Department of Commerce

America’s Stealth Industrial Policy
November 09, 2009

Economists continue to debate whether the U.S. can rebalance its trade deficit and lead itself into recovery through exports, with skeptics’ doubts prompted anew by the fact that U.S. consumer spending explained the bulk of last week’s announced 3.5 percent third-quarter GDP rise. Given that, it’s worth asking: Does the U.S. have a national export strategy? Though it may come as a surprise, the answer is yes.

Aquacalypse Now
September 28, 2009

Our oceans have been the victims of a giant Ponzi scheme, waged with Bernie Madoff–like callousness by the world’s fisheries. Beginning in the 1950s, as their operations became increasingly industrialized--with onboard refrigeration, acoustic fish-finders, and, later, GPS--they first depleted stocks of cod, hake, flounder, sole, and halibut in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Case for Clusters
September 22, 2009

President Obama gave a good speech yesterday in Troy, N.Y.

Huntsman, Interrupted
May 20, 2009

Salt Lake City, Utah Jon Huntsman Jr. wants to know if I'm in the mood for Mexican food for lunch. "I know a great place we can go downtown," the Utah governor says as we pile into the back seat of his black, tinted Suburban. (He goes there all the time, three of his aides separately assure me.) We drive south from Capitol Hill, passing the enormous Mormon temple in the center of town.

The Son Also Rises
July 31, 2000

The day after the Super Tuesday primaries, it looked as if Vice President Al Gore had wrapped up not only the Democratic nomination but also the presidency. He seemed poised to capture the great political center from Texas Governor George W. Bush, who, in order to secure his party's nomination, had mortgaged his convictions to the religious right. But since then the Bush campaign has made a fundamental transition—from a primary-election strategy based on party activists and interest groups to a general-election strategy based on wooing a broad electorate. The Gore campaign has not.

Boom Town
July 09, 1977

Why is housing so expensive here? Some special circumstances have held down supply, notably insufficient sewer capacity. But the important factors are on the demand side. Housing prices in Washington are astronomical for the same reason that Bloomingdale's has built two stores in the DC suburbs, its first ventures outride the New York area. It is the same reason Lord and Taylor has three stores hereabouts and Nieman Marcus will be moving in shortly from Texas. Why are there six Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the Washington area and only five in Chicago?

Choosing Supreme Court Judges
May 02, 1970

The Founding Fathers, who met in the summer of 1787 to draw up a Constitution for the United States, gave relatively little attention to the judiciary. Clearly they had only a hazy notion of the vital role the judiciary was to play in umpiring the federal system or in limiting the powers of government. Article III of the Constitution says nothing whatever about the qualifications of judges, or about the mechanics of choice. Indeed it says practically nothing about the mechanics of the judicial system itself.

The Great Sugar Mystery
April 17, 1923

 A FEW weeks ago the Department of Commerce issued a newspaper statement about sugar. It was highly statistical and painfully dull in style, but it contained a few words destined to have results sensational enough for anybody. “Production for 1923 only 125,000 tons higher than last year,” said a note at the beginning.

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