Hopes for the New Year

We each have our own beliefs, customs, and preferred lifestyles. But we live together in communities and nations with others who have their own beliefs, customs, and preferred lifestyles. Generally, each of us doing our own things does not interfere with others doing theirs. But sometimes it does, raising issues of the rules governing those interaction. Our personal freedom and peaceful coexistence with others depend on how wisely we define those rules. Finding and observing an optimal balance of personal freedoms with community restraints and obligations enhances the wellbeing of everyone. The U.S. has a bigger space for personal freedom than most countries and has flourished because of it.

Generally, my freedom of behavior stops where my fist meets your face. What I do with my fist otherwise should not be your concern. But some people (or countries) seem to go out of their way to find behavior by others to object to.  We had no national interest or need to attack Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Libya, Liberia, Somalia, or Kosovo, to name a few of the countries we attacked in the last twenty years. Two men suing a baker for refusing to bake their wedding cake when another baker across the street would be happy to do it are looking for fights rather than harmony. With the same reasoning: should a website designer be required to design a website for the Ku-Klux-Klan when she disagrees with their message and activities?

Nor is it credible, nor a contribution to the rule based international order meant to keep the peace among nations with divergent political systems, to ignore the rules you expect other nations to follow. “The rule of law-China and the U.S.” The U.S. attack on Iraq violated international law as much as does Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Rather than press China to abide by international trade rules, the U.S. is ignoring them itself.  “WTO ruling-Trump tariffs violate rules” Our bullyish hypocrisy is more than embarrassing. It undermines our international standing and influence and is contrary to our national interest.

With that background, what are my most important wishes/hopes for 2023?

–Stop pushing us into WWIII. Remove the neocons from our government. “Ukraine war-how does it end?”

–End the Russian war on Ukraine. Yes we can (push Ukraine and Russia to the negotiating table) “End the war in Ukraine”

–Fix our immigration laws/policies. https://wcoats.blog/2022/09/23/a-land-of-immigrants/

–Join the Trans Pacific Partnership (now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership)   “Tony Judt on trade”

–End our Industrial policies. “Industrial policy sounds good but is unsound”

–End our trade protectionism  “Trade protection and corruption”

–Compete with China fairly  “Competing with China”

–Return to our principles re-Israel/Palestine “Dear Congressman Kevin McCarthy”

–Restore Congressional Leadership. Enforce the War Powers Act. Restore regular order and cross aisle cooperation to address real problems. “Our dysfunctional Congress”

–Restore fiscal sanity—balance the Federal budget via spending cuts (especially so-called defense). https://wcoats.blog/2011/04/23/thinking-about-the-public-debt/

–Restore the domestic rule of law (even on Trump): “A reflex U turn from the January 6 Committee”

–Restore the Republican Party to the principals I have always supported—get rid of Trump. “More on Trump acquittal”

–Protect our free speech but restore civility to public debate. “Sacred tension-uncanceling ourselves – Jonathan Rauch”

The above would be a good start in restoring America to the principles and scope of government that made us the Land of the Free – Home of the Brave.

Happy New Year

Author: Warren Coats

I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy.  I joined the International Monetary Fund in 1975 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989.  After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017.  Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75.  I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.  In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.”  My recent books are One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina; My Travels in the Former Soviet Union; My Travels to Afghanistan; My Travels to Jerusalem; and My Travels to Baghdad. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.

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