tv American Enterprise Institute Discussion on Economic Populism CSPAN October 7, 2020 12:28pm-1:30pm EDT
>> next, president trump's populism and his potential lasting impact. the american enterprise institute talk with universal chicago economists casey mulligan about the administration's policies on trade, immigration, debt and deficit spending. >> i am jim pethokoukis of the american enterprise institute and welcome to our event, as trump-kim populism 60 trump presidency has been a mix of establishment and populist politics. trump's policy, president has combined standard republican tax cuts and deregulation and put more restriction policies on trade and immigration. while the presence redick has often been and that elite, nor by leah sometimes inflammatory, is also on the sport of the mainstream republican party lawmakers and voters alike. what are we going to make of his presidency? have his policies been successful? if so, to what degree to populism deserve the credit?
going forward what lesson should policymakers learn from this recent rise of populism on both the left and the right? today i were discussing these issues with two great guests, first casey mulligan is professor of economics at university of chicago and he served as chief economist for the council of economic advisers in the trump administration from september 2015 august 20 because most recent book released last month is your hired, untold successes and failures. michael strain is a john scholar and director of economic policy studies here aei, the author of the american dream is not dead but populism could kill it, released in february of this year. here's how the event is going to go. to start up k she will speak for about ten minutes and then mike will offer a ten minute response and after that we will have a panel discussion for a while, and towards the end of the discussion about 10:45 we will do a q&a so please submit your
questions on twitter with the hashtag ask aei econ. with that, professor mulligan. >> good morning. i have some slides to share during my presentation. so good morning. i really appreciate aei organizing this. i'm going to economize your time today and you can find a lot more in my new book, and readers have been having fun but coming away agreeing somewhat the populism has some real substance. so let's start with the definition of populism. in his book michael refers to hitting the people against the elites. the people and elites are in
quotes so i take that to mean he and others might be skeptical whether these groups actually exist. as i explained in my book the elites really do exist as a group and prove it's only a slight exaggeration to say we all know each other. there's one piece of data even the trump white house incidence of harvard graduate is 100 times what it is in the general population. second, the pitting word i think suggests that the conflict is imagined or only manufactured by politicians. to the contrary, this is a real conflict. people have been suffering from significant policy mistakes which the elite cannot acknowledge let alone fix. in the short time today i will give you a couple of examples. drug overdoses tripled over about ten years but as various s metrics in my book shows,
washington remains as oblivious as ever. total policy was unwittingly fueling this epidemic with, for example, subsidies i went out the prescription drug supply chain. but at least in the years i showed you, illegal fentanyl did not loom large. during these years and decades before, fentanyl would momentarily coming to the u.s. market, and at the time people would say our drug supply was getting poisoned by the department of justice every time it back. then in 2013 without any acknowledgment as what was going on with opioids, the attorney general did this. >> the most intense, where had is mandatory minimum sentences that i i had to impose on peope who had drug problems can result relatively small amount of drugs
in a nonviolent way to support a drug habit they had and medico to jail for a five-year mandatory minimum for ten years and i didn't feel comfortable doing that. >> as attorney general, holder announced he would no longer support mandatory minimums for low-level drug crimes. >> immediately. the fentanyl. immediately surveys showed record increases in the number of people using illicitly manufactured opioids. the trump campaign about the opioid epidemic. this is a major part of the american carnage that trump cited in his inaugural address which of course deeply offended the elites. i will go easy on michael on this but let's instead take susan rice as new book which begins the very beginning of the book, the opening of the book she talks about share trump say
american carnage in his address, and that was evidence she says of his unthinkable cynicism and ugliness and how our present was saying farewell to the moral universe. i quarter. she has 53434 pages in the book that not one has room to mention the opioid epidemic drug overdoses or any real substance behind populism. so let's look closer at the address and that the monthly data. what did the president say in his inaugural address? drugs have stolen too many lies and rob our country so much potential. this american stops right here and right now. very clearly wants to go back and look at what he actually said, he is referring to the drugs and the crime that have stolen too many lies early, before the natural death. now i admit that the data, the monthly data are noisy, but it
sure looks like the carnage did stop exactly when our president said it would. now, the death did not good and as you and and i will have moro say about that, but part of what happened in january 2017 is the new attorney general that the president put in rescinded the holder memo. although i am concerned that some u.s. attorneys out there are still following the holder approach. trump campaign loudly also lobbied against obama's individual mandate. the individual mandate is a classic case where regular people had to suffer under a fundamentally flawed theory from the so-called experts. another thing they tried to do is to force people with their budgets to have wine taster i
give many examples in the book but let's take small dollar loans. as j. d. vance explained in his best-selling book about lyra country, small dollar loans can be a convenient and valuable product for people. they can pay 40 or $50 to get a small short-term loan that allows them to avoid hundreds of dollars in late fees and penalties from banks, landlords, collectors, et cetera. but the so-called consumer finance protection bureau puts that $40 in their annual percentage rate formula and concludes that nobody should be allowed to purchase such a service. nevermind the 600,000 consumers who wrote cfpb begging to keep the loan, to help them pay, i quote, for rent, child care, food, vacation, school supplies, car payments, power utility bills, credit card bills, groceries, medical bills, insurance premiums and student educational costs.
the last one i want to show you with the little time i have is how fda regulations protected generic drug manufacturers from competition. this is not a question of safety and efficacy because the formula in any generic drug has been in use for many years. the companies break the system so they could charge brand-name prices for generic products. president trump ended that begin in 2017. this really hurt chinese and other foreign companies who had previously secured themselves special favors. an israeli manufactures stock crashed and analysts readily dollars with what's going on with more competition in the market for generic drugs stemming from what fda began doing in 2017. most important, important, consumer saw it. i show here consumer price index for prescription drugs, and we
see that it became negative for the first time in 46 years. i understand that deregulation is the dirty work in certain circles they call themselves populace. jim called the regulations the standard republican fare. trump's fta deregulation by itself translates into ongoing savings of about 11% of prescription drugs generally, which is a big deal especially for low income families. i don't understand why any populist would want to reverse these savings and return to the companies the privileges of excessive regulation created for them. trump's many regulatory changes add up to real savings. these are my estimates of what it would cost to go back to running the regulatory state the way president bush and obama were. i have broken consumers down into five income groups. you can see that the lowest income group would face lower
wages and higher expenses such as the prescription drugs i showed you that total 15% of the income. that would be like doubling their taxes that they pay. the way i see it chop has been a political entrepreneur who figured out how to write populism into winning the biggest elected position in the world. and then achieving historic policy successes pursuant to some at least of his campaign promises. there are failures, too. the subtitle of my book is successes and failures. so maybe trump is a political version of the blackberry. historical progress but to be supplanted i something even better. what i can assure you is that the people continue to suffer from significant policy mistakes, and they know it, even while the elite continue to fail to acknowledge and even hiding as explained in my book, hiding evidence about the failures, resting on real fundamentals,
populism is not going away even when trump does. thank you. >> are right, great. now we have ten minutes or so from mike strain. >> apologies. i was muted. thank you, casey, for the thoughtful presentation. let me share my screen so i can get that working. there we go. okay. so thank you again, doctor mulligan, for the thoughtful presentation, there's a lot there are sure and i encourage everyone to buy casey's book. you can find it on amazon and other places as well. very thoughtful and certainly worth your time, regardless of what happens next month. i think casey's point that
populism may be here to stay and that maybe there are other iterations of populism following president trump is certainly a thoughtful pieces and one that come all people interested in politics and economics and policy should read. i would strongly encourage you to buy his book. my book, "the american dream is not dead", i think you don't buy the subtitle subtitle, casey and i have different views on this question. i'm delighted to be having this conversation today and thank everybody for tune in and also thank everybody who wants the video later on. let me die in. what is populism rex casey touched on this and quoted me, and i didn't hear his presentation before he gave it. i heard it for the first time with the audience so you'll see the scare quotes in your about the people and the elite site. if i i heard his presentation i might've taken those out.
