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tv   Michael Strain The American Dream Is Not Dead  CSPAN  April 12, 2020 1:05pm-2:11pm EDT

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at # we love bookstores. according to books sales, they dipped 13 percent in the last week in march compared to the year prior. publishers continue to make changes to the publication schedules and many of the announced layoffs, and the closing of their distribution centers. spring book festivals and conferences have been canceled with book fairs in san antonio and in maryland three or opting not to reschedule. also cancellations of their inner conference in june in chicago predict los angeles times festival of books originally set to take place in april, has decided to hold their 25th annual festival in october. book tv will continue to bring you new programs and publishing news. you can also watch all of our anytime, apple tv .org. >> good evening everybody. we will get started.
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welcome, to the enterprise institute. i am the director. aei is my great pleasure tonight to welcome you to discussion of important new book by my good friend and colleague michael strain. michael is the director of economic studies here and is a widely published scholar in economics and public finance and many other areas. in his new book is an exceptional clear and broad overview of the space of american economic life. actual conditions we face, the trends over recent decades and have us relate to some of the most dark stories that we hear in our politics about the conditions the americans are experiencing. also where prospects are pretty he finds i think it is fair to say that things are much better than the mood of our politics and the critics of the market economy sometimes suggest prayed that we do face risks and that maybe that mood and this critics are among the most important of
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those risks. his controversial thesis and a conservative, i am resistant to be sheared up until everything is fine read but it is very powerfully argued thesis and as you will see in here tonight, and very thoroughly supported thesis in the book pretty joining us tok. respond to the arguments is richard reeves, one of the smartest social analyst and policy thinkers in washington. richard is the whitehead share and fellow in economic studies. he is a director of the commission from the season middle class and the other of many important articles and a number of important books including the most recent recently dream borders on the market middle class is leaving everyone is in the dust and why that is a problem and what to do about it. our format will be very simple. mike will offer us an overview of the book overview. richard will have a response and i will moderate a brief conversation between the two of them. then we will draw all of you
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into a conversation withom q&a. so with that let's welcome michael strain. [applause]. mike: coming.u also much for you that very generous introduction. the title of the book is making the argument, "the american dream is not dead" and the subtitle is a secondary argument is that it might kill us with populism. an excellent cover and there's really no reason to read anything on the inside. but we will talk about that. what do we mean by the american dream. let's just start from the top. there are many definitions in these many different things to many people. the freedom to choose how to live your life, to have a good life, meaningful work and good families. a strong community comfortable retirement. homeownership is a big part of the american dream in thet popular imagination.
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i would argue that a key part of this dream is economic success. no matter what flavor of the american dream are most interested in are the particular definition is printed everyone's involves a large economic component usually defined for the idea that your kids will grow up toid be better off the new, the idea that you can do better yourself. through hard work and that you can see your economic outcomes advance. and then the idea that there is a rags to riches component. this also is a strong economic component in the idea that a poor person can look to be a billionaire or president that that sort of thing. this is part of the market drink that i focus on in this book. the economic component because i think that is just so central to everybody and shared understanding of this important motivating national concept.
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the national conversation assumes that the american dream is dead. president trump with his usual nuance, sn, the american dream is dead. this was of course his name during the primaries in 2016 cycle, and after he was elected to come in his inaugural address discussing american courage and how terrible everything is pretty is pivoted in the few months which is good. tt this is really a defining characteristic of the presidency. so there is a storycy about his family. at about how this family came to america and didn't have a lot of education and help the success across generations. he told the story back in 2016 as an example of the american dream being alive. but in the past few years he tells these tapes are the same story with the same set of facts except uses is arguing that path
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is no longer possible that they american dream has disappeared. elisabeth warren, the rich get amrericher anybody else falls bd and is ranked and bernie sanders, and nightmare, josh hawley, some of the americans have nothing real really just 30 years. in then prize-winning economist from the clinton administration said the american economy this feeling is citizens. as billion air investor. carlson referring to the dark and age we are living through. in the market dream is dying. and my is that this is bipartisan. this is something you hear from sprite senior left and officials from both parties, from business leaders and from public opinion leaders public intellectuals, there is a consensus. my point in this book is that that consensus is misplaced. for those not to be contrarian, americans have high expectations for the economic accounts and for success their children will have that is a good thing. in america it is faced serious
