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Federal Debt, Covid-19 and Wealth Inequality

Policy Matters

Release Date: 01/13/2021

Covid-19, Vaccines, and Prospects for a Return to Normalcy show art Covid-19, Vaccines, and Prospects for a Return to Normalcy

Policy Matters

We are at a dramatic moment in the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. Even as infections and deaths reach horrifying highs, vaccines are becoming available.   What is Operation Warp Speed? How successful has it been in developing vaccines? What vaccines are currently available in the United States? What others are in the pipeline? How is the roll-out going? How long will it be before we return to normalcy? This episode’s guest is , Fellow in Science and Technology Policy here at the Baker Institute. She has written and spoken extensively on Covid-19 and vaccines for it.

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Federal Debt, Covid-19 and Wealth Inequality show art Federal Debt, Covid-19 and Wealth Inequality

Policy Matters

U.S. Federal debt, already at the highest level since World War II, has grown dramatically as Washington has expended huge sums to address plummeting output caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. How sustainable is this debt? What explains the long-term trend toward lower interest rates? What was the picture of wealth and income inequality in the United States on the eve of Covid-19? How will the pandemic affect it? This episode’s guest is , fellow in public finance here at the Baker Institute. His area of research involves the development of dynamic macroeconomic models for fiscal policy...

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Covid-19: Is the End in Sight? show art Covid-19: Is the End in Sight?

Policy Matters

Covid-19 has reached global pandemic proportions and has altered our way of life significantly. Starting in China and spreading all across the world, it has exacted an enormous human and financial price. The United States is now facing a health and economic crisis without close parallel in our history. What is the current status of the pandemic in the United States and Texas? Where do we stand with vaccine development and deployment? How will anti-vaccine sentiment impact public health? And what should the Biden Administration’s Covid policy be when it assumes power in January? This...

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Holding the Line Against China show art Holding the Line Against China

Policy Matters

Managing its relationship with China is surely the most acute geopolitical challenge facing the United States today. How should we assess the Chinese threat to US interests?   Is it likely to increase or decrease with time? What can the United States, by itself and in concert with allies, do to counter China’s play for hegemony in Asia and the Pacific? This episode’s guests are and Dr. Andrew Erickson. Collins is the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs at the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies. Dr. Erickson is Professor of Strategy at...

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Coronavirus-19, a Biden Administration and Energy Markets show art Coronavirus-19, a Biden Administration and Energy Markets

Policy Matters

Global oil markets are still reeling from the disruptions of the spring – especially the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. How are oil markets handling this turbulence? What is the situation with other energy sources, such as natural gas, coal, and renewables? What impact will a Biden Administration have on the US energy sector? And what can much-maligned international oil companies do to regain public trust?   This episode’s guest is . He is the Fellow in Energy and Global Oil at Rice University's Baker Institute. Mark has 35 years of experience working at the intersections of energy,...

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Election 2020 Postmortem show art Election 2020 Postmortem

Policy Matters

On November 3, Americans elected Joe Biden president by substantial margins in the Electoral College and popular vote. But the political picture elsewhere is less clear. The Senate still hangs in the balance with all eyes on two January runoffs in Georgia. Elsewhere down-ballot, Republicans held their own. Texas Democrats, in particular, had a disappointing night, falling far short of their goals. What are we to make of the murky election results? And what are we to make of the numerous major polling errors around the country? This episode’s quest is . He is the fellow in political science...

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Why Are Children Underperforming in Schools? show art Why Are Children Underperforming in Schools?

Policy Matters

Education may be a great equalizer when it comes to economic mobility. But reality falls far short of this ideal. One reason: factors outside the school system can have a decisive impact on academic performance, particularly for students from poor households. The Baker Institute recently undertook an in-depth analysis of 80 Harris County schools to determine how these factors – ranging from food insecurity to depression – help shape educational attainment. What do the study’s findings tell us about the needs of less-advantaged students in Harris County?   Are these lessons...

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How Will Texans Vote on November 3? show art How Will Texans Vote on November 3?

Policy Matters

On November 3, Americans are going to the polls for one of the most potentially consequential elections of our lifetimes. While much of media focus has been on the contest between President Trump and former Vice President Biden, voters will be casting their ballots in thousands of other races. How will Texans be voting next week? Can Joe Biden actually win the Lone Star State? How will the parties fare in other races? How important—not just for Texas but also for national politics—are the races for the Texas House of Representatives? This episode’s guest is . He is the fellow in...

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The War on Drugs and Police Violence in the United States show art The War on Drugs and Police Violence in the United States

Policy Matters

The May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody triggered one of the most massive series of protests in U.S. history. Around the country, hundreds of thousands have marched for police accountability, law enforcement reform, and a dismantling of systemic racism in the nation writ large. What is the role of the war on drugs in deadly interactions between the police and citizens? Has it had a disparate impact on African Americans and other communities of color? Are there policies we can institute that will lead to less deadly and more equitable outcomes? This episode features . She is the...

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Normalization of Relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain: a Coup for Trump? show art Normalization of Relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain: a Coup for Trump?

Policy Matters

At a September 15 White House ceremony, Israel signed agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize bilateral relations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain represented their respective countries. President Donald Trump – whose administration helped broker the deal – presided at the ceremony. What do the agreements entail? What were the political and strategic calculations that went into them? Are other Arab countries likely to follow the lead of the UAE and Bahrain? In this episode, , Fellow for the Middle East here at the...

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More Episodes

U.S. Federal debt, already at the highest level since World War II, has grown dramatically as Washington has expended huge sums to address plummeting output caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. How sustainable is this debt? What explains the long-term trend toward lower interest rates? What was the picture of wealth and income inequality in the United States on the eve of Covid-19? How will the pandemic affect it?

This episode’s guest is Dr. Jorge Barro, fellow in public finance here at the Baker Institute. His area of research involves the development of dynamic macroeconomic models for fiscal policy evaluation. Barro has recently published pieces on federal debt and on wealth and income inequality. They are available on the Baker Institute website.