Edmund Phelps is the director of the Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia University and dean of the New Huadu Business School of China and Switzerland.
He was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in economics for his work on how to determine a nation's optimal savings level, on the foundations of macroeconomics, and on the relationship between inflation and unemployment in both the short and long term. He is generally credited with introducing the idea of a "natural rate" of unemployment.
Michael Strain is an economist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute whose work focuses on long-term unemployment. Over the past year, he's been publishing papers and writing in places like National Review and the Weekly Standard urging conservatives to focus much more heavily on the plight of millions of workers who have been out of work for more than six months. We talked by phone Tuesday.
Joel Berg is the executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Before taking the former position, he served in senior positions in the Clinton Agriculture Department for eight years. He is the author of "All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America?" We spoke on the phone Tuesday morning; an edited transcript follows.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is emceeing the first-ever SelectUSA summit today and Friday to woo more foreign companies to set up shop in the United States and encourage U.S. companies to expand here instead of overseas. My colleague Howard Schneider and I sat down with Pritzker to talk about the administration's strategy in this effort. Below is a lightly edited version of our interview.
Robert Shiller: ‘When I look around I see a lot of foolishness, and I can’t believe it’s not important economically’
On Monday, the Nobel Prize committee awarded three American economists, Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen, and Robert Shiller, the world's leading economic prize. Shiller won for his work explaining some of the limits of the hypothesis -- advanced in no small part by Fama -- that financial markets are efficient. Shiller, a professor at Yale, spoke with me by phone on Monday afternoon. Below is a lightly edited transcript.
Brad Neely is a comic book artist and animator, best known for his Web videos set in the fictional town of China, IL, including the series "I Am Baby Cakes," "The Professor Brothers," and "China, IL." The latter has been adapted into a TV series of the same name by Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, with Neely as the head writer. The second season premieres at 11:30 p.m. this Sunday, on Cartoon Network.
Elton John is Elton John. In 1992, inspired by his friend Ryan White (who had died of the disease two years earlier), he founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation, a major nonprofit working on HIV prevention, as well as care and treatment for those with the disease. The initial organization, based in New York, was followed the next year by a London branch. The U.S. and U.K. branches have, together, raised over $300 million to support programs in 55 different countries, making it one of the 20 largest private philanthropic HIV/AIDS grant-makers. A list of the foundation's areas of specialty, as well as specific projects and grantees, is available here. John's book on the subject, Love is the Cure , was released last year. The paperback will be out in November, with a new foreword from Dr. Paul Farmer.
Stephen D. King may not be the author of "The Shining" or "Carrie," but that doesn't mean his new book doesn't offer a vision of a world with more, er, Misery. King, the chief economist of HSBC, argues in "When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence" that the rapid growth in the second half of the 20th century was an anomaly, and that with a return to a slower pace of growth citizens of leading Western nations need to re-adjust their expectations. We spoke recently on his trip to Washington; this transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady are the directors of " Detropia ," a documentary released last year about the city of Detroit and what decades of industrial decline and population flight have done to it. It's on Netflix; I highly recommend it. It is their fourth documentary feature; they also contributed a segment to the "Freakonomics" documentary. Their second feature, "Jesus Camp," was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2006. We spoke on the phone Friday morning; a lightly edited transcript follows.
Piper Kerman is a communications consultant with Spitfire Strategies in New York, focusing on nonprofits, philanthropies, and other public interest groups. She served 13 months, between 2004 and 2005, in a federal prison in Danbury, Conn., after pleading guilty to laundering money on behalf of her ex-girlfriend, a heroin trafficker. Her memoir of the experience, " Orange is the New Black ," has been adapted by Netflix; its first season is available now, and I'm quite fond of it. We spoke on the phone Tuesday morning; a lightly edited transcript follows. Mild spoilers for the show, though nothing you couldn't find out by reading episode summaries on Netflix.
Gordon Hanson is a professor in the economics department and School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California at San Diego, where he holds the Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations. He is also the director of the Center on Emerging and Pacific Economies at UCSD. He specializes in international migration, trade and investment issues, and has written on many aspects of U.S. immigration policy, from the effect of illegal immigration on the economy to border security.
Kevin Hassett is the John G. Searle Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Formerly an associate professor of economics and finance at the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University and a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, he served as an economic adviser to Sen. John McCain's 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns, George W. Bush's 2004 campaign, and Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign.
Mario Diaz-Balart has represented southern Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003. He has been a leader in the House Gang of Eight, which is working in parallel with the Senate Gang of Eight to develop a bipartisan compromise on comprehensive immigration reform.
We spoke on the phone Thursday afternoon about the future of the House Gang and of immigration reform generally. A lightly edited transcript follows.
