Comments on: “Act and learn” versus “debate and wait” Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: FredBearSamurai Tue, 22 Nov 2011 17:19:06 +0000 the authors seem to suggest that “act and learn” can replace cycles as “western policy makers are hostage to a cyclical mindset”. Our entire existence is based on cycles from seasons to birth-death we existence in a universe of cycles thus trying to ignore or remove cycles would be futile. The problems in the US, Europe and Japan start with a credit-based monetary system and old demographics. We can create a new monetary system not based on credit and debt but we cannot as easily change the demographics of these advanced economies. All of this has to play out and it will be a long and painful decade.

By: OneOfTheSheep Tue, 15 Nov 2011 23:19:12 +0000 I respectfully disagree with LEEDAP.

While I disagree with the “tea Party” on more than a few issues, I truly believe all Americans owe them thanks for being the first and only people to genuinely challenge the American political culture of BOTH parties in Washington of “If we spend it they will pay”. The best POSSIBLE Debt Commission outcome, for all the posturing, bickering and finger pointing, only slows the RATE at which federal spending is STILL increasing!

What part of “unsustainable” do our “representatives not understand? The unavoidable path to sustainability AND lessening of EXISTING debt is to:

(1) Separate all currently funded “line items” into “needs” and “wants”. That’s the hard part, because, ideologically one side’s “need” is the other side’s “want”; and each KNOW we can’t even fund all genuine “needs” with the economy as it is.

(2) Agree on the percentage of current and reasonably expected revenue for the next year to budget for (a) needs, and (b) debt retirement. Yes, we may have to put off (b) for now, but having it “on the list” means that it is a recognized goal to be addressed when that is deemed appropriate. Otherwise, it’s just another irrelevant concept; an abstract number unrelated to reality.

ONLY when congress has shown itself competent and willing to do these things should taxpayers even CONSIDER giving these people more tax revenue. So long as they cannot properly prioritize the huge amounts already entrusted to them, giving them more without meaningful understanding of the need for fiscal restraint is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. Tax revenue is the crack cocaine of politics, and so long as there is an uninterrupted supply no one is going to think straight or adopt and work toward common goals.

By: LEEDAP Tue, 15 Nov 2011 18:01:06 +0000 KyuuAL, you seem to get the point of this article. Chinese central government system is very efficient and has the power to create, set, hold, and execute a “vision” without another party stepping in to muddy the waters. Similarly, small, developing countries typically have more power to direct and control resources than larger, Democratic countries. But strong, central governments are not the only way to achieve more pragmatic and adoptive policy making that Mohamed El-Erian and Michael Spence are talking about. Democracies can find win-win solutions if they take a macroeconomic view without catering to microeconomic policies that benefit a few.

I believe that the underlying problem of large representative democracies is the power of special interests that do not have the benefit of the whole society in mind. The various mechanisms these groups use to influence voters and policy makers are short sighted and divert attention away from any common vision. However, the US Supreme Court blew the lid off any limits to their power when it gave Corporations rights under the first amendment and the ability of special interests to influence policy at an unprecedented scale.

The Tea Party and Occupy movement are representative of the distrust people have with their Government. Right now they are on opposite sides of the policy spectrum. Hopefully it is just a matter of time until they discover that their common enemy is the unbalanced influence of special interest groups, and not the Government.

By: kahmet Tue, 15 Nov 2011 06:21:21 +0000 I am a little bit confused here:

El-Erian thinks that both US and the EU has been suffering from policy making. He advises them to do it as the developing countries do it: Set a multi-year vision, discuss it broadly as you start implementation, revise your vision along the way. This is some sort of trial and error, or as El-Erian calls it, “acting and learning”.

Of course, speed in policy making is important. But isn’t success more of an issue of process rather than speed?

Ahmet Kara

By: KyuuAL Tue, 15 Nov 2011 03:44:26 +0000 The “enlightened” leaders currently exist in China, where national policies are aimed at building the country. Western leaders should take note.

By: Bob9999 Mon, 14 Nov 2011 22:10:35 +0000 I have a big problem with the point of view presented in this opinion piece. The best way to make policy is to two sides to square off and take over the public discourse on important issues with take-no-prisoners barrages of lies and half truths. This allows the two sides to make decisions based on which side gets to put its minions into positions where they get to make decisions in important public policy areas in which they have no expertise — and then to make those decisions based on purely political considerations that ultimately reduce to pandering (not always a metaphor). This idea about making decisions based on some objective concept what what is best for society as a whole is a complete crock.

By: futuresmkt Mon, 14 Nov 2011 20:06:13 +0000 I recently saw a talk by Dr. Noam Chomsky (in Australia, as he is effectively blacklisted in the US mainstream media) which covered a range of global issues. As an aside, regarding the current US fiscal debate(s), he suggested that the current account deficit could be reduced and perhaps even be brought into surplus with the simple act of having a European style health care system (approximately). It’s iteresting that this easily verifiable claim is not more rigorously discussed/assessed. Finally, the handringing and pontificating by the financial class, after having been an active participant from the start, is getting somewhat tiresome.

By: M.C.McBride Mon, 14 Nov 2011 18:57:04 +0000 The US can do many things to solve the unemployment problems that poor government policy has created. Here are a few:

1. Tariffs on low-wage countries

2. Tariffs on currency manipulation

3. Direct loans for new business creation

4. End all wars and bring all troops home from every single country

5. Bring about more direct democracy at the state and Federal level and increased representation in the executive branch

By: OneOfTheSheep Mon, 14 Nov 2011 17:48:59 +0000 The big difference of today’s economic reality is that politicians and taxpayers knows that everything is no longer possible. No longer is it “If we spend it they will pay”.

There seems to be agreement between all parties that we can’t keep doing what we are doing. We are spend far more than we have…governments are mortgaging our future to pay for present largess. We are getting very poor return for our tax dollars expended. There seems to be agreement between all parties that we can’t keep doing what we are doing.

Our challenge is to (1) build on this to find common cause as to our future destination, and (2) leave the details of how and when to the political ideology that can persuade a majority of “hearts and minds” to each necessary course of action.

The goal must be a consensus at all levels of government to:
(1) separate and assign all line items” for budgetary funding onto a list of “needs” and “wants”.
(2) Commit to prioritizing the funding of our “needs”.
(3) If available revenue is insufficient, presume that we still have “wants” on our “needs” list, and move them over.

Give the people a genuine voice in revising our tax system, for it is what, by and large determined the ultimate society we live in, it’s goals and related potential. It’s, after all, their “game”. They need to “have some skin” in it!