[VIDEO] Men without work: America’s Invisible Crisis

While “unemployment” is down, work rates have also fallen — and the male work rate is now at Depression-era levels. AEI invites you to the launch of Nicholas Eberstadt’s new book “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis,” an important new study of an underreported phenomenon: America’s growing army of un-working men.

[Event Transcript]

Event Summary

On Tuesday at AEI, AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt presented his new book “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis” (Templeton Press, September 2016). David Wessel of the Brookings Institution joined Dr. Eberstadt to discuss the findings.

Since the 1940s, the work rate (employment-to-population ratio) for men decreased, with 7 million men out of the labor force today. Dr. Eberstadt recognized that both supply and demand causes affect this trend, including institutional barriers, welfare policy, structural unemployment, and motivational factors. Mr. Wessel prompted everyone to consider how much of this trend is caused by the supply or the demand, citing changes in America’s manufacturing sector and the skills necessary for employment.

To examine this question, Dr. Eberstadt called for perspectives from across the political aisle and pointed to the need for further research, including studying the performance of ex-felons trying to enter the labor force and tracking disability payments that may be financing un-working lifestyle.

–Cecilia Joy Perez

Event Description

The stock market — and US personal wealth holdings — continue to set new records. The United States is now at or near “full employment,” at least according to received wisdom. But a closer look at the data reveals something else entirely. While “unemployment” is down, work rates have also fallen — and the male work rate is now at Depression-era levels. Today, 7 million men age 24 to 54 are neither working nor looking for work. The collapse of work for men, indeed, appears to be at the center of many of America’s current social and economic woes. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Police Restore Cuts Made in Revision of their Official Account of the Deadly 1967 Riots

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Force backs down after being accused of trying to whitewash the city’s history and role played by pro-Beijing radicals.

Christy Leung reports: The Hong Kong police force has made an unexpected climbdown and is restoring its official account of the 1967 riots after causing a storm earlier this year by deleting parts of it.

A source told the Post the missing details would be reinstated on its archived website as early as Friday, and more historical details would be added to make the account “fuller”.

The U-turn was decided at a meeting of the Police Historical Records Committee yesterday.

It reverses a controversial move in mid-September to revise the official version of the riots, during which pro-Beijing radicals inspired by the Cultural Revolution sought to overthrow the colonial government.

Protestors wave the Little Red Book

The force replaced phrases like “communist militia” with “gunmen” and deleted detailed descriptions of events such as leftist mobs threatening bus and tram drivers who refused to strike.

Police were accused of trying to whitewash history out of political considerations. They were also ridiculed for claiming there was not enough space to publish full details online.

[Read the full story here, at South China Morning Post]

“[We are uploading the original version] to answer our readers’ calls and have no political agenda behind it,” the source explained yesterday.

“We think people nowadays are not into reading bulky and long paragraphs, but since they enjoy reading the full version, we are bringing it back.”

In addition to the original write-up, the history of women in the force and the Hong Kong Police College will be added to the website.

The Police College will be added to the Hong Kong police website. Photo: Jonathan Wong

“We want to make the contents ‘finer’ and ‘fuller’, so that people can have a better understanding of police history,” the source said.

It is understood the committee is still reviewing the content and may upload the original version along with the new information on January 1 at the earliest. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Presidency to End with $20 Trillion National Debt 

Dave Boyer reports: When President Obama signs into law the new two-year budget deal Monday, his action will bring into sharper focus a part of his legacy that he doesn’t like to talk about: He is the $20 trillion man.

“The Boehner-Obama spending agreement would allow for unlimited borrowing by the Treasury until March 2017. This deal piles on billions of dollars to the national debt by increasing spending over the next three years and then not paying for it for a decade — with half of the offsets not occurring until 2025.”

