« Drinking Strategies | Main | Today's Timewaster »

August 16, 2007

The Economics of Bill Richardson

My latest column at TAP:

My problem with Bill Richardson is that he's a pro-growth Democrat.

This should not be taken to mean that I'm anti-growth: I hereby pledge to never support a presidential candidate who runs on a platform of economic contraction. (I'm objectively anti-contraction!) That said, it's hard to swallow a Democrat who continually implies that vast swaths of the party hew to an anti-growth platform. It's even harder when that Democrat refuses to name names.

And Richardson refuses to name names. I interviewed Richardson by phone as he drove through rural New Hampshire, cell phone crackling in and out as his caravan snaked through the mountains. (Full transcript here.) We were talking about his support for a Balanced Budget Amendment -- more about that in a second -- when Richardson trotted out his "look, I'm a pro-growth Democrat," line. He says this a lot, and I've always found it curious. "Can you name some anti-growth Democrats?" I asked. "No," Richardson replied. "I'm not going to do that. But I know some." Well, could he tell me what part of the Democratic party, or strain of progressive economic thinking, he considered anti-growth? "I'm not going to specify," he said.

Here's the good news: I no longer think Richardson is an economic conservative...

Read the rest.

August 16, 2007 | Permalink


You're wrong, Ezra, about Democrats not having to prove economic stewardship anymore. They do and that's why Hillary Clinton will likely win the nomination instead of somebody like John Edwards. The Republican nominee will slam the Democrat on taxes and big government in the fall of '08. Those are the only issues they have left. It will be enough to make many independents who are disgusted at Iraq and Bush's incompetence think twice about voting Democratic. Our nominee doesn't have to support the BBA or even have a detailed plan to balance the budget, but you're kidding yourself if you think a Democrat can get away with running on huge spending increases with or without matching revenues.

Posted by: Ron | Aug 16, 2007 10:28:08 AM

Read what I wrote -- my point was that they don't have to support the BBA -- they don't have to be conservative.

"The pity of it all is that Richardson doesn't need to offer these sops to fiscal conservatism. The electorate is overwhelmingly anxious about the state of the economy, exhausted by years of tax cuts and untrammeled corporate capitalism, and desirous of significant new social investment. These rhetorical capitulations may have been necessary in 1992, when Democrats were mistrusted as economic stewards, but they're not necessary today, and serve only to harm progressive priorities and enable the right wing's attacks against unnamed fiscal drunks populating the left."

Posted by: Ezra | Aug 16, 2007 10:33:01 AM

Ezra, it's wonderful to see someone ask actual questions of a candidate.

Posted by: Stephen | Aug 16, 2007 10:36:34 AM

First..I have come to admire what Stiglitz says and the stuff
for which he stands, but...
From the TAP piece (nice!)

"Consider a company," Stiglitz said.
"You would never say, 'oh, this company is borrowing a lot and therefore, it is a bad company.'
You would always say what is it borrowing for?
Is it for investment? You want to look at both its assets and its liabilities.
You want to look at its balance sheet…
Well, when we talk about the deficit, we're talking about only one part of that balance sheet.
We're talking about what's happening to the liabilities, what it owes,
but not to what it's spending the money on."

I have believed that societal/government influences exist as requisite counterbalance
[but not necessarily obverse side of the systems 'coin' under consideration]
to the existentially sou`less forces of the market.

So is it actually fair of Stiglitz et al to apply across-the-board business thinking to governance?

[And I never DID get the -good OR bad- whole 'growth' paradigm after reading
Herman Daly's 'Economics in a Full World' SciAm 2005]

Posted by: has_te | Aug 16, 2007 11:14:48 AM

Well the good news is that we should learn a little more information about his ideas when he unveils his comprehensive plan for the US economy later on today.

Posted by: nd4br2008 | Aug 16, 2007 11:24:22 AM

All these love-letters to deficit spending are completely wrong. I am getting the feeling that a lot of liberals are fantasizing about a world where we can have our programs and not have to ask the voters to pay taxes to pay for them.

Sorry, it doesn't work like that. Deficits crowd out investment and raise interest rates. They cause inflation. And both because they crowd out investment and because they are so blunt an instrument that they can rarely be fine-tuned to the economy's performance, they don't really do much to prevent or get us out of recessions either.

What they do is allow politicians to have an apparent free lunch, spending the next generation's money. And they are too tempting to politicians for that reason.

Look, if we really need to run a deficit, Richardson's BBA will permit it. It's easy to write in a supermajority requirement or a waiver in case of emergency. But except in such emergencies, we have a moral obligation to pay for our programs even if it means we have to take a hit in popularity by proposing a tax increase. Deficits are seductive; they are also wrong.

