MIT Shines In Harvard Admissions Trial

October 22, 2018 at 4:14 pm

The ongoing federal trial of Harvard College's admissions practices is the topic of my column this week, which also covers the Red Sox and Stephen Schwarzman. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Newsmax (here), and Reason (here).

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Center-Right America

October 22, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Princeton professor Paul Starr, writing in the New York Times, describes the disappearance of the center right:

Mr. Trump's purges continue the Republican march to the right that began in the 1980s. At that time, many leading Republicans were economically conservative but socially liberal or moderate. Often from elite backgrounds, they called for balanced budgets, free trade and other pro-business policies, while also supporting abortion rights, racial inclusiveness, immigration reform and environmental protection. Republicans had little hope of congressional majorities without them. But as the center of gravity in the party shifted south and west, the moderates became a dwindling and dispensable minority, increasingly forced to adapt to the new orthodoxy or to quit the party.

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Leak Investigations

October 19, 2018 at 2:57 pm

A New York Times news article by Charlie Savage and Mitch Smith reports: "The Trump Justice Department's aggressive use of criminal charges to pursue officials suspected of making unauthorized disclosures to the public is a continuation of a practice that developed during the Bush administration and accelerated under the Obama administration."

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Hillary 2020

October 19, 2018 at 2:27 pm

The Drudge Report this afternoon is leading with a Hillary 2020 story, or trial balloon, or something. Let me just say that you read it here first. If the Democratic presidential campaign is among Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, and Joe Biden, or if the strongest woman candidate the Democrats can muster is Elizabeth Warren, why would Hillary Clinton stay out?

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Politics As Religion

October 16, 2018 at 2:36 pm

David Brooks writes in his New York Times column:

What is new is how cultish this dispute has become. The researchers asked a wide variety of questions, on everything from child-rearing to national anthem protests. In many cases, 97 to 99 percent of Progressive Activists said one thing and 93 to 95 percent of Dedicated Conservatives said the opposite. There's little evidence of individual thought, just cult conformity. The current situation really does begin to look like the religious wars that ripped through Europe after the invention of the printing press, except that our religions now wear pagan political garb.

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How Else To Help

October 16, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Thanks for all those who became paying subscribers or members of FutureOfCapitalism during our recent drive. Before returning entirely to our regularly scheduled programming, let me mention that are also ways to help that are non-monetary. Spreading the word by telling your friends about the site, particularly friends that you think might enjoy it, helps us grow. So does sharing FutureOfCapitalism content on social media, if you use social media. Commenting by using the comments function helps, too, not only if you have something interesting to say (though that's great), but also because comments help signal to algorithms and to other readers that there's a community of engaged readers here.

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Last Call

October 15, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Thanks to all of you who became paying subscribers or renewed existing subscriptions over the past week. Today's is the final pitch in this cycle, all you procrastinators out there. We could use just a few more paying readers to help meet our goal, support independent journalism, and fund the site's operations and growth going forward. It'll take just a few moments of your time and less than a dollar a week. The link is here.

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Sears Holdings Bankruptcy

October 15, 2018 at 4:50 pm

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Sears Holdings is the topic of my column this week. Please check the column out in full at Reason here, at the New York Sun here, and at Newsmax here.

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Ten More Reasons To Become A Paying Subscriber

October 12, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Thank you to those who have already responded to our drive for paying subscribers. The link to pay is here. For those who haven't yet joined up, here are ten more reasons in addition to yesterday's ten:

1. The entry-level price, at $49, is about a quarter of the price of a basic New York Times subscription, and will waste less of your time.

2. It is a better use of your money than a campaign contribution to Beto O'Rourke.

3. Your editor isn't ensconced in some non-profit think tank or tenured at some tax-exempt educational institution. Paying subscribers, along with some advertising revenue, are what have made the site possible.

4. You believe in incentives.

5. You've learned something valuable in the past year by reading the site.

6. It's reassuring to know that you aren't the only one out there who looks at the world the way we do.

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Cui Bono Beto?