let me give a three-part definition. aggressively pitting people against the elites i think is a key part of any definition of populism. this does that mean the elites don't exist in the people don't exist, but it does mean that i think the economy is overdone by populace and populism, that the economy is less strong than the populace would lead you to believe. an emphasis on the decency of the people at the corruption of the elite, i part of populism that the elites are rigging the system against the people. that's a common phrase you hear elizabeth warren or senator sanders use, for example, as well as the president. finally, and embrace of pessimism, things are terrible, the trajectory is bad for the
nation, for individuals, and effort to to close the country and to turn inward. immigrants are the problem. globalists are the problem. globalization is the problem. we are losing abroad. there's a zero-sum mentality. we turn in and focus on ourselves and we need to do that because things are really terrible. that i think it's a way that i think about populism. so let's talk about trumpian populism. it's important to identify which of the president initiatives are populist and why. with a president ordered scrambled eggs for breakfast that's not a populist act. lots of people of scrambled eggs for breakfast and certain of everything the president has done is populist, but there are quite a few things that are. the best part of the president's
agenda, casey talked a lot about one in his presentation, deregulation. that's been successful. the 2017 tax law, particularly the corporate tax provisions in that law i think are very successful, and they are the best parts of the president's overall economic policy agenda. i wouldn't include those as populist. i think reducing the corporate income tax rate is something that mitt romney would've done if you were elected. the would've been a lot of pressure on john mccain to do that if you were elected. that's been a standard goal of republican conservative economic policy for quite some time. deregulation, same thing. find me a republican who doesn't think that the u.s. economy is too heavily regulated. so those are parts of the president's policy agenda and
they are successful parts of the policy agenda but i wouldn't call the populist. instead, trade wars, attacks on domestic institutions, attacks on international institutions, attacks on basic norms, hostility towards immigrants, hostility towards immigration. there i think those components of the president's agenda are populist and meet the definition of populism that i put out at the beginning. in addition i would argue the president typically enters the public debate of the discourse as a populist as well, and that's a big part of his presidency. maybe the component of the president's populist agenda that he is make the most progress on i think is the trade war, so let's just take a look at that in a little more detail. i would argue the trade work didn't work even on its own
terms. the terms of the trade war are the standard terms that are used by democrats and republicans who support protectionism, which is that there's this group of workers, these parts of the country that have been neglected by the elites, and the elites are more interested in globalism and more interested in overall economic performance, which presumably will help them, then they are in manufacturing workers in manufacturing towns. so when you some protectionist policies in order to correct that imbalance. and even if those policies increase consumer prices, slow investment spending, slow overall economic growth, they are worth it because they afford special benefit to this group of
neglected workers comp in this case manufacturing workers or certain neglected regions of the country. casey mentioned the president inaugural address, carnage. he talked about holdout factory towns, , scattered like tombstos across the nation to this is what we're talking about. recall when the trade war begin commerce secretary wilbur ross going on television link of a can of campbell's soup and saying this can will cost you 1.5 cents or two since more than it otherwise would. the idea is that we can spread the pain of the trade war over the entire nation, and it's really not going to be that bad. it's going to cost you an extra penny to buy your can of soup but that's going to have significant benefits to flow to manufacturing workers who again deserve special attention. the best piece of evidence i am aware of the looks of this
hypothesis is a 20 and two federal reserve economist lan and pierce. they do a seems to be a pretty careful job of trying to identify what the effect of the trade war was on manufacturing. they find that protection from import competition provided by the tariffs does in isolation increase manufacturing employment. looking at that one component, protection from import competition, actually does increase employment by about 0.3% unto the measure that they use. that is not all that trade were stupid trade was also increased the costs businesses face to purchase the goods that the need for production, to purchase intermediate goods in the production process. land and pierce estimate that effect reduces employment by 1.1%. so even though there the effect
of the trade war on employment from increasing the cost of intermediate is significantly larger than the positive effect from protection from imports. and, of course, trade wars don't just happen. they are wars. there's a tit for tat. president doesn't just impose tariffs and that's the end of the story. nations retaliate and the also took that into account. they took into account three factors, protection from imports, increases in the cost of intermediate cost to production and tit for tat. they find that overall manufacturing employment was reduced by 1.4%. here again the trade war didn't work even on the populist terms. a specialist trumpian populism succeed, for the trade were santa has to be no because they trade war hurt manufacturing workers which are the group that
the president argued needed special attention. and, of course, the treatment of effects as well, reduction of variety of imported goods that u.s. consumers could enjoy higher prices, the consumers -- fewer exports which are export intensive firms, particularly farms, lower stock returns and higher default risk which give must be part of the tit for tat. most of these are pretty well established that most of the items are pretty well-established. also be inserted from the trade war slowed business investment which work against the president signature legislative accomplishment which was the corporate tax reduction. the president encouraged investment with his right hand by reducing corporate tax rates and then he discouraged investment with his left hand by starting trade wars.
