The results of my survey of economists will be published in mid September. It's going to take longer than I thought to swim through the data and pull out the good stuff. And I have been advised by smart people that this week is a bad one to compete for attention in the news.  I can tell you that I've seen the raw results and there will be surprises.

Let's do a little experiment here. I asked economists to rank issues by how important they are to the economy. I'm asking you the same thing now. In the comments, tell us what you think is the number one issue for the United States from an ECONOMIC perspective.

I'm guessing your answers will be all over the place, and that says a lot about the challenge of democracy. If you don't know which issue is most important to the economy, it's hard to know which candidate would do the best job.

In your view, what is the most important issue for the economy?
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Aug 27, 2008
There was a lot of things that I was thinking about mentioning until I read the comment that said education.

Education is essential to having a strong economy especially in a democracy. You can't tell what the best thing for the economy is if you don't know what you're looking at or if you don't know what you're talking about.

Actually education essential to everything. I'm pretty sure the economy falls under the category of everything.

If I have to be more specific I'd say the system of taxation in this country is definitely flawed.
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Aug 27, 2008
oh two more:

6) The destruction of corporate governance and decline of corporate dividends
7) The cartelization of the healthcare industry and the agriculture industry
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Aug 27, 2008
1) Trade deficit and the loss of the high tech and manufacturing industries to East Asia
2) The rise of legal credentialing laws, forcing everyone to get expensive, but useless college degrees
3) Moral hazard in the finance sector that creates out sized profits for people in finance at the cost of massive inflation of the currency
4) Peak oil
5) Budget deficit ( related to 1 )
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Aug 27, 2008
1. Energy Prices
2. Housing
3. Iraq
4. Manufacturing
5. Personal Debt

But I'm optimistic / read delusional
Aug 27, 2008
Unfair taxation. Since people will consume more of what is free the uneven taxation, where the top 50% wage earners pay 95% of all income taxes, will work against an efficient economy. Corporations are merely tax collectors for the government thereby hiding more of the true costs of running the government. All of this add up to a significant number of citizens (i.e., voters) who care little about how much it costs the government to do something. This something for nothing crowd is electing politicians that give them more free stuff thereby making the economy less efficient.

Until citizens realize what it costs to run our government AND can see how much it costs them personally, there will be no motivation to hold down taxes which would make the economy more efficient..

Its time for the FAIR TAX - HR25.
Aug 27, 2008
Making sure China doesn't piss off their citizens to the point that there's a civil war.

Not that I think that's a bad thing, but nothing could pooch the american economy like that could.
Aug 27, 2008
I take it all back. Our number one economic challenge is brainless profanity filters. The "Q" word, that means "amounts", is a dirty word?
Aug 27, 2008
At this moment in time, Oil.
Aug 27, 2008
I'm going to go with "The cost of energy (regardless of form)."

To see my point, consider what would happen to the economy if a ridiculously low cost energy source were developed. Say, low enough to deliver electricity to the consumer at $0.01/kWh.

("Cost", of course, would have to take into account the cost to make the energy source meet current ecological expectations. Free energy that only worked by turning old-growth trees into massive !$%*!$%*!$ of sulfur dioxide wouldn't count.)
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Aug 27, 2008
#1 Reducing Our dependence on foreign oil.

Doing this will allow us to not care what goes on in the middle east; thus, we won't be driven into costly wars and we'll be more liked around the world.

We need to invest in oil drilling at home at the same time investing in researching alternative methods of energy. This will bring more jobs back to our country.

Because of cheaper energy, the dollar will be stronger, we won't have to be taxed so much because people will be making more money.
Aug 27, 2008
Aug 27, 2008
Most important economic issue: The Federal Reserve and its destruction of our money. This is what creates the illusion of "inflation". Money must be backed with something of value such as gold, rather than empty government promises that the money is worth something.
Aug 27, 2008
Inflation. And not the lame "core", ex-energy either.

Keep that in check, we can ride through up and down waves of employment, housing, consumer confidence, currency, debt, etc. And we can handle external shocks to the system (e.g. 9/11).
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Aug 27, 2008
#1 Issue - The Trade Deficit
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Aug 27, 2008
1. War on drugs
Issue number two is so far behind, that it is not even number two - it is:
10. Medicare/Medicaid spending
11. Agricultural subsidies
Aug 27, 2008
Energy is tops. Everything comes from that. If you think "drill, drill, drill" is the answer, you are instantly disqualified.

Oh, and if you think illegal immigration is a drag on the economy, you need to go take an economics class.
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Aug 27, 2008
#1 Issue: Government spending at the federal level is too high. Restrict it to 15% of GDP, entitlements included.
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Aug 27, 2008
Pressure from the United Nations. We should stop handing out trade concessions and focus on economic alliances that are in our best interests politically, ethically, militarily, and economically.
Aug 27, 2008
Our dependance on foreign oil! Higher taxes! The national debt!

Well, actually, the U.S.'s oil is exactly the same as foreign oil. We just have less of it. So, that means if we stop depending on foreign oil, we're running on empty. Not a good idea.

And higher taxes is not a bad thing. Higher taxes means more health care, better social services, more buildings and entertainment, etc. Lowering taxes means worse health care, bad social services, and we won't be building any towers to rival the new one in Dubai.

The national debt, realistically, will never get paid. Whoops.

Anyway, that's my opinion, open to interpretation.
Aug 27, 2008
I vote for "ending the war". When we blow over $500 billion (and counting) and over 4,000 US lives (and counting) on blowing up other countries, it's no wonder our economy is a mess.
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