With the US reaching its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, the Republican-controlled House and Democratic administration are set to spar over raising the debt limit. To sort through what’s going on and whether the Twitter idea of minting a trillion-dollar coin could be the government’s “get out of jail free” card, I’m joined again by my AEI colleague Michael Strain.

Mike is the director of Economic Policy Studies and the Arthur F. Burns Scholar in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute. He is also a member of the Committee on Automation and the Workforce of the National Academy of Sciences.

Austrian economist Friedrich A. Hayek fought in the First World War, lived through the Great Depression and the rise of fascism, and enjoyed a postwar career as a Nobel Prize-winning economist. He is known to us today as a champion of classical liberal thought and author of The Road to Serfdom. In this episode of Political Economy, I’m joined by Bruce Caldwell to learn more about Hayek’s life and ideas.

Bruce is a Research Professor of Economics at Duke University and the general editor of The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek. He is the author of 2004’s Hayek’s Challenge: An Intellectual Biography of F. A. Hayek. Bruce’s latest book is Hayek: A Life, 1899–1950, with Hansjoerg Klausinger.

When we talk about poverty in the United States, what do we mean? And how do we measure it? My AEI colleague Scott Winship returns to Political Economy to give us a primer on how the “war on poverty” is going.

Scott is a senior fellow and Director of Poverty Studies here at AEI. He’s also author of the new report, “Bringing Home the Bacon: Have Trends in Men’s Pay Weakened the Traditional Family?” We’ll be diving into that question later in the show.

Professional sports teams love to ask local governments for public funds to build their stadiums. The teams claim these subsidies will “pay for themselves” through increased tourism and entertainment spending. But economists aren’t so sure. For decades, researchers have cast doubts on these claims, yet local governments continue to help wealthy owners with their construction costs.

In this episode of Political Economy, I’m sitting down with economist and sports fanatic J.C. Bradbury to learn more about why these stadium subsidies don’t seem to work out in the end. J.C. is a professor of economics at Kennesaw State. Along with Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys, he’s the author of the new study, “The impact of professional sports franchises and venues on local economies: A comprehensive survey.”

We often hear that health care in the United States is expensive, but what does that mean exactly? How can policymakers reform our healthcare system with a market-based approach? My colleague James C. Capretta, author of US Health Policy and Market Reforms: An Introduction, joins this episode of Political Economy to discuss those questions and more.

James is a senior fellow and holds the Milton Friedman Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.

At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, my AEI colleague Stan Veuger told me we needed to support firms until the US economy could rebound. Two and a half years later, how have we fared? Dr. Veuger is back to discuss our fiscal response to the pandemic, the Fed’s tricky task of cooling inflation without causing a recession, and more.

Stan is a senior fellow in economic policy studies here at the American Enterprise Institute.

When voters and politicians discuss tax policy, the rates we have to pay and the revenue government will raise are front of mind. But what about the other economic effects of the tax code? Taxes can affect savings and investment, economic growth, and more. In this episode of Political Economy, I’m joined by Kyle Pomerleau, who is a senior fellow here at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies federal tax policy.

Why has the American political scene seemed to be so irrational in the past several years? Economist and author Bryan Caplan says it all comes down to social desirability bias, the observation that people prefer what sounds good to what’s true. In this episode, Bryan returns to Political Economy to explain why free markets are so unpopular, what people really mean when they complain about Big Tech and privacy, and much more.

Bryan is a best-selling author and Professor of Economics at George Mason University. His latest books are Labor Econ Versus the World and How Evil Are Politicians?, the first two volumes of an eight-volume collection of his best essays.

Poverty was the norm for most of human history. Then, starting in Britain in the 18th century, economic growth took off. So what happened? Economists have theories about the origins of the Industrial Revolution, from geography to culture to institutions. In a new book, Mark Koyama and Jared Rubin assemble the literature to give readers a big-picture view of how the world went from poverty to widespread prosperity.

Mark is an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and Jared is a Professor of Economics at Chapman University. They are the authors of How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth.

When you think of the future of clean energy, wind and solar might be the first things that come to mind. But when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, the need for alternative sources of power becomes apparent. From advanced geothermal to nuclear fusion, up-and-coming advancements may deliver a future of abundant, clean energy. One of the most ambitious ideas is space-based solar: orbiting solar panels that can beam energy to the Earth from space. Is this a viable energy solution … or a sci-fi pipe dream? To find out more, I’m joined by Ali Hajimiri.

Ali is the Bren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, as well as Co-Director of the Space-Based Solar Power Project at Caltech.

When the topic of productivity growth comes up, a common retort is that productivity and pay have delinked, meaning all the gains of productivity growth go to the top while workers’ wages remain stagnant. So how well do productivity gains translate into higher wages? It’s an important question with implications for public policies designed to boost productivity growth. Today, I’m joined by Anna Stansbury, whose work on productivity and pay offers some answers.

Anna is an Assistant Professor in Work and Organization Studies at MIT Sloan and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. She and Larry Summers authored “Productivity and Pay: Is the Link Broken?” and “The Declining Worker Power Hypothesis.”

