Perspectives on 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In 2015 America faced a broad array of issues at home and abroad. Perennials such as the listless economic recovery, healthcare reform, turmoil in the Middle East, ISIS, and the presidential race remained in the forefront, to be joined by the crisis in Syria, refugees, and immigration. Throughout it all, in publications across the country, Hoover fellows offered their unique brand of thoughtful and scholarly insight and ideas. A selection of those pieces follows.

 

A RECOVERY WAITING TO BE LIBERATED
by John B. Taylor via The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2015

Hope flickered last year when the economy grew at more than a 4% clip in the second and third quarters. But then came last week’s news that fourth-quarter growth slowed to 2.2%, a gloomy revelation that the rebound was temporary. Economic growth for 2014 clocked in at about 2.3%—the same disappointing pace since the recession officially ended in 2009. What is the problem?
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THE MEANING OF THEIR SERVICE
by James Mattis via The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2015

Our country gives hope to millions around the world, and you—who knew that at one time your job was to fight well—kept that hope alive. By your service you made clear your choice about what kind of world we want for our children: The world of violent jihadist terrorists, or one defined by Abraham Lincoln when he advised us to listen to our better angels?
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ARE THE GOOD TIMES OVER?
by Michael Boskin via Project-Syndicate, April 27, 2015

In the 25 years before the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the United States experienced two brief, mild recessions and two strong, long expansions. Globally, incomes grew briskly; inflation abated; and stock markets boomed. Moreover, the recovery from the last major slump, in the early 1980s, brought about a quarter-century of unprecedentedly strong and stable macroeconomic performance. This time, however, the return to growth has been much more difficult.
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TWO ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR REPAIRING THE OBAMACARE DAMAGE
by Scott Atlas and John Cogan via The Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2015

With the end of the Obama administration on the horizon, Republican presidential candidates—and members of Congress—are proposing ways to replace or repair the Affordable Care Act. Undoing the damage of ObamaCare may finally become a realistic possibility.
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THE FED NEEDN'T RUSH TO NORMALIZE
by John Cochrane via The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2015

Federal Reserve officials will decide Thursday whether to raise interest rates ever so slightly or stand pat, with pundits opining loudly in both directions.
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HOW AMERICA CAN COUNTER PUTIN'S MOVES IN SYRIA
by Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates via The Washington Post, October 8, 2015

One can hear the disbelief in capitals from Washington to London to Berlin to Ankara and beyond. How can Vladimir Putin, with a sinking economy and a second-rate military, continually dictate the course of geopolitical events? Whether it’s in Ukraine or Syria, the Russian president seems always to have the upper hand.
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THE OBAMA DECLARATION
by Charles Hill via the Caravan, October 20, 2015

The U.S. has been conducting a sophisticated effort to withdraw America from responsibility for the maintenance of international security in the belief that threat-free diplomacy works better than involving a potential use of force. If we extend a hand of friendship to our adversaries, they will respond the same way; we have been the source of the problem; if we change our ways, they will change theirs.
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THE MYTH OF PUTIN'S STRATEGIC GENIUS
by Michael McFaul via The New York Times, October 23, 2015

The Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, continues to surprise. Russia’s military intervention in Syria, followed by a face-to-face meeting in Moscow this week with that country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has startled the world.
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THE FED HAS HURT BUSINESS INVESTMENT
by Michael Spence and Kevin Warsh via The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2015

On his recent book tour, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that low long-term interest rates are not the Fed’s doing. Low rates result from a shortage of good capital projects. If there were good investment projects, he explained, capital would flow and interest rates would rise. Mr. Bernanke insists that the absence of compelling investment opportunities in the real economy justifies continued, highly accommodative monetary policy.
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THIS IS THE REAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
by Ed Lazear via The Washington Post, November 6, 2015

The government announced Friday that October's unemployment rate stood at 5 percent, lower than it has been for two-thirds of the time since 2000. Many economists view rates around this level as full employment.
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THE HEALTH OF OBAMACARE
by Daniel P. Kessler via The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2015

The best scholarly analyses of the Affordable Care Act suggest that it’s neither the triumph trumpeted by its proponents nor the disaster suggested by its critics.
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