Inequality and Productivity
A nice piece of analysis by Evan Soltas begins by critiquing the Economic Policy Institute’s graph purporting to show a decades-long, massive divergence between wages and productivity — the same graph that Ramesh has recently criticized.
The punchline of Mr. ...
Mr. Cheney on the Iran deal
Next Tuesday, September 8th, former Vice President Dick Cheney will give a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on the Iran deal and its implications for U.S. security.
Click here to find AEI’s page for the speech. From ...
‘Born to Run’: Forty Years of Awesomeness
Friends, today is a great day, the 40th anniversary of Mr. Springsteen’s masterpiece, “Born to Run.”
My drama teacher in high school – the man who introduced me to The Man – told me that there are two kinds of people ...
The Health Policy Debate Begins? Walker Releases His Plan
Some in Washington have been concerned about the lack of a vigorous public policy debate among the GOP presidential candidates. Conservatives were supposed to have learned their lesson after the policy-light 2012 campaign. 2016 was to be a policy feast.
A Short Video on Inequality
I participated in a short video on inequality, which you can watch below or by clicking here.
The video is part of a series of twenty short films about the economy produced by Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions and ...
I wonder if he would . . .
Trump, DC January, 2017 pic.twitter.com/BoBMOUfzwf
— Ivan the K ️™ ️ (@IvanTheK) August 10, 2015
AEI’s Stan Veuger diagnoses “at least two major problems” that European leaders must overcome: “distrust of Greece and its ‘leaders,’ and Greek voters’ resistance to fiscal conservatism and structural reform.” Dr. Veuger’s solution:
The central reason why it ...
My colleague Stan Veuger points me to this fascinating development.
Wow. http://t.co/EVSno885HP h/t @stanveuger pic.twitter.com/9MHyk1j12U
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) July 13, 2015
Accidentally replying all to a business e-mail can be one of the more horrifying experiences of modern workplace life. (And the excessive use of intentional reply-all is a scourge to be battled with great ferocity. Can we have manners, please?) ...
The torch, it appears, is being passed:
George Osborne is to cement his position to succeed David Cameron as Tory leader by standing in for him at Prime Minister’s Questions this week.
The Chancellor will appear at the Despatch ...
Colleges Should Share Student-Loan Default Risk
My pal Douglas Webber, an economist at Temple University, recently testified before the Senate HELP committee — along with AEI’s Andrew Kelly — on institutional risk-sharing. Dr. Webber is out this week with a more digestible op-ed in the Chronicle of ...
'Hunger Games-style Show to Find Britain's Hardest Grafter'
From the Independent:
The BBC will make the unemployed and low-paid workers compete against each other for a cash prize in a controversial Hunger Games-type show to find “Britain’s Hardest Grafter”.
Only the UK’s lowest-paid workers will be ...
Reflections on a Presidential Panel
President Obama, AEI president Arthur Brooks, and Harvard professor Robert Putnam participated in a panel discussion, moderated by E.J. Dionne, on overcoming poverty at a policy conference earlier this week. My latest column, out this morning, offers some thoughts ...
A Way To Navigate DUI Checkpoints? (If That's Your Thing)
Business Insider points to the video below. As I write, it has nearly three million views on Internet.
A South Florida lawyer, Warren Redlich, has come up with a way for drivers to handle police at drunken-driving checkpoints.
Three Reasons We Need the Oxford Comma
I will fight to support the Oxford comma until I draw my last breath. pic.twitter.com/Y0T6c3F4iI
— Alexander MacDonald (@alex_macdonald) April 30, 2015
In the battle between economy of space and elegance, precision, and cadence — look ...
The Government Isn't Subsidizing Walmart
The “living wage” movement has been back in the news, fueled in part by a new report from Berkeley arguing that American taxpayers subsidize low-wage employers (like Walmart and McDonald’s) because many low-wage workers qualify for government assistance. I ...
The American Enterprise Institute community was deeply saddened when Arthur Brooks’s email arrived on Monday morning. In it, we learned that our beloved and eminent colleague, John H. Makin, had passed away.
John was among the most talented people ...
Prince Charles's Letters to Be Released. Kingship Compromised?
From the Washington Post:
LONDON — Britain’s highest court cleared the way for 27 private letters written by Prince Charles to government ministers to be made public, the contents of which could prove deeply embarrassing for the royal family and prompt ...
Deciphering the fall and rise in the net capital share http://t.co/wVCRt93DtT #BPEA pic.twitter.com/N9srRhfhP8
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) March 20, 2015
I’ve spent part of the last two days at the spring 2015 Brookings Panel ...
