Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of America’s current economic crisis is its persistence. The problems that began in 2007 with the collapse of the sub-prime housing market—a market that few in the world had previously heard of—are still burdening us today. And it’s not yet clear whether our national economic stagnation, high-levels of unemployment, and rising political polarization are going to dissipate anytime soon.
Considering the extraordinary nature of our economic situation, we’ve decided to go in search of extraordinary economic solutions. Over the course of this week, TNR will feature a number of prominent economists and otherwise eminent thinkers offering novel ideas for pulling our economy back from the brink.
None of these ideas are guaranteed to work, and some of them can’t realistically be implemented given Washington’s political dysfunction. But at a time of rising fatalism, as Americans are hungering for glimmers of optimism, all of them should serve as much-needed food-for-thought.
Mark Thoma on why we should be helping households, not banks.
Return here throughout the week for contributions by Jagdish Bhagwati, Mark Thoma, and others.