Two Recent Columns

June 21, 2022 at 6:36 am

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The Problem With ESG

June 19, 2022 at 2:28 pm

New York Times columnist Ron Lieber does an excellent job applying some reportorial skepticism to "environmental, social, and governance" funds that purport to offer more ethical investments. He interviews two ESG professionals:

LIEBER: Defining justice seems messy these days. On one hand, some investors don't want to invest in weapons manufacturers. On the other, many of them would very much like to put more weapons in the hands of the Ukrainians.

ROBASCIOTTI: In the world our investors want to live in, the government is responsible for weapons and defense, and that is not a private activity.

LIEBER: Wait, so the government should be producing weapons?

DOMINI: Capitalism is great at distributing goods and services broadly and cheaply. Weapons shouldn't be distributed broadly and cheaply.

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SEC to the School-Reform Rescue?

June 17, 2022 at 10:02 am

"Biden Administration Sues a City Over 'Rampant Overspending on Teacher Salaries,'" is the headline over a piece I wrote for Education Next about the Securities and Exchange Commission action against Rochester, New York:

How much has Rochester been "overspending?" The website Seethroughny.com, a project of the Empire Center for Public Policy, lists 717 Rochester City School District Employees who earned more than $100,000 in 2019.

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America Can Do Better Than Biden or Trump

June 17, 2022 at 9:51 am

The 2024 presidential matchup is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Can America Do Better Than Biden or Trump in '24?") and at the New York Sun ("America Can Do Better Than Biden or Trump").

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Iran Nuclear Deal

June 17, 2022 at 9:45 am

"Recall How Low America Stooped to Appease Iran," is the headline over a letter to the editor I had published in the Wall Street Journal.

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Free Russia

May 24, 2022 at 8:48 am

"The one goal hardly anyone in Washington dares to mention is a free and democratic Russia," I write in my column this week, arguing for that as an American aim. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("A Free, Democratic Russia Guarantees a Nervous China") and at the New York Sun ("The Logic For America Is To Aim for a Free, Democratic Russia.")

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Frank Brandeis Gilbert

May 17, 2022 at 8:59 am

Frank Brandeis Gilbert, a lawyer who saved New York City's Grand Central Terminal and preserved tens of thousands of other historic properties nationwide while also wisely counseling generations of Harvard Crimson editors in his capacity as longtime chairman of the student newspaper's graduate board, has died.

Gilbert, a grandson of Justice Louis Brandeis, had Parkinson's Disease. I spoke to him on Wednesday May 4, and he agreed to join other Crimson alumni in signing on to a letter expressing dismay at the newspaper's recent editorial singling out Israel for a boycott. I told him in that conversation that I felt the Crimson had never really adequately thanked him for his years of service to the organization, and that I wanted to thank him, myself, for the time and energy and wisdom that he had devoted to the paper.

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Three Letters to the Crimson on Boycotting Israel

May 12, 2022 at 5:33 pm

There are three recent letters from me to the Harvard Crimson responding to the paper's editorial calling for a boycott of Israel — one letter they wouldn't publish, one letter they did publish, and another letter that they did publish and that I signed on to but did not draft myself. All are recommended reading for those interested in the campus climate, the state of student journalism, and the underlying issues. There is also a Harvard Faculty Statement on the issue.

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Ninth Amendment Is Key to Abortion Issue

May 12, 2022 at 5:24 pm

The Constitution and how it relates to abortion is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Abortion Right Not in Constitution, Doesn't Mean It Doesn't Exist") and at the New York Sun ("Ninth Amendment Is Key in Abortion Law Battle").

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The Biden Stagflation

April 28, 2022 at 9:06 am

Negative 1.4 percent real quarterly GDP growth and 8 percent inflation. What a combination. If the Fed raises interest rates to combat the inflation, it makes the growth problem worse. If the Fed eases interest rates to combat the negative growth, it makes the inflation problem worse. Likewise with Congressional spending as a form of fiscal stimulus for the economy, which Biden has pushing under the "Build Back Better" rubric. It looks a lot like later Carter or early Reagan. You can blame it on the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 pandemic or on the energy price effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, but it's an unpleasant combination even so, both for Biden's political hopes and for the household finances of American consumers.

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Missile Defense Biden Scorned Would Sure Be Useful Now

April 26, 2022 at 8:06 pm

Missile defense is the topic of my column this week. Please check it out at Newsmax ("We Could Use Missile Defense Biden Derided as 'Naive Dream'") and at the New York Sun ("Biden Leaves America Vulnerable by Shortchanging Missile Defense").

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China Hawks Emerge from Both Parties

April 24, 2022 at 2:07 pm

The most newsworthy political campaign commercial of 2022 may be the one recently released by Congressman Tim Ryan, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Ohio.

"It is us versus China," Mr. Ryan says. "Capitalism versus communism. I'm not backing down, are you?"

Please read the rest of the column at the New York Sun under the headline, "Democrat Ryan, Republican Rubio Press Harder Line Against Communist China."

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How's That Divestment Working Out?

April 24, 2022 at 1:36 pm

A recent column of mine looked at announced decisions by the Ford Foundation, by Yale's endowment, and by New York State pension funds to divest from fossil fuels. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Costly Fossil Fuel Divestment Leaves Foundations Looking Foolish") and at the New York Sun ("Fossil-Fuel Divestment Decisions Prove Costly, Ill-Timed").

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DeSantis Versus Disney

April 4, 2022 at 8:12 pm

The clash between Florida Governor DeSantis and Disney over what critics call the "don't say gay" law is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason ("Republicans Taking Aim at Disney Is a Reminder That Both Parties Are Hostile to Free Speech"), at the New York Sun ("Who's a Bigger Danger to Liberty Than Even Woke Corporations?"), and at Newsmax ("Why a Woke Disney Irks DeSantis.")

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Biden-Wyden Wealth Tax, the Sequel

March 29, 2022 at 8:39 am

The president's second try at the Biden-Wyden wealth tax is the topic of my column this week. Please read the full column at Reason ("Biden Is Trying To Pass a Wealth Tax—Again. It Could Be Unconstitutional."), at the New York Sun ("Biden-Wyden Wealth Tax Sequel Just as Bad as Original Publicity Stunt"), and at Newsmax ("Biden-Wyden Wealth Tax Returns, as a Rebranded Publicity Stunt").

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