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As a software developer and company co-founder who has lived in Palo Alto since the early 1990s, I understand the extraordinarily important contribution that immigrants have made to our technology industry over the last half century and the crucial role they play in maintaining American competitiveness. I've found it unfortunate that for years top Silicon... Read More
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Schools like Harvard have become tax-exempt hedge funds with huge returns. Ending tuition would be a form of payback.
Although Harvard is widely known as one of America's oldest and most prestigious colleges, that public image is outdated. Over the last couple of decades, the university has transformed itself into one of the world's largest hedge-funds, with the huge profits of its aggressively managed $36 billion portfolio shielded from taxes because of the educational... Read More
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Raising the Minimum Wage to $12 an Hour
During the 1950s peak of America’s post-war prosperity, Detroit was our wealthiest city, General Motors our biggest employer, and GM CEO “Engine Charlie” Wilson delivered the famously misquoted claim that “what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice-versa.” Times have changed. These days retail giant Wal-Mart is our largest corporation,... Read More
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Millions of California immigrants work in low-wage service industries. They would be among the greatest beneficiaries of our ballot initiative to raise the state minimum wage to $12 per hour. Latinos, many of whom come from a relatively recent immigrant background, would gain the most. The data shows that around half of all Latino wage-earners... Read More
Aerospace execs sell their industry to Japan­—one part at a time.
At a welcoming banquet in Japan in the 1980s, Ford Motor chairman Philip Caldwell received a memorably double-edged compliment. “There is no secret about how we learned to do what we do, Mr. Caldwell,” said the head of Toyota Motor, Eiji Toyoda. “We learned it at the Rouge.” Toyoda was referring to Ford’s fabled River... Read More
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Lifting Our State Above Mississippi and Alabama
California is home to both Silicon Valley and Hollywood, two of the world's greatest wealth-producing engines, and much of the state enjoys tremendous affluence. By some estimates, my own town of Palo Alto has the world's highest per capita concentration of billionaires. But California also has pockets of enormous poverty. The U.S. Census recently estimated... Read More
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From Making Low Wages Livable - A Symposium in The New York Times Tens of millions of low-wage workers in the United States are trapped in lives of poverty. Many suggestions have been put forth to improve their difficult situation, ranging from new social welfare programs to enhanced adult education to greater unionization. But I... Read More
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Congress is currently considering bipartisan legislation providing an amnesty for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants, probably combined with extra visas for skilled workers and an agricultural guestworker program. But principled liberals and conservatives should both demand that any immigration reform proposal also include a sharp rise in the federal minimum wage. The reason is simple.... Read More
DUBLIN --CONGRESS might be at loggerheads, the unemployment rate might be too high and America's infrastructure might be crumbling -- but Americans of all political viewpoints comfort themselves with the notion that at least they lead the world in high technology and always will. It's a pleasing, convenient idea. China can't outrun the United States,... Read More
harvard-lifestyle
Harvard's academic mission is dwarfed by its $30 billion endowment.
From its 1636 foundation Harvard had always ranked as America’s oldest and most prestigious college, even as it gradually grew in size and academic quality during the first three centuries of its existence. The widespread destruction brought about by the Second World War laid low its traditional European rivals, and not long after celebrating its... Read More
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A simple remedy for income stagnation
With Americans still trapped in the fifth year of our Great Recession, and median personal income having been essentially stagnant for forty years, perhaps we should finally admit that decades of economic policies have largely failed.
Why won’t anyone talk about Tokyo’s auto protectionism?
