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Should the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives in November, their largely unnoticed plan to forgive billions of dollars in student loans at taxpayer expense will be on the agenda. Many borrowers with the means to repay would qualify. The plan was devised by the top Democrat on the education committee, Representative Bobby Scott (Va.), as part of the Aim Higher Act, a reauthorization of student-aid programs. And earlier this month a group of Senate Democrats led by Jeff Merkley (Ore.) introduced a similar version in the Senate. At first glance the proposal appears to be minor and harmless. It Read More >>
Tue, Oct 23, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
They are at it again. Democrats in Congress have a plan called the Aim Higher Act to make the federal student loan program even more generous, cutting payments and forgiving debts for those who have the means to pay. This all looks like a repeat of Obama-era reforms that led to a budget blowout in something called the Income-Based Repayment program. In 2010, President Obama announced what seemed like innocuous reforms that allow lower monthly payments (10 percent of income instead of 15 percent) and quicker loan forgiveness (20 years of payments instead of 25). Yet these tweaks sent the annual Read More >>
Tue, Oct 23, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
AEICalifornia has a housing crisis, and Californians seem confused about how to solve it Here's just one tidbit from California's housing affordability crisis: According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, families in the northern California counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin who make as much as $117,000 a year are eligible to live in low-income housing projects. Want another one or two? Well, here you go: California's median home value has increased by almost 80 percent to $544,900 since 2011, while more than half of renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Not Read More >>
Mon, Oct 22, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
It's time for another Carpe Diem quiz. Test your knowledge of recent economic news and data points, some featured in recent CD posts, with this new 20-question quiz below. You'll see the correct answers at the end. Good luck! Loading Carpe Diem Economic News and Data Quiz, October 2018 See also:California has a housing crisis, and Californians seem confused about how to solve itIf you care about wage growth, then you also need to care about how taxes affect economic growth Read More >>
Mon, Oct 22, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
AEIIf you care about wage growth, then you also need to care about how taxes affect economic growth If one wanted to talk up this economic expansion — maybe even call it “a boom” — they would certainly point to low unemployment. At 3.7 percent, the jobless rate is at its lowest level since December 1969. Or as economist Ernie Tedeschi notes in The New York Times today, it has averaged 4 percent over the past year, same as the peak of the 1990s boom (actually 1991 though 2001). A big difference between now and then: Wage growth today is just under Read More >>
Mon, Oct 22, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
On the campaign trail last week, President Trump said he had been working on “a very major tax cut” for middle-income taxpayers. It caught many in Congress by surprise, but on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said he had been working with GOP House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady to develop a new plan that would be presented soon. Congress is out of session, so any action is far down the road. Recent national polls show that tax cuts aren't at the top of the public's agenda. A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll taken from mid-September to early October found that Read More >>
Mon, Oct 22, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
Abstract For the first time in the literature, we develop a quantitative indicator of the Chinese government's policy priorities over a long period of time, which we call the Policy Change Index (PCI) of China. The PCI is a leading indicator of policy changes that runs from 1951 to the third quarter of 2018, and it can be updated in the future. It is designed with two building blocks: the full text of the People's Daily — the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China — as input data and a set of machine learning techniques to detect changes in Read More >>
Mon, Oct 22, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
In the digital economy, one of the most important issues to emerge has been the question of what can be done with the vast amounts of information firms collect on individuals who engage with them. via Twenty20 Firms such as Google and Facebook use this information to customize services provided to customers on both sides of their two-sided markets — users seeking to maximize their benefits from the primary applications on the one side, and advertisers seeking to maximize exposure to their propositions on the other. Other firms, such as Amazon, use this information to craft customized offers, such as proposed product Read More >>
Mon, Oct 22, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
If, as appears increasingly likely, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, then he has joined Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un among the ranks of rogue leaders who assassinate their critics on foreign soil. The only difference is that the Russian president and North Korean leader weren't reckless and stupid enough to kill their opponents inside their own consulates. The disappearance of Khashoggi, a Post contributing columnist, is a horrific crime. His loss will be felt deeply for those who cherish freedom of expression and believe that all people, including those in the Arab Read More >>
Fri, Oct 19, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
AEIWe aren't doomed: My review of ‘The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity' by Byron Reese Unless you're a JRR Tolkien fanatic, probably everything you know about his imaginary Middle-earth is what happens in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. But there's more to the Tolkienverse than the Third Age of that mythopoetic timeline. Preceding events of the First and Second Age are found in other works. Less is known about what comes next, in the Fourth Age. About that we can mostly only speculate — as many fans obsessively do. A different sort Read More >>
Fri, Oct 19, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
