tv After Words Jason Riley The Black Boom CSPAN April 15, 2022 2:07pm-3:06pm EDT
service. >> next on booktv's author interview program "after words," "wall street journal" column jason riley argues that the trump administration if improved the economic lives of black people. he's interviewed by trump administration former acting chair of the council of economic advisers, thomas wilson. "after words" is a weekly interview program with relevant guest hosts interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> host: welcome, everyone. ed todayon we have jason riley s asts guest who's written a phenomenal new book on the progress of african-americans through the trump administration. welcome, jason. >> guest: thank you for having me. >> host: jason, you have kind of an unusual perspective many times, so i'm wondering if you can sort of begin to give the viewers here sort of a feel for
what in your past brought you to be one of the well known conservative comment if taters at the -- commentators at "the wall street journal," sort of your influences in getting there. >> guest: well, i joined i the college newspaper back in the early 1990s when i was in school, and ask that sort of -- and that's sort of where i got the political bug. i discovered writers, thinkerses,s intellectuals like thomas sowell and shelby steele and glenn lowery, and they had a huge impact on my intellectual development and on my thinking about race in particular as well as economics and politics and thsome other issues. so that's where i got my start. i interned at todd during college -- "usa today" and and about six months after graduation i joined "the wall street journal," and i've been writing for that newspaper ever since. >> host: so, jason, i think many viewers and readers of the "wall
street journal" were kind of impressed with the journal editorial page separating the issues of some people talking about trump's personality from the issues of the trump policies. can you kind of give us a little bit -- beforenc we get into the substance of the book, can you kind of give us a little bit of insight behind the scenes sort of how that emerged? >> guest: well, i think what you saw there on the, from thedtorial page editors -- the if editorial page editors were journalists who were doing their job. this -- their job was to cover this president the way they had covered previous presidents in analyzing his policies, what he, what he set out to do, whether he accomplished it and what kind of impact it e had. and the journal did do plenty of criticizing off president trumps character, twitter feed and all the rest. but they did not let that get in
the way of carrying out their journalistic duties. and i think that's where a lot of other mainstream journalists erred and went wrong. and i think, subsequently, have lost the trust of a lot of their viewers, their readers, listeners or what have you. they decided that donald trump should be covered differently. and really not so much covered as resisted. youno knows this is -- and this was something new, you know? republican presidents are used to a left-leaning washington press corps. that's nothing few. but that press corpses went much further withd donald trump, andi really hi it was journalistic malpractice the way they behaved in thinking that their job was to take down this president, not just merely cover him. >> host: yeah, i think that's important because theta book -- and we'll get to the substance of the book very briefly -- but
the book really, the sort of main message of the book got buried in the mainstream media, obviously, because people didn't want to talk about, you know, positive policy successes. >> guest: right. >> host: but my, my view of -- i don't know if you, from the journalistic side, are have a different view, but my view of the president, why they -- obviously, they were upset at his personality. that's's one issue. but i also think, i don't know if you agree, that by going on twitter and communicating directly withh voters on twitte, he basically broke up the monopoly of the press in communicating with voters. so if you're a republican president in the past whether nixon, reagan or bush, you basically have to go through the press to communicate with voters. but he bypassed the press with twitter, which i thought was very useful. do you think that kind of the monopoly break-up of communication with voters was --
and then an additional reason,nish say, why they were so awful to him? >> guest: perhaps. perhaps. and it was unprecedented, his use of social media. and i think see presidents going forward do this. but with trump it was especially important. as you said, a lot of democratic presidents can usually depend on the possess to tell the good -- on the press to tell the good news coming out of their administration. presidents, not so much, and with donald trump almost never. they were extremely reluctant to cover his political victories, his political wins or paint anything he was doing in a positive light. and, again, i think this was an idealogically motivated press corps that was committed to presenting president trump as a big got, as a racist -- bigot, as a racist, as someone whose policies would harm prospects of
low income minority groups in this country. and as i write in the book, when it turned out that his policies were not doing that, the press simply refused to tell that story. they played it down, or they ignored it entirely. and that's one of the reasons why i wanted to write this book, it's a very underreported story that i'm telling here, what was going on in terms of the economic gains of disadvantaged groups in this country. it was quite remarkable. and the and point is not -- i mean, the objective here is not to score partisan points, it is to tell a story about what types of policies produced the types of outcomes we'd all like to see to; less unemployment, less poverty, more economic growth, less income inequality. that's what we were seeing under donald trump. i think it had a lot to do with the policies he put in place. and it's a story, again, that the press, by and large, refused
to tell because they were so posed -- opposed to this president and did not want to present anything he did in a positive light. >> host: yes. so let me get to the substance of the book. you already alluded sort of to the main punchlines of it. i think, you know, i was and the team in the white h house was vy isolate. we didn't see the lack of discussion of these results because we essentially produced a lot of them throughout the administration's term. in particular, if thehe viewers are interested, there's something called the annual report of the council of economic advisers, the economic report of the president, that outlines a lot of the facts that riley, jason is basically discussing which he basically gets to in a much clearer way, i think, than we did sometimes. but it has some of the underlying facts if people are interested. so let me go to the book.
is a fair summary of your book, essentially, that the progress of african-americans during the period '17-'19 before corona hit was mainly due to economic policies in place, not to immigration policies and not to the state policies? if so the federal economic policies enacted as opposed to immigration policies and minimum wage policy, which you spent a couple of chapters discussing. is thatme a correct interpretatn of the main messagesome -- message? >> guest: i think so, yeah. t i'mrg arguing that the trump administration policies prior to covid produced economic growth, and that economic growth is something that low income minority groups were able to take advantage of. i mean, the book is titled "black boom," but it's really a working class boom that i'm describing. it just so happens that blacks and to some extent hispanics are overrepresented among the
working class. but what we saw if many that period -- in that that period, first tree years of the trump presidency prior to the pandemic, what we saw was economic growth that redoubledded t mainly to the -- redounded mainly to the benefit of the working class in this country, the less educated, the less experienced, people who have often been will left on the sidelines during previousnd economic booms.. andge so that's what i'm getting at here. and my argument, basically, is that economic growth does a better job of lifting those groups than does wealth redistribution policies, than does racial preference policies and so forth which is what we saw under president trump's predecessor and now what we're seeing under the current administration that's pursuing those types of policies. >> host: yeah. and if you look at the international experience, that's definitely been the case with china and india, you know, with capitalism by far the best
unvented to reduce poverty -- invented to are reduce poverty in the world, in the economic world. in those countries it was really what what reduced poverty in the world since. so i wanted to get to you, you have an interesting discussion in the book about, you know, pre-civil rights and post-civil rights black progress. can you kind o of elaborate on that? >> guest: well, i wanted to include that history to show a that what happened under trump iser not unprecedented insofar s when the economy has been growing in this country, that is when blacks and other minorities have been able to take advantage of that growth and move themselves forward and prosper. and so if you look at the fastest period of growth for black americans since slavery, economists put it in the postwar
period between then and the early 1970s. soea you're talking about a time period in thisis country where there was still legal crimination, talking about jim crow, you're talking about a are pre-civil rights period, by and large are.ng you're talking about a period when blacks had virtually no political clout in this country, let alone, you know, a black president or black mayors of large citiess and so forth as yu began to see in the 1980s and '90s. none of that was in place. and yet this was a period when blacks were increasing their incomes, increasing their home ownership rates, we're e leaving poverty, entering mying class professions and so forth at unprecedented rates. and it's because the economy was growing. the postwar period was a time of tremendous economic prosperity in this country, and the argument there is that is primarily what these groups need, and then they will be able to take advantage of it from there. and that is what they need much
more so than a woke president who is butting many place -- in place racial preferences, group preferences, picking and choosing winners and losers so to speak in terms of government policy, more so than they need wealth redistribution programs which we've seen in the post-civil rights era starting with the great society programs and so forth. that has not done as good a job is of lifting low income groups as simple economic prosperity has done. and so what we need are policies that that produce economic growth, and then these groups will be able to take advantage of that that. and and the trump years prior to covid were just another example ofas this. we've seen it in the past before, and we saw it again during those first three years of donald trump. >> host: yeah, i thought that was an interesting comparison. i think that doesn't get discussed a r rot, so i thoughtt was useful in relation to the
trump years. can you also talk about -- the book gets into this, which i also thought was very interesting, it's the voting patterns of blacks and hispanics, essentially, which is counteracting the mainstream media message. so even though you have a bombardment of negative information about the president from from the mainstream media and the quieting or, you know, non-reporting of any positive policy developments, you see a shift in votes towards the president by minorities. can you talk a little bit about that part of the book? >> guest: well, sure. i mean, when trump was first elected in 2016, he did not do particularly well among blacks in particular and hispanics. i mean, he did worse than even traditional republican candidates, presidential candidates, have done. and i think -- well, in terms of recent republican presidential candidates prior to trump, you had mitt romney and john
mccain, both of whom had to run against obama, so i think we can cut them some slack for how they did among black voters. but if you go to the pre-obama era, trump underperformed traditional republican presidents going back to, you know, gerald ford in the 1970s. so he started from a lower point than most in 2016. but what we did see in 2020 was an uptick in both black and hispanic support. and i think that has a lot to do with how those groups fared economically during the trump years prior to covid. we saw r record low unemployment rates for blacks f and hispanic, we saw record low poverty rates for blacks and hispanics. and more importantly, we saw black wages rising at a faster rate than white wages during period, during that three-year stretch prior to covid. i mean, you also have to remember how bad blacks had it
economically for the majority of obama's presidency. you know, black unemployment did not fall below double digits until the seventh year of the obama presidency. inc mean, blacks had it very bad economically. under president obama. they supported him overwhelmingly. he was well liked among blacks personality wise and among whites and still is. he still polls very whale in -- well in terms of popularity. butis his economic policy, his stewardship of the economy did not go over well with blacks or whites. and so i think blacks remember how bad things were. and under trump when they saw the fatter paychecks, when they saw the job market, i think they gave trump credit for that, and that's part of the reason i believe he did better in 200. he was focused on -- 2020. he was focused on reopening the economy quickly after covid mitt
and, of course, a lot of these workers i'm talking about are service sector workers. they couldn't work from home during the lockdowns. and they wanted to get back to work, and trump was in favor of reopening the economy. and i think that that redoubledded to his -- redoubledded to his benefit went when it came to 20 to. -- 2020. although he lost the election, he did better among blacks and hispanics, particularly among the men, in i both of those groups. >> host: yeah, sort of the total damage of covid you have to count both the disease itself, obviously, the mortality and morbidity, but also the cost of providing -- preventing future disease meaning foregone economic activity. and if you look at the data during 20, the vast majority of the total harm of covid was cost of prevention, about 80% in the middle of the year, roughly, and 20% measured how with we value
lives in government accounting was due to the disease itself in terms of mortality. so trump actually shows up, if you look internationally, u.s. shows up as much better than europe even though many people in the press held up europe as role models of how to fight the disease. but in terms of total damage, the e.u. was actually at a lower total damage by opening up the economy much quicker than the europeans. so i definitely agree with you there. coming back to obama's policies, that kind of led into trump's, so i'm going to talk about how did we get to trump and what he did and sort of the future. talk about the sort of slow recovery that you talk about in the book because traditionally economists have kind of found that when you have a steep recession, you have enormous growtht afterwards. it's sortt of like a pendulum. if you swing it one way, it's going to go even further or quicker to the other side. so talk about that and what you
thought brought about this slow recovery. >> guest: well, you're right. people say, well, obama inherited a recession from from george w. bush which, of course, is t true. it was a horrible recession. it was very deep. but as you pointed out, historically the deeper the recession the t more robust the recovery. and yet under obama we had the slowest economic recovery in the postwar period. and that is the economy that trump inherited. i mean, there are people out there who want to say, oh, to the extent that we did have good economic growth under president trump, he simply inherited this from his predecessor. and it really, 40 matter who had succeeded obama, things would have turned out way they did those first three years under trump, and that's a revisionist history, ill argue. you know, in 2015 the economy, to the second last year of the obama presidency, the economy
grew at 3.1%. the next year, the last year of the obama presidency, 2016, it grew at 1.if 6%. 1.6%. about half. the growth was about half as much. ask and so that is the economy that donald trump inherited. that is an economy that was slowing down, traumatically slowing down to the point -- dramatically, to the point where you had leading economists like larry summers saying there was a 60 chance a that we were going into a recession. you had the federal reserve and the congressional budget office saying, you know, we're already at full employment. unemployment can't go any lower. growth can't be any stronger. we're at the end of a business cycle. they were talking about a soft landing. that was the talk, that was the economy that trump inherited. ask and what happened? he blew away all those
