Thanks to his victory, President Obama faces a more compliant Republican House of Representatives. But even dictatorial powers wouldn’t give him a magic wand for kick-starting the economy.
Yes, the president, with Congress’ approval, could hire all the unemployed or bribe the private sector to do so. But there’s no money. Our government is flat broke.
LEONARD A. SCHLESINGER
PRESIDENT, BABSON COLLEGE
To get companies spending again, President Obama and Congress must restore a level of predictability in the economic environment. With little difference in the political makeup of the current and next Congress, work should begin today. Why? When faced with extreme uncertainty, business responds by sitting on the sidelines.
The most important way to remove this uncertainty is to enact a deficit reduction plan similar to the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles proposal. Crafting a solution that balances spending cuts and revenue increases is essential to accelerating the growth of our economy. Indeed, while everyone is panicking over the so-called fiscal cliff, the country is already in fiscal free fall. Its official liabilities are growing at a tremendous clip.
LISA M. LYNCH
DEAN OF HELLER SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL POLICY
AND MANAGEMENT, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
The biggest challenge we face is our deficit — but not just the fiscal one. Yes, Congress needs to move quickly to establish a credible plan to stabilize the debt over the next decade. A plan that produces $2 trillion in deficit reduction, phased in so that it does not throw us back into recession, would give us breathing room to tackle the longer term problems of ensuring retirement security for an aging population and stemming the unsustainably high growth of health care costs.
But the other major deficit, made worse by this recession, is our opportunity deficit. This deficit goes far beyond the 9 million new jobs we need to bring the unemployment rate to where it was before the recession began.
PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL ECONOMICS AND
MANAGEMENT, MIT SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
American stock markets are not what they used to be. There was a time when small investors were treated in a reasonable manner and the playing field was relatively even.
Those days are long gone. Now the markets are dominated by high speed traders running massive computer systems.
Corporate governance failures abound — look at how long it took Citigroup’s board to get rid of Vikram Pandit, an overpaid chief executive during whose tenure Citi’s stock price lost more than 90 percent of its value. Meanwhile, Jamie Dimon — head of JP Morgan Chase, a “too big to fail bank” — sits on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an institution that is the eyes and ears of the Federal Reserve on Wall Street.