News & Notes

Your Turn: Got a Question for Economist Paul Krugman?

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(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Next week, Bill will be talking with Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate in economics and New York Times columnist about the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling and his new book, End This Depression Now! For this conversation, Bill invites your help. On our Facebook page as well as in the comments below, please share your questions for Krugman. Some of them may make their way into Bill’s interview, and even if they don’t, you still always have a virtual seat at his table.

Use our TV Schedule tool to find Moyers & Company air times and channels where you live.


1/10/2013 UPDATE: We are no longer accepting questions for Paul Krugman, because the interview happened earlier today, but you can watch a preview in which Krugman discusses Jack Lew, President Obama’s Treasury pick, and why he’s okay with not being chosen. Thanks for your questions!

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  • MaxI

    What is your opinion on the Council for National Policy or have you ever heard about it and do you know who its members are? Thank you Mr. Krugman, you are one of the most important progressive voices out there.

  • Mike Fuller

    Mr. Moyers: Please consider asking Mr. Krugman if he believes that the tenaciousness he has adopted, via his wife’s admittted encouragement, has been helpful in his attempts to add value to the public discourse. And in the face of the withering attacks so often lodged by the extreme right in an effort to intimidate, marginalize or otherwise silence opinion leaders who they, the extreme right, don’t agree with. Thank you!

  • Craig Cooley

    I would like to hear Prof. Krugman’s opinion of Richard Duncan’s economics as explained Duncan’s new book, ‘The Coming Great Depression. Of particular interest would be Dr. Krugman’s views on the large expansion of credit in the world economy.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Moyers: would you please bring up with Prof. Krugman, the age-old dichotomy reflected in the question, “Why should the US borrow money from the private sector, at interest, wherein the private sector creates this money from ‘thin air’, when the US has the Constitutional right to ‘create’ money that can be directly ‘spent’ into the economy on social and physical infrastructure with no debt incurred?” Reference: HR 2990, the National Emergency Employment Defence Act of 2011. Mr. Lincoln did precisely this to finance the Civil War when he issued Greenbacks.

  • Dave Skjeie

    We hear from the right that the nation is placed at risk by continued borrowing and expansionist Fed monetary policies. While I tend to agree with this as a long term threat, I also fear, and to a greater extent, the short term threat to our economy of a default in payments on the national debt that the right apparently feels justified to obtain the political leverage to achieve their spending reduction goals. I fear that such a politically motivated default will place our perceived national resolve to honor our debt in doubt which will undermine, if not destroy, the long held world view that the foreign funds may be reliably invested in our national bonds with security. I fear that the this could trigger immediate reservations about further investment in US debt and therebydrive up interest rates, i.e. the cost lenders will require to motivate them to lend to us in such a climate of insecurity.
    I seek you comment on this view.

  • Darryl Youzefowich

    Ask Dr. Krugman if he pessimistic about our long-term economic prospects, or how does he see us getting out of some wealth distribution problems long term? Will technological changes to the workplace, ie. towards capital and away from labor, hurt us in a major way? Is there any way out of that bias toward capital, some innovations coming down the pipe?

  • Hamish Gowans

    Social Security is self-funded by payroll taxes, right? So I’m due what I’ve already paid in, right? Social Security contributes $0 to the debt because it is not funded from the national budget, but from its own tax, right? If anything, SS contributes to the debt because the government has borrowed from it to fund items in the national budget and now the government owes that money to SS, right? Are the attempts to “reform” SS by reducing payouts or raising eligibility age an attempt to pay less money back to the trust fund than they borrowed and, if so, how is the government anything but a deadbeat borrower?

  • John J. Ramirez, Jr.

    Mr. William Moyers and Dr. Paul Krugman:
    As the first self-proclaimed Certified Peace Accountant (holding a Certified Public Accountants license and also a degree in International Peace Studies from the United
    Nations mandated University for Peace), I can’t help but think that a fundamental
    problem is that people do not accurately perceive our economic reality, plus that they do not recognize the bias of economic superstructures.
    On the first point, for Earth-Humanity, Inc., recent estimates on aggregate
    equity range between $150-200 trillion. All of that has been amassed from the natural equity of the planet, plus the ingenuity, creativity, and also the hard labor of humans. In that calculus, the most understated variable is the planet. (Nowhere is that more
    obvious than in the Americas where huge stakes were claimed in planetary equity
    that, for several centuries, has fueled and is continuing to propel incredible
    growth.) That understatement of the Earth is leading to huge problems. Despite that though, looking at the underlying variables used to calculate global equity, those grossly underestimate the abundance that exists.
    Staying at a national level, one example is that resources for churches, charities, and
    other private institutions, say Harvard’s endowment, are not in those
    figures. An even greater example though would be the vast “equity sinks” that have been put into “national treasures,” but are not counted in global equity.
    Using the US as an example, such equity would include the Washington
    Mall, the national park systems, state capital complexes, the vast
    infrastructures that have been built, including highways, but also schools from
    elementary to state universities, plus the vast defense inventory, oh, and
    almost forgot — NASA. If the “sinks” for other States were added, the value of equity would expand exponentially. More, what is not included is the value that
    has been destroyed in Great and Lesser Wars. The point is that the abundance of Earth-Humanity, Inc. is far greater than that range for global equity.
    Regardless of the underestimation though, using only the official equity, that is still an
    incredible amount of abundance. If divided by all stakeholders in Earth-Humanity, Inc., that would provide an average equity of $25,000 for every man, woman, and child on the planet (midpoint of $175 trillion divided by 7 billion people). Not rich by any means, but a decent amount nonetheless.
    In contrast, the perception of vast populations is an existence of near or absolute
    destitution. More, their perceptions are truly their realities. Yet, that is not
    the reality of Earth-Humanity, Inc. There is a huge amount of excess abundance.
    More, it is quite profitable for those that hold shares in it. Further still, it is providing a return, even during this global depression.
    Those divergences prompt a thought experiment: what essentially steers economic
    super-structures? Those vast, destitute populations do not. They are too busily
    focused on food, shelter, and clothing. Instead, true to the old adage “those with the gold get to rule,” economics is dominated by those (which can be mostly “artificial, legal entities”) that hold the largest equity positions. More, the dominant focus is to expand equity in an aggregate reality of excess abundance. To accomplish those ends, it
    is necessary to promote excess consumption. It is also necessary to seek and attach to cheap global labor. Further, there is little tolerance of uncertainty. Yet, those are not enough. It is also necessary to strive to dominate politics. That is most obvious in command economies, but also — in evolved democracies (with one of the most eloquent weapons being the “downgrading” of Countries.)
    All of that said, first, what reactions do you have to those assessments? More, what value do you see in incentivizing to accomplish what is needed, like supporting the recovery of the Earth? Finally, in order to address the destitution, not only national and international, but also planetary, at what point do you see that action must go beyond politics, and, instead, be taken directly to the level of economics?
    Sincerely,
    John Ramirez, Jr.
    100 N. State Street, Apt B.
    Newtown, PA 18940