so the spillover effect, not only did trumpian populism network for the populist objectives, it also reduced the effectiveness of the president's of their objectives. a little example of this uncertainty. we are doing this for the christmas season, a court from the president. let's go back to the summit of community which seems like it was two or 300 years ago based on all that's happened in the past few months. in june the u.s. had been imposing 25% tariff on to a $50 billion on chinese import. later in the message and the president president agreed not to impose additional chairs and restart trade negotiations with china. about five weeks with the president abruptly changed his mind and imposed a 10% tariff on the remaining 300 billion of imports effective september 1. a few weeks after that the president said we will not do that until the summer. when asked what the president said we are doing this for the christmas season. that's a remarkable statement of
the president given he has spent years telling the american people and businesses the trade war data in adverse effect on them. this is an example of the kind of climate that is created when you enter into a trade war, how our business is supposed to make investment decisions when there's so much uncertainty about what the trade policy regime would be? this i think undermined the success of the 2017 tax law, at least for now, but in addition, it undermined the argument that conservatives, analysts and economists put forward, which is that businesses respond to these. if we have a president biden and he raises the corporate tax rate and people on the right and economists who are more in favor of free markets want to reduce
the corporate tax rate again, they are going to have a much harder time doing that because of the president's trade war. let me just say a word about the populace over the long term. i think a key part of the president's populism has been to stoke racial, ethnic and religious animosity. this must have some effect on consumer spending, on business formations, and particularly if it's sustained over the longer term. the president has supported protectionism and the fact the post-world war ii liberal international order, that's a direct threat to prosperity. those institutions and the region have been the bedrock of prosperity on both sides of the atlantic for seven decades, and by attacking it and by weakening it, the president risks threatening the foundation of that prosperity we think the
rule of law and the cultures of norms reinforcing, the president has eroded the foundation of a strong economy by labeling the federal reserve chairman as an enemy to the president has little confidence in them. the president hostility towards immigrants threatens the united states place as the global destination for many of the world best writers and ambitious people. that of course have significant longer run economic effect. the extent to which this damage occurred over the last four years i think it's surprising and considerable. the extent to which it will be lasting i think is more of an open question, but all of this i think is problematic from an economic perspective. and all of it i think flows from the president's populism. these are all manifestations of
the populist impulse and i think they contribute to my verdict which is that trumpian populism has not succeeded. the foundation of the president's message as he referred to the president inaugural address, american carnage, people have been doing terribly, the country is, or many parts of the country are a wasteland, i think is just not at odds with the facts, is not in line with the economic record the last few decades which is something i spent a lot of time in my book. wages and incomes are not stagnant. they gain is not great. capitalism is not broken. the president has argued on each of these points that i am wrong, and i believe the evidence suggests that the president is wrong and that populists are
wrong. you hear exactly the same charge from the political left, from senator sanders in store one. buy the book and you will see. i believe we can be confident. populism is pessimistic. populism is -- [inaudible] and i think we should be optimistic. in fact, we should be outward focused, and we are not -- [inaudible] and we can be open to the world and we can be confident in the future if those are not just sentiments. we can be confident. we should be open, and we're not at a zero-sum conflict because that is what the economic record shows. so thank you for tuning in, and i look forward to the discussio discussion. >> all right, thanks a lot, mike. we will let casey sort of response but of what you frame it for a second i believe what mike was saying, that the parts of trumpian populism which is seen to have worked and were good ideas, i really sort of
traditional republicanism, corporate tax cuts and deregulation. and the parts of trumpian populism which in mike's you have been failures, the trade war and immigration, that's populism much that reflects the thing here on the left a lot about, hostility to trade and sometimes immigration. casey, is mike wright? is the part that you love about trumpian populism, isn't that just republicanism, tax cuts and deregulation? >> no. now, i think if you look, and someone should do a words analysis of trump speech is that he's given a lot of speeches. i think you'll find the individual mandate and prescription drugs, in their way more than trade. if you take all four years together, there have been periods of time where he was emphasizing on trade, but every
