A new home for National Affairs
It’s always a pleasure to announce an auspicious new partnership, and we launched one this week that is particularly promising. National Affairs, the policy journal Yuval Levin edits, will make its home at AEI, in the newly launched Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies research division.
Steven Malanga, City Journal
It’s a basic principle of investing: the greater the risk an investor takes, the greater the potential reward. But as any experienced investor can attest, increased risk can also bring bigger disappointment. That’s the case with state pension funds. To elevate returns, public-sector pensions have taken on more and more risk for nearly two decades. The result, however, has been lower returns, higher debt, and a mess for taxpayers, according to a new study by Fitch Ratings. Read more here....
The Unusual Suspects
via Budget Matters, America Off Balance
It seems every month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) releases another report showing sharp increases in the federal debt. In June, CBO released its annual Long-Term Budget Outlook showing debt would pass 100% of GDP in 2034 and hit 144% in 2049. And, just last month, CBO’s updated 10-year budget forecasts showed even larger deficits than previously predicted.
Rumors of the nondelegation doctrine’s demise are greatly exaggerated
Peter J. Wallison | Law & Liberty
Many lawyers and legal scholars had long argued that the nondelegation doctrine was dead, but apparently rumors of its demise were exaggerated.
On the nonenforcement of nondelegation
Ramesh Ponnuru | NationalReview.com
JAMES R. COPLAND
Tugging at the Reins of the Administrative State
A Supreme Court decision suggests an interest in returning sole lawmaking powers to Congress—where they belong.
How to Avert a Public-Pension Crisis
Josh McGee, National Affairs
At the turn of the millennium, public pensions seemed to be riding high. By their own accounting, most such funds were more than fully funded, and public workers' retirement benefits were more generous than ever after a round of enhancements in the 1990s. But the two decades that followed have decimated the finances of many public-pension funds, resulting in steeply rising taxpayer costs and serious negative effects on public workers' salaries, jobs, and benefits. Read more here....
The Terminator Myth: It’s Not Robots That Hurt Workers
Oren Cass, E21
Education is the job-killer lurking beneath the economy’s surface. Consider an exemplary employer making major investments in training for each of his 100 workers, even covering tuition for those who might benefit from technical courses at a local college. Say the investments have incredible returns, too—by the end of the year, each worker is twice as productive and 50 can do the work that last year required 100. That means 50 jobs have been destroyed. Read more here...
Issues 2020: Automation Is Not What’s Hurting Workers
Oren Cass, Manhattan Institute
Automation refers to the substitution of technology for human labor. As tasks become automated, fewer people are required to produce a given amount of output each hour—in other words, each worker becomes more productive. That rising productivity is the mechanism by which workers’ wages rise over time and society as a whole becomes more prosperous. The same thing happens when a firm invests in training that allows each worker to produce more. No one says that training “destroys jobs.” Read more here....
Eight Revealing Numbers from the Social Security 2100 Act
Charles Blahous, E21
Advocates of Social Security expansion have declared their intention to move the “Social Security 2100 Act” through the House of Representatives before August recess. The bill, introduced by Rep. John Larson (D., Conn.), has more than 200 co-sponsors. Its sponsors deserve credit for putting forth a comprehensive Social Security plan that is specific, scored by the Social Security Administration Chief Actuary and, though it contains elements clearly designed to appeal to certain ideological and special interests, also doesn’t shy away from difficult policy and political choices. Read more here....
Learning Nothing from Yesterday
Gene Dattel & Fred Siegel, City Journal
Capitalism Gets Rid of What Doesn’t Work
P.J. O’Rourke, American Consequences
The Red Decade, Redux
Journalist Eugene Lyons’s chronicle of the 1930s Left remains startlingly relevant today.
The Dirty Dozen: 12 Tips for Testifying Before Congress
Charles Blahous, E21
THE US POLITICAL ECONOMY: THE DETAILS ON DEFICITS & JUSTICE THOMAS ON THE ROLE OF THE CONSTITUTION IN JURISPRUDENCE
National Debt: Who Cares?
Brian Riedl, PragerU
The U.S. national debt is massive – so massive that most Americans cannot comprehend it, much less solve it. But a crisis is looming, and a day of reckoning that will affect every American is coming. The Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl explains how we got here and what you can do about it. Watch now.
’19 Budget Shows Deterioration
James Capretta, RealClearPolicy
Why Washington Won’t Address Soaring Deficits
Brian Riedl, The Hill
Seemingly no one cares about the budget deficit anymore. Republicans recently cut taxes by $2 trillion, while Democrats are promising a spending spree that could top $40 trillion over the decade. And this is on top of the current budget trajectory that shows annual deficits exceeding $2 trillionwithin a decade, and totaling a staggering $84 trillion over the next 30 years. Read more here...
Justice Thomas’s Credo
The Constitution, not precedent, is the law of the land.
UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME: HOW SHOULD THE POOR EXPERIENCE SOCIAL MOBILITY; US UNEMPLOYMENT EXTREMELY LOW
A Missing Precondition
M. Anthony Mills, City Journal
The United States is enjoying its lowest level of jobless claims since 1969, and the Labor Department indicates a reversal in the long-term trends of sluggish productivity and slow wage growth for middle-class workers. And yet, a long shadow lingers over the country’s otherwise bright economic outlook. It’s not a shadow cast by the trade war, volatile stocks, diminished labor-force participation, or inequality, but rather by low social capital—that is, the interpersonal relationships that generate reciprocity and a shared sense of community, and that play an important role in a healthy economy. Read more here....
Universal Basic Income, In Perspective
by David R. Henderson via Defining Ideas
How should poor people climb the ladder to economic success?
The Numbers Game: How Is The Middle Class Doing?
by Russell Roberts via PolicyEd
Is it true that the wages for those in the middle class have been stagnant since the 1970s? Watch the 1st video in the new animated series The Numbers Game, in which Hoover Research Fellow Russ Roberts discusses the challenges of accurately measuring and understanding the economy and economic policy.
AEI Political Report: Democrats on impeachment; abortion attitudes; the moon landing revisited
Karlyn Bowman and Eleanor O'Neil | AEI Political Report
Four Lessons from the Latest Medicare Trustees’ Report
Charles Blahous, E21
My last article reviewed key lessons from the Social Security trustees’ annual report on that program’s financial status. This article presents four key lessons of the trustees’ companion report on the Medicare program. It is possible it is mere happenstance that the dismissal of the public trustee watchdogs from the process has coincided with the proliferation of proposals to expand both Social Security and Medicare far beyond what fiscal realism would allow. Nevertheless, the public policy discussion would benefit enormously from confirming public trustees to represent the bipartisan analytical consensus regarding Medicare (and Social Security) finances. Read more here....
Correlation Without Causation
Chris Pope, City Journal
America Off Balance: Finding A Solution To America's Financial Crisis
via The Hoover Centennial
America Off Balance allows visitors to explore the current federal debt crisis and the complex reforms necessary to fix it.
Four Lessons from the Latest Social Security Trustees’ Report
Charles Blahous, E21
The Social Security trustees issued their annual report on the program’s financial condition earlier this year, along with their companion report on Medicare. As in previous years, these reports contain sobering news that lawmakers and the public need to know. The trustees who authored these reports are Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, and then-acting Social Security Commissioner Nancy Berryhill. Two other trustee positions, those of the independent, bipartisan public trustees, have remained vacant since Robert Reischauer and I last served in those capacities in 2015. This article summarizes four key lessons of the Social Security report. Read more here....
Hidden Debt, Hidden Deficits: The 2019 Update
via Hoover Daily Report
With the first publication of Hoover Senior Fellow Joshua Rauh’s essay Hidden Debt, Hidden Deficits two years ago, there was finally a comprehensive look into the burden that state and local government pension promises to public employees are placing on public finances. Now, two years later, Rauh has revisited these fundamentally important questions regarding state and local pensions with a major data update and web resource that highlights the fiscal drag of unfunded pension obligations on state and local government finances.
