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“A brilliant book. And among the most important I've ever read."

― J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy

“No one has better articulated the conservative argument for why work matters . . ."

― Mitt Romney

“The essential policy book for our time . . . A must-read.”

― Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs

“. . . an unflinching indictment of the mistakes that Washington has made for a generation . . .”

― Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

“. . . welcome common ground for policy debates across partisan and ideological lines . . .”

― William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Publication: Format: Topic:
Political Economics and the New Labor Market

There's a real problem with the argument that people don't understand how good things are. If the economic data are saying that things are wonderful and people in the country are saying things are not, we need to ask what the economic data is missing.

tags: 2016 Election, Basic Income, Education, Labor Market, Safety Net, Technology, Trade, Unemployment

One-Dimensional Chess

On trade, President Trump is playing one-dimensional chess. Credit where due: At least Trump, unlike his predecessors, recognizes that a game is on and that America has opponents whose moves must be countered. But sliding a jumble of pieces forward and backward into collisions and retreats is no way to make progress.

tags: Trade

Is Technology Destroying the Labor Market?

If automation were rendering workers obsolete, we would see evidence in rising productivity, major capital investments, and a shift in the ratio of production workers to managerial workers. None of these things has occurred. If technology could render workers obsolete, the radical advancements of past generations should have done it. They did not. If this time is different, we should find evidence that a large share of current workers are uniquely vulnerable to the particular set of technologies on the horizon. We do not.

tags: Labor Market, Technology, Trade

Fight the Dragon (Response)

My goal was to explain the flaws in that view, so it is disappointing that the response is simply to have it shouted back louder. At times I thought I was reading a defense of NAFTA. To understand just how narrow and incomplete their response is, it might be helpful to break the debate down into three discrete questions: First, what policies is China pursuing? Second, what is the impact of these policies on the United States? Third, to the extent that the impact is negative, what should the United States do?

tags: Trade

Fight the Dragon

The United States need not allow itself to be taken advantage of forever, or assume that China and its followers are irrevocably committed to their course. To the contrary, America and her allies have the opportunity to make clear that they will no longer play on these terms, that they would rather take their ball and go home than continue to compete on a tilted playing field, and that it is the cheaters who must decide whether they will finally comply with the rules or be ejected from the game. Forcing such a decision is not 'starting a trade war' any more than committing to the defense of one's borders constitutes an invasion. Indeed, far from being protectionist, threatening nations like China with severe trade sanctions is critical to ensuring a prosperous future for the global economy.

tags: Trade

Some Multimedia

CSPAN Washington Journal, 8/1/18
On the future of work

Wall Street Journal, 3/17/18
On universal basic income

Evidence Squared (1 and 2), June 2017
On climate communication

WNYC w/ Brian Lehrer, 3/9/17
On replacing Obamacare

Harvard Kennedy School, 2/22/17
On the future of conservatism

Matter of Fact, 1/22/17
On the Trump administration

WNYC w/ Brian Lehrer, 10/28/16
On the 2016 election (second hour)

National Review Institute, 10/17/16
On the wisdom of free trade

Senate Energy Comm, 4/26/16
On oil & gas development

CSPAN Washington Journal, 11/29/15
On the Paris climate negotiations

NPR On Point, 8/4/15
On the Clean Power Plan (second half)