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Liz Truss, Supply-Side Crush

American Compass executive director Oren Cass discusses Liz Truss’s disastrous time as prime minister and the irrational response from supply-siders.

Skills Gaps Will Force Companies to Do Right by Their Compatriots

Employers who profited from cheap foreign labour cannot now gripe at having to train local workers, writes American Compass executive director Oren Cass.

An Early Conservative Victory in the War on Big Tech

American Compass research director Wells King discusses a promising conservative bill to rein in Big Tech’s monopoly power.

Where Have All the Young Men Gone?

The question of who would pursue non-college pathways, if they were offered, is one that has bedeviled education reform debates for decades.

The American Camry

Wells King and Dan Vaughn, Jr. on how Reagan showed it was possible to wrangle foreign manufacturers to the U.S.

Our Politics Needs a Pro-Family Policy Agenda

American Compass research director Wells King joins a statement in support of building a truly pro-family policy agenda.

Liberty and Tariffs for All

Free international trade is not a vital tenet of liberty in the American tradition; it was adopted, in Burtka’s words, “for the worst reasons and delivered the worst results.”

The Successful Policy That Progressives Love To Hate

American Compass executive director Oren Cass discusses a recent report analyzing the effects of welfare reform on child poverty, and how progressives fail to understand the importance of work in designing social safety net programs.

After Student-Debt Relief, America Must Move Beyond ‘College for All’

American Compass research director Wells King argues for building real alternatives to the “college-for-all” education pipeline in the wake of Biden’s misguided student loan forgiveness.

Rebuilding from the College Catastrophe Starts Here

The problem that the American Workforce Act aims to solve is simple, but deadly serious: In American education, all roads lead to college.

Servants No Longer

American Compass policy director Chris Griswold explores the relationship between worker power and the roots of civic friendship.

Republicans Have Great Ideas. It’s Time To Start Talking About Them

American Compass executive director Oren Cass makes the case for a GOP focus on substantive policy ideas, prioritizing efforts that benefit working families.

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness is Wrong. Here’s How to Handle College Debt Instead.

America has turned higher ed into a lavishly expensive sacred cow, and now we’re all footing the bill. Let’s make college debt boring again, argues Oren Cass.

State Capacity in Short Supply: Assessing the Biden Administration’s Industrial Strategy

American Compass’s Wells King and Chris Griswold evaluate the Biden administration’s approach to industrial strategy and what it shows about the policy failures of the established ruling class.

What Republicans Should Do if They Win Big This Fall

American Compass’s Oren Cass and Chris Griswold describe how a conservative agenda focused on workers and their families could create new avenues for progress in a divided government.

The Chips Act Debate Shows How Far the Republicans Have Moved

FINANCIAL TIMES—Oren Cass argues that conservative interest in rebuilding America’s industrial base may finally be overtaking free-market fundamentalism on the right.

The Problem Joe Manchin Highlighted Is Crucial for America’s Future

Oren Cass makes the case for serious permitting reform, without which it will take years to spend any money building climate-related projects, costing us money and harming the environment.

Conservative Family Policy Must Be Conservative

On family policy, conservatives should avoid two extremes: rebutting any use of government, and assuming that trillions can be spent without negative repercussions.

Chipping Away at Globalization Is a Smart Move

American Compass’s Oren Cass argues that the CHIPS Act marks an inflection point for America turning away from globalization and revitalizing domestic industry.

CHIPS Won’t Help China

American Compass executive director Oren Cass argues that demanding perfect legislation is a convenient excuse for voting no, and a standard by which everyone would always vote no.

It’s Time to Protect Children from Big Tech

Big Tech’s social media platforms are similarly exploiting children today. And just as policymakers needed to act to protect children then, they must do the same now.

Pass the CHIPS, Please

Restrictions on investment in China are a good idea, to be sure. The taller and stronger the guardrails, the better. But holding incentives for domestic investment hostage to tougher restrictions on foreign investment may not be wise or necessary, for two reasons.

Recovering a Sense of Papoose

In this week’s Compass Point, Pursuing the Reunification of Home and Work, Erika Bachiochi throws a fascinating curveball into the modern debate over home economics. That debate, to oversimplify, pits the mid-20th-century model of breadwinner-plus-homemaker against the late-20th-century model of the dual-income household.

Post-Roe, the GOP Is Stepping Up To Support American Families

American Compass executive director Oren Cass discusses the promising shift on the right-of-center toward supporting generous pro-family benefits like Senator Romney’s Family Security Act 2.0.

The Climate Crisis Is No Excuse for Backsliding on Democracy

For progressives, the US Supreme Court’s EPA ruling should have been a teachable moment, argues American Compass executive director Oren Cass.

College Is Not for All

American Compass’s Oren Cass and Wells King discuss the reality that most young Americans miss out on commencement.

Brave New Regulation

Silicon Valley’s techno-optimists insist loudly on two contradictory points. On one hand, they celebrate the Internet and its associated innovations with phrases like “paradigm shift” and “creative destruction,” and celebrate themselves as the visionaries leading humanity into (unironically) a Brave New World. On the other, they reject the need for new public regulation, insisting that the legal frameworks of past eras are perfectly adequate to the task. Both cannot be true.

