Typically, I impose on my readers to…um…read, but here are three links to things I strongly recommend you watch or give a listen to.
1) Thomas Piketty at EPI: His book, Capital in the 21st Century, is quickly and deservedly on its way to becoming a classic, and here he is on a great panel moderated by Heather Boushey and featuring Robert Solow, Betsey Stevenson, and Josh Bivens.
A few highlights: I found Bivens’ opening remarks extremely crisp and incisive. Solow’s contributions were also very important, especially his connection of Piketty’s main thesis—wealth accumulation is likely to accelerate in the future as the return to capital exceeds the growth rate (which they talk about as r>g)—to the secular stagnation hypothesis. I also appreciated Boushey and Stevenson both tying human capital investments to better inputs into growth with the potential to raise future g.
2) An excellent tax policy discussion on the Diane Rehm show: just three extremely clear-speaking experts talking about tax policy and ways it might and might not be changed (I listened to this while running—learn while you burn!).
Highlights include many of the comments of Alan Viard from the right of center American Enterprise, who said much I’d agree with, including the need for more revenue and full-throated support of the proposal to expand the EITC to childless workers (they get a very small benefit now, but there’s some bipartisan interest in raising it). OK, Viard wants to get rid of the corporate tax but a) the corporate tax is truly a mess, and b) at least he wants to raise the revenue back from the individual side. Ed Klienbard’s response in this exchange was much closer to where I am on this issue.
3) Finally, Larry Summers again, this time talking about secular stagnation and repeating many of his admonitions on fiscal policy from his keynote speech at our full employment event. Here’s an outstanding quote (h/t: CCH):
Somehow, the people who are worried about the deficit think that they’ve got some kind of monopoly on morality in terms of the way we care about our children. I’m here to tell you that from the point of view of my children I am a lot more worried about bequeathing them no investments in the advancement of science, bequeathing them a vast bill for deferred maintenance, bequeathing them a starved public sector that no longer functions because of attrition of all the most able civil servants, than I am bequeathing them paper debt that’s accumulating interest at less than 1 percent in real terms.