  • PaulaQuillen

    It seems to me that corruption is our biggest enemy. How do we fight Plutocratic organizations like ALEC when the media refuses to even speak the name? Shedding light on people like the Kochs should be a priority but without a microphone or a soapbox how do we turn on that light? What passes for news these days is merely a newsreader giving us the “he said, she said” version of any issue and it is devoid of facts, truths and depth. Is it laziness or corporate policy? We watch Bill Moyers because we crave truth and he carries a light and it shines, but network news and cable news is made up of meaningless talking points completely without substance. Dr. Krugman’s books and columns are great but there is still no outrage. I’d like to ask Dr. Krugman how we change economic policy in Washington when our “representatives” ignore our wishes, our votes, our mandates? The people in Michigan voted to repeal the Emergency Manager law only to see those elected to “represent” their wishes reinstate it immmediately! Gerrymandering and Citizens United has turned every voter into Sisyphus. We watch ALEC destroy our unions, privitize our public resources and institutions and ignore the voters they cannot disenfranchise and we feel powerless to stop them. How do we fix our fiscal problems and spur our economic recovery when the powers-that-be have no interest in helping our economy, no worries about their own retirement or healthcare and no one with the courage to expose their greedy and ruthless agenda?

  • Pinko Frisco

    Nobody wants to comment on the fact that we’re living on borrowed money and foreign oil. We could have had a jobs bill building rail and we got Cash For Clunkers. We could have had a debate about Medicare for All and how it would have decoupled jobs from healthcare costs, allowing American companies to compete globally. We could use bicycles to get around in cities, as well as rail in cities and in between. Seems like when energy prices spike, we have a bad economy, and in fact, Capitalism has only existed since its inception during a past context in which global supplies of raw materials exceeded global demand. Does greed-based capitalism even have a place in a post-industrial world in which there’s less supply of oil than global demand, causing price spikes that will ruin our economy? What about socialist solutions like building rail and doing away with cars in areas that are densely populated? And thereby doing away with our balance of trade deficit caused by importing energy? What about saving money on health care by going to Medicare for All at half the per-capita cost? The experiment has been run successfully in other places, it’s not new. Why not embrace the socialist model where appropriate, in areas such as education, energy, transportation, and health care, not to mention thinking outside the box such as a Post Office for the 21st Century that sells cell phones and internet access and cable TV at half the cost as private profiteers? We have the socialist tool in our economic tool box, why not use the appropriate tool where appropriate? Nobody wants the government to run every restaurant and store, but really, if socialism will save money or provide good service, why not use it instead? And does capitalism even have the ability to deal with future issues such as our future survival as an economy in a context of dwindling resources and catastrophic global environmental threats?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamestennier James Tennier

    Mr Krugman;

    If Wachovia appraised my home at >$600,000.00 in Dec 2007 as I prepared for impending retirement, by downsizing with a single (adjustable) mortgage with them, thinking I’d sell and buy down within a year or so: How is it possible that though they securitized the mortgage ASAP, went tits up the following year, were bought out of impending BK 12-31-2008,before the stroke of midnight by government “encouraged” aid to Wells Fargo; my question is… Why/ how did MY equity disappear in the ensuing months and (several) years? They were the gamblers not I, why is my equity gone and they repeatedly try to foreclose only to be told they’ve not proved “standing” to do anything as they’ve yet to show one piece of paperwork proving they are anything but “servicer of the mortgage?”

    How are these bastards allowed to continue stealing millions of homes? How are they able to encourage short sales (if not encumbered by seconds) for far less than they insist I owe though they can’t prove anything at all in that they chose to MERS everything last decade to facilitate faster transacting.of all their multitude of questionable schemes, though by doing so they violated property recordation laws across the country!!!

    Why has Holder and company not prosecuted and jailed many of the entities as was done the last time, in the eighties.

    Questions without answers sir: questions without answers!

  • theothersimo

    Question: Can an economy have commodity inflation and asset deflation at the same time?

  • Grandpa Bear

    I took a class last fall taught by former Colo. Gov. Lamm. He stated that we can not grow ourselves out of our current debt situation like we did after WWII. Our demographics and entitlement obligations among other things preclude it. Do you agree? If you had the powers of both the president and congress, how would you address this issue?

  • http://twitter.com/newlin83 James Newlin

    In listening to interviews from various economists, there is not a disconnect between understanding and action in macroeconomics; there is a division in understanding between economists themselves. The Keynes vs Hayek debate is not resolved within the profession.

    It’s hard for me to understand why there is such disagreement between between what economists like Paul Krugman are saying we should do, and what economists like Russ Roberts of EconTalk are saying we should do.

    Why can’t economists as a group agree on the best approach during a recession? If economists can’t agree amongst themselves on macroeconomics, how do they expect to convince the public and our representatives to act?

  • Daniel Hanson

    Mr. Moyers please ask Mr. Krugman what government spending (Federal and State) could help solve this terrible economic depression and at the same time have a significant impact on the severe climate problem that is growing worse.

  • http://twitter.com/TedBurnett1 Ted Burnett

    Many individuals from the Baby-Boomers generation have made careers of fame
    and fortune while riding an economic winning streak, during the 1980′s, 90′s
    and 2000′s, as they now move out into the pasture they feel a great need, and a
    vulnerably, to protect their legacy. Theories about capitalism, democracy,
    economics… were just – theories – and, in most cases, they were never
    actually grounded in reality and/or personal experience. Now, they’re
    sticking to their story at the expense of our nation’s perilous future.

    I think Princeton economist and NYT columnist Paul Krugman is one of these
    individuals. He talks a good game on economics, but it comes off as just
    talk as our nation has gone bankrupt. His commentaries are written by a
    man living in an artificial world, known as the college campus, which has
    become so removed from the real one. With this opinion of him and so many
    others in academia, corporate America and Wall Street, politics and media
    asking him a question might be seen as an joyous opportunity for so many who
    follow his work, but I see it as simply another opportunity for him to dismiss
    any criticism of his philosophy in light of America’s present reality and an
    opportunity to further cement his reputation.

    He’s a smart man, as many at the top of these American institutions are.
    However, there’s a big difference between being smart and being, both, smart
    and honest which is the pathway to truth and the source of wisdom.
    America lacks wisdom and that can be seen in all of the foolish mistakes being
    made by our corporate leaders, politicians, pundits and by members of the media
    including Bill Moyers since 2000. It would take an honest man to answer
    one of my questions about America’s present crisis and I don’t think Mr.
    Krugman is one of them.

    If I were to ask him a question it might be something like, “What was
    the biggest blunder that you made in your career regarding something that you
    said publicly or wrote in one of your books or columns as it pertains to life
    in America in 2013?”

  • Tom Rajcan

    Separate SS and
    Medicare Trust Funds from the General Fund
    Some years ago the
    Congress voted to join the Social
    Security and Medicare Trust Funds into the General Fund and co-mingle the
    assets thereby allowing the Congress to borough from both programs to run the
    Government and now the Congress calls both of these programs “ Government entitlements” which are draining the Federal Government. The federal deficit is what is
    draining the general Fund and both Medicare and Social Security with it.

