[OP-ED]: The curse of middle-aged capitalism -- for Trump and all of us

 08/21/2017 - 13:57
In 1995, the largest five firms by market “capitalization” (the value of a company’s shares) were old-line businesses: Exxon, AT&T, Coca Cola, General Electric and Merck. By 2015, only Exxon (now Exxon Mobil) remained.

 A persisting puzzle about the U.S. economy is how it can seem both strong and weak. On the one hand, it remains a citadel of innovation, producing new companies like Uber. On the other, the economy is expanding at a snail’s pace of 2 percent annually since 2010. How could both be true? Why isn’t innovation translating into faster growth? The answer -- or part of the answer -- is that American businesses are running on two separate tracks. Call them the “youthful” and “middle-aged” tracks.

[OP-ED]: The Art of the Bluff

 08/15/2017 - 15:13
Trump has made clear that the United States would respond to North Korean nuclear threats with a massive military strike, possibly involving nuclear weapons. EFE

How did we get here? Why does it appear that we’re on the brink of a war in Asia, one that could involve nuclear weapons? North Korea has had nuclear-weapons capacity for at least 10 years now. Have its recent advances been so dramatic and significant to force the United States to wage a preventive war? No. The crisis we now find ourselves in has been exaggerated and mishandled by the Trump administration to a degree that is deeply worrying and dangerous.

[OP-ED]: El gran debate de Trump sobre el crecimiento económico

 08/15/2017 - 10:01
No hay suficiente dinero para satisfacer todas nuestras demandas, incluso a tasas más altas de crecimiento económico. Habrá conflictos entre gastos privados y gubernamentales; entre gastos nacionales y locales; entre gastos de salud y gastos de no-salud; y entre gastos dedicados a los ancianos versus los jóvenes. El presente es polémico; el futuro quizás sea peor.

La discusión entre el gobierno de Trump y sus críticos sobre una tasa de crecimiento económico sostenible suscita profundas preguntas sobre el futuro de Estados Unidos. ¿Ingresamos en un período prolongado de crecimiento económico lento? Si es así, ¿cómo altera eso la sociedad y la política? ¿O acaso las medidas “correctas” elevarán el crecimiento económico a niveles del pasado?

[OP-ED]: Trump’s great growth debate

 08/09/2017 - 08:58
There isn’t enough money to satisfy all our demands, even at higher rates of economic growth. There will be conflicts between private and governmental spending; between national and local spending; between health spending and non-health spending; and between spending on the old versus the young. The present is contentious; the future may be worse.

The argument between the Trump administration and its critics over a sustainable rate of economic growth raises profound questions about America’s future. Have we entered a prolonged period of slow growth? If so, how does that alter society and politics? Or will the “right” policies raise growth to past levels? 

If you haven’t paid attention, here’s a brief overview of the debate.

[OP-ED]: Can we die in peace?

 07/28/2017 - 08:38
Just whether the persistence of high-cost care reflects good medicine, a deep human craving to cling to life, or both is unclear. But the rhetoric about “end-of-life” care has changed more than the reality. To the question -- Can we die in peace and with dignity? -- the answer is “not yet.”

For those of us who had hoped that American attitudes toward death were shifting in ways that would promote a wider reconstruction of the health care system, there’s discouraging news from Health Affairs, the pre-eminent journal of health policy. It devotes its latest issue to “end-of-life” care and finds that -- at least so far -- the power to make health care more compassionate and cost-effective is limited.