Democratic Perspective continued its discussion with acclaimed economist, Dean Baker by asking about the current debate over taxation of the wealthy.
“Progressives need a new approach to politics,” he replied. “Most of the public debate is conservatives want to leave things to the free market. Progressives want fairness. The game was rigged. They rigged the deck to funnel money to the one percent. Why did we let them structure the market that way?”
Turning to the housing bubble, Baker said, “Wall Street banks stuffed their pockets through the housing bubble. They either knew what they were doing was fraudulent or they failed to realize the risk. Then the government bailed them out. But it’s different for small businesses. They don’t get bailed out if they fail.”
When asked about the current state of the housing market, Baker said, “There’s a ways left to go; lots of excess supply of housing. I wouldn’t expect prices to go lower, but I wouldn’t expect new construction until 2013-2014.”
Maintaining our theme about the economy being rigged to benefit the wealthy, we asked about corporations using the patent system to take advantage of government investment in medical research. Baker responded by saying, “We need to set up an alternate mechanism. We pay roughly $300 billion a year for prescription drugs that would sell for $30 billion a year without patent protection. I’d like to see medical research publicly financed and the results put into public domain rather than the current patent system.”
Asked about the nation’s economic future and unemployment, Baker said, “The near to mid-term prospects are really bad. It could be 2020 until we get back to full employment at the current rate of job growth.”
Dean Baker writes a weekly commentary on the economy which is available on his blog, Beat The Press hosted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, http://www.cepr.net/. In addition, Mr. Baker’s op-ed on the national debt is available at Nation of Change.org.