    Social Security and Medicare were not instituted to support running of the Federal government. If we do not change the way they are being managed we threaten their existence. “They are not entitlement programs”

    Both of these programs belong to the people funded by individuals and their employers. There solvency is simple, Separate them from the Congress ability to borough from them and fund them to the level they need to be based on the changing
    demographic and economic growth which has not been properly addressed for
    decades.

    When Social Security was initiated there was no actuarial which predicted the future changing economics of income growth surpassing the limits of contribution. The biggest factor affecting solvency is life expectancy of 78 today vs. 58 in 1936.

    For Social Security a solvency plan needs to be adopted. Remove the income cap on contributions. The contributions should be configured as follows, 6.2% on the first $100.0K, 3.2% on the next $150.0K, and 1.5% on any income exceeding $250.0K. If this plan were implemented and the Federal Government were not able to touch it in the future Social Security would be solvent forever

    For Medicare the contribution rates (same since 1964) need to be increased from 1.45% to 2.0% based on extended life expectancy of 78.6 vs. 68 in 1964. Coupled with controlling providers to rein in cost and eliminate needless and frivolous expenditures would guarantee solvency forever and would be supported by all contributors knowing that the program would be there when it is their turn to collect benefits.

    This is a desperate call for change to protect the monies contributed by hard working Americans who have earned the future benefits of both these citizens programs. If we don’t change how Washington is managing our money we will continue to
    see attempts to reduce benefits.

    Paul, why doesn’t this make sense?

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.arceneaux Joseph Arceneaux

    Dr. Krugman’s last blog posting is called “Ideology and Economics” and raises the question – at least to me – how “scientific” economics is. If it’s truly a science, why is there so much debate between deficit hawks and those of us more concerned with jobs and investment in the future?

    Is it simply ideology versus rationalism? Is it ideological denial, a la climate change denial? And how can this be remedied?

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.arceneaux Joseph Arceneaux

    Just heard about a petition suggesting Dr. Krugman for Secretary of the Treasury. What would his policies do, and in particular what would he do to limit the influence of Wall St.?

  • friscobob

    Paul
    Have you read “The End of Growth” by Richard Heinberg?
    Do you feel we have reached the end of growth?
    Thanks for writing a blog, you are the ballast that keeps me on an even keel.
    Bob

  • Bob Grossman

    Like most Americans I have never completely understood the pricing mechanism for oil. I would like to hear Mr. Krugman explain the process that results in the price we pay for a gallon of gas. I know consumers are being gouged but I want to understand how it works.

  • Paul Burnam

    My question for Dr. Krugman is:

    1) What will it take to get Germany and the UK to give up on their austerity policies? The UK has slid back into recession as a result. What will it take to get the Europeans to wake up and smell the coffee?

  • B. Miller

    If the dominance of neoliberal ideology is leading policy-makers into an austerity regime that ensures general economic stagnation with declining standards of living for working Americans, at the same time that profit levels are at an all-time high, have you as a Keynesian economist been forced to reconsider Marxist economics & class analysis as a guide to understanding our current situation?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658544012 Val Vadeboncoeur

    Aren’t all the financial and economic problems we’re currently having tied to the “big elephant in the room” that no one wants to talk about…the world central banking system? And, how can the United States, in particular, solve its economic problems if the government has to borrow (at interest) its own currency from a private bank?

  • http://www.facebook.com/theresa.smith.376043 Theresa Smith

    Mr. Krugman,
    Macro economics is fascinating but just so..MACRO. I feel that at the level of the playing field I and my friends, and most other working Americans, are on there’s so little we can do to become less victimized by Wall St. Our retirements, mortgages, and bank accounts all seem to inevitably fall under their sway and we’re being bilked over and over again. Aside from just being rich enough to make even the largest purchases in cash, what can we actually do?

  • http://www.facebook.com/doug.nelson.167 Doug Nelson

    As globalization expands and our manufacturing base continues to shrink, isn’t it time to rethink our economic strategies and invest in our own failing infrastructures here at home? Secondly we’ve hung our hat on non-renewable fossil fuels (or more accurately our hats were hung for us) when wind and solar are there for the taking yet the big energy companies want to wring every drop of oil out of the planet and drive us into bankruptcy while doing so. Is reason lost because of this obvious greed driven race to deplete the earth resources and ravage the environment? What can be done?

  • Jean Boucher

    Don’t the powers that be understand how damaging income inequality is on multiple levels? Why has inequality been allowed to get so bad?

  • Ella

    How does the average, 40 hr work week, American survive in our present economy?

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.gotesky Stephen Gotesky

    Is real financial (budget) reform to include transparency of the Fed and it’s manipulation of our money?

    Steve G.

  • Mass voter

    It seems VERY CLEAR that the majority of people (including most Congresspeople and maybe Presidents and member of other key branches of gov’t) don’t know nearly ANYTHING about economics — and therefore can be sold a bill of goods by politicians, an ill-informed media and all manner of those who are corrupt or entrenched & in power. How can this be addressed? What if Obama will not ‘welcome the hatred of the bankers?’ What can be done to pressure him that would b effective? What economic statistics might WAKE US UP? Thank you!

  • Karin Hilding

    I’m an engineer in NW Montana (for the City of Whitefish). I was in a meeting with Sen. Max Baucus a few years ago. He asked the small audience for suggestions on how to fund highway infrastructure improvements. The federal transportation funding is dependent on gas taxes. But people are driving efficient cars that use less gas. So we aren’t collecting enough. Also, Montana is a state that eats up federal transportation dollars with all of our highways. The smaller eastern states are starting to get pissed. The question is how do we fund the Federal Department of Transportation in the 21st Century. I think the answer lies somewhere in having less attorneys in D.C. and more engineers that actually enjoy fixing things (like the country). But what would you suggest as a future funding mechanism. They keep kicking the can down the road on the fed. transportation bill without answering the question.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1193948458 P Edward Murray

    Mr Krugman, my entire office was downsized, sold and then outsourced to Manila 7 1/2 years ago. After 5 years, I had to quit even thinking about finding a job to care for my elderly Mother who had R.A., severe back problems and cancer. She passed away on April 1 last year. Right now I am the caretaker of her estate and with my brother’s help we will sell the house this year. I will be in better shape than many but at 56 now I am still going to have to find a good job. What would be your advice to me and others who are older and in a similar predicament? And what can you do as an economist , to help all of us?
    Thank you so much.
    Sincerely,
    P. Edward Murray

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1193948458 P Edward Murray

    Bill, thank you!

  • Mass voter

    As a world traveller, what countries does Mr. Krugman recommend as good places to live in the next ten-twenty-thirty years? I know its next to impossible to predict the future, but there must be some countries that Krugman sees as having saner, more civil-society producing economic policies or economically saavy populations, and I am curious what they are? (Sadly, I can add – I would emigrate were it not for age!) Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikepilot Mike Barlow

    Question: How can we best prepare our children for a world in which traditional “jobs” and “careers” have been replaced by multiple opportunities for self-employment? Thank you.