Who Has the Expertise to Watch the Experts?

What role should experts play in our politics? Of course, they have their own freedom of speech, and are welcome to hawk their wares in the marketplace of ideas. But when election day arrives, their votes count no more or less than others, and they are far fewer in number.

What Family Policy Should Look Like in Post-Roe America

American Compass’s Wells King and Brad Wilcox of the Institute for Family Studies and AEI make the case for a conservative embrace of an expanded Child Tax Credit in a post Roe v. Wade world.

Cutting China Tariffs Will Offer No Respite From Rising Prices

American Compass executive director Oren Cass makes the case against rolling back tariffs on China in response to inflation.

Is Washington the Next Detroit?

Our latest Compass Point is by James M. Roberts, long-time research fellow at the Heritage Foundation and co-editor of their Index of Economic Freedom, reflecting on his experience in the conservative establishment and the perils of a political movement running on autopilot.

The Market’s Border Crisis

American Compass executive director Oren Cass makes the case that revitalizing the American industrial base requires moving beyond globalization.

The Decline and Fall of NASCAR

America’s most Southern sport has betrayed its own fan base, writes American Compass’s Wells King in this cover story.

Why the Economists Are Losing

The basic quandary for economists in this debate is that they stake their claims to expertise and deference on their field’s purported rigor, but they can uphold their own standards only under artificial conditions inapplicable to policymaking. As a result, their work’s defensibility bears an inverse relationship to its relevance.

What Conservative Critics of Globalization Miss

It is hard, nay impossible, to find a more sophisticated conservative critique of globalization than that articulated by Oren Cass. Perhaps because Cass was once a card-carrying member of the economic establishment himself, he has an exceptionally clear sense of some of the problematic assumptions that have underpinned that establishment’s high level of support for globalization over the past three decades.

Globalists Finally See Reality

When the former high priests of globalization admit it’s not working, the time has come not only to ask why they’ve changed their minds, but also why they were so wrong for so long. Oren Cass’s exposé of the abuses of classical economic theory offers a valuable starting point. But the problems lie even deeper and extend much further.

How to Bound the American Market

In his essay, Oren Cass correctly argues that a well-functioning capitalist system requires a “bounded market” within a nation-state that imposes interdependence on labor, capital, and consumers. Frictionless capital mobility across borders, in contrast, decouples the interests of investors from their country and their workers.

Did Globalization Cause the Great Stagnation?

Analyzing the effects of any long-run macroeconomic trend is admittedly a difficult affair. After all, typically more than one big trend is happening at a time, which means that isolating the impact of any particular force requires careful and thoughtful empirical analysis.

Globalization: America’s Biggest Bipartisan Mistake

American Compass research director Wells King explores the history of the Uniparty’s push for globalization at all costs and the fallacies undergirding their arguments.

Why the Free Trade Debate Needs the Real Adam Smith

Oren Cass is right to note that modern economists largely misunderstand Adam Smith. But the misunderstanding runs deeper and traces even further back than editorializing in 20th-century textbooks. For more than two centuries, scholars have ignored the relationship between Smith’s political philosophy and economic analysis.

It’s Time for a Neoclassical Economic Reckoning

Oren Cass’s essay demonstrates how the advantages of industrial policy, apparent to some of the founders of economics and foundational to the success of the United States, were carefully airbrushed out by advocates of free trade in the 20th century.

Freer Trade Isn’t Always Better

Oren Cass takes on the entrenched belief held by the U.S. economics profession that countries should always pursue a policy of free trade. He argues that Smith and Ricardo have been misunderstood for generations because their key assumptions around capital mobility were omitted as the arguments were passed down.

Just Say No to Rejoining TPP

Economic theorists treat globalization as the free market’s natural end state. But trade practitioners know that the opposite is true—that efforts at stitching together the world’s economies are among the messiest sausage-making exercises in policymaking.

America Should Use Existing Tools, Not Fashion New Ones

The debate over free trade versus protectionism has been around for hundreds of years, with a level of political prominence that has varied over time. After a relatively quiet period in the post-war era, the modern debate over trade and globalization’s rules and institutions has grown quite contentious.

Modern Economics Is Not an Illuminati Conspiracy

The first part of Mr. Cass’s argument is that the entire economics profession has either misread or misinterpreted a sentence in Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, and that it has built the case for free trade from that alleged misreading or misrepresentation. This is simply and fundamentally not true.

Weighing In

Commentators and policy analysts respond to our analysis of globalization and proposals to restore balance to the American economy

Republican Stance on Free Markets Is Shifting When it Comes to China

Despite the priority traditionally given to the free flow of capital, many now argue that Beijing should be the exception, writes American Compass executive director Oren Cass.

Protecting Children from Social Media

American Compass policy director explores policy options to protect children online with the same vigor that we protect them in the real world.

The Conservative Confusion on Globalization

The question is not will we manage our economy’s interaction with the global market, but how, writes American Compass executive director Oren Cass.

The Upside of the Downward Trend in College Enrollment

The media have been full of reports of college students, almost a million strong, who have gone missing during the pandemic. Virtually every article quotes experts expressing alarm and dismay.

