Michael R. Strain is an economist at the American Enterprise Institute. Jay talks with him about his upbringing, his education, and how he arrived at his views, which favor economic freedom and freedom generally—the “open society.” What about our federal budget deficit and national debt? Is there bound to be a reckoning? Strain says that there are two kinds of reckoning: a horrendous, destructive bear, suddenly at your door; and termites, eating away at your foundations, day after day. We are in termite territory. Economics may be a “dismal science,” but not in the hands, and in the conversation, of Mike Strain.

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