— Paul Winfree, director of economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation

Mr. Obama’s spending agreement with Congress will suspend the nation’s debt limit and allow the Treasury to borrow another $1.5 trillion or so by the end of his presidency in 2017. Added to the current total national debt of more than $18.15 trillion, the red ink will likely be crowding the $20 trillion mark right around the time Mr. Obama leaves the White House.

“Of this $154 billion, about $78 billion is paid for honestly. The remaining $56 billion of the legislation — mostly the war spending increase and interest costs — is not paid for at all.”

When Mr. Obama took over in January 2009, the total national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. That means the debt will have very nearly doubled during his eight years in office, and there is much more debt ahead with the abandonment of “sequestration” spending caps enacted in 2011.

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“When Mr. Obama took over in January 2009, the total national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. That means the debt will have very nearly doubled during his eight years in office, and there is much more debt ahead with the abandonment of “sequestration” spending caps enacted in 2011.”

“Congress and the president have just agreed to undo one of the only successful fiscal restraint mechanisms in a generation,” said Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union. “The progress on reducing spending and the deficit has just become much more problematic.”

“We will be raising the debt ceiling in an unlimited fashion. We will be giving President Obama a free pass to borrow as much money as he can borrow in the last year of his office. No limit, no dollar limit. Here you go, President Obama. Spend what you want.”

— Sen. Rand Paul

Some budget analysts scoff at the claim made by the administration and by House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, that the budget agreement’s $112 billion in spending increases is fully funded by cuts elsewhere. Mr. Boehner left Congress last week.

[Read the full text here, at the Washington Times]

“The Boehner-Obama spending agreement would allow for unlimited borrowing by the Treasury until March 2017,” said Paul Winfree, director of economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation. “This deal piles on billions of dollars to the national debt by increasing spending over the next three years and then not paying for it for a decade — with half of the offsets not occurring until 2025.” Read the rest of this entry »


Red Tape Rising: Six Years of Escalating Regulation Under Obama

APTOPIX White House Sunrise

The need for regulatory reform has never been greater.

The number and cost of government regulations continued to climb in 2014, intensifying Washington’s control over the economy and Americans’ lives. The addition of 27 new major rules[1] last year pushed the tally for the Obama Administration’s first six years to 184, with scores of other rules in the pipeline. The cost of just these 184 rules is estimated by regulators to be nearly $80 billion annually, although the actual cost of this massive expansion of the administrative state is obscured by the large number of rules for which costs have not been fully quantified. Absent substantial reform, economic growth and individual freedom will continue to suffer….

At The Corner, Veronique de Rugy writes:

In a new paper titled “Red Tape Rising: Six Years of Escalating Regulation Under Obama,” the Heritage Foundation’s Diane Katz and James Gattuso write that in 2014, the government issued 2,400 new regulations, including 27 major rules that may cost $80 billion or more annually. These rules range from forcing restaurants to list calorie counts — even though past experiments have revealed that such measures fail to change consumers’ behavior — to reducing consumer choices and increasing energy prices by imposing tighter energy-efficiency mandates on the plugs that we use to charge cell phones, laptops, and even electric toothbrushes.

Washington regulatory bureaucrats’ control over the economy and Americans’ lives is intensifying. According to Katz and Gattuso, during the first six years of the Obama administration, the number of new major rules reached 184, including 13 regulations of the financial system that saw the light of day in 2014. Another 126 are in the pipeline. That’s more than twice the number imposed by President George W. Bush, who himself wasn’t shy about regulating the economy.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Official regulatory costs are vastly underestimated because of the large number of rules for which costs have not been fully quantified. More importantly, official costs never appropriately account for the businesses, innovations, and economic growth that will never exist because of the continued accumulation of regulations. Needless to say, the need for reform of the regulatory system has never been greater….(read more)

National Review Online

…President Barack Obama has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to act by regulatory fiat instead of executing laws as passed by Congress. But regulatory overreach by the executive branch is only part of the problem. A great deal of the excessive regulation in the past six years is the result of Congress granting broad powers to agencies through passage of vast and vaguely worded legislation. The misnamed Affordable Care Act and the Dodd–Frank financial-regulation law top the list.