The Federal Statistical System and Big Data
We had a great event at AEI yesterday on the federal statistical system in a Big Data world. Let me quote from the event description.
The production of social and economic statistics is among the most important and useful functions ...
Is There Life on Enceladus?
From the Washington Post:
Roughly the size of France, the Ross Ice Shelf is an inhospitable land, if you can even call it that. There, hanging from the edge of Antarctica, the ice sinks a half-mile thick. So thick, in ...
That’s overstating it. But in a forthcoming conference paper he certainly seeks to clarify the public conversation about his book. From section one, titled “What r > g Can and Cannot Explain”:
That said, the way in which I perceive ...
The Fed and Inequality Returns
Fed chair Janet Yellen’s speech on inequality is back in the news thanks to yesterday’s rough-and-tumble Congressional hearing. I wrote about this a bit back at the time.
Speaking in Boston last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen ...
'Chancellor Merkel,' Please. Not 'Angela'
My latest column discusses our culture of informality.
I was reminded of all this when I read a news account last week of a press conference featuring President Obama and the chancellor of Germany. My jaw hit the floor when ...
Another Unintended Consequence of Bike Lanes
Downtown Washington is littered with bike lanes. In my experience, they are nearly always devoid of people actually riding bicycles. I can only assume that the city put them in place to encourage bike riding over traveling by car. Build ...
No, the Unemployment Rate Doesn't Amount to a Big Lie
Chart: The employment rate. pic.twitter.com/Grf7R7Ezht
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) February 9, 2015
The chairman and CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton, published a commentary about a week ago arguing that the official unemployment rate “amounts to a Big ...
The Importance of Marginal Tax Rates
Reihan has already responded to the Wall Street Journal article overstating the distance between “reform conservatives” and other conservatives. The story quotes economists Glenn Hubbard and Greg Mankiw criticizing the reformers. Reihan says that he suspects “that if reform conservatives ...
Replace if Repeal: A Response to Some Critics
I published an essay last weekend on Obamacare that made the following points: The ACA is in danger, both from the Supreme Court and the possibility of a Republican in the White House in 2017; a common liberal argument in the ...
There were policies in the president’s State of the Union address that I liked: We should lead on Ebola and on pandemics, we should invest more (and more responsibly) in infrastructure, we should expand research, we should expand the ...
Perhaps the most important question about today’s economy is how far the unemployment rate can fall until we have to be worried about inflation.
Some thought that an unemployment rate below six percent would spark inflation — I didn’t ...
We learned this morning that payroll employment for the month of December increased by 252,000, with private payrolls increasing by 240,000. Figures for October and November were revised up, bringing the average number of net new jobs over the three months ending ...
The Economy in 2015: What's in Store?
Economist Justin Wolfers has a great column on the unknowns facing the economy in 2015 in today’s paper.
I wish I knew where the economy will be heading next year. If I did, I might become rich. But, alas, I ...
Should We Import Scandinavian Public Policy?
How can Scandinavians tax so much? London School of Economics professor Henrik Jacobsen Kleven takes up this question in the most recent issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. His is a fine paper. But of course it’s not ...
New Evidence on the Minimum Wage, and It Ain't Pretty
My AEI colleague Stan Veuger summarizes a new paper co-authored by my pal Jeffrey Clemens:
In 2007, Congress passed a series of minimum wage increases that president Bush signed into law. The last increase, raising the federal minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25, ...
The Cato Institute has gathered a collection of short policy papers from economists and analysts that answer the following question: “If you could wave a magic wand and make one or two policy or institutional changes to brighten the U....
Should Elmendorf Be Reappointed CBO Chief?
Gregory Mankiw thinks so. Dr. Mankiw was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, and is a widely respected economist. He acknowledges that “GOP leaders may be tempted to put their own stamp on the ...
The Supreme Court Considers State Taxation of Interstate Income. Will They Get it Wrong?
From my AEI colleague Alan D. Viard:
On November 12th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne, in which a Maryland couple, Brian and Karen Wynne, contend that their state’s income tax treatment of income ...
Some Thoughts on the Problem of Pain
My latest column is a reflection on an ancient question: How could an all-powerful, all-loving God allow so much suffering and physical evil to exist in the world?
“The situation is catastrophic. There are several villages and communities that have ...
Europe's Problems Roll On
From my AEI colleague Stan Veuger, in The National Interest:
This past Saturday the members of the new European Commission, the “cabinet” of the European Union’s executive branch, took office. Led by former Luxembourgish prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the ...
