A Medal For Laffer

June 21, 2019 at 9:08 am

After the markets closed on Wednesday, President Trump honored Arthur Laffer with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At the ceremony, the name of the late, great editor of the Wall Street Journal, Bob Bartley, was invoked twice. Another Journal editorial page figure, Jude Wanniski, was mentioned three times. Steve Forbes was on hand in the Oval Office. The next day the stock market, as measured by the Standard and Poor's 500 Index, closed at a record high, notwithstanding U.S.-Iran military tensions. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but perhaps it was the wisdom of the crowd in understanding that a share in a company is worth more when the economy is growing, and when the tax laws allow a company's owners to keep a bigger share of the profits.

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Trump and Zoning

June 20, 2019 at 6:10 am

Offering up ideas for a Trump policy agenda for 2020 and a second term, the Wall Street Journal editorial page suggests, "He could put Democrats on the spot for high housing prices and homelessness by talking about restrictive zoning for elites and high property taxes."

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Trump Versus the Elites

June 19, 2019 at 7:44 am

The editor of the Washington Free Beacon, Matthew Continetti, has an excellent column in the New York Times about why President Trump is likely to win reelection:

Behind the rise of outsider politicians such as Mr. Trump are the interrelated issues of unchecked immigration, terrorism and the imposition of carbon taxes and other measures to mitigate climate change. Elites' inability or lack of interest in tackling these problems — or even seeing them as problems — generates a crisis of representation in which large numbers of voters look for alternatives they cannot find within traditional political structures....What unites these issues is the idea that elites insulate themselves from the costs of the policies they impose on others.

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Robert Bernstein, Hong Kong, and Iran

June 19, 2019 at 6:37 am

The protests in Hong Kong may help restore American idealism about the chances for the spread of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law around the world, I write in my column this week. Please check it out in full at the New York Sun (here) and Newsmax (here).

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Eugenics and Immigration Law

June 19, 2019 at 6:31 am

Daniel Okrent's recent book The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America, is the topic of a book review I wrote for Education Next. It appears there under the headline "How Professors Helped Slam Shut America's Door." Please have a look and read all the way to the end, which takes a surprise twist. The link is here.

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How Many Extremely Poor in the U.S.?

June 5, 2019 at 5:43 am

Claims of "millions" of children in the U.S. mired in extreme poverty — that is, surviving on $2 or $4 a day — are exaggerated, a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds. The researchers checked people's claims on income surveys against administrative data from the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, and the states. They found some of the households reported as extremely poor on income surveys actually had assets worth $1 million. The $2 a day households numbered about 285,000 and included almost zero children. Read the whole column please at Newsmax (here) and Reason (here).

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Conference on National Conservatism

May 29, 2019 at 6:11 am

The inaugural conference on national conservatism is the topic of my column this week. Speakers will include John Bolton, Tucker Carlson, Peter Thiel, and Christopher DeMuth. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun here.

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Zoning and Housing

May 23, 2019 at 6:07 am

From a piece by one of the New York Times' newest op-ed columnists, Farhad Manjoo:

where progressives argue for openness and inclusion as a cudgel against President Trump, they abandon it on Nob Hill and in Beverly Hills....

Reading opposition to SB 50 and other efforts at increasing density, I'm struck by an unsettling thought: What Republicans want to do with I.C.E. and border walls, wealthy progressive Democrats are doing with zoning and Nimbyism. Preserving "local character," maintaining "local control," keeping housing scarce and inaccessible — the goals of both sides are really the same: to keep people out.

The effect of regulation on housing affordability has been a long-running theme around here.

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The Daniel Ortega Democrats

May 21, 2019 at 5:08 am

My column this week begins:

Give the New York Times credit for publishing, over the weekend, a long investigative piece about the strange enthusiasm of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for the communist strongman Daniel Ortega, who ruled Nicaragua in the 1980s and is in power there again today.

It bears remembering, though, that the group of Democratic presidential candidates who might be described as Ortega groupies extends well beyond the self-described socialist senator from Vermont.

Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Newsmax (here), and Reason (here).

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What George Kelling and Warren Phillips Had In Common

May 21, 2019 at 5:02 am

The former CEO of Dow Jones, Warren Phillips, and an author of the "Broken Windows" article about policing, George Kelling, both died recently. They were both my teachers at Harvard, which gave me an opening to write about them in that context for Education Next. Please check out the full article at Education Next here.

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Biden Revisits New Hampshire

May 16, 2019 at 5:25 am

Vice President Biden's presidential campaign has echoes of Donald Trump's, I write in my column this week after watching Biden campaign in the Granite State. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

I also wrote a couple of pieces about Biden for Education Next (here and here), focusing on his plan for "free" community college and the ideas that he and Senator Kamala Harris have to combat school shootings.

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Democrats Desist From Foreign Policy Critique of Trump

May 7, 2019 at 5:37 am

Perhaps the biggest compliment to Trump's foreign policy is that in an economy with the lowest unemployment in 50 years, 3.2% GDP growth, and stable prices, his political opponents largely want to make the 2020 election about domestic issues, I write in my column this week. Please check the full column out at the New York Sun (here), Newsmax (here), and Reason (here).

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Polls Understate Trump's Strength

May 3, 2019 at 6:09 am

Polls that show Biden or Sanders beating Trump are underestimating the president's chances of reelection, I write in my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason (here), the New York Sun (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Political Risk

April 23, 2019 at 5:21 am

Political risk associated with the 2020 presidential election is the topic of my column this week: "The bigger concern is the chance that a Democrat will spook the stock markets by appearing likely to defeat President Trump. In a worst-case scenario for Mr. Trump, this could even be a self-fulfilling prophecy: the stock market declines in anticipation of his potentially losing, and the decline then undercuts one of Mr. Trump's best reelection selling points, the strong economy." Please read the whole thing at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Gregory Craig

April 19, 2019 at 6:19 am

The federal criminal charges facing President Obama's White House counsel, Greg Craig, are the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Newsmax (here), and Reason (here).

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