PGL on The Romney Economic Boom

PGL at Econospeak begins an analysis of the economists and economics of election promises of Romney’s economic ‘plan?’:

Jon Ward reports that Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, and John Taylor joined with Kevin (DOW 36000) Hassett to produce white paper that should be fun reading for us of all:

Mitt Romney’s campaign released a paper by four of its top economic advisers on Thursday to back up its assertion that Romney’s tax reform and fiscal plan would create “millions of jobs,” as an adviser earlier in the day had stated … “The Romney economic program will change the direction of policy to focus on economic growth,” the advisers wrote. “Its pro-growth effects will work in two basic ways: It will speed up the recovery in the short run, and it will create stronger sustainable growth in the long run.” The paper was less actuarial work with raw data and specific numbers, however, and more of an economic philosophy argument based largely on the premise that simply by undoing much of what President Obama has done since taking office, the economy would recover at a faster pace than it has been from the recession that began in late 2008. “By changing course away from the policies of the current administration and ending economic uncertainty, as proposed by the Romney plan, we expect that the current recovery will align with the average gains of similar past recoveries,” the advisers stated. “History shows that a recovery rooted in policies contained in the Romney plan will create about 12 million jobs in the first term of a Romney presidency.”

Past recoveries have relied on monetary expansion. I guess these four have not figured out we currently are in a liquidity trap. The bit about policies that are both good for the short-run and the long-run have been standard talking points from Team Romney for quite a while. To be honest – I still need to read this paper but before I do, let me tick off four such possibilities.

The first two are proposals from the Obama Administration which have been stonewalled by Congressional Republicans: (1) accelerating public investment in infrastructure; and (2) using Federal revenue sharing to insure that state & local governments don’t cut public education. The other two rely on encouraging private investment, which is admittedly still low. We could ask the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates – oh wait, that liquidity trap thing again. Finally, Team Romney is doing its best imitation of Art Laffer saying that tax cuts for high income individuals will somehow encourage investment even as negative real interest rates have not fully succeeded. Isn’t this what the Reagan Administration argued some 30 years ago – which prompted the critique from one of the authors of this white paper that the claim was from “cranks and charlatans”. But let’s also take a read of this white paper and see if there is anything new worth considering.