Using words like “uncertain,” “fragile” and “weak,” 96 percent of top economics bloggers now share a gloomy outlook on the U.S. economy. According to a new Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation survey released today, respondents’ expectations of higher annual deficits and top marginal tax rate increases, coupled with recession concerns, are a “depressing surprise.”
Personally, we suspect the U.S. economy is more resilient than this survey suggests. Recent figures showing the U.S. economy actually grew by 2.5percent in the third quarter – well out of recessionary territory. With holiday spending about to boost Q4 numbers, a double-dip recession seems less likely. Of course, deep cuts in federal spending loom and the world economic situation remains unsettled.
After you take a look at what the economics bloggers think, tell us what you think. Is the U.S. economy poised for a recovery or headed off a cliff?
For the final Kauffman Economic Outlook: A Quarterly Survey of Leading Economics Bloggers of 2011, the Kauffman Foundation sent invitations to more than 200 leading economics bloggers as identified in the Palgrave’s econolog.net rankings. The Foundation surveys the bloggers each quarter about their views of the economy, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Top economics bloggers’ preferred policy option to stimulate the economy (selected from a small set of options) is to “remove restrictions on who can be ‘accredited’ investors (allowed to invest in startups, recently raised to $1 million net worth by the Dodd-Frank Act),” with 80 percent support.
Rich and diverse viewpoints from bloggers
More than 70 percent of the participants support the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, an idea to open up more domestic areas to oil and gas exploration and drilling.
“The economics blogging community has proven to be very insightful with rich and diverse viewpoints, but by nature they understand the importance of entrepreneurship because that’s ultimately who they are,” said Tim Kane, Kauffman Foundation senior scholar.
“We’ve been fortunate to aggregate the insights of top economics bloggers, including expert scholars such as Jim Hamilton at UCSD and Brad Delong at UC Berkeley, but also popular commentators outside of the ivory tower, with powerful results.”
Research highlights include:
- A two-thirds majority of respondents believe the government is too involved in the economy, despite the largely non-partisan identification of panel members.
- Only 2 percent of leading economics bloggers assessed the U.S. economy’s overall condition as “strong and growing” — actually a slight improvement over last quarter, when no respondents gave this answer.
- The bloggers expect global output to rise faster than anything else. A significant difference from the previous reports is that only about 50 percent of respondents anticipate employment growth in the United States. Opinion remains split about expectations of higher poverty and inequality levels, with 5 percent believing that poverty is decreasing.
- When asked to consider the timeframe for the U.S. real estate market to stabilize and return to historically average home-price appreciation and foreclosure rates, only 4 percent believe the U.S. market will stabilize within twelve months while the vast majority sees a timeframe of four or more years.
- The concept of a gradual gas-tax increase for additional infrastructure spending was favored by 43 percent. Another 40 percent would increase the gas tax and put revenues toward reduction of the deficit or other taxes, while only 6 percent support an outright reduction of the gasoline tax.
The panel also revealed their poetic talents, rising to the survey’s first-ever challenge to describe the U.S. economy in haiku. Nearly 20 haiku were submitted and subsequently voted on by more than 500 public readers. The most popular was by Professor Art Diamond :
jobs and Jobs are gone
need more Jobs to get more jobs
innovate to grow