other day he is brag about getting rid of the individual mandate. you want to say that is a republican think works okay. i think it came from heritage, but whatever. whatever, the people, and explained in the book the way trump learned that the individual mandate was terrible, and he should get rid of it as a leader of the people and not the elite, was to ignore what the experts were saying about how it's needed for adverse selection and all the really terrible analysis, and he was hearing it from the people, not washington. and i explained that in the book. same with the prescription drugs, that you about the new washington but again they are hearing that on the people. those prescription drug regulations were in there, in the bush administration, he was republican the last i checked. he had a a brother who tried to run for the spot that trump beat
pretty handily. the opioid epidemic, in fact, i explained in the book, as a bipartisan failures there. those subsidies up and down the supply chain, a lot of them came in from republicans. some of the people worked for bush are still in the trump administration. these are major things that the president has been doing, and if republicans want at the intake credit, fine, but at least people got what they wanted. and the tariffs, i think first of all, michael is wages reported on the tariffs. if you look at the amount of revenue involved with the tariffs, , it's like one of thee the regulations. it's fairly small. now, you remember the reagan trade war? i don't either. if you heard reagan talk about free trade, it's so beautiful, it literally brings tears to my eyes to hear reagan talk about trade. i i explained in the book the
website like the tears away, reagan was every bit protectionist as trump, okay? does that mean protectionism is populist republican? i don't know. breaking is like the iconic republican. he was so protectionist. what he did different and the recent there were not reagan trade wars is heated quotas. he protected the industries with quotas rather than tariffs, which means the revenue comes the extra money consumers pay, goes to the foreign companies rather than to our treasury. ..
>> trump has a lot of lead trade guy number two and you have the speech writer who work on bring down that wall. he was there so a lot of same people protectionism is a bipartisan affair that has been around long before populism. i recommend look at the tariff. download tariff lift and take a look there. the stuff you're talking about is tiny even relative we have a number of outright proition bees about that around my entire lifetime with no populous president you can't make pickup trucks in a foreign country because there's a massive -- that's been there forever and obama and bush never once dreamed about eliminating and promised another prohibition we
have import the joan, bush, obama, reagan, they all promised the special interest that we're going to keep that prohibition on importing coastalship and services. trump is the first one who has not promised to that lobby that he will keep it, in fact, as i explain in the book he tries so far has failed to get rid it but he's not telling the special interest that they can keep that. so i think that settle this debate i think we need to be grounded in what is actually set and what is actually what the actual policies are, and these are busy people. they have lots of things they say lots of things they do but i think quantitative social scientist we have ways to bring that together and i think you'll see a different picture. >> mike. do you agree with casey that trade war no -- good or bad just really is not nearly as porpght as you make it
out to be particularly versus what he views successes. >> no. i don't. you know, let me offer an area of agreement. i agree with casey with the electorate that republican presidents have imposed state protections. there's no question about that. president bush did. president reagan did as well. but the general direction of u.s. trade policy under those republicans and democrats for decades and decades has been greater openness and great or globalization. and fewer barriers to trade. that's not, that doesn't mean that there weren't ever protectionist policies put in place that doesn't mean that we have a terror free world under president bush and president reagan and then and then all of a sudden a lot of tariffs popped
up under democrats. but it does mean that the kind of protectionist, global trade system what was in place decades and decades ago has dismantling that system has been a bipartisan project. now, i think that successive presidents starting with president bush president obama were more aggressive to china and toward their trade practices. that was holy justified. and i believed that if mrs. clinton had won in 2016 she would have been more aggressive toward china than president obama was and that she should have been, and if mitt romney were president in 2016 he would have been more aggressive toward china that has president obama was. what makes the president stand out is his hostility toward that
entire regime. his hostility towards free trade in general. and instead of rallying and international coalition of trading partners to isolate china, and to crackdown on china's genuine legitimate trade abuses, the president imposed tariffs on european allies and oppose tariff on allies pulling out of nato and all of these things. and so the president was left without allies which has made this policy toward much, much less effective than they could have been or than they should have been. the president's basic illiteracy of trade understanding what trade deficits are, and what they are not. not, you know, his adherence to a mercantile view of trade this projected by all economists or
nearly all economists is has i think been unique and these are distinctly populous elements of the approach to trade policy. that i don't think can be accurately characterized as being keeping with the direction of trade policy under president of both parties. and that i think do represent aberration from what we've seen what we've seen previously. >> in response to that casey? >> i think we look at the numbers i don't think you're gong to see trump being aberration relative to reagan as long as you distinguish tariffs from quotas. if you go tout measure tariffs under reagan you see he threaten some and quota instead but i don't know economist who is like oh the quota is better than the tariffs let's give money to foreign companies that's why he didn't get a trade war by the way. he was giving reagan was giving