Many more regulations are on the way, with another 126 economically significant rules on the Administration’s agenda, such as directives to farmers for growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables; strict limits on credit access for service members; and, yet another redesign of light bulbs.

In many respects, the need for reform of the regulatory system has never been greater. The White House, Congress, and federal agencies routinely ignore regulatory costs, exaggerate benefits, and breach legislative and constitutional boundaries. They also increasingly dictate lifestyle choices rather than focusing on public health and safety.

Immediate reforms should include requiring legislation to undergo an analysis of regulatory impacts before a floor vote in Congress, and requiring every major regulation to obtain congressional approval before taking effect. Sunset deadlines should be set in law for all major rules, and independent agencies should be subject—as are executive branch agencies—to the White House regulatory review process.[2]

Measuring the Red Tape 

The federal government does not officially track total regulatory costs, as it does with taxation and spending. Estimates of these costs from various independent sources range from hundreds of billions of dollars to over $2 trillion annually.[3] However, the number and cost of new regulations can be tracked, and both have grown relentlessly.

The most comprehensive source of data on new regulations is the Federal Rules Database maintained by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). According to this GAO database, federal regulators issued 2,400 new rules during the 2014 “presidential year” (January 21, 2014, to January 20, 2015). Of these, 77 were classified as “major.”

Forty-eight of the 77 major rules were budgetary or administrative in nature, such as Medicare payment rates and hunting limits on migratory birds. A total of 27 were “prescriptive” regulations, meaning that they increase burdens on individual or private-sector activity. (Two others were “deregulatory,” as explained below.) Altogether, during the six years of the Obama Administration, 184 prescriptive rules have been imposed. That compares to 76 such rules issued during the same period of the George W. Bush Administration.

Regulators reported new annual costs of $7.6 billion for the 2014 prescriptive rules based on the limited number of analyses performed by the agencies.[4] This total cost is 15 percent less than the $8.9 billion in costs imposed during the sixth year of the Bush Administration. However, cost calculations were incomplete for 12 of the 27 Obama rules issued last year.

There was also $1.8 billion in reported one-time implementation costs for the 2014 rules, bringing the Administration’s six-year total for such costs to about $17 billion.

Only two of the 2014 rules decreased regulatory burdens, bringing the Administration’s six-year “deregulatory” total to just 17—despite a widely touted “retrospective review” initiative that President Obama claimed would take outdated rules off the books. This compares to four deregulatory actions during President Bush’s sixth year, and his Administration’s six-year total of 23.

Overall, the cost of new mandates and restrictions imposed by the Obama Administration now totals $78.9 billion annually. This is more than double the $30.7 billion in annual costs imposed at the same point in the George W. Bush Administration.[5]

These figures are consistent with other measures of a growing regulatory burden. For instance, according to economists Susan Dudley and Melinda Warren, spending on federal regulatory agencies has increased from $20.7 billion in 1990, and $50.9 billion in 2009, to more than $53.6 billion in 2014 (in constant 2009 dollars). Similarly, total staffing at regulatory agencies has grown nearly 6.6 percent since 2009.[6]

Dodd–Frank Dominates in 2014 

Regulation of securities and the banking system dominated rulemaking in 2014, accounting for 13 of the 27 major rules issued during the Obama Administration’s sixth year. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) imposed the largest number of rules (seven), while the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency jointly promulgated five rules, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued one. Read the rest of this entry »


Arthur Brooks: Playing the Music of Capitalism

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To become a majority again, conservatives need to reassert the moral case for free markets

William McGurn writes: Before he was president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks played the French horn. Not on the side. For a living.

