Feldstein on the Economy

What does it mean that Martin Feldstein (hat tip Mark Thoma) is now one of my favorite economists, when it comes to commenting on the current economic crisis? Feldstein’s analysis:

  • Evidence of recovery so far is thin.
  • The stimulus package will kick in and provide a short period of growth.
  • But as the stimulus wears off, growth will fade away again.
  • The Obama Administration’s policies are pointed in roughly the right direction but not big enough to turn the tide.

Here’s his conclusion:

The positive effect of the stimulus package is simply not large enough to offset the negative impact of dramatically lower household wealth, declines in residential construction, a dysfunctional banking system that does not increase credit creation, and the downward spiral of house prices. The Obama administration has developed policies to counter these negative effects, but, in my judgment, they are not adequate to turn the economy around and produce a sustained recovery.

Having said that, these policies are still works in progress. If they are strengthened in the months ahead – to increase demand, fix the banking system, and stop the fall in house prices – we can hope to see a sustained recovery start in 2010. If not, we will just have to keep waiting and hoping.

About James Kwak 133 Articles

James Kwak is a former McKinsey consultant, a co-founder of Guidewire Software, and currently a student at the Yale Law School. He is a co-founder of The Baseline Scenario.

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