Eye on the economy: What Biden-omics Misses

Joe Biden blames slower Trump-era wage growth on “inequality,” observes James Pethokoukis at The Week, “but weak productivity makes for a better explanation.” And though “Biden-omics” calls for spending on infrastructure and science research, which could “eventually create a more efficient and innovative economy,” boosting productivity, some of those gains may be “offset by tax and regulatory changes that downplay or ignore” potential setbacks to economic growth. “If we want fast wage growth again in post-pandemic America,” we’ll need “much higher productivity growth,” with an “agenda,” for example, that would “boost high-skill immigration,” reject trade barriers and “look hard at regulations that make it unnecessarily time-consuming and expensive to build and innovate in the physical vs. digital world.”

Campaign watch: Dems’ September Surprise

“The Democratic-led House seems to be laying the groundwork for yet another round of damning insider testimony against” President Trump and his administration’s handling of possible Russian election-interference, reports Time’s Philip Elliott. “Does Washington really have the appetite to do this all over again?” A Department of Homeland Security whistleblower “alleges political appointees” directed him to focus less on “Russia’s efforts to meddle” and more on “attempts from Iran and China.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff wants him to testify “and would use a subpoena if necessary” — setting up “a battle between Congress” and DHS. If successful, the ploy “could make for a day or two of gripping testimony in the final weeks of a presidential campaign,” with voters “casting ballots with the cloud of an investigation” over Trump’s head.

Libertarian: Third-Party Voters Flocking to Biden

Biden has been polling at a 2-1 advantage among third-party voters, suggesting Trump’s “road to re-election may well be blocked by those 7.8 million Americans,” predicts Reason’s Matt Welch. The weak support for outlier candidates compared to 2016 and the inclination of Libertarian and Green Party voters to choose Biden over Trump in the polls back “the theory that the indie vote will collapse in ways not friendly to the incumbent.” Trump is working hard to win over last election’s third-party voters, but if he believes they are now “all Republican,” warns Welch, the president may be “in for a rude surprise come November.”

Outer space beat: Rely on the Private Sector

Major cost overruns and money issues with NASA’s Space Launch System, meant to get humans to the moon, Mars and beyond, highlight the need to let for-profit companies “lead the way to the final frontier,” argues Alexander William Salter at The Hill. From 1970 to 2000, the cost of “escaping gravity” remained flat, at about $18,500 per kilogram, but Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket can do it for $2,720 per kilogram, and experts see $1,000 “on the horizon.” Economists have “long known” that “for-profit companies have a much stronger incentive to cut costs,” because a “company’s owners personally profit.” But everyone else benefits, too, because “we use fewer valuable resources.” Society gets “more for less.” Yes, “the public can and should decide where the rocket goes. But delivering it should be as privatized as possible.”

Foreign desk: A ‘Laughable’ Slam of US

At National Review, Jimmy Quinn dismisses Brown University’s report this week estimating that US military operations since 9/11 have created over 37 million refugees as “so deliberately misleading as to be laughable.” The report’s “tenuous logic” is based on calculations of “cascading events” that took place years after US intervention, “regardless of when the conflicts started or which other actors could possibly be blamed.” It blames the US for all displacements in Aleppo, Syria, for example, instead of attributing the responsibility to “efforts of Russia and Iran to prop up a regime that gasses civilians.” If the study had used a more reasonable method, suggests Quinn, perhaps “focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan,” it might be more credible. Yet as it stands, all the report serves to do is provide “cover for bad actors” around the world.

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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