It’s not the standard route to the top job at a Beltway think tank. Then again, not much about Mr. Ken-Fallin-WSJBrooks is standard. From dropping out of college to go to Spain to play for the Barcelona City Orchestra, to earning his B.A. degree via correspondence courses from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey, his life makes for an eclectic résumé.

“Our side has all the right policies. But without the music, the public hears just numbers and we have no resonance.”

Today he boasts a Ph.D. from the RAND Graduate School and enjoys an honored spot in the capital’s intellectual firmament. But the horn still defines how he sees the world.

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“We don’t need to write an opera about free enterprise to reach people. But it’s not a bad idea.”

“The French horn is the harmonic backbone of the orchestra,” Mr. Brooks says. “The physics are tricky. It’s as long as a tuba but with a mouthpiece as small as a trumpet’s. This gives the French horn its characteristic mellow sound but also makes it easy to miss notes. The metaphors here form themselves.”

Indeed they do. Not least because think tanks have distinct personalities in addition to their politics.

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“The liberation of hundreds of millions from desperate poverty ranks among the greatest success stories in history. But it’s a story that remains largely untold and mostly unheralded.”

The libertarian Cato Institute, for example, looks as though it had been designed by Howard Roark, the hero architect of Ayn Rand’s novel “The Fountainhead.” The Liberty Bell on the Heritage Foundation logo evokes a classic conservatism 087196e06cea0f75cad96f9da0ec0528rooted in the American founding. The clean modernist lines of the Brookings Institution suggest its faith in good, rational government.

“Capitalism has saved a couple of billion people and we have treated this miracle like a state secret.”

In Mr. Brooks’s hands, AEI has beome an orchestra. Sure, it is sometimes labeled “neocon” (almost always deployed as a pejorative) because of the home it provides for former George W. Bush administration officials such as John Bolton and
Paul Wolfowitz, not to mention scholars such as Fred Kagan who write on military matters. 51If4pLhXLL._SL250_These people are all vital to AEI, but they are only part of a larger ensemble.

[Order Arthur Brooks’s bookThe Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America” from Amazon.com]

“Our side has all the right policies,” Mr. Brooks says. “But without the music, the public hears just numbers and we have no resonance.”

“We need to know Adam Smith who wrote ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ as well as we do the Adam Smith who wrote ‘The Wealth of Nations,’ Because when you do, you begin to understand we are hard-wired for freedom by the same Creator who gave us our unalienable rights.”

He is speaking over lunch in his corner office overlooking 17th and M streets in northwest Washington, D.C. The office bullfighterisn’t standard-issue, either.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

The walls are bereft of the signed photos and tributes from presidents, senators and other pooh-bahs that are de riguer for the capital’s movers and shakers. The largest piece in the room is a poster featuring José Tomás, Spain’s greatest bullfighter. Mr. Brooks once saw him in the ring. “A true master artist,” he says.

The other poster is from the Soviet Union circa 1964. It features two workers. One is a drunk scratching his head as he looks at the one-ruble note in his hand. The other is a hale-and-hearty type proudly looking at the 10 rubles he has earned. The caption: “Work more, earn more.”

“It was part of a public-information campaign to raise productivity by paying people more,” Mr. Brooks says. It’s the sort of irony he loves, a confirmation of basic market wisdom—courtesy of communist propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »


Jason L. Riley: Will Liberals Ever Forgive Daniel Patrick Moynihan for Being Right?

MOYNIHAN

Still Right on the Black Family After All These Years 

Jason L. RileyJason L. Riley writes: Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the future senator’s report on the black family, the controversial document issued while he served as an assistant secretary in President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Department. Moynihan highlighted troubling cultural trends among inner-city blacks, with a special focus on the increasing number of fatherless homes.

“History has proved that Moynihan was onto something. When the report was released, about 25% of black children and 5% of white children lived in a household headed by a single mother. During the next 20 years the black percentage would double and the racial gap would widen. Today more than 70% of all black births are to unmarried women, twice the white percentage.”