The Most Important Health Reform Of All
mentioning John H. Cochrane via Forbes
Of all the things we might do to improve our health care system, the one reform that is more important than any other is almost never discussed. It is ignored by Republicans. By Democrats. By the experts. By the think tanks. And by just about everybody who has an opinion on health policy.
Solutions Initiative 2019: American Enterprise Institute
Alan D. Viard | Peter G. Peterson Foundation
In this video, Alan Viard explains how a fiscal policy proposal put forth by five AEI scholars would ensure long-run fiscal stability and maintain economic growth by slowing the growth of health care spending, simplifying the benefit formula for Social Security and encouraging saving to make the system more sustainable, and lowering tax rates while growing the base.
Socialism Destroys the Human Character
Theodore Dalrymple, National Review
Bridging The Religious-Secular Divide
by Peter Berkowitz via Real Clear Politics
Of the many causes of political polarization in the United States, the conflict between religion and secularism is the oldest and deepest. Easing this conflict — desirable for its own sake — stands a chance of also tempering the increasingly entrenched enmity in our politics between right and left.
Justice for Conrad Black
Editorial of The New York Sun | May 16, 2019
When Conrad Black stood before a federal judge in Chicago to hear his final prison sentence, all that was left of the fraud case against him was a single count. He was given a chance to make a statement. "I never ask for mercy," he told the judge, "but I do ask for avoidance of injustice." It was a sad thing for our country and for newspaperdom, we wrote at the time, that his request was denied.
The President of the United States called. I was being pardoned, at last
by Conrad Black
May 15, 2019
Black on Black: 'A Confluence of Unlucky Events'
By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | May 16, 2019
The Economy and Fed Policy Find the Sweet Spot
Peter Ireland, E21
The U.S. economy has regained momentum after a spell of financial-market volatility sparked fears of a slowdown or even a recession late last year. Real GDP grew at a 3.2% annual rate in the first quarter of 2019, surprising many analysts who expected a much weaker report. The unemployment rate, at 3.6%, stands at its lowest level in nearly 50 years. And while inflation continues to fall below the Federal Reserve’s long-run 2% target, Fed Chair Jerome Powell emphasized at his May 1 press conference that he sees the latest price data as reflecting a variety of special factors, which he expects to be transient, rather than a sign that monetary policy has become overly restrictive. Read more here....
Politics of Evasion on Social Security and Medicare
Robert Samuelson, Washington Post
Welfare and Debt: A Moynihan Assessment
Christopher DeMuth, American Interest
Trump's Foreign Policy Is Not Chaotic
By Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen, April 25, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Though politicians and scholars harshly criticize President Donald Trump’s foreign policy as chaotic, his policymaking seems to be based upon a sound and consistent political approach, contrary to that of his predecessor in the White House. Several decisions taken by Trump can fall under the rubric of the political science theory known as “Supersession,” which stipulates that changing circumstances and the passage of time are formative guidelines to the handling of international conflicts.
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The health reforms the GOP should embrace (but probably won’t)
Joseph Antos and James C. Capretta | The New York Times
Rather than searching for a politically safe silver bullet that slays the Affordable Care Act while keeping everyone happy, Republicans should embrace sensible reforms that aim to improve the existing framework.
Chasing universal coverage
Joseph Antos and James C. Capretta | RealClearPolicy
In 2017 only 2.5 million people — or less than 1 percent of the total population — were in the US legally, had low incomes, and did not have ready access to an insurance plan.
Medicare for All Hides Obamacare’s Flaws
Chris Pope, National Review
In politics, people rarely admit that they were wrong. Instead, they try to change the subject. A decade ago, Democrats insisted that the Affordable Care Act would reduce the health-care costs of Americans and give the nation universal coverage. But the legislation has fallen so far short of its objectives that the party’s new generation is eager to sweep it aside in favor of Medicare for All. The associated promises are even more implausible than those made regarding the ACA, and have been privately disparaged by establishment Democratic policymakers. Read more here....
