(p. A13) . . . , a lack of “demand” is no longer the problem.
. . .
Where, instead, are the problems? John Taylor, Stanford’s Nick Bloom and Chicago Booth’s Steve Davis see the uncertainty induced by seat-of-the-pants policy at fault. Who wants to hire, lend or invest when the next stroke of the presidential pen or Justice Department witch hunt can undo all the hard work? Ed Prescott emphasizes large distorting taxes and intrusive regulations. The University of Chicago’s Casey Mulligan deconstructs the unintended disincentives of social programs. And so forth. These problems did not cause the recession. But they are worse now, and they can impede recovery and retard growth.
These views are a lot less sexy than a unicausal “demand,” fixable by simple, magic-bullet policies. They require us to do the hard work of fixing the things we all agree need fixing: our tax code, our cronyist regulatory state, our welter of anticompetitive and anti-innovative protections, education, immigration, social program disincentives, and so on. They require “structural reform,” not “stimulus,” in policy lingo.
For the commentary, see:
JOHN H. COCHRANE. “OPINION; The Failure of Macroeconomics; When models don’t yield the spending policies they want, some Keynesians abandon models–but not the spending.” The Wall Street Journal (Thur., July 3, 2014): A13.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date July 2, 2014.)