“The fundamental problem is that of family structure,” wrote Moynihan, who had a doctorate in sociology. “The evidence—not final but powerfully persuasive—is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling.”

[Check out Jason Riley’s book Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” at Amazon]

For his troubles, Moynihan was denounced as a victim-blaming racist bent on undermining the civil-rights movement. Even worse, writes Harvard’s Paul Peterson in the current issue of the journal Education Next, Moynihan’s “findings were totally ignored by those who designed public policies at the time.” The Great Society architects would go on to expand old programs or formulate new ones that exacerbated the problems Moynihan identified. Marriage was penalized and single parenting was subsidized. In effect, the government paid mothers to keep fathers out of the home—and paid them well.

“Economists and policy analysts of the day worried about the negative incentives that had been created,” writes Mr. Peterson. “Analysts estimated that in 1975 a household head would have to earn $20,000”—or an inflation-adjusted $88,000 today—“to have more resources than what could be obtained from Great Society programs.”

“The most critical factor affecting the prospect that a male youth will encounter the criminal justice system is the presence of his father in the home.”

— William Comanor and Llad Phillips

History has proved that Moynihan was onto something. When the report was released, about 25% of black children and 5% of white children lived in a household headed by a single mother. During the next 20 years the black percentage would double and the racial gap would widen. Today more than 70% of all black births are to unmarried women, twice the white percentage.

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Daniel Patrick Moynihan, right, an urban affairs adviser to President Richard M. Nixon, left, in 1970.

For decades research has shown that the likelihood of teen pregnancy, drug abuse, dropping out of school and many other social problems grew dramatically when fathers were absent. One of the most comprehensive studies ever done on juvenile delinquency—by William Comanor and Llad Phillips of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2002—concluded that “the most critical factor affecting the prospect that a male youth will encounter the criminal justice system is the presence of his father in the home.”

[Also see – Moynihan in His Own Words New York Times, September 19, 2010]

Ultimately, the Moynihan report was an attempt to have an honest conversation about family breakdown and black pathology, one that most liberals still refuse to join. Read the rest of this entry »


Xiao Shu: Yang Zili and the Paranoid Regime

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A journalist’s plight demonstrates the depth of China’s present illness

Xiao Shu writes: Chinese journalist Yang Zili first appeared in international headlines in 2001 after being arrested in Beijing and charged with “subverting state authority.” His crime was starting the “New Youth Society,” a salon with the stated mission of “seeking a road for social reform.” Mr. Yang eventually served eight years in prison for his involvement.

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“We had no idea how quickly the tide would turn. Mr. Yang is now in hiding.”

Once released from prison, Mr. Yang joined the Transition Institute. Unlike many other nongovernmental organizations in China, the Transition Institute isn’t engaged in direct social action but rather focuses on research work as a think tank. While there, Mr. Yang studied Chinese social issues and proved to be a prolific writer. Much of his work was on equal access to education and migrant-worker rights. His friends applauded his return to the public sphere within a profession that still allowed him to promote social change.

“Mr. Yang is now in hiding. Chinese authorities last year detained three leaders of the Transition Institute and six people indirectly involved, including the lawyer Xia Lin. The organization remains paralyzed.”

We had no idea how quickly the tide would turn. Mr. Yang is now in hiding. Chinese authorities last year detained three leaders of the Transition Institute and six people indirectly involved, including the lawyer Xia Lin. The organization remains paralyzed. It suffered this fate despite having a far more nuanced understanding of political struggle than did the New Youth Society in 2001.

Chinese former president Jiang Zemin - WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese former president Jiang Zemin – WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

“The decisive factor in the case against Mr. Yang was a set of written instructions from Jiang Zemin , China’s president at the time. ‘Because instructions had come down from heaven,’ Mr. Yang recalled years later, ‘every material fact was forcibly crushed.’ And so was the process of justice.”

