Breaking the rules

Peter Cohan and I fail to disagree about the downgrade: like the debt ceiling fiasco, it’s a distraction from the straightforward task of re-stimulating the economy to put people back to work.

Bloggingheads is supposed to be a forum for debate, but Peter Cohan and I grossly failed to disagree about the downgrade:  it comes from a dubious source, its basis (if any) must be political rather than economic, it represents the second phony crisis (after the debt ceiling) distracting the public and its leaders from the job that actually needs to be done: stimulating the economy to get people back to work. The obvious ways to do so are to find useful ways of quickly expanding federal spending (e.g., by funding the best eighth rather than best sixteenth of all NIH grant applications) and to support state and local governments so they can stop laying off cops and teachers and start hiring them again. And what’s in the way of this common-sense approach is the Tea Parties, the Murdoch press, and the corporate political power they represent.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

7 thoughts on “Breaking the rules”

  1. Well done Mark (and Peter)! Refreshing to have an analysis that focuses the blame on the hostage takers, emboldened by the jihadists. The irony is the world is paying so much attention to the evaluation of a “broken corrupt agency”, S& P, who as you say “blew their assignment when it really mattered”, in “the race to the bottom”, which led to the sub-mortgage bubble and crash.

  2. For what its worth, its not necessarily axiomatic that a causal relationship exists between S & P’s malfeasance during the housing imbroglio and the downgrade. In the first they were merely co-conspirators with all the other criminal players that constitute “the housing industry, ” banks, appraisers, brokers, etc. However, in the second, they simply heeded Bill Gross’s admonition over at least the last six months….”The U.S. is an AA company/country.”

  3. Good stuff.

    You use the word “teahadi” with dexterity and rational force. Obviously, it must be common usage in the Kleiman household. The first time you use it, I think P. Cohan’s mind does a rapid reset-blink as he suppresses a grin. Then he accepts the political label for the apt description it is. And then we are off to the races of what is universal discussion of our ills as seen from above. All of it well-spoken and well-aimed.

    I like your NIH idea. Perhaps one could cherry pick from the top 20% (instead of just extending to 12%), those studies that provide a stipend to volunteers. As every little of “cash-seeding” helps.
    Cohan’s first idea of seeding start-ups is also good. And I’d like to hear him flesh out the QE3 idea…

    As for other good ideas…

    I see Jared Bernstein is all over the net today with his put pressure on the FED idea. By far the best post of his I saw was over on Greg Sargeant’s website site:
    Time for liberals to crank up pressure on Obama and Federal Reserve

    Lastly my own idea which is a complete non-starter for most liberals (and even for this President):

    Build up the border guard force. 20,000 more. Maybe even 30,000.
    Those jobs pay $40,000. They in effect elevate families into the Middle Class. And I’d love to see Republicans veto the money for that.
    You say more border guards aren’t needed? Its the jobs dummy.
    You say there are better ways to employ people? I say: True, but it is the jobs and this path turns republican lemons into lemonade…

  4. koreyel: and maybe if there are too many border guards for the assigned shifts they can repair roads and bridges in the border zone (200 miles deep). Better yet, they can do checkpoints and roadwork at the same time. Who could object to that?

  5. “You use the word “teahadi” with dexterity and rational force.”

    Now, that’s hilarious. Kind of like hearing somebody say, “I was impressed by the rational force of your use of “poopy-head”.”

Comments are closed.