Rules vs. Discretion. It’s a settled issue in macroeconomics that discretionary policy regimes lead to wasteful spending. Politicians refuse to get this point, and the Democrats tend to be a bit worse about that. Certainly the policies since Clinton left office have been much more discretionary. Perhaps we’re feeling poor because we’ve thrown so much away.
There’s an arthouse film called Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. You’re getting Twenty-Six Short Posts from Dr. Tufte. :) These are on why it’s difficult to understand the current macroeconomic situation.
Joe Baker is not a macroeconomist, but we all do a little bit of everything at SUU, so he has to teach principles of macroeconomics sometimes. The other day he asked for pointers about summing up for his students why we can’t quite figure out what’s wrong with the economy. I came up with 26 reasons, most of which have been discussed in class, and all of which are now required.