  • gkm5280@hotmail.com

    How do we get people to stop thinking that Social Security has anything to do with the budget? And another thing . . . why can’t we lift the SS cap?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.atch.5 Dave Atch

    With the computing power we have at our disposal today we can plan our way to full employment, best use of resources, and at least to the best path away from ecological disaster. Teaching graphics alone could dispel trickle down and deficit phobia. Don’t you experts restrict solutions to verbiage, thereby maintaining both a confusing economic gnosis and your own indespensibility? Where, for instance, is an updated version of Stephen J. Rose’s circular flow diagram of the American economy? Why aren’t we using the teaching potential of better graphics software to pass along this picture to voters and activists…which encompasses most relevant factors and variables germane ALL AT THE SAME TIME? Americans are working like machines on their last legs these days, and desparately need the most lucid and comprehensive overview of all the relevant issues when they’re lucky enough to find a few minutes to give these matters any consideration at all. I work in a state institution, Paul, where we are feeling the impact of cutbacks every minute we’re on the job. We’re working hard, Paul. Mighty hard. You want the grass roots to speak up? Ok, do your job and start shoot’n out some information-water.

  • Kenneth Farrell

    I received an e-mail from Danny Glover requesting that I sign a petiton to nominate Paul Krugman for Treasury Secretary. I would gladly sign this petition but I would like to know if Paul Krugman would accept the nomination.

  • Albert DeVita

    What is your opinion of Citizens United? How can we get corporate influence out of the policies and governance of the United States?

  • Tom Hicks in North Carolina

    Dr. Krugman, In the war between capital and labor, isn’t capital winning (or has it already won, i.e. Citizen’s United), and what’s the impact of that on the American social structure for the next generation? What do we need to do to reform our banking system, recognizing that Glass-Steagall is bound to be little more than nostalgia now?

  • Patrick Herman

    Here is an purely economic (non-political) reason to pay down the national debt: If capital is a resource that can promote economic activity, wouldn’t it help our economy to pay down the national debt to free up that money by putting it back into the hands of investors who can then invest it? The money tied up in our national debt is like water frozen in a glacier. By paying down the debt, we are freeing up the capital to go to work in our economy. If I am right, paying down the debt will actually help the American economy an decrease our nations debt burden and relieve us of interest payments, freeing up more money for government programs. .

  • http://www.facebook.com/itettoni Italo Tettoni

    Since ‘globalisation’ of the US economy has meant the wholesale offshoring of the entire manufacturing base, lowering wages accross the board, unchecked immigration flows and the imploding of the union movement what does professor Krugman make of globalisation now, 17 years after spruiking its benefits in books such as ‘Peddling Prosperity’.

  • Javier Bonnemaison

    Mr. Krugman, wouldn’t you agree that the economic solutions you prescribe, while sensible and urgent, are not really feasible unless we first introduce fundamental reforms to our political system?

  • Michael Chabler

    Is it in any way possible for countries, specifically EU countries, to have more than one currency–their local currency and the Euro? If so, might this help with the problems they are having?

  • Leslie Benscoter

    For Bill Moyers and Paul Krugman (Thanks to both of you)
    On the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) Robert Pollin has written a little book called “Back To Full Employment”. He asks the question; “Is Full Employment Possible Under Capitalism?”. Then he supplies many different positive approaches to solving the problems we all are confronted with. Is it possible to bring all of you together and put on a seminar for all of America to view. Several really neat reviews of this book are on line.
    Robert Kuttner, of the American Prospect has written one of them. Chris Hayes of UP with Chris Hayes wishes that ever lawmaker in Washington would read the book. Maybe all of you can invite them to participate. I think the American People really need to hear you folks talk about all of this.

    Thank You.
    Also, Thanks to Robert Pollin and the PERI Staff – good job everyone.
    Mr. Leslie Benscoter
    Deadwood, Oregon

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Anderson/100000060755453 Terry Anderson

    If you were offered the Secretary of Treasury Job by President Obama, would you accept? If you would, thanks in advance. If not, why the hell not?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmy-Horowitz/520278785 Jimmy Horowitz

    Inequality has increased dramatically these last few years, but we seem to discuss it only in sociological or political terms. I suspect that many of our present economic and fiscal problems are connected to it. By how much does an increase in inequality decrease aggregate demand in an economy. And by how much is it decreasing total tax collections in the US, if the very rich are paying effectively lower taxes than the middle class. And does inequality change the value of “V” in the “MV” side of the equation, and if so, by how much?

    By the way, I just started your book, Dr. K. I read your others, but so far, “Conscience of a Liberal” is my favorite. But you never talk about the “Great Convergence” and “The Great Divergence” any more. Why not?

  • http://twitter.com/LDMark Leslie D Mark

    Michael Hudson posits that current proponents of the pro-austerity mythology aim to distract the public from asking why peacetime governments can’t simply print the money they need. Given the option of printing money instead of levying taxes, why do politicians only create new spending power for the purpose of waging war and destroying property, not to build or repair bridges, roads and other public infrastructure? Why should the government tax employees for future retirement payouts, but not Wall Street for similar user fees and financial insurance to build up a fund to pay for future bank over-lending crises? For that matter, why doesn’t the U.S. Government print the money to pay for Social Security and medical care, just as it created new debt for the $13 trillion post-2008 bank bailout?

    Do you understand why you and other MMT economists have had such relative paucity of success in steering the debate in the halls of power away from the current European-style austerity attitudes? It boggles my mind…

  • chris

    With the government debating raising the debt ceiling again, with Washington State and Colorado legalizing Marijuana, with Milton Friedman and other economists calculating $24 billion dollars in annual new revenue from taxing Marijuana, why are the Democrats and Republicans in congress not even talking about Marijuana legalization?

  • Richard Kent Green

    While tax reform is important, our real problem is wage inequality and GUSH-UP (as opposed to Trickle-Down) economics. How do we get the upper class to share with the working classes the wealth and income created by the working classes?

  • Anonymous

    Dr. Krugman, Do you ever wake up in the morning and realize that the fundamental process of wealth creation, the conversion of the natural world into disposal junk, even if jump-started by stimulus spending, will just drive us headlong into a brick wall further down the road?

  • Sergio

    The
    science of economics itself has gone through many phases, e.g., Classical, Historicism, Socialist, Austrian, Keynesian, Chicago, etc. Their is no
    clear consensus even between economists on what approach is correct. So why
    would we force the people of a country to be an experiment to one school of
    economics?

  • ronald moore

    How is our economic situation different now from the one FDR solved by simply putting people to work on the government payroll?

  • Questor1

    Please ask Dr. Krugman to explain the problems of treating money as the single criterion for measuring value and/or economy – as in the oft-stated opinion that “the only thing that matters is the bottom line”. In Psychology, a similar social science, I had to persuade students that while a test score means something, it does NOT measure the value of them as a person. Yet, most of the comments I’ve read focus only on the measurement tool (money), and not upon our Constitution’s primary goal of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

  • Paula Arsenault

    Putting
    your historian cap on for a minute, which Democratic leaders – in your
    estimation – did the most damage to our economic system over the last 60
    years? Explain how, or why. And, how can the point be made that
    personal responsibility and smaller government, the tenants of the GOP,
    do not have to be at odds with a smart, strong, and responsible central
    government?

