Socialism and a Strong Economy — and Catching Up

March 13, 2019 at 10:47 pm

Apologies for the delay in posting updates here. Let me attempt to catch up.

My three most recent columns were about:

•Trump the "isolationist" (not exactly). Check the full column out please at Newsmax here and the New Boston Post here.

•Warren Buffett's latest shareholder letter. Check the full column out please at Newsmax here and the New York Sun here.

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Andrew Sorkin on Estate Tax and Carry-Over Basis

February 26, 2019 at 9:49 pm

The business section of the New York Times carries a column by Dealbook founder and CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin. It is about ways to raise taxes on the rich that make more sense than the plans proposed by Senator Warren, Senator Sanders, or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Sorkin writes, "Over the past month, I've consulted with tax accountants, lawyers, executives, political leaders and yes, billionaires, and specific ideas have come up about plugging the gaps in the tax code, without blowing it apart."

The first one of Sorkin's suggestions is to end the step-up in basis on death. He calls closing this loophole "critical." He explains, "after someone dies, the rules allow assets to be passed on at their current — or 'stepped up' — value, with no tax paid on the gains. An asset could rise in value for decades without being subject to a tax. Many wealthy Americans even borrow against their assets rather than sell them to avoid paying capital gains tax."

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School Choice in the State of the Union

February 16, 2019 at 11:45 pm

President Trump's line in the State of the Union address about school choice is the topic of an article I wrote for Education Next, an education policy journal for which I have been doing some work. You can read the piece in full here. It prompted a response from the Heritage Foundation, which in turn prompted a New York Sun editorial.

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Elizabeth Warren Takes Aim at the Rich

February 16, 2019 at 11:39 pm

Senator Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign was the topic of a recent column of mine based on my firsthand observations of her campaign launch in Lawrence, Mass., and her campaign stop in Dover, N.H. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here). It also was mentioned on the Fox News website (here), and on the Cafe Hayek blog (here).

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The Patriots Super Bowl Victory and Anti-Billionaire Politics

February 6, 2019 at 5:40 am

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full article at the New Boston Post (here), the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Howard Marks on Booker and Warren

February 2, 2019 at 7:20 pm

Oaktree Capital's Howard Marks takes a look at proposals from two of the Democratic presidential candidates:

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren, already an announced 2020 presidential candidate, has introduced her Accountable Capitalism Act. Two of its provisions caught my attention:

    . . . incorporation for large companies would become a federal matter, . . . These federally chartered companies would be mandated to consider the interests of a list of stakeholders, from investors to employees to customers and communities. These groups could then sue if they deemed the company had breached their duties. . . .

    . . . Senator Warren's legislation calls for 40 percent of directors to be elected by employees. (The Financial Times, September 24, 2018)

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Competition As Regulation

January 31, 2019 at 5:16 am

News that Apple punished Facebook for violating its privacy rules is the topic of a Kevin Roose column in the New York Times:

Mr. Cook, who has called privacy a "fundamental human right" and taken Facebook and Google to task for the misuse of user data in the past, could effectively become a technology regulator of last resort — using the power of Apple's iOS operating system as a cudgel to force software companies to respect user privacy and play by the rules, or risk losing access to millions of iPhone users....

While [government] regulators have fined Facebook for privacy violations, those punishments rarely amount to anything truly meaningful — at most, the company pays a few million dollars, promises to do better next time, and goes right back to work....Apple's defense of user privacy, while certainly self-interested, is a boon to its users and a lever for change within the tech industry.

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Are Billionaires Immoral?

January 29, 2019 at 4:58 am

The new socialist congresswoman from New York, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, is leading an effort to blame America's problems on the existence of billionaires. That effort, how it will play out in the 2020 presidential campaign, and how it might be answered are the topics of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Vanguard's John Bogle

January 23, 2019 at 5:37 am

What the press missed about Vanguard founder John Bogle, who died earlier this month, is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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What David Brooks Missed About Apple's Taxes

January 15, 2019 at 11:05 pm

Apple's tax tactics are "clearly sleazy," David Brooks wrote in a recent New York Times columns. I respond in Apple's defense 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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Trump The Promise-Keeper President

January 8, 2019 at 5:44 am

"Donald Trump just may be our most honest president since Abraham Lincoln," I write in my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here) and Newsmax (here).

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Herb Kelleher

January 3, 2019 at 9:35 pm

The death this week of Herb Kelleher, the co-founder and CEO of Southwest Airlines, sent me back into the FutureOfCapitalism archives for my review of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. I observed:

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Judge Jacobs On 'Egregious' FBI Leaks

January 3, 2019 at 6:08 am

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion recently in the appeal brought by William Walters, who was convicted in an insider-trading case after the FBI leaked details of an investigation to reporters from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The appellate panel declined to overturn his conviction, but it did have some strong language about the FBI leaks. My favorite part was the concurrence from Judge Dennis Jacobs, who notices the irony that Walters and the FBI agent both apparently misused confidential information, but that only one of them is going to jail:

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Unregulated Capitalism

January 1, 2019 at 12:07 pm

The lead, front-page news article in today's New York Times begins: "Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and a sharp critic of big banks and unregulated capitalism, entered the 2020 race for president on Monday..."

"Unregulated capitalism" is a straw man if there ever was one, a fictional concoction that Senator Warren and the New York Times would prefer to focus on as a way to avoid other, more relevant, and more complicated issues. Very few real people are actually for "unregulated capitalism," and those people, if they indeed exist, don't have much power. The last two Republican presidents have been George W. Bush, who regulated capitalism by signing into law the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002, and Donald Trump, whose administration has regulated capitalism by, among other things, having the Food and Drug Administration move to ban menthol cigarettes, ban flavored cigars, and sharply restrict sales of flavored (such as cherry, vanilla, melon) electronic nicotine delivery systems.

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Biden 2020

January 1, 2019 at 11:48 am

The case for Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee in 2020 is made in my column this week. Please check the column out at the New York Sun here.

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