Phillip Swagel, an economist and academic, was assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department from 2006 to 2009, where he was responsible for analysis on a wide range of economic issues, including policies relating to the financial crisis and the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He has also served as chief of staff and senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers and as an economist at the Federal Reserve Board and the International Monetary Fund. He is concurrently a professor of international economics at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy. He has previously taught at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and Georgetown University. Mr. Swagel works on both domestic and international economic issues at AEI. His research topics include financial markets reform, international trade policy, and the role of China in the global economy.
In the years leading up to the financial crisis, market participants assumed that policy makers would intervene to avoid the potential negative economic impact from the failure of a systemically important bank.
In the face of the political impasse that thwarts progress on so many economic issues facing the United States — spending changes, tax reform, immigration, and so on — it’s enlightening to get a new perspective from stepping outside the country. I’ve been doing just that this week, as part of a group of economists considering fiscal policy issues.
Five years later, it is clear that the decisive actions to stabilize the financial system were those of Oct. 14, 2008, when the United States government put taxpayer money into banks and guaranteed their lending.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has had a difficult launching, but the more serious challenges for the law relate not to glitch-filled Web sites but rather to its possible long-term effects on the United States economy.
In legislation as mammoth as the two bills that together constitute Obamacare, it is not surprising to find drafting errors in which the text of the law signed by President Obama does not accomplish the intent of Congress.
With Janet Yellen likely to be nominated by President Obama to succeed Ben S. Bernanke as chief of the Federal Reserve, it is appropriate to look ahead and consider the confirmation process that Ms. Yellen will face.
Amid a flurry of five-year retrospectives came a news item reflecting unfinished business from the financial crisis: the breakdown of settlement talks between the Securities and Exchange Commission and managers from the Reserve Primary Fund, a money market mutual fund whose problems in September 2008 helped transform the failure of Lehman Brothers into a global financial crisis.
Five years after the tumultuous week in which Lehman Brothers failed, A.I.G. was rescued by the Federal Reserve from failure, and the Troubled Asset Relief Program was proposed, it is still often asked whether Lehman could have been saved by the federal government rather than filing for bankruptcy early on the morning of Monday, Sept. 15, 2008.
Even as serious decisions loom regarding Syria, Congress and President Obama still must deal with two related fiscal policy issues: raising the debt ceiling before the government’s borrowing authority runs out around mid-October, and funding government operations beyond the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.