The similarities and differences between these two cases reflect the deep uncertainty that all Chinese citizens face when confronted with contemporary “socialist rule of law.”

The New Youth Society focused on hot-button social issues like government corruption, unemployment among workers from state-owned enterprises, and rural development. Members were at first split over what to do with their activities. Either they could operate in secret, attempting to disguise their group from the authorities, or they could be entirely open, affirming their discussions in hopes of avoiding the impression they were being covert. Mr. Yang and others compromised: They didn’t actively promote their ideas, nor did they conceal them. Read the rest of this entry »


The Hill: Asking the Wrong Question

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editor-commen-deskHeadline corrected! Where do we begin? A brief scan of media reactions offers some clues. For example, The Hill Just Can’t Figure Out Where Obama Went WrongSurely, Obama’s Low Approval Ratings Can’t Be Blamed On Any Scandal, can it?  When did Obama check out? Obama never checked in. As an exercise in reality-denial, The Hill gives us a textbook instruction manual for how to write about a controversial topic without saying anything that might reflect too badly on anyone, or offend anyone in power. Though to be fair, it’s not a bad article, on second reading. It has a few pithy quotes.

Though overdue, it’s the kind of question that haunted the G.W. Bush’s unpopular presidency, but for Obama’s predecessor, those loaded questions began moments after he was inaugurated, rather than held back for six years. And the answers were far less forgiving. The writers–blinded by GOP distrust reinforced by institutional 51O63wb9qqL._SL250_bias–were often a lot less rational.

[Order Panetta’s Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace from Amazon.com]

For Obama, an honest account of “what went wrong?” would (and has, and will, for decades) fill mountains of books, exceeding the storage capacity of Amazon warehouses worldwide. We can look forward to an avalanche of unreadable academic literature, notes from unattended think-tank symposiums, and stacks of unsold finger-pointing White House staff (see above) autobiographies…

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We deserve better. It has potential! It could inspire crime thrillers, Shakespearean tragedies, comic books, horror movies, and for future generations, Epic Decline-of-Empire postmortems! Truly, the question posed here is impossible to address adequately in anything less than 30 volumes. My modest headline correction offers a manageable approach. We’re not aiming for a Pulitzer here, just tryin’ to make a deadline.

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For The HillAmie Parnes writes:

Fewer than two years ago, President Obama was elected handily to his second term, becoming the first Democrat since FDR to twice win an outright majority of the popular vote.

Now, Democrats in competitive Senate races hope he stays as far away as possible, previous heartlands of support such as Iowa have turned against him and his approval ratings are languishing in the low 40s — sometimes lower.

“He should say ‘Look, all three of us now face the same choice. … Do we want to spend the next two years messaging and preparing for 2016 or would we like to spend a few months legislating?’ ”

Political observers, from former Obama aides to staffers who served in previous administrations, say something is going to have to change if the president is to achieve anything at all in his last two years in office.

“I’m still struggling to figure this out. I think a lot of it boils down to this mindset that, ‘we all have the answers and we’re smarter than everybody else and we can do this.’ ”

— Unamed former administration official

“It is a near metaphysical certainty that in his last two years, he’ll confront the same House he has in the last four years,” said William Galston, a senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution who served as an adviser to former President Clinton during his White House years.

“So the question is, how are they going to deal with that? If they deal with the same House in the same way, they’ll get the same results.”

Galston advised a different approach. Obama would be “well-advised” to reach out to the Republican congressional leadership immediately after the midterm elections, he said, and should resist the temptation to dig deeper into a partisan trench. Read the rest of this entry »


Who’s Your Daddy? Poll: Most Trusted and Least Trusted in Broadcast News…

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Trust: Fox News even beats the broadcast networks

For Breitbart NewsJohn Nolte reports: A new poll should have the minions at the left-wing, Soros-funded, tax-exempt, union-busting Media Matters scrambling for a rewrite at the drawing board for it shows that Fox News is the most trusted name in all of news and the left-wing MSNBC is the least trusted.

