Donald Trump inherited a superficially stable world from Barack Obama that, in fact, was quite volatile. There had been no tense standoffs with North Korea, but also apparent intercontinental ballistic missiles with possible nuclear warheads now pointed at the United States. Obama more or less punted on North Korea, by declaring it a problem — and hoping that Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear testing did not get too out of hand before 2017.
State and local governments claim they desperately want more residential construction to increase housing affordability. But what politicians say and what they do are two very different things. This is the only explanation for why a San Franciscan recently spent over six years and paid $1.2 million in legal fees and application costs before finally obtaining approval to build an apartment building. I can think of no better example that showcases how badly-designed regulations and remarkably poor governance have created California’s housing crisis.
(New Media Days/Peter Erichsen) I have written a lot on how hard it is to distinguish WikiLeaks from the New York Times when it comes to procuring and publishing classified information. One implication of the comparison is that any successful prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would have adverse implications for mainstream U.S. news publications efforts to solicit, receive and publish classified information. The May 23 indictment of Assange makes clear that these concerns are real. As Susan Hennessey said, “[I]t will be very difficult to craft an Espionage Act case against him that won’t adversely impact true journalists.” I don’t think this is an accident. I think the government’s indictment has the U.S. news media squarely in its sights.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi was correct when she recently said that the best way to avoid a disputed election is for the result to be a blowout. But that is a hope, and we need a plan. If the midterm elections are any indication, the number of states with razor thin majorities is increasing. With partisan distrust on the rise, the result could be a constitutional standoff, a loss of democratic legitimacy for the outcome, and even violence stemming from anger.
The federal budget can be hard to comprehend. Billions of dollars are spent each day on thousands of different programs and agencies. Despite the complexities, skyrocketing deficits mean it is more important than ever to know how the trillions of federal dollars are spent each year.
This lovely picture is from Why are the prices so D*mn High? by Eric Helland and Alex Tabarrok. (It's covered in Marginal Revolution: The Initial post, Bloat does not explain the rising cost of education, and an upcoming summary on health care.)
Regular readers of this column will not have been surprised by the outbreak of the Second Cold War. Ever since President Trump imposed the first tariffs on Chinese imports last year, I have argued that the trade war between the United States and China would last longer than most people expected and that it would escalate into other forms of warfare.
Before the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the idea that the Russians or anyone else could warp or tamper with our elections in any serious manner was laughed off by President Obama. “There is no serious person out there who would suggest that you could even rig America’s elections,” Obama said in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.
Harvard University’s maladroit defenestration of Ronald Sullivan and his wife, Stephanie Robinson, struck a blow against liberal education. Many of Harvard’s own left-liberal luminaries are up in arms. But the university’s disgraceful act can come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention for the last few decades to higher education in general and to Harvard in particular.
Two takeaways from Sunday’s European Union elections: First, the centrists—the moderate right and left—were decimated. For the first time since 1979, Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, the reliably pro-European bloc, no longer hold the majority in the 751-member European Parliament. Second, the far right—the Europe bashers and nationalists—scored big, increasing their take to about 170 seats. In Britain, the Brexit Party trounced both Labour and the Tories. In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally outpolled President Emmanuel Macron’s party and its allies.
America doesn’t lack for superhero movies in the summer of 2019: an X-Men sequel will premiere a few days from now, followed in July by another Spiderman installment. But what of the Democrats’ search for a superhero of their own?
Harriet Tubman won an Internet vote in 2015 to decide which American woman should appear on the nation’s currency by 2020. As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump denounced the choice as “political correctness.” Now, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has canceled the plan’s implementation, at least until President Trump leaves office.
In a move with national implications, California lawmakers recently stopped Senate Bill 50, which would override local zoning laws to require much higher density in housing. There in the Sacramento wreckage is a microcosm of the political themes and policy playbooks of our time: crisis, emergency, climate change, NIMBY (not in my backyard), the demise of local government, the rise of tech companies at the expense of livable cities — you name it.
