Kudlow and Kennedy

March 15, 2018 at 3:34 pm

In light of President Trump's excellent decision to select my fellow New York Sun columnist Larry Kudlow as chairman of the National Economic Council, here's a link to the column I wrote about the book by Kudlow and Brian Domitrovic, JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity.

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Trump's Stars

March 15, 2018 at 3:30 pm

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens writes about President Trump's choice of Mike Pompeo for secretary of State: "he'd be smart to model his behavior on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the administration's one undisputed star." As Stephens' Times predecessor William Safire pointed out posthumously on Twitter, Mick Mulvaney and Scott Gottlieb are stars, too.

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Bezos, Mueller, and Trump

March 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Lee Smith writes at Tablet:

The press also has an interest in prolonging the Mueller probe. Russiagate is good for business, mesmerizing viewers with a grand political spectacle featuring one of the media's biggest draws for the last several decades—Donald Trump, the boss villain who is now in the White House. Maybe most prominent among the interested media organizations is the paper that has colluded with lawbreakers in publishing the names of US persons whose identities have been illegally leaked by intelligence officials and political operatives—the Washington Post.

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Leonhardt on Sugar

March 13, 2018 at 7:02 am

David Leonhardt has a New York Times op-ed column about how to eat less added sugar. He writes:

Virtually the only way to eat a healthy amount of sugar is to make a conscious effort. You can think of it as a political act: resisting the sugar industry's attempts to profit off your body. Or you can simply think of it as taking care of yourself.

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How Scott Adams Got the Trump-North Korea Story Right

March 13, 2018 at 6:22 am

"Dilbert" cartoonist Scott Adams has so far turned out to be a more accurate analyst of President Trump's handling of North Korea than many elite commentators whose hatred of Trump blinded them to the possibilities. That's the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax (here) and the New York Sun (here).

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Amazon Bank Postscript

March 9, 2018 at 2:11 pm

A quick follow-up to the post here earlier this week on "Amazon Bank": The New York Times reports:

There are a number of reasons that low-income consumers have been less avid online shoppers, including the fact that many do not have credit cards....Amazon has tried to address some of these obstacles. Amazon Cash, for example, allows people to add money to their Amazon accounts by taking cash to CVS pharmacies, GameStops and other retail locations.

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David Brooks on Revolutions

March 9, 2018 at 2:00 pm

David Brooks writes about what he calls today's "student mobbists":

I'd just ask them to take two courses. The first would be in revolutions — the French, Russian, Chinese and all the other ones that unleashed the passion of the mob in an effort to overthrow oppression — and the way they ALL wound up waist deep in blood.

It's strange that Brooks leaves out the American Revolution, which, while it certainly did entail bloodshed, netted out positively for the world in a way that was substantively different from the three that Brooks does mention. The world "ALL" in all capitals seems to me to neglect that.

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Give Socialism a Try?

March 9, 2018 at 6:09 am

"Why Americans Should Give Socialism a Try" is the headline above a column by Washington Post opinion writer Elizabeth Bruenig.

"It's time to give socialism a try," she writes. "I don't think business-as-usual but better is enough to fix what's broken here. I think the problem lies at the root of the thing, with capitalism itself."

She goes on:

both Sullivan's and Mounk's complaints — that Americans appear to be isolated, viciously competitive, suspicious of one another and spiritually shallow; and that we are anxiously looking for some kind of attachment to something real and profound in an age of decreasing trust and regard — seem to be emblematic of capitalism, which encourages and requires fierce individualism, self-interested disregard for the other, and resentment of arrangements into which one deposits more than he or she withdraws. (As a business-savvy friend once remarked: Nobody gets rich off of bilateral transactions where everybody knows what they're doing.)

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Amazon Bank

March 7, 2018 at 7:44 pm

Amazon's move into the banking business is the topic of an article by Bain & Company consultants Gerard du Toit and Aaron Cheris. They write:

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How Regulation Ruined Peking Duck

March 7, 2018 at 9:38 am

As we've noted here before (and before that, too), sometimes the most informative New York Times coverage of overregulation (not an oxymoron, really) comes in, of all places, the food section.

The latest example comes in a negative Pete Wells review of DaDong, a newly opened New York City outpost of a chain with a reputation as "Beijing's best Peking duck."

Mr. Wells writes, in a review whose headline includes the phrase "lame duck":

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Trump Joins Trial Lawyer Campaign To Make Shareholders Pay for Opioid Crisis

March 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm

President Trump's comment — "hopefully we can do some litigation against the opioid companies" — is the topic of my column this week. Please check it out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Tariff of Abominations

March 2, 2018 at 2:16 pm

For those complaining that Trump's tariffs are a betrayal of Republican free market traditions, it's worth remembering that Senator Reed Smoot of Utah and Rep. Willis Hawley of Oregon were both Republicans. Jay Foraker of Brown Brothers Harriman has a really nice, long-view historical perspective, headlined, "The Cycles of U.S. Trade Policy," available here. It was published December 4, 2017 but is newly timely and relevant right now.

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Tariffs, Congress, and the Constitution

March 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

Senators are complaining about President Trump's decision to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

The New York Times reports:

Republican lawmakers blasted the announcement, underlining how far Mr. Trump has strayed from the party's traditional orthodoxy of embracing free and open markets. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, called tariffs "a tax hike the American people don't need and can't afford."

"Let's be clear: The president is proposing a massive tax increase on American families," said Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska. "You'd expect a policy this bad from a leftist administration, not a supposedly Republican one."

It's one thing to complain. It's another thing to actually do something.

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Harvard's Endowment Returns

March 1, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Bloomberg Businessweek has a grim report on the performance of Harvard's endowment over the past ten years:

Harvard over the past decade posted a 4.4 percent average annual return, among the worst of its peers. It even lagged the simplest approach: Investing in a market-tracking index fund holding 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds, which earned an annual 6.4 percent.

MIT's endowment returned an annualized average 7.6% over the same period, Yale 6.6%, the magazine says. The article doesn't make clear precisely which ten year period it is speaking about.

Harvard's endowment is more than $30 billion, so a percentage point here and there can translate into a lot of financial aid money, faculty salaries, or whatever.

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How Public Schools Teach Values

March 1, 2018 at 2:14 pm

The comment of the day is by reader-watchdog-community member-content co-creator-participant Douglas Levene, remarking on the post here headlined Responsible. Kind. Honest. Respectful. Mr. Levene writes:

It's not true that today's public schools, dominated by leftists, don't try to inculcate virtues into their students. The virtues they teach are not bourgeois virtues, however, like kindness, respect, obedience or cheerfulness. Rather the only virtue taught in public schools today seems to be the leftist virtue of equality. That's the reason for all the "diversity" and "social justice" training — that's the leftist version of civics.

I'm not familiar enough with the public schools to know whether Mr. Levene's assessment is accurate. The comments are open for those who wish to agree or disagree while observing the virtue of "respectful."

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