America is very close to a destructive tipping point," co-authors Glenn Hubbard and Peter Navarro warn in their new book Seeds of Destruction. "We must change how we conduct our politics and economics...or we will inevitably go the way of all once-great nations and suffer an irreversible decline."
Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, joined Dan Gross and I to discuss the "major structural imbalances" facing America, chief among them being the government's profligate spending.
Hubbard, you may recall, was chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers during George W. Bush's first term. As you might expect, he is a strong advocate of smaller government and lower taxes. But Hubbard and Navarro, a business professor at UC Irvine, are also harshly critical of Bush's "gross mismanagement" of the fiscal stimulus bequeathed to his administration by President Clinton. Specifically, Hubbard chastises his former boss for the creation of a new unfunded federal mandate, Medicare Part D.
But if Bush was a big spender, President Obama is "taking it to a whole other level," Hubbard says citing the familiar critiques of ObamaCare and Financial Reform and "excess government spending" in general.
In short, Hubbard believes Obama inherited a mess but has made it worse with nearly every one of his major policy initiatives and general governing philosophy.
"We as a nation cannot resolve what have become deep and systemic structural imbalances in our economy simply by throwing more money and more and more regulations and more and more taxes at the problem," Hubbard and Navarro write.