  • Geri David

    My 34-year-old son has gotten a raise and he has reached the “cap” on Social Security payroll tax. That means that he is now paying the same dollar amount in SSPT as Steven Spielberg or Michael Bloomberg–men who make significantly more than $90,000 a year. Please ask Mr. Krugman why I never see anyone talk about lifting the cap on SSPT. From what I understand, it was only put in place by FDR to appease the Republicans in the 1930s. Isn’t it time to get rid of the cap?
    Geri David
    Denver

  • cate mullen

    Question for Dr. Krugman
    There are many Mental Health and Social Service professionals with post graduate degrees and training that barely make salaries that are more than a public transportation bus driver. They do not have the benefits of the bus driver or school employees. What could be done to change this? The new hires are of poorer and poorer quality and the Social Service system in our country is heading for disaster. Any helpful thoughts?

  • Tom P.

    Shouldn’t Social Security be excluded from any compromise on the fiscal crisis? Considering it is funded with a separate tax and it is our own money (mostly)? Additionally didn’t the original architects of Social Security plan for all situations including the increased life expectancy? If so what went wrong?

  • Paul

    I would like to know if Mr. Krugman believes that President Obama is truly a Keynsian. And if so then what will it take to get him to act boldly. Do you have his ear?

  • elainee

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/01/whats-inside-americas-banks/309196/ Now, I can understand some sleight-of-hand to project confidence because money without confidence is just paper, tin & electronic bits. But the following seems like a shell game: FASB eases mark-to-market rules in 2009, banks emerge from stress tests OK, borrow from Fed at 0%, buy Treasury Debt (the cleanest dirty shirt or the healthiest horse in the glue factory). The other shell game: the Fed buying US Government Debt (previously called printing money).

    On another note- with the above well in hand, why would a bank want to lend on a 30 year mortgage at a rock bottom rate of 3.5%?

  • Anonymous Mac

    Does the Treasury Department deserve its epithet ‘Government Sachs’?

    Is it possible for the working sector to recover in same fashion as the financial sector given the enormous support provided to Wall Street by Treasury and the Fed?

    With 46 plus percent of the GDP currently generate by far less than 1 percent of the work force that is the financial sector, what is the prospect for a recovery of the white/blue collar recovery in the remaining 56 percent GDP where the 99 percent subsist?

    Is it true that Hank Paulson, through TARP, removed any internecine legal actions between Wall Street Banks for fraudulent activities in their dealing with shadow banking/insurance products/securities?

    Could the frustrated actions of Brooksley Born and accurate actions by S&P, Fitch, and Moodys prevented the assault on the ecomony from 2003 – 2007?

    What part did the Powell Memorandum play in the forty years leading to the financial crisis?

  • Michael

    Please ask Mr. Krugman about MEDIUM/LONG-TERM issues facing our economy, not SHORT-TERM. Everyone knows Krugman is right about the short-term prescription: more stimulus, boost demand. However everyone knows that the politicians have abandoned any real stimulus, so LET’s MOVE ON.

    Does Krugman REALLY believe that if his stimulus prescription were followed and the economy bounced back in a few years, that we wouldn’t STILL face major problems in the medium/long-term? For example, the decline in labor power and unions – Krugman has recently acknowledged that these are real problems, but I’d like to hear his ideas for workable solutions. And what does Krugman now think about globalization as run by the mega-corporations? Was he not wrong to ignore the threat to American workers of low-wage labor in countries with few protections for labor rights or environmental standards?

    Krugman is fond of saying that our economy doesn’t face STRUCTURAL problems, because he is using a definition of “structural” that’s specific to the economics discipline, by which he means there is no great mismatch between the types of work Americans are qualified to do and the types of work available. Fair enough, but what about all the other structural issues that a layman can see? Namely, the decline in labor power due to weakening of unions, race-to-the-bottom globalization, etc. It seems to me these kinds of structural issues still pose a massive threat to the American economy even if Krugman’s short-term stimulus prescription was followed in full.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.friedrich1 John Friedrich

    As a follow-up to the most recent program on the urgency of confronting climate change — does Mr. Krugman support a federal carbon tax, with a corresponding dividend from revenues paid to all taxpayers (as proposed by James Hansen and many others), and/or reductions in payroll taxes paid by working people (“tax what we burn, not what we earn.”) What other solutions along those lines does he propose to create good jobs compatible with necessary reductions in greenhouse gases and a highly strained natural resource base?

  • http://www.facebook.com/5tephenPatterson Stephen Patterson

    Why do politicians keep saying that middle class is $150,000 to $200,000 per year, when the average american income is around $50,000 per year? Shouldn’t the largest amount of people earning a middle income be “Middle” class?

  • http://www.facebook.com/5tephenPatterson Stephen Patterson

    As the USA heads farther into trouble, it seems inevitable, that at some point I will be better off in Canada. I don’t want to move while things are still livable here, but I don’t want to wait to long. When is the average american better off moving out of the country?

  • RootieKazootie

    You’ve stated in your NYT blog that you think you wouldn’t be as effective as Treasury Secretary as you can be as a media opinion-shaper. But what about a position on the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. Or perhaps its Chair?

  • Carl Beckmann

    Please ask Dr. Krugman to refute the growing Republican talking point that “America is becoming like Greece” when it comes to our debt situation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.j.macdonnell Robert John MacDonnell

    Mr. Krugman, I ususally like very much what you have to say; but are you not aware that the pundits and right wing ideaologues regard you with contempt, in fact characterize you as a clown? What’s to be done when reason has been suborned?

  • retired and entitled

    I am 70 and pay about $100/month for medicare. I believe I could afford more. How much help would it be if retirees making more than ,,,(70k?) paid $200/month rather than 100? I paid 25K during my working life. If it is priced too low, why not just raise the price for those who can afford it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.j.macdonnell Robert John MacDonnell

    There are no more jobs for you at your age, laddy-buck! You need to get into the rackets. Find a service or commodity that people do not want to live without, get in the middle of the delivery process, and squeeze your cut out of the middle – just like the doctors do!

  • John Gates

    Dr. Krugman, I know you call for more stimulus, but does that not often turn into corporatism, i.e., crony “capitalism” or corporate welfare, where a well-connected few reap disproportionate benefit from these governmental wealth transfers?

  • Just an Okie

    You must also believe in trickle down economics, which have proven disastrous. Wake up and look around you.

  • jliparelli

    My question is that I question the concept of free trade. Every nation uses many techniques to carve market share in industry sectors from the basic foundation of their companies which get state money, laws and regulations. This has caused our government deficits, loss of jobs for our citizens, lower standard of living and the destruction of the middle class.

  • Kathy Bretz

    Would you be an effective Treasury Secretary (to replace Geithner) and why?

  • Colleen

    Are We paying to stay on a treadmill? If only a few Own It All, and it’s making the world sick, how can We say “Your currency is no longer valid? Hey, things change, we don’t want to sue you (you’ve changed the laws or stacked the courts) or put you in jail (that’s the World in global warming) . It’s just not what We value anymore, you understand ….” There’s gotta be historical references for that, no?

