Back in 1990, a Congressman from South Carolina (Stephen Neal) introduced a bill that would require the Fed (our Central Bank) to make a zero rate of inflation its primary goal. I was able to publish my response in the economic journal Challenge under the title, “Zero Inflation: prescription for recession.” (Challenge 1990) At the time I noted that Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan had expressed support for that goal. What I did not know was that later in the decade, Chairman Greenspan would attempt to persuade the entire Federal Reserve Board of his view. IN 1996, he engaged in a spirited Debate with Economist Janet Yellen, then a member of the Fed Board of Governers.
By all rights, President Barack Obama should have been beaten handily by Mitt Romney. Usually, an incumbent President wins if the economy is doing well --- think of 1996 when Bill Clinton was re-elected, think of 1972 when Richard Nixon was re-elected. If the economy is not doing well, an incumbent President loses: Think of Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H, W. Bush in 1992. There are “close calls” in this analysis – the two that come to mind are the successful re-election campaigns of Ronald Reagan in 1984 (which resulted in a landslide victory) and George W.
My wife, Ann and I have fond memories of the time we lived in Wisconsin. I got my Ph D from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Ann, taught in the public schools and our son was born in Milwaukee. We have always had a great deal of respect for the great progressive traditions of the State of Wisconsin.
Thus, when Governor Scott Walker introduced a budget bill into the State Legislature that would not merely cut pensions of government workers but strip them of all collective bargaining rights, I was heartened by the outpouring of opposition within the state.