Greg Ip

Articles by The Economist’s U.S. Economics Editor

Archive for the ‘Romney’ Category

The economy: Asking the experts

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Our admittedly unscientific poll offers cheer to both candidates

Oct 6th 2012 | WASHINGTON, DC | from the print edition

[Greg Ip and a colleague] BARACK OBAMA and Mitt Romney have spent many months and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince the public that electing the other man would lead to economic catastrophe. They have fought to a draw: voters today are almost evenly split over which man would do a better job on the economy.

But whom would the experts pick? To find out, The Economist polled hundreds of professional academic and business economists. Our main finding should hearten Mr Obama. By a large margin they rate his overall economic plan more highly than Mr Romney’s, credit him with a better grasp of economics, and think him more likely to appoint a good economic team (see chart). They do not hold the perpetually disappointing recovery against him; half of respondents graded his record as good or very good, compared with just 5% who said that about George Bush in our poll four years ago. “It all depends on the counterfactual,” said Justin Wolfers, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, referring to how bad things might have been without the president’s emergency measures.

But Mr Romney can take heart from a deeper dive into the numbers. The Economist polled two groups: research associates of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the country’s leading organisation of academic economists; and the outlook panel of the National Association for Business Economics. The academics gave Mr Obama much higher marks than Mr Romney, which may in part reflect partisan preference: fully 45% of them identified themselves as Democrats, and just 7% as Republicans. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by gregip

October 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Taxes, spending and the deficit: Trillion-dollar questions

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With the deficit at over $1 trillion for a fourth year running, taxes and government spending are critical to the campaign

Oct 6th 2012 | from the print edition

[Greg Ip] BARACK OBAMA won in 2008 largely because of the economy. He may lose this year for the same reason. The economy now surpasses all other issues in voters’ minds. Close behind are health care, taxes and the deficit. These issues are all intertwined. The candidates’ competing proposals on taxes and spending are central to how they plan to revive economic growth.

Both have laid out ambitious markers for the next four years. Mr Obama promises to create 1m more manufacturing jobs. Mr Romney counters with predictions of 12m new jobs in total. Neither figure is out of line when the economy has as much ground to make up as it has now. Over the coming decade, Mr Obama has projected average annual growth of 3.2%; private economists think growth of just under 3% is more likely. A team of Mr Romney’s advisers think his plan will spur the economy to grow by 3.5-4% a year. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gregip

October 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Why a President Romney would have Obama to thank for an economic recovery

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The Washington Post, Outlook  section

By Greg Ip, Published: October 5

Cast your mind forward to October 2014. The economic rebound for which Barack Obamahad worked so hard and hoped so long is finally underway: Growth is humming, unemployment is steadily dropping, and the stock market is hitting one record high after another. But unfortunately for Obama, he’s not in the White House anymore — and President Mitt Romney is the man whose approval ratings are being carried aloft by the Dow.Romney is widely considered to have won Wednesday night’s presidential debate by attacking Obama’s economic record and promising, if elected, to restore job growth and middle-class incomes. The irony is that, if Romney wins the election and the economy rebounds on his watch, much of the recovery will be due to efforts undertaken during the Obama administration.Every president faces two painful, immutable truths about the economy: First, he has far less influence over it than voters think. Second, even when his actions make a difference, it is often not felt until after he’s left office, and not always in the expected way. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gregip

October 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

Mitt Romney’s economics: Flip back please

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The probable Republican nominee should stop pandering to the left on China and to the right on taxes

Apr 21st 2012 | from the print edition

[Greg Ip]

TO UNDERSTAND why Mitt Romney has triumphed over his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, look no further than March’s disappointing job numbers. With growth fragile and petrol prices soaring, the economy is Barack Obama’s gaping weak spot, and Republican primary voters have backed the candidate best equipped to exploit it.

Yet it is very far from clear what they are getting. Blame that, in part, on a nominating contest that repeatedly veered into irrelevancies. But blame the candidate, too. In the past year Mr Romney’s views have metamorphosed worryingly as he has tried to protect his flank against a succession of conservative challengers. It is no exaggeration to say that there are now two Romneys when it comes to economics (see article).

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Written by gregip

April 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm