Trump Can Bring Jobs to the Rust Belt by Relocating Federal Agencies

Kyle Sammin: “The exception to this is in the creation of jobs through actually hiring people to work for the federal government. Here a President can actually affect the number and, more importantly, the location of the jobs the federal government provides. The best way for Trump to enact a better federal employment program that is fiscally conservative enough to satisfy a Republican Congress, therefore, is not to create more federal jobs but to move existing ones away from the Washington area and out into the rest of the country, especially in those areas that have been hurt most by long-term unemployment.”

“The move would also save the federal government money in the long term. Federal workers in expensive areas—like Washington—are paid more, to make up for the higher cost of living there. A worker in D.C. makes over 10 percent more than one doing the same job in Youngstown. Move enough workers out of expensive areas, and the savings to the taxpayers start to add up. Government workers and their families would benefit, too: 90 percent of a D.C. salary goes much farther in Youngstown than 100 percent of it goes in Washington.”

The Internet Is Broken. Starting from Scratch, Here’s How to Fix It.

“My big idea is that we have to fix the internet. After forty years, it has begun to corrode, both itself and us. It is still a marvelous and miraculous invention, but now there are bugs in the foundation, bats in the belfry, and trolls in the basement,” argues Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute.

“There is a bug in its original design that at first seemed like a feature but has gradually, and now rapidly, been exploited by hackers and trolls and malevolent actors: its packets are encoded with the address of their destination but not of their authentic origin. With a circuit-switched network, you can track or trace back the origins of the information, but that’s not true with the packet-switched design of the internet.”

“The lack of secure identification and authentication inherent in the internet’s genetic code has also prevented easy transactions, thwarted financial inclusion, destroyed the business models of content creators, unleashed deluges of spam, and forced us to use passwords and two-factor authentication schemes that would have baffled Houdini.”

“If we could start from scratch, here’s what I think we would do.”

Trump’s Pick for Secretary of State Argued Against One of the President-Elect’s Biggest Promises

Washington Post: “Trump denounced the TPP, President Obama’s signature deal, as a ‘potential disaster.’ He argued it was a terrible deal for American workers and said he would withdraw the United States from the deal on his first day in office. Republican congressional leaders have said they are unwilling to bring the deal to a vote in Obama’s remaining months in office, meaning the TPP is almost certainly dead.”

“Tillerson has maintained a very different stance. In a speech he gave to the Asia Society Global Forum on June 13, 2013, Tillerson talked about his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he said would provide the open markets that would allow the United States and countries in Asia and elsewhere to grow and progress.”

“‘We must embrace the free flow of energy, capital, and human talent across oceans and borders,’ Tillerson told the crowd.”

A Bipartisan Foreign Policy for the Trump Presidency

“As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the State Department’s operations and foreign assistance, I’m hopeful my congressional colleagues and I can work constructively with the President-elect to advance the United States as a force for good, a force for stability, and a leader in the world,” Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) writes for Democracy Journal.

“First, we must restructure the tools of U.S. development finance in a way that makes us more competitive with our geopolitical rivals. Second, we must develop a strategy to prevent fragile states from descending into crisis. Third, we must redefine the legal underpinning for the war against ISIL, Al Qaeda, and other jihadist extremist groups by debating and passing a new Authorization for Use of Military Force. Fourth, we must better position the United States to address the root causes of terrorism by streamlining and empowering our government agencies and working with partners in the Muslim world to undermine extremist ideology. Finally, we should pursue ‘muscular multilateralism’ based on targeted engagement, strong cooperation with our allies, and coordination with our rivals to realize progress in areas of mutual interest. This includes working with our partners to prepare for pandemics, uphold international law, and support nuclear nonproliferation.”

The Seven Top Potential Threats of 2017

Center for Foreign Relations: “The Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) ninth annual Preventive Priorities Survey identified seven top potential flashpoints for the United States in the year ahead.”

“The survey, conducted by CFR’s Center for Preventive Action (CPA), asked foreign policy experts to rank conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring or escalating and their potential impact on U.S. national interests.”

Among those threats deemed moderately likely and highly impactful to U.S. interests are “a deliberate or unintended military confrontation between Russia and NATO members, stemming from assertive Russian behavior in Eastern Europe” and “a mass casualty terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland or a treaty ally by either a foreign or homegrown terrorist.”

On an optimistic note, “no scenario was deemed both highly likely and highly impactful to U.S. interests, a change from last year when an intensification of Syria’s civil war was considered the most urgent threat.”

Police Spy Tools Evolve Faster Than Lawmakers Can Keep Up

Bloomberg: “In late October, a group of Maryland legislators met with police officials, attorneys, privacy advocates, and policy analysts to discuss creating a legal framework to govern aerial surveillance programs such as the one the Baltimore Police Department had been using to track vehicles and individuals through the city since January.”

