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Derek Thompson

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When Will Robots Take All the Jobs?

November 1, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow There is a contradiction in economic forecasting today I’ve come to think of as the “robot paradox.” Some people seem confident automation will take many workers’ jobs, yet they cannot point to evidence technology has done anything in the last few years to replace work or add to productivity. Indeed,...

Why Democrats and Republicans Speak Different Languages

July 22, 2016 On Thursday night, Donald Trump and other speakers at the Republican National Convention talked about “radical Islamic terrorism,” “illegal aliens,” and “Crooked Hillary.” In a few weeks, at the Democratic National Convention, you likely won’t hear any of these terms. The Obama administration refuses to associate terrorism with Islam, for...

Report: Federal Government is Effectively Fighting Inequality

June 10, 2016 A new report from the Congressional Budget Office on household income since 1979 reaches two stark and significant conclusions. Inequality is growing. But so are government efforts to combat it—and they’re working. First, the bad news. The distribution of income in the United States has been more unequal under Obama’s...

Why Facebook Scares the Media -- And the US Government

May 10, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In an April 27 conference call to discuss Facebook's extraordinary first-quarter results this year, Mark Zuckerberg announced a high point in his company’s history. Advertising revenue grew by more than 50 percent since 2015, the company was hard at work on a future for artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and...

To Be Rich, Be a Doctor . . . in Oklahoma

May 5, 2016 There are exactly 90 surgeons in Fort Smith, the metropolitan area encompassing the Arkansas Ozarks and the eastern edge of Oklahoma. For many, it is a tough place to earn a living: A Fort Smith worker now earns 46 percent less than the national average, and that gap has doubled...

How to Hire the Perfect Worker

April 11, 2016 In the summer of 2006, Todd Carlisle, a Google analyst with a doctorate in organizational psychology, designed a 300-question survey for every Google employee to fill out, The New York Times later reported. Some questions were straightforward: Have you ever set a world record? Other queries had employees plot themselves...

The Easy 10-Second Tax Return

April 2, 2016 Each tax season, tens of millions of American households have a decision to make. A) They can collectively spend hundreds of millions of hours preparing tax information that the federal government already has. B) They can pay other people billions of dollars to do it for them. But let’s add...

Making America Great Again Is a Local Job

March 3, 2016 Presidential candidates tend to offer a story of national revival that begins with one person: themselves. It is a Great Man (or Woman) Theory of political change. Something is wrong in America, and salvation lies in the providence of one good individual. There are several problems with the GMT. First,...

How Donald Trump Can Beat Hillary Clinton

March 3, 2016 Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s Super Tuesdays put them on a collision course this fall. Betting markets make Clinton the strong favorite, given Trump’s high unfavorables, his incendiary comments about minorities, and the fact that members of his own party seem eager to disavow him. But Trump’s strengths and grand...

Lotteries: America's $70 Billion Shame

May 11, 2015 This floored me: Americans in the 43 states where lotteries are legal spent $70 billion on lotto games in 2014. Seventy billion? I thought. No, that’s impossible. That’s more than $230 for every man, woman, and child in those states—or $300 for each adult. But it’s true: According to the...

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