expectations. unemployment did, in fact, go lower, dramatically lower than the congressional budget office and than the federal reserve had predicted. growth was stronger than the federalan reserve had predict. trump exceeded those expectations. and so this wasn't nearly a continuation of what was going on urn obama, this was an acceleration. i mean,me one data point i point to is for the lowest everybody -- earners and the hoest income brackets, urn the first three years -- under the first three years of the trump presidency their incomes grew at double the rate than they did in the second term of obama. so this wasn't just a continuation. service-an acceleration. and i think -- this was an acceleration. and i think the people who are this continuation argument are making a sort of heads, i win; tails, you lose
type of argument. in other words, if things had gone sideways under those first three years of trump, i doubt they would have blamed president obama for that. but because they went well, they want to give obama credit, and i don't think they can have it both ways. >> host: yeah, i agree. in fact, there's a body in the legislature called, like you you referred to, congressional budget office. and for our viewers, the congressional budget office is the charged -- is charged with looking at the economic outlook under current law. the key term is under current law, meaning obama policies. so they did that in 2016, and that was their prediction of what a continuation of obama policies looked like. they're legally charged with forecasting that you were current law, which was obama policies. and then people turn around, i think i agree with you, they turn around after the fact and said, no, that's not what we meant by a continuation of obama policies even though we have a
legal sort of mandate to provide that prediction.io here is what we really meant, and it would have been what trump accomplished. so i couldn't agree more that that's kind of a schizophrenia. and trump, the president tweeted that they were con men, and i think -- [laughter] that's a strong term, but it's kind of what's going on. they're pretending to be someone they're not by having one set of definitions of obama continuation in '16 and anothera in '19. now, what do you think cost -- getting more into the sort of slow recovery, what is your take on the exact policies which you think obama institutedded that was contributing to that slow recovery? >> guest: well, again, these were policies that i think harmed growth. so, for example, there was the tremendous expansion of the welfare state. you know, he used the recession as an excuse to expand unemployment benefits, to expand
the food stamp programs and so forth. a lot of this discouragedded people from returning to the labor force. and without workers, you're a less productive country, which is oneof of the problems i have with biden's build back better proposals, is that they are going to disincentivize people to work, to return to the work force.ce expanding the welfare state, you know, expanding government relief programs well into the middle class not just to help the poor, but to help people with since-figure incomes. --ar six-figure incomes. ..
with steve businesses and incentives to bring money back from overseas and invest it here and they did that. and they hired and we saw the growth that occurred due to that. we saw the unemployment go awdown. and we saw incomes rise so the problem under obama were policies that harmed the expansion of the economy. the economy from expanding at a faster rate and that's why we saw such slow growth for so long. he was holding the economy back and trump released this animal spirit as we saw the ve result >> you talk about corporate
taxes and also investment which presumably drive demand for labor. but can you talk about that kind of debate because it's interesting how many obama economists flipped into favoring corporate tax cuts. >> i think honesty economists know they're going to pass on these cost to workers. it'sgoing to be passed on in terms of their pay . what workers receive benefits so these are passed on. to the extent that you are raising taxes on corporations, you're harming workers, and it doesn't spread evenly across all factors of the economy, particularly true in the manufacturing sector and trump proved that we can still get something out of the american manufacturing sector that people said there's nomore growth coming, i don't think they're all coming back .
were not going to have the manufacturing sector we had in the 60s and 70s but there's still something there and those corporate tax cuts in particular show that there's still something there. we also cut individual tax as well. people spend it how they want and again, this is not rocket science here. when kennedy cut taxes in the 60s, when reagan cut in the 80s this happened, when bush cut them into the 2000 cut ruthem and when donald trump cut them this happened so this is not somethingunique to the trump administration . he's simply doing things here that have produced similar results when other presidents have done them. >> and i also think even when gthe workers which there's a lot of evidence for a lot of workers, half of america are shareholders and owners of these companies.