The Right Is Starting to Represent Workers Outside of Unions

American Compass policy director Chris Griswold discusses recent pro-labor policy developments on the right-of-center and opportunities for further labor reform.

Pushing ‘College For All’ Makes Americans Poorer. Here’s What We Need Instead

Oren Cass discusses new American Compass research on the effects of globalization on American workers and domestic jobs.

Coming Apart in the Hoosier State

Farah Stockman’s new book, American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears, documents the closure and relocation of an Indianapolis Rexnord bearing plant to Mexico and Texas. Stockman, a New York Times reporter, was assigned to cover the Rexnord plant after then-candidate Trump tweeted about its pending closure and the scheduled relocation of a nearby Carrier plant to Mexico in 2016.

A Battle for the GOP’s Future Is Under Way

Oren Cass makes the case that the Republicans must move beyond the dog-eared 1980s playbook of tax cuts and deregulation if they are to succeed.

Woke Capitalism Is a Smokescreen

American Compass research director Wells King argues that woke corporate activism attempts to launder self-interest through liberal ideology and to renege on actual obligations.

The Five Deadly Sins of the Left: An Update

Even the financial crisis of 2008–09 did not spur any real realignment of voters toward the left. Nor have—so far—the twin economic and health crises brought on by the COVID pandemic. What has gone wrong?

What Are Public Schools For?

According to a new American Compass survey, parents have a different answer than activists and policymakers do, writes Oren Cass.

20 Years of “Free Trade” with China

We have adapted Senator Rubio’s speech as an essay, which we are pleased to present as this week’s Compass Point: Trading It All Away.

Have I Got a Bridge to Sell You: The Limitations of Econ 101

American Compass executive director Oren Cass reviews Glenn Hubbard’s new book, The Wall and the Bridge, and discusses the limits of market fundamentalism.

The Fed Soc Debate Turns Inward

American Compass coalitions director Wesley Hodges discusses the developing debate within the Federalist Society about the roles and potential threats of corporate and government power.

Why China Matters to You

Twenty years into the foolish experiment of Chinese ascension to the World Trade Organization, America now has a strategic peer whose values and goals in conflict with our own. We have committed to an international system on the assumption that we would set its course, and face a hoisting by our own petard if adversaries gain leverage within its institutions.

Washington Is Showing How Much It Really Cares About Blue Collar Families (Not Much)

American Compass policy director Chris Griswold discusses the “blue-collar blueprint” for infrastructure and how DC politicos fail to listen to their actual blue-collar voters.

California Dreamin’

San Francisco’s mainstream media and political elite have tried to downplay such stories. But the trends are impossible to ignore. California is one of just a handful of states to see dramatic increases in its homeless population.

The Cult for Growth

In this week’s Compass Point, Marginal Prophets, Matthew Walther turns his perceptive gaze to the “magical thinking” of neoliberalism, and brings along a delightful guide: 19th-century anthropologist James Frazer, author of The Golden Bough and keen observer of humanity’s superstitious traditions and priestly castes.

The “Big Quit” Is an Opportunity to Fix Our Broken Education System

A broad rethinking of work and human capital development is occurring while 10.4 million jobs sit unfilled and more than 8.4 million unemployed individuals look for work.

Of Snowflakes and Slip-and-Falls

In this week’s Compass Point, The Snowflakes Aren’t Melting, Michael Brendan Dougherty offers a sharp, revisionist account of “safetyism.” The term commonly refers to the phenomenon of young people coddled through their childhoods and thus unable to cope with the conflicts and travails of adulthood.

Gimme Shelter

Only the Rich Can Play is an uncomfortable reminder that no matter how much you may appreciate an idea’s intellectual lineage or conceptual clarity, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. It deserves inclusion on political science syllabi as a case study in how a billionaire’s idea can flow from a Davos brainstorming session to Washington’s halls of power and become the law of the land.

The Work-Ethic Welfare State

Lind’s essay marks the launch of a new series, The Compass Point, that will present in-depth commentary from leading scholars and writers on topics vital to the future of conservatism. Expect them most Fridays over the next couple of months.

Extending the Child Tax Credit to Undocumented Immigrants Is Playing with Fire

Buried within the Democrats’ multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation package is a provision to extend the recently expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) to undocumented immigrants. This would be a grave mistake, and I say that as both a supporter of the CTC expansion and as a proponent of more liberal immigration.

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On the Biden CTC, Expert Endorsement Rings Hollow

American Compass’s Oren Cass and Wells King discuss the pitfalls of “evidence-based policymaking” and the importance of prioritizing work and long-term effects in designing the Child Tax Credit.

The Labor Movement Is ‘Woking’ Itself to Death

American Compass research director Wells King explores the failures of the modern American labor movement and what workers really want from unions.

Woking 9 to 5

Not What They Bargained For, the American Compass survey of worker attitudes, highlights the ways that the labor movement’s focus on progressive politics has undermined its own popularity and alienated the lower and working classes. Workers similarly disdain “woke” employers.

Can Antitrust Be Pro-Worker?

In 1776, Adam Smith made perhaps the most famous statement linking monopoly power to labor. “Masters,” he wrote in The Wealth of Nations, “are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate.” Today, however, rather than taking Smith’s maxim as a warning, most lawyers and judges have come to treat it as a guidebook.

