Go to Mobile Site

The End of Snow

February 16, 2015 at 9:17 pm

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

It's been the snowiest month on record here in Boston, which for me was a chance to curl up in front of the computer and re-read some of the climate-change coverage in the New York Times, which is almost as funny, in a dark way, as the 40th anniversary program of "Saturday Night Live." This is the topic of my column this week; please check it out at the New York Sun (here) and Reason (here).

1 Reader Comment


Fannie, Freddie, and Privilege

February 15, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

Gretchen Morgenson has a pretty good column in Sunday's Times about how the government is asserting presidential privilege to try to keep secret the records of its deliberations over seizing the profits of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

In a Jan. 28 letter to investors, Bruce Berkowitz, Fairholme's managing member, questioned the broad sweep of the government's claims to secrecy.

"Why are F.H.F.A. and, particularly, Treasury resisting discovery so fiercely?" he wrote. "Is it because the document trail directly implicates some of the president's most senior advisers in the White House?"

Fairholme officials and their lawyers declined to comment further about the case.

The question that Mr. Berkowitz raised is more than fair...

1 Reader Comment


Amazon Competitor Jet

February 11, 2015 at 9:40 pm

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

The Authors Guild (of which I used to be a member until President Obama effectively shut down its ability to offer health insurance to authors) and the group Authors United have been pressing the Justice Department to take antitrust action against Amazon.com. Now it looks like there's a possibility that Amazon may face some additional competition in the free market, without any government action.

Jet.com, a site that plans to compete with Amazon in the online shopping space, has raised a reported $220 million pre-launch for its site, which is promising the lowest prices on the web to shoppers who pay a $50 annual membership fee. The idea, the founder told Re/Code, is to do to Amazon what Costco did to Walmart.

2 Reader Comments


Bribery at the Buildings Dept. — Again

February 11, 2015 at 11:38 am

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

The New York Times reports:

More than a dozen New York City buildings inspectors and clerks have been charged with exploiting their positions as gateways to the city's booming real estate industry to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, law enforcement officials announced on Tuesday.

This seems to be a recurring problem, and is a wonderful (or horrible, depending on how you look at it) example of the rule that it is the regulation that creates the opportunity for the corruption. One reason to be for smaller government is that it would be more honest, because there would be fewer opportunities for shakedowns.

Some background on past problems:

Continue Reading


Questions for Obama

February 9, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

In my column this week, I suggest some questions for Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith to ask Obama in their sit-down interview. Please check the column out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

Submit a Comment


Photo of the Day

February 9, 2015 at 8:42 am

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

For a graphic representation of the difference between private property ownership and government ownership, it's hard to do much better than this photograph I took yesterday, which you might call "where the sidewalk ends."

Continue Reading


Calpers Postscript

February 9, 2015 at 12:11 am

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

The Sacramento Bee has a sad postscript to the scandal at the California state pension fund, Calpers — a report of the apparent suicide of a former Calpers board member, Alfred Villalobos, at a Reno, Nevada shooting range. Reports the Bee:

Villalobos amassed great wealth from his dealings with the California Public Employees' Retirement System, earning $50 million in commissions off the pension fund investments he brokered for his big Wall Street clients. But after the state of California named him in a civil suit in 2010, claiming he bribed his way to his millions, he filed for bankruptcy protection and watched as court officials systematically liquidated his treasures to pay his debts.

His Lake Tahoe mansion was sold, along with a vacation home in Hawaii. Out went the fancy wine collection and the multimillion-dollar art collection.

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

Submit a Comment


David Frum on Jeb Bush

February 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

David Frum, himself an immigrant from Canada, made a recent appearance on the Laura Ingraham show in which he faults Jeb Bush for talking about the advantages of immigration to America. Said Mr. Frum:

Continue Reading


Tom Brady's Taxes

February 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

Americans for Tax Reform says that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will owe both income tax and gift tax on the Chevy that he won as Super Bowl MVP and that he says he will give to a teammate. The taxes, the group said, will be about $18,500, or more than half the value of the truck.