their pensions are presumably benefiting and we stress how much people's tensions were increasing during the trump administration . but there certainly workers he in the economy. i wanted to hear your take on the buybacks. >> i don't think i getinto that in the book . the buybacks debate so no, i don't get into that. >> if you have a buyback that's just better reallocation of capital. you take it from not investing in the company and you pay it out to shareholders and those shareholders can invest it somewhere else as opposed to less productive ways for the company to invest it. those buybacks, it doesn't mean necessarily it doesn't
go into investments, it just goes to a different investment from that particular company so i thought that debate was misguided as well . there was a lot of coming in now, we've basically talked about the obama years. coming in now to the election , past the election trump one before he's inaugurated. there was a lot of naysayers talking about now going into the dramatic recession. can you talk about that inthe book ? >> as i mentioned larry summers he was not the only one. that was the conventional wisdom that we were at the end ofthe business cycle . and that we just couldn't squeeze anything more out of this current cycle. i think the federal reserve wouldn't be much above two percent, maybe 2.1 percent. they were predicting 20 17th 19 trump exceeded that. the trump economy exceeded that. they said unemployment
wouldn't fall below four, 4.1 percent. it fell well below that, a full percentage point below that . so that's, and i think it's important to point that out because again, there is this argument that this was all going to happen anyway. and in fact, well into 2018 you still had president obama out there p taking credit for the trump economy. you had joe biden taking credit for the trump economy. and saying we started this. the obama administration started this, all this is the same today, don't forget you started this and that's why i wanted to point out what those expectations were when trump took office. a slowing economy and productions that we might be headed into another recession and that's important. it's also important to note that the job growth that we
saw under trump occurred when we were near full employment and you know as an economist to get that kind of job growth when there are still so few people looking for work at the time, it's pretty remarkable. when you have a lot of people out of work, a high unemployment rate and then you get tremendous amounts of job growth that's one thing but to do so at the time and business cycle that trump did it is remarkable in and of itself and i don't think he received a lot of credit for that. >> i agree and also there were more dramatic destructions as opposed to paul krugman thought we're i going to have an immediate crash when trump came into office essentially. at the same time as we saw a complete spike in business optimism when trump got elected so that's shows you a little bit on the policy on
the economy.i think that was dramatic. >> you're absolutely right, it was the conventional wisdom that the trump policies and also that these policies ontax hikes were going to be for the wealthy. tax hikes were going to be for the wealthy and in fact what we saw again is those corporate tax cuts were to the benefit of workers which is what the economic literature says half of the time the council of economic advisers has done research on this . corporate tax cuts do tend to go down to the benefit of workers ultimately and that's twhat we saw. and again, we saw this is what i try and stress in the book is that because this was a working class boom and because blacks are overrepresented d among the working class kieconomic growth meant less income inequality, less obsesses over income
inequality and we saw less, we saw it shrinking under donald trump during the first three years of his administration prior to covid. this is something the naysayers when trump was elected and said if he is utelected and if he does put through these tax cuts it's going to harm minorities in this country. the exact opposite happened and i think that is a story that needs to be told. ifyou care about economic inequality , these are the types of policies that can shrink it . and that's why this story needs to be told i agree. we have the council of economic advisers came out and it was driven by kevin's research on using the literature to look at what the effect of the tax reform would be and we were ridiculed at the time of being dishonest and obviously what happened is exactly what we said would happen .
but it's kind of shows you how political economists have gone. they didn't used to be, they use to be more neutral and the krugman example is sort of a good one where krugman is probably the economist who economists turn into political pundits owhich damaged the profession the most by having such biased views on everything being against the republic on every single topic that again they can't really see straight but even larry summers people argued against tax cuts even though they argued for them under obama. it's kind of a strange, it's like the rest of society that divided among economists on political grounds and that gets in the way from doing hithe science which the council of economic advisers where i was at we put up that report led by a ealarge part research and we basically just use the
literature to say here's what the erliterature says will happen. it wasn't necessarily what we thought would happen but it was just completely dismissed . can you talk about how you see that from a journalistic point of view because it's been a big change with trump that occurred. >> again, it's part of what i was getting it earlier when i said lists put aside their traditional standards when it comes to covering administration and went into this fall resistance mode and thought their job was to dad up press briefings every day and berate the president or the rate the press secretary. not simply cover the ministration but to resistant and you saw that in people like krugman and his newspapers, the new york times but also in the washington post e. you saw it at major news networks. they decided they were going to cover this resident differently and they did. and as a result, stories like
the ones i'm trying to tell in this book didn't get told because it ran counter to the narrative they were pushing and they didn't care idif the facts did not support that narrative. there were going to run with that narrative anyways that's the result and it results in ultimately a misinformed or uninformed public and the public deserves press that is going to be somewhat objective in their news coverage of anadministration . that's not what we got under donald trump so i blame my own profession and i don't know when or if journalism will be able to win back the trust of the public given its behavior under the trump administration and i think you're seeing in for that now, this mistrust of what people read. i think you saw it in coded.
