Author: By Catherine Rampell

The biggest Trumpian ’80s throwback’ of all

THE WASHINGTON POST OPINIONS My column on Tuesday covered the many ways President Trump and his party are stuck in the 1980s. This is true of both Trump’s aesthetic and cultural reference points (gold, chandeliers, Chachi, thinking New York’s “inner city” is still a violent hellscape, etc.), and actual Republican policies (supply-side economics, welfare reform, “Just Say No,” mandatory minimum sentences and Berlin-style walls). Trump has openly acknowledged his nostalgia for the “Greed Is Good” decade. During a 2015 interview, he told Chuck Todd of NBC’s “Meet the Press” that his campaign slogan reflected his view that the country has been languishing since the days of Ronald...

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Older people and Republicans, threatening free speech

THE WASHINGTON POST OPINIONS The Washington Post readers are some of the most critical out there. Opinion writer Catherine Rampell reads and responds to her hate mail from readers. (Adriana Usero,Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post) Free speech surveys are suddenly en vogue. Back in September, I wrote about a survey by a UCLA/Brookings scholar John Villasenor on college speech issues. Since then, at least five (!) additional surveys have been released on related subjects, including from: There are some interesting stats in all of them, with relatively little overlap in questions. This is actually unfortunate if you want to know how well a particular finding stands up. (Replication is important!) That said, I will point out at least one theme: As troubling as many survey stats and anecdotes about college kiddos are, lefty undergrads hold no monopoly on illiberalism. Threats to freedom of expression and other democratic values extend far beyond college campuses, up to and including the White House. In fact, on many pet issues, older people and Republicans actually exhibit less tolerance for free expression than young lefties. I (like lots of others) have made this point before. But judging from the emails readers send me and curmudgeonly commentary other pundits continue to produce, it bears repeating. Let’s go through a few examples from recent speech surveys that drew upon samples of the broader U.S. population. Take YouGov’s October poll about what kinds of books ought to be banned from various libraries. On nearly every type of potentially...

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Trump, sailing in on economic tailwinds

Back in October, a Marketplace-Edison Research poll found that two-thirds of Donald Trump voters don’t trust government-reported economic data, thanks partly to their candidate’s insistence that the numbers are all fake. Source: Marketplace-Edison Research Poll, conducted Oct. 1 to 8. Something tells me that’s about to change. After all, Trump will soon take office with among the most favorable economic conditions — as measured by both the government and private data sources — imaginable. And you can bet he, and his supporters, will gleefully claim credit. Today’s jobs report, for example, shows the unemployment rate down to a 4.6 percent. It hasn’t been this low since several months before the recession began, in August 2007. Or consider the U-6 rate, a broader measure of underemployment, which includes workers who are part-time but want full-time work, and people who’ve given up looking for work but still want it. It’s not quite at its pre-recession level, but it has also fallen dramatically. Wages, too, have risen substantially. Adjusted for inflation, median weekly earnings for wage and salary workers were at an all-time high in the third quarter. Stocks have also reached all-time highs, gross domestic product growth has been relatively strong, etc. Those are some nice tailwinds on which to sail into the Oval Office. Quite a different situation from the economy Barack Obama inherited in 2009. Trump may also usher through a major stimulus package early in...

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