Daily Archives: May 17, 2011

Newt Gingrich got his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination off to a bold, if perplexing, start by attacking Paul Ryan’s budget plan as “right-wing social engineering” and affirming his support for the individual mandate in health care reform. In subsequent clarifications, he said he was opposed to the Obama mandate on constitutional grounds–the same rationale Mitt Romney offers in defence of his Massachusetts plan–and said he was not in a fight with Paul Ryan even though they disagree about how to reform Medicare. Ryan said, “With allies like that, who needs the left?”

Gingrich has backed some form of mandate in health care for years. Give him some credit for sticking to this line (which also happens to be correct). But still one wonders how he expects to get the nomination from a party so bitterly opposed to that view. Republicans in Congress and on the airwaves queued up to stamp on him. It’s not good to be entirely occupied with damage control on day one of your campaign.

Why the job market feels so dismal. Edward Lazear, WSJ. A clear account of how jobs turn over in a healthy economy. The problem now is not layoffs but the slow pace of hiring.

US housing starts drop in April. Shannon Bond, FT. “Homebuilder confidence has stalled at extremely low levels.” See also: Rent or buy. David Leonhardt, NYT. With prices depressed, is buying a house now a good investment? Maybe–depending on where you live, your appetite for risk and your stage of life. James Kwak has some further discussion, and links to an excellent, thorough analysis of the costs and benefits of buying or renting by Jordan Rappaport of the Kansas City Fed: The effectiveness of home ownership in building household wealth.

The federal role in dealing with state and local pension problems. Douglas Elliott, Brookings Institution. Some states may be delaying action in the hope that the feds will come to the rescue. They are likely to be disappointed.

 

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

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