the coverage should we trust what's coming out of the white house. should we trust what the press is telling us? i think that journalism brought thison itself . we didn't have the highest approval ratings to begin with prior to trump but we certainly didn't do ourselves any favors by the way we covered this administration and there were some exceptions like i believe the wall street journal and editorial page in particular who kept their wits about them. they didn't behave as though the president was above them but wanted to give them credit where they thought it was due. but they were the exception, not the rule unfortunately. >> we saw that from inside the white house. i thought it was much more neutral coverage by the wall street journal and obviously other especially that editorial page. they were very critical of some aspects ofthe economic policies , the tariff policy but then you laid out the positive aspects of in
particular the impact on former part of our blue-collar boom and i thought that was very refreshing in terms of having a more neutral credits decisive world where we thought it was due. but i thought it was a very, you guys were kind of alone in that space of trying to t keep your head cool in the midst of this the journal had issues with some of trump's economic policies and particularly his trade policy but also immigration policy. to the extent that you wanted to reduce legal immigration in this country. the wall street journal editorial page has long supported legal immigration and argued that they benefit the country economically by and large. there's certainly trade-offs for immigrants, less educated immigrants and so forth but w on balance we've argued that
immigration is a net benefit for the country so we really didn't frown on trump's efforts to reduce legal immigration in particular. and also on his sort of enforcement only policy when it came to illegal immigration. that we've long argued that the most effective immigration policy would be to balance more border enforcement with giving people more legal ways to come and that would be the right combination to reduce pressure on the border so we did take issue and in the book i do get in as you mentioned earlier, i do get into some of the miimmigration debate. the arguments in the book is one made by a lot of trump supporters which is that is crackdowns on illegal immigration they argue were counter to the benefits of blacks and i argued that blacks historically have not needed less competition from
immigrants in order to prosper in this country and that to the extent that they did prosper the first three years under donald trump i did not see the argument, see the evidence in the data that it was due to a crackdown on illegal immigration. and that's argument, that is an argument i take in the book. so the book is not a defense of all of donald trump's policies. it is not a defense of his character, his personality, his twitter feed. it's a defense of free-market economic principles which i think area better way of advancing upward mobility . then wealth redistribution and racial preferencepolicies and that's the argument i layouts in the book . >> in defense of the president i don't think he so against nillegal immigration . what he was against is it's based d on families genetic
makeup essentially where you're allowed into the country or not and i think there was a big push in the white house led by jared kushner but also with obviously stephen miller but also the council of economic advisers that try to push a package hwith merit-based immigration.that got completely squashed because of covid coming in but i think the main issue with legal immigration i thought was that it was merit-based and we needed to change it. you were unique in that way. just look at our northern neighbor canada, it's very merit-based in terms of immigration policy. but us is kind of unique and having such a high priority puts on family members coming in as opposed to how much you will produce or basically contribute to the economy.
this comes back to milton friedman essentially who famously argued that we couldn't have the open border policy we had in 1910 let's say when a lot of events came in because of the welfare state. once they have a welfare state immigration policy is completely different because now people can come in just because of government transfers as opposed to before welfare states when people immigrated it's a mutual benefit. both the worker coming in and the company hired them to benefit. there's no, there's only a mutual gain before the other person coming and also as people hiring him. that's not necessarily the case in the welfare state which is obviously the pressure from a lot of people are consumed with free healthcare, etc. that people come in and they don't contribute it and draw on taxes. i think that is the real crux of the issue and i think that
merit-based part of the immigration package was not too valuable it couldn't be pushed forward so it's an important proponent and how the president saw immigration policy overall . >> i don't think there's any doubt that the system as it currently exists is broken and badly broken. it was built for a different economy in a different century and it clearly needs updating and i think there's a debate to be had over whether we should move away from family-based integration and towards more merit, skills-based immigration as you describe that places like canada has. i think that debate is fine and i would welcome that debate. the argument i make in the book however is bwhether immigrants harm job prospects
of americans. and particularly black americans and their again i do not read literature in a way that says that is the case. there is some evidence that immigrants, low skilled immigrants in particular can put downward pressure on americans without a high school degree. a very small which is a very small percentage of americans and a rapidly shrinking percentage of americans but there is some evidence presented particularly by researchers like george for of harvard which is shown for a five percent downward pressure on the wages of the lowest skilled americans. there is no evidence, not even from four hops that these immigrants are displacing workers in the us. displacing natives or pushing them out of jobs. but again my focus in the book is on the impact on
black workers in particular and no matter how many million illegal immigrants you think are in this country i think the official number is aroun'11 or 12 million . some people say it's 20 million or higher. your number. the point is the economic gains that i described among blacks in the first three years of the trump administration occurred with those people inthis country . so however many million illegal immigrants, it did not stop unemployment from falling to record lows under donald trump or poverty rates falling to record lows among blacks under donald trump's first three years as president. these again blacks and other low skilled workers that are the most by immigrants and these illegal immigrants in particular get the wages of the lowest skilled workers in the us were rising at a faster rate than their
