Capitalism Emerges As Issue in 2018 Battle For Congress

July 19, 2018 at 6:02 am

The Democratic Party, hoping to retake control of the House of Representatives from Republicans, is fielding a number of candidates who openly question capitalism.

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Goldsmith on Russia

July 18, 2018 at 2:10 pm

The Henry Shattuck professor of law at Harvard, Jack Goldsmith, has a non-conventional and in my view pretty interesting take on the Russia-election-meddling situation. If you have any interest in that situation, it may be worth your time to have a look.

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The Expert-Base Gap

July 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

The searches for new leaders at the Manhattan Institute and the American Enterprise Institute are the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax (here).

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'Capitalism Has Failed Us,' NYT Reviewer Claims

July 13, 2018 at 10:08 am

The cover of this coming Sunday's New York Times Book Review carries a review by Emily Cooke of Alissa Quart's book Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America. From the Times review:

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The Feds Crack Down On Food Trucks

July 12, 2018 at 1:26 pm

One of my favorite places to eat here in Boston is the quick-service restaurant chain Clover, which also operated a bunch of food trucks before deciding to focus on its non-mobile locations. The company's founder, Harvard MBA Ayr Muir, has an excellent blog post explaining his side of being subject to a multi-year investigation by the federal Department of Labor, and then being blindsided by a Department of Labor press release announcing a settlement. From the blog post:

So what's up with this DOL press release about Clover? The quick answer is that the DOL decided after a multi-year investigation that our food truck General Managers should be paid as hourly employees and cannot be considered salaried employees. I don't know whether they are applying this to all food truck companies in Boston or just Clover. We didn't know this standard, and it seems sort of arbitrary to me. Read on for more detail.

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Vote Where It Counts

July 11, 2018 at 11:27 am

There's a website/movement devoted to encouraging New York City residents to "vote from your second home."

I'm all for people voting and, if the law permits, as it apparently does in New York, people to choose where to vote, for sure let them choose where they think their vote will be most worthwhile. However, I've seen at least some references to this in the context of the drive to flip Congress to Democrat from Republican.

There it starts to get interesting, or at least ironic, as one of the frequently heard complaints (accurate or not) against Congressional Republicans is that they are cutting services to the poor to pay for tax cuts to the rich, and one of the complaints (accurate or not) against Democrats is that they are a bunch of urban limousine liberals with contempt for rural Americans. The idea that urban dwellers wealthy enough to afford vacation homes should use their political power to dilute that of rural Americans who aren't lucky enough to have a choice of homes from which to vote seems like it treads awfully close to non-egalitarian means to achieve (allegedly) egalitarian ends.

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'Sovereign Immunity' Is Shield of Cyberattackers

July 10, 2018 at 11:46 am

The Democratic National Committee's lawsuit against Russia and Elliott Broidy's lawsuit against Qatar both raise the issue of whether the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act protects foreign governments from being sued for hacking into the email of Americans. My column this week reports on the situation. Please check the full column out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Who Killed the Center-Left?

July 6, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Matthew Continetti asks that question in his Washington Free Beacon column, suggesting that perhaps it was a victim of its own success: "The fantastic wealth produced by the global marketplace enriched the center-left to such a degree that its adherents became walled off from the material, social, and cultural concerns of the working people they professed to represent. And so middle-class workers who believe a country's leadership ought to be accountable to a country's citizens went elsewhere."

We may yet find that reports of the center-left's demise are greatly exaggerated — in fact, it's flourishing here in New England in the persons of Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Remember, Hillary Clinton defeated socialist Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, notwithstanding his attacks on her Goldman Sachs speaking fees. On the other hand, she and some of her Brooklyn campaign advisers may have been examples of precisely the "walled off" phenomenon that Mr. Continetti is describing.

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Sign of the Times

July 5, 2018 at 1:53 pm

The Brian Lehrer show of New York Public Radio's WNYC tweets, "For WNYC listeners under 40. How do you feel about socialism? On a scale of 1 to 10, are you a capitalist or socialist? Call us...," explaining, "Our question about young people & socialism is also inspired by @Ocasio2018 who won and ran her Democratic primary campaign as a Democratic-Socialist."

Somehow whenever we think it might be time to move on from the "FutureOfCapitalism" discussion, the question having been decisively resolved in favor of capitalism, the socialists manage to come along and find a way to restart the debate. Hillary Clinton has said being a capitalist probably hurt her in the Iowa Caucuses in 2016, estimating that 41% of Democrats were socialists or self-described socialists.

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Krugman on Trade

July 3, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Nobel laureate New York Times columnist Paul Krugman — who, according to the website SeethroughNY.net of the indispensable Empire Center earned $265,009 from the state of New York in 2017 on top of whatever he was paid by the Times — writes about Trump and trade:

In one way, Donald Trump's attack on our foreign trade partners resembles his attack on immigrants: in each case, the attack is framed as a response to evildoing that exists only in his imagination. No, there isn't a wave of violent crime by immigrants, and MS-13 isn't taking over American towns; no, the European Union doesn't have "horrific" tariffs on U.S. products (the average tariff is only 3 percent).

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Independence Day Issues Bedevil Trump As They Did George III

July 2, 2018 at 4:43 pm

The Declaration of Independence offers a guide to the issues in today's headlines, I write in my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here). And an early happy July 4 to the entire FutureOfCapitalism community.

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The Supreme Court and the Wealthy

June 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm

A front page New York Times "news analysis" about Justice Kennedy's decision to step down from the Supreme Court includes these passages (emphasis added by me):

Nan Aron, the president of the liberal Alliance for Justice, said that Justice Gorsuch's record on the court makes clear that putting another justice in his mold into Justice Kennedy's seat represents a drastic threat.

"The danger is that the Supreme Court, at the behest of this president, will favor the wealthy and powerful and extremist groups at the expense of everyone else — not just for President Trump's term, but for decades to come," she said....

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How Regulation Eliminated Your Waiter

June 27, 2018 at 10:39 am

A recurring theme around here ("How The Minimum Wage Ruined Dessert," "How Regulation Ruined Peking Duck," "Wine Store Regulations," "Ramen and Bagels" ) is that the dining section of the New York Times offers a more clear-eyed view of the costs of government regulations than does the rest of the newspaper. The latest example is a Times dispatch from San Francisco, reporting on restaurants that have gotten rid of waiters and waitresses in favor of having customers pour their own water and carry their own food to their tables:

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A Wise Decision from Judge Ellis

June 26, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Critics of special counsels and of independent prosecutors will savor the decision by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III of the Eastern District of Virginia. Here is a link to the pdf. What I particularly enjoyed about it were the collection of sources on the problems with such prosecutors and the summary of the problems. I also enjoyed the judge's opinion that the constitutionality of Mueller's appointment basically depends on the attorney general's ability to fire him. If the attorney general can't fire him, then he isn't an "inferior officer" under the appointments clause of the Constitution. Anyway, read the whole thing, if you are interested in Mueller, in Ken Starr, in Lawrence Walsh, or in the Constitution.

Some highlights:

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NYT Stock Outperforms Apple, Facebook, Amazon Amid 'Trump Bump'

June 25, 2018 at 9:16 pm

New York Times Co. shares — up 141% from Election Day 2016 to last Friday — are the topic of my column this week. Please check the full column out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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