Bloomberg Business Week recently arranged a panel discussion with four top economists and the legendary bond fund manager Bill Gross to discuss fixing the US economy. How to Fix the Economy: An Expert Panel - BusinessWeek
Some of the key ideas were:
-Drastic reform to social welfare and medical care entitlements,to prevent an economic experience "that will feel like the [stagflationary] 1970s but last for 20 to 25 years." (Henry Kaufman).
-The focus should be on long term growth,not boosting aggregate demand and increasing taxes. (Calomiris).
-The concept of shared appreciation mortgages in which lenders share in property appreciation. (Shiller).
-Big financial institutions are not good at financing small business and should have been broken up when they were not too big to fail. (Kaufman).
-Regulatory reform has not solved the too big to fail problem with financial institutions nor is it ever likely to. (Bill Gross).
-Public works projects New Deal style are needed to prevent unemployment sapping national morale. (Shiller).
-Need to improve the quality of education from grade school to colleges in order to create a more competitive labour force. (Kaufman).
-Need to encourage developing countries to develop their internal markets and rely less on exports if there is to be a necessary rebalancing of manufacturing towards advanced countries like the US. (Gross).
-Given the huge burden of future social welfare entitlements including medical costs,increasing government spending is pointless,especially if it would alarm bond markets and drive up interest rates. (Calomiris)
-Households,business and state & local government are not in a position to borrow and create credit.So if in the near term,the federal government does not borrow,that is a serious problem. (Kaufman.)
-The federal government fiscal deficit should expand but spending and entitlements can still be cut. [Implies that federal government could cut taxes and increase certain transfers to the states]. (Calomiris).
-If present interest rates stay extremely low for a long time,that should regenerate growth by both big and small corporations.(Gross).
-Need to focus on making the economy competitive globally again. (Gross).
-Need to implement reform in health care and in the finance bill. (Orszag.)