Behind the Scenes of a 20th Century Exorcism
From Universitas, Saint Louis University’s alumni magazine:
In January 1949, a 13-year-old Maryland boy — not the 12-year-old girl depicted in The Exorcist — started experiencing strange, troublesome episodes: scratching sounds coming from the walls and floor of his room, the sound ...
The Boss Can Write. But What Does He Read?
It has long been known by the wise that the characters Bruce Springsteen creates for his songs often have great depth and a staggering level of development. As just one example, recall that Sean Penn’s 1991 crime drama The Indian ...
If You Want to Be a Billionaire, Go to College
BBC News – Where do billionaires go to university? http://t.co/foyaLXCLod pic.twitter.com/ZmXFQ9KBYH
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) October 29, 2014
From the BBC:
According to a global census of dollar billionaires, almost two-thirds have a university degree. That ...
The Federal Reserve and Inequality
My latest, out this morning, is on the Federal Reserve and inequality. I argue that it is appropriate for the Fed chair to discuss inequality “as an impartial, dispassionate analyst,” but not to go outside of that role.
Because these ...
How To Help Low-Income Americans Find Work?
My AEI colleague James Pethokoukis offers two ideas, and quotes from one of my columns.
Those sky-high housing prices are the result of regulatory and zoning policies that discourage new building. Such restrictions on development should be loosened. But ...
The Fed Chair Shouldn't Sound Like a Liberal Politician
Read my latest column, criticizing Fed chair Janet Yellen’s speech on income inequality.
Speaking in Boston last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen announced that “the extent of and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern” ...
If ShadowStats Is Right, the GDP Is Low
My Dutch colleague Dr. Stan Veuger takes on ShadowStats in his latest op-ed:
ShadowStats publishes “alternate” measures of inflation and pretends to do so by employing the methods the statistics bureau used to employ, that is, by ignoring the fact ...
Goldman Sachs’s Kris Dawsey, on Ebola:
…public concern about Ebola—as reflected in Google searches—spiked around the time the WHO declared an Ebola emergency in August and again after the first case was reported in the US at ...
Piketty Hypothesis Falls Flat among Top Professors
The IGM Economic Experts Panel consists of top economics professors who are surveyed about major public-policy issues. The most recent survey, today’s, explores their views on Thomas Piketty’s theory of wealthy inequality. The survey is titled, appropriately, “Piketty ...
Bush Hits Back: ‘The Real Donald Trump’
A new video posted today on Governor Bush’s website hits back at Donald Trump.
Partial-birth abortion, higher taxes, single payer health care and praise for Hillary Clinton. These are just a few of the liberal things Donald Trump supports, ...
The Washington Post:
NAPLES, Italy — The faithful here are still talking about Pope Francis and the holy blood.
On an official trip to this ancient city in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius, Pope Francis entered the local cathedral to pray ...
Calling it like I see it. @realDonaldTrump is a tax-hiking democrat. https://t.co/mHPByLJagL
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 20, 2015
Federal Statistics Should Be Appropriately Funded
My latest column, out this morning, argues that “Congress should appropriate funds sufficient for BLS,” the government agency charged with collecting and constructing labor market data, “to expand its existing operations.”
Confusion about today’s labor market, anxiety about the ...
A Future of Currency Wars?
My AEI colleague Desmond Lachman offers some thoughts on China’s currency devaluation:
Yesterday’s surprise 2 percent Chinese currency devaluation is bound to raise charges in Congress that China is a serial currency manipulator. Never mind the context in which ...
Why Ten Candidates in the Debates?
AEI’s Stan Veuger asks whether the GOP presidential candidates who won’t be allowed into the early debates are being treated unfairly.
Their arguments and those of others who argue for more debaters are basically that poll numbers at ...
My latest column, published about an hour ago, discusses the path forward worked out by Greece and Europe. I argue that Greece should leave the euro zone, despite the massive uncertainty over what a Grexit would bring and the short-term ...
LA County Board Stalls Minimum Wage Vote
Well, this is interesting. From the Los Angeles Times:
The campaign to push Los Angeles County to significantly raise the minimum wage suffered an unexpected setback Tuesday, with a key county supervisor demanding a postponement to address complaints from small-business ...
Don't Fear the Rise of the Machines (Too Much)
My latest column, out today, is on the advent of autonomous technologies — e.g., driverless cars — and surrounding issues.
I live about three hours outside of downtown Washington, where I work. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, at 4 a.m., my ...
I borrowed that headline from a New York Times op-ed written by my AEI colleagues Kevin A. Hassett and Stan A. Veuger. From their op-ed:
Deflategate is a dispute about whether the New England Patriots used deliberately underinflated footballs in ...
