Hillary Goes After Non-Profit Pay

August 11, 2015 at 12:03 pm

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The most interesting and underreported line to me in Hillary Clinton's college loan speech yesterday was this one: "I want to make sure that colleges spend federal dollars on things that benefit students, like teaching and research, not marketing campaigns or big salaries for administrators."

Whether Mrs. Clinton would actually follow through on this, and how, is another question. She and her husband have collected some speaking fees from colleges and universities for engagements that last a few hours — fees that dwarf what many administrators earn in a year. And certainly, the ranks of Democratic policy advisers are full of people who work as university administrators when the Republicans control the White House — Cheryl Mills, Jack Lew, Lawrence Summers, David Ellwood. (There are some Republicans who do this, too, including Glenn Hubbard and Condoleezza Rice.)

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A Trump-Sanders Ticket

August 11, 2015 at 10:23 am

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The anti-billionaire candidate, Bernie Sanders, and the billionaire candidate, Donald Trump, have more in common than you might think — and it isn't just their flyaway hair. They 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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Why I Am Not a Republican

August 7, 2015 at 1:09 am

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There's nothing like three hours of watching 17 Republican presidential candidates grilled by Fox News journalists to remind me why I am a political independent.

Much of the time was devoted to two topics I am just not that interested in: how to keep more immigrants out of America and how to defund Planned Parenthood.

On immigration, if prior generations of American politicians had actually implemented the policies these Republicans are advocating, maybe they could have kept Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and maybe John Kasich off the debate stage altogether. Heck, perhaps even the Bush ancestors could have been stopped on their way over on the Mayflower for fear that the influx of the foreigners might have depressed the wages of the existing low-skill American workers. Then the entire presidential debate could have been limited to Native Americans: Ben Nighthorse Campbell versus Elizabeth "Fauxcahontas" Warren.

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The Anti-Obama and the Anti-Hillary

August 5, 2015 at 1:26 am

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To understand why the possibility that Vice President Biden will enter the presidential race is generating such excitement, look no further than Mr. Biden's remarks on May 17 at Yale University's Class Day, which were magnificent. Mr. Biden said:

the most successful and happiest people I've known understand that a good life at its core is about being personal. It's about being engaged. It's about being there for a friend or a colleague when they're injured or in an accident, remembering the birthdays, congratulating them on their marriage, celebrating the birth of their child. It's about being available to them when they're going through personal loss. It's about loving someone more than yourself, as one of your speakers have already mentioned. It all seems to get down to being personal.

That's the stuff that fosters relationships. It's the only way to breed trust in everything you do in your life.

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How Donald Trump Is Like John Hancock

August 4, 2015 at 9:22 am

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The wealth of the presidential candidates is emerging as a campaign issue and is the topic of my column this week, which draws on the wisdom of Samuel Adams. Please check the column out at the New York Sun (here) or Reason (here).

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Bush at Freedom Partners

August 3, 2015 at 12:31 pm

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Several of the Republican presidential candidates addressed a Koch Freedom Partners event over the weekend. I caught a webcast of some of Ted Cruz and all of Jeb Bush being interviewed by Politico's Mike Allen.

I thought Mr. Bush was strongest in the sections of the appearance when he talked about the energy revolution and about health care.

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Occupational Licensing

August 3, 2015 at 11:56 am

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Glenn Reynolds has a good USA Today column catching President Obama getting something right — drawing attention to the problem of excessive occupational licensing requirements (is that redundant?) imposed by state and local governments. Professor Reynolds concludes:

We now have a Republican House and Senate that purport to stand up for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and a White House report that would provide bipartisan justification for such action. Will Congress do its part? Or, when it comes to promoting opportunity, is it all just talk?

Good question.

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Murdoch on the Federal Reserve

August 1, 2015 at 9:32 pm

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Michael Bloomberg said just the other day that the Federal Reserve's low interest rates have, as he put it, "exacerbated the wealth gap between the poor and the rich because the rich have assets. And that is what is being hiked here because of low interest rates, whether they own stocks or real estate or whatever the case may be."

