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Todd G. Buchholz
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This week in Say More, PS talks with Todd G. Buchholz, a former White House director of economic policy under President George H.W. Bush and managing director of the Tiger hedge fund.

Project Syndicate: In 2020, you argued that deregulation, corporate-tax cuts, and a more business-friendly environment in general would “help the US economy to emerge more smoothly and strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic.” That is not what happened, but the United States remains a bright spot for global growth. What, then, explains the US economy’s relative health? Are the policies you recommended still necessary?

Todd G. Buchholz: The US has outperformed other economies since the COVID-19 crisis for both good and bad reasons. A good reason highlights the flexible economy, with relatively lenient labor laws that enable businesses both to hire and to curtail employment without facing penalties or paying excessive fees. By contrast, in a country like Italy – where I sit as I write this – employers are reluctant to hire new workers for fear that they won’t be able to fire them if they underperform.

Another good reason is that US policy is still more indulgent – at least for now – of the “gig economy,” which enables individuals easily to launch their own businesses and brands, whether as Uber drivers, graphic designers, or traveling nurses. As I point out in my latest PS commentary, the gig economy makes the overall economy more flexible and pushes back against inflation.