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Friday Five: How to Overcome the Recession and What to Think About American Exceptionalism

On Fridays, we bring you the best of our blog and the best of the web. This week’s roundup includes a discussion of American exceptionalism, advice for how Millennials can overcome the recession and an interactive game about taxes.

1. Is America really so exceptional?: Borrowing some insight from Charles Murray’s book, The Washington Post’s Robert J. Samuelson offers a nuanced discussion of American exceptionalism.

With good reason, most Americans have considered their beliefs superior. What rankles Putin (and many Americans, too) is that the United States has used this sense of moral superiority as a pretext to throw its weight around the world.

2. Where Have All the Workers Gone?: Andrew J. Rettenmair and Thomas R. Saving of Texas A&M’s Private Enterprise Research Center discuss the “new normal” in unemployment numbers, and explain why substantial changes in public policy may be necessary to correct it.

We are now five years and four months removed from the previous business cycle peak in December of 2007, and by some indicators the economy has yet to regain the lost ground. This is not surprising given the length and severity of the recession. The recession, from peak to trough, lasted 18 months, making it the longest in the postwar era.

Chart on Unemploymentfrom: Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University

3. What Millennials Can Do to Overcome the Recession: As we continue to suffer through economic stagnation, David Wilezol explains how Millennials can help turn things around.

The goal of reviving the economy to its 1980s zenith remains elusive. And as Millennials ascend to positions of economic influence and authority, they will insert their own generational proclivities into policy. So, what sort of economic ideas can be encouraged that not only appeal to the Millennial ethos, but also comport with notions of classical liberalism?

4. The Interactive Great American Taxing Game: Professor Art Carden and Learn Liberty provide an interactive way to discover the effects of taxes on different types of goods.

5. Economic Freedom of the World 2013 Annual Report: The Fraser Institute recently released a report ranking 152 countries based on their relative levels of economic freedom. The U.S., which was ranked second in 2000, dropped to 17th.

Unfortunately for the United States, we’ve seen overspending, weakening rule of law, and regulatory overkill on the part of the U.S. government, causing its economic freedom score to plummet in recent years. This is a stark contrast from 2000, when the U.S. was considered a bastion of economic freedom and ranked second globally.