FROM Tyler Cowen
US progress stalled because we're too complacent, says economist America is often portrayed as the land of opportunity, where anyone who is willing to work hard can get ahead. It’s a country of innovators, entrepreneurs, and risk-takers. But is that all still true? Economist Tyler Cowen has his doubts.
Is Income Inequality Here to Stay? "All societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others." So, "why has the US become more so than just about any other rich country in the past 30 years?" That question is raised by The Atlantic's Matthew O'Brien, in the aftermath of new figures released by the same economists who brought attention to the income gap and gave birth to the occupy movement. Those figures show that America's "1%" took more than a fifth of the nation's income last year — and the top 10% got half – something that's never happened in 100 years of data collection. But 99% have failed to see any boost at all from economic recovery. Is it all about Wall Street and the decline of organized labor? What about access to education and the impact of globalization? Steps used in the past to even the playing field aren't popular any more. Will inequality lead to unrest, or are we all just getting used to it?
An Endgame in Sight for Finance Reform As the Senate gets ready to vote on finance reform, The Financial Times has headlined, “Wall Street lobbyists braced for defeat.” Banks are highly unpopular this election year, and some conservative Republicans may join forces with liberal Democrats to crack down. But--even if Goldman Sachs could lose a big chunk of its profits—critics say the reforms deal more with symptoms than causes. Should states get back the authority they once had to protect consumers?
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.