The Federal Reserve recently announced a 75-basis-point rate hike — the largest since 1994 — in an attempt to curb inflation. The Fed’s aim is to thread the needle by cooling the economy just enough to rein in rising prices without inducing a recession. But will the Fed succeed, or is a recession on the horizon? And if an economic downturn is coming, how severe will it be? To answer those questions and get a sense of where the US economy is heading, I’ve brought my AEI colleague Michael Strain back on Political Economy.

Mike is the director of Economic Policy Studies and the Arthur F. Burns Scholar in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute. He’s also the author of the 2020 book, The American Dream Is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It).

Moore’s law, which states that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every two years, has fueled rapid computing gains since the mid-20th century. But will this law last forever? Today’s guest, Neil Thompson, thinks its end is near. I’ve invited Neil on the podcast to explain why Moore’s Law may be coming to an end and what that means for productivity growth and continued innovation.

Neil is an innovation scholar in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a research scientist at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and an associate member of the Broad Institute.

When America endeavors to tackle an ambitious project, we speak in terms of moonshots or a “Manhattan Project for X.” The assumption is that vast government resources, directed toward some objective, can yield results on the scale of the Moon landing or the atom bomb. But federal research funding is more complicated than throwing dollars at our problems. And with Congress poised to inject American science policy with an adrenaline shot of funding, I’ve brought Tony Mills back on Political Economy to discuss the bills working their way through the House and Senate.

Tony is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies the federal government’s role in scientific research and innovation, as well as how to integrate scientific expertise into our governing institutions.

From job interviews to college admissions, identifying and allocating talent plays a big role in the modern economy. But what is talent? And how well can we pick it out from a quick conversation or a glance at a resume? Returning to Political Economy to answer those questions is Tyler Cowen.

Tyler holds the Holbert L. Harris chair in economics at George Mason University. He’s a columnist at Bloomberg Opinion and co-writes the popular economics blog, Marginal Revolution. A prolific author, his previous books include Stubborn AttachmentsThe Complacent ClassAverage is Over, and The New York Times bestseller The Great Stagnation. Tyler’s new book, co-written with Daniel Gross is Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World.

In the field of economic history, the causes and consequences of the Industrial Revolution loom large. Competing theories point to the role of institutions, scientific achievements, and bourgeois ideas. Setting aside the origins of industrialization, another open question concerns the mechanisms by which modern economic growth emerged. To delve into that question, I’ve brought on W. Walker Hanlon, whose work suggests the engineering profession played a key role.

Walker is an associate professor in the department of economics at Northwestern University. Among his thought-provoking works in economic history is a recent working paper, “The Rise of the Engineer: Inventing the Professional Inventor During the Industrial Revolution.”

America’s kids have been greatly affected by the pandemic, from canceled sports seasons to constant academic disruption. And at the same time, parents are caught up in bitter disputes over masking and critical race theory in schools. To get a better sense of the education challenges we face coming out of the pandemic, as well as the reforms that will help us meet those challenges, I’ve brought on Rick Hess.

Rick is my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is a senior fellow and director of Education Policy Studies. Among Rick’s recent work on K-12 and higher education issues is “Education after the Pandemic,” written for the winter 2022 issue of National Affairs.

Before Elon Musk was the world’s wealthiest man, founder of a rocket company, and owner of Twitter, he was best known as one of the founders of PayPal. Other PayPal alumni went on to found companies like YouTube, Yelp, and LinkedIn. And the “don” of the PayPal Mafia, Peter Thiel, is now known for his political activism and contributions to Republican campaigns. So what can we learn about Musk and Thiel—and about Silicon Valley—from the early history of PayPal? To find out, I’m joined by Jimmy Soni.

Jimmy is an award-winning author of three books. His first two, co-authored with Rob Goodman, are Rome’s Last Citizen, a biography of Cato the Younger, and A Mind at Play, a biography of Claude Shannon. His latest is The Founders: The Story of PayPal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley, released earlier this year.

Last year, Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, signaling its shift from traditional social media to a big bet on the so-called metaverse. This network of 3D, online spaces is accessed through virtual reality headsets like Meta’s Oculus and promises to revolutionize internet communications. But is there substance behind the hype, or is the metaverse just a fad? And if virtual reality worlds are here to stay, what do policymakers need to know about them? To answer those questions, I’ve brought Mark Jamison back on the podcast.

Mark is the director of the Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business and a nonresident senior fellow here at the American Enterprise Institute. Over the past several months, Mark has been writing about the metaverse and the challenges it faces.

In the early 19th century, English textile workers calling themselves “Luddites” destroyed machinery in an effort to save their jobs from automation. And two centuries later, those who resist technological change are still called Luddites. In the 2020 book The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel tells the history of textiles, including the Luddite movement. And in her 1998 book, The Future and Its Enemies, she describes the “stasist” view behind Luddism, as well as its natural antipode, dynamism. To discuss how this framework can help us understand the current moment, I’ve brought Virginia on the podcast.

Virginia is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and visiting fellow at the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University. She is the author of The Future and Its Enemies, The Substance of Style, and The Power of Glamour. Her latest is The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World.