The Little-Known Reform That Could Improve States’ Fiscal Health
Thurston Powers, E21
Many states across the nation are struggling with long-term financial liabilities. But not all liabilities are the same. Some are riskier than others. While we all intuitively know this, the way that the liabilities of state and local governments are reported often disguises and understates (or overstates) risks and costs. Presenting policymakers and the public with the range of potential outcomes could avert some fiscal crises. Read more here....
America and Strategies For The Future With George P. Shultz
by George P. Shultz via PolicyEd
Former Secretary of State George Shultz discusses the importance of strengthening our nation’s leadership, the impact other countries have on the United States, and the dangers of making empty threats.
A Note to Readers on Our 10th Anniversary
Yuval Levin | Editor in Chief, National Affairs
This edition of National Affairs, our 41st quarterly issue, marks the magazine’s 10th anniversary. This makes us still a young and fledgling enterprise. But it also offers a chance to reflect briefly on the work we have done and continue to do in an era of political uncertainty and change.
Continue reading here.
A new vision for health reform
Joseph Antos and Alice M. Rivlin | The Concord Coalition
Health spending is the largest component of the federal budget and is expected to double over the next decade if left unchecked. A similar sharp increase is projected for consumers, employers, and state governments. Controlling costs will require a comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of high spending. It must increase competitive pressures on health care prices, both from the demand and supply sides, allowing pressure from patients to help control costs. This paper details how to arm purchasers — consumers, physicians, insurers, employers, and the government — to make cost-effective decisions in a competitive market environment.
Improving the productivity of public services is a thankless but necessary endeavor
James C. Capretta | RealClearPolicy
The administration would have more success restraining spending if it emphasized improving government productivity instead of eliminating functions and agencies that powerful factions in Congress support.
The personality of American power
Giselle Donnelly | The American Interest
Challenges to America’s role abroad are more likely to lead to a strategic restoration than a realist revolution.
Rising economic productivity — blip or boom?
Bret Swanson | AEIdeas
We are still a long way from fully transforming health care, education, manufacturing, transportation, food, retail, and other sectors into information industries.But we are now seeing the first breakout of productivity growth in more than a decade, suggesting we may be on the edge of a longer-term productivity revival.
To really determine who is poor in the US, count all antipoverty spending
Matt Weidinger | RealClearPolicy
An improved count and an understanding of the efficacy of programs not included in the official poverty measure would help policymakers better judge whether and what additional changes are needed to help more Americans escape poverty.
Explaining US income inequality by household demographics, 2018 update
Mark J. Perry | AEIdeas
Generous Motors No More
If the auto giant wants to keep jobs in the country, it can’t go back to offering rich benefits to union workers.
RAND CORP., ON SYNTHETIC OPIOIDS & MIDWEST STATES MOVE AHEAD ON MASS TRANSIT PLANS WHILE AMERICANS EXPERIENCE SOCIAL MOBILITY
Synthetic Opioids: An Unprecedented Crisis
The rise of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids is unlike any drug crisis in U.S. history. Limiting policy responses to existing approaches will likely be insufficient and may condemn many people to early deaths. Read more »
AARON M. RENN
If You Improve It, They Will Come
Several Midwest cities are pursuing innovative mass-transit plans—with encouraging results.
3 charts based on the census report show that the US middle class is shrinking because it's moving up
Mark J. Perry | AEIdeas
The charts confirm that America's middle class is disappearing because it's moving into higher, not lower, income groups.
2019 Chart Book Examines Spending, Taxes, and Deficits
Brian Riedl, E21
The 2019 edition of my chart book examining the federal budget, spending, taxes, and deficits is now available. The 96-page book begins by broadly looking at the rising budget deficits and national debt, and then gradually dives deeper to show the policies driving the red ink. Next, it tallies the cost of candidate proposals to add more debt, and determines whether those costs can be offset by the proposed tax increases and defense cuts. Finally, the report examines trends in tax revenues and tax progressivity, common budget myths, and offers a full accounting of the fiscal records of Presidents Bush and Obama. Read more here....
