Trump’s Immigration Order Lays Out a Way to Turn the Temporary Ban into a Permanent One

Vox: “The current blacklist is temporary — it’s supposed to last 90 days. But the executive order lays out a process — which, coincidentally, is also supposed to take about 90 days — for replacing the temporary blacklist with a permanent one.”

  • In the next 30 days: The State Department and Department of Homeland Security conduct a review of all procedures for letting people into the US, and determine what information they will need to collect from everyone entering the US to prove an applicant ‘is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public safety threat.’ The departments then submit a report to the White House listing all the information it will need from applicants, as well as the countries that don’t yet provide that information.
  • When the report is submitted: The secretary of state puts all countries that don’t yet provide all needed information about applicants on notice: They have 60 days to start complying, or they’ll get added to the ban list. (Some reports have indicated that new countries will be added within 60 days of the order; this step in the process appears to be what they’re talking about.)
  • 60 days after the report is submitted: Any countries that haven’t yet given the US all the information it wants will be added to the ban list.”

A Republican Plan for Medicare Gets a Revival

New York Times: “A number of Republican health care policy proposals that seemed out of favor in the Obama era are now being given new life. One of these involves Medicare, the government health insurance program primarily for older Americans, and is known as premium support.”

“Right now, the federal government subsidizes Medicare premiums — those of the traditional program, as well as private plan alternatives that participate in Medicare Advantage. The subsidies are established so that they grow at the rate of overall per enrollee Medicare spending. No matter what Medicare costs, older Americans can be sure that the government will cover a certain percentage of it. That’s the main thing that panics fiscal conservatives, because that costs the government more each year.”

“Premium support could quiet that fear. Subsidies would be calculated so they don’t grow as quickly, thus protecting the federal government (that is, taxpayers) from runaway spending.”


The Case for Replacing Obamacare Incrementally

Stuart Butler: “Former President Obama’s impulse to conduct an intensive intervention to major fix parts of the U.S. health system was understandable, but unwise. Seeking to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with another intensive intervention would also be very unwise.”

“To appreciate why, consider the scale of such undertakings. In 2015, total U.S. health spending reached $3.2 trillion. That is larger than the economy of Britain or France. Indeed, if the U.S. health system were a separate country, according to World Bank data it would be the fifth-largest economy in the world… It’s not only the scale involved. Health care is also highly complex and ever changing; a law altering one part triggers unanticipated changes elsewhere.”

“This means legislation in a complex sector like health care must always be crafted to permit continuous adaptation, and never a truly finished product. Health care legislation must incorporate a process of evolution, not seek to achieve a lasting form of ‘intelligent design.’ Tearing up one huge and rigid statute and replacing it with another is doomed to fail.”

Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined

Forbes: “In the United States, more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation sector’s workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent.”

“Just under 374,000 people were employed in solar energy, according to the report, while coal, gas and oil power generation combined had a workforce of slightly more than 187,000. The boom in the country’s solar workforce can be attributed to construction work associated with expanding generation capacity.”

Trump’s Ban Isn’t Just Inhumane—It’ll Make America Dumber 

Emily Dreyfuss: “Universities and colleges across the US have come out in condemnation of Trump’s ban because of this threatened brain drain, from Harvard to the University of California. Former Republican governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels, now the president of Purdue University wrote: ‘The President’s order related to immigration is a bad idea, poorly implemented, and I hope that he will promptly revoke and rethink it.'”

“Reza Kahlor, a green card-holder, is an Iranian scientist at Harvard who before this week was deciding between applying for professorships at top US universities or starting a company in Boston based on his biological discoveries. But if this ban restricts his ability to travel, he says he’d maybe rethink and go to Germany, or France, or Canada. That would be one less entrepreneur the US gets to claim as its own, one less potential discovery that could turn into an industry-changing technology that could generate jobs.”

Quartz: Graduate Schools Will Be Hardest Hit by Trump’s Immigration Ban

Keystone XL Pipeline: A ‘Canada First’ Energy Plan?