October 12, 2018 at 3:19 pm

The mismatch between two numbers — the amount of money Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas who is running against Ted Cruz, has raised, and the amount of support he is getting in recent polls — is generating some lively commentary.

The editor of the Washington Free Beacon, Matthew Continetti, commenting on O'Rourke's haul of $38.1 million in the past three months, observed, "The media may have made a strategic mistake in creating the Beto phenomenon, drawing away tens of millions of dollars from more competitive races."

Nate Silver, the election forecaster, acknowledged that O'Rourke's numbers have been slipping: "he's gone from a deficit of 3-4 points at his peak to 5-6 now. That's not great; TX has gone from 'Lean R' to 'Likely R'." Silver writes that the race is "not to the point where Dems should be donating 60 zillion $$ to his campaign."

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Ten Reasons To Become a Paying Subscriber

October 11, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Our quarterly drive for paying readers is going on this week. Thanks to those who have already joined or renewed existing subscriptions. Here are ten reasons to become a paying member or subscriber.

1. You need to reallocate all the money you saved by canceling your New York Times subscription.

2. There are not many other voices who stood up to Preet Bharara.

3. You enjoy and learn from the content of and want to send an encouraging signal of support.

4. At the entry level of just $49 a year, it's less than 14 cents a day, which is an unbelievable bargain for what is being provided.

5. Your money will be used to help improve and to expand its audience.

6. You don't want to be a free-rider on the other paying subscribers.

7. If you do it right now, you won't have to remember to do it later.

8. If you do it right now, you won't have to worry about it again for another year.

9. You like our non-hysterical, non-shrill tone.

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Trump and the Fed

October 11, 2018 at 4:06 pm

President Trump, commenting on a decline in the stock market, said, "I think the Fed is making a mistake. They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy...Actually, it's a correction that we've been waiting for for a long time, but I really disagree with what the Fed is doing."

Trump will be ritualistically denounced for interfering with the Fed's much-prized "independence," but the truth is that under our Constitution the power "To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures" is granted to neither the president nor the Fed but to Congress.

The long stock market upswing and the low unemployment of recent years have made grumbling about the Fed less fashionable than it was in, say, 2009 or 2010. But the lyrics of Hayek in the Hayek vs. Keynes Rap — "There's a boom and bust cycle and good reason to fear it" — are as relevant as they ever were.

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Philadelphia's Drug Epidemic

October 10, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Some staggering numbers in an upcoming grim New York Times Magazine article about the heroin epidemic in Philadelphia, Pa.: "The city's Department of Health estimates that 75,000 residents are addicted to heroin and other opioids...There had been more than 1,200 overdose deaths in Philadelphia in 2017 — a 34 percent rise from 2016."

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How To Help

October 10, 2018 at 10:17 am

If you value the content you find here, please signal it by becoming a paying subscriber or sustaining subscriber using the links at the link here.

Your editor is not ensconced at some think tank or university. This is how he (I) makes his (my) living.

There aren't many places on the web that are neither cheerleading for Trump nor panicked over him. If you value non-shrill, non-hysterical, civil news and commentary, the way to get more of it is to pay for it.

We haven't raised the prices here since we set up shop in 2009. More paying readers might fund additional content at the site or better promotion of the existing content. We are competing against news organizations that benefit from taxpayer funding (NPR, PBS) or the backing of deep-pocketed foreign owners (the New York Times' Carlos Slim).

Your paid subscription helps make everything here possible and will allow us to keep growing, expanding, and improving. An entry-level subscription is less than $1 a week, and the transaction won't take much of your time at all.

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Preet's Proposal

October 9, 2018 at 10:09 pm

Preet Bharara and an SEC commissioner, Robert J. Jackson Jr., have an op-ed in the New York Times acknowledging "a good bit of insider trading law remains ambiguous" and describing "uncertainty," and "a legal haziness that leaves both investors and defendants unclear about what sorts of information-sharing or other activities by investors would be considered insider trading, and what are the acceptable forms of data-gathering and research that are part of any healthy, functioning financial marketplace."

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