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Mark Perry

Mark Perry

Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

Articles by Mark Perry

Monday night links – Publications – AEI

21 days ago

AEI
Monday night links

1. Chart of the Day (above) shows another historic US energy milestone: America’s crude oil output reached 12 million bpd last week for the first time in history. In just a decade, US oil production increased a whopping140% from 5 million to 12 million bpd, arguably the most remarkable energy success story in history. Imagine how much different today’s energy situation would be without fracking and horizontal drilling, e.g., if the downward trend in US crude oil production from conventional drilling methods from 10 million bpd to 5 million bpd between 1970 and 2005 had continued. We’d be fretting about domestic output of only 4 million bpd, and increased dependence on OPEC, Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc., instead of celebrating the 12 million bpd milestone!
2. Who’d

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The trade balance chimera in two sentences – Publications – AEI

21 days ago

AEI
The trade balance chimera in two sentences
That’s the title of this post by Pierre Lemieux:
Charles H. Carroll (1799-1890) was a Maryland and Massachusetts merchant who wrote on economics often with surprising insights. In a 1862 article reproduced in his book Organization of Debt into Currency and Other Papers, he destroyed the myth of the unfavorable balance of trade in two sentences (emphasis in original):
The balance of trade, that has occupied so extensively the thoughts of politicians, is a chimera. The balance of profit is in our favor only when our return cargoes exceed the outward in value; in other words, when our imports exceed our exports.
It can be argued that the only way of escaping Carroll’s conclusion is to realize that the balance of trade is meaningless in an

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The farcical ‘Green New Deal’ – Publications – AEI

23 days ago

AEI
The farcical ‘Green New Deal’

That’s the title of Richard Epstein’s latest Hoover Institution article, here’s the opening:
The dominant source of energy for the foreseeable future for both the United States and the world will be fossil fuels, chiefly in the form of oil, natural gas, and coal. Throughout the world, many groups will push hard for massive subsidies to wind and solar energy. Yet, that attempt, no matter how bold, will fail to shift the overall balance of energy production toward green sources. The fatal drawback of wind and solar is their lack of storability. Solar works when the sun shines. Wind works when breezes blow. Both often provide energy when it is not needed and fail to provide it when required. Any legal diktat that puts these renewable sources first will only

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Can the University of California bar males from presenting research at a biology conference? – Publications – AEI

23 days ago

AEI
Can the University of California bar males from presenting research at a biology conference?

That’s the question James Freeman asks in his Wall Street Journal column today “No Men Allowed“:
Next week the University of California, San Diego’s prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography is the location for an intriguing academic conference. It’s devoted to the microorganisms that exist on and within all of us. But participation by a much larger type of organism will be significantly restricted.
The microbiome describes the community of tiny living things that exist on a human body, for example, while the metabolome describes chemicals found in a particular biological sample, such as blood. The UC San Diego website informs:
During the first day of this event, leading researchers will

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John G. Murphy: Five ways that Trump’s trade war has brought pain to so many Americans and alienated our closest allies – Publications – AEI

24 days ago

AEI
John G. Murphy: Five ways that Trump’s trade war has brought pain to so many Americans and alienated our closest allies

In an LA Times op-ed John G. Murphy explains how “Tariffs are hurting American families and workers” starting with these five ways that tariffs and Trump’s trade war have “brought pain to so many Americans and alienated our closest allies” (bold added):
1. Tariffs are taxes, and they are paid by American consumers not foreigners. Tariff hikes have meant price hikes on everything from beer and clothing to off-road vehicles and RVs.
In some cases, the new tariffs imposed in the past year are being paid indirectly by people like the U.S. auto workers who saw their 2018 profit-sharing checks reduced by $750 each.
2. Tariffs have caused some input prices to soar,

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Thomas Sowell on ideological conformity wrapped in demographic diversity – Publications – AEI

26 days ago

AEI
Thomas Sowell on ideological conformity wrapped in demographic diversity
From Thomas Sowell writing  25 years ago in a March 1994 Forbes article the “Multicultural Charade,” where Sowell argues that much could be gained from an honest study of “multicultural diversity,” instead of the “ideological conformity wrapped in demographic diversity” that we usually get:
In the academic world, diversity means black leftists, white leftists, female leftists, and Hispanic leftists. Demographic diversity conceals ideological conformity.
……
The grand dogma of our times, that groups would be evenly represented in institutions and activities in the absence of discrimination, would collapse like a house of cards from a study of societies around the world.
……
In the light of this history, who would

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China’s subsidies are unfair and harm Americans, right? – Publications – AEI