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.j.macdonnell Robert John MacDonnell

    Remember, the neoliberals don’t care about people. High unemployment helps to guarantee low inflation – their wealth must not be diluted.

  • Jim Gilkey

    As you see it, Mr. Krugman, why are healthcare costs in the US so much higher than in other OECD countries, and what can we do about it?

  • Anonymous

    Who are your heroes?

  • goseecal

    I would like to know what Paul thinks about Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare. I live in California and my family insurance premium from United Health went up by more than 10%. This is after the double digit increases every year in the last few years. I thought ACA was supposed to help consumers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/foye.lowe Foye Lowe

    Assuming this is the place to query Mr. Krugman, I ask this: Are there economists who advise Congress and the Pentagon with regard to the QUALITY of spending, by which I refer to the difference between triggering the effort to build a windmill and that to blow a soap bubble? (Or is the focus merely on the amount of cash-flow churning engendered by the spending?)

  • John Gates

    Keynes promoted the idea of government spending during recession but also creating SURPLUS during good times. Why don’t modern Keynesians and government officials emphasize the SAVING half of the equation? You criticized Bush’s trillions in tax cuts, but will you now criticize Obama’s trillions in cuts by making permanent those same tax cuts (for all but the top few earners)?

  • jg hocker

    With all the problems, questions, and good intentioned people that come your way, how do you maintain your spirit and soul to “stay true to your demons”?

  • Tim Walsh

    If economies grow by more people buying more stuff, how long can such growth continue on one planet with waning resources and the negative consequences of our resource use, such as climate change, becoming more apparent by the day? (Please avoid saying “substitutes” and “efficiencies.”) What feasible alternatives are there for the current design of our economic system?

  • Phil Boychuk

    Question for Paul Krugman: In a capitalist system, is it even
    possible to prevent the profession of economics from being used to justify
    financial and corporate interests? Phil Boychuk. Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

  • EB

    Dear Mr. Krugman,

    I would like to know why there aren’t more people talking about the fact that the US government had a 91% tax rate on the wealthiest earners (anywhere from 400K to 2 million or more in 2011 dollars) from 1945 through 1963, and a 70% rate on top earners (anywhere from 200K to 1.4 million) from 1963 through 1981, yet these years were some of the most productive American history economically. Tax rates also went up in the early 1990′s and our economy did very well. I’m sure there are other factors involved, but why are these facts not trumpeted from every wall?

  • Yoichi Hariguchi

    I would like to ask Krugman-sensei the following thing:

    Do you think the following theory Prof. Stiglitz states is correct?

    “The higer Gini coefficient becomes, the slower GDP growth becomes.”

    What is the math model behind this theory? If my memory serves me right, you have been stating that economics cannot provide the answer how to solve poverty and inequality. For example, you stated that consumer demand could be sustained by the spending of the upper class (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/do-we-need-the-middle-class/). It seems to me that this contradicts the above theory by Prof. Stiglitz.

    The reason I am bringing this is that I have been frustrated that we have to attack inequality and defend progressive taxation from the moral (philosophical) point of view. To me, this does not work very well to the people like Fox News viewers. Don’t you think Fox News viewers may accept steeper progressive taxation If we can say economics proves that an egalitarian society leads higher GDP growth, So I am hoping Prof. Stiglitz’ theory is supported by the majority of professional economists.

  • Edith

    I would like to know if there is an alternative to economic health that doesn’t involve growth as we’ve known it. Given our current ecological circumstances, i.e., polar ice caps at forty percent of what they were in the nineteen eighties, etc., is constant growth sustainable? Growth, as something driven by consumption, produces a lot of waste. Is it possible to grow the economy in such a way that extraction of resources and energy consumption are kept to a minimum? Please ask Mr. Krugman about the economy vis-a-vis ecology. The two are always set against each other as diametric opposites, you can have one or the other but not both, yet this can only be a false dichotomy for obvious reasons. The situation we are in now differs from that of the nineteen thirties as natural resources were more abundant then. Can Keynesian economics be applied in the exact same way as before or is there a more nuanced approach to be taken today?

  • Edith

    Sorry, I meant Dr. Krugman.

  • Mary Bess

    Paul Krugman supports reducing interest rates on debt owed by consumers and employers, but he does not support writing down the debt itself. Why?

    According to economist Michael Hudson, 75-80% of wages earned are spent on interest payments on mortgages, student debt, credit cards and other bank held debt as well as federal, state and local taxes. That leaves little income to spend on the purchase of goods and services to stimulate the economy.

    Hudson continues:

    Without writing down debts, the U.S. economy will shrink just as will those of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Iceland and other countries subjected to the Washington Consensus of neoliberal austerity.

    Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/05/michael-hudson-paul-krugmans-economic-blinders.html#QiqPrUhvWLHiEc4V.99

  • Mary Bess

    While Krugman supports reducing interest rates on debt consumer debt, he opposes writing down the debt itself. Why?

    According to economist Michael Hudson:

    Employees must pay about 40 percent of their wages on debt-leveraged housing, about 10 percent more on student loans, credit cards and other bank debt, 15 percent on FICA, and about 10 to 15 percent more in income and sales taxes? Between 75 and 80 percent of the wage payment is absorbed by the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector even before employees can start buying goods and services! No wonder the economy is shrinking, sales are falling off, and new investment and hiring have followed suit.
    Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/05/michael-hudson-paul-krugmans-economic-blinders.html#QiqPrUhvWLHiEc4V.99

  • BillA

    Since Reagan “saved” Social Security and up to recently, Social Security gave a surplus to the federal budget to the tune of a couple of trillion. Who benefitted from “saving” Social Security? From my experience it looks like the wealthier got tax breaks funded with excess FICA payments. Now the wealthy do not want to pay it back. Is that an accurate understanding?

  • Craig Bakalian

    The biggest questions I have for Mr. Krugman: Why on earth do United States citizens keep voting these Rep and Dem fools into office and When will the citizens of this nation wake up to this gigantic scam? There is a depression and there are people who make money off of it and they are in places of high social status (government officials). When will the citizens wake up?

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.friedrich1 John Friedrich

    Mr. Krugman,

    Do you support a national carbon tax (as a stand alone measure, or coupled with a dividend for all and/or reduction in payroll taxes)?

    Thomas Friedman, your colleague on the NY Times editorial page, wrote an op-ed (“The Market and Mother Nature,” 1/8/12) proposing a national carbon tax as a two-fer solution for our financial and carbon deficits. Friedman stated, “according to a September 2012 study by the Congressional Research Service, a small carbon tax of $20 per ton — escalating by 5.6 percent annually — could cut the projected 10-year deficit by roughly 50 percent (from $2.3 trillion down to $1.1 trillion).”

    Friedman added, “What would you rather do to help solve our fiscal problem: Give up your home mortgage deduction and wait two more years for Social Security and
    Medicare, or pay a little extra for gasoline and electricity? These will
    be our choices.”

