Tcherneva on Our Self-Induced Paralysis

Michael Stephens | October 11, 2013

Pavlina Tcherneva was interviewed yesterday on Los Angeles public radio about the ongoing debt ceiling face-off and government shutdown. She referenced Ben Bernanke’s “self-induced paralysis” phrase (which he used to describe Japan’s lost decade) as an accurate description of the current US situation and expressed concern that shutdown and debt ceiling standoffs may represent the new procedural status quo — effectively preventing the government’s fiscal power from operating on any normal basis.

(The fact that yesterday’s GOP proposal centered on a mere six-week raise in the debt ceiling — and by some accounts would prevent Treasury from engaging in the “extraordinary measures” it has been using to buy time since bumping up against the debt ceiling — suggests that congressional Republicans may indeed be envisioning permanent hostage budgeting.)

Tcherneva also discussed what we might expect from Janet Yellen’s Fed. Based on Yellen’s past testimony and academic work, Tcherneva argued we should see more of a focus on unemployment and employment issues, at least at the level of shaping the policy discourse — there is a separate question, Tcherneva cautioned, as to whether the Fed has the tools to get us to full employment.

Listen to or download the interview here.

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