Robert J.

Stories by Robert J. Samuelson

  • grover-norquist-samuelson

    Why We’re in the Budgetary Soup

    Championing smaller government without coming to grips with Social Security and Medicare is like playing basketball without a ball.
  • bank-for-international-settlements-samuelson

    Global Economic Paralysis?

    The Bank for International Settlements has just published its annual report, and it is a dour document.
  • wapo-unemployment

    The Great Jobs Mismatch

    One puzzle of this somber economy is the existence of unfilled jobs in the midst of mass unemployment.
  • us-economy-samuelson-hsmall

    Hunkered-down America

    It’s a cliche—but true—that an obstacle to a stronger economic recovery is the lack of confidence in a strong recovery.
  • greece-financial-crisis-samuelson

    No Easy Escape

    Greece’s Crisis Could Torpedo Europe’s Recovery
  • shopping-consumer-confidence

    Stuck in a Post-Crisis Gloom

    It may be time to move beyond pessimism. Ever since the financial crisis, Americans have wallowed in fear and anxiety. Understandably. Although a recovery — as defined by academic economists — started about two years ago, it hasn’t felt like one.
  • Samuelson: The Elderly are Better Off Than Advertised

    When House Speaker John Boehner calls for trillions of dollars of spending cuts, the message is clear. Any deal to raise the federal debt ceiling must include significant savings in Social Security and Medicare benefits. Subsidizing the elderly is the biggest piece of federal spending (more than two-fifths of the total), but trimming benefits for well-off seniors isn’t just budget arithmetic. It’s also the right thing to do.
  • housing-silver-lining

    A Silver Lining in the Housing Bust

    Almost everyone considers the housing collapse a disaster, and it is. Since 2007, roughly 8 million homes have gone into foreclosure. If you’re a homeowner, the steep fall in prices is calamitous. But if you’re a future buyer, it’s a godsend. What we’re seeing is a massive wealth transfer from today’s older homeowners to tomorrow’s younger homeowners.
  • Obama Abdicates on the Budget

    If you’ve wondered why it’s so hard to subdue budget deficits, you should consult a new study from the Congressional Budget Office called “Reducing the Deficit: Spending and Revenue Options” (free at www.cbo.gov). You’ll learn from its 240 pages that the deficits definitely can be curbed. The CBO presents 105 policies (it doesn’t endorse them) that would shrink deficits by trillions of dollars over the next decade. You’ll also learn — surprise! — that most choices are political poison....
  • The Politics of Wishful Thinking

    In the Great Budget Debate, Democrats and Republicans are closer than you might think. Neither is proposing a balanced budget any time soon; both peddle soothing myths to convince supporters that they’re upholding either “liberal” or “conservative” values.
  • samuelson-co55-wide

    The Real GE Scandal

    It’s not that the company won’t pay any 2010 U.S. income taxes. It’s that we don’t know how to tax global business.
  • tarp-taxpayers

    Give TARP a Break

    Almost everyone loves to hate TARP. It’s a favorite political sport of liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats—and the public. A Bloomberg poll last October asked how TARP had affected the economy. Forty-three percent of respondents said it weakened the economy; 21 percent said it made no difference; only 24 percent said it helped, with 12 percent unsure one way or another. Commentators in newspapers from The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times disparage TARP. ...
  • japan-economy-co02-wide

    Another European Crisis Looming?

    As a nation reels from an earthquake’s destruction, an entire continent faces an economic crisis of its own.
  • Is Organized Labor Obsolete?

    What we are witnessing in Wisconsin and elsewhere is the death knell of Big Labor. Once upon a time, most Americans could identify the head of the AFL-CIO. He was George Meany, the cigar-chomping ex-plumber who ran the union federation from 1955 to 1979. He was one of the nation's great power brokers, much quoted and wooed by presidents. It's doubtful that as many Americans can name Meany's present successor. (Answer: Richard Trumka, former head of the mine workers' union.) ...
  • High-Speed Rail Is a Fast Track to Government Waste

    Vice President Biden, an avowed friend of good government, is giving it a bad name. With great fanfare, he went to Philadelphia last week to announce that the Obama administration proposes spending $53 billion over six years to construct a "national high-speed rail system."
  • gas-prices-ta01-wide

    Egypt's Unrest and America's Oil Dependence

    Never underestimate Americans’ capacity for denial. The upheaval in Egypt reminds us of lessons that, despite decades of warnings, we have consistently sidestepped: the United States and the rest of the world will depend on oil for the indefinite future, global oil markets remain hostage to political crises that cannot be predicted or controlled, and we have not taken the prudent steps that would reduce—though not eliminate—our vulnerability to catastrophic oil interruptions.
  • How Obama's Speech Muddied the Budget Debate

    It was a teachable moment—and Barack Obama didn't teach. Unless public opinion changes, we won't end our budget deadlock. As is well known, Americans want budget deficits curbed.
  • China's New World Order Demands Stronger U.S. Response

    By all appearances, Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington last week changed little in the lopsided American-Chinese relationship. What we have is a system that methodically transfers American jobs, technology and financial power to China in return for only modest Chinese support for important U.S. geopolitical goals: the suppression of Iran's and North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. American officials act as though there's not much they can do to change this.
  • The Shadow of the '60s

    We are, it's said, living through the most wrenching period since the end of World War II. The feelings and facts are genuine, but the conclusion amounts to historical amnesia. At least one other period rivals the present for its disillusion and contentiousness—the 1960s.
  • Judging Obama's Economics

    President Obama must take some comfort that the latest economic forecasts are becoming more optimistic about 2011 and beyond. The more upbeat of these (from, say, Richard Berner of Morgan Stanley) have the economy's growth accelerating next year to about 4 percent from less than 3 percent and the unemployment rate dropping from the present 9.8 percent to 8.6 percent by year-end.
  • On Medicare and Social Security, Be Unfair to the Boomers

    I received my Medicare card the other day, recognizing my 65th birthday and making me part of one of America's biggest problems. By this, I mean the burden that the massive baby-boom generation will impose on its children and the nation's future. There has been much brave talk recently, from Republicans and Democrats alike, about reducing budget deficits and controlling government spending. The trouble is that hardly anyone admits that accomplishing these goals must include making significant cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits for baby boomers....
  • samuelson-robbing-the-young2-hsmall

    Retiree Benefits Are Cheating Our Children

    Except for those on Social Security and Medicare, government for most middle-class Americans consists mainly of schools, police, fire protection, roads and ambulance service. It's states and localities. How are they faring in the present economy? Conventional wisdom holds that they've been crushed by dramatic declines in tax revenues and have resorted to deep cuts in public services. Well, not exactly.
  • What the Bowles-Simpson Plan Left Out

    People who wonder what America's budget problem is ultimately about should look to Europe. In the streets of Dublin, Athens, and London, angry citizens are protesting government plans to cut programs and raise taxes. The social contract is being broken. People are furious; they feel betrayed. ...
  • samuleson-artlede

    Our Burgeoning Budget and the Politics of Avoidance

    America's budget problem boils down to a simple question: how much will we let programs for the elderly displace other government functions—national defense, education, transportation and many others—and raise taxes to levels that would, almost certainly, reduce economic growth?

Pages