Ken Frydman on Rudy Giuliani

October 10, 2019 at 11:42 pm

Ken Frydman, a former aide to Rudy Giuliani, is one of my favorite public relations men in New York and has always been a total mensch in my dealings with him. But a passage in his recent New York Times opinion piece made me chuckle:

Rudy was a pizza and Diet Coke guy when I met him in 1992. But he became an Upper East Side and Hamptons socialite and, worse yet, a Palm Beach neighbor of Donald Trump.

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WeWork

October 10, 2019 at 10:55 pm

Office space provider WeWork — motto: "Do what you love" — is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Worcester Affordable Housing

October 6, 2019 at 2:55 pm

For a bad-news perspective on the long-awaited downtown revitalization of Worcester, Mass., check out a recent piece from WGBH, a Boston-based NPR affiliate.

"Many are anxious about the affordability of housing for low-income residents," WGBH reports, quoting one advocate who warns, "we're in danger of gentrification."

The view that gentrification might not be a "danger" but a rather a blessing after years of deterioration, poverty, and decline is hard to detect in the article. The article has lots of claims about relative increases: "Over the past decade in Worcester, the median price of two and three-family homes has more than doubled, and the median price of a single-family home has increased around 40 percent." No mention that the past decade started in the midst of the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression, one that hit real estate finance particularly hard.

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'Dynamic Free Market Capitalism'

October 3, 2019 at 11:41 pm

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's October 2 speech to the Conservative Party conference is worth a read, or a watch:

it is we Conservatives too who will solve the problem of social care and end the injustice that means so many people have to sell their home to pay for their old age and if you ask me how we are going to do it, how are we going to pay for it all, how we are going to grow the UK economy I will tell you that it is by raising the productivity of the whole of the UK.

Not with socialism, not with deranged and ruinous plans borrowed from the playbook of Bolivarian revolutionary Venezuela, but by creating the economic platform for dynamic free market capitalism.

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Biden Vows Not To Use Taxes as 'Punishment' of Rich

October 1, 2019 at 8:03 pm

Joe Biden's little-noticed "no punishment" promise to wealthy donors offers a sharp contrast to the the wealth tax and exit tax proposed by Senators Sanders and Warren. That may have constitutional significance if a court ever has to decide whether a Warren wealth tax is really a tax or an unconstitutional punishment of the sort forbidden by the Constitution's bill of attainder clause. It's all the subject of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Ban Public Schools

September 27, 2019 at 7:46 am

The best defense against recent proposals to ban private schools is a good offense, I write at Education Next. Please check out the full column here. There's even a Warren Buffett angle.

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Another FARA Case Loss For Federal Prosecutors

September 25, 2019 at 6:02 am

A federal judge in Virginia, Anthony Trenga, has issued a ruling acquitting Bijan Rafiekian, who was convicted on July 23, 2019 after a jury trial on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Turkey.

Rafiekian, the memorandum opinion says, "was the Vice-Chairman, Director, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Flynn Intel Group," which he cofounded with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was eventually named President Trump's national security adviser.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act was passed in 1938 amid anxiety about German influence as World War II loomed. I've suggested that perhaps it's time for Congress to revisit the law with an eye toward narrowing its scope or even repealing it altogether. Federal prosecutors went after lawyer Greg Craig on similar charges and met a similar result.

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Return of the Reichsfluchtsteuer

September 25, 2019 at 5:37 am

Democratic "exit tax" proposals in 2012 (Charles Schumer) and 2015 (Hillary Clinton) had me remembering the Reichsfluchtsteuer, the 25% tax that the Nazis imposed on Jews trying to flee Germany in the 1930s.

Now the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who back a "wealth tax" — Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders — are also both backing Reichsfluchtsteuer-style proposals. "Sanders' wealth tax plan includes a steep 'Exit Tax' similar to that proposed by ewarren," an economic policy reporter at the Washington Post, Jeff Stein, tweeted yesterday.

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'States' Rights' Is Cry of the Democrats

September 24, 2019 at 8:28 pm

California, Massachusetts, and other states have filed a federal lawsuit arguing that states have the right to set their own auto emissions standards regardless of what Washington says. The clash is the topic of my column this week: "This is amusingly satisfying in so many ways that it's hard to know exactly where to start, but perhaps the best place is with an 'I told you so.'" Please check out the full column at Reason (here), Newsmax (here), and the New York Sun (here).

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The Biden-Trump Foreign Policy

September 17, 2019 at 9:14 pm

Maybe Trump should offer Joe Biden the job of national security adviser, I suggest in my column this week. It would draw attention to Biden's flip-flops over the years on foreign policy issues. Please check out the full column at Newsmax (here) or the New York Sun (here).

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Trump's China Tariffs

September 13, 2019 at 8:36 am

Trade with China is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here) and Newsmax (here).

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Carl Icahn To Florida

September 13, 2019 at 7:57 am

"Billionaire Carl Icahn is planning to move his home and business to Florida to avoid New York's higher taxes, according to people familiar with the matter," Bloomberg News reports.

FutureOfCapitalism earlier covered Paul Tudor Jones to Florida (2017, from Connecticut), Leon Cooperman's move to Florida (reported in 2016, from N.J. or N.Y.), and David Tepper's move to Florida (reported in 2016, from New Jersey). And a 2017 post was headlined "Florida Financial Boom."

As I concluded the dispatch about Tepper's move:

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The Greg Craig Acquittal

September 4, 2019 at 9:56 pm

Back in April I wrote about the federal criminal charges facing President Obama's White House counsel, Greg Craig, and concluded:

The more you get into it...the more it looks like a story about overly zealous prosecutors and FBI agents, and laws drafted in ways that allow such prosecutors and FBI agents enormous discretion to depict routine, non-criminal activities as somehow sinister. It's the sort of thing that Mr. Trump, in other contexts, has described as a witch hunt or a perjury trap.

Sure enough, Craig was acquitted today by a federal jury on the one count remaining after a federal judge threw out the other count.

Josh Gerstein reports for Politico:

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Judge Steven Menashi

September 4, 2019 at 9:36 pm

The responsible press coverage so far of President Trump's nomination of Steven Menashi to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has focused, understandably, on debunking the absurd, outrageous, and false claims that he is somehow a racist by virtue of having defended Israel in a 2010 law review article. For some fine examples, see the August 16 National Review article "Rachel Maddow's Racial Smear of Second Circuit Nominee Steven Menashi," the August 25 Wall Street Journal editorial "Smearing Steven Menashi," and the September 4 New York Times column by Ross Douthat, "Four Things That Are Not White Nationalism."

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The Socialist Scenario

September 3, 2019 at 9:40 pm

The risk that Senator Warren and Senator Sanders could somehow team up to defeat Vice President Biden and put a socialist agenda in the Oval Office is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason (here), Newsmax (here), and the New York Sun (here).

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