2020 Vote Looks Like 1972 -- With No WatergateBy CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | August 28, 2019
It is not too early to speculate on what the national political press, and especially the high-brow conservative Never Trumpers, are going to do after this president is comfortably reelected. The Washingtonp-New York-Los Angeles press threw everything they had against candidate Trump, nominee Trump, and the president, and they have lost everything they had.
All surveys show that their audience/readership is sinking and their commercial economics are shriveling, and no reasonable person can fail to be disgusted with the endless malicious slanders and distortions by the Lemons, Maddows, Scarboroughs, Blitzers.
Victor Davis Hanson: What Could Sink Trump's Chances In 2020?
by Victor Davis Hanson via Fox News
What factors usually reelect or throw out incumbent presidents? The economy counts most. Recessions, or at least chronic economic pessimism, sink incumbents. Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were tagged with sluggish growth, high unemployment and a sense of perceived stagnation — and were easily defeated.
1619 and all that
Giselle Donnelly | AEIdeas
In our current confusion, a deeper dive into the origins of the American experience is well warranted, but there’s much more to those origins than is dreamed of in The New York Times’ philosophy. A closer inspection of the deep roots of our political culture is not an occasion for shame, but rather for appreciation.
The Costs of Medicare for All Are Rising Already
Charles Blahous, E21
After my study of the costs of Medicare for All (M4A) was published last July, a fierce debate erupted over whether M4A, while dramatically increasing the costs borne by federal taxpayers, might nevertheless reduce total U.S. health expenditures. Now, just one year after my findings, we have substantial additional evidence that M4A would further increase, not reduce, national health spending. To be clear, no one on either side of this debate questioned my central finding that M4A would increase federal costs by an unprecedented amount. Read more here....
Medicare reform can no longer be ignored: Warnings from the 2019 Medicare trustees report
Joseph Antos and Robert E. Moffit | AEI Economic Perspectives
The latest annual Medicare trustees report highlights the program’s growing fiscal challenge and reflects policymakers’ ongoing failure to prepare Medicare for the future.
HOW GOOGLE IS THE VILLAIN TO SMALL BUSINESSES, AND HEALTH CARE REFORM; FINALLY, LAMESTREAM MEDIA PROPS UP RECESSION SEEKERS
What Is an ‘Inverted Yield Curve’?
Erik Sherman, Fortune
A Star Is Born in the Battle Over Trump's Tax Returns
Editorial of The New York Sun | October 11, 2019
A star is born. The big news in appeals court ruling in the House's subpoena for President Trump's tax records is not that the court supports it, though that's no small thing. It's the dissent by the newly minted appeals judge on the D.C. Circuit, Neomi Rao. She reckons that the way House is going after Mr. Trump violates the constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder.
Thanks to President Trump’s “America First” rhetoric and the rise of populist-nationalist parties in Europe, there’s a lot of debate about “nationalism” these days. On that subject, as on so many others, it’s worth listening to Pope St. John Paul II. Read More
The old conservative movement clearly missed something crucial about the national mood to have failed so utterly to prevent President Trump’s nomination and election. Failure to come to grips with this and to be genuinely new in some way will produce the same political failure. Read More
Recent research in Soviet intelligence files raises some interesting questions about the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981. Read More
The quiet hours of Leonid Brezhnev
By George Weigel on Jul 17, 2019 03:01 am
On first meeting Dr. Andrzej Grajewski, you probably wouldn’t guess that this mild-mannered Polish historian is one of the world’s leading experts on the ecclesiastical Dark Side of the Cold War: the relentless communist assault [...]
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How John Paul II and Ronald Reagan stopped mass murderers
Another long weekend, another mass murder. Seven were massacred in the latest rampage in West Texas rampage. It comes with the same, almost scripted reactions from all sides: punish my enemies, leave my supporters alone. Hearts aren’t changed. In the upcoming film, “The Divine Plan,’’ Ronald Reagan and St. John Paul teach today’s leaders a […]
Animated chart of the day: World’s top 10 manufacturing nations, 1970–2017
Mark J. Perry | AEIdeas
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