March 25, 2015 at 1:33 pm
The Economist reports on a 26-year-old MIT graduate student who has found some problem's with Thomas Piketty's book on income inequality:
March 25, 2015 at 10:07 am
Walmart has removed the windmills from the parking lot of its Worcester, Mass. store (which may actually be in Millbury, Mass.), the Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports. Walmart's environmental efforts were the subject of a book review here a few years ago.
March 24, 2015 at 11:44 pm
From a New York Times news article about health care legislation making its way through Congress:
March 24, 2015 at 10:52 pm
One of the themes here is that the more complex and onerous the regulation, the more likely it is to lead to corruption when people try to get around it. Limited government leads to honest government, is one way to put it, while big government leads to favoritism, influence-peddling, and shakedowns. The immigration bureaucracy is no exception in this regard, and a good argument for more open immigration and simpler immigration law is to reduce the opportunity for special treatment of the sort outlined in this Washington Post article about a new report by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Post article talks about how Terry McAuliffe — the Bill Clinton pal who is now governor of Virginia — asked a top Homeland Security official to speed visas for potential investors in GreenTech Automotive, his electric car company. Other prominent Democrats also got special treatment, the Post reports:
March 23, 2015 at 11:38 pm
The Boston Globe has a report on how the internet retailer Amazon has negotiated state and local tax breaks for two warehouses in Massachusetts. Last year, Amazon got $600,000 in state tax credits and $2.89 million in local tax breaks for a facility in Stoughton, Mass. The second facility, in Fall River and Freetown, Mass., will benefit from $11.6 million in real estate and personal property tax breaks, along with a still undisclosed state tax credit.
I'm all for lower taxes in Massachusetts, but it would be nice if the cuts or breaks went to all taxpayers rather than to big companies with the clout to negotiate for them.
March 23, 2015 at 10:42 pm
The transcript of Senator Cruz's speech at Liberty University announcing his presidential candidacy is up at the Washington Post's site and it is worth a look. I was struck by how Cruz was influenced by John F. Kennedy. Here is Mr. Cruz:
And here is Kennedy's inaugural address:
From a policy point of view, the most intriguing thing I noticed in the Cruz speech was his tax policy:
March 23, 2015 at 10:25 pm
March 20, 2015 at 10:58 am
Two news articles in today's Times business section are good illustrations of the same idea — technology moves faster than regulation, and regulation slows the diffusion of technology.
The first example is electric-car maker Tesla's announcement that a remote software update "would give Tesla's Model S sedans the ability to start driving themselves, at least part of the time, in a hands-free mode that the company refers to as autopilot." The Times reports that "some industry experts said serious questions remain about whether such autonomous driving is actually legal and are skeptical that Model S owners who try to use autopilot would not run afoul of current regulations."
The second example is a story about the Federal Aviation Administration finally granting the online retailer Amazon limited approval to test drones for use in delivering packages. The Times reports:
March 18, 2015 at 12:51 am
The one article you need to understand the Israeli election isn't by any of the usual suspects on the topic — not Jeffrey Goldberg, not Elliott Abrams, not Seth Lipsky, not Bret Stephens, not Jodi Rudoren, not Tom Friedman, not Nahum Barnea, not Eli Lake, not Charles Krauthammer, as shrewd as their various insights may be from time to time. No, it's by Juan Linz, who died in 2013 and who was the Sterling professor of political and social science at Yale. The article, "The Perils of Presidentialism," appeared in 1990 in Journal of Democracy, and it has to do with the structural differences between a presidential democracy like the one we have in America and a parliamentary democracy like the one that exists in Israel.
March 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm
A news article in the New York Times notes the departure to the law firm WIlmerHale of the head of "an elite Wall Street task force" in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York:
March 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm
David Warsh's column this week is about the rise of the MIT economics department. One explanation (among many):
March 16, 2015 at 9:10 pm
Professor Ronald Rotunda, writing in the Wall Street Journal, says Hillary Clinton may have violated 18 USC 1519, committing the federal crime of "anticipatory obstruction of justice," by deleting her emails from when she was Secretary of State.
J. Christian Adams, writing at PJ Media, says that if Secretary Clinton signed the standard "separation statement" when she left the department, she may have violated 18 USC 1001 by falsely stating to the government that she'd returned all work-related documents. (Update: The State Department says there is no record of her signing that separation agreement.)
Republicans are doubtless salivating over the prospect of keeping the Hillary email deletion story alive for the next two years via various legal maneuvers.
March 16, 2015 at 7:17 pm
From a New York Times article about what Al Gore is up to these days:
March 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm
The demand by Mayor De Blasio for $50 million — and maybe more — for "affordable housing" as a condition for letting Collegiate School build a new building in Manhattan is the subject of my column this week. Please check it out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).
March 13, 2015 at 9:47 am
John Bogle Jr., the son of Vanguard index fund pioneer John Bogle, runs a long-short hedge fund, BloombergMarkets magazine reports in its April issue:
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