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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Office Pool 2019

December 25, 2018 at 4:54 pm

My column this week is the traditional William Safire-style "Office Pool 2019" of predictions for the year ahead. Please check the full column out at the New York Sun here and at Newsmax here.

As is also traditional there is a question about books scheduled to come out in the year ahead, which you may pre-order using these links (FutureOfCapitalism, LLC gets a cut). Some of them are by former New York Sun colleagues of mine:

Joseph Sternberg's "The Theft Of A Decade: How The Baby Boomers Stole The Millennials' Economic Future"

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The Fed, The Chicken, and The Egg

December 25, 2018 at 4:40 pm

From the lead, front-page news article in today's New York Times: "the speculation about firing Mr. Powell, a move that could turn the independent central bank into a political tool, has undermined confidence in a pivotal institution essential to economic policy."

This juxtaposition of "independent" and "political" is a false dichotomy. The Federal Reserve is political in the sense that it was established by a law passed by elected politicians, in Congress, who also passed the Humphrey-Hawkins Act of 1978 instructing the Fed to pursue stable prices and maximum employment. One man's "independent" is another man's "unaccountable."

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Paul Ryan's Farewell Address

December 19, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Text is here and worth a read if you are interested in that sort of thing.

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How Regulation Breeds Corruption

December 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm

A federal corruption trial with charges involving two New York businessmen and the city's police, a private jet, a prostitute, Super Bowl weekend is the topic of a lively dispatch in the New York Times. One passage particularly grabbed my attention:

In 2014, Mr. Reichberg and Mr. Rechnitz decided they wanted firearms. So Mr. Grant, who went by the nickname Jimmy, got some help from a connection in the police department's licensing division — David Villanueva, one of the unit's supervisors. Mr. Villanueva pleaded guilty to bribery last year and is now a cooperating witness.

"I always did favors for Jimmy; he did favors for me," Mr. Villanueva testified.

Mr. Villanueva testified he helped Mr. Reichberg get a full-carry gun license in only two months, rather than in the year it usually takes to get one.

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Lloyd Blankfein

December 18, 2018 at 2:57 pm

The Goldman Sachs "Briefings" email newsletter has an interview with the outgoing Goldman Sachs chairman, Lloyd Blankfein, that includes this passage:

Next year, Goldman Sachs will turn 150 years old. Very few institutions make it that long, let alone under the same name. Why do you think Goldman Sachs has maintained itself as a successful firm over that period across so many different generations and circumstances?

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What If G-Men Had Gone After the Washington Post?

December 18, 2018 at 2:33 pm

The "nonprosecution deal" between federal prosecutors and the parent company of the National Enquirer is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun here.

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Money In Your Mattress?

December 17, 2018 at 5:30 am

"The Best Place To Put Money? Your Mattress" is the irresponsible headline the New York Times ran over the weekend above a front-page news article about how "For the first time in decades, every major type of investment has fared poorly."

The Times article went on:

In a typical year there's going to be some winners and losers," said Ed Clissold, chief United States strategist at the equity market research firm Ned Davis Research. "It's very rare that you get nothing working."

His firm recently looked at eight types of investments going back to 1972. In every year, at least one of these categories generated a return of 5 percent or more. A separate study by JPMorgan Chase analysts found that "2018 has delivered losses on almost every asset class and investing style."

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How Zoning Hurts The Poor

December 16, 2018 at 10:57 am

The lead article in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times looks at what can be done to improve the lives of those who live in rural or small town America and concludes: "The most helpful policy for people in small towns could be to relax zoning rules in dense cities like New York and San Francisco, so that more affordable housing could be built to receive newcomers from rural Wisconsin or Kentucky, and they wouldn't need the income of an investment banker or a computer scientist to afford to live there."

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RBG to the Defense of Flynn

December 14, 2018 at 8:03 am

As the plea agreement of President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, attracts renewed attention this week because of Judge Emmet G. Sullivan's skepticism (Emmet means "truth" in Hebrew), it's worth mentioning that the federal crime to which Flynn pleaded guilty, Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1001, is one that has been on our radar screen since the February 24, 2004, New York Sun editorial Martha Stewart and the Law.

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