A Year Inside the Beltway: Making Economic Policy in Washington

A Year Inside the Beltway: Making Economic Policy in Washington

A Year Inside the Beltway: Making Economic Policy in Washington

A Year Inside the Beltway: Making Economic Policy in Washington

Synopsis

American domestic and international economic policymaking is a sometimes bewildering mixture of economic expertise and political interests. Headlee elucidates the pivotal debates of the 2000-2001 economic policymaking cycle by walking readers through the major institutions and introducing the key actors involved. A domestic policy section starts with a chapter on the state of the U.S. economy, followed by chapters on making fiscal policy, monetary policy, and labor policy. Each of these chapters on making policy is illustrated by case studies on Social Security reform, the Federal Reserve as financial crisis manager, and women and the economy. The international policy section starts with a chapter on the state of the global economy, followed by chapters on making trade policy, international monetary and financial policy at the U.S. Treasury, reforming the IMF, and the economic development of China. A useful introduction to the ins and outs of beltway policymaking for students of economics, politics, and policymaking.

Excerpt

On the morning of September 11th, as I stepped into a Washington, D.C. Metro subway car, I heard the announcement that terrorists had attacked the Pentagon. Ten minutes later, my students and I were a block from the White House, about to attend a briefing at AFL-CIO headquarters, when we were swamped by unusually heavy car and pedestrian traffic, heard sirens blaring from many directions, and were finally herded out of the area by Secret Service agents. We walked for about an hour, heading away from downtown Washington until we saw, on cnn on a storefront tv, that the World Trade Towers had collapsed in delayed reaction to being hit by heavily fueled airplanes hijacked by suicide terrorists.

The world of economic policymaking has changed since the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. No longer are we saving the federal budget surplus to shore up the Social Security System by buying down the national debt. We are spending the surplus on the war on terrorism. the already declining U.S. economy was sharply hit by the destruction of the capital markets in lower Manhattan, as well as the harm to the airlines and its reverberations. My Economic Policy Seminar students and I attended hearings on Capitol Hill and heard Harvey Pitt, the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Paul O’Neill, the Secretary of the Treasury, and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, testify to Congress on the state of U.S. capital markets. in spite of all these new developments, the process of economic policymaking remains the same.

After a period of bipartisanship and national unity, the Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are squabbling over an economic stimulus bill

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