In Part 1 of this two-part series, Harvard Professor, Jason Furman, former Chief Economist & Cabinet member in the Obama Administration, where he served as Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, reveals how Politics has changed for the worse in Washington, D.C., while countering it by arguing, “Good Politics are resilient.”
Furman details how Health Care costs actually are rising more slowly despite the Republican-led Congress and Trump Administration’s vicious attacks on the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).
Furman reveals the behind-the-scenes story of the negotiations between (1) President Obama and the White House, on one hand, and (2) the Republican leadership related to the proposals made by the Simpson-Bowles Commission. He asserts, “Obama got closer to a fiscal deal” than most people realized and argues the White House should have “done a little more” so a plan could have been finalized instead of abandoned.
He argues the White House was asking for only half as much in new revenue compared to spending cuts the Republicans wanted in the Federal Budget but stated the Republican Caucus was “unreasonable” and “wouldn’t compromise — resulting in the death of any possible plan. His most amazing revelation may be the fact the parties debated extensively for over two months yet there was not a single leak to the Press during that time. He teases Aaron by noting, “I call it a leak — you call it transparency.”
Examining the Federal Government’s financial standing today, Furman argues there’s no excuse for the size of the current Federal Deficits. He posits that the U.S. Annual Deficits are large and growing although the Economy is strong. This is the time, he explains, Deficit should be going down — not increasing.
When examining different aspects of the Economy which alarm him, Furman gives examples of how dangerous oligopolies are to a Free Market system, and points to airlines and hospitals as examples of worsening market-specific situations. Furman also expresses his concern about Income Inequality and how Real Wage Growth is poor, despite the generally good news occurring about the Economy. He posits that President Trump’s goal of 3% annual Economic Growth is unrealistic and does not believe it will be achieved over his tenure.
Illustrating the contrast between good Economic Policy with Politics, Furman states investing in and building our highways via increases in the Federal Gasoline Tax is a good idea but, at the same time, it is so unpopular with the general public he admits it likely would never pass.
Furman highlights how the retirement boom — with approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day — is a major “drag on our Economic Growth.” Furman details how immigration is a vital part of our Economy and why it is the foundation of a rising workforce which contributes significant entrepreneurial spirit to America.
In Part 2 of this two-part series, former Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman criticizes the President by saying Trump “sees the world in Zero Sum terms” rather than realizing a growing World Economy can provide additional benefits for everyone.
Furman argues the impacts of the newly implemented Trump Tax Code cuts will provide benefits for short term Economic Growth over a period not lasting more than one year but then will quickly erode Economic Growth which otherwise would have occurred and ultimately will hurt American families in the long run.
He reiterates his position on current U.S. immigration policies negatively affecting the Economy and explains his belief that the “biggest economic damage” caused by Trump and the Republican Congress will be due to what he believes are their irrational immigration policies. In regard to a Value Added Tax, Furman agrees having one would be a good idea to make American products more competitive because almost every developed nation, except the United States, has a VAT. He adds that establishing a Carbon Tax would be a good idea as well. Furman admits the U.S. Department of Defense is inefficient, in part, due to pork-barrel politics in Congress, and pushes for more Cost-Benefit Analyses for both the DOD and the Department of Homeland Security.
Furman would like to implement a program to educate members of Congress, by having an Economics class or a program that would better equip them to make significant economic decisions which impact the economic health of our country and world, often on a sale measured in hundreds of billions of dollars.
When asked how much political leaders actually know about key issues, Furman admits it varies greatly — often to the detriment of the country. He assesses Trump’s level of curiosity about issues, facts, and policies, by stating it “is between zero and nil.”