Jared Bernstein is an economist and senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He was formerly chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden and a member of President Barack Obama’s economics team.
The man who famously admitted that economics is not his strong suit wants to fundamentally alter the government's role in the economy by deeply cutting non-defense spending, from discretionary programs to entitlements.
Next time you catch a John McCain interview, watch for what, at least to my ears and eyes, is a fascinating, albeit subtle, shift. When he's talking about almost anything other than the economy -- foreign policy, the war, Congress, immigration -- he exudes the typical confidence of a veteran Washington player. He deftly shifts the question to his turf, he ardently hits his message points ... just about what you'd expect, actually.
It’s no picnic for a president to present the State of the Union address when the economy is teetering on recession. In normal economic times, standard procedure is to tout the great economy and his role in its success. Though Bush can spin the economy with the best of them, even he, to his credit, didn’t do much of that last night (there was, of course, some spin, exposed below).
Economists may disagree a lot on policy, but we all agree on the "education premium" -- the earnings boost associated with more education. But what role can education play in a realistic antipoverty policy agenda? And what are the limits of that role?
First, it depends on whether you're talking about children or adults, and schooling versus job training. And second, the extent to which education is rewarded depends on what else is going on in the economy.