Financial Security vs. 'the Fleeting Rush'
I don’t have the wealth to enjoy either, but in the very real battle between the two, friends, pick the former.
From today’s New York Times:
The couple are the face of the self-made millionaire who has the ...
Re: Unions and the $15 Minimum Wage
Kevin, you beat me to it.
Here are the first few paragraphs from the Los Angeles Times article:
Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City ...
Enough With the First Names, Mr. President
President Obama referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren by her first name. Senator Sherrod Brown found this disrespectful, suggesting that Senator Warren’s gender might have played a role: “. . . referring to her as first name, when he might not have done ...
Princess Charlotte Meets the Queen
From the BBC, yesterday:
The Queen has met her new great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte for the first time at Kensington Palace.
The princess, who is fourth in line to the throne, was born on Saturday at London’s St Mary’s ...
Pope Francis Accepts Bishop Finn's Resignation
In the New York Times:
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop who pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected child abuser, in the first known case of a pope taking action ...
Today's Jobs Report, in Twitters
Monthly job gains fell significantly in March, and were well below the expectations of most forecasters. The economy added only 126,000 net new jobs in March, and January and February’s job gains were revised downward by 69,000 jobs. The unemployment rate ...
A McJobs Recovery? (And Something McAwesome!)
Torsten Slok of Deutsche Bank Research sent around two fascinating charts this morning implying that the jobs created during the recovery from the Great Recession have been mostly high-wage, measured both by education (college grads vs. high-school dropouts) and by ...
Reform Taxes to Spend Less on the Rich
My latest column observes that tax reform is likely going to play a big role in the 2016 presidential election, and suggests a good direction in which to push the tax code: “We should spend less money on the people who ...
A Saint Patrick's Day Message from President Reagan
Matt K. Lewis recounts a great story:
It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so I thought it would be fun to share with you the story of President Reagan’s surprise visit to Pat Troy’s Irish pub in Alexandria, ...
Tories: ‘Warriors for the Dispossessed’
From the Telegraph:
The Conservatives will only win the election if they “remind” people they are “warriors for the dispossessed”, Michael Gove has said in a speech on equality.
The Chief Whip said the party must win over the electorate’...
What Does Middle Class Mean?
New report from @AEIPol: What Does Middle Class Mean? http://t.co/g1Dj4OXmXj pic.twitter.com/Chu18WdST7
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) March 11, 2015
My AEI colleague Karlyn Bowman has a fascinating report out today. From a post she ...
Mrs. Ponnuru Goes to Miami
There have been several reports in the press that April Ponnuru has signed up to work for Jeb Bush’s shop. The Ponnurus are friends of ours, but even in the unhappy event that that weren’t true I would ...
Publicly Shaming Delinquent Taxpayers
From my AEI colleague Stan Veuger’s latest op-ed.
Government, as the line attributed to former Rep. Barney Frank goes, is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together. This “choosing” the good congressman refers ...
Happy Birthday, Pale Blue Dot
Happy Birthday, ‘Pale Blue Dot!’ Famous Space Photo Turns 25 pic.twitter.com/QwOl4X5lH4
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) February 15, 2015
“One of history’s most iconic photos” turned 25 yesterday.
On Feb. 14, 1990, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft took a ...
I read every page of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. A friend and colleague wanted to write a review, so I read the book. Then he bailed. He owes me.
In any event, now I’m hooked. ...
Chart: Three-month moving average of payroll gains — a longer view. pic.twitter.com/CqjTON2QbH
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) February 7, 2015
It wasn’t that long ago when we were losing 800,000 jobs per month. For the last few months we’ve ...
From the Washington Post:
British lawmakers stepped into the complex crossroads of science and fertility Tuesday with debate on becoming the first country to allow so-called “three-parent” babies using genetic material from a mother, father and a female donor.
Yesterday I made the argument that the Fed may want to hold off on raising interest rates because every month we are getting more evidence that the unemployment rate below which inflationary pressures are sparked is lower than consensus estimates.
Cameron Backs Charlie Hebdo
From the Guardian:
David Cameron has backed the decision of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish a picture of the prophet Muhammad following a terror attack on its staff — even if it offends many Muslims.
The prime minister told ...
Do We Still Believe in the American Dream?
My AEI colleagues Karlyn Bowman and Heather Sims, along with my former colleague Jennifer Marsico, have been examining the attitudes of Americans on a very important question: Is the American Dream Alive?