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economic challenges that i spent a chapter in this book discussing some of this that i think that is most serious printed and also social challenges. trying to diminish or to sugarcoat or to ignore any of the real problems we face. instead of trying to be accurate. it trying be accurate about the broad picture of the american experience. how american life is experienced bby most people in those circumstances. i think thatcu we are focusing o much on these pockets of real struggle that we are confusing those pockets of struggle for the common experience facing people. i think the american people keep hearing that their experiences the same as the experience of people and places who are really suffering and really struggling. i don't want to deny that suffering are struggling do want to say that those are atypical situations. and they commonn experiences muh
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more positive than the narrative suggests. so this is a simple assertion. the economy is delivering for american workers printed and they have not been stagnant for typical workers of the past three decades printed the broader quality of life has improved significantly for households over this past few decades printed middle income jobs have been hollowed out in the economic dynamic has been created and destroyed a lot of destruction created, we begin to hear about the creativity and if you look you see the new metal maybe starting to form. where the old middle has been eroded. americans broadly characterized by economic ability. in a couplemi of other assertios itself that the narrative about the market dream matters and that we need to do more to maintain and secure the dream for the next generation. very briefly, i will set up here for about 20 minutes. then i want to give richard the
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opportunity to respond and then have some discussions. i will not be able to cover all of that but i will do the best i can. i thought it would be better to have some real disagreement. other than just have me send a pair lecture for an hour. so the economy is delivering from workers. simple statistics printed the bottom 10 percent has grown over one third faster than the growth of the medium over the last several e years. it didn't implement right workers without a high school diploma is long-term average, than the other from college graduates currently. wages for nonsupervisory workers have been going faster than overall average wages since last february. the argument of the gains from the hot economy are only inferring and the people at the top and that the game is rigged against workers who are not at the very top, there's just not supported by the data. right now currently, they are reaching, wide parts of the markets, labor markets are the
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most vulnerable workers. my second argument, wages have not stagnated for decades. we'll spend a little more time here. this is a graph of wages. this is a graph of that wages of nonsupervisory workers. these are production workers and manufacturing and construction workers and construction and nonsupervisory workers in the services. these include this group of workerss about 80 percent of all workers. about about four - five workers. the of these people as workers not managers know what i have done is plot the average wage for workers in that roof. adjusted for inflation, and i want to make some simple of the observations. throughout the 60s and going into the 1970s, there was rapid and sustained wage growth for this group of workers. then went to see this from the mid- 1970s to the van 1990s, that this group of workers did
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not do so well. you see stagnant and declining wages. early 1990s, ic wages going up. i do not see wages being stagnant. other periods where wages are not going during this 30 year period, yes but on the whole, if your choices to characterize this as stagnant or an increasing, i thing is quite clear that over the last three decades, the most accurate way to characterize it is to simply they have been increasing. let's look at this. is common to go back to 1973 and one of the things that i want to do in this book is to argue that comparisons between 1973 and 2020, is too long of a window to make comparisons about it. utbut it is common to go back to 1973. wages have grown since 23 percent i would not call that stagnant. it would not call it spectacular, but i certainly would call it would not call it
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stagnant. i would argue though we should not compare 1973. this debate about wages among the politics in washington, often gets hung up on what price index to use to adjust for inflation. i want to say, that what we really should be debating is the starting of the year. unless i'm debating the price index more time debating the actual. that we are making the comparison over and so why did the default started 1973 or 1979. when you see there's this 30 year period in which wages have been going up in i argued that it in 1990. why because when politicians argued that wages have been stagnant for addicted people here that is referring to their wages. they're currentlyre working. 1973 was seven years ago. the purpose of the policy debate, a more recent your more
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prevalent the people who are working, seems pretty straightforward in 1990 was a cycle peak in the summer of 1990 was close to a structural break and seems to have broken. what, i mean, by that is if you started 1973, what you're doing is comparing this inflaming. of stagnation and decline of her. growth that to me seems to be a statistically inadvisable. i think instead calculate growth. where wages are growing and calculate stagnation of her. where wages are stagnating and out inside the two. in 1990 was roughly 30 years ago in her lawn talk about several decades. this seems like a reasonable length of time to go back. it is harder to adjust for inflation to go further back in time. in one of the ways we can
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sidestep all of these what to go back. about tenl years, the president instances agreed much more pretty than if you go back 20 or 30 years. so, going out t to get down in price index debate is to focus on a shorter time. but my main point is that even if you do want to go back to the 70s, it is really not a complete picture to argue that wages have been stagnant. instead i think you need to characterize the twonk different periods. so if you want to go back to the 70, fine you should be saying that wages stagnated throughout the 70s and 80s and 90s but then since the early 90s, wages have been growing. that seems to me to be a much more positive complete characterization of the behavior in wages.
