Sunday, July 31, 2011

Negative Review of Obama's Performance

Gavyn Davies is not a journalist. He is a trained economist. From Wikipedia:
orked in Harold Wilson's Policy Unit from 1974–76 and then as an economic advisor to James Callaghan from 1976-1979. Afterwards he had stints as Chief Economist at Simon & Coates and Goldman Sachs. He was later promoted to international managing director for the bank. During this time he also served as one of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's "wise men" during the 1992-1997 Parliament

was the chairman of the BBC from 2001 until 2004, a former Goldman Sachs banker and a former economic advisor to the British Government
Here is a bit from a post by Gavyn Davies in his blog on the Financial Times criticizing Obama:
US economic policy is not yet triple A

According to the GDP statistics released on Friday, the US economy has grown at less than 1 per cent annualised in 2011 Q1 and Q2 combined, a rate which is well below its usual stall speed. This is very sharply lower than I expected at the start of the year. Previously, economists were puzzled by the “jobless recovery” in the past few months. Now the mystery has been solved: there was never much of a recovery in the first place. And the solution to the debt ceiling crisis which may emerge in coming days will, in all likelihood, do nothing to help matters.

A budget deal is now rumoured to be within reach in Congress. While this would be much better than the alternative of no deal, it seems clear that the outcome will bear little resemblance to the comprehensive package which Ben Bernanke and many economists have called for. That comprehensive package would introduce credible medium term policy changes to ensure fiscal sustainability in coming decades, while avoiding an excessive tightening in budgetary policy in the short term.

So what does it seem we will get? Precisely the opposite. The most likely deal will see around $1 trillion of government spending reductions starting next year, along with an automatic trigger mechanism to ensure that the scale of tightening is increased in a second round of cuts before very long. Furthermore, these cuts may be legislated in advance to take effect whatever the state of the economy is at the time. This means that if the economy slides back into recession, any emergency fiscal action has been ruled out in advance.
There is much more. Go read the whole article.

The problem with the US is that it is being ruled by economic illiterates. I worked in the high tech industry and with computers there is a famous saying: garbage in, garbage out. That is exactly what the economic "policy" under Obama (with the ridiculous constraints imposed on him by the Republicans) has become. To have "balanced budget amendments" or "automatic triggers" that remove human intelligence from the management of the economy is asking to be driven off a cliff.

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