Reuters: “U.S. President Donald Trump’s move this week to revive the Keystone XL oil pipeline marked a major step under his ‘America First’ energy plan to boost U.S. drillers and create new U.S. jobs. But the project’s biggest winners may be Canadian.”

“If built, TransCanada’s Keystone XL from Alberta to Nebraska would yield about $2.4 billion (C$3.2 billion) a year for Canada, split between government revenues, shareholder profits and re-investment into the still-recovering Canadian oil patch, according to a Conference Board of Canada research note prepared for Reuters on Thursday.”

What Science Tells Us About How to Combat Fake News

Michael Pasek: “In a 2011 study published in the journal Media Psychology, psychologists Melanie Green and John Donahue give a small window into the human psyche that explains why fake news is so powerful. The authors asked two questions: (1) How do we respond when we learn someone has misled us, and (2) do we change our beliefs and attitudes when we find out that something we read is fake?”

“The researchers used random assignment to place people in one of four conditions. Everyone was asked to read a narrative. One group was informed from the beginning that the narrative was false. The second and third groups were told—only after reading the story—that the narrative was false and informed that the problem was either (1) an accidental error, or (2) intentional deception. The fourth and final group was not given any reason to doubt the veracity of the story.”

“The findings shed light on the impact of fake news. All readers who learned that they were provided with false information responded negatively to the information source. But, despite learning after the fact that this information was false and even being upset when they learned this, readers continued to be influenced by the contents of the narrative. The story changed participants’ attitudes and this attitude change persisted even after they learned that they had been deliberately mislead.”

If Trump Gets His 20% Tax on Mexican Imports, These Are the US Household Staples That Will Be Hardest Hit

Quartz: “The Trump administration has today suggested it would force Mexico to pay for the wall by implementing a 20% tax on all Mexican imports. Such a move by the White House—which isn’t allowed—would hit Americans hard in their grocery carts.”

“It would be difficult for Republicans to engineer a situation in which food companies would not pass the extra cost of doing business to consumers. There isn’t an easy replacement source for these foods, as in many cases Mexico is by far America’s biggest supplier. Over time, the US has grown more dependent on Mexican imports of fresh produce, which rose by 264% between 1999 and 2014.”

Trump Could Really Mess Up Mexico’s Economy

“Remittances, however, are just the beginning of the risk Trump’s presidency could pose to the Mexican economy. If he follows through on his proposed policies, Trump could change the calculus for doing business in Mexico, and thus endanger the economic prospects of the whole country,” Lucia He writes for FiveThirtyEight.

“Among his proposed policies, Trump has threatened to renegotiate or completely withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and impose a 35 percent tax on businesses that ship goods to the U.S. after relocating out of the country. Either policy could be devastating for the Mexican economy.”

How to Make America’s Robots Great Again

Farhad Manjoo: “In 2013, China became the world’s largest market for industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robotics, an industry trade group. Now China is working on another big goal: to become the largest producer of robots used for factories, agriculture and a range of other applications. Robotics industry experts said that goal could be a decade away, but they see few impediments to China’s eventual dominance.”

“There’s a way to address this problem, but it’s politically perilous: The United States should invest in robots.”

“If we don’t, robot scholars said the president’s plans for a resurgence in manufacturing could backfire. Today, we buy a lot of stuff made in China by Chinese people. Tomorrow, we’ll buy stuff made in America — by Chinese robots.”

Investment in Early Childhood Programs Yields Robust Returns

UChicago News: “High-quality early childhood development programs can deliver an annual return of 13 percent per child on upfront costs through better outcomes in education, health, employment and social behavior in the decades that follow, according to a new study by Nobel-winning economist James Heckman and researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Southern California.”

“The findings, released Monday in a working paper titled ‘The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program,‘ show how high-quality programs can reduce taxpayer costs, improve economic prospects for parents and provide enduring benefits for children well into adulthood.”