The United States is trying to square a circle, remaining strong and deterring dangerous elements, but to do so for U.S. interests—interests that increasingly seem to be fewer and fewer in the Middle East.
The U.S. drone strike in Iraq against the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, raises once again the question of legal constraints—under domestic and international law—on the president’s power to use force unilaterally. I have written a legal opinion in government and many, many pieces out of government on this issue, and over the years I have grown very cynical about the supposed legal constraints on those war powers.
One hopes that Iranian leaders' domestic woes and deep desire for self-preservation will lead them to embrace symbolic acts of retaliation in response to the recent assassination of the security and intelligence chief Qassem Suleimani. And one hopes that the US, too, will act prudently in responding to Iran’s next move.
Tyler Cowen responded with an interesting post to my query, "I don’t see just why nuclear power needs “state support,” rather than a clear workable set of safety regulations that are not excuses for anyone to stop any project."
For all the current furor over the death of Qasem Soleimani, it is Iran, not the U.S. and the Trump administration, that is in a dilemma. Given the death and destruction wrought by Soleimani, and his agendas to come, he will not be missed.
At the start of a new year and a new decade, it is both humbling and illuminating to reflect on major global developments that no one saw coming just a few decades ago. For those who grew up during the Cold War or in the ensuing period of American primacy, the economic and geopolitical rise of the developing world must rank high on the list.
Impeachment is shaping up as unpredictably explosive, but not in the way imagined. There are lots of things that we do know about the present impeachment of Donald Trump — and we know that there are even more areas that remain unknown.
Libertarianism consists of many different ideas, and is clearly in need of some adjectives. Tyler Cowen, in an interesting new-Year's reflection, offers "State-Capacity Libertarianism." The guts of it is, I think, that the State must exist, and do competently and effectively its crucial tasks.
Last November I had the pleasure of discussing "Top Wealth in the United States: New Estimates and Implications for Taxing the Rich" a very nice paper by Matthew Smith, Owen Zidar and Eric Zwick at the NBER asset pricing meetings, presented by Eric. The paper prompts a series of blog posts on wealth distribution and wealth taxes. I'll try to stick to points that haven't been made a hundred times already.
(This post follows part I and part II) So, why do we care about the distribution of wealth? -- Especially, as we learned in part I that wealth is poorly defined and poorly measured, and we learned in part II that much of the distribution of "wealth" reflects higher market prices for the same assets, which do not increase their owner's ability to consume over a lifetime? Why so much anger, even from commenters on this blog?
You’d think that the last presidential election would have been a dagger to the heart of the prediction business, but guess again: the new year is about to kick off with all sorts of wild stabs as to what will happen during the dawn of a new decade.
Ten years is a long time to wait for anything, but the release of Vietnam’s latest defense white paper on Nov. 25 — the first since 2009 and fourth since Hanoi began issuing white papers in 1998 — was certainly worthwhile.
Russia recently announced that it will spend $500 million to fix and update the commercial port of Tartus in Syria. In 2017 Moscow had renewed its lease over the port, signing an agreement with Damascus in a clear show of support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But Russian (and before 1991, Soviet) naval presence there dates back to the early 1970s.
Computer Scientist and author Melanie Mitchell of Portland State University and the Santa Fe Institute talks about her book Artificial Intelligence with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Mitchell explains where we are today in the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and where we might be going. Despite the hype and excitement surrounding AI, Mitchell argues that much of what is called "learning" and "intelligence" when done by machines is not analogous to human capabilities.
Richard Burkhauser, Professor Emeritus of Policy Analysis at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss the poverty rate in the United States, looking at a full-income poverty measure, and raising the question of whether President Lyndon Johnson’s original War on Poverty has been a success.