Keep the Child Credit Tied to Work

Americans want creative policymaking that better supports families, but always with the expectation that families receiving public support are also working to support themselves.

American Labour Unions Should Stop Playing Politics

American Compass’s Oren Cass discusses the state of American organized labor and what the working class wants from their unions.

How to Put Woke Capital Out of Business

Ramaswamy sees what so many establishment conservatives and libertarians refuse to see: in the eyes of the woke Left, we on the Right are all racists who should be made untouchables.

The Emergence of Anti-Corporate Progressivism

Opposition to globalization. Efforts to weaken intellectual property protections. Pushing for municipal broadband. Calls for the National Institutes of Health to develop drugs. What do these positions have in common? They are all examples of the recent turn toward anti-corporate progressivism.

Empire State of Crisis

Two new books—Benjamin Holtzman’s The Long Crisis and Thomas Dyja’s New York, New York, New York—ditch the clichés, old and new, and use two starkly different styles of research and writing to arrive at the same conclusion, one that’s no less accurate for being yet another cliché. Ideologically, culturally, economically, whatever-ally, New York City is impossible to categorize.

Working Americans Are Speaking. Are Politicians Listening?

In an adaptation of his conclusion to the Edgerton Essays anthology, Patrick T. Brown discusses what he learned from editing the collection of perspectives from the working class.

How to Fix Widespread Buyer’s Remorse in Education

Almost two-thirds of U.S. high school graduates enroll immediately in some form of postsecondary education with a clear-cut motive. In 2019, 83.5% of entering freshmen said that getting a better job was a “very important” reason for attending college, up from a 1976 low of 68%. Are these expectations realized? Mostly no.

A Collective Cure to Privacy Threats

Privacy is another major casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments instituted expansive surveillance programs to enable contact tracing and corral the disease. Many of these programs are here to stay, as citizens get used to them or welcome them to avoid future quarantine and lockdowns.

Unemployment and the Labors of Love

As I was reading sociologist Sarah Damaske’s new book, The Tolls of Uncertainty: How Privilege and the Guilt Gap Shape Unemployment in America, I was struck by a realization: though I’ve spent a good deal of the past 11 years interviewing working-class young adults in Ohio, I have met relatively few who have received unemployment insurance (UI).

America Should Bring Back a Financial Transaction Tax

American Compass policy director Chris Griswold makes the case for a financial transaction tax in the United States.

Don’t Leave Social Media Regulation to the Platforms, Bring in the FCC

Coming to terms with the importance of free speech means coming to terms with the reality that free speech will sometimes be used for abhorrent purposes. We protect bad speech on the grounds that the alternative—censorship—is even worse.

The Surprising Nordic Lesson for U.S. Welfare

Before the arrival of COVID-19, the U.S. was seeing growing numbers of people, especially men, dropping out of the workforce. Given the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, this will likely continue, even when labor demand is back to normal. The strong pull of streaming, video games, and social media will only make that trend worse. In this environment, one possible downside of cash payments is an additional incentive not to work.

Are You Better Off Than You Were Forty Years Ago?

American Compass executive director Oren Cass discusses economic shifts over the past 40 years and why economists and policymakers need to embrace a more holistic view of what it means to be “better off.”

Why Do Libertarians Support User Fees but Not a Family Wage?

Wages are to workers’ output what user fees are to highways and toll bridges.

A Template for Harnessing the Private Sector for the Public Good

Relying on “the market” or championing outsourcing in rising domestic costs might provide short term benefits. But ultimately, it undermines national prosperity by degrading valuable domestic social capital and skills.

High School and Beyond: Creating Pathways to Opportunity

The essential elements of a new opportunity program are what students know (knowledge) and whom they know (relationships).

mRNA vaccine vial
Operation Warp Speed Accelerated Biotech Innovation, Now What?

Warp Speed was a triumph of industrial policy, and its details offer a path to rebuilding American production of key medical products and industrial capabilities more generally.

The Problem of Tech Is Bigger Than Big Tech

The early years of a technological revolution are not, generally speaking, happy ones.

The Costs of Tech Policy Inaction

Regulatory skeptics make a fundamental mistake in assuming that the United States can freely choose between greater state intervention in digital markets and a continued laissez-faire approach.

Growing Pains

American Compass research director Wells King reviews two books on the de-growth movement.

How Technology Has Changed Our Jobs, Our Privacy, and Our Brains

American Compass research director Wells King discusses the wide-ranging effects of the digital revolution in an adaptation of Lost in the Super Market: Navigating the Digital Age.

Want More Humane Technology? Look to the Supermarket

Are we the passive victims of rapacious technology? Or fully knowledgeable about how technology works and in control of its role in our lives?

Reflections on the Digital Revolution

The problems and challenges posed by what is often referred to as “Big Tech” should primarily be understood as novel instantiations of age-old issues.

The ‘Uber Economy’ Needs Guardrails

If you are a freelancer like a lawyer or a doctor with a private practice, your experience is very different from a freelancer or contractor accessing work through online labor platforms like Upwork, Clickworker, Uber, or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

Curtailing Big Tech Requires Much More Than Breaking It Up

American Compass executive director Oren Cass makes the case for disaggregating the Big Tech debate and giving greater focus to the digital age’s novel challenges.

