In the Arena

The Next Economic Agenda

  • Share
  • Read Later

William Galston of Brookings has come up with an eminently sane agenda to stimulate jobs growth, which will irritate partisans in both parties. I’m a skeptic about government’s ability to have a profound impact on an economy as enormous and complicated as ours, but it can help on the margins. Galston’s agenda–which includes tax reform, stabilizing budget growth (including, finally, taking care of social security) to create confidence in the markets, increased emphasis on exports, loans to states that show a willingness to put their house in order and other non-melodramatic proposals–seems far more credible than most other options, not least because it avoids that marketing hooks that the professional politicians inevitably need to sell their wares.

Galston recognizes there isn’t much chance of passing this agenda. That is remarkable, since much of what he’s proposing is moderate and suffused with common sense. It’s also a sad commentary on the state of our democracy.