American Enterprise Institute

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Toby Stock, vice president of development and academic programs at the American Enterprise Institute, spoke at UT on Wednesday about issues he believes are directing America’s future toward a decline.

American Enterprise Institute is a conservative, nonprofit institution created to research political issues. Stock is also the former assistant dean for Harvard Law School admissions and an associate at McKinsey & Company. Stock said he thinks the conflict between Republicans and Democrats stems from both parties being more focused on their own opinions rather than what is going on in America.

“I think today’s gridlock is caused by the fact that today’s parties are less regional and more ideological,” Stock said.

He said the reason there is always a standstill on Capitol Hill is because of the constant antithesis of America’s bipartisan nature.

“When one party wants to decrease the size of government, and the other wants to increase the size of government, it’s hard to find a compromise,” Stock said.

According to Stock, liberals are more likely to unfriend those who do not share their political views on Facebook than conservatives. He also said 43 percent of Republicans say they have a “very unfavorable” view of the liberal opinion while over half of liberals share a similar dislike for conservative opinion. Stock said he is worried about the increasing polarization of the political parties and what that might to do for American success.

“One of the biggest risks to face is the unwillingness to accept that the other side has a legitimate answer,” Stock said. “Somehow, we need to help our policy makers understand the other side.”

Stock said if people were working at the rates that they were during the Eisenhower administration, America would have 20 million more people in the workforce today. He also said that the employment to population rate stands at 59 percent, which is nearly the lowest rate in the past 30 to 40 years.

Adam Blum, a member of the American Enterprise Institute chapter in Austin, said it was important that America has a free enterprise system to encourage success.

“Whatever the environment presents, whether it is super partisan, highly regulated, or even if we disagree with [an opinion], there are new opportunities that conflict creates,” Blum said.

Stock concluded his lecture with a story about him and an unnamed senator in Washington D.C. The senator asked him to come by his office to talk after an election. Stock said the senator asked him what the Republicans wanted.

“The next office over is a Republican office,” Stock said. “All he has to do is walk down the hall and talk to one of his colleagues.”

Dr. Michael Auslin, director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, gave a lecture Tuesday to address economic and social issues in Asia. 

Photo Credit: Sarah Montgomery | Daily Texan Staff

Claiming the U.S. faces an era of global disorder, Michael Auslin, director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, discussed political and social problems in Asia at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs on Tuesday.

Auslin, who is also a columnist for The Wall Street Journal Asia and a former Yale University history professor, said the U.S. government and governments of other major countries — including China and Japan — should work together to create a strategy that will help resolve political, economic and other types of issues in surrounding countries.

“All the U.S. or the United Nations does has an effect on the outside,” Auslin said. 

Auslin is currently working on a monograph, or a written study of a specialized subject, called “Ocean of Risks,” which will explain why Asia is globally important. Auslin believes the American government needs to see where the trends of democracy, militarization and economics are going in the region.

“I argue that the long run for the United States—for the next two generations or so—is going to be dependent in terms of our standing [in] the status of the world,” Auslin said. “Our economic health, our political influence and certainly the degree in which we uphold and maintain commitments around the world. And all of this is tied to Asia.”

The lecture was presented by the University’s Clements Center for History, Strategy and Statecraft. After the talk, Jessica Carrillo, global policy studies graduate student, said she believes the U.S. and other nations should be more involved in helping their less politically stable allies.

“It is very important that students understand this conflict for the benefit of the future,” Carrillo said. “I believe that the U.S. should be involved in Asia and have a clear goal of what they want to do.”

As countries such as Ukraine and Syria face significant conflicts, Auslin believes the U.S. and other global powers should be concerned about the balance in Asia when it comes to power and stability. 

“As Dr. Auslin said, there should be a significant presence from the U.S. and other countries in these and other regions,” public policy graduate student Megan Reiss said. “We need to back up our allies and strengthen relationships.”