The Perils of Fixing Out-of-Network Health Care Prices
Chris Pope, E21
Away from the headlines and ideological food fight over Medicare for All, Congress has quietly been working to fix the problem of “surprise medical bills”—a situation whereby individuals with insurance coverage nonetheless find themselves facing exorbitant unexpected bills from out-of-network providers. The problem has become so bad that Republicans and Democrats have even started to agree on reforms, with bipartisan proposals this month being introduced in both chambers to address it. Read more here....
Time To Turn the G-Men Loose On Trump Accusers
By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | April 22, 2019
The Mueller Report, despite the best efforts of the chief author and his partisan investigative staff, is a bone-crushing defeat for the president's enemies. There is not a whit of evidence that any American collaborated with any Russian to alter the results of the 2016 presidential election, and there is extensive evidence that the Trump campaign was the subject of enticements to collaborate and rebuffed all of them at all levels.
Why the Middle Class Is Shrinking
Brett Arends, MarketWatch
TRUMP'S JOB MARKET CONTINUES TO SOAR & AEI EXAMINES NATIONAL METRO HOUSING MARKETS AND PUBLIC SECTOR COMPENSATION GROWTH
National and metro housing market indicators
Edward J. Pinto and Tobias Peter | AEI
Housing markets are inherently local, making them notoriously difficult to analyze due to the lack of reliable data at the local level. A new data set from the AEI Housing Center aims to fill this void by analyzing housing market data for the 60 largest US metropolitan areas and the nation as a whole.
The growth of salaries and benefits in the public sector, 1998–2017
Andrew G. Biggs | AEI Economics Working Paper Series
Data from the National Income and Product Accounts published by the US federal government make it possible to analyze the growth of state and local government employee compensation by state.
DANIEL HENNINGER ON DELUSIONAL DEMOCRATS, NEW FINANCING MODEL FOR STUDENT LOANS & IDEOLOGICAL TAKEOVER OF EDUCATION
The Democrats Get a Taste of Their Own Medicine by Conrad Black
Day of Reckoning Is Now Dawning For Democrats
By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | April 25, 2019
New Financing Model Could Fix America’s Broken Student Loan System
Preston Cooper & Sheila Bair, Yahoo Finance
News reports of jaw-dropping scandals involving corruption and fraud in the admissions process of several elite schools are coming at a bad time for the higher education community. Academia was already playing defense in Washington against perceptions of favoritism in admissions practices and intolerance for diverse political views.But perhaps most damaging has been widespread public concern over high college costs and the $1.4 trillion in taxpayer-backed debt students have racked up to pay for them. Read more here....
The Ideological Takeover of Education
Max Eden, City Journal
This weekend, more than 14,000 academics will gather in Toronto to share their research for the American Education Research Association’s annual conference. In past years, I’ve documented the focus of AERA academics on matters that seem only obliquely connected to curriculum, instruction, and policy. It looks like more of the same this year. Read more here....
How to Bring Back Struggling Cities
Aaron Renn, CityLab
In 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to build a $15 million film studio near upstate Syracuse, promising 350 high tech jobs. It was one of his many plans to revive the economies of upstate communities with state tax dollars. The facility, in an implausible location for filmmaking, was a flop that attracted little activity, and it was handed off to local government last year for the sum of $1. Read more here....
Why the U.S. Isn’t in Danger of Recession
Ed Yardeni & Melissa Tagg, MarketWatch
King of New York
By taking control of Manhattan streets, Governor Cuomo proves himself the state’s modern master of power.
President Trump and the Crisis of Separated Powers
Editorial of The New York Sun | April 18, 2019
The denouement of the Special Counsel investigation -- unfolding on the Imax of the Internet -- illuminates nothing so much as the fact that our republic is in a crisis of separated powers. It shows that a special counsel can come close to destroying a presidency even in cases where, as now seems clear in respect of President Trump, there was neither collusion with a foreign power nor obstruction of justice.
Economic report of the president shows success and shortcomings of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty
Matt Weidinger | AEIdeas
Social capital and public policy
The norms of civic togetherness have largely disappeared from serious discussions about enduring public policy challenges, writes Ryan Streeter. Given the lessons of the past two decades, that needs to change.