What does politics in the United States have in common with that of declining empires of ages past? Too much, argues Glenn Hubbard. The Columbia Business School dean and former adviser to President George W. Bush and would-be president Mitt Romney makes the case in his new book (written with economist Tim Kane), called "Balance: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America." He sees long-simmering failings in the American political system, and the economic policies that result, as risks that ultimately endanger the nation's standing in the world. He discussed why he is not, despite it all, a declinist, in a recent conversation with Wonkblog. This is a lightly edited transcript.
'This is a massive effort to attract cheap labor.' Why Sen. Bernie Sanders is skeptical of guest workers.
Sen. Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (I-Vt.) is the junior U.S. senator from Vermont. We spoke on the phone Friday afternoon about his views on the comprehensive immigration reform legislation that is pending in the Senate. A lightly edited transcript follows.
Dylan Matthews: In 2007, you had some concerns about the immigration bill being weighed by the Senate, and voted against it. Now that the new Gang of Eight bill is out of committee, what do you make of it?
Susan Wood resigned as director of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health in 2005, when the George W. Bush administration chose to delay indefinitely a decision on whether emergency contraceptives should be sold over the counter. She is now an associate professor of health policy at George Washington University and still follows the debate over the morning-after pill closely.
Angus King is the junior United States senator for Maine. An independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats for committee purposes, he previously served as the state's governor from 1995 to 2003, and succeeded Olympia Snowe at the start of this year.
Filibuster reform was a key plank in his Senate campaign platform, and he was involved in the negotiations that culminated in the first changes to the filibuster since the 1970s (albeit less than Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley, the two senators leading the charge, wanted). He called me from his house in Maine on Friday; a lightly edited transcript follows.
Eugene Jarecki is a documentary maker whose previous works include "The Trials of Henry Kissinger" and "Why We Fight." His most recent film is "The House I Live In," a blistering critique of the conduct of the drug war and especially of its impact on poor and minority communities. We spoke in Shiloh Baptist Church in Shaw, Washington, D.C., where today he is hosting a screening of his film at 1 p.m., which will be live-streamed to churches and other venues across the nation. A lightly edited transcript follows.
Wonkblog is running aseriesofinterviewswith key lawmakers and stakeholders on the "fiscal cliff." On Wednesday, I talked with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a long-standing fiscal conservative and member of the Gang of Eight, about the state of play since the election has ended. Our conversation is below, lightly edited for length and clarity.
Sen. Conrad: No way to get the revenue necessary without significant changes on capital gains and dividends
Wonkblog is running a series of interviews with key lawmakers and stakeholders on the fiscal cliff. On Wednesday, I talked to Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), outgoing chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, about the state of play since the election has ended. Our conversation is below, lightly edited for length and clarity.
Joel Slemrod is thePaul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy and the chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan. He is an expert on tax policy, known for his empirical studies of the effects of changes in the tax code. His new book, coauthored with Syracuse's Len Burman, is Taxes in America: What Everyone Needs to Know. We spoke on the phone Sunday afternoon; an edited transcript follows.
Weekend interview: Peter Diamond on Social Security, privatization proposals and the grand bargain he’d like to see
Peter Diamond is an Institute professor emeritus of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught from 1966 to 2011. In 2010, he was nominated to be a governor of the Federal Reserve, but withdrew his nomination after he drew Republican opposition in the Senate. He shared the 2010 Nobel prize in economics with Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides for their work on “search costs” in labor markets — or the frictions that arise when employers need to find new workers,and vice versa.
The ideas and legacy of Paul A. Volcker loom as large in contemporary economic debates as his 6’7″ frame. From the merits of the most recent Federal Reserve actions to boost the economy to how to regulate Wall Street, many of the challenges of today have echoes of those that the former Fed chief grappled with in a five-decade career. William L. Silber has written a rich and detailed new biography of a man who has left as deep an imprint on the world economy as anyone of his generation. Silber, a professor at New York University and author of a bestselling textbook on money and banking, discussed the lessons for the present from his new book, “Volcker: The Triumph of Persistenc e.”
Bruce Siegel is the chief executive of the National Association of Public Hospitals, which represents the nation’s safety-net hospitals. His members include more than 60 hospital systems, largely in urban areas. As public institutions, they tend to see a greater share of Medicaid and uninsured patients, and also provide more medical services that ultimately do not prove profitable.
Ardis Hoven is an HIV specialist-based in Lexington, Ky. who, last month, became president-elect of the American Medical Association. Earlier this week, she learned of the Supreme Court decision the same way the rest of us did: from TV.
“I was in my home in Lexington and watching television,” Hoven said. “Luckily I wasn’t on CNN, so I didn’t go through the back and forth.”