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Kansas Tax Cuts

July 28, 2014 at 11:28 pm

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Governor Brownback's income tax cuts in Kansas are the topic of my column this week. Please check it out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Sosnik on Declining Trust in Government

July 28, 2014 at 10:59 pm

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A former top political aide to President Clinton, Doug Sosnik, has an article in Politico magazine with some interesting data about how the Democratic Party is moving left just as the country as a whole has less confidence in big government. He writes:

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A $425,000 Liquor License

July 25, 2014 at 10:13 am

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A news article about plans for a new restaurant in Boston that will "meld Korean and western cuisine" reports "The Chang family will spend $425,000 to buy the liquor license of the defunct Charley's on Newbury Street for their new Koy restaurant."

Liquor licenses in Boston are like taxi medallions in New York — there is a limited number of them. The result is it's hard to get a taxi in the rain in New York, and good restaurants or bars in Boston are scarcer, and more expensive, than they otherwise would be. In both places, the owners of the existing licenses and medallions don't want more permits issued, because they fear they would erode the value of what they have paid for.

The question of why anyone should need a license from the city to drive a taxi or serve liquor to begin with is a separate question, and a good one.

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Paul Ryan's Anti-Poverty Plan

July 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

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Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's 2012 vice presidential candidate and the chairman of the House Budget Committee, has unveiled a new plan to fight poverty. He gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, published an op-ed in USA Today, and put a "discussion draft" of the plan, titled "Expanding Opportunity in America," up on the Web. The emphasis is on block-grants to the states, though there is also an earned income tax credit for childless workers in the plan, and some stuff on reducing regulation, including occupational licensing, and on education reform.

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CFTC Revolving Door

July 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm

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The longest-serving commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Scott O'Malia, is leaving to lead the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, an industry group, the New York Post reports.

Thanks to reader-participant-community member-watchdog-content co-creator J. for sending the tip.

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FAA Israel Restrictions

July 24, 2014 at 7:27 am

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The Federal Aviation Administration has now lifted the restriction it had imposed on U.S. flights in and out of Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport. The imposition of the flight ban had inspired intense criticism; Michael Bloomberg, who flew to Israel to demonstrate his point, called it "poorly thought out':

By prohibiting U.S. carriers from flying into Ben-Gurion, the FAA handed Hamas a significant victory -- one that the group will undoubtedly attempt to repeat. The FAA has, regretfully, succeeded only in emboldening Hamas....Stopping flights to Israel is not only unnecessary to protect American lives but also counterproductive to advancing the U.S.'s interest in marginalizing Hamas and bringing peace to the region.

A statement from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group, called the FAA travel ban "overly harsh and excessive" and said it sends an "entirely wrong message."

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GE Pressing

July 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

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The column I wrote earlier this week about GE's $90,000 in political contributions to the New York State Democratic Party's housekeeping account in the months before Governor Cuomo announced a silicon carbide fabrication facility in Albany that would benefit GE with a portion of a $135 million taxpayer subsidy has gotten some resonance on the web. Daily News columnist Bill Hammond tweeted it, as did NY1 anchor Errol Louis. Cafe Hayek picked it up, as did the Empire Center, in a wonderful blog post that concluded with a quote from a wonderful dissent by Judge Robert S. Smith (father of Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith) in the 2011 case Bordeleau v. State of New York:

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Rubio on Immigration

July 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

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Senator Marco Rubio is siding with Myron Magnet against me and what I understand to be the positions of Gordon Crovitz, and John Cochrane in the debate discussed in an earlier post here about whether to focus on high-skilled immigrants or on welcoming all (non-terrorist) immigrants, regardless of their skills. From a report by NPR:

"This nation — no nation — is capable of sustaining or absorbing mass migrations."

Rubio said that even the law regarding Cuban immigrants needs to be modernized in order to reflect changing times. He'd like to see more migrants granted legal status based on job skills, as opposed to giving preference more often to those who have family ties or who are seeking asylum.

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GE and Cuomo

July 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm

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Remember that $135 million New York taxpayer subsidy for a GE silicon carbide facility in Albany and an IBM facility in Rochester that Governor Cuomo announced last week with GE CEO Jeff Immelt? It turns out:

GE gave $30,000 on November 12, 2013, to the New York State Democratic Committee's "housekeeping" account, $30,000 on December 6 to the same account, and another $30,000 on May 1, 2014 to the same account. That's $90,000 to the state Democratic Committee in less than seven months, shortly before the state's Democratic governor announces a plan to subsidize a new silicon carbide factory for GE in Albany. Where's the New York Times editorial decrying corporate campaign contributions?

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Elizabeth Warren Foreign Policy

July 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm

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Elizabeth Warren has unveiled her "11 commandments of progressivism" and lo and behold there is not a single mention of foreign policy in the whole list. When a reporter asked her about Israeli ground troops entering Gaza, she turned her back and walked briskly away without answering, as seen in this video.

Ms. Warren's colleague among Senate Democrats, Charles Schumer, had a more direct answer.

.@SenSchumer: "So I would say to protesters (outside @IsraelinNewYork): You're at the wrong place. Go knock on Hamas's door." #PlsRT

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Grassley on Inversions and Economic Patriotism

July 18, 2014 at 1:26 pm

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The left-of-center Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a useful reminder that the patriotism rhetoric about tax inversions is not confined to Democrats like Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. The CBPP digs out a 2004 press release from Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, touting an anti-inversion proposal: "This will hit the unpatriotic companies that dash and stash their cash,' Grassley said.

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Magnet's Immigration Dichotomy

July 18, 2014 at 11:24 am

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City Journal editor-at-large Myron Magnet, a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and author of The Founders at Home, has an article up at the Manhattan Institute's City Journal site taking issue with the call by Sheldon Adelson, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett for congressional action on immigration.

Mr. Magnet draws a distinction between skilled immigration, which he says he favors, and unskilled immigration, which he describes as "a way of changing the character of the American people, both by enlarging the underclass whom Democrats can claim it is their mission to rescue with ever more generous welfare programs, and by creating yet more Democratic voters, if these kids ever become citizens—or if they become anchor babies who can then legally bring in their parents and siblings under our existing, and harmful, family-unification immigration policy."

He writes:

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Fox News, CNN, and Antitrust

July 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm

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Press coverage of Rupert Murdoch's attempt to buy Time Warner indicates that Fox would sell CNN in such a deal, as the New York Times puts it, "to allay concerns from anti-trust regulators." As a Bloomberg Businessweek article puts it: "one thing is clear: He'll have to unload CNN. There's no way federal regulators will allow the same man—and Rupert Murdoch, at that—to own two cable-news channels."

Why not?

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The Governors and the Border Crisis

July 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

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Wouldn't the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors at the southern border be a fine opportunity for a federalist experiment in the laboratory of the states?

Where are the pro-immigrant governors saying, "we'd love to welcome these children and make them productive citizens of our state"?

The governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, a Democrat, was asked about it the other day, and he said, according to the Boston Globe:

"My inclination is to remember what happened when a shipful of Jewish children tried to come to the United States in 1939 and the United States turned them away, and many of them went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps," Patrick said when a reporter asked how he viewed the border crisis. "I think we are a bigger-hearted people than that as Americans, and certainly as residents of Massachusetts."

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Shlaes on Inflation

July 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm

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Nobel laureate Paul Krugman is attacking Amity Shlaes as a paranoid "crank" for her latest column about inflation, which is pretty much what you'd expect from Professor Krugman, who, by the way works for a newspaper whose weekday single copy New York City cover price has increased to $2.50 from the 60 cents that it cost in 1999, or 417%.

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