It’s Time to Bring Back Place-Based Policymaking

As neoclassical economics steeped with market fundamentalist ideology started to gain ascendency in the 1970s, the federal government gradually abandoned efforts to help lagging regions.

What Republicans Can Learn from the UK’s Conservative Party

As the big loser in 2020, the GOP should consider what it can learn from Britain’s Conservative Party, which offers a compelling policy matrix.

Is Sweden a Free-Market Welfare State?

While it is true that Sweden adopted some neoliberal reforms after an economic crisis in the early 1990s, Sweden is not, and never has been, a free-market welfare state.

Why Conservative Populists Should Care About Health Care

The reasons for conservative populism’s seeming neglect of health care likely has more to do with the newness of the movement than any prejudice against health policy itself.

A Canadian Warning on Universal Child Care

Any discussion of the effects of government-subsidized day care for children inevitably turns to Canada. In 1997, the province of Quebec introduced a universal child care program, offering parents a Read more…

Honoring Motherhood with Paid Leave

Since Abigail Tucker’s book, Mom Genes: Inside the New Science of Our Ancient Maternal Instinct, was released a few days ago, I’ve been listening to the audiobook whenever I get Read more…

The Bully Platform

While it falls short as an analysis of present-day American monopoly policy, Senator Hawley’s latest book constitutes a spirited, even landmark, political statement and call-to-arms for a deeper shift towards vigorous republicanism in the American conservative movement.

A Warning From the UK: Don’t Let Government Take Over Child Care

Rather than setting a neutral policy framework to allow households to fulfill their own preferences, governments increasingly tilt the deck toward a very particular vision preferred by high-income professionals.

Should a Child Benefit Be Based on Marital and Employment Status?

There’s something weird, and maybe even wrong, about a policy that seeks to support families, but leaves out families who have the least support and are the most disconnected from the helpful institutions of work and marriage.

Has the Financial Sector Become a Drag on the Real Economy?

American Compass’s Oren Cass, in dialogue with Oaktree Capital’s Howard Marks, discusses the negative effects of the growth of the U.S. financial sector.

Children playing with blocks, family
Romney, Hawley, Rubio, and Lee’s Building Blocks for Family Policy

The key parameters for understanding competing family-benefit proposals.

Statistical Gnosticism on the Right

Some right-of-center analysts have absolute conviction that basic statistics describing some of America’s challenges are obviously wrong

The Rich Get Richer, Middle Class Shrinks, and Conservatives Must Act

American Compass research director Wells King discusses the state of economic inequality in the United States and how conservatives should respond.

The Consultant Class Scores an Own Goal

With every step away towards a pure market logic and away from physical communities and lived-in traditions, the sporting world will find that the magic and allure of what has made them so compelling start to disappear.

What American Workers Really Want Instead of a Union at Amazon

American Compass executive director Oren Cass discusses the failed unionization drive at Amazon’s Bessemer, AL, warehouse and what it says about what kind of support and representation workers actually want.

America’s Microchip Slip

American Compass’s Oren Cass and Richard Oyeniran explore the decline of America’s semiconductor industry and how the U.S. can retake the lead in the great semiconductor race.

If We Can’t Agree on a Global Minimum, Abolish the Corporate Tax

It may come as a surprise to many readers that arguments about radically altering the concept of corporate taxation do not hail exclusively from right-wing libertarian think tanks.

No, Adopting an Industrial Policy Doesn’t Mean We’re Emulating China

There is a continuum of state involvement in industry and technology policy that spans from doing nothing to picking particular firms and technologies.

Justice Thomas, Countervailing Power, and Big Tech

Justice Thomas has entered a hot debate about the best means of regulating social media.  His approach to regulation tends to be more function-centric as opposed size-centric.

The Fed’s Most Harmful Statistics Error

The United States is not producing 24,881% more computers than it was in 1980, and is likely producing significantly fewer because of offshoring.

Small Business Boards: How to Help Small And Medium Businesses Compete

Large numbers of American workers are trapped in low-wage jobs in low-tech, low-profit industries in the nontraded domestic service sector, including leisure and hospitality, retail and child and elder care.

Freedom, Fairness or Flourishing: America’s Fundamental Economic Policy Choice

Knowing that many Americans see flourishing as the right goal, both the freedom and fairness camps claim their policies generate flourishing. But mostly they don’t.

A Weighty Matter: The Cost of Fat America

America is very fat. Being very fat is bad for you. Being very fat is expensive.

Post-Liberal America

Today’s upsurge in Catholic integralism is a one of the many signs of growing dissatisfaction with liberalism’s efforts to keep metaphysics out of public life.

Putting Down Roots

Olmstead has created a work of lyric subversion, luring you in with glowing prose while slowly unveiling the depth of her critique.

The US Needs to Rediscover the Meaning of Investment

American Compass executive director Oren Cass makes the case that fortunes are made in financial markets without benefiting the real economy.

Pro-Life, Pro-Family

Now is the time to say that in defense of innocent life there is no stutter in “from conception to natural death.”

Jonah Goldberg Takes On Public Policy Stuff

Jonah Goldberg, Cliff Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute, had a lot to say about American Compass on a recent podcast.