Mitt Romney was in his element a few years ago as the Obama administration struggled to rescue the Detroit auto industry. In an eat-your-spinach tone, he ticked off his recommendations for reform. Top management should go, executive dining rooms should be shut, and factory wages slashed. Then there were the industry’s “legacy costs”: given how... Read More
In contrasting China and America, pundits often cite our free and independent media as one of our greatest strengths, together with the tremendous importance which our society places upon individual American lives. For us, a single wrongful death can sometimes provoke weeks of massive media coverage and galvanize the nation into corrective action, while life... Read More
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Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The rise of China surely ranks among the most important world developments of the last 100 years. With America still trapped in its fifth year of economic hardship, and the Chinese economy poised to surpass our own before the end of this decade, China looms very large on the horizon. We are living in the... Read More
Tokyo--DESPITE some small signs of optimism about the United States economy, unemployment is still high, and the country seems stalled. Time and again, Americans are told to look to Japan as a warning of what the country might become if the right path is not followed, although there is intense disagreement about what that path... Read More
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The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
Will mass immigration destroy the GOP? Can our middle-class society survive high immigration levels? Is there any political solution to our current immigration difficulties? Last June the U.S. Census disclosed that non-white births in America were on the verge of surpassing the white total and might do so as early as the end of this... Read More
How currency manipulation destroyed American manufacturing
TOKYO—In the mid 1990s, I published a book entitled Blindside: Why Japan Is Still on Track to Overtake the U.S. By the Year 2000. The prediction in the subtitle did not, as they say, pan out. But it was more soundly based than casual readers of the U.S. financial press might imagine. The book offered... Read More
Meet the heterodox economists challenging globalism.
“I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws, or crafts its advanced treatises, if I can write its economics textbooks.” So said one of the greatest textbook writers of them all, Paul Samuelson. But even Samuelson didn’t live forever—he died in 2009 aged 94—and now others decide what the rising generation is reading. It is... Read More
The Pentagon sells out American manufacturing for Japanese bases.
TOKYO—When German executives visit Tokyo, they are often treated to a session at Bernd’s Bar, a notably authentic German pub. A bit too authentic, perhaps, given its Axis-era accoutrements. The last time I was there, one of the walls still featured a huge photograph of Willy Messerschmitt in conversation with Charles Lindbergh. It had evidently... Read More
The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America’s Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era, Clyde Prestowitz, Free Press, 340 pages How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds, Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch, 264 pages George W. Bush’s under secretary of commerce for international trade, Frank Lavin, was once... Read More
America goes Ottoman shopping.
Here’s an economic history test: 1. Which Great Power pioneered the secular trend towards freer international trade? 2. Which Great Power first resorted to spiraling foreign indebtedness to pay for its wars? 3. Which Great Power first permitted large-scale foreign direct investment in its domestic industries and infrastructure? If you guessed such latter-day globalizers as... Read More
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/juggernaut-japan/
Before there was Beatlemania, there was Reischauermania. Admittedly, the latter was more localized and, of course, it is not much remembered these days. But it was huge at the time, and in the end it may prove to have left a bigger mark on history. The object of adoration, a dapper, middle-aged Harvard East Asian... Read More
Libertarians plan to build floating islands to house casinos, hospitals, hotels, offices—and even new societies. Will...
The year is 2020 and I have just turned 72. Not far off the California coast, I and several other wobbly-looking people are on a boat, chugging towards a bizarre floating structure. From a distance, it looks like a luxury hotel, or something from a James Bond movie—but it’s an orthopaedic hospital. Beside fond memories... Read More
For years, economists said Germany was doing everything wrong. But today it's thriving, even in the wake of the global...
American and British commentators have told three stories about the German economy over the past decade, all of them derogatory. Articulating a standard conservative view, Adam Posen of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in 2006 characterized Germany's performance as "lastingly poor." In a similar vein, Jude Blanchette, blogging for the libertarian Mises Institute, predicted... Read More
Getting the American economy back on solid ground will require new financial regulations. Goldman Sachs alums aren’t...
As bewildered Americans survey the wreckage of their nation’s once vaunted financial system, they could do worse than reacquaint themselves with one of Wall Street’s oldest and most revealing parables. The story goes that an out-of-town customer dropped by to talk to his broker and afterwards was ushered around Lower Manhattan’s yacht-filled docks. “Here is... Read More
The U.S. is betting that a rich PRC will be democratic. Beijing disagrees.
