Harvard’s Jeffery Miron’s CNN article about stimulating the economy in fact, rather than in hyperbole, is a must-read. While not lengthy, Miron’s points are direct and to the point.
Two excerpts of particular note:
Limit Union Power: Later this year, Congress is likely to vote on the card check bill, a new law that facilitates unionization. The law eliminates the presumption of a secret ballot, which means union organizers can pressure employees into accepting representation.
Laws that protect unions are problematic. Unions raise wages above market levels, increasing unemployment. Thus the Obama administration can signal American business that it cares about efficiency, not just redistribution of wealth, by opposing the card check bill. Better yet, it can repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, which inflates labor costs in federal contracts.
Stop Bailing out Businesses that Took on Too Much Risk: Popular opinion blames deregulation and private sector greed for the financial meltdown, but the reality is more subtle.
Existing regulation was ineffective at preventing excessive risk-taking, and the private sector did its best to profit from the incentives that were in place. The extreme increase in risk-taking, however, would not have occurred absent policies that encouraged such risk (e.g., Fannie Mae or the Fed’s reassurances about housing bubbles) or past bailouts that cushioned the losses from private risk-taking.
One crucial response to any crisis is learning to avoid the next one. The lesson this time is that rewarding risk generates more risk. The U.S. should therefore stop bailing out banks, automakers, homeowners, or anyone else.