(Aug. 5, 2016) When asked July 24 about US unemployment numbers, which have fallen steadily since 2010, Donald Trump Jr., replied “These are artificial numbers. These are numbers that are massaged to make the existing economy look good, to make this administration look good when, in fact, it’s a total disaster.” His father has made similar statements. Continue reading
(5/11/2015) In marketing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), President Obama has been emphasizing some of the features that distinguish it from earlier free trade agreements such as NAFTA. They include commitments by Pacific countries on the environment and expansion of enforceable labor rights. Also new is the geopolitical argument for the much-discussed “pivot to Asia.” (Detractors, for their part, focus on some partly new features as well, such as investor protection, which is said to benefit only big corporations.)
The White House political strategy is understandable. Continue reading
(Jan. 22, 2015) What a difference two months make. As recently as November, when Republicans scored strong gains in the US congressional elections, the universally accepted explanation was economic performance that was perceived as disappointingly weak. (As always, “it is the economy, stupid.”) A substantial share of the American public thought that economic conditions were actually deteriorating last year; many held President Barack Obama responsible and voted against the incumbent party.
Now suddenly everybody has discovered that the US economy is doing well after all. So much so that Republican leader Mitch McConnell, newly elevated to Senate Majority Leader, has switched from a position that the economy is bad and Obama is to blame, to a position that the economy is good and the Republicans should get the credit. Continue reading