The Deliberalizing Imperative

The New Right, which stands for nothing if not resuscitating a long-moribund communitarian- and nationalism-inspired strand of conservative thought, is not per se “illiberal.”

Calling on the Wrong Profession: Time to Listen Less to Economists

As hard as it is to believe, there was a time – before the New Deal – when economists were largely treated like any other interest group, occasionally saying something interesting, but usually ignored by policymakers.

Breaking the Spell

Executive director Oren Cass looks back on the history of welfare reform and explains why fighting poverty requires more than just sending money to the poor.

A Consolidationist Agenda for the Right

Any political movement or political party worth its salt, when confronted with data evincing the sordid state of the American family, ought to respond by substantively prioritizing the American family’s institutional rejuvenation.

How To Build Family Policy For The Working-Class Majority

Michael Lind’s Home Building essay on family policy for the working class majority is adapted by the Daily Caller.

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Cultural Policy for 2021

American society suffers from de-composition and de-consolidation. This isolation makes us less resilient and more vulnerable. And it also makes us less stable and more susceptible to ideological infections.

The Left’s Welfare Extremism

Executive director Oren Cass on how left-wing critics of our family-benefit proposal are sorely misguided.

Government Spending Is Already Too Burdensome

Self-styled conservatives should not be aiding and abetting the push for class-warfare taxation by adding to the collection of proposed tax-rate increases on workers, investors, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

Put Working Families at the Front of the Line for Help

American Compass executive director Oren Cass argues that a policy that sustains people in joblessness is not ultimately anti-poverty.

Let Them Eat Daycare

Our policy debates center on helping working families, but they routinely fail to capture those families’ preferences for their own lives or for policies that would help them most. Proposals Read more…

1980 All Over Again? In Search of the Right Analogy for the 2020 Election

The 2020 election bears the most resemblance to 1980, which ushered a transformed Republican Party into the White House and Senate for the first time since 1954.

Don’t Federalize Family Policy

I want to find new ways for conservative governing principles to help the family, but I want to avoid labeling a policy as “conservative” simply because it purports to aid families.

Single Mothers’ Attitudes About Work and Motherhood

Gina, a single mother of three in southwestern Ohio, recently told me that being a mom saved her from despair and addiction. “It’s my life. It’s everything to me. It’s Read more…

When Farmers Are Not Farmers and Shepherds Are Not Shepherds

For too long we have let memories we cherish—of farms and farmers, of homesteads and pioneers, of cowboys on the range and Native Americans hunting the great herds—disguise how much we have lost and abandoned.

Toward a Family Wage (Subsidy)

An important insight deep within the structure of the Fisc is that much of the trouble ailing families right now is not strictly poverty; it’s fatherlessness.

Is A Child Allowance Pro-Work for Poor Parents?

An injection of cash to poor families might be less of a handout and more of a hand up, acting as much-needed capital for families by allowing them to afford the things necessary to stay employed.

The Social Meaning of Family Benefits

No-strings-attached cash through a child allowance does not sever social ties or lead to the commodification of parenthood. It maintains expectations and parents will earmark for their child’s needs.

For Pregnant Mothers, Make Payments Lump-Sum

Lump-sum payments will decrease the incentive for fraud while eliminating the inequity regarding length of pregnancy.

Making Young Men Marriageable

With few “marriageable” men employed in the kinds of decent-paying occupations that make them attractive as potential husbands, marriage has slipped out of reach for far too many poor and working-class Americans.

Taxing Families Like Companies

If families are people, and corporations are people, it stands to reason that families should be allowed to incorporate and file their taxes accordingly.

Setting a Goal for Family Support

It is time for conservatives to look beyond discrete proposals and to approach family policy as an orienting goal that can enable other political goals and as an investment in the nation’s long-term prosperity.

Insuring Health Care for Working Families

The American health care system is far from family-friendly. One feature stands out: employer-sponsored health insurance.

Making Room for Families to Live

Where do families want to live? Urbanists will point out that the high price of housing in walkable, city neighborhoods indicates that demand is especially high. Suburbanists will note that Read more…

Creating Flexible, Family-Friendly Schools

K-12 education is the single greatest family policy lever at our disposal.

Building Better Foster Homes

Regularly lost in the debate over family policy are those children separated from their families or without a permanent home—namely, the hundreds of thousands of American children in the nation’s child welfare system.

Fitting the Fisc to Social Security

Oren Cass and Wells King have added their proposal, a parenting supplement they call the Fisc, to a list of ideas designed to reduce the fiscal burden on parents relative Read more…

Magical Thinking on China and Trade

Unilaterally disarming from trade conflict on behalf of open markets, and then making empty demands, is not a plan.

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How to Raise the Minimum Wage, If You Must

Let’s peg the federal minimum wage to state median wages.

Reactions to a New Social Compact

Commentators and policy analysts react to our proposal for a Family Income Supplemental Credit.

A World Tour of Family Benefit Programs

American enthusiasm for a per-child family benefit has grown, but details matter and proposals differ widely—as do the programs already established in other nations.

Support Families Because They Are Families

Conservatives have a persistent problem: they often don’t know what it is they want to conserve. This bears on the burgeoning discussion of family policy.

