Perspectives on 2019

Friday, December 20, 2019
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

In 2019, the United States faced many confounding policy issues, both  at home and abroad: trade, immigration, health care reform including Medicare for All, socialism, China, the Middle East, Russia, North Korea, and impeachment. Throughout it all in publications across the country, Hoover fellows offered thoughtful insights, ideas, and policy recommendations all grounded in serious scholarship. Here is a selection of their work in reverse chronological order.

Op-eds

ECONOMIC GROWTH IS THE ANSWER
by Michael J. Boskin via Project Syndicate, December 12, 2019
While rising inequality – a problem that the data suggest is real but overstated – has moved to the center of public debate, the key issue is that living standards are not improving fast enough among those who are falling behind. It is this fact that is fueling much of the political tension across advanced economies today.

THE ENEMY WITHIN
by General Jim Mattis via The Atlantic, December 1, 2019
Our grasp on what it takes to sustain a democracy is slipping.

PG&E REFUSES TO GET BURNED
by Edward Paul Lazear via The Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2019
Under the utility’s incentive structure, blackouts make sense.

THE DACA DILEMMA
by Richard A. Epstein via Defining Ideas, November 28, 2019
Congress should fix what the courts and president cannot. 

UNCONSTITUTIONAL MEDICARE-FOR-ALL
by Richard A. Epstein via Defining Ideas, November 11, 2019
Elizabeth Warren's plan needs a robust take-down.

THE NEW COLD WAR? IT’S WITH CHINA, AND IT HAS ALREADY BEGUN
by Niall Fergson via The New York Times, November 2, 2019
When did Cold War II begin? Future historians will say it was in 2019.

THE FED NEEDS TRUST, NOT TACTICS
by Kevin Warsh via The Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2019
Interest-rate cuts won’t hold off the next downturn. The central bank must assure markets with a plan.

MEMBERS OF PREVIOUS GENERATIONS NOW SEEM LIKE GIANTS — WHEN DID WE BECOME SO SMALL?
by Victor Davis Hanson via Fox News, October 10, 2019
Many of the stories about the gods and heroes of Greek mythology were compiled during Greek Dark Ages. Impoverished tribes passed down oral traditions that originated after the fall of the lost palatial civilizations of the Mycenaean Greeks.

THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA WAS BORN IN CHAINS
by Frank Dikotter via Foreign Policy, October 1, 2019
The Communist Party calls 1949 a liberation. But China was far freer beforehand.

CHINA’S NEO-MAOIST MOMENT
by Elizabeth Economy via Foreign Affairs, October 1, 2019
How Xi Jinping Is Using China’s Past to Accomplish What His Predecessors Could Not

WHAT I LEARNED FROM LISTENING TO AMERICANS DELIBERATE
by Larry Diamond via The American Interest, September 27, 2019
Turns out most Americans want the same thing: to be heard and understood.

WARREN’S PROFLIGATE SOP TO SENIORS
by John F. Cogan via The Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2019
She promises to lift Social Security beneficiaries out of poverty—at a price tag of $70,000 apiece.

FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIST: THE CASE FOR THE TRUMP ECONOMY
by Kevin Hassett via CNN Business, August 27, 2019
Before President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, the US economy was inching along with 1.5% growth. Many economists were so convinced the stagnation was here to stay that they called it the "new normal." After the president took office and began pursuing his agenda's three pillars of deregulation, tax cuts and trade reform, the "new normal" crowd said it couldn't work.

THE DANGER OF CLIMATE DOOMSAYERS
by Bjorn Lomborg via Project Syndicate, August 19, 2019
We need to solve climate change, but we also need to make sure that the cure isn’t more painful than the disease. Abandoning fossil fuels as quickly as possible, as many environmental activists demand, would slow the growth that has lifted billions of people out of poverty.

TO WIN ON IRAN, TRUMP SHOULD TAKE A PAGE FROM REAGAN'S DIPLOMATIC PLAYBOOK
by Abbas Milani via The Hill, July 19, 2019
A perilous impasse exists between the Trump administration’s strident policy of “maximum pressure” and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s no less strident policy of “no negotiation” with the United States. One way out of this fraught situation is a policy that appears to be a lose-lose for both sides but, in reality, is a win-win for all sides.

PUBLIC OPTION KILLS PRIVATE INSURANCE
by Scott W. Atlas via The Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2019
If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, Biden assures voters. Where have we heard that before?

DECADES OF BEING WRONG ABOUT CHINA SHOULD TEACH US SOMETHING
by Amy Zegart via The Atlantic, June 8, 2019 American analysts keep trying to fit the country into familiar patterns–ignoring the many ways in which it’s an exception.

THE URBAN-RURAL DIVIDE
by Jonathan Rodden via Stanford Magazine, May 11, 2019
Part 8 of 9: How political competition in the United States came to be organized as a battle…

MIND THE PRODUCTIVITY GAP TO REDUCE INEQUALITY
by Edward Paul Lazear, via The Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2019
It isn’t only an American problem, but the U.S. has lessons to learn from other wealthy countries.

WHOM THE DEMOCRATS NOMINATE IN 2020 MATTERS -- A LOT
by David Brady, Morris P. Fiorina, Douglas Rivers via Real Clear Politics, May 2, 2019
Conventional wisdom about presidential campaign strategy changed around the turn of the current century. Traditionally, candidates were advised to move to the center in the general election campaign after catering to the party bases in the primaries. Not anymore. George W. Bush’s two presidential campaigns exemplify the shift.

THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WAR IS STILL WITH US
by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Sam Nunn via The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2019
The U.S. must re-engage with Russia to ensure the ultimate weapon doesn’t spread and is never used.

THE DEBT CRISIS IS COMING SOON
by Martin Feldstein via The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2019
To avoid economic distress, the government has to reduce future entitlement spending.

HOW TO REDUCE PRESCRIPTION-DRUG PRICES: FIRST, DO NO HARM
by Scott W. Atlas via The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2019
Top-down controls restrict access. Instead, encourage patients to shop around among pharmacies.

HOW TO IMPROVE CALIFORNIA’S EDUCATION, HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
by Lee Ohanian and John B. Taylor via San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2019
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget comes when California is the most challenging state in the country for low- and middle-income households: California has the highest poverty rate of any of the 50 states. California also ranks 49th in both housing affordability and cost of living. It ranks 50th in homelessness, 40th in the overall tax burden and 42nd in how well it is educating its kindergarten through high school-age young people.

HOW SWEDEN OVERCAME SOCIALISM
by Jesus Fernández-Villaverde and Lee Ohanian via The Wall Street Journal, January 09, 2019
It’s a model for the U.S., but the lesson isn’t what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks it is.