money to japanese companies protecting our domestic companies, of course, the japanese didn't fight back, in fact, people who ca folks from reagan administration told me japanese companies came into the white house and asked for quotas reagan gave it to them, and i applaud trump i don't like protectionism but to you do that at least do it in a way that brings revenue to the united states instead of the foreign company. >> as far as trade for a second mike had something to say -- i think a lot of people the thing about populous policy, they would certainly talk about trade and the trade war. and someone who watched a lot of trump rallies back in 2015 and 2016, my impression that trade was part of trump economics and immigration, what do you think trump policies immigration casey have been good ideas and would you leak to see them continued
in future administrations or even extended? >> i'm sharing this screen here to the picture from -- of the president announcing his immigration plan. i don't know if anybody was aware of what his plan was. his plan essentially canadian australian plan which is -- immigration should be legal. not illegal. and based on economic contribution of the immigrant. that was his plan. privately, what the president said actually opened this rose garden ceremony by saying, citizenship is the most precious thing america has to offer. privately he said that too. he went the next step which really amazed impressed me he said you know we ought to be
selling citizenship, of course, gary becker called his radical proposal for immigration reform would be to have a feat for immigration. now, the president is a good politician and he know he's not going to go out to try to tell that to congress. but the canadian australian system their point base system is kind of a central plan away that china imitates what a feed base system would deliver. so now, of course, congress ain't going to do anything that the president wants in immigration so maybe you would say this, this is not that -- this is his plan. and this is would be his chance to do the monster of acts rather than sub tantive act and canadian australian plan kind of approximation to the gary disuker plan so i was quite impressed to what the president does on immigration. in terms of policy.
the rhetoric that not my area, you know, i'm a policy analyst i'm not a speech writer. but i look at the substance, and i'm pretty impressed. >> are you impressed by proposal or direction? >> well i think in terms of the substance of that specific proposal, you know i think there are a lot of questions about -- about the details of that proposal but the basic idea that we should have a skill we should move closer to a skill base immigration system a little bit away from a family based immigration system i think is completely sound. you know, i guess my own view is you know why not -- why, you know, why not do both why not just have significantly significantly larger number of green cards and just add that on top of what we're already doing but you know that's a -- that's a reasonable policy goal.
again, the details of the proposal i think were, you know, needed some work. but the overall kind of architecture philosophy behind it was reasonable. i agree with casey about that. i don't think we -- i don't think we should judge the entirety of the president's work on immigration based on that one. that one proposal and again going back to the question of whether trump being succeeded or failed -- you know, i think part of the reason why, that didn't get any traction because the president has no credibility on this issue. because of his extreme hostility toward immigrants and toward images. immigration and travel ban from muslim nation set the tone early on this. and you know, all the way up
until the pandemic when the trump administration attempted to -- say that people who are here on student visas that you can attend class in person you have to go back to your home country which -- was just outrageous. public policy. you know, past four years have been littered with that type of thing. and that has stopped any momentum, any possibility of legislation on immigration while president trump is president. even on issues where kind of, you know, 30,000 foot structure, the president is advocating is completely reasonable. you know even debatable. and so you know, i would say has trump populism succeeded on immigration no, it hasn't, and
i'm sorry has president trump on immigration no he hasn't and a part of that is -- maybe even motion of -- most is because of the populous elements of he has posture toward immigration. >> response casey or move on? >> i think we should move on these are interesting subjects but treat them proportionately but not spending whole day on them. >> another definition of fop lism is sort of a kind of politics and policy that doesn't believe in constraints and maybe not tradeoff either, and republs used to be very concerned about budget deficits and entitlements that has not been a big part of trump being the populism so far. is that, is that can that continue to be a part of trump we don't worry about that
deficit and entitlement that's for thes other party to worry about when they get in power. >> trump being populism i think you're right. i've heard the president say oh you know, the government revenue machine we just spin that massive wheel a little bit faster. [laughter] he's not real concerned about, the deficit. now, you -- a failure? >> gone up a lot, right? >> i view that as a failure. now, ultimately the fundamentals here are generational equity that's the fundamental thing, the problem with the big debt is you're leaving on children and grandchildren. and so i would want to take a -- a put on my hat here i would like to take a more holistic view of generational policy here so factor into that how treating children versus no tradeoff i