Two bets are on the table. One has been placed by the Washington establishment, the other by the Chinese Communist Party. Analyzing China’s prospects in terms of fashionable globalist ideology, Washington is betting that a rich China will be a free one. The theory is that the only way China can continue to grow is... Read More
America will always be number one, won’t it?
TOKYO—Almost everything the Apple computer company sells these days comes with this memorable statement of origin: “Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China.” The implication is obvious: a few brilliantly creative, latte-quaffing, hybrid-driving Americans did the real work, while low-skilled Chinese assembly workers, laboring in serf-like conditions and earning a few dollars a day,... Read More
After the economist Nicholas Lardy visited China in the mid-1980s, he came away distinctly skeptical. While Chinese leaders were gearing up for a huge export drive, Lardy predicted “a marked slowing in China's trade expansion in the years ahead.” In particular he questioned Beijing's reported plan to boost total Chinese trade (imports plus exports) to... Read More
The size of the trade deficit with China is one of the hottest potatoes in American economic policy these days. It is about to get a little hotter, thanks to Beijing's highly provocative, if hitherto largely overlooked, controls on outbound tourism. In theory the United States should be a major beneficiary -- perhaps the major... Read More
n all the public bickering recently between Japan and China, one fact has received remarkably little attention: Japan's continuing refusal to pay compensation to victims of its militarist-era brutality. Ever since Japan surrendered in August 1945, one of the Japanese government's key policy objectives has been to slough off all such compensation claims. Japanese officials... Read More
For those who claim to understand the global economy, here's a pertinent question: Which East Asian economic powerhouse recently announced the largest current-account surplus in world history? The answer is Japan, although very few readers of the American press are likely to have noticed. Given the continuing media obsession with China, little news about East... Read More
When the 1970 Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson was asked what it takes to win a Nobel Prize, he volunteered, "It doesn't hurt to have good students." But even Samuelson's overachieving students -- he has taught economics at MIT for six decades -- sometimes need to be put in their place. At least that seems to... Read More
While it is still unclear how large the trade problem will loom in the presidential election, there is surely plenty to be worried about. On several occasions under George W. Bush, the monthly trade deficit has exceeded the total annual deficit -- $41 billion -- in the entire last year of his father's administration. Of... Read More
China is now widely seen as the coming superpower. But few even among the west's China-watchers understand quite how fast this geopolitical freight train is approaching. Moreover, most western observers assume that China's ambitions are being opposed by its east Asian rival, Japan. In the words of the Economist, Japan is "standing in the way"... Read More
America’s burgeoning trade deficits threaten Greenspan’s legacy.
For those who watch the American economy, the Internet boasts few more useful resources than the Web site of the Federal Reserve. In a few clicks you can mine data on everything from the level of interest rates on Black Monday to the growth of steel production under Eisenhower. Whether the topic is the trend... Read More
For a decade now, the western consensus has been that Japan is an economic basket case. But this is a dramatic misreading of a perennially secretive society. Indeed, it may come to be seen as one of the most significant misreadings in economic history. The geopolitical implications of this misunderstanding go far beyond Japan or... Read More
PALO ALTO---Regulators looking at how stock options are accounted for have seen cause for concern. I see opportunity. It's true that when actual expenses don't appear on an operating statement it can make for some rude surprises--as at Enron and elsewhere. But faced with the worrisome risk of our economy falling into a double-dip recession,... Read More
If ever there were a time for top-to-bottom reassessment of the U.S. transportation system, now is that time. James Fallows's Free Flight, published last summer, and Jim Motavalli's just-released Breaking Gridlock provide stimulating insights into the ways better technology and sensible planning might come together to improve methods of travel. Fallows offers a forward-looking account... Read More
By recent standards, the dismal U.S. trade figures for April 2000 counted as a relief. After all, imports fell slightly, and this helped narrow the trade deficit for the first time since August 1999. So much for the good news. Now for the bad: At $30.4 billion, the April deficit was just fractionally below the... Read More
Given recent concerns for the future of jobs at places such as Longbridge, Dagenham and now Nissan in Sunderland, it is past time Britain diagnosed the real reasons for the erosion of its manufacturing base. One is the notion that in the digital age manufacturing no longer matters. Almost everyone who influences policy-making has come... Read More
Given recent concerns for the future of jobs at places such as Longbridge, Dagenham and now Nissan in Sunderland, it is past time Britain diagnosed the real reasons for the erosion of its manufacturing base. One is the notion that in the digital age manufacturing no longer matters. Almost everyone who influences policy-making has come... Read More
A prominent economic commentator tells why manufacturing, not the information economy, is the key to the future...