1 Reader Comment


Kagan on the Difference Between Yale and West Point

February 4, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

The latest installment in the "Conversations With Bill Kristol" series is an interview with Frederick W. Kagan, who talks about his work at the American Enterprise Institute with the U.S military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Kagan, a Yale graduate who taught at West Point, had this to say about the differences between those institutions:

This I think is so important as compared to the experience of your average Yalie, speaking as a Yalie, or a Cantabrigian has. You know, I mean, I think a lot of people go through Yale and Harvard and Princeton and never fail at anything. And I think it runs the risk of making them fragile.

No one graduates from West Point without having failed multiple times and badly because it's designed to make them fail. And then to have them see that you can recover from that and to build the muscle memory for how to recover from failure and how to react to it so that they're generally much more resilient, much less fragile people for having had that experience.

1 Reader Comment


Jeb Bush Detroit Economic Club Speech

February 4, 2015 at 10:51 am

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

Don't underestimate Jeb Bush is the point I've been making here, and Governor Bush is making me look sagacious with a humdinger of a speech today at the Detroit Economic Club that seems to really grasp the substance of the economic issues in a way that I find both encouraging and refreshing. Some excerpts from the remarks as prepared for delivery:

America is a place where, as Lincoln dreamed, any person "may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year…and the next, work for himself… and finally, to hire men to work for him!"

America, though discouraged, has not given up on the dream of Lincoln.

The dream of Lincoln is alive at 5 a.m. at a bus depot in a distant suburb or in an inner city as workers get to jobs in hotels and restaurants and hospitals.

The dream is alive in the breath of a construction worker running cable under a city street in the bitter night air.

The dream is alive in the college student driving an Uber car part-time to graduate debt-free....

Continue Reading


Summers on Harvard and Israel

February 3, 2015 at 10:42 am

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard president and Treasury secretary, has a lively op-ed in the Crimson on the subject of Harvard, Israel, and how educational institutions should conduct themselves:

In 2012, a Vice Provost of the University was the keynote speaker and "Harvard guest" at the Harvard Arab Alumni Association's conference in Damascus. Conference materials made clear that the conference's patron was The First Lady of Syria, who was described as "an...inspiring and tireless leader...[who] supports President Assad by fostering the emergence of a robust, independent, and self-sustaining society." Since that time the Assad government has killed several hundred thousands of its citizens and been recognized as an exporter of terrorism.

Continue Reading


The 2016 Republican JFK Primary

February 2, 2015 at 10:38 pm

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

The most influential figure in the Republican presidential contest just may be a Democrat who died more than 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy. So begins my column this week. Please check it out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

Submit a Comment


The Blog Media World

February 2, 2015 at 10:16 am

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

When Andrew Sullivan announced he is retiring from blogging, Zocalo Public Square asked me for a piece on whether blogging is dead. You can check the article with my answer out here.

Submit a Comment


Rattner Versus Pethokoukis

January 30, 2015 at 11:51 am

Send Comment Share: Facebook Twitter

In the New York Times Book Review over the weekend, the American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis wrote a negative review of James Grant's book The Forgotten Depression. Mr. Pethokoukis wrote:

A better natural experiment for Grant's depression-fighting formula is what's happening in the eurozone right now. With a jobless rate over 11 percent, a combination of fiscal austerity and tight money is on the verge of sending the region into its third recession since 2007.

Steven Rattner, of all people, has a very shrewd response to Mr. Pethokoukis's point (though neither Mr. Pethokoukis nor Jim Grant is mentioned in Mr Rattner's article). Mr. Rattner rejects the stimulus versus austerity debate as overly simplistic. He writes:

Continue Reading


<- Prev 15 items   |   Next 15 items ->

Subscribe to the Mailing List

Follow Us On:

Facebook    Twitter    RSS    Join Mailing List


© 2015 FutureOfCapitalism, LLC.

home  |  archives  |  about  |  mailing list  |  how to help  |  FoC @ facebook  |  FoC @ twitter  |  terms of use  |  privacy policy

news transparency  |  smartertimes