“The Baltimore surveillance program broke new ground by bringing wide-area persistent surveillance—a technology that the military has been developing for a decade—to municipal law enforcement. The police department kept the program secret from the public, as well as from the city’s mayor and other local officials, until it was detailed in August by Bloomberg Businessweek. Privacy advocates, defense attorneys, and some local legislators called for the program to be suspended immediately, until the technology could be evaluated in public hearings.”

ACLU attorney David Rocah: “What this program has done is that it has brought home the reality that the nightmare is here, and if we don’t act, it will be too late.”

Counter-Disinformation Bill Clears Senate

American Interest: “Amid all the media hysteria over Russian propaganda and its effect on the U.S. presidential election, few have noted the quiet advance of legislation designed to counter such threats. Last week, a counter-propaganda bill sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) passed the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill is expected to be signed by President Obama before he leaves office.”

“Still, there is no reason to celebrate quite yet. For one, the effectiveness of the new legislation will depend on its implementation by the new administration. Given Trump’s outright dismissal of concerns about Russian hacking and propaganda, he is unlikely to make countering such efforts a priority. Moreover, some experts like Clint Watts have argued that the bill’s interagency approach to fighting propaganda will be inherently unfocused; throwing more money at a government bureaucracy is no guaranteed recipe for success.”

“Finally, there is the risk that empowering anti-propaganda efforts will only add to the unreasonable panic over Putin-planted ‘fake news’ that has engulfed public debate since the election. We have argued before that such hysteria is overwrought, and that overreacting will only play into Putin’s hands.”

Toward a Rust Belt Powerhouse

Jim O’Neill: “Instead of accusing China of undermining US companies’ competitiveness, Trump should be focused on a genuine pro-growth strategy. Such a strategy could follow the British ‘northern powerhouse’ model – which I helped to create as a member of the government – focused on revitalizing the economies of the former heartland of British manufacturing.”

“…by linking together major cities – including Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, and Liverpool – the north could become far more unified, with seven million people acting as a single regional economy, thereby providing many of the agglomeration benefits of major global cities.”

“The northern powerhouse strategy provides valuable lessons for other countries. Already, China is pursuing a similar regional development strategy, aimed at revitalizing its old northern industrial belt, thereby taking some of the pressure off its ultra-dynamic coastal cities. The US should follow suit, with a plan to revitalize the so-called Rust Belt that was integral to Trump’s victory.”

Without Obamacare, 52 Million Americans Could Be Denied Insurance

Washington Post: “One in four non-elderly adults has a medical condition, ranging from diabetes to pregnancy to severe obesity to arthritis, that would make them uninsurable under the health coverage rules that prevailed before the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.”

“The new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows just how important that provision is to many Americans. The study examined 2015 data to see how prevalent preexisting conditions are and found that 52 million non-elderly Americans could be ineligible for insurance under the old rules. The analysis can’t distinguish what type of insurance those people have now; many are likely covered by an employer-based plan. But if those people were to lose their jobs or have a gap in coverage and found themselves purchasing a health plan on their own, they could run into restrictions, higher premiums or even denials if the pre-Obamacare rules were back in place.”

Traders Scheme to Cash in on Trump Tweets

Politico: “President-elect Donald Trump issued a single tweet blasting defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. By lunchtime, he had wiped $4 billion off the company’s market value.”

“With his 17 million Twitter followers and upcoming inauguration to the most powerful job in the world, Trump presents challenges and opportunities that Wall Street has never seen before. Traders not only have to monitor the president-elect’s every word; they also have to follow his Twitter feed. Some are already crafting strategies to cash in on the president-elect’s penchant for bashing individual companies.”

“On Wall Street, a person who can move a stock is called an ‘axe.’ Trump, with his itchy Twitter finger, is quickly emerging as the biggest axe there is. Move quickly after a Trump tweet and there are potentially millions to be made. Miss out on one, or misjudge its impact, and your portfolio could take a surprise hit.”

It Turns Out Spending More Probably Does Improve Education

New York Times: “For many years, research on the relationship between spending and student learning has been surprisingly inconclusive. Many other factors, including student poverty, parental education and the way schools are organized, contribute to educational results… Opponents of increased school funding have seized on that ambiguity to argue that, for schools, money doesn’t matter — and, therefore, more money isn’t needed.”

“But new, first-of-its-kind research suggests that conclusion is mistaken. Money really does matter in education, which could provide fresh momentum for more lawsuits and judgments like the Connecticut decision.”

“The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in July, was conducted by the economists Julien Lafortune and Jesse Rothstein of the University of California at Berkeley and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern.”

“They found a consistent pattern: In the long run, over comparable time frames, states that send additional money to their lowest-income school districts see more academic improvement in those districts than states that don’t. The size of the effect was significant. The changes bought at least twice as much achievement per dollar as a well-known experiment that decreased class sizes in the early grades.”