Carmen Reinhart is the co-author with Kenneth Rogoff of the immensely important history of financial crises, This Time It’s Different. (Read it!) She’s married to AEI Senior Fellow Vince Reinhart, the former senior Fed official cited in this space yesterday.
If the words “free-market economist” describe anybody, they describe Carmen Reinhart.
OK, so here’s what she had to say to Bloomberg News today:
A restructuring of U.S. household debt, including debt forgiveness for low-income Americans, would be most effective in speeding economic growth, said Carmen Reinhart, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.
“Until we deal head-on with the fact that some of those debts are not ever going to be repaid, we will continue to have this shadow” over growth, Reinhart said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.
Conservative economic commentators often respond to this kind of thinking with name-calling: “Obama-bot”; “socialist.” I’ve received my share. But let me put this challenge back to the epithet-hurling conservative commentators: If your nostrums can no longer command the support of economists as smart as Carmen Reinhart, Vince Reinhart, John Makin, Bruce Bartlett, etc. – doesn’t that suggest that the problem is less with the smart economists and much more with the nostrums?