I previously posted what I was planning to say, which I did, at the Conference on "The Financial Crisis, the US Economy, and International Security in the New Administration," organized by James Galbraith at New School University on Nov. 14, and sponsored by Economists for Peace and Security. They will have a full video up at some point on their website at http://www.epsusa.org, and currently have the full program. I shall focus on main points presented by others, with an emphasis especially on new policy proposals, and will not cover the remarks by quite a few who spoke. I may add more later.
Galbraith indicated he would be presenting many of the ideas to the Obama economic transition team this week, as well as in a keynote address he gave yesterday to Congressional Democrats at EPI.
Galbraith was the first speaker and recounted points that have appeared in an article by him in this month's Challenge magazine. His main proposals were to revive the New Deal Housing Ownership and Loan Corporation (HOLC), strongly supported by others as well, to reinstitute general revenue sharing to support state and local governments, to institute an infrastructure investment fund, with emphasis on green technologies, and to increase social security benefits.
Joseph Stiglitz called for converting the housing tax deduction to a tax credit for poorer homeowners, for the government to make mortgage payments for those who become unemployed, and to institute a law forbidding US banks from dealing with foreign ones that do not conform to global banking standards.
Pierre Calame supported establishing global commodity buffer stocks to moderate price fluctuations of basic commodities.
Allen Sinai forecast a 24 month recession, which he considers to have begun in January 2008, and called for a $350 fiscal stimulus package. Others called for larger such packages.
Teresa Ghilarducci supported Galbraith's proposal on converting tax deductions to credits, and also supported having the government pay employers' contributions to fica for the duration of the recession, and finally a much-discussed proposal to lower the medicare eligibility age to 55.
Perry Mehrling provided an insightful account of how the Fed has become effectively the world's central banker, taking much of the world's dodgy paper onto its books. He proposed establishing an insurance scheme for credit-default swaps that would involve them providing appropriate collateral, and would also requiring turning them into operating with transparency through an exchange rather than over the counter.
Gary Dymski supported my proposal for using shared appreciation mortgages and called for more direct efforts to prevent "exploitative" housing lending, as well as directing some of the infrastructure spending towards housing, high speed rail networks, and such social support services as child care.
John Eatwell called for increasing the regulatory authority of the IMF, noting that the Forum for Stability has many ideas that it could use. This did not come out of the G-20 summit, but another idea he supported did, that of establishing "colleges of supervisors" (Eatwell said "regulators") in which the regulators meet and coordinate their activities from the main nations that a particular multinational financial entity operates.
Paul Davidson supported establishing the 1944 "Keynes Plan" that would have a strong central bank, with international clearing units, and a responsibility placed on surplus nations for making adjustments. With the large stimulus plan in China happening, this may be occurring to some degree at this time, especially as the Chinese seem to be allowing some RMB appreciation.