YOU CAN HARDLY PICK UP A NEWSPAPER THESE DAYS WITHOUT reading yet another glowing account of the golden prospects supposedly in store for the United States in the so-called postindustrial era. If media comment is any guide, almost everyone these days is convinced that new information-based businesses and other postindustrial activities have superseded manufacturing as... Read More
Trade: Information Industries Cannot Match the Export Strength of the Manufacturing Ones That Fueled America's Rise
For anyone who imagines that the new information-based economy is a panacea for America's economic ills, the U.S. trade figures released Sept. 21 are a startling wake-up call. Not only do they show that the United States' chronic trade problems have not gone away, but they raise fundamental questions about the wisdom of America's New... Read More
The Information Age's booming industry is busting our nation's long-term economy
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM has it that Silicon Valley is triumphantly leading the United States toward ever greater prosperity as the American economy shifts out of manufacturing into new information-based businesses. So far the euphoria about the New Economy has come in for remarkably little reality checking -- but there are reasons to believe that the economic... Read More
With the release of the Cox Commission report, the growing national hysteria regarding relations with China has reached troubling, even alarming, proportions. Growing international hostility between America and China rather than apparent Chinese spying in America is the far greater threat to our national security. The basic conclusions of the Cox Report are certainly correct:... Read More
Reports of Japan's death as the world's leading economy were premature
IT WAS hardly surprising Tony Blair, putative future UK prime minister, was to be found in Tokyo last week. After six years of financial winter Japan is back in the global economic driving seat. The consensus is that 1996 will be Japan's most prosperous year since the financial bubble burst in early 1990. The stock... Read More
Reports of Tokyo's Economic Decline Are Greatly Exaggerated
Although the 50th anniversary of V-J Day finds Japan at a low ebb, recent financial difficulties in Tokyo should not be allowed to obscure the extent of Japan's extraordinary economic achievements in the postwar era. For one thing, many of Japan's recent problems have been exaggerated abroad. In many ways, Japan today is actually a... Read More
HAVING PULLED America back from the brink of a disastrous trade war with the Japanese, the Clinton administration deserves at least faint praise for its last-minute lack of commitment to principle. All along, Clinton's trade negotiators had demanded that the Japanese government pledge its private companies and individual consumers to specific "numerical goals and timetables"... Read More
The Ministry of Finance Perceptive Westerners may be forgiven a touch of cognitive dissonance in looking at the Japanese economy. They read daily that Japan has been badly damaged by a terrible economic slump, yet the evidence tells a different story. What are they to make, for instance, of the yen's conspicuous strength? In the... Read More
Housing: With High-Rise Building Limited to Restrict Consumption, Residents Were Crammed in Unsafe Dwellings
The confirmed death toll from the Kobe earthquake, now close to 5,100, is more than 80 times that of the Los Angeles earthquake a year ago. Why did Kobe suffer so badly? Some of the reasons have already been publicized. Kobe took a stronger jolt than Los Angeles. And the Kobe authorities seem to have... Read More
Category Classics
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution