Warren 'Vultures' Line Echoes Marx, Lenin

July 18, 2019 at 9:35 pm

One of my favorite pieces in the history of this site is a review I wrote in 2010 of Jerry Muller's book Capitalism and the Jews. I was reminded of it this week by one of my own senators, Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat who is running for president. Warren put out an announcement this week promising to "End Wall Street's Stranglehold on Our Economy," using terms like "vampire," "sucking" and "bleeding" to describe what the financial sector is doing to the rest of America.

From my review:

The book by Mr. Muller, a professor of history at Catholic University, consists of a short introduction and four chapters. It's the first chapter, "The Long Shadow of Usury," that's the most enlightening.

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An Education Law's Rotten Roots

July 17, 2019 at 6:05 am

The Daily News has published an op-ed I wrote about government regulation of private schools in New York. "The law at the center of the fight over the Jewish schools has its origins in a Protestant campaign against Catholic education." Please check it out here.

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Higher Education Millionaire Joe Biden

July 11, 2019 at 7:31 am

In 2018, Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden earned $1,689,651 from U.S. colleges and universities. I write at Education Next: "Maybe if these colleges weren't paying $1,689,651 to the Bidens, they could lower tuition, or would require less taxpayer support, or students wouldn't have to go so deeply into debt to graduate." Please check out the entire column.

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Schumer 2020

July 11, 2019 at 7:27 am

If the Democratic presidential field limps along in its current state, Senator Schumer of New York may want to take a serious look at getting in, 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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New York Times Editorial Cheers for Deregulation

July 9, 2019 at 7:47 am

Yes, you read that correctly. From a staff editorial in Monday's New York Times embracing a supply-side approach to housing affordability:

More market-rate development is a worthy goal in its own right, because middle-income households increasingly are unable to afford housing in the metropolitan areas where economic opportunity is concentrated. Expanding the supply of housing also helps low-income families who might otherwise find themselves priced out of their apartments.

This embrace of deregulation merits particular praise because the states most resistant to allowing housing construction are the strongholds of the Democratic Party, in the Northeast and along the Pacific Coast, and the most resistant voters are the wealthy residents of those states who provide so much of the funding for Democratic presidential campaigns.

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Did Title IX Win The World Cup?

July 9, 2019 at 7:30 am

The U.S. soccer victory has triggered some commentary crediting Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for contributing to the win. "In some ways, it reeks of sexism — it gives the credit for the victory to President Nixon, who signed the Education Amendments into law, rather than to the ones who really deserve the glory, our world champion woman soccer players," I write at Education Next. Please check out the full column.

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New Yorker Dave Wasserman Interview

July 4, 2019 at 10:31 pm

The New Yorker has an interview with the Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman about how the 2020 presidential race is shaping up:

The pitfalls in a potential Harris or Warren nomination are several. But the first one that comes to mind is the reinforcement of an image that the Democratic Party is dominated by coastal élitists, and, despite Warren's Oklahoma roots and populist message, her career as an Ivy League academic is a liability, or would be a serious liability in a general-election campaign. In Harris's case, Republicans would love to run against San Francisco...

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How Regulation Killed the Station Wagon and Created the Minivan

July 4, 2019 at 10:18 pm

From a New York Times account of the career of auto executive Lee Iacocca — different from the Times obituary of him — comes this account of the role that government regulations played in changing the family car to a minivan from a station wagon:

Stringent fuel economy regulations imposed on cars in the 1970s had made it practically impossible for automakers to keep selling big station wagons. Yet many Americans still wanted roomy vehicles.

The answer, Mr. Sperlich and Mr. Iacocca realized, was to make family vehicles that were regulated as light trucks, a category of vehicles that includes pickups. The government had placed far more lenient fuel economy rules on light trucks, as well as more lenient safety and air pollution standards.

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The 'Obscure Educator' Who Invented Charter Schools

July 3, 2019 at 7:22 am

The idea that charter schools are some kind of Wall Street plot to privatize education is undercut by the history of their origin, I write at Education Next.

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The Theology of July 4

July 3, 2019 at 7:18 am

"Beliefs," a podcast of the Religion News Service, had me on recently to discuss what I call the theology of July 4. You can listen to it here. The Religion News Service described me as "author and academic Ira Stoll," which I must admit made me chuckle, at least the "academic" part. Best wishes to everyone for a patriotic, free, fun, and prosperous Independence Day.

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Facebook Versus The Fed

July 2, 2019 at 5:23 am

The new Facebook-backed digital currency known as the Libra is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax here and at the New York Sun here: "If Congress doesn't keep Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on his toes, maybe Mark Zuckerberg will."

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Earned Income Tax Credit

July 2, 2019 at 5:18 am

Adverse consequences of the earned income tax credit — a $63 billion-a-year federal program — are the subject of an article by Teresa Ghilarducci and Aida Farmand In the American Prospect, who argue that it puts downward pressure on wages. The states have their own earned income tax credits of varying generosity, and the credits are aimed mainly at working parents. That allows for the measurement of their effect:

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Democrat Miami 2019 Debate Exposes Rifts

June 27, 2019 at 6:55 am

Last night's presidential debate disclosed a Democratic Party with no real consensus on a series of major issues.

A 70% top income tax rate? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio came out in favor of it, but Beto O'Rourke would not.

Outlaw private health insurance and force those who now have it onto government-run plans like Medicare or Medicaid? Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor de Blasio were for it, while John Delaney, a former congressman from Maryland, warned that it would put hospitals out of business and punish union workers who had negotiated for health plans they like.

A congressman from Ohio, Tim Ryan, complained that the Democrats are too "coastal and elitist and Ivy League," and "are not connecting to the working people." Senator Warren is a Harvard Law School professor who lives in Cambridge, Mass.

A congressman from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, insisted, "we have to bring our troops home" from Afghanistan. Congressman Ryan pressed for continued American engagement. "When we weren't in there, they started flying planes into our buildings," he said.

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Questions For the Democrats

June 26, 2019 at 7:13 am

Some suggested questions for the Democratic presidential debates taking place tonight and tomorrow are the topic of my column this week. "Is there any problem that you think the federal government can't solve and should give up on trying to solve? If so, what is it?" Please check the full column out at Newsmax here and at the New York Sun here.

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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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