May 28, 2015 at 12:14 pm
NPR has a story and a link to an even more fascinating report by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The Foundation asked five think tanks — the center-right American Action Forum (Douglas Holtz-Eakin and C. Boyden Gray, among others) and American Enterprise Institute, the centrist Bipartisan Policy Center, and the left-of-center Center for American Progress and Economic Policy Institute — to come up with policy plans for the next administration and for tackling the national debt.
The results may make you chuckle, or cringe. As NPR put it:
May 27, 2015 at 1:16 pm
Elizabeth Warren's lucrative side business buying foreclosed-upon houses and flipping them for a profit is the subject of an article in National Review. This was in the days before she was a senator. It reminds me a bit of Hillary Clinton's commodities trading and service on the corporate board of Walmart. File under "moral balancing" or "capitalist enemies of the predicates of capitalism," or something like that. I think I would have liked both senators better when they were in their capitalist mode than in their current "public service" mode, though both women have also managed to combine the public service with the wealth accumulation. Anyway, on some level you just have to marvel at it.
May 26, 2015 at 12:40 pm
In my column last week about Amtrak, I mentioned how the Transportation Security Administration's intrusive searches for airline passengers may help push some customers toward the government-subsidized railroad, where passengers aren't searched. Another non-financial way that the government helps Amtrak is by making life more difficult for inter-city bus lines. The Boston Globe has an update today on the discount Fung Wah bus line, which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shut down in 2013.
May 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm
Dylan Matthews is usually pretty sharp, but his attack on Stephen Schwarzman for his $150 million gift to Yale strikes me as misguided. Mr. Matthews writes, at Vox, under the headline, "For the love of God, rich people, stop giving Ivy League colleges money":
May 26, 2015 at 11:53 am
Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young is the title of a newly published book by Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Jared Myer. Ms. Furchtgott-Roth, who is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and the director of its Economics21 project, was kind enough to answer some questions about the book for FutureOfCapitalism.com:
1. Your book describes the way that in education policy and entitlement programs, older Americans have structured a system that gives them an advantage at the expense of younger ones. Given the systemic tilt that you write about — older people vote, while younger people don't — is there any chance that this system will change for the better? How would that happen?
May 26, 2015 at 11:43 am
Warren Buffett's preferred alternative to a big increase in the minimum wage, an adjustment to the earned-income tax credit, is the subject of my column this week:
May 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm
New York state's financial regulator, Benjamin Lawsky, is leaving his job to start a firm that "will provide compliance and risk management advice to a range of companies," the New York Times reports. It's yet another case of a regulator cashing out by going to work for the people he used to regulate. The Times article reports further:
This formulation of the fines as "a gift from above" is pretty priceless.
It's not a "gift" — gifts are voluntary, while these settlements are extracted from companies by force. As the Times puts it later in the article: "Banks complained that the threat amounted to a shakedown. Faced with the choice of settle or die, the banks understandably chose to settle."
May 21, 2015 at 12:43 pm
Regular readers of this site know that I'm not shy about criticizing Warren Buffett when I think he deserves it. But on two items recently in the news, I think his critics are on shaky ground.
May 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm
Earlier this month we linked a New York Times account of how Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham was hoping to earn $1 million on post-earthquake Haiti recovery efforts. Now the Providence Journal has an op-ed from the head of a school in Haiti raising more questions about what the Clintons were doing there:
May 20, 2015 at 11:12 am
The Foundation for Economic Education has posted an article by Robert P. Murphy documenting "the empirical failures" of Paul Krugman, the New York Times' Nobel laureate columnist. It's a nice example of accountability journalism applied to a journalist, if that is what Professor Krugman is.
May 20, 2015 at 10:21 am
Yale's $8.5 million payout to its former president Richard Levin is the subject of a news article in the Wall Street Journal, which adds some interesting context to two other articles: this one from Tablet magazine on the current Yale president, Peter Salovey, calling on Yale's graduating seniors to go fix the world, and this one, a column by Frank Bruni in the New York Times, on what Mr. Bruni calls "the shockingly lucrative deals that have become almost commonplace among college presidents." Mr. Levin's payout was even larger than the one E. Gordon Gee got from Ohio State, which Mr. Bruni also writes about.
May 19, 2015 at 12:05 pm
Myron Magnet is brilliant, but I'm not so sure I buy his argument in this article in the Manhattan Institute's City Journal. He says developers' concern for the 421a tax abatement is preventing them from fighting the extension of rent stabilization laws:
May 19, 2015 at 11:45 am
How the experience of the for-profit, safety-obsessed Genesee & Wyoming railroad can add to the discussion of the fatal Amtrak crash is the topic of my column this week. Please check it out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).
May 14, 2015 at 10:44 am
May 14, 2015 at 10:10 am
From a New York Times restaurant review earlier this month, explaining why a chef decided to close a pop-up ramen shop that had been open after-hours inside a bagel store:
Either Mr. Smookler is paranoid or would-be businessmen in New York City have a well-founded fear of excessive government regulation.
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