don't know if that's that derchght in inequity compared to president on the whole but certainly in that specific area of treasury bond and bills he would be -- putting burden on future generation. >> has this been a problem the lack of interest or concern in national debt which used to be a big concern when it was smaller. >> yeah. i think it's been a problem. i mean, here i would -- the president up a little bit -- you know, i think that there's bipartisan concern about the deficit it's just never number one concern that with either party has. you know, of course it is true that president trump significantly increased the structural budget deficit. he did that hand and glove with house speaker paul ryan who is
a, you know, very kind of establish and traditional republican. and you know there was not a whole lot of concern about that from -- from the republican party at the time. the deficit went up significantly under president george w. bush who established an additional entitlement program without a funding mechanism. and, of course, the president -- the deficit went up under president obama as well so this is a bipartisan issue. i think what, i think where populism shows up in president trump's approach to the debt and deficit which is i think aberration among republican presidents is the president enthusiasm for not cutting on social security and medicare. you know, the romney ryan campaign back in 2012 had that
on their campaign website as a goal, of course, speaker ryan made a reputation in large part on restraining entitlement spending. and you know president trump ignored that put it into the background but actually was quite vehicle it vocal he wouldt reduce spending on medicare and spending during the 2016 campaign and when he was -- actually in office, in 2017, you know continued to mawk it very clear he wasn't interested in cutting future spending on the programs. maybe that's populism or smart politics. you know maybe that's honesty and you know that's -- you know i think, i think that remains. but that's another question. but -- i don't i wouldn't give
president trump a particularly harsh grade when grading on a curve on this. and i don't view this as a major decision of his populism. >> i have a question for twitter and that's if president trump is defeated how will populism on right change? start with casey. >> you know it is like we got the black bury what's coming next? >> so you're ready for this one. >> is it the iphone or is it the -- >> be something better. how is it better? i would be the billionaire if -- i knew exactly how to improve on it. but i think that pop lism will remain. they'll look at trump closely and try to figure out what he did well and what will be improved. and i think it's going to go back to elites are making
mistakes not acknowledging this mistake and people don't have to tolerate that. i -- most of michael's book i agree with progress has been great for the wide population but that doesn't mean people have to tolerate these kind of mistakes from people they elect. they elect people to do a job and if they're not doing it well and sub are not and a slew of examples where they don't do a good job and individual mandate was a terrible job. the opioid policies are -- have been terrible job continue to be a terrible job. and people are going to be upset with that and the next entrepreneur will figure out how to take on the elite and still, you know, try to do the job. but as president it's not easy because elite tried back and aren't stupid people or powerless people. so it's not an easy product to event but i'm confident someone will invent new and improved.
>> time you think populism on the right of all talked a lot about trade and i'm a little confused about what, what republicans think about trade and one hand they're talking about sort of decoupling the two economies. but yet the trade deal actually in more ways integrated two economies made china a better place to invest you know more agricultural goods being -- so on trade or i guess any other issue on address how did that on the right evolve approach trump? >> well, so i guess the first thing i would say is i think it does involve. i think it involves a lot, a lot -- less than this commonly believed i think that the united states was on the cusp of extinguishing this populous flame when the pandemic hit. and you know i would note the democratic party nominated vice
president biden when it could have nominated senator sanders or warren both pop list and you know who knows. but my guess is that if the democratic primaries held one year earlier when the economy was still weaker, and when the gains from the recovery hasn't reached everyone in the nation strongly yet that when the populous candidates would have had perhaps more success. there's a pattern and you see it over the last century even longer and you see it across democracies with just when you have a big recession, with the financial sector. and that result it is in widespread hardship, you get a surge in populism. and you can measure that by seats in the country it is legislature and parliamentary system. we saw this, you know, in
britain with boris johnson, for example, and then as the recovery continues from that recession, populism recedes and it was receding in the united states and now, of course, we have the pandemic and the economy is in terrible shape again. so my first answer to your question is -- as we were covered from this recession, you know populism will, you know, may surge again because we're in terrible shape. but you know when we get back to a healthy a healthy economy, it's what what was diminished but lasting elements of this. but lasting elements are good. i think that and i hope that republican party because of president trump is more focused on -- on providing opportunity to lower income households and workers than it previously has been.
