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November 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm

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This is the final call for paying subscribers and members in this drive. We are close to meeting our goals thanks to all of those who have already paid, but we aren't quite there yet. So if you've been meaning to join us to send a signal of support for what we are doing here and to ensure that it continues, please reach for that credit card now. Completing online transaction won't take much time at all, and it costs less than a dollar a week. The link is here.

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Obama's Immigration Speech

November 21, 2014 at 10:55 am

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Some thoughts on President Obama's immigration speech and the action he announced:

It was a pretty good speech in talking about the positives of immigration and about American values. If he had given it six years ago, he might have been able to get immigration reform through Congress at a time when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.

From a policy point of view, the situation created by Obama's action — creating a class of 4 million or so people who have better-than-illegal status, but worse than fully legal status — is problematic.

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Ten More Reasons to Become a Paying Subscriber

November 20, 2014 at 1:17 pm

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Thank you to those who have already responded to our drive for paying subscribers, renewed existing memberships or subscriptions, or bought additional ones to go along with ones that you already have. For those who weren't sold by yesterday's list of Ten Reasons To Become a Paying Subscriber, here are ten more reasons to click through and sign up:

1. Nobody else keeps an eye on Warren Buffett like we do.

2. The money from subscriptions helps make it possible for us to promote the site and help to grow its readership.

3. The entry-level subscription is about a quarter of the price of a subscription to the online New York Times, and FutureOfCapitalism will take and waste less of your time than the Times would.

4. Even after the Dodd-Frank financial "reform" act and the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act, you can still pay for a subscription with a credit card.

5. A FutureOfCapitalism coffee mug?

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ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers

November 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

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The Obama administration counted dental insurance plans with premiums of less than $60 a month to get the total ObamaCare enrollment figures over 7 million, Bloomberg News reports.

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Shafer on Uber

November 20, 2014 at 11:54 am

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Following the huge flap (see here, here and here) over an executive of the company Uber ruminating about hiring people to investigate journalists who cover the company, press critic Jack Shafer asks, "Yeah, why shouldn't Uber investigate unscrupulous, rotten journalists?" Good question. There seems to be a widely shared (with the exception of Mr. Shafer) assumption that the press should be immune from the sort of scrutiny it imposes on others.

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Henninger on Gruber

November 20, 2014 at 11:09 am

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Dan Henninger writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Jon Gruber's remarks matter not for what they say about the Democratic Party's modus operandi but because of the truths he revealed about the Democratic Party's reason for being. The Gruber threat to the Democrats isn't reputational; it's existential....On the left, writers are saying the worst thing about the Gruber filmography is that it gives credibility to conservative stereotypes about the "arrogance" of the technocracy.
That's close but not on target. The problem is not one MIT economist's arrogance. The problem is that the technocracy itself has become a political problem for the Democratic Party.

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Ten Reasons to Become a Paying Subscriber

November 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm

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Our drive for paying readers is going on this week. Thanks to those who have already joined or renewed existing subscriptions (the renewal notice went out yesterday). Here are ten reasons to become a paying member or subscriber.

1. You need to reallocate all the money you saved by canceling your New York Times subscription after Paul Krugman wrote that September 11 "has become an occasion for shame."

2. Might as well spend whatever money you have left now before President Obama taxes it away. If you spend enough, you might even avoid counting as one of the "millionaires and billionaires" for Obama tax-raising purposes.

3. You enjoy and learn from the content of FutureOfCapitalism.com and want to send an encouraging signal of support.

4. At the entry level of just $49 a year, it's less than 14 cents a day, which is an unbelievable bargain for what is being provided.

5. Your money will be used to help improve FutureOfCapitalism.com and to expand its audience.

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Weather and the Stock Market

November 19, 2014 at 12:35 pm

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Weather, and the mood it creates among investors, may influence short-term stock returns, according to a forthcoming paper in the Review of Financial Studies. Harvard Law School's corporate governance blog has a post from four professors — William Goetzmann of Yale, Dasol Kim of Case Western Reserve, Alok Kuma of the University of Miami, and Qin Wang of the University of Michigan at Dearborn — explaining the dynamic: "sunnier days are associated with optimistic responses related to stock mispricing...sunnier days are associated with increased buying propensities of institutional investors."

