When Newspaper Folds, City Spending Soars

October 14, 2021 at 9:24 pm

From a long article in the Atlantic bemoaning the decline of local newspapers, with a focus on the Chicago Tribune and its new owners:

When a local newspaper vanishes, research shows, it tends to correspond with lower voter turnout, increased polarization, and a general erosion of civic engagement. Misinformation proliferates. City budgets balloon, along with corruption and dysfunction.

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Trial Penalty

October 12, 2021 at 8:10 am

The "trial penalty" and the associated erosion of the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial are the topics of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason ("The Varsity Blues Trial Is a Reminder of Our Corrupt Criminal Justice System"), Newsmax ("'Varsity Blues' Punishments Corrupt 6th Amendment Rights"), the New York Sun ("'Trial Penalty' Shocks the Constitutional Conscience—and Cries Out for Reform"), and the New Boston Post ("'Varsity Blues' Conviction Highlights Erosion of Sixth Amendment Rights.")

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New York Times Gets Grants After Praise of Ford Foundation

October 6, 2021 at 6:42 am

The New York Times' highly favorable coverage of the Ford Foundation and its president, Darren Walker, was followed by at least two grants by the Ford Foundation supporting the New York Times, which is a for-profit company controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, I report in my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun ("New York Times Might Be One of Ford Foundation's Neediest Cases"), the Algemeiner ("New York Times Tightens Ties With Foundation Known for Anti-Israel Grants"), and Newsmax ("NY Times Lavishes Praise on Ford Foundation Chief, Wins Funding.")

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Mankiw on Biden's Spending Blowout

September 17, 2021 at 6:42 am

Characteristically sensible Greg Mankiw column in the New York Times about the downsides of President Biden's "build back better" spending extravaganza:

Providing a social safety net is like using a leaky bucket to redistribute water among people with different amounts. While bringing water to the thirstiest may be noble, it is also costly as some water is lost in transit.

In the real world, this leakage occurs because higher taxes distort incentives and impede economic growth. And those taxes aren't just the explicit ones that finance benefits such as public education or health care. They also include implicit taxes baked into the benefits themselves. If these benefits decline when your income rises, people are discouraged from working. This implicit tax distorts incentives just as explicit taxes do. That doesn't mean there is no point in trying to help those in need, but it does require being mindful of the downsides of doing so.

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Democrats Try to Hide a $3 Trillion Tax Increase

September 15, 2021 at 7:50 am

No wonder Democrats are so eager to obscure the details of their plans to raise taxes. The president who insisted that the American retreat from Afghanistan was an "extraordinary success" now is going to try to claim that a tax increase on Americans making less than $400,000 is not that. All this is discussed in my latest column. Please read the full column at Reason ("Democrats Try To Hide a $3 Trillion Tax Increase from Voters") and at the New York Sun ("Ways and Means Shock: 'Hold Off on the Pay-fors Until We Are at the Altar'") and at the Las Vegas Review-Journal ("Here's why Democrats kept their tax hike plans secret").

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Is America One Family Under God?

September 15, 2021 at 7:40 am

The Wall Street Journal has published a letter to the editor I wrote in response to a recent column by Joe Lieberman, the former senator from Connecticut. "When both nationalism and the family are under attack, it doesn't help to confuse the two," the subheadline puts it. Special bonus: a mention of Hayek.

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School Choice Is Issue in California Recall

August 31, 2021 at 6:51 am

Larry Elder, the leading Republican candidate in California's recall election, is pressing the school choice issue, I report in a blog post for Education Next under the headline "School Choice Is Issue in California Recall."

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Politico Sale Tells a Tale of Capitalist Dynamism—and Washington Power

August 31, 2021 at 6:47 am

The sale of Politico for a reported $1 billion to the German publishing company Axel Springer is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun under the headline "Day of the Unicorn Comes for Politico."

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The Biden-Soros Paradox

August 24, 2021 at 10:02 pm

Americans seem to want to end wars and bring the troops home, but when they see the actual consequences of doing that, they blame the politicians, I write in my column this week. Please read the full column at the New York Sun: "The Biden-Soros Paradox."

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American Greatness Will Withstand Biden Blunder

August 19, 2021 at 8:11 am

The Kabul debacle in perspective is the topic of my latest New York Sun column, which unearths Biden's view of Reagan's deployment of Marines in Lebanon. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun, where it appears under the headline "American Greatness, History Suggests, Towers Over Our Blunders," or at Newsmax, where the headline is "Strength, Greatness in American Foreign Policy Need Restoration."

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Headline of the Day

August 17, 2021 at 7:56 am

Even the news section of the New York Times is reporting "Biden's Tough Position on Antitrust Could Chill Legitimate Deal-Making." To the hardliners on these issues, "legitimate dealmaking" is an oxymoron, but it is nice to see the New York Times headline writers haven't yielded to that extreme view.

Online, the headline was hedged with attribution as "The Biden administration's tough antitrust stance could chill-dealmaking, some fear." But the "some fear" was absent in my print newspaper.

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A Trump Afghanistan Anecdote

August 15, 2021 at 11:05 am

For some reason the New York Times has a too-long profile of Senator Lindsey Graham on its front page today. It is probably not worth your time, but buried in it was this kernel that seemed relevant to the news of the day:

the senator was one of the few people who could get away with taking on Mr. Trump and his temper.

The most common source of flare-ups was Afghanistan. During one golf outing, the two men got into a screaming match after Mr. Graham said he would rather deal with a bomb killing civilians in Kabul "than in Times Square."

Mr. Trump barked an expletive, shouted, "You guys have been wrong for 20 years," and stomped off, according to a person who witnessed the exchange.

President Biden basically seems to agree with Trump on this one.

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Private Operators Improve Public Housing, New York Times Concedes

August 12, 2021 at 8:09 pm

Even the New York Times can see, with a side-by-side comparison, that a housing project operated by private developers is better than one operated by a government agency. "Public-private partnerships, done properly, vigilantly overseen by city officials, at appropriate sites like Baychester, can work," the Times concedes, though that concession is bracketed by a lot of apologetic breast-beating. A side-by-side comparison of one government-operated project and another operated by "a cohort of private developers — Camber Property Group, MBD Community Housing Corporation and L+M Development Partners"—makes it clear: "Side by side, the two projects make a textbook before-and-after comparison, one derelict, the other refurbished."

Amazing how that works.

My preference would be to have the property fully sold (perhaps even to the tenants, a la Margaret Thatcher and the council flats), but short of that, private operation is at least a step above what even the Times describes as "derelict."

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Harris, Biden Clash on Jobs

August 12, 2021 at 7:30 pm

President Biden wants companies to keep jobs here in the USA and create more of them. Vice President wants companies to invest in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The apparent conflict was the topic of a recent column of mine. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun ("Hello 2024: Biden, Harris Head Off in Opposite Directions on Trade, Jobs") and at Newsmax ("Biden-Harris Can't Send Clear Message on 'Buy American'").

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Donald Kagan on a Liberal Education

August 11, 2021 at 8:11 pm

On news of the death of longtime Yale professor Donald Kagan, Education Next has excerpts of a farewell talk he gave, and Eliana Johnson has a remembrance up at Politico.

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