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In a poll about a whole lot of things (religion, immigration, Obama) the Brookings Institution also surveyed 1538 adults about the news networks. When asked “which of the following news sources do you trust the most to provide accurate information about politics and current events?,” Fox News beat everyone with 25%. MSNBC landed dead last with a humiliating 5%. CNN came in well behind Fox with 17%. “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” came in second to last with 8%…(read more)

Breitbart.com

 


The Slow Death of American Entrepreneurship

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For FiveThirtyEight,  writes: Mark Zuckerberg was a billionaire before age 30 and investors are fretting over the prospect of an another tech bubble, but according to the data, U.S. entrepreneurship is on the decline.

“Business dynamism is inherently disruptive, but it is also critical to long-run economic growth.”

Americans started 27 percent fewer businesses in 2011 than they did five years earlier, according to data from the Census Bureau. As a share of all companies, startups have been declining for more than 30 years.

It isn’t clear what’s causing that decline, which accelerated during the recession but long predates it. The aging of the baby boom generation may be part of the explanation, since people are more likely to start businesses when they are younger. The U.S. economy is also increasingly dominated by large corporations, suggesting deeper structural changes working against small companies. People have pointed to other explanations, from increasing licensure requirements in many industries to high corporate tax rates to a broader decline in innovation and productivity growth.

Whatever the reason, the decline has economists worried. New businesses are akey driver of job growth, responsible for more than 15 percent of new job creation despite accounting for just 2 percent of total employment. And they play a vital role in promoting innovation and productivity gains across the economy. In a recent report from the Brookings Institution, Ian Hathaway and Robert Litan wrote that the decline in entrepreneurship “points to a U.S. economy that has steadily become less dynamic over time.” Read the rest of this entry »


Snake Eat Snake: U.S. Businesses Are Being Destroyed Faster Than They’re Being Created

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For The Washington PostChristopher Ingraham writes: The American economy is less entrepreneurial now than at any point in the last three decades. That’s the conclusion of a new study out from the Brookings Institution, which looks at the rates of new business creation and destruction since 1978.

Not only that, but during the most recent three years of the study — 2009, 2010 and 2011 — businesses were collapsing faster than they were being formed, a first. Overall, new businesses creation (measured as the share of all businesses less than one year old) declined by about half from 1978 to 2011.

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The authors don’t mince words about the stakes here: If the decline persists, “it implies a continuation of slow growth for the indefinite future.” This lack of economic dynamism, particularly the steep drop since 2006, may be one reason why our current recovery has felt like much less than a recovery. As Matt O’Briennoted on Wonkblog last week, annual job growth rates have stubbornly refused to budge above 2 percent for the duration of the recovery. Read the rest of this entry »


Understanding The Left’s Grip On Media

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The New Contras

  writes:  Behind President Barack Obama’s gripe to Bill O’Reilly that Fox News is always unfair to him stood a deeper resentment that has poisoned the soul of progressives for some time: Hollywood and academia might still be firmly in the grip of the orthodox left, but part of the media has managed to wriggle free. Liberals still can’t get over this fact, and their rearguard actions to regain control come in different forms: some, like our President’s objections, are innocuously transparent and amusing; others, like a recent research report on the future of media by the Brookings Institution, are more circuitous and perhaps more worrying.