Is a New Entitlement Program the Solution for Working Families?

How does the Fisc stack up? Better than a universal child allowance, though I still have concerns.

Why Raising the Minimum Wage Will Grow the Economy, Not Kill Jobs

Raising the minimum wage would not increase unemployment; it would increase living standards for low-income workers—and, critically, it would boost overall U.S. productivity growth.

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Elite Overproduction or Mid-Tier Underproduction?

One way of reading a story of American discontent is in its newspapers. Not just in their pages, but in how their ongoing decline illustrates broader tendencies fueling popular frustration.

If Conservatives Do Not Defend The Family, Who Will?

Helen Andrews’s Home Building essay on why conservatives should defend the family is adapted by the Daily Caller.

Buy American: The Key to Reshoring and Restoring American Prosperity

Americans have seen their wages shrivel as manufacturing has been repeatedly outsourced to low-cost jurisdictions such as China, Bangladesh and Vietnam.  Much of the prevailing conventional wisdom over the past few decades has been that manufacturing is not a necessary part of a wealthy nation, that we live in a “post-industrial” world, that is, one in which we don’t have to do much, if any, manufacturing in the United States.

A Letter to My Boomer Parents

I’m writing this as a letter because we’ve often had this conversation aloud, but this lets you return to it at your leisure. Nothing that I say here will be new to you, but I’m writing this so that others can read it, too. Because there’s something to the intergenerational warfare narrative of our moment, it is fitting to frame these issues as a grown child’s reflection on the status of his parents.

A New Conservatism: Freeing the Right From Free-Market Orthodoxy

In this feature essay for Foreign Affairs, American Compass executive director Oren Cass discusses a path forward for conservatism that is no longer bound by free-market orthodoxy.

Family and Freedom

In his introduction to the “Home Building” forum on American Compass, Oren Cass opens by drawing upon Ronald Reagan’s warning that the American culture of freedom must be renewed in Read more…

It’s neither the Investor Class nor the Middle Class: It’s the Producer Class, Stupid!

If one believes that ideas matter, then the person who has surely done the most harm to humanity is Karl Marx, as his writings led to Communism, with its repression and tens of millions of deaths (as well the rise of Nazi Germany).

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Joe Biden Should Be Doing More That Really Helps Workers

American Compass executive director Oren Cass discusses President Biden’s first days in office and why he should focus on policies that help working Americans.

GameStop Populism

In our populist moment, the categories of left and right are losing their currency. Underlying recent events—the Capitol riot of Jan 6 (a populist political uprising) and the GameStop saga (“the first populist uprising in finance”)—is the belief that the system is rotten. It’s a belief shared by populists on both sides, even as party labels are becoming less meaningful for many working people who see reality as primarily shaped by the interests of a powerful, wealthy, global elite vs. the needs of ordinary people.

The Future Really is Faction

Democrats and Republicans alike should feel free to contradict their putative leaders, for they contain multitudes.

L’Affaire GameStop

The stampede into GameStop and other stocks was a political event. Like antifa assaults on government building and the mob assault on the White House, the investment strategy hatched on Read more…

GameStop: Intentionally Dying

Our country, we tell ourselves, is a place where anyone can make it if they study enough, and where the smartest rise to the top. Grow up in a sad town with only empty lots where factories used to be? Hit the books, spend your days in the library memorizing dates, equations, and working out that brain.

When Does a Labor Economist Ask for a Raise?

Little persuasion happens in 280-character snippets, but people willing to explain their thinking and answer each other’s questions can still accomplish a lot by clarifying their views and identifying the underlying sources of disagreement. So I was delighted yesterday when the Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh took the time to walk me through his understanding of how wages are set in labor markets.

Should President Biden Revoke Section 230?

The beautiful dream of an open and free internet, serving as a global agora of unlimited free speech to provide for more democratic participation, has crashed and burned one more time.

Before COVID, the Economy Was Already Sick from Washington Groupthink

When it comes to the economy, the Biden administration will have to focus on three things: COVID, a recovery package, and China. Everyone understands we have to get vaccines in the arms of as many Americans as possible as soon as possible. And hopefully the Senate can agree on an economic recovery package.

Unity in Dread

“Unity is the path forward.” That was the leitmotif of Joe Biden inaugural address. It’s easy to be skeptical about such appeals, given how divided our country has become. And easier still to be cynical, given the flurry of executive orders immediately after his inauguration, many of which intensified rather than moderated battles over morality and culture.

Germany Returns to its Galbraithian Roots; Will the U.S. do the same?

Count Germany as the latest country to abandon the market fundamentalism that has characterized economic policymaking in the West for the past 40 years.

The Immigration Shimmy

Immigration expansionists face a difficult challenge: they support high levels of immigration—including many more less-skilled immigrants—for a variety of legitimate reasons, but the less-skilled immigration has detrimental economic effects on Read more…

In Whom We Trust

We watched the Inauguration on a laptop at our kitchen table while two toddlers nibbled chicken quesadillas and the baby fussed intermittently.

The Collapse of the Smithian Well-Ordered Society (And What to Do About It)

The great moral philosopher Adam Smith is often considered the founding father of the discipline of economics. Like many of today’s economists, his goals include both understanding how and why markets function as they do and making vivid the many potential advantages of markets over alternative ways of organizing economic life.