26 days ago

AEI
China’s subsidies are unfair and harm Americans, right?
Well, No. Most people thinks that is true. But not so fast. That’s actually backwards.
In a response to one of his Cafe Hayek readers, Don Boudreaux explains that China’s subsidies actually benefit Americans and hurt the Chinese, not the other way around.
To make his case Don consider two scenarios:
Scenario 1: A private Chinese citizen invents an amazing device that doubles overnight the output of all manufacturing workers whose employers possess this device. She produces this device exclusively with private funds and sells it profitably across the globe, including to businesses in America. As a result, millions of American manufacturing workers lose their particular jobs.
Scenario 2: Beijing subsidizes the invention, production,

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Quotation of the day on victimhood culture and hate-crime hoaxes…. – Publications – AEI

26 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on victimhood culture and hate-crime hoaxes….
… is from Andy Ngo’s National Review article “Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness“:
Jussie Smollett’s hoax is symptomatic of America’s illness. Because of the mainstreaming of academia’s victimhood culture, we are now in a place where we place more value on being a victim than on being heroic, charitable, or even kind. Victims or victim groups high on intersectionality points are supposed to be coveted, treated with kid gloves, and believed unreservedly. Their “lived experience” gives them infinite wisdom. Those who urge caution are treated as bigots.
Outside of the rare prosecution for faking a hate crime, the incentives for being a victim — real or imagined — are endless.
Quotation of the day on victimhood

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Chart of the day: The incredible 13M gender college degree gap since 1982 favoring women – Publications – AEI

26 days ago

AEI
Chart of the day: The incredible 13M gender college degree gap since 1982 favoring women

The chart above shows the cumulative college degree gap favoring women since 1982, based on Department of Education data here. Here’s some background and commentary:
1. Interestingly, Title IX was passed in 1972 when women were the minority gender in higher education, and in that year earned only 43.6% of bachelor’s degrees and 39.7% of master’s degrees.
2. By 1978, women earned the majority of associate’s degrees, and currently earn 61.3% of those degrees, which means that 158 women earn associate’s degrees today for every 100 men.
2. By 1979, women became the majority gender for total fall college enrollment for the first time, and the female share of college enrollment increased gradually over

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Who’d a-thunk it? The NYC minimum wage hike to $15 an hour is causing pain for many of the city’s restaurants? – Publications – AEI

27 days ago

AEI
Who’d a-thunk it? The NYC minimum wage hike to $15 an hour is causing pain for many of the city’s restaurants?

An article in the New York Eater (“Restaurateurs Are Scrambling to Cut Service and Raise Prices After Minimum Wage Hike“) highlights some of the suffering New York City’s full-service restaurants are experiencing following the December 31, 2018 hike in the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is 15.4% higher than the $13 minimum wage a year earlier, and 36.4% higher than the $11 an hour two years ago. For example, Rosa Mexicana operates four restaurants in Manhattan and estimates the $15 mandated wage will increase their labor costs by $600,000 this year. Here’s a slice:
Now, across the city, restaurant owners and operators are reworking their budgets and operations to

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Best sentence I read today…. – Publications – AEI

27 days ago

AEI
Best sentence I read today….
… is from Jonah Goldberg’s National Review article “New Deals (Even Green Ones) Are Bonanzas for Big Business“:
But what’s just astounding to me is how Democrats can (almost in one breath, figuratively speaking) champion a Green New Deal that would use the powers of the state — taxes, subsidies, regulatory bullying, etc. — to herd whole industries into alignment with their vision of a just and green society, and at the same time denounce these very tactics when actually put into practice.
MP: Venn diagram version above.
Here’s another good sentence from Jonah:
The lesson of such efforts throughout American history and across the world is that when the government hugs big business, big business hugs back, and its embrace leaves the rest of us in the cold.

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George Will on socialism, and some thoughts on its eternal appeal – Publications – AEI

29 days ago

AEI
George Will on socialism, and some thoughts on its eternal appeal
Below is an excerpt from George Will’s op-ed in today’s Washington Post, “It’s common to praise socialism. It’s rarer to define it,” (bold added) that starts with this summary of Marxist/socialist philosophy from Karl Marx: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!”
After many subsequent dilutions, today’s watery conceptions of socialism amount to this: Almost everyone will be nice to almost everyone, using money taken from a few. This means having government distribute, according to its conception of equity, the wealth produced by capitalism. This conception is shaped by muscular factions: the elderly, government employees unions, the steel industry, the sugar growers, and so on and on and on.

