Miles on HuffPost Live: The Wrong Debate and How to Change It

Yesterday I was on HuffPost Live for the first time. I had a chance to make the case for electronic money and for Adam Ozimek’s idea of region-based visas. Here is the link again: “The Wrong Debate." 

There were a couple of things I wanted to make sure to get in, so I wrote a couple of notes beforehand. Here are those two notes:

  • We actually have two problems: the economic slump and the long-run debt problem. We need solutions to each problem that don’t make the other one worse. For that, we need new tools in the economic toolbox. The old tools won’t cut it. In my Quart column "What the heck is happening to the US Economy?” I propose some new tools. Just to tick off the names, to get to full economic recovery without making our debt problem worse, I propose in that column electronic money, Federal Lines of Credit, and US Sovereign Wealth Fund. To Solve our long-run debt problem in a way that achieves both the core Democratic and core Republican goals [and I should have added, does not throw the economy back into recession], I propose a Public Contribution Program. These are new ideas.
  • With two big exceptions, the Federal Reserve has actually steered the economy very well for the last few decades. Greenspan ignored the warnings of my colleague Ned Gramlich about the housing bubble and [the Fed as a whole] kept underestimating the problems [the housing bubble and its collapse] would cause. But that’s water under the bridge. The big problem now is that the Fed is afraid to lower short-term interest rates for fear of causing massive storage of paper currency. The Fed should be going to Congress today to ask for the authority it needs to deter massive storage of paper currency so it can cut short-term rates and bring the economy roaring back.  Because that involves making paper money subordinate to money in bank accounts, and making money in bank accounts “the real thing,” this is called “electronic money” in the blogosphere. But for most of the people, most of the time, it wouldn’t look any different from the way things are now.

Of course, these lines mutated when I was actually on the spot, but I did get a chance to say them in my first two at-bats.

I knew the question about immigration policy (my third bit) was coming, so I didn’t need to mention it in the first instance. And I was confident I could say what I wanted to about that more extemporaneously, since I was just coming off of Immigration Tweet Day.