Explaining Southern California's economy

Mitt Romney is no wizard of the whiteboard — but neither is the White House

Obama-Whiteboard

Obama/Biden 2012

The Obama campaign quickly responded to Mitt Romney's Medicare whiteboard.

If you've spent any time in a business environment, especially at a startup, you know that whiteboards rule. These are the blackboard replacements that have thronged the workplace in the past decade or so, substituting dry erase markers and a ubiquitous squeak for chalk and that whole horrible fingernails scraping thing.

Whiteboards come in many sizes, markers in many colors. Sometimes, they literally take over the entire office. I worked at an ad agency in New York for several years where the walls were magnetized whiteboards. If you had an idea, any idea, your grabbed a marker and just starting writing on the nearest wall.

Yesterday, Mitt Romney brought the whiteboard into presidential political campaiging for the first time. Mind you, the whiteboard has been a part of political communications for a while now. The White House has run a "White House White Board" series starring mainly Austan Goolsbee, the former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.

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Does a new econ guy in the White House mean a new hope for jobless California?

We can always hope so. Princeton economist Alan Kreuger was just nominated by President Obama to head the Council of Economic Advisers, the three-person team that provides know-how on the economy to the chief executive. 

This move has been taken as a sign that Obama intends to get serious about unemployment. As the LA Times' Opinion L.A. blog points out, Kreuger is known for his work on labor issues:

Perhaps the research most relevant to his new post…is the recent work he did with Andreas Mueller of Stockholm University examining the efforts by unemployed people to find new jobs. Among their findings: People spend less time looking for work each day the longer they are unemployed, but they don't lower their wage demands significantly over time. This is especially true for younger workers, for whom the long-term cost of a big cut in pay is more severe than for an older worker closer to retirement, the study found.

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