James Galbraith

James K. Galbraith is the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in government-business relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, a senior scholar of the Levy Economics Institute, and chair of the Board of Economists for Peace and Security. His most recent book is Unbearable Cost: Bush, Greenspan and the Economics of Empire.

Recent Articles

When Should We Retire? Two Views

With so much focus on the deficit, many assume entitlement programs should be cut. But there is a progressive argument for raising the retirement age, and one for lowering it.

Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform co-chairmen Erskine Bowles, left, and Alan Simpson (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Early Retirement as a Fix for Unemployment

By James K. Galbraith

Debate over the future of Social Security and Medicare usually takes place in a timeless cocoon, insulated from other programs and economic forces, an economic neverland in which the Great Crisis either did not happen or has safely passed without lasting effect. This is explicit in the forecasts of the Congressional Budget Office, which habitually foresee full employment returning within five years, whatever the starting point. The CBO approach is like that of a doctor with only one patient: On observing that the patient has always recovered in the past, the doctor infers that the patient must, therefore, be immortal.

On the Economics of Deficits

Most of the federal deficit is caused by the recession itself. To cure the slump, fix the financial system.

What caused the deficits and rising public debt? The answer comes in two parts: present deficits and projected future deficits.

How Much Will It Cost and Will It Come Soon Enough?

Could the current bailout bill have been better? Yes. But there are still a few fixes Congress should consider.

There is no question that the current bailout bill represents an enormous improvement over the original Treasury proposal. Unlike the original proposal, this bill protects the public interest with requirements for disclosure and audit, for reporting to Congress both on procedures and results, and with protections against arbitrage, conflict of interest, and fraud, with provisions requiring the secretary of the treasury to try to minimize foreclosures, to acquire warrants, and with limitations on executive compensation, especially golden parachutes.

Why Populists Need to Re-think Trade

Progressives prioritize a trade agenda that would not actually achieve the objectives they have in mind. It's time they adopted a reality-based approach.

The 2006 election opened up American politics, for the first time in decades. It has presented progressives with the opportunity, and the obligation, to define themselves on the big issues. Of these, trade is clearly one of the most potent; alongside the war, it is one of the few questions plainly capable of turning elections in the battleground states.

Rich World, Poor World

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
by Jeffrey D. Sachs, foreword by Bono (Penguin Books, 416 pages, $27.95)

The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future -- And What It Will Take to Win It Back by Jeff Faux (Wiley, 304 pages, $27.95)

Jeff Sachs is in many ways the Mother Teresa of the economics profession. Like her, he has dedicated his life to the poor. Like her, he is a darling of the compassionate rich. And like hers, his methods engender, among close and thoughtful critics, a certain degree of unease.