"Politicians on both sides of America’s political divide have generally felt that compromise would be viewed as a sign of weakness."
But for that word "generally", this could be parsed to describe the reality of a handful of D hardliners up against a lockstep entirety of R hardliners. And, yes the Norquist pledge is instanced in the next sentence. Nevertheless, this paragraph reeks of politic false equivalence, a lack of which, no doubt, would be against PIMCO's interests.
Obama has earned just criticism for pre-emptive compromise. Let not his spurned efforts at collaboration and compromise be in vain. Do not call for more of the same. Not after his re-election. How many times do the Rs have to say no before they are rightly dismissed as the cynical vandals that they indisputably are.
Pardon me, but the last two decades were the era of big PRIVATE debt - ever-increasing leverage. Government debt just followed in its wake as the automatic stabilisers kicked in and the overleveraged private sector had to be bailed out. Also factor in the accompanying increase in inequality. The more the top percentiles cornered the wealth, the more the botttom percentiles had to borrow for economic activity to be sustained. The problem is decidedly not government profligacy, and the answer is not austerity.
A note for Gary. "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" has no application to all the useful members of a grossly unequal society who make it function but can't spare extra dollars on the rigged casino that is today's caricature of capitalism, or who have surplus to invest but whose spare moments are not monopolised by strategies for financial aggrandisement. Some of the people Howard mentions would say that such people are not rational actors but for their insistence that an economics that is only about rational actors is not fantasy.
Howard's point is that there are too many people who should be asked "If you're so rich why aren't you smart"; certainly the prominent dummies he names.
A more general point about all the reflexive anti-government guff in these comments. The 2008 crisis was caused by private debt, not public debt. The only reason a country like Spain went into debt post-crisis was because its private tax base collapsed, its social security commitments to the newly unemployed skyrocketed and it bailed out the very private institutions that caused the crisis.