Minimum Wage Increase, Tariffs Force a Newspaper Out Of Print

July 27, 2018 at 7:11 am

The NPR and WBUR program "Here and Now" has an interview with the publisher of the Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colo., Jay Seaton, explaining why his newspaper is retreating to publishing in print five days a week instead of seven.

Part of the issue, Mr. Seaton said, was increased paper prices related to President Trump's tariffs on imported newsprint.

Another problem, he said, was statewide minimum wage legislation that imposed the same uniform minimum wage in Grand Junction as in more urban, high-cost Denver. The minimum wage in Colorado is now $10.20 an hour, and it will increase to $12 an hour in 2020.

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Walsh's Wisdom

July 26, 2018 at 12:10 pm

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh — a somewhat rare example these days of a Democrat who can connect well with Trump voters, or at least with blue collar, non-college-educated white guys — suggests that Democrats seeking a presidential candidate in 2020 maybe look in a different direction than Elizabeth Warren. Politico reports:

Looking ahead to 2020, he talks up fellow mayors Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans, though he said the first name that comes to mind as a candidate who can take on Trump is the man Walsh invited to swear him in for his second term as mayor: "Joe Biden gets it."

Further: "he won't take a swing at [Republican] Gov. Charlie Baker, whose popularity and election chances remain extremely high."

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Capitalism Is Blamed For Daily News Layoffs

July 26, 2018 at 11:40 am

At Deadspin, a sports website that is a subsidiary of a subsidiary of Univision Communications, a writer named Albert Burneko blames capitalism for the layoffs of half of the editorial staff at the New York Daily News:

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How Walmart Motivates Workers

July 24, 2018 at 11:28 am

The Walmart in Ware, Mass. has a sign telling employees — Walmart calls them "associates" — what the Walmart stock price is.

"Today's stock quote...tomorrow depends on you," the sign says.

Walmart's stock performance over the past 20 years has been nothing spectacular, which may tell something about the limits of both motivational signs and in-store associate performance in the face of broader economic trends and competition. Or it may just say that after a period of spectacular growth, some leveling off was inevitable.

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Elizabeth Warren 2020?

July 24, 2018 at 7:37 am

Senator Elizabeth Warren's message and her presidential prospects are the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

Elsewhere, Senator Warren insists to CNBC's John Harwood, " I am a capitalist. Come on. I believe in markets."

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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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