Policy Seminar with Kevin Hassett

Friday, March 9, 2018
George Shultz Conference Room, Herbert Hoover Memorial Building

Kevin Hassett, Michael Boskin, John Cochrane, Tom Gilligan, Ed Lazear, Josh Rauh, George Shultz, John Taylor

Kevin Hassett, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, visited the Hoover Institution for a policy discussion on Friday March 9.

Hassett organized the discussion around the recently released Economic Report of the President, noting that this is a historic document, like Kennedy and Reagan’s first reports, that lays out a sharply novel and growth-oriented economic strategy. We discussed each element. We started with growth forecasts and methods, and the effects of tax cuts. The deregulation program sparked an interesting discussion. As the Report says, deregulation to the level of the Netherlands is estimated to raise growth 0.2% per year. That the United States is more regulated than much of Europe is a fact not commonly acknowledged in the policy process. We discussed labor market and social programs, such as for example the incentives in the Netherlands. We discussed infrastructure plans and health policy reforms, focusing on improving the functioning of and competition and innovation in health care markets. There was a big discussion of tariffs and trade strategy more generally. Hassett provided interesting insights into the policy process in Washington. He concluded with a discussion of looming and underappreciated cyber security issues. 

There was also a discussion of the February jobs report which was released that morning. Though unemployment is low, Lazear argued that the jobs report still points to “recovery,” as job gains are greater than population growth. Much of that is coming from reductions in the still high rate of people who are out of the labor force.

- John Cochrane

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