bosses. even with all of these illegal immigrants in the country. this is not an argument for illegal immigration . what i'm saying is people who point to immigrants or illegal immigrants in particular as uniquely harmful to the job prospects of blacks for the wages of blacks i think they're off-base based on my reading of the literature but also based on the experience of economic growth under donald trump. >> i agree and there were sl many other reasons obviously. you made it clear in the book that you're not for illegal immigration and the main rationale i think was that the drug trade comes through the southern border, that was part of the 90 percent of income through the southern border into the us . we have a huge fentanyl crisis we're trying to go
through the southern border into the us. there's a lotof other reasons, the labor market to put it that way . >> where a sovereign country. we should decide who comes into america, not the people come and i think americans are rightly outraged in what is going on in the chaos we see on the border. they want the border fixed. they don't want it erased and you have a party out there that is pretending as if there shouldn't be aborder at all . anyone should just be able to walk in to this sovereign nation, no questions asked and i don't think that's what the american people want so we do need border tsecurity. we do need to protect the border. terrorists are out there. they can exploit that. drugtraffickers out there, they can exploit that . there are all kinds of reasons to protect the border. this is not an argument for illegal immigration . the question is what impact do immigrants have on the job
prospects and economic prosperity of black americans and as i read the literature, they're not having a huge impact acon the economic prosperity of black americans . >> i think it's clear that the angle you're taking. i'm not saying you're taking any other angle, i'm just saying the push towards reducing illegal immigration should be separated from merit-based legal immigration urwhich i think the press obviously modeled for the purpose of when they covered in from immigration. let me go to the last chapter which kind of discusses that some people argue state policies of raising minimum wage has contributed to this but you negate that. can you talk about that? >> i wanted to take on an argument on immigration that donald trump supporters were putting forward as a reason for the economic wrote that we saw and then i wanted to take on an argument from the left as a reason and they
often said that well, the wages of low income workers are rising because states were raising their minimum wage and that explains the economic gains we saw in the working class under trump and of course this all started under obama because that's when states began raising their minimum wage. and again, i don't find the literature supporting that claim. first, the minimum wage is a blunt instrument when it comes to addressing poverty. most people who make the minimum wage are poor and most people whoare poor already make more than the minimum wage . what poor families need our jobs. your typical family living in poverty has no workers. the problem is not that they
have workers only making the minimum wage, they lack workers period. to the extent you orare praising people out of the labor force you are not addressing poverty. but i do look particularly at states that did raise their minimum wage and raising the minimum wageinvolves trade-offs . if you make the minimum wage and it goes up by law you will make more money. obviously. you keep your job b and if you keep working the same number of hours you were working before the wage went up but those are two big gifts and the studies that were put out there particularly on places like seattle which put in place a higher minimum wage years is that people yein fact were given fewer hours to work. or they want hired at all. so when it came to income, these studies show thatthese workers were ultimately worse off . were making less money because even though they were
making more per hour they were working fewer hours due to the minimum wage hikes so these are trade-offs that are involved here and the left very often does not want to talk about the downside of lifting the wage but in fact there is a quite significant downside and we were mentioning the congressional budget office earlier. they also put out a study on minimum wage pointing this out. that some people will get higher pay, other people will lose their jobs or have to work fewer hours because of wages but this is not, i argue this is not evidence or this is not the reason that we saw the economic gains that we saw under trump prior to covid, the splitting of minimum wages at the state level. >> i tend to agree. economists in general believe
if you imposed price controls on the market which is what the minimum wage is on the labor market you reduce quantity , that is to say number of workers so because you don't allow people to trade on lower prices than what's mandated . what was troublesome cui think with that explanation is that we saw a huge growth in employment at the same time we saw wage increases but that doesn't lend itself very well to minimum wages because if the minimum wage issue we see increases but you will presumably also see a drop in employment. >> there's also a racial aspect to these minimum wage hikes because they tend to harm the job prospects of the least skilled, least educated workers, a disproportionate number of whom are black and hispanics in this country. so to the extent you are raising the minimum wage you are disproportionately harming those groups and it's hard to move up the rungs on the ladder you can't get to the first wrong, if you can't get that entry level job and
what these wage hikes often do is get people out of work and that's something i go into in the book. and people who don't know the history, a lot of people don't know the history of minimum wagelaws in this country . they were in the first part of the 20th century, they were put in place in part to price blacks out of the labor market. particularly southern workers in southern black workers gmoving north during the great migration. the unions ioin the north and they did not want the competition. they didn't like black spelling these jobs. and these minimum wage laws were put in place in part to price blacks out of the labor market. i'm not on arguing tthat's why people favor them today but my point is they're having a similar effect regardless of the attempt of being harmful.