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Random aggravations – Publications – AEI

February 15, 2019

AEI
Random aggravations
Sorry to be such a curmudgeon today….. feel free to add some aggravations of your own in the comments section.

People who use abbreviations/acronyms in emails, presentations, or in articles that aren’t known to everybody else, e.g., RFP, BDS, AVM, etc.
Generic, non-personalized outgoing voicemail messages that give you no indication that you’ve actually reached the right phone number and the right person.
People who frequently interrupt others in mid-sentence, either by finishing your sentence or by breaking in and taking the conversation in a different direction.
Drivers who don’t signal their turns.
People who regularly say “he goes” or “he’s like,” instead of, “he said.” For example, “And then he goes/he’s like ‘Hey, Dude’ and I go/I’m like ‘What? You talking to

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Quotations of the day on identity politics, Amazon’s escape from NYC, and Trump = AOC on trade – Publications – AEI

February 15, 2019

AEI
Quotations of the day on identity politics, Amazon’s escape from NYC, and Trump = AOC on trade
1. From today’s Wall Street Journal, a Letter to the Editor by Elizabeth Stoyko from Phippsburg, Maine in response to Heather Mac Donald’s Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday (“Diversity Delusions at North Carolina“):
Identity politics is perhaps the most pernicious and backward policy of the 21st century. Our Constitution attempted to end the determination of a person’s value by his or her parentage or ancestral land of origin. Ironically, it is the progressives who want to return to this destructive and anti-meritocracy system of the past centuries.
2. From a staff editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal “Amazon Escapes from New York“:
Liberals love to conflate corporate welfare with

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Thursday evening links – Publications – AEI

February 14, 2019

AEI
Thursday evening links

1. Chart of the Day I (above) displays one the effects of the American Energy Renaissance brought about by fracking and horizontal drilling technologies that made the US the world’s No. 1 oil and natural producer. In 2018 (through October) the US produced more than 94% of the domestic energy consumed, representing the greatest degree of energy self-sufficiency in more than half a century, going all the way back to 1967.
==========================================

2. Chart of the Day II (above) displays another effect of the American Energy Renaissance that made the US the world’s No. 1 crude oil producer last year — US net petroleum imports fell last year to only 12.1%, the lowest level since 1957, more than 60 years ago. And it happened pretty fast. As recently

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How do economists say ‘I love you’ on Valentine’s Day? With graphs, charts and economic theory – Publications – AEI

February 14, 2019

AEI
How do economists say ‘I love you’ on Valentine’s Day? With graphs, charts and economic theory

Valentine’s Day 2019 is almost here — it will be celebrated tomorrow on February 14. In what has become an annual tradition at CD, this post features some of the ways that an economist says “I Love You” on that special romantic day using charts, diagrams, graphics, and economic theory. Here are four of my personal favorites (one above, three below), and there’s more here at “14 Ways An Economist Says I Love You.”

Happy Valentine’s Day to Carpe Diem Nation!
 
How do economists say ‘I love you’ on Valentine’s Day? With graphs, charts and economic theory
Mark Perry

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Will 2019 be the year that colleges and universities stop openly discriminating against men, 47 years after Title IX? – Publications – AEI

February 14, 2019

AEI
Will 2019 be the year that colleges and universities stop openly discriminating against men, 47 years after Title IX?

Here’s some history of the federal civil rights legislation known as Title IX:
Title IX was enacted as a follow-up to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1964 Act was passed to end discrimination in various fields based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in the areas of employment and public accommodation. The 1964 Act did not prohibit sex discrimination against persons employed at educational institutions. A parallel law, Title VI, had also been enacted in 1964 to prohibit discrimination in federally funded private and public entities. It covered race, color, and national origin but excluded sex. Feminists during the early 1970s lobbied

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To achieve ‘Green New Socialism’ we would have to trash all existing environmental laws – Publications – AEI

February 12, 2019

AEI
To achieve ‘Green New Socialism’ we would have to trash all existing environmental laws
As John Hinderaker commented in a post (“The Trouble with Solar“) on the Powerline Blog “If the Democrats are serious about the Green New Socialism, they will have to trash pretty much all existing environmental laws,” and then points to these comments from Myron Ebell on the Competitive Enterprise Institute blog:
Achieving the Green New Deal’s objectives in ten years—or in 20 or 40—is clearly impossible. Even if hundreds of thousands of windmills, tens of millions of solar panels, and hundreds of millions of car batteries could be fabricated, the grid cannot operate on 100% intermittent and variable power—or even 50%.
One aspect of covering the landscape with hundreds of thousands of square miles

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Public education’s dirty secret….. – Publications – AEI

