Politics

America Keeps Winning Regardless Of Who Is President

800px-Donald_Trump_(39630669575).jpg

Ever since the election of Donald Trump, many of our leading academic voices, like Paul Krugman, predicted everything from a stock market crash to a global recession. Slow growth, mainstream economists like Larry Summers, argued, was in the cards no matter who is in charge. That was then. Now the United States stands as by far the most dynamic high-income economy in the world.  read more »

The Sordid History of Forest Service Fire Data

800px-Carr_Fire_28_July_2018_b.jpg

The latest wildfire situation report indicates that about 7.3 million acres have burned to date this year. That’s about 1.2 million acres less than this same date last year, but about 1.5 million acres more than the ten-year average and a lot more than the average in the 1950s and 1960s, which was about 3.9 million acres a year.  read more »

California Must Stop Trying To Stomp Out Suburbia

solar-panel-array-1591358_1280.jpg

We may be celebrating — if that’s the right word — the tenth year since the onset of the financial crisis and collapse of the real estate market. Yet before breaking out the champagne, we should recognize that the hangover is not yet over, and that a new housing crisis could be right around the corner.  read more »

Ten Years After Lehman Collapsed, We’re Still Screwed

800px-London_-_Lehman_Brothers_-_3868.jpg

The collapse of Lehman Brothers 10 years ago today began the financial crisis that crippled and even killed for some the American dream as we had known it. Donald Trump might be starting to change that, at least for Americans who aren’t determined to remain in our bluest and priciest cities.  read more »

A Generation Plans An Exodus From California

0805-BUCHANAN-MOVING-1.jpg

California is the great role model for America, particularly if you read the Eastern press. Yet few boosters have yet to confront the fact that the state is continuing to hemorrhage people at a higher rate, with particular losses among the family-formation age demographic critical to California’s future.  read more »

Labor’s Day, More or Less?

fight-for-15-people.jpg

It’s hard for most of us to recall any period in the last fifty years that we could call the “good times” for labor in the U.S. Membership density in American unions has been on a steady decline. The National Labor Relations Board has certified few new unions, and mergers have become common. Almost none of the major corporate enterprises founded over the last thirty years are unionized.  read more »

America Is Moving Toward An Oligarchical Socialism

800px-Mark_Zuckerberg_F8_2018_Keynote_(41118893354).jpg

Where do we go after Trump? This question becomes more pertinent as the soap opera administration seeks its own dramatic demise. Yet before they can seize power from the president and his now subservient party, the Democrats need to agree on what will replace Trumpism.  read more »

Thoughts on AI: Some High-Probability Predictions on a Very Uncertain Future

shutterstock_551767066.jpg

Will AI cause mass unemployment?

No. New technologies have always enabled the economy to produce existing products with fewer workers, freeing up people’s resources for new products and freeing up workers to produce them. Farm automation reduced agricultural work as a share of the labor force from 38 percent in 1900 to two percent today, and we produce more food than ever. Education, recreation, and healthcare, which absorbed a tiny share of household spending in 1900, now account for almost half our spending and many millions of jobs.   read more »

The Triumph Of Trumpism Will Outlast Trump

17028472220_7a96e86dc3_z.jpg

Given the endless scandals swarming around him, Donald Trump’s presidency may prove, to quote Thomas Hobbes, to be “nasty, brutish and short.” But even if Trump ends up out of office sooner than planned, we will continue to live in a world shaped by him for years to come.  read more »

Restoring Localism

Lincoln_Community_Center,_looking_west_01.jpg

Americans are increasingly prisoners of ideology, and our society is paying the price. We are divided along partisan lines to an extent that some are calling it a “soft civil war.” In the end, this benefits only ideological warriors and their funders.  read more »