i bring that up because we recently having a debate over whether the filibuster was racist because it was used two black civil rights legislation in'the past and i think and if you're going to play that game you can talk about the origins of a lot of laws including the minimum wage laws as having this sort ofartist history . >> so i think we're coming up on the last two minutes here. i think first of all congratulations on a fantastic book. i think it's a sign that what you talk about in the book is this is an interesting book even though these facts are out there.. how do you see this progressing in the future where we have to the media so divided and both sides are trying to potentially suppress beneficial news to
the other side and highlight harmful news from the other side. how doyou see that progressing in the future ? >> i think it could get worse before it gets better. i think social media is one reason why. it allows people to only watch for listen to or read exactly what they want. something that's going to reinforce their own biases . and so we end up talking past one another in our national conversations to the extent that we have them. and then that's the problem and i'm not sure how that's going to play out but i think it could get worse for it gets better. the nice thing about obviously the internet and social media is the access to information. but it also the downside is that we're not sharing a source of information.
we could often just wind up talking right past oneanother and that's what we see a lot of today unfortunately . >> and that's an important message i think to conclude with. thank you for an important book and taking the time today to talkto us . >> iq, i enjoyed it. >> "after words" is available as a podcast. to visit, visit c-span.org/podcast or search "after words" on your podcast app and watch this and all previous interviews at book tv.org. just click the "after words" button at the top of the page. >> house and sent members are away from washington for two weeks before district and state over the passover holidays. the senate is back on monday at 3 pm eastern. lawmakers expected to debate several of my federal reserve might nominees including well rendered to serve as vice
chair and also lisa cook confirmed would be the first black woman to serve on the board. when congress returns watch live coverage on c-span, see the senate on c-span2, online at c-span.org or with our free video app, c-span now. >> not available, c-span's congressional directory. go there to order a copy of the congressional directory. contact spiral bound book is your guide to the federal government with contact information for every number of commerce including bios and committee assignments and also contact information for state governors and the biden administration cabinet . order your copy today at c-span shop.org. everypurchase of support our nonprofit operations .
>> here many of those conversations on our new podcast , presidential recordings. >> season one focuses on the presidency of lyndon johnson. you'll hear about the 1964 civil rights act, 1964 presidential campaign, goal of tonkin incident, march on selma and the war in vietnam . not everyone knew theywere being recorded . >> certainly johnson's secretaries new because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations. in fact they were the ones who made sure the conversations were to as johnson would signal to them through an open door between his office and there's. >> will also hear some blunt talk. >> jim. i want to report of the number of people assigned to kennedy the day he died the number assigned to me now and if my blessed i want them blessed). if i can't ever go to the bathroom i will go. i promise you i want to go anywhere. i stay behind these black
gates. >> presidential recordings, find it on the mobile app or wherever you get your podcast . >> now on our author interview program "after words", marie yovanovitch reflects on her career, us russia relations, her congressional testimony during the first impeachment during a donald trump and offers her thoughts on the war in ukraine. she's interviewed by new yorker staff writer susan glasser. "after words" is a program with relevant guest posts interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work . >> i'm susan glasser joined today by ambassador marie yovanovitch and the book of course is "lessons from the edge: a memoir" . it's refreshing not only to
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