[Order Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV from Amazon]

In the joint paper by two of its heavy hitters, the well-known and influential Washington think tank lays out a plan that would reverse some key media trends of the past few years, such as the growth of partisan commentary, citizen journalism and Americans’ new-found ability to readily find opinions they like. The paper was authored by the Vice President for Governance and founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation, Darrel West, and Web Content and Digital Media Coordinator, Beth Stone. They write in the most academic and detached of tones and if you weren’t careful, you wouldn’t notice how some of their recommendations would silence the new diversity of views. They make clear from the start that what motivates them is primarily the impact that the revolution in media has had on policy-making, which is one reason we should all care.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Long March Through the Institutions Proceeds: ‘This Will Kill Insurance Companies’

HealthCare-gov-site

After World War I, two leading Marxist intellectuals, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, both concluded, independently of one another, that Western culture and the Christian religion had so blinded the working class to its true, Marxist class interests, that a Communist revolution would be impossible to carry out in the West without first destroying both of those institutions. Gramsci laid out a strategy for destroying Christianity and Western culture by conducting, in an orderly fashion, a “long march through the institutions” – where Marxists would infiltrate the schools, the media, the churches, the labor unions, the major political parties – i.e., every institution that could influence the culture. This process would sabotage American society from the inside, and would require decades to fully unfold. 

Kate Rogers reports:  The latest deadline delay for the Affordable Care Act could lead to even more enrollment problems and place a bigger burden on insurance companies, experts say.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday it would require insurance companies to accept premium payments for plans that start on Jan. 1 up until Dec. 31-eight days from the already once delayed date of Dec. 23.

“This will kill insurance companies,” says Devon Herrick, senior analyst at the National Center for Policy Analysis, of the latest deadline extension. “I don’t think insurance companies will be there on New Year’s Day figuring out what they owe, who they need to bill and who has legitimate coverage. You can see what a mess this is—I can’t imagine insurance companies can solve this in one day, especially when that day is a holiday.”

This week’s announcement operates under the assumption that enrolling people in insurance plans is simple, adds Tom Harte, president of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

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World Student Rankings: China Is Cheating the PISA System

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Enough is enough: Beijing must supply national data to assessors and not simply the results of a small minority of elite students

 writes:  The results from a global exam that evaluates students’ reading, science and math skills are in and, once again, Chinese students appear to be reigning supreme while American students continued to underperform.

But before you shake your head ruefully and scoff at the decline of Western-style education, take a look at how the data is organized.

The OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams are held every three years. Coming first and third respectively in the 2012 exams are the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong.

However, China is uniquely not listed as a country in the rankings — unlike the U.S., Russia, Germany, Australia and other nations judged on the basis of their country-wide performances. Instead, China only shares Shanghai’s score with PISA. (Hong Kong, a Special Autonomous Region of China, sends its own data.) Read the rest of this entry »


The New Washington D.C.: The Super 1% Growing, Awash in Contracts, Lobbying Wealth

Joker-billionaire-burning-money

The avalanche of cash that made Washington rich in the last decade has transformed the culture of a once staid capital and created a new wave of well-heeled insiders.

The winners in the new Washington are not just the former senators, party consiglieri and four-star generals who have always profited from their connections. Now they are also the former bureaucrats, accountants and staff officers for whom unimagined riches are suddenly possible. They are the entrepreneurs attracted to the capital by its aura of prosperity and its super-educated workforce. They are the lawyers, lobbyists and executives who work for companies that barely had a presence in Washington before the boom.

During the past decade, the region added 21,000 households in the nation’s top 1 percent. No other metro area came close.

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‘Red line’ just one of roughly 500 insincere, empty, false, meaningless Obama promises

Aug. 9, 2013: President Obama speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington.AP

Aug. 9, 2013: President Obama speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. AP

President Obama vowing that Syria would “cross a red line” by using chemical weapons is far from the only marker he’s laid down or promise he’s tried to keep since running for president in 2008.

The president has made more than 500 campaign-related promises alone. And just last week he re-drew a line in the sand for congressional Republicans flirting with shutting down the government over his Affordable Care Act and looking for spending cuts as part of a separate deal to increase the federal debt limit. Read the rest of this entry »


Critics see contradictions in Obama administration’s Syria claims

WASHINGTON –- The planned military strikes on Syria would be “targeted, limited” and wouldn’t seek to topple the government of President Bashar Assad or even force it to peace talks. Read the rest of this entry »