On November 9, 1989, a 96-mile wall ceased to be a barrier between East and West Berlin. It was the beginning-of-the-end for the USSR and a dangerous chapter of the Cold War. Between 1961 and November 1989, an estimated 171 people died trying to cross the wall to flee communism in East Berlin and reach freedom and a better life in the west. What does the fall of the Berlin Wall have to do with Alex Pollock's book—nothing—but yet in a roundabout way, quite a bit. After the fall of communism, the former republics of the USSR had to switch from Read More >>
Fri, Oct 19, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
“The entitlement crisis is real, and it is worse than you think.” So argue James Capretta and Yuval Levin in a recent cover story in The Weekly Standard. As they write, the CBO projects that under plausible assumptions, the government's cumulative debt will grow from 78 percent of GDP this year to 148 percent in 2038 and to 210 percent of GDP in 2048 — and even a total repeal of last year's tax cuts won't come close to mitigating that rise. To discuss how deleterious this debt load will be for the United States, and what steps can be Read More >>
Fri, Oct 19, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
As President of the IBM Foundation, Jennifer Ryan Crozier oversees IBM P-TECH, a grades 9-to-14 school model that seeks to integrate high school with community college and workplace learning. P-TECH graduates earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree in a STEM field within six years—and some in less than four years. Since its 2011 launch with a single school in Brooklyn, New York, the P-TECH network has scaled to 110 schools across eight states, as well as Australia, Morocco, and Taiwan. Jen and I spoke recently about P-TECH schools, preparing young people for 21st century jobs, and Read More >>
Fri, Oct 19, 2018
Source: Marc Thiessen Category: MARC THIESSEN
AEIEnding poverty by ‘ending capitalism' is absolute nonsense. Just so, so wrong It's hardly to Teen Vogue's credit that its dreadful story “What ‘Capitalism' Is and How It Affects People” isn't nearly as wrongheaded and offensive as the viral tweet promoting it: “Can't #endpoverty without ending capitalism!” But let's start with the grotesque, clickbaity tweet. End poverty where, exactly? Is Teen Vogue referring to the United States, which it identifies as an example of a “modern capitalist” country along with Britain and Germany? First of all, the median income of the bottom 20 percent of households is up more than 70 Read More >>
Thu, Oct 18, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIThe Davos folks now rank the US as the world's most competitive economy. Here's why For the first time since the Global Financial Crisis, the United States is the world's most competitive economy, according to the World Economic Forum's annual report (based 70 percent on data, 30 percent on national business leader opinion). One reason for the return to the top spot — it was a respectable second last year to Switzerland — is that the WEF has tweaked its methodology, although America was on the ascent even before the change. There's now a greater emphasis on attributes that should prove Read More >>
Wed, Oct 17, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEITrump doesn't like the Powell Fed. But his tax cuts and taunts, not Powell, might be the real ‘threat' President Trump's attacks on the Federal Reserve haven't escalated to the nickname stage yet, but they might be getting close. In July, Trump said he was “not thrilled” about the pace of the central bank's rate hikes. He then complained on Twitter that “Tightening now hurts all that we have done.” And last week Trump said, “I think the Fed is making a mistake. They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy.” Now the president calls the Powell Fed Read More >>
Wed, Oct 17, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIBreaking down NAFTA 2.0: A long-read Q&A with Claude Barfield Earlier this month President Trump announced a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, which he has christened USMCA — but most people refer to simply as NAFTA 2.0. President Trump understanably wants to differentiate his trade deal from the one he deemed the worst trade agreement in this country's history, maybe ever. But many trade analysts say NAFTA 2 is not much different than NAFTA classic. One such analyst is Claude Barfield. In this episode, we talk about the differences between the two deals: how it has improved, and the updates Read More >>
Wed, Oct 17, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEITaking another look at Europe's terrible record of generating successful tech firms If a country or region doesn't generate many fast-growing technology startups, then it seems unlikely to have many large, successful technology companies. So no surprise, then, in these stats from The Economist about the relative success of the European tech sector: “Of the world's 15 largest digital firms, all are American or Chinese. Of the top 200, eight are European.” Moreover, a running Wall Street Journal analysis finds Europe with just 14 tech unicorns vs. 97 for the United States. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager addresses a news conference on Read More >>
Tue, Oct 16, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIGoogle's Trumpian return to China President Trump has yet to say or tweet anything about Google's potential search-engine return to China, but it's hard to imagine he'd be anything but congratulatory. America First meet Google First. After all, Google is merely mimicking the president's hard-headed, interest-based foreign policy. If there's business to be done, politics shouldn't get in the way. As Trump said in a 2017 speech in Saudi Arabia, “We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.” Trump was more direct Read More >>
Tue, Oct 16, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIFacts and falsehoods about the US labor market: A long-read Q&A with Adam Ozimek For several years now, we have heard economic commentators proclaim the United States had reached “full employment.” And yet the economy just kept adding jobs, and the unemployment rate kept falling. One economist who has consistently opposed that prognosis is Adam Ozimek, and it appears he's been vindicated. So I invited him on the show to talk unemployment, wage growth, and all things economic policy. We also cover the trade war, inflation, and Dr. Ozimek's one out-of-the-box idea to boost US economic growth. Adam Ozimek is an economist at Read More >>
Fri, Oct 12, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS