Andrew Samwick's blog
I'd like to begin the New Year and end my run on CG&G by thanking Stan and my former co-bloggers (the FCBs) for the opportunity. I am up and running on my new blog, and I invite you all to join me there in the New Year.
With less than a month to go until the New Hampshire primary, my usually hot seat as the director of a public policy center at a college in New Hampshire is, in fact, ice cold. There is literally no sign of the candidates, nor has there been for most of the year. It is like the year without a primary. (This is in marked contrast to how I spent 2007, and this day in particular.)
The way I would summarize this is to say that there has been no aggressive retail campaigning. Other than the debate in October, we have had minimal outreach from the candidates who have been invited to these debates. The key reasons, in no particular order, seem to be:
The best thing I've read lately about how to channel public frustration into constructive action is this column by Scott Turow, holding forth at Bloomberg last weekend:
By treating money as an analog for speech, the court’s post-Buckley jurisprudence has figuratively allowed the rich to speak through microphones while the poor can barely whisper, and tolerates a situation in which the voices of contributors are amplified to the point that they drown out the opinions of mere voters. I have never understood how permitting the wealthy so much greater influence over the political process can be squared with the vision of equality on which the country was founded.
As I've suggested before, some money in politics is speech, but too much money in politics is bribery in one form or another. Turow is quite realistic about what it will take to accomplish this:
Peter Orszag provides some clear and sobering commentary on the value of a college degree in a column for Bloomberg yesterday. The key message is here:
The effects of globalization are already moving up the wage scale, though, and that trend will likely continue. As Alan Blinder of Princeton University trenchantly noted in 2006, “Many people blithely assume that the critical labor-market distinction is, and will remain, between highly educated (or highly skilled) people and less-educated (or less-skilled) people -- doctors versus call-center operators, for example.” Instead, the crucial distinction is between those tasks that are easily digitized (and thus subject to substantial competition from workers abroad) and those that are not.