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More Hennessey on Gruber

November 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm

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Keith Hennessy writes about MIT professor Jonathan Gruber:

If American voters are stupid because they think academic credentials do not perfectly equate with intelligence…

If they are stupid because they think policy decisions should be informed both by sound science and values…

If they are stupid because they would rather let people make their own mistakes than allow government to make different mistakes for them…

If they are stupid because they support less redistribution than certain progressive policymakers and their allies in academia…

If they are stupid because they don't spend all their time trying to sift through policies intentionally designed to deceive them…

If they are stupid because they trust that elected and especially appointed American officials will not abuse the power temporarily granted to them…

… then I'm with stupid.

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Party of the Rich

November 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm

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President Clinton's labor secretary, Robert Reich, writes:

In the 2012 election cycle, the top .01 percent's donations to Democrats were more than four times larger than all labor union donations to Democrats put together.

And the independent self-described socialist Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats and is publicly considering a 2016 presidential campaign, tells NPR:

In the last election, in state after state, you had an abysmally low vote for the Democrats among white, working-class people. And I think the reason for that is that the Democrats have not made it clear that they are prepared to stand with the working-class people of this country, take on the big money interests. I think the key issue that we have to focus on, and I know people are uncomfortable about talking about it, is the role of the billionaire class in American society.

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Taxes, Income, and the One Percent

November 19, 2014 at 12:05 pm

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The Congressional Budget Office has crunched the numbers on income and federal taxes for 2011 and found: "In 2011, households in the highest quintile received an estimated 51.9 percent of before-tax income and paid 68.7 percent of federal taxes; households in the top 1 percent received 14.6 percent of before-tax income and paid 24.0 percent of federal taxes." The analysis included corporate income taxes (attributed to shareholders) and payroll taxes, but not estate or gift taxes.

As the Tax Foundation puts it, "federal taxes in the United States are progressive." By which they mean, the higher-income people pay higher rates.

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Richard Epstein on Net Neutrality

November 19, 2014 at 11:53 am

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Libertarian (or classical liberal) law professor Richard Epstein's column this week is about President Obama's proposal to tighten federal regulation of the Internet: "Government regulation of the Internet can, and should, wait until some specific abuse materializes down the road, as might well be the case. Right now, the President and the FCC could do the public great service by sitting quietly on the sidelines."

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Jon Stewart on Jonathan Gruber

November 19, 2014 at 11:49 am

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The usually left-leaning Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart has a mostly deft summing up of the Jonathan Gruber ObamaCare situation.

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Green Sermons Earn Churches Tax Breaks

November 19, 2014 at 11:33 am

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Churches will earn discounts on their Maryland taxes — particularly a "stormwater remediation fee" applies even to non-profit property-owners — by agreeing to "preach environmentally focused sermons to educate their congregations," the Washington Post reports.

It doesn't seem to have occurred to the Washington Post reporter, Arelis Hernandez, that there might be anything wrong with the government influencing the content of sermons, though the Post headline-writer seems to have understood the issue: "Churches receive stormwater fee discounts by starting 'green' ministries, sermons."

From the article:

Churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship are an "untapped resource" to help inspire the larger community to "do what is right," Jon Capacasa of the Environmental Protection Agency said.

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How To Help FAQ

November 18, 2014 at 3:13 pm

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Thanks to those who have already subscribed or renewed in response to the post earlier this week. For the rest of you, here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Is my subscription due for renewal?

A. If it is, you will get an email reminder this week. If you didn't get the email, your subscription still has some time on it. Of course, if you like what's happening here, one way to say so and to support the site's growth would be to renew early or to purchase a second or third subscription.

Q. I want to join at more than the $49 a year entry-level subscription, but I don't want to spring for a $1,000 sustaining subscriber membership. What can I do?

A. We are considering adding something in between those. In the meantime, you can go ahead and renew your $49 subscription every quarter, or buy two or three at a time.

Q. Why do you ask for my email address or mailing address or phone number?

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