Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Austan Goolsbee and the Truth about Taxes

In news today, Austan Goolsbee, one of President Obama's top economic advisors, is leaving his job at the White House to return to his position as an economist at the University of Chicago. Goolsbee is probably best known for his "White Board" speeches in which he sketched out economic policy of tax cuts - criticizing the GOP plan for continued tax cuts - in a short videotaped speech. Here's a look:

Sadly, far too many Americans are naive to even the simple truths of this two-minute video. And if that sort of thinking continues, the US economy will continue to be mired in the backwaters of ideologically produced debt and deficits.


Andrew said...

It will take a lot more than raising taxes on the rich to make the economy go, not that this shouldn't occur because, simply put, it's the right thing to do.

People need to stop fretting about "the economy" and instead focus on insuring that every person has fulfilling work and sufficient resources. Our leaders don't seem to have a plan, and I would assert that it's not that hard a problem to solve.

mmazenko said...

Agreed. The idea about taxes has more to do with closing the deficit and paying down the debt. The govt has been revenue-short for years - but the 01/03 tax cuts have exacerbated the problem and done nothing to grow the economy.

If the country was committed to putting people to work - the kind of jobs they want and can support of family on - we'd be on the way to recovery. Instead, investors and CEOs are far more interested in short term gain and growing their portfolio, as opposed to building a stronger domestic economy overall.

Anonymous said...

The deficit is unimportant. Think for a minute that the Fed (that's you and me, really) hold 6+ trillion of the debt. (Yes, we owe much of the money to ourselves, as crazy as that sounds.) When the treasury pays off bonds held by the Fed, the Fed simply pays this "profit" back to the treasury.

If you're concerned that the debt is held by China or some foreign country, remember that the Fed just bought 600B of that debt and gave them cash in return. It's no problem either.

The whole debt mania is total silliness.

The government can spend as much money as it needs to make sure that people are working. Businesses will gripe, but let them gripe. People need fulfilling work, and the economy will be strong if people who want to work have jobs. It's not like you can just pack a wagon, head West, and stake out a claim anymore.

Anonymous said...

Just to add some thoughts about Mr. Goolsbee:


mmazenko said...

Valid points. However, politics matter in a country where 46% disagree, and 30% vociferously. Add to that the ignorance of the average American on all things political and economic, and Obama still has to play the game. Much of the spirit of the economy comes from consumer confidence, and if that's not there, everything else is weaker.

Anonymous said...

It's the lack of understanding that if most frustrating. That and the belief that this country is best served by an "every man for himself" attitude. That's neither community nor country.

I'm not sure that I understand your point about politics mattering. Mr. Obama should do what he can to help people secure better lives. If some disagree with his actions, they can vote for someone else the next time around.

Consumer confidence matters, but people with jobs and money to spend are necessarily more confident than those without. Fix the problem and confidence won't be an issue.