Posted by: Dilan Esper | Aug 16, 2007 6:46:19 PM

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's International Policies, from Harvard International Review

Dear Editors: After reading several of your recent articles on Bill Richardson, it occured to me to send this to you. I hope you can share this important document with your friends, colleagues, and readers. It is a very important international policy breakthrough by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, which appeared in the Harvard International Review. It deserves to be read/considered by every single American, the entire diplomatic community from every nation, as well as your insightful readers!

I am not officially connected to his campaign, but as a private citizen, I do recognize the importance of this statement enough to send it to you with the hope that you will send it on widely. Thank you,

Stephen Fox

“New Realism: Crafting a US Foreign Policy for a New Century”
Governor Bill Richardson
Redacted from the Harvard International Review

US foreign policymakers face novel challenges in the 21st century. Jihadists and environmental crises have replaced armies and missiles as the greatest threats, and globalization has eroded the significance of national borders. Many problems that were once national are now global, and dangers that once came only from states now come also from societies—not from hostile governments, but from hostile individuals or from impersonal social trends, such as the consumption of fossil fuels. The piece does a credible job of laying out the problems before us and arguing that the Bush Administration has not taken the appropriate measures to deal with them.

The highlights of Richardson’s plans:

First and foremost, the United States must repair its alliances. US leaders also must restore commitment to international law and multilateral cooperation.

Promoting expansion of the UN Security Council’s permanent membership to include Japan, India, Germany, and one country each from Africa and Latin America.

Ethical reform at the United Nations so that this vital institution can help its many underdeveloped and destitute member states meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Expanding the G8 to include India and China.

The US government must join the International Criminal Court and respect all international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions.”

On environmental issues, the United States must be the leader, not the laggard, in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by embracing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, Lead the world with a man-on-the-moon effort to improve energy efficiency and to commercialize clean, alternative technologies.

Stop considering diplomatic engagement with others as a reward for good behavior.

Various efforts including ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty The United States needs to start showing, both through its words and through its actions, that this is not, as the Jihadists claim, a clash of civilizations. Rather, it is a clash between civilization and barbarity.

Closing Guantanamo

The United States also needs to pressure Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other friends in the Arab world to reform their education systems, which are
incubators of anti-US sentiment.

Spend more to develop first responders and to drastically improve public health facilities, which, five years after 9/11, are not ready for a biological attack.

The United States needs to lead the global fight against poverty, which is the basis of so much violence.

Encourage rich countries to honor UN Millennium goal commitments.

Lead donors on debt relief, shifting aid from loans to grants, and focus on primary health care and
affordable vaccines.

Promote trade agreements, which create more jobs in all countries and which seriously address wage disparities, worker rights, and the environment.

Pressure pharmaceutical companies to allow expanded use of generic drugs, and encourage public-private partnerships to reduce costs and enhance access to anti-malarial drugs and bed nets.

Promote a multilateral Marshall Plan for the Middle East and North Africa.

Posted by: Stephen Fox | Aug 16, 2007 10:28:32 PM


PLEASE I want to crave your indulgence in reading through this mail to understand my predicament. My name is Pius Dalette and my Mother's Name is Alice Dalette from Liberia, who is currently residing here in Accra-Ghana. All hope of having a better future was shattered by the war in Liberia,I and my Mother being the only surviving family of a gold merchant in Liberia will were left with no alternative than to flee to Ghana . Please I am contacting you to assist me and my Mother to retrieve and receive our consignment over there in American that contains 12.5m United States dollars and some quantity of gold and Diamond, which I cannot specify. The consignment is presently in American. The consignments get to the state through the help of Dr Clinton komelo a Diplomatic Official. The fact is that Dr Clinton Komelo is supposed to have delivered the consignment to a man called Mr. STUD BAKER in American.

The week Dr Clinton Komelo is suppose to deliver the consignment to him, when he got to American after clearing the consignment from the Airport, he call Mr. Stud Baker to tell him the description to is house for the delivery, but is wife answered the call and told Dr Clinton Komelo that her husband Mr. Stud Baker hard a fatal car accident which lead to his death some few hours later.

Mr. Stud Baker has already paid the demurrages from the security company, he paid for Bullion van that took the consignment to the airport and he paid for custom check report he also assisted us in getting the DRUG / ANTI TERRIORIST CERTIFICATE, which is so expensive that he spent 25 thousand united state dollars(US$25,000) to acquire it, but unfortunately he died in a car accident, that was why Dr Clinton Komelo has to deposit the consignment with a warehouse over there in American and called us to informed us about what is happening, and told me and my mother to look for a new beneficiary to received the consignment. So please I will like you to assist I and my Mother to received the consignment from the diplomatic Official in American.

Please,i will like you to reach us on our private email address:[email protected] with the following information,

1. Your Full Names:
2. Your Full Contact Address:
3. State/Country:
4. Your Phone/Fax Numbers:
5. Email Address:
For further instruction about this transaction.

I await your urgent response.

Thanks and God bless you

Posted by: Pius Dalette | Aug 22, 2007 7:10:27 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.