Politics, Moderate



What most threatens the economy? You might be surprised.

WASHINGTON -- Here's today's quiz: What poses the greatest threat to America's economy? (a) federal budget deficits; (b) China; (c) trade deficits; (d) ineffective schools; (e) the internet; (f) none of the above.

The correct answer is (e), the internet -- the technological wonder of the age.

True, all the other threats are real. Runaway ...Read more

Ugh -- inflation is back

WASHINGTON -- Anyone looking for good economic news will be disappointed by the latest inflation report, which showed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) advancing by 0.5 percent in January. By itself, this isn't especially alarming -- prices jump around month to month -- but it has troubling implications for the future. To some economists, it ...Read more

Will the Olympics go bust?

WASHINGTON -- Whatever the virtues of the Olympics, economics is not one of them. As we enjoy this year's winter games in South Korea, we ought to ponder the possibility that the Olympics will one day price themselves out of existence. It will cost so much to host the Olympics extravaganza that no one will want to do it.

Although that may seem ...Read more

America's prudence deficit

WASHINGTON -- Well, we just kicked the can down the road again -- to quote former President Barack Obama, who developed into an expert can-kicker during his eight years in the White House.

The bipartisan budget agreement reached last week by Congressional leaders is nothing if not a huge evasion of responsibility. Neither party will make the ...Read more

Trucking and the future of work

WASHINGTON -- The future of trucking may tell us a lot about the future of work. It's no secret that many Americans fear losing their jobs to automation. In a Pew Research Center poll last October, nearly three-quarters of respondents worried that "computers and robots could do most of the work currently done by humans." And yet the job market ...Read more

Commonsense immigration for the 21st century

WASHINGTON -- We are a nation of immigrants who are uneasy about immigration. There is a long history of resentment against immigrants, dating to the Irish immigrants in the 1840s and the Chinese a few decades later. This contrasts with our demonstrated ability to absorb newcomers. It's time to overcome this two-headed legacy with an immigration...Read more

A year later, TPP is still a Trump disaster

WASHINGTON -- As President Trump prepares to appraise the state of the union, it's worth remembering what still ranks as one of the worst decisions of his presidency: the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. It happened just about a year ago.

You'll recall that the TPP was an agreement between the U.S. and...Read more

Are we hostage to the stock market?

WASHINGTON -- The stock market is going gangbusters -- but whether this reflects the economy's underlying strength or runaway speculation is a question that stumps many experts. Hence, the need for this column: a primer on the red-hot stock market. Will it sustain the economy or ultimately kill it?

The boom is undeniable. In 12 out of the first...Read more

The shutdown solved nothing

WASHINGTON -- OK, the shutdown is over. But no one should be fooled into thinking that this settles the big questions facing the country. Even if (a big "if") the immigration laws are overhauled and the nearly 700,000 "Dreamers" stay in the United States, at least three large issues remain that neither party has yet had the courage to confront. ...Read more

China and the global race for knowledge

WASHINGTON -- The National Science Foundation and the National Science Board have just released their biennial "Science & Engineering Indicators," a voluminous document describing the state of American technology. There are facts and figures on research and development, innovation and engineers. But the report's main conclusion lies elsewhere: ...Read more


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