  • Zack Block

    Paul – I’m a college student about to graduate. I plan on being a social science teacher in secondary education. If you could give some good general advice for the youth and many college grads like myself, besides change profession, what would it be? Topics might be: where to live, rent or buy a home, investing, continuing education and where, going abroad, etc

  • Jack Ambuel

    Contention: Many progressives focus on the widening income and wealth gaps as the number one problem facing our country. I contend that an even greater problem is the continuing outsourcing of manufacturing and all associated operations (research, engineering, business operations, IT, etc). This is destroying our economic base, middle class, and resulting in the rapid decline in our economic power soon to be followed by our military power. Please read my justification for this contention below and then comment.

    The outsourcing of key components of the US economy and why it is important

    Over the last 40 years large swaths of the U.S. economy have
    been outsourced to both developing countries and areas such as China, Mexico,
    India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Caribbean, etc. – starting with manufacturing and then followed by business operations (accounting, human resources, IT, customer
    service, etc), engineering design and development, and research. In addition for high tech products developed mercantilist economies such as Germany, Japan, Italy, France, Switzerland, South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and others are providing stiff competition and the U.S. is falling behind. These countries do a good job of nurturing their high tech research, engineering, and manufacturing, protecting their intellectual property, and aggressively seeking out markets and insuring that at a minimum trade with other countries is fair. The U.S. by contrast does none of these things well. As a result the U.S. is rapidly losing its competitiveness. The loss of all these jobs (which is still continuing) will make it impossible for the U.S. to recover from the current on-going Great Recession and will result in the inevitable continuing decline of the U.S. both economically and militarily.

    In addition to the rapid destruction of our economic base, the tremendous outflow of manufacturing and all supporting operations has resulted in huge transfers of wealth from the middle and lower classes to the upper 1 percent. By transferring
    production and associated activities to developing countries (first and
    foremost China), multinational corporations can pay greatly reduced wages and
    material costs, ship the products back to the U.S., mark down the price a small
    amount from the price that would be charged if it were manufactured in the U.S.
    and pocket the huge profits that result. Multinational corporations reap additional cost advantages from production in low wage countries due to virtually nonexistent environmental laws, poor safety standards, inadequate old age retirement benefits, poor health insurance programs, etc. This further bloats the profits of these predator capitalists, allows companies to put tremendous pressure on the wages of lower and middle class workers in the United States and threatens the existence of all of the social programs, worker protections, and middle class life that has been built over the last 100+ years.

    What is the proof that outsourcing is the source of all these problems? A convincing case could be undoubtedly be made by laboriously colleting all relevant data acquired and published by various federal agencies, but this is not necessary. The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. For consumer products – try to find products (other than groceries and lumber) made in the United States in any hardware store, department store, clothing store, appliance store, home products store, office supply store, etc. Probably 90% to 95% are made in third world countries (with the bulk coming from
    China). Walmart, Target, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, Ace Hardware, Macys, Burlington Coat Factory, Menards, Home Depot, Farm and Fleet, and on and on are all outlets largely for Chinese made products with additional products coming from other third world countries. Then look at the major industrial supply distributors – McMaster Carr, Fastenal, Digikey, Newark, Grainger, and many others. Same story – they are mainly outlets for Chinese made products. What about the high end you say? First, the total dollars for all commodity retail and industrial products is huge. Shifting production from the U.S. to China and elsewhere has done tremendous damage to our economy. Saying that we can make it up by concentrating on high tech high value products is unlikely – even if we had a corner on the market for these products. In fact we are under tremendous pressure on the high end from developed mercantilist countries
    like Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan. Take one example – machine tools – the equipment that is used to make all other tools and manufacturing equipment.
    Refer to The 2012 World Machine – Tool Output & Consumption Survey by Gardiner Web. In 2011 the number one and number two exporters of machine tools were Japan ($11.38 Billion) and Germany ($9.460 Billion). By contrast the United States was 8th
    ($1.874 Billion) with Italy 3rd ($4.451 B) Taiwan 4th ($4.400 B) Switzerland 5th ($2.058 B) China 6th ($2.380 B) and South Korea 7th ($2.301 B). And China is poised to become the #1 exporter soon since it is already the largest producer in the world ($27.680 Billion) with most of its production currently being used in China.

    The rapid erosion of our manufacturing base continues at both the low and high end. Our trade deficit and current account deficit continues to balloon to unsustainable
    levels. If there is not counterbalance to this we will soon be in deep trouble – much worse than we are now. The claim by some is that high tech goods and innovation will get us out of this – but it is clear that we are already losing that battle to the other developed economies soon to be joined by China and then others. Some claim that we can start to balance the trade deficit by providing more education, medical care,
    leisure products (tourism), and financial services. These areas cannot possibly make up for the huge deficit we have in manufactured goods. In particular the greatest potential for additional income – financial services – is sure to decline as the financial institutions in the developing countries like China become stronger and they have less need for US financial services.

    It is time for all Americans to wake up, and this should start with progressives. This must be emphasized relentlessly until people begin to pay attention and the facts are made clear to the American people. Otherwise God help the USA.

    Jack Ambuel
    Madison, Wisconsin
    1/9/2013

  • robert

    The World Ecological Footrpint, and othe similar organizations, have noted that the global economy is overconsuming the planet’s ability support us by 140%. The economic powers that be want the global economy to grow at roughly 3% annually, which is a doubling time of about 20 years. Meaning: On purpose, we’re headed toward overconsumption of 280% by 2030, and 560% by 2050.

    Physics will not allow this. The system will collapse long before such time. Talk about steady-state economics, please.

  • David Bliven

    Question: The idea of full employment isn’t novel. FDR proposed it in his “bill of rights,” MLK advocated guaranteed jobs/income in his book “Where Do We Go From Here,” and the ’92 Clinton Election Campaign’s Chief Economic Advisor (later serving as HHS Assistant Secretary) David Ellwood advocated guaranteed jobs as a replacement of the old welfare system in his book “Poor Support.” So if it’s a great idea, and quite likely the vast majority of people would support such a notion, why does it never even get entertained in Congress, much less passed?

  • Anonymous

    Considering the current fiscal policies in the US and the West in general, and assuming no substantial changes, where do you see us in ten years?

  • Laura Ellman

    Why haven’t the VSPs accepted the idea that we’re in a liquidity trap? …what are the most effective ways to get us out of it? What will it take for policy- or decision-makers to try to carry those out (in our political climate)?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000167780414 Jim Porter

    Looking forward to this program….

  • Joesquestion

    If we as a country were to end the wars on terror and drugs, what would our economy look like? How would we transition over? What would the short and long term impacts be?

  • Jo

    Growth, what can be done about the habitual and monotonous sounding of the bell to celebrate financial growth? How can a family run a hardware store with this ethos? What if they just want one hardware store to serve one town? What if they don’t want to sell the business to a conglomerate? I do what I can to buy American and shop at locally owned, does it make a difference?

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.b.pitts Christopher Bonnier Pitts

    Bill’s programs of late could be summed up as identifying the corruption of politics by big money. What does this country need to do to stop this?

  • Scott

    How does our relationship to social security vary from a ponzi scheme and why haven’t well payed thinking adults not instituted a more sound, long range plan?