A Tale of Two Conservatisms

Being called a “socialist” by George Will in the Washington Post was already a professional highlight. So I was thrilled for the opportunity to talk with him about the future of conservatism. Clearly, we would have a lot to discuss.

Reclaim Democracy From Technocracy

Our present predicament, characterized as it by an emboldened and rapacious post-U.S. Capitol siege Big Tech edifice all too eager to dutifully serve as a repressive ruling class appendage, was perfectly encapsulated on Friday by two of my Commons co-bloggers.

Asymptotic Freedom

Far from being on a censorship slipper-slope, Big Tech will soon lose their ability to confine our interactions altogether.

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The Pandemic Necessitates a New Approach to Health Care

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an existential conundrum to the structure and principle of employer-based health care and its various supporters and dependents. The loss of a job often cuts off access to health care, adding greater weight to the challenges of dealing with this public health crisis.

National Developmentalism ≠ Critical Theory Radicalism

After years of dismissing the rise of critical theory-inspired identity politics, many conservatives have become “woke” to just how divisive this movement is. The problem, however, is that some free market fundamentalists see both radical intersectionalists and Hamiltonian supporters of national developmentalism as desecrators of the Founding Father’s principles.

Corporate-Sponsored Censorship

Parler, the alternative to Twitter, is being strangled by the tech giants. Apple and Google removed the app from their app stores. Amazon removed the company from its web-hosting service. These companies claim these actions serve the public interest.

Where Do We Go From Here?

January 6 was a catastrophe for America. An angry mob, spurred on by the president, some carrying confederate flags, ransacked the Capitol during a joint session of Congress.

The Ramifications of a Regime-Level Politics

The quite clearly collusive actions of the Big Tech giants, in recent days, accelerate even further the national reckoning that has been overdue at least since Big Tech’s coordinated “Pearl Harbor attack” against the nation’s fourth-largest newspaper on the precipice of the monumental recent presidential election.

Republican Party Platforms On Collective Bargaining, 1920-2020

In 2020 Donald Trump won 40 percent of voters who live in a household with at least one member in a labor union, slightly fewer than the 42 percent of union households who voted for him in 2016.  With the exception of Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden won fewer union households than any recent Democratic presidential candidate. 

Is There a Case for Principled Populism From the GOP?

Marshall Auerback discusses how a principled populism that addresses working-class interests could emerge in the GOP.

The Real Science Denialism

The American Revolution was in many ways inspired by the scientific one. But this says at least as much about science as it does about America—and as vaccine-related controversies renew calls to “listen to scientists,” it’s worth considering how the philosophy of science parallels the philosophy of the Founders, and what those parallels suggest about the nature of scientific authority.

Industrial Policy Must Account for Worker Attitudes

n a recent post about the relationship between family trends and the skills gap I noted that for some of the young adults my husband David and I interviewed in southwestern Ohio, trauma and addiction make it difficult to take advantage of the employment opportunities that do exist.

The Trump Apocalypse

In popular parlance an “apocalypse” means an epic disaster. As a simple transliteration of Greek (apocalypsis) the literal meaning is more pedestrian: “uncovering,” or to use a fancier word, “revelation.” But one understands the popular sense, for it is often unsettling (or worse) when the true nature of things is revealed. This is the case in last book of the New Testament, which bears the name Apocalypse.

“It’s My %$!#ing Money” and the Hollow Populism of Stimulus Checks

“Checks” risks becoming the rallying cry for a hollow form of populism, one that seeks to merely extract value for the masses rather than build something new and permanent.

Complacency and Wasteful Spending Blight US Higher Education

American Compass’s Oren Cass makes the case against forgiving billions of dollars of student debt and for rethinking our approach to higher education.

Potato Chips, Computer Chips: Yes, There Is a Difference

After a half century of neoclassical economics dominance, it has become a truism among most economists and policy makers that a nation’s sectoral composition doesn’t matter.

Media After Trump

There can be no doubt that Trump gave the press the back of his hand. His refusal to kowtow to upscale media brands offended the vanity of high-level reporters, editors, Read more…

Antitrust or Countervailing Power?

A strange development of recent years has been the revival on parts of the left and the right of the long-dormant ideology of antimonopolism, once associated with agrarian populists like William Jennings Bryan and progressives like Louis Brandeis.

Worker Power or Loose Borders: You Can Only Pick One

American Compass’s Oren Cass discusses the tension between worker power and loose immigration policy.

Is There a Case for Principled Populism From the GOP?

“Populism” is a term that since the modern era has been generally trotted out to mean a political attitude that reflects widespread anger and resentment against powerful elites, while among stenographers for the power class, populism has been reflexively trotted out to warn against the passions and wants of the mob.

Family Trauma and the Skills Gap

In a recent conversation hosted by American Compass, “What Next: A Multi-Ethnic, Working-Class Conservatism,” Ohio Congressman Anthony Gonzalez discussed the skills gap. “[T]he number one issue that I hear from employers is, I have jobs, I could hire 10 people tomorrow, but either the folks don’t want to do the work that we have, or I just can’t find the right people.”

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