you hope that he can in your side, give you comfort and buy wow power leveling understanding to you, and you never talk to him, are you afraid of their own grief that would preclude him from peaceful life.

You will be a song, a color, think of him, think of my wow gold his sincerity, he reminds me of the dedication, his mind had gone through the ups and downs together. With such a friend, you will treasure their lives and love their own lives, because you know I hope you had a good, he would like you to take care of themselves properly, and then to meet, he cheapest wow power leveling would like you to tell him you very happy.

That the concept of secularism, in your mind, because his replica replica rolex presence has become pale and weak, you are only in the depths of the bottom of my heart for this man set up a small space, stick with that quietly happy memories, from the the very beginning you know that you will not have any love, it seems that talk about love on the desecration CHEAP wow power level of this emotion, this can only be a friendship. This is how in the end all about? You want to for many years, but no clue.

You seldom have contacts in this long life, you meet the door may be only a few of the ten thousandth time, but in each other's hearts retain a miss, one asked, even if he went to the ends of the earth, even after many, many years, even BUY power leveling when the meet again, has long been a non-object is not, you still remember back as a profound, and this has been sufficient.

Sometimes life will calm a dry, maybe you will fall into the dry I replica rolex replica did this, perhaps what you do not have love, perhaps early HUAFA, full sideburns pale, but with such a friend, in the your life will ripple slightly, a little color, do you think of him. He remembered the quiet, perhaps the Health and cheap lotro gold the WHO will not forget.

Am grateful for you in this world, there is such a person, he is replica rolex not around you, he did not do anything for you, but you hope that he would have been very good, long life, happiness well-being ... ...

Am glad you had a feeling like that, pure and long, in this complex CHEAPEST power leveling world, there are such a friend, it is worth to cheap rs gold lbless you to miss ... ...

Wed Jun 10, 12:31:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Microsoft Office
Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010
Office 2010 key
Office 2010 download
Office 2010 Professional
Microsoft outlook
Outlook 2010
Windows 7
Microsoft outlook 2010

Tue Nov 02, 01:52:00 AM EDT  
Blogger power balance said...

Performance Technology power balance bracelet designed to work with your body's.Contain two Mylar Hologram's power balance which are embedded with frequencies that react

Thu Nov 25, 05:03:00 AM EST  

Post a Comment

<< Home