Bowman and Sims, from a recent blog post:
The (Real) Bank of America
Chart: The credit boom. Source: http://t.co/n6qwXLHM9A pic.twitter.com/dp1WngvYjP
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) January 6, 2015
I borrowed the title of this post from a piece of investigative journalism written by Michael Grunwald and published ...
I wrote a reflection on Christmas and epistemology which NRO published last year (and The American published the year before that). Since these issues are timeless and we’re just days away from the main event, I thought to share ...
Less Debate in Economics Journals?
The Rise and Fall of Debate in Economics http://t.co/O5zITDysDa pic.twitter.com/UgM8iUh4fl
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) December 14, 2014
About the chart above:
Once upon a time, economists regularly used to publicly criticise each other’...
Brighter Economy = Legislative Action?
The New York Times raises the possibility this morning.
A strikingly improving labor market, coupled with broad economic growth and a falling federal budget deficit, is improving the prospects of bipartisan cooperation next year — if Republicans and Democrats can seize ...
The Economic Impact of the President's Immigration Action: Exaggerated?
AEI’s Stan Veuger:
The economic impact of the president’s executive actions, while probably positive overall, is unlikely to change these attitudes. It will be small and unevenly distributed, but the administration is portraying it differently, running the risk ...
A Hell, Not Fresh: Economic Output Relative to Expectations
Economic output has underperformed relative to pre-crisis expectations—dramatically. pic.twitter.com/keC2Ndi8Ti
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) November 23, 2014
This chart has three lines: One shows a (very reasonable) projection of the maximum amount of goods and services the ...
Ebola, Destroyer of Families
The New York Times ran a story about Ebola a few days ago. It begins by introducing you to Kaizer Dour, who died recently of the disease.
Ebola is a family disease, Liberians are reminded continually in Sunday sermons. The ...
More People Are Quitting Their Jobs! But There's Work Left To Do
The Bureau of Labor Statistics yesterday released data on — among other things — the number of job openings and the number of workers of voluntarily quit their jobs, both for September.
Two quick thoughts. It is apparent that the rate of ...
Conservatives Should Support Making Work Pay
Timothy P. Carney asks some questions and gives some answers in his latest Washington Examiner column.
Voters in Alaska, Arkansas and South Dakota all replaced their Democratic senators with Republicans on Tuesday. Those same voters raised the minimum wage in ...
Is McConaughey Awesome at Everything?
Add selling cars to his list of powers.
From the Washington Post:
They have spawned parodies from “Ellen” to “South Park” to “Saturday Night Live,” but Lincoln is laughing all the way to the bank thanks to its commercials starring ...
Fed Communication Complexity
FOMC Statements: Reading Grade Level and Length pic.twitter.com/SKp6sWJ8w2
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) October 31, 2014
From the St. Louis Fed:
Over the years, the Federal Reserve has developed numerous communication tools aimed at increasing transparency. One tool ...
#QEDone, But Stimulus Remains
With these words, issued yesterday, the Fed ended its controversial “quantitative easing” program:
The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market since the inception of its current asset purchase program. Moreover, ...
Greenspan Was Wrong, Too: More on the Fed And Inequality
I’ve been discussing the Fed and inequality quite a bit this week and last. Two responses have been repeatedly generated by my commentary — both online and in private correspondence — so I thought to respond to them here.
A few ...
Americans' Initial Christmas Spending Intentions Look Merry
I’m happy to admit that though it’s only October I’m already looking forward to Christmas. And the good folks at Gallup are asking about it as a way to better understand our economy’s recovery.
Chart: Americans’ ...
Socialist Party Pushing $20 Minimum Wage Defends $13-An-Hour Job Listing
I borrowed that headline from the Huffington Post:
The Freedom Socialist Party has right-wing bloggers seeing red over a job listing that paid less than the group advocates for a minimum wage.
Earlier this month, the nonprofit posted listings on ...
The Outcome of the Synod Drama? A Shoulder Shrug
From John Allen, at Crux:
ROME – Heading into the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the family, the granddaddy of all controversial issues was the idea of allowing Catholics who divorce and remarry outside the church to return to communion.
After two ...
The Kansas City Royals, Back at the World Series, 29 Years Later
After 29 Years, Royals Waste No Time http://t.co/Gonit6zGxT pic.twitter.com/vgiWwEq9FV
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) October 16, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For almost three decades, the gold crown above the scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium had mocked ...
Predicting the Nobel Peace Prize
My Dutch colleague Dr. Stan Veuger is often entertaining. Here, he discusses some likely candidates — by his estimation — for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
The most obvious candidate this year is the World Health Organization, for failing to prevent ...