Somehow I missed Indiana University sociology professor Fabio Rojas’s April article titled “Conservative Arguments in Support of Undocumented College Students,” published by the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. It appeared on April 19. I won’t comment on whether his arguments are conservative; I don’t care. The problem is that they’re not good arguments.
by Patrick J. Kehoe, Pierlauro Lopez, Virgiliu Midrigan, Elena Pastorinovia The National Bureau Of Economic Research
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Recent critiques have demonstrated that existing attempts to account for the unemployment volatility puzzle of search models are inconsistent with the procylicality of the opportunity cost of employment, the cyclicality of wages, and the volatility of risk-free rates.
Back in September, I attended a round table where the guest was a major economic advisor to Donald Trump and the participants were economists and other public policy people. I can’t be more specific because of the Chatham House Rule. Under that rule, I’m free to report what I said and people’s reactions as long as I don’t name them.
Hoover Institution fellow Jonathan Rodden talks about about the Left’s geography problem, the role of gerrymandering and voter suppression, and the prospects for reshaping political parties and electoral institutions.
Hoover Institution fellow Kiron Skinner weighs in on U.S. allies support in the ongoing conflict with Iran, and notes that the Trump administration has a lot of diplomatic work to do in the fast-paced crisis
There is also “significant distress in rural areas,” Rajan wrote in an opinion piece in India Today magazine. He said India is in a growth recession, defined as an economy growing at a slow pace and where unemployment is rising.
A human rights activist and outspoken critic of Islam will speak this month at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a best-selling author, fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, founded a nonprofit to advocate for women and girls’ rights and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2005.
It is common to hear that workers’ productivity no longer determines their wages. “Workers are delivering more, and they’re getting a lot less,” former vice president Biden recently argued. Income inequality supposedly demonstrates that the economy’s rewards are flowing, undeservedly, to those at the top.
In case you’re wondering, “The president has broad self-defense powers,” tweeted former DoD lawyer Jack Goldsmith, and so “legal arguments are a distraction from what is going on here, since law has very little if anything to do with it.”
In Louisiana, where rates of illiteracy exceed the national average, we have much work to do in expanding the state’s community of readers. That involves a number of challenges, including an assumption that reading books is merely a pastime — and something that real men aren’t supposed to embrace.
Imagine being a weary commuter on your way home from a long day of toil. You descend into the subway and wait for a train. One arrives, you slowly board and ease yourself down into a seat, finally able to rest for a moment.
With Assembly Bill 5, lawmakers not only came up with a solution for which there is no problem, they created hardships where there were none before. The bill was peddled as means to establish fairness for California freelance and independent contractors. No longer will they be “exploited” by businesses.
The bushfires up and down the eastern coast of Australia are a national tragedy. They have claimed many lives, destroyed hundreds of houses and devastated thousands of hectares of bushland. Everyone agrees that we are overwhelmingly indebted to the fire-fighters who have been tirelessly waging war against nature: they have done a tremendous job in the face of a seemingly insurmountable task.
Would you date or marry someone who didn’t share your political beliefs? A decade ago, experts say more people were OK wading into romantic waters outside of their political party. But with the increasing polarization of politics at the national level, now, not so much.
"When I first visited Hong Kong in 2013,” recalls Mark Milke at The Post Millennial, “almost every politician, civil servant and business leader I met emphasized three priorities”: capitalism, rule of law and anti-corruption.
The U.S. killing of Iran’s top general in a drone strike has many in the Bay Area’s Iranian American community on edge about retaliatory attacks that could spiral into war, endangering family and friends in the Middle East or even in America.
When Bill Buckley founded National Review, the original Conservatism Inc., he created not just a new publication but an entire movement that has been, and is still very much today, a force for good. Bill always intended NR to be a cause bigger than himself, much more than a mere fortnightly.
The best writers crave a fresh angle on old stories. Dutch historian Frank Dikotter’s fresh angle on 20th century dictators is how tediously alike they all were in creating and cultivating a cult of personality, if such a thing can exist for mass killers. As for U.S. President Donald Trump veering their way with his own cult, you be the judge.
What can the world expect from China in this new decade? Besides US-China tension, slower Chinese economic growth, vertical integration and the tilt towards Chinese domestic consumption are all likely to have an effect on the rest of the world.