February 12, 2019

AEI
Public education’s dirty secret…..
… is the title of a Quilette article by Mary Hudson, a former NYC public school French teacher, here’s the ending:
It is not poor teaching or a lack of money that is failing our most vulnerable populations. The real problem is an ethos of rejection that has never been openly admitted by those in authority.
Why should millions of perfectly normal adolescents, not all of them ghettoized, resist being educated? The reason is that they know deep down that due to the color of their skin, less is expected of them. This they deeply resent. How could they not resent being seen as less capable? It makes perfect psychological sense. Being very young, however, they cannot articulate their resentment, or understand the reasons for it, especially since the adults

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Richard Epstein on the non-problem of inequality of income or wealth – Publications – AEI

February 11, 2019

AEI
Richard Epstein on the non-problem of inequality of income or wealth
From Richard Epstein’s Hoover Institution article “The Toxic Warren Wealth Tax“:
It’s not clear why we should worry about inequality of income or wealth. Both concentrate solely on the gap between those at the top and those further down in the distribution. To be sure, the gap is striking. As Saez and Zucman point out, the yearly increase in wealth for the top 0.1 percent between 1980 and 2016 has averaged about 5.3% compared to the general average of 2.5%. But where is the social problem? Why am I worse off because someone else has become better off? The superrich have made their money by providing goods and services to their fellow citizens. Rather than just engaging in massive consumption, the rich, especially at

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Heather Mac Donald on engineered diversity through lowered college admission standards and the growing diversity bureaucracy – Publications – AEI

February 11, 2019

AEI
Heather Mac Donald on engineered diversity through lowered college admission standards and the growing diversity bureaucracy
From Heather Mac Donald’s op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal “Diversity Delusions at North Carolina: Like Harvard, the school has trouble defending an admissions policy that ill-serves minority students“:
Racial preferences aren’t the solution to black and Hispanic underrepresentation in STEM, they are a cause of it. Admitting students with academic qualifications significantly below those of their peers puts them at a disadvantage, whatever their race. Students who are catapulted by preferences into schools for which they are academically mismatched struggle to keep up in classrooms where the teaching is pitched above their level of preparation. Studies have

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Yet more commentary on the Green New Deal – Publications – AEI

February 11, 2019

AEI
Yet more commentary on the Green New Deal
From Roger Simon’s PJ Media article “AOC: The Perfect Graduate of Today’s Biased Colleges“:

In the immediate sense, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be the best thing to happen to the Republican Party since Abraham Lincoln. Her Green New Deal is as much dead in the water as it is brain dead and constitutes a fabulous talking point for the GOP to run on in 2020. But there is a point of concern — and in the long run a more important one. AOC represents the natural outgrowth of our extraordinarily biased higher educational system. She is its valedictorian, its Social Justice Summa Cum Laude. Give her the SJWPhD honoris causa and, while you’re at it, give the United States of America to China. They won’t have to fire a shot.
Think I exaggerate?

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More commentary on the Green New Deal – Publications – AEI

February 11, 2019

AEI
More commentary on the Green New Deal
From Kevin Williamson’s National Review article “Sandy’s War: The Green New Deal makes every progressive an armchair general”:
But the call for a World War II–level national deployment in the service of an old, tired, hackneyed, shopworn Democrat-socialist wish-list is not about reversing the trend of climate change (China and India operate independent of American policy) or even about redistributing wealth or aggrandizing the power of petty politicians, as attractive as those things are to the low-minded and meretricious class of people who can hypnotize others — and very often themselves — with shiny objects found in any gutter. Field Marshal Sandy [AOC] needs a great cause to which to attach herself, lest she return to being only Sandy, obscure

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Commentary on the Green New Deal – Publications – AEI

February 9, 2019

AEI
Commentary on the Green New Deal
Some good commentary on the Green New Deal from Steve Horwitz on Facebook:
As with every other major spending program like this one, including the original New Deal, this is not about what it claims to be about on the surface. The “green” part of this is just rhetorical cover for the long-standing progressive wish list of ways to remake the economic order in the ways they see fit. Just as the New Deal was not about “recovery” but about “reform” and a supposed third way between socialism and capitalism, the GND is more of the same.
And like the original, it is the product of disconnected intellectuals who think they know better than the combined, decentralized, and market-coordinated efforts of billions of ordinary people how best to serve the needs of

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Trump’s trade war could cost 2M jobs, -1% GDP drag and $2K/yr. higher costs per family – Publications – AEI

