I did one of these back in August, and I sort of liked it, so here's a follow-up. You'll note that one question here is a repeat, since I never saw an answer. Hey, economists! Someone have an estimate for this?
1. I'm not sure whether this is a question for economists, IR specialists, political economy types, or what, but I've been wondering about it for a while now: what, if anything, should the US (and Barack Obama in particular) have been doing for the last three years about the various problems in Europe? Is the general sense that the Obama administration is handling it well, or badly? Or is there simply nothing for the US to do (which seems highly unlikely to me, but again, I'm not an expert on it). I've seen very, very little reporting about what the US is doing, should be doing, could be doing.
2. Speaking of Europe, here's a more directly economic question...just how important have Europe's problems been for the US economy? I'm definitely not trying to excuse Barack Obama's performance here (see question #1 above), just wondering how much of the failure of the recovery to gain momentum is a result of Italy and Greece and the rest of it.
3. And here's the repeat question: I've seen estimates of how much state budget contraction has hurt the economy. Those seem to be based on direct effects. What about indirect effects? There sure are a lot of teachers, cops, firefighters, and prison guards who must have been very worried about their jobs over the last year and therefore didn't spend a lot of money; do we know what that does to the economy?