On this week’s episode of Banter, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Richard Reeves discusses his book “Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It.” The book argues that the top 20 percent of income earners in America are increasingly passing their status to their children, reducing overall social mobility for the bottom 80 percent. “Dream Hoarders” received considerable attention upon its release in 2017. Check out the links below for more information including a review of the book by AEI Director of Economic Policy Studies Michael Strain.

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Trump’s National Security Excuse for Trade Protectionism Is Almost as Bad as the Economic One

 

National security is the justification President Trump will employ if he takes action against aluminum and steel imports. As the president said last week, “I want to keep prices down but I also want to make sure that we have a steel industry and an aluminium industry and we do need that for national defense. If we ever have a conflict we don’t want to be buying steel [from] a country we are fighting.”

Really? Just what sort of military scenarios is the Pentagon feeding the White House? The top two suppliers of steel imports to the US are Canada and Brazil. Russia and China, on the other hand, are fifth and eleventh with 9% and 2% of imports, respectively. Indeed, as trade expert Phil Levy points out, the US currently has defense treaties with five of the 12 countries picked for potentially higher tariffs. Levy adds that the report itself notes that Defense Department steel needs require a measly 3% of US steel production.

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Now It’s Esquire’s Turn to Make the Case for Busting Up Big Tech. It’s Not Strong

 

The March issue of Esquire gives Scott Galloway, an NYU marketing professor, nearly 7,000 words to make his case for dismantling Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Galloway scare-quotes them as “the Four,” while the headline writer refers to them as “Silicon Valley’s Tax-Avoiding, Job-Killing, Soul-Sucking Machine.” (As a long-winded sobriquet, the latter really doesn’t have the oomph or stickiness as when Matt Taibbi famously referred to Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” But a solid effort, I guess.)

So what is Galloway’s argument? Patient readers must plow through nearly half the essay — though many lovely charts will aid the journey — to find out. Before getting to his casus belli against the SVTAJKSSM, Galloway first runs through a series of “valid concerns” to whet the appetite for antitrust destruction: The Four are really, really big. The Four are addictive. “Google is our modern day god.” The Four don’t pay enough taxes. The Four are destroying massive numbers of jobs. Government has surrendered before the Four like the POTUS before Zod in “Superman.”

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Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for February 16, 2018, it’s number 162, the Liz Warren 2020! edition of the show with your humble hosts, Todd Feinburg, radio guy and Mike Stopa nanophysicist. This week, in anticipation of her nomination, election and coronation in 2020, is our all Liz week! What’s the point of swimming upstream? Socialism is nigh. We didn’t build it! Who doesn’t need a shrill school marm to keep us all in line? Who doesn’t yearn for that Patron Saint of people who can’t read the fine print on their credit card application?

We will reveal some things you never knew about Granny Warren and discuss some things you know only too well.

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What’s Been the Economic Impact of Trump’s Deregulation Push?

 

“Pro-growth” economic policy is about more than just tax reform. Smart deregulation also has the potential to boost growth. Indeed, the Trump administration is counting on deregulation as a key lever for turning a 2% economy into a 3% (or higher) economy. In a report last October, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers declared that “deregulation will stimulate US GDP growth” and favorably cites research finding that “excessive regulation” suppressed US growth by an average of 0.8% per year since 1980.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are leery in general that any infrastructure bill can avoid becoming a huge waste of money but they are glad to see President Trump asking states to play a major role in funding the plan. They also unload on the mainstream media for writing glowing reviews of Kim Jong-Un’s sister and how she is supposedly executing a diplomatic masterpiece at the Olympics. And they rip the press for falling for the supposedly charming North Korean cheer squad, when they’re really slaves of a regime that will punish them and their families if they make any mistakes. And they roll their eyes at CNN for reporting that Sen. Bob Corker is thinking about reconsidering his retirement, even as Corker’s office says there is nothing to the story.