First came Donald Trump’s stunning victory in 2016, after a campaign in which he rejected the “scientific consensus” on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), and proved true to his rhetoric by withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords. Then a few years later, France was rocked by the “yellow vests” movement that started with protests against a tax on fuel that President Emmanuel Macron, in true globalist technocratic fashion, proposed as a way to “nudge” the masses into using less of the carbon-based energy allegedly heating the planet.
Journalist and author David Epstein talks about his book Range with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Epstein explores the costs of specialization and the value of breadth in helping to create mastery in our careers and in life. What are the best backgrounds for solving problems?
Families in Milwaukee gained access to the nation's first private school vouchers nearly three decades ago. Today the educational landscape in Milwaukee also includes charter schools and many other forms of public school choice. But standardized test scores are still low and the achievement gap between black and white students remains large.
How important is human capital at the top of the U.S. income distribution? Using tax data linking 11 million firms to their owners, this paper finds that entrepreneurs are key for understanding top income inequality. Most top income is non-wage income, a primary source of which is private “pass-through” business profit. These profits—which can include labor income disguised for tax reasons—accrue to working-age owners of closely-held, mid-market firms in skill-intensive industries.
One of the best economic journalists in the United States is Megan McArdle of the Washington Post. That makes her error in a recent WaPo article all the more striking. Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek has pointed out the error. But I want to do my own analysis because it’s a more general error that I see people make and the first time I saw a friend make was when I was 20 and really starting to “get” economics.
Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis discusses President Trump's visit to Japan where President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talked about North Korea. President Trump said he isn't bothered by North Korea's latest missile tests.
With the 2020 elections coming up and campaigns underway, the idea of democratic socialists and socialism has become a major topic of conversation. The Hill states, “A majority of Americans say socialism is incompatible with American values, and only 10 percent of voters in a new poll have a positive view of socialism.”
Measuring achievement gaps between rich and poor might seem like a straightforward exercise for education experts. Simply look up the test scores for rich kids and subtract the tests scores for poor kids. But despite this apparent simplicity, two prominent education researchers have arrived at different answers. Sean Reardon says that achievement gaps have grown a whopping 40 percent in the last 50 years. Eric Hanushek says they haven’t budged.
John B. Shoven has been a dean, a director and a chair. He’s been a consultant, an adviser and a mentor. And now, at 72, the Stanford economist well known for urging Americans to postpone collecting Social Security benefits for as long as possible is taking on a new title: professor, emeritus.
Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan has flagged key issues that the new government needs to tackle immediately. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Council of Ministers will take oath on May 30.
If and when journalists read the best analysis to date of the second part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, they’ll be in for a shock. Part one of the report, though heavily redacted, has a simple conclusion that continues to reverberate through American politics: There was no conspiracy between President Trump, any member of his family or campaign staff, indeed between the Russian government and any American.
“The global trend is sour.” So says Larry Diamond, senior fellow at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution. That’s putting it mildly. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Diamond writes, “Democracy faces a global crisis. We have seen 12 consecutive years of erosion in global levels of political rights and civil liberties, with many more countries declining than gaining each year, according to the nonprofit group Freedom House."
During Tulane University’s recent commencement ceremony, Apple CEO Tim Cook confessed to the graduating class that “in some important ways, my generation has failed you.” He’s right, but for all the wrong reasons. Cook told the students he regrets that his generation “spent too much time debating” – a strange lament in a democratic republic. How does Cook wish his generation had behaved?
Facebook has said it won’t remove a doctored video that makes Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi appear incoherent. One upload of the clip has been viewed more than 2.5 million times - and remains visible.
Six years ago, British intelligence officers walked into the offices of The Guardian newspaper in London and demanded its staff destroy computers they believed stored highly classified documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
[Subscription Required] Narendra Modi’s triumphant re-election as India’s prime minister may not have been a shock—ever since Indian forces retaliated in February against Pakistan-based attacks in Kashmir, the contest had been moving in his direction—but it does represent an important tipping point in Indian history, and therefore in world history.