February 9, 2019

AEI
Trump’s trade war could cost 2M jobs, -1% GDP drag and $2K/yr. higher costs per family
Here’s the Executive Summary of a study that was just released by the Trade Partnership Worldwide titled “Estimated Impacts of Tariffs on the U.S. Economy and Workers“:
Beginning in March 2018, the United States began to impose a series of tariffs and then quotas on imports of selected steel and aluminum products from all countries except Australia. Those countries retaliated in kind. The United States also imposed tariffs on a large share of U.S. imports from China, and China retaliated in kind. The United States has threatened to impose additional tariffs on U.S. imports of motor vehicles and parts from selected countries, as well as on the remainder of U.S. imports from China. This study examines

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Ludwig von Mises in 1945 on income inequality, consumer sovereignty, free enterprise and why socialism is wrong – Publications – AEI

February 7, 2019

AEI
Ludwig von Mises in 1945 on income inequality, consumer sovereignty, free enterprise and why socialism is wrong

Some great economic observations and insights from Ludwig von Mises’s lecture for the American Academy of Political and Social Science in Philadelphia on March 30, 1945:
The inequality of income and fortunes is essential in capitalism. The progressives consider profits as objectionable. The very existence of profits is in their eyes a proof that wage rates could be raised without harm to anybody else than idle parasites. They speak of profit without dealing with its corollary, loss. Profit and loss are the instruments by means of which the consumers keep a tight rein on all entrepreneurial activities. A profitable enterprise tends to expand, an unprofitable one tends to

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Who-d a-thunk it? Panera’s utopic pay-what-you-want restaurant model didn’t work? – Publications – AEI

February 7, 2019

AEI
Who-d a-thunk it? Panera’s utopic pay-what-you-want restaurant model didn’t work?
Panera’s Utopic Pay-What-You-Want Restaurant Dream Is Dead?
Nine years after introducing pay-what-you-can restaurants to several U.S. cities, Panera Bread is admitting defeat and closing down its last remaining non-profit Panera Cares location.
At its peak, Panera Cares operated five locations, including ones in Dearborn, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; Boston, and Chicago. Each restaurant was designed to sustain itself, but the restaurants weren’t financially viable. The Portland-based Panera Cares was reportedly only recouping between 60 and 70 percent of its total costs. The losses were attributed students who “mobbed” the restaurant and ate without paying, as well as homeless patrons who visited the

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‘Democrats love diversity, except when it comes to thought’ – Publications – AEI

February 6, 2019

AEI
‘Democrats love diversity, except when it comes to thought’
That’s the title of Jason Riley’s excellent editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal, here are some “money quotes”:
Liberals and the media are celebrating the “diversity” of the candidates thus far—which I suppose is something to cheer if your measure of diversity is skin deep.
Liberals tell us that they pine for the “postracial” society of Dr. King’s dreams, but their relentless focus on identity politics belies that claim.
In 2019, the only things that truly distinguish the Democratic candidates are superficial characteristics. On any number of issues—single-payer health care, guaranteed jobs, free college—Ms. Harris and Mr. Booker dutifully toe the progressive line.
Kamala Harris once believed the way to help poorer

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Tuesday afternoon links – Publications – AEI

February 5, 2019

AEI
Tuesday afternoon links

1. Charts of the Day I and II (above) display graphically the amazing “life course dynamics of affluence” that summarize the research of Thomas Hirschl and Mark Rank, based on their empirical investigation of individual lifetime income data over a 44-year period for individuals from ages 25 to 60 to see what percentage of the American population would experience different levels of affluence during their lifetimes. The results above are striking and remarkable and have been featured before on CD here, here and here, and totally worthy of a re-post here (I’ve never featured the top chart).
As Washington University professor Mark Rank wrote in a 2015 New York Times article about his research with Thomas Hirschl, “Rather than being a place of static, income-based

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Happy 108th Birthday Ronald Reagan, he trusted the people and believed in the ‘magic of the marketplace’ – Publications – AEI

February 5, 2019

AEI
Happy 108th Birthday Ronald Reagan, he trusted the people and believed in the ‘magic of the marketplace’

Tomorrow (Wednesday) marks the 108th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s birthday — he was born on February 6 in 1911. Here are a few items to honor and celebrate the birthday of the 40th US president, President Ronald Wilson Reagan (pictured above at an AEI event, year unknown).
1. Amazingly, in the entire history of the United States, there have only been two sitting US presidents who have visited the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) while in office: Ronald Reagan in 1985 and George W. Bush in 2007. After his presidency, Reagan visited the NYSE again in 1992 with Mikhail Gorbachev to mark the exchange’s bicentennial.
Shortly after Reagan’s death on June 5, 2004, the New York

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