John Irons's Blog


Economic News, Data and Analysis

Cap and Lease, me on C-SPAN

I was on a panel yesterday talking climate change, specifically my cap-and-lease proposal. My segment begins at 1:23:50
Click to watch

C-SPAN | Capitol Hill, The White House and National Politics – C-SPAN

Center for American Progress Discussion on the New Progressive Agenda With the inauguration of a new president in 2009 comes an opportunity for new progressive policies. The Center for American Progress hosts a discussion to explore ideas put forth in “Democracy: A Journal of Ideas,” and debate the contours of the new progressive agenda.
Washington, DC : 2 hr. 30 min.

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Which Way for Obama?

The New York Review of Books looks to try and pigeonhole Obama as a “behavioralist”.. That’s too simple. Behavioral economics has many useful insights, but it’s still too early and too incomplete to be a cohesive theory of everything economics.

Economics: Which Way for Obama? – The New York Review of Books

Should Obama win the nomination, political considerations may well force upon him a more interventionist position, but his first inclination is to seek a path between big government and laissez-faire, a trait that reflects his age–he was born in 1961–and the intellectual milieu he emerged from. Before entering the Illinois state Senate, he spent ten years teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago, where respect for the free market is a cherished tradition. His senior economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, is a former colleague of his at Chicago and an expert on the economics of high-tech industries. Goolsbee is not a member of the “Chicago School” of Milton Friedman and Gary Becker, but he is not well known as a critic of American capitalism either. As recently as March 2007, he published an article in The New York Times pointing out the virtues of subprime mortgages. “The three decades from 1970 to 2000 witnessed an incredible flowering of new types of home loans,” Goolsbee wrote. “These innovations mainly served to give people power to make their own decisions about housing, and they ended up being quite sensible with their newfound access to capital.”
If Obama isn’t an old-school Keynesian, what is he? One answer is that he is a behavioralist–the term economists use to describe those who subscribe to the tenets of behavioral economics, an increasingly popular discipline that seeks to marry the insights of psychology to the rigor of economics. Although its intellectual roots go back more than thirty years, to the pioneering work of two Israeli psychologists, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, behavioral economics took off only about ten years ago, and many of its leading lights, among them David Laibson and Andrei Shleifer, of Harvard; Matt Rabin, of Berkeley; and Colin Camerer, of Caltech, are still in their thirties or forties. One of the reasons this approach has proved so popular is that it appears to provide a center ground between the Friedmanites and the Keynesians, whose intellectual jousting dominated economics for most of the twentieth century.

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Via Wonkette…

Gas Tax Holiday: Hillary Places Economists Beneath Large Transportation Unit
From this morning’s ABC “town hall” with Hillary Clinton, about the gas tax holiday:
STEPHANOPOULOS: “But can you name an economist who thinks this makes sense?”
CLINTON: “Well, I’ll tell you what, I’m not going to put my lot in with economists.”
Silly George, the Clintons don’t listen to economists for economic advice. Spanky the Money Octopus tells them all they need to know.

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Employment opportunities at EPI

Want to work with me? See below. Feel free to forward to anyone you think might be interested…

Employment opportunities at EPI

Policy Analyst
The Economic Policy Institute is seeking to hire an economic policy analyst to work on a variety of high-profile, policy-related projects, with a focus on federal fiscal policy.
The policy analyst will conduct economic analyses and help to develop policies to promote economic growth and opportunity, especially through strategic public investments. A successful candidate will combine strong research, quantitative, and analytic skills with strong writing and communication skills. Responsibilities of the job include collection and analysis of data, synthesis of economic research, and the analysis and development of policy proposals. The analyst will work closely with EPI’s researchers and partners to develop and promote a progressive policy agenda.
The policy analyst will report to EPI’s research and policy director. Minimum qualifications include a Bachelors degree in economics, public policy, or a related field; and at least 2 years experience as a research assistant, policy analyst, or in a similar position. An advanced degree, additional policy experience, and/or in-depth expertise in federal economic policy are a plus.
Pay commensurate with experience and established pay scales, with an excellent benefit package.
The Economic Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy. The Research and Policy department conducts research on labor markets, education, international trade, race and ethnicity, and fiscal policy.
The Economic Policy Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
To apply send cover letter, resume, and writing sample via email to: They can also be mailed to Research Dept, Economic Policy Institute (Suite 300 East), 1333 H St NW, Washington, DC 20005 or faxed to: 202-775-0819. Please send inquiries to above email address. No phone calls please.

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2001-07 Expansion worst since WWII

Here’s a preview of the link to a new paper due out today…

A Feeble Recovery:
The fundamental economic weaknesses of the 2001-07 expansion

Evidence is mounting that the U.S. economy is in a recession. If this is the case, a complete business cycle from 2001 through the end of 2007 (or perhaps the start of 2008) is now on the books, and the economic performance of the current decade can be held up in comparison to that of past business cycles. By almost all measures, the most recent expansion was the worst since WWII.


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