Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

Greg Mankiw reads Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope. He seems to like it:
It is fun, smart, and well written.

The most surprisingly honest sentence so far (page 156):
the conservative revolution that Reagan helped usher in gained traction because Reagan's central insight--that the liberal welfare state had grown complacent and overly bureaucratic, with Democratic policy makers more obsessed with slicing the economic pie than with growing the pie--contained a good deal of truth.
The sloppiest sentence so far (page 146):
Over the past decade, we've seen...hefty corporate profits, but a shrinking share of those profits going to workers.
I am pretty sure that the share of profits going to workers has been stable--at zero. Profits are what owners get to keep after workers have been paid.

1 comment:

thinking said...

In Obama I see someone who on economics would be pretty pragmatic and centrist as president. In so many respects he is superior to Hillary on this front.

And his observations on Reagan are spot on; of course, Hillary and her gang saw fit to try to attack Obama on this and distort his words, in one of their lame attempts to bring him down. It did not work as what Obama observed about Reagan is pretty much historical fact. And I give him credit for writing this about Reagan, being from the opposing party.

But last zinger from Mankiw is what often makes economists seem out of touch to everyone else: I think we all know what Obama meant when he wrote that line.

And if one is going to be so literal and wonkish, then one must also recognize that in many corporations the workers do share in some measure in the profits of the corporation. Add in the fact that in many companies the compensation of employees is certainly tied into corporate profits.

But again, I think we all know what Obama meant by this, and Mankiw's remark avoids the whole issue.