Now Rupert Murdoch has joined the issue with two tweets:

@graylondon explain how rich hot richer. Easy! Fed printed trillions but regulations scared big and small from investing. Ended in W St.

— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) August 1, 2015

Actually Fed trillions ended inflating existing assets. Stocks, real estate, art. Is it a bubble?

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What Kate Upton Could Teach Jeb Bush

July 31, 2015 at 2:21 pm

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Today's appearance by Jeb Bush at the national Urban League conference is a fine opportunity to circle back to the flap earlier this month about limiting the ride-sharing service Uber in New York City. Facing off against Mayor de Blasio, Uber attracted support from celebrities including supermodel Kate Upton and NY1 political anchor Errol Louis.

At the Urban League conference, Mr. Bush talked about charter schools, but not about Uber. It was a fine speech, but connecting the two issues has the potential to make an even bigger, stronger point.

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Obama Bashes Billionaires on Iran Deal

July 31, 2015 at 11:30 am

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President Obama apparently thinks he can get his Iran deal past Congress by using his favorite tactic, class warfare.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports from Washington:

In a phone call with supporters on Thursday, President Barack Obama characterized opponents of the Iran deal as being backed by "billionaires"..."As big of a bully pulpit as I have, it's not enough. And if you've got a whole bunch of folks who are big check writers to political campaigns, running TV ads, and billionaires who happily finance SuperPACs and they are putting the squeeze on members of Congress, even well-meaning ones, and good folks, and they don't hear from you, this opportunity could slip away."

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The Limbaugh Primary

July 30, 2015 at 2:20 pm

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Why is Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential polls? One reason is that one of the most powerful voices in conservative media, Rush Limbaugh, has been a strong supporter. Mr. Limbaugh on Mr. Trump: "I was playing golf at Trump's course here a couple years ago. I happen to be a member of Trump International...I love the guy. I'm telling you, I love the guy. I don't know how far his campaign is gonna go, but I'm telling you: Somebody is fighting."

The golf club, in West Palm Beach, Fla., reportedly has an initiation fee of $250,000 and annual dues of $25,000.

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Preet at the Supremes

July 30, 2015 at 2:13 pm

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The solicitor general has asked the Supreme Court to review the Second Circuit's decision clearing two traders, Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson, who were prosecuted for insider-trading-related issues by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. The court could do a service either by declining the request for review (thus letting the Second Circuit decision stand) or by taking the case, reining in Mr. Bharara, and clarifying the issues involved (or asking Congress to do so). Bloomberg News has a story.

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Fast Food Pay Increase

July 30, 2015 at 11:16 am

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A New York Times article helpfully enumerates the possible responses a fast-food franchise operator might take to the New York State dictating a $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers who work for a chain with at least 30 locations. "A wage increase applying to such a narrow segment of the economy is bound to have unintended consequences," the Times reporter says:

A business owner who previously ran chain fast-food franchises might choose instead to open independent stores to avoid the wage requirement. An owner who already has 29 stores might choose not to expand. If subject to the requirement, an owner could install iPads at the counters to take orders instead of live, wage-earning humans. An owner could buy food that is already prepared by an outside vendor (who wouldn't have to pay the higher wage) and employ fewer workers in the kitchen.

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Comment of the Day

July 30, 2015 at 11:08 am

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From Harry Binswanger, adding a voice to the discussion here about the supposedly negative effect of immigration on the wages of low-skill American workers, particularly African-Americans:

Should we fear the future effect on workers when an American family has its third child? The logic of the anti-immigrationists would require either limiting family size to two children. Or maybe deporting any "extra" children, to "protect" the wages of labor in the future. It's absurd.

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Immigration and Low-Skill Wages

July 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm

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Yesterday I promised that I would post a detailed rebuttal of the argument that increased immigration will hurt the wages of American workers. Luckily, Dylan Matthews of Vox.com got there first and saved me the trouble. He writes:

Even according to George Borjas, the single most-cited anti-immigration economist, immigration doesn't make the existing workforce worse off on average. But it does, he claims, most likely reduce wages substantially for people lacking high school degrees.

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