Peterson on School Competition

August 23, 2016 at 10:40 am

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A professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Paul E. Peterson, has an article in the September-October issue of Harvard Magazine with some astute observations about education:

As an education-reform strategy, federal regulation is dead. Nor is there much appetite among the states for asserting new accountability rules. The regulated captured the regulators. If reform is to proceed now, it will happen because more competition is being introduced into the American education system....the long-term consequences of greater competition within an industry for consumers and society as a whole can be highly beneficial, as deregulation of the airlines and telecommunications industries has shown. Comparable gains have yet to appear throughout American K-12 education, but to see how it might happen, consider the slow growth of choice and competition—via vouchers and charter schools—that has taken place during the past quarter-century....

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Does This Feel Like Peace and Prosperity To You?

August 23, 2016 at 10:09 am

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Peace and prosperity — whether we have it or don't, and who should get the credit or blame — are the topics of my column this week. Please check it out at the New Boston Post (here), New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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On Roads, Clinton and Trump May Both Be Wrong

August 21, 2016 at 10:40 pm

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Plans by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on "infrastructure" such as roads and bridges are the topic of my column in Sunday's Las Vegas Review-Journal. Please check the column out here.

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Five Reasons a Sane Person Might Vote for Trump

August 17, 2016 at 2:01 pm

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My former New York Sun colleague Liz Peek is out with a new column under the how-can-you-not-click headline "Five Reasons a Sane Person Might Still Vote For Trump." The comments are open here if you have your own reasons to add, if you disagree, or if you think the premise of the headline is mistaken. If the comments are as intelligent as they usually are here, I will try to publish some of the best of them as a post on the site.

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Schumer, Norquist on Thin Ice With Olympic Tax Break

August 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

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A proposal to exempt Olympic medal prizes from U.S. income taxation is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Five Ways Trump Could Win

August 14, 2016 at 9:37 am

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My column in the Sunday Las Vegas Review-Journal tries to answer the question of whether Donald Trump still could win the election. Please read the column by clicking here.

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Fees and Fees

August 10, 2016 at 4:19 pm

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A trial lawyer, Jerome Schlichter, filing class action lawsuits against MIT, Yale, and NYU for failing to prevent excessive fees in their retirement plans is himself working on "a contingency basis" and "typically collects up to a third of the settlement." The New York Times leaves that news for the very last paragraph of a long news article about the situation, without much context about how Mr. Schlichter's fees stack up against those of the money managers he is complaining about.

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'You're Fired' Are Trump's Words for Change

August 9, 2016 at 9:56 am

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The Democrats are trying to attack Donald Trump by associating him with the phrase "you're fired." But it's the politicians, not the voters, that Mr. Trump wants to fire. And they may deserve it. The situation is the topic of my column this week. Please read the full column at the New Boston Post (here), the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Hillary's Made-in-America Fantasy Could Cost You

August 7, 2016 at 7:30 am

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Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign have been attacking Donald Trump for licensing his name to merchandise made overseas, going so far as to release a list of recommended U.S.-based alternative vendors. The situation is the topic of my column in Sunday's Las Vegas Review-Journal. Please read the column by clicking the link here.

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Hampton Creek

August 5, 2016 at 8:57 am

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Bloomberg News has an article, fascinating to me at least, about the food company Hampton Creek and its "undercover project" to "to buy back its own mayo, which made the product appear more popular than it really was."

A similar sort of stealth marketing is common in the book business, where wealthy authors sometimes pay contractors to purchase books in bookstores, pushing titles onto bestseller lists and conveying the impression of sales momentum.

What interested me about this one, however, was that Bloomberg managed to write it without mentioning that the company's founder and CEO, Josh Tetrick, is an outspoken critic of Donald Trump who last month bought two full-page newspaper ads denouncing Mr. Trump's campaign as "wrong" and "un-American." If Mr. Tetrick was a prominent Trump backer rather than a prominent Trump critic, I wonder whether that would have made it into the Bloomberg story.

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Pretty Good Tom Friedman Column

August 3, 2016 at 9:37 am

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From Thomas Friedman's column in today's New York Times:

the economy grew an anemic 1.2 percent in the second quarter, and growth in the first quarter was revised downward...If there is one thing that is not going to revive growth right now, it is an anti-trade, regulatory heavy, socialist-lite agenda the Democratic Party has drifted to under the sway of Bernie Sanders. Socialism is the greatest system ever invented for making people equally poor. Capitalism makes people unequally rich, but I would much rather grow our pie bigger and faster and better adjust the slices than redivide a shrinking one.

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Autophagy of the Left

August 3, 2016 at 9:13 am

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A Clinton campaign press release about "Donald Trump's alarming closeness with the Kremlin" had me about to go write that if the right were attacking a Democratic presidential candidate along these lines, the cries of "McCarthyism" would be deafening. Then I saw the Nation editorial "Against Neo-McCarthyism," in which the Nation complains that " Over the past month alone, establishment voices like Franklin Foer, Paul Krugman, Jeffrey Goldberg, Josh Marshall, and Jonathan Chait, among others, have Kremlin-baited Trump in lieu of reasoned argument and factual critique."

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Where Are The Campaign Finance Reformers Now?

August 2, 2016 at 10:15 am

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With Donald Trump getting badly outspent by Hillary Clinton, calls for "publicly financed" elections in which Mexican-American and Muslim taxpayers would be taxed to make sure Trump has the same amount to spend as his opponent are strangely scarce. This phenomenon is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason (here) and Newsmax (here).

After the column was published I did hear from one campaign finance reform advocate, Tyler Creighton, who sent links to some New York Times editorials and to a piece of legislation.

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Trump on Crimea

August 1, 2016 at 11:17 pm

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The Wall Street Journal has an editorial critical of Donald Trump's statements about Ukraine. Here's the key passage:

Mrs. Clinton's other advantage is that Mr. Trump knows little about the world and can't be bothered to learn. In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on the weekend, Mr. Trump seemed to suggest that Russian proxies had not invaded Crimea. "He's not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down," Mr. Trump blustered. Last week he floated the prospect of officially recognizing Russia's annexation.

A two-page briefing document could have acquainted Mr. Trump with the Crimean reality, but that would have required doing a high schooler's amount of homework. Maybe it could have even instructed him that a Republican who wants to win an election can't let a Democrat look more hawkish toward U.S. adversaries like Vladimir Putin.

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McGurn on Trump's Republican Critics

August 1, 2016 at 10:50 pm

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Shrewd analysis from William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Trump's critics are quick to suggest these kind of things make him unfit for the Oval Office. Especially on the right, they frequently go on to add that any Republican or conservative who does not publicly pronounce him anathema will forever bear the mark of Cain.

It should be noted that his critics on the right are also invested in a big GOP defeat. If Mr. Trump loses by two or three points, they will be blamed for contributing to that defeat. If, by contrast, Mr. Trump loses by a landslide, they will look like prophets.

For the larger Republican Party, however, there's a catch. If it turns out Mr. Trump loses by a narrow margin, Republican senators and congressmen still have a chance of keeping their seats. A blowout defeat for Mr. Trump, on the other hand, would likely translate into massive Republican losses in both the Senate and House. Even so, it's a price the NeverTrump movement appears more than willing to pay to make their point.

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