Economic Report of the President

1. The staff which writes these reports is excellent in quality, and has been so throughout the Bush Administration.

2. What exactly is the function of the report?  To persuade the media?  Congress?  To subtlety redefine the position of the White House, and push it in a more market-oriented direction, perhaps without the White House itself noticing?  Lay out markers for future policy initiatives?  This is a critical question for evaluating the report.

3. The report is heavy on Health Savings Accounts and the Global Savings Glut.  I would have preferred a more forward-looking approach, less tied up in the politics of the day.

4. I am a market-oriented economist who believes that capital income, ideally, should not be taxed.  If I am not persuaded that HSAs are the major way to go for health policy reform, something is wrong.  Furthermore other health care reforms should be considered, such as improving the performance of insurance companies, whether through regulatory or deregulatory means.

5. There is no serious talk of a gas tax, economic preparations for a pandemic, global warming, or research and development.

6. The chapter on copyright reads like someone is tiptoeing around, afraid to offend anybody by speaking the truth and afraid to offend God by writing any falsehood.

Here are Setser and Roubini on the report. Arnold Kling has several posts on the health care section.  DeLong and Sawicky snort and guffaw.


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