  • Su

    Simple question I’ve not been able to find an answer for-what is the government doing with the billions of dollars that are being taken in from the BP, bank and other fines/settlements?

  • Carol

    Your reaction to the 1.6.13 NYT article “Social Security: It’s Worse Than You Think” by King & Soneji?

  • John Maynard Lee, Boulder, CO

    I’ve been reading your columns regularly for two or more years and am convinced that Keynsian economics shows how we could end this depression. The chief issue would seem to be how to persuade policymakers and the public? Could the amount of stimulus funding be quantified and correlated with resulting revenue that would reduce the deficit? For example, could the amount of tax money or other financial measures that resulted from the bailout of General Motors or from highway and other infrastructure projects be computed and used to promote how stimulus funding has worked and, therefore, is a safe, essential investment now?

  • Jenna

    Is “money” even real? Or are all of us, especially the working poor, doomed to participate in a banking Ponzi scheme driven by credit only? The average citizen doesn’t have the opportunity to boost their bottom line by providing credit. So how is this “capitalist” system working for the middle class and the poor? Doesn’t true “capitalism” require a fair playing field? Average people can’t compete by lending money they don’t have to account for, or pay out, to create the illusion of wealth. The system is gamed ~ if this is not capitalism, what is this economic game being played?

  • Jenna

    Who profits if “debt ceiling” is not raised? Republicans in Congress never do anything that their best friends don’t profit from. So, will big banks, multi-nationals, profit in any way by the downgrading of US credit worthiness? Interest rates should increase substantially, for how long?

    Is this the threat Republicans are using against Obama: “Either give banksters & Wall Street your SS dollars, give the insurance industry your Medicare dollars, or we will refuse to raise the “debt ceiling”, and take your money anyway via increased interest rates?”
    (Problem with increased interest rates is the rich wil also have to pay ~ so they would be compelled to come out fighting to raise the “debt ceiling”, no matter who gets hurt in the process.)

    Is it too far out there to suggest that the Republicans are going to perpetrate a heist on the American people one way or the other? What can the average person do to stop this insanity?

  • http://twitter.com/joesegal Joseph Segal

    How could we best scale up the creation of companies to Worker Owned & Operated Co-ops which would raise worker wages, create more jobs, and divest from the corporations that exploit labor, consumers and our environment?

  • Ben Millstein

    I’m thinking the main issue is how to transition to a Sustainable economy from the one we’ve evolved with which is based on unlimited growth. I’d love to hear Paul’s comments on that. What does a sustainable economy even look like? How do we measure health if not by growth?

  • Anonymous

    Most mainstream economists talk about consumers and jobs. As a consumer I already have so much “stuff” that my challenge is getting rid of some of it, not acquiring more; I suspect that many Americans face the same problem so perhaps more consumption is not the solution to our economic problem (though it certainly is for some people — better nutrition, housing, etc.). Will you please generate a conversation about values that are less consumption oriented?

    If more consumption is not the solution to our economic problem, what is the nature of the jobs that you believe should be created? How can citizen (including planet Earth citizen) values be translated into desire/demand to be served by the new jobs? Can human capital serve the predominant role in the new jobs so that our planetary natural resources and other forms of life can be preserved? What must we do to develop that human capital both in the developed and in the undeveloped worlds?

    Finally, most analysis seems to boil down to money — an artificial measure of value. Give me one more computer bit and I’ll double the amount of money in the world, Ben Bernanke notwithstanding. That creates not one more bite of food, purifies not one drop of water, filters not one cubic nanometer of air, … Will you please promote a conversation about REAL resources, not only the artificial simplification (or is it complication?) that is money?

    Many thanks.

  • Feddie

    Is the federal reserve system as bad as people say? Why, why not? What would be better?

  • Austin FEM

    If growth in the production of “stuff” is the remedy for the worldwide economic crisis (Krugman, page 30), aren’t we caught on the horns of a dilemma as we deal with the equally disastrous crisis of climate change (Moyers 01/03/2013)? More stuff, more carbon emissions, more extremes in climate. Less stuff, less recovery, less prosperity. Is this a false dichotomy? What’s the happy medium? Or do we need to make a radical shift in values, goals and way of living to sustain life on the planet?

  • Reddoor2

    How do we prevent our public corporations from getting “bained” as Hostess was? How can Americans work toward retirement security with 401K’s and no safe investments. Despite the improving economy, the congressional economic fighting to eliminate the “entitlement” insurance we’ve paid into, and lack of any plan to regulate and govern wall street leaves Americans on the sidelines, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. We need a plan, one that respects and reflects the magnified the importance of the social safety net in hard economic times, meanwhile, as if to increase anxiety, this is the first in line for cuts–even before our bloated defense spending or reconsideration of single payer health care.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001633454737 Ethan Jordan

    I’d like to know who started the social security trust fund and when? And, when the day comes (or maybe it already has) that the payroll tax no longer fully funds current benefits, what was their plan to convert the government IOU’s in that trust fund into cash deposited into beneficiaries bank accounts? The way I see it, they could either raise taxes, “print” the cash or cut benefits. With all the talk of chained CPI and raising the medicare age to 67, looks like the plan all along was to cut benefits. If so, it would seem we’ve all been the victims of the grandest theft. The trust fund never should have been started and we never should have been contributing more to social security than what was needed to pay the then current benefits.

    I’d like to know what would be the consequences if we “printed” the cash to pay beneficiaries rather than raise taxes on working people or cut benefits? Washington was so ready to “print” money to bail out Wall Street, why can’t that be done to bail out social security?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001633454737 Ethan Jordan

    I’ve read the private sector is deleveraging, and we were (or are) in a balance sheet recession. Is so, is that deflationary, and does that have the same contractionary effect on the economy as burning currency? If so, unless we are willing to lose the economic activity (jobs) that was being supported by the multi-decade debt binge, would it make sense to “print” enough currency to kept that economic activity going?

    I’ve read the banks have to bid on Treasury debt. Does the Federal Reserve then take that debt from the banks in exchange for cash (or increases in their reserves)? If so, if Treasury gives the Federal Reserve a trillion dollar coin in exchange for Treasury debt, would that effectively mean the Federal deficit is “money printing”? If so, isn’t that a good thing in a balance sheet recession (especially if the money is wisely spent)? Wisely spent? Yeah Right!

  • Anonymous

    There is no thought in any mind, but it quickly tends to convert itself into a power.

  • http://www.facebook.com/virginia.cusick Virginia Cusick

    For starters, I would DEMAND the same exact deals that cities give to big
    biz to open a store, I think it would be illegal for any city to refuse…unfair
    business practices/advantage.

    http://reclaimdemocracy.org/tax_increment_financing/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/us/how-local-taxpayers-bankroll-corporations.html?_r=0

  • tired old american

    how do you find your way to work in the morning?

  • Economic growth is not enough

    Aren’t runaway ruthless capitalism, greed-based growth, and the pressures of overpopulation the major destroyers of our atmosphere and planet? Don’t we need to replace capitalism, carbon fuels, slow population growth, and live more simply in order to save the planet, save other species, and save the future for other generations?