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.
I think it is incorrect to describe the entire Obama budget released on Tuesday as “dead on arrival.” Yes, the document was full of retread proposals that did not find favor in previous years and are no more likely to be enacted in 2014.
Sometimes government programs that seem flawed at their launch turn out to succeed against all expectations. No, this is not a post about the Affordable Care Act — I still think that will prove to be an unsustainable fiscal train wreck.
The good news for Janet Yellen is that she will take the reins at the Federal Reserve on Saturday with inflationary pressures subdued and the United States economy finally in an upswing (occasional stock market gyrations notwithstanding).
An improving economy and a fiscal truce together signal the possibility of making progress on at least some of the economic challenges facing the United States. Don't expect a grand bargain with entitlement changes to address the structural fiscal imbalance, or a pro-growth tax reform aimed at putting the U.S. economy back onto a permanently better trajectory.
The Madoff scandal exposed governance problems in a huge range of businesses and charities, making clear that the profit motive can override prudence in big and small enterprises alike. Large banks should not receive any special treatment in response to this and other instances of financial markets' misbehavior.
Melvin L. Watt was sworn in on Monday as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, leaving Congress after a distinguished two-decade career as a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from North Carolina.
Reading the lengthy background paper that accompanied Tuesday’s release of the Volcker Rule, it is striking the extent to which the five federal regulatory agencies involved sought to implement the law faithfully (as they put it) by prohibiting proprietary trading by banks while avoiding the worst potential negative impacts on financial markets.
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.