and you know, that will be a good lesson to learn. i hope it is not the white working class but the entire, you know, bottom 20% or bottom third of the income distribution. but i think that would be a -- be a positive lasting legacy of the president's populism. i think for china is going to be something that -- that justifiably should continue to be a part of the political right. hopefully it's executed better than the government administration has done but i expect that would last and then unfortunately i think that hostility towards immigrants and immigration is going to be is going to have some staying power on the political right and that will be to the detriment of the united states. >> when i talk -- when i -- isn't there something missing from your definition and mine that would make because our definitions are about elite
versus the people. butsbut we're calling sanders ad warren populous but policy agenda to give more power toe leet to the elite over the people. >> they don't see it that way. but i -- [laughter] but i understand your analysis of that. >> i have a question from jim twitter that's me. one thing -- >> are you asking this question? >> i am asking this question for myself. but -- from someone from twitter posting this phrasing public phrasing, you know, it is the end all rules are off. [laughter] what i don't know necessarily about you casey orb the president but when i hear sort of these new -- trump populous policy people on right when they talk about the big elite policy mistakes, the two mistakes that come up over and over again are letting you
know giving china permit favor training status letting them be part of the global economy in 2000 and then the 1965 immigration act which increase immigration to the united states from areas where they weren't getting a lot of immigrants. do you view those as -- as failures of elites letting more immigrants into this country and -- and helping china back more integrated part of the global economy? >> well there are ailments of failure mean where was it coming from? >> you know, let me there was a report that clinton administration did about nafta to price of heroin but -- classified you know i can't see it. their buried those facts. so there were elements of real cost to some of these trade arrangements that weren't acknowledged. >> that benefit do you think china still a net benefit to have china being a greater part of the global economy? >> it's hard to analyze what the
pan would be easy for me to say yeah because japan is democracy doesn't have military. you know that whole national security part of it that i -- does not expertise i can't weigh in. has to be weighed in. you know, on an immigration, i'm coming from a university, so shouldn't listen to what i'm going to says but -- the university sector has been given a lot of special favors around immigration. and you could understand why the people would say -- you know that the academia hate us and they hate this president why are we giving you special favors? you know, and so that's a problem. not that i'm against foreign immigration but when the immigration is doled out to special interest the rights to special interest that i would question and that's kind of what i see keeping the field going even among within trump's administration in terms of pushing against some of these old immigration plans and deals.
>> all right. mike any final comments? >> just to thank you for writing the book and to encourage everybody who is tuning in to buy it it is thoughtful and these are complicated issues that admit quite a bit of reasonable disagreement and i would encourage everybody to -- to read casey's perspective on this. >> all right. casey i didn't give you an official last comment so this would be your opportunity. >> i agree with michael. michael -- it's interesting to have the two books side by side i think you learn a lot more the sum is better than parts. the sum is greater than the parts. so this issue is not going away so it is worth learning about and investing in. >> great, all right that's it for the ai event. thanks for watching.
our live coverage kojt this is afternoon at 2 eastern as gene and congressional budgets office director davis talk about state of economic growth in the u.s. we'll have live coverage as they testify before a senate finance sub committee and live coverage also available at our website c-span.org, or with the free c-span radio app. the u.s. supreme court has begun a new term and today google oracle america concerning software code and copyright law. oracle claims google copied code ten years ago for smartphone and google claims that java code copyright law listen to the argument tonight at 8 eastern here on c-span2. ♪ >> i honestly will tell you i don't think when the dust settles in this election it's going to be whether america
becomes more republican or more democrat. whether we're more liberal or more conservative more red or more blue. i think the choice in this election is whether america remains america. >> as joe biden has said from the moment he entered this race, it's about the soul of our nation. who we are. what we stand for. and maybe most importantly, who we want to be. >> watch the vice presidential debate between vice president mike pence and senator kamala harris live tonight at 9 p.m. eastern from the university of utah in salt lake city. watch the debates live on c-span, listen live on the c-span radio app and go to c-span.org/debate for live or on demands streaming of c-span debate coverage there's also a link to each debate question and answer. see social media feeds on debate happenings and reaction and