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Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer the family leave plan pushed by Sen. Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump to allow parents to tap their future Social Security checks to cover the weeks surrounding the birth of a new baby in exchange for waiting extra weeks when they reach retirement. In addition, Alexandra rebuts the liberal insistence that family leave must be a whole new entitlement. They also slam Republicans for effectively surrendering the option to use budget reconciliation for the next two years as part of the horrific budget deal with Democrats. And they fire back at Republican lawmakers who spent Thursday trashing Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster as a waste of time, when those GOP members are really just mad that Sen. Paul called them out for their blatant hypocrisy on deficit spending and not wanting to take a vote on restoring budget caps.

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David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America pause to cheer the Falcon Heavy rocket launch by Space X this week and David hopes it sparks more aspirational innovation that our nation so sorely needs. They also grimace as Republican majorities are preparing to jack up spending significantly over the next couple of years, even though some positive elements are included in the budget bill. And they sigh as Nancy Pelosi uses part of her marathon floor speech on immigration policy to say her young grandson blew out his birthday candles and wished he could look like his friend from Guatemala.

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On this week’s episode of Banter, AEI research fellow in poverty studies Angela Rachidi discusses the child tax credit and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ recent move to consider state requests for work-related Medicaid requirements. As an expert in support programs for low-income families, her work at AEI focuses on poverty and the effects of federal safety net programs. Before joining AEI, Rachidi served as deputy commissioner in New York City’s Department of Social Services. She writes frequently for the New York Post, The Hill, InsideSources, and RealClearMarkets.com.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America relish enjoy watching the credibility of the Steele dossier implode even further now that disreputable Clinton fixer Sid Blumenthal is being implicated for feeding information to Steele. They also shake their heads as President Trump says he would love a government shutdown unless he gets his way on border security just weeks after Republicans successfully convinced Americans that funding the government should not be contingent upon passing an immigration bill. And they have no problem honoring the U.S. military with a parade as President Trump wants to do, but Jim says there are more pressing national security concerns, including long-term funding and pay raises.

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Amity Shlaes joins Seth Barron to discuss the competing goals of economic growth and income equality, and to take a look at how American presidents in the twentieth century have approached these issues.

Polls show that support for income redistribution is growing among younger generations of Americans, but such policies have a poor track record of achieving their goals. As Shlaes writes in her feature story in the Winter 2018 Issue of City Journal: “Prioritizing equality over markets and growth hurts markets and growth and, most important, the low earners for whom social-justice advocates claim to fight.”

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Happy Reagan’s Birthday everyone! Today, Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Vice President Mike Pence for bringing Otto Warmbier’s father as his guest to the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea and keeping the focus on North Korean repression in the midst of the communist regime’s charm offensive during in the games. They’re also exasperated as President Trump gives his political opponents and the media new fodder for criticism as Trump flippantly suggests Democrats were treasonous for not applauding good news during his State of the Union address last week. And they’re deeply frustrated as an illegal immigrant previously deported for drunk driving is now charged with the death of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver – once again while drunk and in the U.S. illegally. They also slam the media for biased coverage of the immigration debate, dismissing stories like this and focusing almost exclusively on the success stories of young people in the nation illegally.

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The Healing US Job Market and How We All Forgot About the Great Recession

 

The January jobs report suggests the nearly nine-year-old economic expansion remains plenty capable of generating solid job growth: 200,000 last month and an average of 192,000 over the past three months. More interesting, it provided fresh evidence that a tightening labor market is also capable of accelerating wage growth. The 0.3% monthly rise in average hourly earnings, following an upwardly-revised 0.4% in December, pushed the 12-month rate up to 2.9%, the highest reading in nearly eight years.

All good enough for Capitol Economics to declare, “the acceleration in average hourly earnings isn’t an outlier.” And JPMorgan thinks it “now looks like the tightness in labor markets is showing through to a gradual acceleration in wage growth.” Indeed, it seems the Wall Street consensus is that before long, we’ll start seeing month-after-month of 3-handle jobless rates. And hopefully even stronger wage growth.

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This Is What Needs to Happen for Much Faster US Economic Growth

 

If Republicans have the story correct, the Trump tax cuts will boost economic growth by boosting work, savings, and investment. And when it comes to the corporate tax cuts in particular, the mechanism for growth — the expansion of the capital stock and the resulting increases in productivity and wages — is likely to play out over a number of years, as my AEI colleague Alan Viard has explained.

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