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so 33 percent growth, 34 percent growth over the last 30 years. as a properly described stagnant. it is slow growth in the top 1 percent rate iser significant increase in purchasing power. as you we should be content with it. not stagnant but not fast enough. let's acknowledge that is different than what is happening at the top. but is more than wrong than right to describe it as stagnant. instead of one third of purchasing power is significant. this is a graph, that adjusts wages using growth series. using the closer you get, the more the price and people agree and the other arguments, not to go back so far. medium wages have grown by 24 percent. wages for the 10 percent has grown by about one third in
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wages for the other have grown by about a third and the 30th 3percentile has grown roughly around there as well. so you can argue the median wages have gone up by one quarter and the working class and low income wages have gone up by one third. not stagnation. when income. they can choose three different ways of income. if you look at the post- tax and post transfer income, you see that that is not up by 44 percent of median household market has gone up by about 21 percent. if you look at the bottom 20 percent come easy because back to my two thirds in market income has gone up by 4 percent and again not stagnant. lower than the top 1 percent but not stagnant pretty income inequality has been declining as well. if you look at income series and a standard measure of inequality, what you see is a significant increase in equality in 1980s and 90s.
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since the great recession, my concern about inequality exploded pretty actually seen the 7 percent decline in this measure of inequality using the post transfer tax income if you look at marketing and comes to be seen increase about 2 percent and this is another example of how the narrative about my coworkers has not kept up with the data. wages were stagnant in the 1970s 1980s. as a been true for three decades and inequality was growing rapidly and 80s 90s and for the past decade is been growing much less rapidly. it was another measure of inequality which is just the ratio of earnings from the 90th percentile. in other measures as well. and you see w these also have nt shown any significant growth and inequality over the period. two people care about inequality. i'm going to cover this very
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briefly, this chart here shows concern about inequality and graft against actual inequality. so public perception of that, the rich are a getting richer versus the actual behavior of this coefficient. there's not much of a relationship. in fact the coefficient is i negative. if you look at this graph, this is a graph of concern about inequality and wage growth and you see that wages are growing from the 1990s. the concern about inequality is going down. so combine all of those three facts together. the measurement of the i quality is going up the concerns going down in the wages are going up. this is made people care a lot more about how they're doing that they care about the actual behavior of the rich poor gap. my third big point, life is better decades ago, this goes without saying.
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like to show this graph. it's very important to me personally. you see, significant growth in the chair of homes with air conditioning over this. any of perhaps more seriously there have been significant advances to the medical care.on in transportation safety. the idea that life is somehow better 30 or 40 years ago, even for the white working class, really borders on the observed is you actually take the argument seriously, it is impossible to imagine as many people if anybody would actually go back in time and live 40 years ago no matter what their current social economic is situations now. middle-class jobs. this is a chart that shows the hollowing out of the distribution and you see, employment losses in the middle. production workers and clerical
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workers, these are the jobs with political feelings during the trump era. you see an increase of most low-wage jobs along with increases in higher wage jobs. this is been considerable economicco dislocation. can sit are of suffering the lives of many people. the collision between expectations and reality where expectations were not refer fill the parade and is very serious reality for americans economic and social lives. to put some numbers on it, if you look at low middle and high occupations, there's 31 and 38 and 30 percent of total employment. so roughly they were spread equally. then if you look 1970 to the present those tunnel occupations only constitute about 23 percent of the lower employment.
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that is a significant decline. but what happened to these workers. a whole lot of them ended up moving into a higher income bracket. so you see in the start that the red line shows that the share of households making between 35k5k and 100k has gone down considerably. it but they've been replaced with muscles that are earning more than 100k. it not been replaced with households earning less than 355 k. so this is a story of destruction but that has some positives elements to it as well. i'll skip over this in the interest of time but to say that if you focus excessively on the production jobs and clerical jobs, economic political extensions you see that they are declining as the ship share of employment. but if you look, you see there is actually significant growth in other types of metal skilled in middle wage jobs.
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these are care support occupations education and training occupations, personal care and services. actually there's a lot of growth inth these chef occupational categories. apparently we want more chefs. i have a list. food service managers, right there. right there at theoo bottom. so the moral of the story is it creates but also destroys printed but also creates and we hear a lot about the discretion we don't hear a lot about the creativity did so what is happening, in those middle-aged, occupations is what happens under dynamic ballistic technology. technology comes along and replaces some workers and some tax but it creates a new opportunity. workers need to take advantage of those opportunities. public policy to assist workers in doing so.
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the moaning economic change is attempting to stop it is going to end up hurting the very workers you're trying to help rated upward mobility. rags to riches. i'll explain this in any great detail. i have calculations to see what is share of people, though born in the bottom make it to the top. it is about 7 percent. what share of people who were born in the top make it to the bottom. i can't read that. it looks like it is 8 percent. so this still happens in america. it is not common. it is not the norm is not something to be expected if you wanted to the bottom 20 percent. but you can go from the bottom to the very top in america. if you want to look at rags to
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converse, you see considerably more upward mobility. people born in the bottom 20 percent and then the next quintile, end up in the rising into middle-class and pretty good clip. the measure of upward mobility is not that sort of relative ranking. i just want to ask are you doing better than your parents did. and what i have done is these calculations is look at people who were in the 40s today. about their household income. if you're 40 something years old today. are you earning more than yourod parents hard when your parents were the same age. in about three quarters of people who are in the 40s today, have a higher household income appearance at the parents were in the 40s. if you were born in the bottom 20 percent, 86 percent of this 40 -year-olds have a higher household income than theirhe parents had when their parents
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were in the 40s. this strikes me as considerable upward mobility. much more, median family income is4 about 54 percent if you wee raised in the bottom 20 percent is up by 153 percent. these are trivial numbers. gains. earnings,th includes government transfer printed a look at man, and essay i will about been in the 40s, how many of them earn more money than fathers are the father was in his 40s. there was about 60 percent of your race in the bottom, is about 80 percent. the reasoning is 60 percent is because people in the 40s who were raised at the top, a lot of them are actually earning less than theirin dad's dead. he said essentially, it's pushed down but there is still the norm
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for men to out earn their fathers. and if you're raised in the low income bracket or if you will race in thehe working class, the quarters to 80 percent go on to outline the fathers pretty much more, 64 percent. and working, 30 percent. nontrivial gains. i have some material prepared on the populist threat in the to the american dream. when in the interest of time i will: that until we get to the discussion. i copied this pretty much verbatim on what i published in the washington post. so maybe it should read that but really should write. th by the k and then read the book. and see if i am consistent. now i i will invite richard rees up to the stage for the want to thank richard for doing this. aei is committed to ideas pretty
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and an tackling these ideas in the book, are difficult. and they are not straightforward and there is plenty of room for reasonable disagreements. so i was thinking about how to put this book events together, that would be better to have some of that reasonable disagreement on display. the event rather than having just an apparent present my version of this situation. and i was thinking to myself, is the most thoughtful person i could find to present a compelling argument and he wasn't available so i asked my friend richard. [laughter]. if he could come and richard was happy to do so. welcome richard. [applause]. richard: thank you michael for that kind introduction. michael strain has a well written book. congratulations. i willly just very briefly outle
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things and then i will make comments about the broader debate. and i'm going to focus a little bit of what the incentives are rated then it is true that it is cosmic deep news totally because working for him in some way. i agree that there's overstatements on the left and right and the rod trends. the middle class has been killed. i think that is true. there's asi bipartisan overstatement of the problem. in fact, it can growth in wages, have been solid rated not spectacular, but not stagnant. they seem to be the right words to be using. into these broad at three favorites a very strong growth followed by stagnation followed by more growth. via not a strong credit but in fact one of the problems the debate is the postwar years,
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with the exception. when you have an economy growing on the average of 4 percent a year, over 25 years, then you're going to get a lot of upward mobility a lot of people getting betterf. off and it seems at tht era of american history cast quite a shadow over the debate because at some level particularly those who are old enough to remember those years, a sort of fix that is the norm. items not the norm, is the exception to the norm. agreement trade is good. on that and in the long run in the china shop, the u.s. manufacturing, that is real. but a small mostly geographically targeted it. and out magnified in certain places. they estimate that the impacts of the china chalk has had less than 1 percent impact on the employment of the population ratio. and mostly in the past. the risk from prosperity, and the risk to social harmony from racial.
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a risk dynamism which michael didn't talk about but in this book, people losing jobs etc. i would also add that that shock declining geographical mobility of americans is another reason to worry about this. we agreed that the value of work goes way beyond the economic facility to include dignity and proper structure etc. i strongly agree with michael statement of age 135. the government needs to do more to advance economic opportunity to those who need it most. every. wilfred: for areas of disagreements. the first discernment is don't think you need to be offensive government, as michael appears to be in order to be and type popular. michael talks a lot about the need for limited government. he has dim view of government bureaucrats etc. pretty relatively for someone who is at the free market, as marco is but it seems to me they can think
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about that waste that it takes to defend us. the government can provide insurance security human capital in thent markets can rewarded risk-taking innovation and hard work. rather than seeing the two is somite opposed to each other, i prefer to think about the role of the marketing government is rather like the two argument put out as you balance your weight across the fallen logs pretty too much of one you will fall but to much of the other, you might fall two. i am thinking a little bit about the way the correct activity is sometimes lessons and anxiety and was risk-taking and am reminded in my home country, made a very strong free-market argument to socialized health on the grounds of thetr great thins you never have to worry about what you're healthcare is coming from. in risk to move in a new job. a center printed simply to use that is a need an example that i don't think it's necessary to oppose it. you can have a strong and active
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government and in a dynamic economy. i would argue that the false choice of oppose betweenfa the two, on both the left and the right, in some ways some of the biggest things that we face. i sometimes feel as if our debate, are stuck in the era was defined by your attitude towards government. big or small, the bigger question is what are our goals. but about institutions that can help us achieve them. what is the best blend into the market state in achieving those goals. rather than having the pro and type government approach. the very often, the government can play a good role. the tax reform was passed by president trump and until it was best, for every dollar, that the u.s. federal government spent on trade adjustment assistance, to help displaced workers and for every single dollar, we spent $25 of tax subsidies to elite
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colleges. i would argue quite strongly that we should be spending that kind of money but we should not be spending it on the colleges we should be spending it on the workers who might be affected by trade. n and people should maybe start thinking about how the system is working but maybe $25 going to the elite colleges. it actually just michael's own charts show from the difference between the pre- tax transfer inequality levels and post text transfer that the government is lot.lly been doing quite a i'll talk more about that in a moment. in the second thing, and i will be brief about it, is that not in great shape. yes is not deadly, but is not in great shape printed one thing, you can make an argument, and it would make an argument, middle class iss not been doing quite s
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well. they had some growth, and goes back to 1979, so with all of this morning, with this doesn't show you the cost or what is been the growth of the top 20 percent. in the little envelope is the bottom 20 percent in the redline is the middle three quintile. middle 60 percent. that's how we define the middle class. so which saying, is 80 percent plus increase in household incomes and obviously not the same people read all of the income groups which is about twice as much as we have seen in the middle of the distribution. so that might speak a little bit to the people who feel they have been left behind. they include all taxes and transfers. it includes the value of healthcare. government provided health care actually can take out of the healthcare, the bottom 20 percent dropshe significantl. the reason why is because is have kept up and the large part
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the top is government and government provided health care and subsidy. so i think that the weight that i interpreted this chart is over this time. the market is served with top 2e government has served with bottom 20 percent reasonably well for the middle 60 percent of arguably not as well served. the third thing and i will talk very briefly. i found it difficult and enthusiastically cheer the balance of mobility. as he talks about these quintile transitions. i'm not going to cheer for that downward mobility but i will say that if you want more people rising up into the top 20 percent is a matter of math. more people have to fall out of it. and a more troubled actually by the fact that the 20 percent of them over time, then there is more movement over time is lower than another country send it is pretty sticky in certain places but it more s importantly we should ask how is it that those in the top 20 percent are
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passing those advantages to those kids and some of the ways we can do that is through our education system. and they're blatantly unfair. and i'm not just talking about operation blue i also think that the contribution towards the downward mobilization of inequality is somewhat greater than michael suggested. the different chart is one that he shared in the famous one social science from a study of follies shows that you will be better off than your parents. and 50 percent if you're born in the 80s all kinds of issues with the shark. and you get, they know just household size and etc. then what they do is a figure how much will you are what chance will you have be better off than your parents. and what the show, fight planning two kinds of actuals is what it would be like if we see inequality at the same level drop growth and what would you have likely done. more of that drop were down but
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driven by a change in distribution of growth rather than these numbers. and something when you take seriously, the distribution part of the story. and i just want to make a couple of broader points. the first thing is that as michael suggested, you can choose your stories and select your data. michael has commendably been present table of these decisions and i do not propose we get into a vertically long discussion about this. these are wages and what i have done in the use of different data set than michael. i just put my data set up on his data set that they look pretty similar. i will focus just on mine. so this is michael's, you see it pretty healthy will real wage growth. right. now use the median, rather than the average, not quite so great. the full deal of it.
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down 17 percent. i will use a different inflation measure. the one michael does not like. not going to get into a discussion about that though. there are seven who care about this. [laughter]. but for what it's worth, so i'm done that and i brought it down. oregon that bit lower. i'll do what michael does not like, i go back to the late 70s. i think i can use stagnant now. now that a really nice drop. summa point is not that to give you this is right or wrong, he can make arguments about which is the right one in which is the roman assembly this debate, it's very important to do what
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michael did ask all of these questions. there are women now involved in this. etc. not just made this point because we should be careful we choose our narrative and define facts. two great comments, expectations really matter. if you can't read the whole book, read the arguments on the right, i think about these issues right now. very interesting part what do people expect, i'm at wage growth did they expect why. because ofir their gender or thr fathers earned that much etc. i think michael makes a strong case. people seem to compare themselves to the previous
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generation. people like them. working-class white men. that may be the wrong thing to do but it is what people aspirated policy want to talk about is why are we drawn to these stories. first of all, politicians will do it. they're not going to get elected. donald trump is an example. he sang the american dream is dead. but it's in his interest to say these can be fixed. median american has always gone to extremes pretty i will note that the pessimism pessimism danger is more to the left and the right. the government has a whole lot more in the last 23 years. i think we can ask logistically, where has the money gone. i think they have done pretty well the last 30 years. we should be honest about the fact that something of an
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intellectual: about pessimism and pleasantness in. investable, is it pessimistic climate. my hero said in the middle of the 19th century it is thought essential of any man who knows anything of the world, to think ill of it. a study of people looking at book reviews, some are negative and some are positive. in the rate the intelligence of the reviewer and the reviewers who are negative for re- viewed as much more lever. and speaking about optimism and too many of our minds. the danger, is overstating problems in order to justify our solutions is very great indeed. especially those solutions are radical. in order to gain a larger share of the attention will be more people signing up to our idea. it is attractive and offensive
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to do so is strong printed and even more than two michael's credit, that he managed to produce an argument, which i agree with, but is provocative. in his managed to be both reasonable and he is responsible but without any loss of intellectual brilliance. rather the other waysp around. and that's what makes it even more annoying altogether. i congratulate him on his work. thank you michael. [applause]. [inaudible]. >> thank you both. thank you michael for a great book and richard thank you for great commentary. i will open it up for people in the room now read michael to give you first fault chance to respond to richard pretty think about it that struck you that
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requires an answer. mike: um, no. >> great. [laughter]. i want to push on one point mike brady seems to be the son some of the arguments that you are having with some of our friends on thehe right, there's a lot of things carefully run the question of women. and even in . mike: yes printed thing mr. carlton described the entry of women is a disaster which is not really an undercurrent statement. i'm sorry go ahead printed. >> owner if for small you think you do that yourself. host: their places in the book where you mentioned the minute had it worse. and certainly populism is driven by the fact that is been worse but in a lot of discussion of
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what you make of that fact. and some of the debates we are having. is it that men are legging while women are rising, is that one the cause of the other. as the resulting politics best understood through the lens of the difference between them. you make of the economic defense of the women entering into the workforce. mike: i think that i did not want to get bogged down into discussions of specific subgroups. >> i'm here to block you down. mike: had to do here in the book. i wanted to really focus on the broader picture. and since you are asking, male workers are relatively more educated and been doing fine. but if you are a man, and you did not graduate high school, you're in bad shape did and the opportunities available to you in the labor market are significantly limited it.
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now minority of workers of course, but it is still imperative that we have better public policy to help advance economic opportunities to those workers printed i think you're also right that the group of workers in particular, and some of the american heartland's and rust belt states had been driving a lot of our current political moments. and not wrong. host:re i'm suggesting that they're not wrong to think that there opportunities are less than they wwould have four. they're not wrong to think of their opportunities are less than they can have reasonably expected when they work growing up. but i think that the conservative and want to kiss you with some of the friends on our right, there soft to this reality. and is been deeply disappointing. onlypp an 8080s 90s a major
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debate about welfare reform in this country. and conservatives have made the argument that low income african americans should be expected to work and that the argument that that was somehow beyond their capability ability given their position in life was denying them. that there was amply economic opportunities in public policy was willing to help them created in the bill that eventually got passed into law and the phrase, personal responsibility and the title. the reformed welfare. no talking about white men and heartland do not have a college education and all of a sudden, their victim of a rigged game. directives of the elites. the wall street elites open up china to free tried to enlist themselves printed and that has administrated them to theirir
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expense. the conversation on the right, acts as if they do not have responsibility or agency and that they are not able to take advantage of the opportunities they have. i find that disconnect to be extremely troubling. and i also think that the narrative on the right is analytically wrong word we certainly use better policy for those workers. but f there is opportunity for many of those workers in the current economy and certainly homore the public the public debate would suggest. and finally i would say that i think they would respond better to the different message. we need some of our leaders to give them shots. host:
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the stagnant wage is agreed with. but significant white roof for women. obviously if you put them together you get a different story. he economically, the women rights has been hugely good for the economy no one denies that. something about the fact that the capacity and this is what you get some people on the right, only focus on men for good reason. and i think we take seriously the idea that the capacity of men in a traditional sense is thought significantly less than it was today. the economic requirements when they are with a man, significant less than was with the expectation, the men have of themselves into a logic, women still have a min is to have that breadwinning capacity. so quite seriously, there could
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be a lag between the ability of man in the current market to perform that traditional role. in the continuing expectation on the part of men and women i'm a in the puts apart a lot of men in a difficult position. and that may be at the heart of many of the problems that we are saying. it. host: one further related question here. you begin with the premise that the market during is the greatest extent of economics. and then you wonder why people complain even though the economy is doing fine. the complaints mean that the american dream is not about economics the least is not mentally about it. mike: it to be true. it is a complicated concept for nothing a lot of the complaints t are driven by the great recession. there was an economic event. recession was tremendously disrupted. millions and millions of workers
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in households suffered enormously as a part of that. the description is really is what lifted this fire that we are still living through this is part of a pattern. if you look back at the past 150 years, and you look at the 30 - 40 of the world's leading democracies, what you see is regulator tease, if there's a financial presence that is followed, you see a big upswing and you actually see a large increase in the share of legislature and the seats that are held by populist candidates printed the united states epithet pattern perfectly. the financial crisis that we express was much larger which stands reason that would take longer for the to work its way through the system. another structural reasons why my take longer. we have a presidential system.
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but i still see this as being driven largely by economics. but of course, people experience life as participants and with their families and communities. there are a lot of signs of trouble and economic realms as well. so i'm open to the idea that there is something more escomplicated. host: was take questions. please just tell us who we are and try to frame the question is a question. let's start here. guest: mike, if you can hear me. what is populism and how could it kill the american dream. mike: realism is a kind of system of
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animosity in which the people have pitted against the elites read that has different flavors and historical context. i would argue that more than one in a threaded populism and play in the united states are now rated but there is a defining characteristic fighting against the elites printed out could kill the market bring. he kill into a sprint one way is the policies. in a populist response to perceived flights of the white working class in the trade war. that is most expression of the populism in terms of actual public policies. building trade war, it's raising consumer prices and dampened
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exports and have actually purchased some of the stocks in the company there still in the community that helps. the most recent evidence suggests that the trade war has reduced manufacturing employment rather than increased manufacturing employment. so these policies are bad for the market workers. bernie sanders, also a populist campaign, his economic campaign would be a disaster for americans workers and their households. it's not really a whole lot of pulp solace with his taxes in the habit itself. i think policies also affect long-term prosperity in other ways. the presidents extreme animosi animosity, threatens the united states rule as the destination for some of the most ambitious and best and brightest evil to come. and the president attacks on
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institutions and attacks on the norms of governance that are carried out on behalf of the people against the system. they threaten long-term prosperity by weakening those important institutions what the fed and by weakening the culture of governance. bernie sanders will have similar effects. he said the billionaires shouldn't exist. that's exactly the opposite message that the president of the united states should be t rooting for more filling there is not fewer. the president should not be sending a message, that they should be punished in the success. isit is something to despise. so there are serious risks from the policies and posture of populism. in the second way that i think is deeply damaging to the american dream is the narrative did precisely because it is not true that the game is rigged.
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precisely because itt is true that hard work pays off, workers enjoy the fruits of the labor and income arts stagnant and then american is broadly upward. precisely because those things are true. if all people here, they condemned their aspirations, reduce their energy, can sap their dynamism. in civil things, if people were less hard and aspire, their economic outcomes will suffer. ... ... certainly work much more effectively to help those in positions of power than others. you yourself talk about the housing market in the book, and i think there's a strong case
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for the housing market is rigged in favor of those on the right side of the zoning laws, et cetera. other examples, higher education system, the complexity, weirdness. if not rigged in favor of those who are affluent and well-formed and well-ode indicated. so the populist lang anger against the system, isn't working for me but is working for us. don't discount the truth to that and that should create some possibility of consensus. >> i agree that populism in the uk where i come from and the u.s., it's antiopen. it's a turning inwards, and it's -- it's a real distinction, not arrest and right, open and closed. the closing in is dangerous and
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damaging. but i think breeds and feeds on pessimism, which is the heart of the argument here. this wheres i am going to agree with you. have to be careful. we have to take seriously the problems because american capitalism -- capitalism generally and american capitalism especially runs on optimism. you start business because it's a reliable sense it would pay off and a future utility koles from the investment and risk. i you start to believe it won't, why move? why risk college? why start a new business? if you cease to believe there's this better future, so actually the real enemy i think of capitalism is not socialism. it's pessimism. and so that's the reason i think we can try to find a more reasonable consensus. everything is not right. we have to disagree about the
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role of government and fixing it, but nor are we going to hell in a hand cart, because if you believe that, you're indeed in the hand cart. >> i think time for one more quick question. right here in the middle. >> glad i got the other one. it's hard not to comment a little bit. michael, sounds like mark anderson, world impact news and an independent journalist, sounds look you're defending the status quo at all costs and a real other quick comment is all taxes make prices go up. nose just tariffs. tech taxes, property taxes, any tax you apply will eventually reach the price tag and result in increasing prices so people say, well, free trade, protectionism and trophies that trump did in the trade war, that's bad because it makes consumer product prices go all, but all taxes make price goes up, not just tariffs. that's something people
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overfocus on tariffs. one thing i would mention, d. >> one question. >> this is mr. reeves. i'll get to a question. ever heard of the social credit school ch doug louse out of britain and jk chesterton's distributism. the idea was that it's not that the economy is rigged but that it it has defects and the defect is we have a debt-based money system and the problem is consumerism and the ability of people to buy what is purchased and we need a diet-free monetary system, not a debt-based mob tear same, based on introducing new money into the economy so it's more of a monitor infrastructure problem which government could be involved. in have you ever looked at that aspect, distributism, social credit, not to be confuse if we the chinese social credit. >> let me -- >> now becomes a question about -- >> i would content it's a
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monetary infrastructure problem and the inability of people to buy what is produced because there's a shortfall. >> so, i am not attempting to defend the status quo. and let me agree with richard that there are obvious areas for improvement in public policy, i think house is one of them. occupational licensing is another one. i don't remember all the ones you mentioned. higher education. there's plenty of low-hanging fruit there. in the book i devote a chapter to describing what i think are some really pressing problems facing the country, and i devote a chapter to discussing some policy solutions i think could help improve things. so, my point is not to say everything is perfect. there are no problems, and there's no need for any new solutions. my point instead is to say that the national narrative but these
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issues is so completely disconnected from the underlying reality that there needs to be a corrective. just because there needs to be a corrective doesn't mean that the status quo is perfect. it just means it needs to be i think re-context to allized. >> well, we'll end there thank you very much. the book is "the american dream is not died." michael strain. thank you. [applause] >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. here are some programs to watch out for this weekend. on "after wordsment" netflix director of inclusion, michelle king, examines what she they'd invisible barriers that prevent women from succeeding succeedine workplace. the library of congress hosts a virtual author talk with tulane
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university professor john barry on miss become on the 1918 ininfluenza outbreak. the first of many virtual author programs you'll see on booktv. check your program did or visit for more information. >> recentry msnbc jill wipe-banks reflect on her legal career, including her time as a special prosecute of the watergate case. >> in the first hearing where we tried to figure out who handled the tapes, who might have been able to explain why they were missing, the white house was presenting witnesses andings one of them was rosemary woods because she handled the tapes, and i felt by that time there were three of us, jim neil had returned to nashville to tend his private practice, with a promise he would come back if we succeeded in getting an indictment. he would come back in time for the trial.
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so that left rick and myself, two 3-year-olds in charge of the whole thing against the white house. we were known as the children's march against the wicked king. [laughter] and rick is a very gregarious, assertive, powerful, persuasive, totally unlike me. i'm organized and thoughtful. we were a great team, but i felt he was taking too many witnesses. he only had a couple years more experience than me, and i was an equal player here. so i pulled him out of the courtroom and said i'm taking the next witness and then we're sharing equally every other witness. the next witness called by rosemary woods in the first hearing as a chain of custody witness. nothing significant. so, i questioned her. and by amazing foresight, by accident, really, id and her
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questions like what precautions she had taken not to erase any of the tapes and she said i used my head. that's the only thing i had to use. she was really are hostile and nasty to me. and then when the white house announced that there was this 18-1/2 minute gap and there was no innocent explanation and that only rosemary woods could explain this, i assumed the would stay my witness. she was my witness the first time and you don't change witnesses in the middle. leon jaworski claimed he was behind my questioning her the second time. if he was, i have no knowledge of it. i just represented premier the moment i heard she was the guilty one. i skipped all of thanksgiving and spent the weekend reading everything i could possibly read about her past testimony and being prepared. there were no computers so i had to get transcripts and underline them and look at them. and so then when she was called
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as a criminal suspect, i for the first time in my life gave the miranda warnings because she was the suspect in a criminal case. >> to watch the regs of the program, visit our website, search for jill wine bank or use her book, the watergate girl. >> up next the library of congress hosts a justice tour awe tour talk with tulane professor john barry but his book on the 1918 influenza pandemic. >> hell low, i'm from the library of congress welcome to her very first virtual national book sophisticate presents. as we all collectively face the


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