Joel Kotkin, whom I have been following for 20 years, continues to hit on all cylinders. This is a bit from an article worth reading in full:
I have taken a lot of heat about my coverage of Ron Paul’s idea to audit the Federal Reserve. I would love to do a piece on economists in favor of the bill. So I am looking for names. Now these have to be professional economists, people making a living from teaching or consulting. No self-taugt experts. Please leave names in the comment section below. And here is a bit from the good doctor himself on his bill:
C’mon, how about some Walter Mondalesque candor from the Obama White House on taxes? Yes, yes, it was 25 years ago this summer that the Democratic presidential candidate self-immolated on the issue at his party’s convention in San Francisco. But surely Americans have become more urbane and sophisticated since then as to what makes for sound economic policy, oui?
This bit from the WSJ‘s interview with John McCain caught my eye:
“You have no idea the pressure I was under,” he says. “I remember being on the phone with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the Treasury secretary and [Fed Chairman Ben] Bernanke. They assure me the world financial system is going to collapse if I don’t vote for the bill. So I do the impetuous and rash thing by saying, look, I have got to go back to Washington and see how I can help. And by the way, so did Obama—but it was McCain that was the impetuous one. Obama came back to Washington.” Mr. McCain grumbles, “He was at the White House with me. But he wasn’t impetuous.”
Two fun factoids:
1) During the past two recessions, the unemployment rate kept rising for 15 months (1990-91 downturn) and 19 months (2001 downturn) after the recession officially ended, according to the National Bureau of Economcic Research. If that happens now, we are looking at rising joblessness right smack into Election Day 2010.
I asked a half dozen economists who are very concerned about Federal Reserve independence what they thought about Rep. Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Fed. This was my specific question: “Given that Congress can already grill the Fed chairman during Humphrey-Hawkins (and occasional other congressional appearances), how would a GAO audit really threaten Fed independence in practical terms?”
I just got this email from an economist with strong libertarian leanings who also thinks that Ron Paul’s plan to audit the Fed is a bad, bad idea: