In-depth with Yuval Levin
Yuval Levin | C-SPAN
In a wide-ranging interview, Yuval Levin discusses US political history and the political divide in the country today.
The Fed leaked its future plans through WSJ central bank watcher Nick Timiraos. In the reporter's words, the Fed could “amplify” its commitment to low rates “by capping yields on every Treasury security that matures before 2023.” Only an economist could believe this would work. No doubt some of the bluest of blue chip businesses, individuals, and governments will be able to borrow at rates related to the yield cap benchmarks set by the Fed, but this would be true with or without the caps. Actual economic growth comes from financing new ideas, or the creation of wealth that doesn’t yet exist. The Fed's confirmation of what's already true (sure things can borrow at low rates) will not alter the cost of capital for growth ideas one bit. Thankfully it won't. Much as economists wish it weren't true, what can be controlled by non-market entities is soon enough not worth controlling. And as the 20th century hopefully reminds the half awake, there's little to control to begin with. The opinion piece can be found here.
American civilization and its discontents
Matthew Continetti | The Washington Free Beacon
Without institutions that cultivate republican virtue and leaders who model it, young Americans have turned to the moral certitudes of the new progressivism.
Trump's 2020 Platform
Editorial of The New York Sun | May 29, 2020
In a new AEI report, Colin Dueck assesses the new conservative traditionalists whose concerns are not limited to conventional social issues, but rather carry heavy implications for other areas of US policy, including domestic, economic, and national security. New traditionalism represents a vital growth in democratically oriented, conservative political thought that cannot be washed away. A genuine fusion of right of center will eventually be needed. Read the full report here.
Is democracy in decline? Despite historic protests in Hong Kong, Lebanon, Chile, and more, Freedom House found that 2019 was the 14th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. What explains this trend? This week, the president of Freedom House, Michael Abramowitz, joined Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen to explain why Freedom House assesses that democracy is under assault. Listen here.
CFR: Five Points about U.S. Trade Over the Last Thirty Years
by Brad W. Setser
No Rush for State Bailouts
Washington should buy time with intermediate measures before committing itself to handing over as much as $1 trillion
The Staggering Cost of the Pandemic
Brian Riedl, Manhattan Institute
A Biden Bombshell? Open the University of Delaware Archive
Editorial of The New York Sun | May 2, 2020
Joe Biden's Burden
Editorial of The New York Sun | May 1, 2020
What role should the federal government play in addressing state and municipal pension debts?
Andrew G. Biggs | TeacherPensions.org
Federal pension regulations exist for a good reason, and those reasons apply to governments as much as to private companies.
CONRAD BLACK: ON THE UNRELENTING DISTAIN U.S. PRESS CORPS HAS FOR TEAM TRUMP & WHY BAILOUTS AREN'T WORKING
The Dubious Morality Of Modern Administrative Law
featuring Richard A. Epstein via National Review
Modern administrative law has been the subject of intense and protracted intellectual debate, from legal theorists to such high-profile judicial confirmations as those conducted for Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. On one side, defenders of limited government argue that the growth of the administrative state threatens traditional ideas of private property, freedom of contract, and limited government.
This latest legislative effort, useful and necessary though it is, suggests that Congress and the administration are still behind the curve, explains Yuval Levin.
Nicholas Eberstadt writes that the COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated the deepest and most fundamental crisis for Pax Americana that this set of global economic and security arrangements has faced in the past three postwar generations.
Just as Chevron was an iconic decision marking the rise of the administrative state, so its relative decline is also a powerful symbol. Read More »
The natural intuition is to think that federalism works in normal times and then gets in the way of prompt, effective responses to crises. Read More »
The phase three-and-a-half bill
Yuval Levin | NationalReview.com
This latest legislative effort, useful and necessary though it is, suggests that Congress and the administration are still behind the curve.
State Bailouts: 'Beyond Galling,' 'Shameless,' Too
Editorial of The New York Sun | April 20, 2020
Could Poorly Managed States End Up in Bankruptcy?
Mitch McConnell Is Open to the Idea
Editorial of The New York Sun | April 22, 2020
Tom Friedman Offers Foolish Fantasy For Biden Campaign
By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | April 15, 2020
A 7-point checklist for reopening the economy
Michael R. Strain | Bloomberg Opinion
The US needs a concrete and coherent strategy for reopening the economy, and Congress has to commit to propping up the economy over the long term if needed.
Pressing Pause on Mortgage Payments
Arpit Gupta, City Journal
Most Americans are homeowners, and mortgage payments generally represent their biggest financial burden. Mortgage forbearance—when a mortgage provider agrees to let the homeowner pause or reduce his payments for a certain period—thus has a direct beneficial impact on struggling household finances. Forgiving mortgage debt, however, imposes a significant financial burden, which must be borne by lenders or taxpayers. The federal CARES Act tries to strike a balance between the benefits of household mortgage relief and its costs by imposing a temporary moratorium on foreclosures and allowing forbearance on government-backed mortgages (primarily those by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration).
Read more here....
What Shape Recovery?
featuring John H. Cochrane via Seeking Alpha
Will the recovery be V shaped, quickly roaring back to the previous level? It does that every January 2 after the long Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year's slowdown, and it did in 1984. Or will it be an agonizingly slow U or L shape, as the recovery from 2008 turned out to be?
James Capretta writes that contact tracing will be essential to reopening our economy, Alan Viard warns against excessive pessimism in forecasting, and Desmond Lachman explains how the complex global nature of the virus' economic impact will slow the recovery.
With the passage of three major responses to the pandemic, debate continues over how to implement what has been passed and whether continued aid is necessary. James Pethokoukis stresses the urgency of effectively distributing aid to small businesses, Glenn Hubbard argues that more support for hospitals and small and midsize businesses is necessary, and Paul Kupiec points out the efficacy of stimulus depends on whether it is calibrated to the duration of the crisis.
How to Get America Working Again
Mickey D. Levy & Robert S. Kaplan, Manhattan Institute
Last week’s unprecedented surge of 3.3 million initial unemployment claims quantifies some of the cost of the shutdowns to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. The Federal Reserve is appropriately focused on keeping the financial system operating and preventing a financial crisis, and the $2 trillion stimulus will provide income support to sidelined workers and financial help for businesses that face interruptions in demand and cash flow. But monetary and fiscal stimulus aren’t substitutes for the most important task: getting the unemployed back to work while protecting their health and safety. Read more here....
Michael Farren, Mercatus Center, George Mason University, & TheHill; in re: Skyrocketing unemployment claims: 6.6 million this week. The national economy has seized. It’ll get worse before it gets better; it does mean that social distancing is working, diminishing the transmission of the disease. We’re trading off a short financial crisis—a recession—in favor of a recovery sooner. Won’t see needed relief till mid-April or later. Unemployment insurance in no way can sustain a family; it’s designed to have people continue looking for work, but here we specifically don't want people out looking for work.
This is not a standard recession—the sky isn't falling—this is not the result of deep structural problems; rather, it's a government-induced recession to [avoid something worse].
The future of public-employee unions
Daniel DiSalvo | National Affairs
The past decade has been a critical juncture for public-sector unions, one that will likely have lasting political and economic effects. Liberals argue that public unions' membership will fall and their political power will decline, which will harm the Democratic Party. But there are compelling reasons to be skeptical about these claims.
The road to workforce recovery
Mason M. Bishop | AEIdeas
Decision 2020 Report: Federalism: State Power As Effective Policy
via Decision 2020
The tenth edition of the Decision 2020 Report highlights Hoover fellows’ thoughts and analyses on the constitutional roles of the state and federal governments in dealing with national crises and in major policy discussions about health care, education, immigration, and environmental protection. It also explores the effectiveness of state government in policy innovation and implementation.
The crisis of the liberal zombie order
Ross Douthat | New Statesman
by John Yoo via National Review
Large parts of the nation’s response can be undertaken only by the states.
Victor Davis Hanson: The Untold Story With Martha MacCallum
interview with Victor Davis Hanson via Fox News
Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson talks about growing up on a multi-generational farm, why he decided to write The Case for Trump, and his opinions
The damage that America First has done
Kori Schake | The Atlantic
James Madison and republican statesmanship, part 5: Confidence, prudence, and the Virginia Resolutions of 1798
Abdication and nondelegation
Adam J. White, Tal Fortgang, and Alan Morrison | “Unprecedential”
About Those Self-Evident Truths. . . .
What are we without them?
James Madison and republican statesmanship, part 4: The fog of partisanship
Jay Cost | March 2020
Refining and enlarging the public views: James Madison, the Bill of Rights, and representation in a republic
Jay Cost | American Enterprise Institute | February 5, 2020
James Madison and republican statesmanship, part 2: A road map from tribalism
Jay Cost | American Enterprise Institute | January 8, 2020
James Madison and republican statesmanship, part 1: The virtue of constitutional esteem
Jay Cost | American Enterprise Institute | December 12, 2019
Judges: The Whirlwind, Indeed
Editorial of The New York Sun | March 6, 2020
There are at least two very different visions of what America ought to be, and they increasingly appear to be mutually exclusive. Read More »
Red States’ Economic Advantage
Joel Kotkin & Wendell Cox, City Journal
The political and cultural war between red and blue America may not be settled in our lifetimes, but it’s clear which side is gaining ground in economic and demographic terms. In everything from new jobs—including new technology employment—fertility rates, population growth, and migration, it’s the red states that increasingly hold the advantage.
Men without work
Aparna Mathur and Nicholas Eberstadt | AEI video
THE DEMS DON'T FEAR ANYONE: NO FALLOUT FROM IMPEACHMENT & HOW TO ADDRESS SOCIAL SECURITIES PROGRESSIVITY
The best way to fix Social Security
Alan D. Viard and Sita Nataraj Slavov | The Hill
Increasing Social Security’s progressivity by cutting benefits for well-off seniors is a reasonable way to address the program’s financial difficulties. But the details matter. Targeting benefits based on lifetime labor earnings would protect those in need while avoiding harmful economic effects.
Trump’s Vast Deregulatory Landscape Goes Unnoticed by Experts
Casey Mulligan, E21
The myriad deregulatory actions of the Trump administration are generating considerable cost savings, savings that even conservative critics of regulatory overreach are underestimating. Like the Grand Canyon, the vast scale of these deregulatory efforts (and their results) is hard to fathom. In just three years the administration has reversed hundreds of regulations, many of which drone on for hundreds of pages. And it’s done so without fear or favor. Many of the regulations reversed had been written and implemented at the behest of special interests, including large banks, trial lawyers, major health insurance companies, big tech companies, labor unions, and foreign drug manufacturers. Read more here.... (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
MARK P. MILLS
Old Energy, New Boom
Digital traffic will fuel the next dramatic economic expansion—but digital machines need the reliable and affordable energy that only hydrocarbons can provide.
Christopher Caldwell’s new book argues that, for the past half-century, the U.S. has been effectively living under two competing constitutional regimes.
America Turns the Corner at Last by Conrad Black
January 24, 2020
Winter 2019 Issue: THE MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL
The Real Cost of Doubling the Minimum Wage
Jonathan Meer, E21
The New York Times’ editorial board recently added its voice to the chorus of calls for a $15 per hour federal minimum wage. The justifications include a grab-bag of unsupported claims including the notion that companies can simply pass along higher labor costs through prices—ignoring the effects that higher prices have on consumer purchases, which would then reduce the demand for the labor that produces those goods and services. The editorial also dismisses the possibility of firms substituting capital for labor through automation, ignoring the growing evidence that minimum wage increases lead to exactly such decisions. Read more here....
Tackling Our Retirement-Savings Crisis
Nicole Gelinas, City Journal
Fed’s Repo Market Fix Is No Fix at All
Jim Bianco, Bloomberg
Place and the pursuit of happiness, upward mobility, and the American dream
Ryan Streeter | Knight Foundation
When work, play, relationships, and leisure “hang together” in a community, people generally fare better by any economic or social measure we value.
The $1.4 trillion spending bill locks in a core Obamacare mistake
Joseph Antos | AEIdeas
The cascade of problems started by the Affordable Care Act’s failure to appropriate cost-sharing reduction payments can be resolved. Rather than locking in a jury-rigged work-around, the next Congress should adopt reforms that promote efficiency and fairness in the individual insurance market.
James Pethokoukis explains that the lowest-paid workers continue to experience faster wage growth than workers overall, which wasn’t the case in the first years of the post–Great Recession recovery. This can be credited more to the length of the US economic expansion, rather than state-level minimum wage increases.
Felix Rohatyn helped save New York—with some unintended consequences.
HOW PELOSI IS LOSING. . . FAST, BEST JOBS NUMBERS IN 50 YEARS AND VICTOR DAVIS HANSEN ON IMPEACHMENT
How Should the Senate Deal with an Unconstitutional Impeachment by the House?
by Alan M. Dershowitz
No, the Economy is Not De-Materializing
Mark Mills, RealClearBooks
Ed Lazear: November Jobs Number The Strongest In A Long Time
interview with Edward Paul Lazear via CNBC
Growth Will Require a Resurgence of Productivity
Conor Sen, Bloomberg
The future of employment in an age of automation: A long-read Q&A with Carl Benedikt Frey
James Pethokoukis | AEIdeas
Carl Benedikt Frey and James Pethokoukis discuss the impacts of technological progress on the economy, past and present.
James Capretta writes that while disaster is not imminent, high levels of debt will eventually constrain effective governance, hurt the economy, and invite a crisis.
2019 at front end of a long-term fiscal problem
James C. Capretta | RealClearPolicy
While the final federal budget for fiscal year 2019 doesn't show a need for precipitous deficit cutting, Congress needs to act soon to limit the borrowing projected for 10, 20, and 30 years from now. Eventually, high levels of federal debt will constrain effective governance, hurt the economy, and invite a crisis. Progress will require bipartisan compromise and probably occur in steps rather than all at once.
An Agenda for the Intangible Economy
Jonathan Haskel & Sitan Westlake, City Journal
From the appetizing smells and disciplined, busy cooks, you’d think it was the kitchen of a bustling restaurant, filled with diners. But with no tables to reserve, no serving staff, and just a discreet entrance, where Uber Eats and Deliveroo drivers (the only clientele this kitchen serves) pick up orders, this is a “dark kitchen,” bringing together chefs and their wares with online search and food-delivery platforms—businesses based on software, data, and proprietary networks of drivers. Read more here....
What does ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ mean?
Gary J. Schmitt and Joseph M. Bessette | American Enterprise Institute
Through an analysis of the text of the Constitution, the Constitutional Convention, the ratification debates, and British and American impeachment precedents, it is possible to reach a broad understanding of what constitutes “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Bill Barr’s Federalist Sequel
The attorney general channels Madison and Hamilton.
2019 at the Front End of a Long-Term Fiscal Problem
James Capretta, RealClearPolicy
Deindustrialization Isn’t Just a Working-Class Problem
Anuska Jain & Samuel Hammond, The Bulwark
5 questions for Stian Westlake on how to handle the intangible economy
James Pethokoukis | AEIdeas
The Court Moves Right
But judges have a lot of unlearning to do.
The Administration’s First-String Team
Two of Trump’s top lieutenants have their eye on what’s crucial.