Boston Eliminates Library Late Fees in Name of Equity

April 15, 2021 at 10:15 pm

From a Boston Public Library press release:

Mayor Kim Janey today announced that, once approved by its Board of Trustees, the Boston Public Library (BPL) will permanently eliminate late fines for patrons of all ages. This removal of late fines is supported by $125,000 of 'revenue relief' in Mayor Janey's 2021 budget and will go into effect on July 1, 2021. The policy change will remove barriers and increase access to BPL resources for patrons across the City of Boston.

"With the BPL Board of Trustees' approval, we look forward to eliminating library late fines and the equity imbalance they can create," said Mayor Janey. "The Boston Public Library provides important resources, programs, and services to our communities. By removing this barrier to access, we are ensuring that these resources are actually accessible to everyone."

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Government Pays Parents to Keep Children Home From School

April 15, 2021 at 12:44 pm

The perverse incentives of the Pandemic EBT program—a family would lose $409 a month by switching three children to in-person from remote instruction—are the topic of an article I wrote for Education Next. Please check out the full article there, headlined, "The Government Is Paying Public School Parents Billions of Dollars to Keep Their Children Home."

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Where's the Boycott of Boston?

April 14, 2021 at 12:12 pm

So long as Major League Baseball is pulling the all-star game out of Georgia to protest voting laws, maybe it should stop playing games in Boston, Massachusetts, too? The city, home of the Red Sox, is sending mail signed by the former mayor—now a Biden administration cabinet member—requiring residents to answer a mailing or risk removal from the voter registration rolls.

It's funny how making it difficult for people to vote only seems to be an issue that people get upset about when it happens in a swing state. In overwhelmingly Democratic cities, City Hall runs the elections pretty much as it pleases, and protests are rare.

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Jamie Dimon 2020 JP Morgan Chase Letter

April 11, 2021 at 11:18 am

Over the weekend I got a chance to catch up with Jamie Dimon's shareholder letter for 2020. There's a lot there, and I don't agree with all of it, but there was a significant amount of good sense, especially the emphasis on economic growth. My favorite nuggets:

Democrats should acknowledge Republicans' legitimate concerns that money sent to Washington often ends up in large wasteful programs, ultimately offering little value to local communities. They could acknowledge that while we need good government, it is not the answer to everything. Democrats could also acknowledge that a healthy fear of a large central government is not irrational (like a Leviathan)....

Capitalism has lifted billions of people out of poverty. Capitalism, and the continuous and free movement of capital and, more important, of human talent, in the pursuit of happiness (the invisible hand of Adam Smith), creates a continuous exchange of information and ideas – and constant innovation. ...

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Baseball Wokeness and Boston Latin School Admissions

April 9, 2021 at 8:55 am

"The Red Sox Speak Up for Racial Engineering in Boston Schools" is the headline over my column in today's Wall Street Journal. I have been following the situation for Education Next, where I wrote about it in an article headlined, "Red Sox, Celtics Back 'Zip Code Quota' Plan for Boston Exam Schools."

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Race-Based Tax Bills

April 9, 2021 at 8:43 am

Reparations for slavery delivered via a credit on the IRS Form 1040 are the topic of my column this week. Please check out the column at Newsmax ("After Race-Based Vaccine Access, Expect Race-Based Tax Bills") and at the New York Sun ("Could Tax Code Be Used to Make U.S. Reparations?"). The Sun version was also picked up at RealClearMarkets: ("Are Race-Based Tax Rates the Next Step in Taxation?")

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Biden's Big Tax Increase

March 29, 2021 at 10:18 pm

Even the New York Times is now describing President Biden's plan as "the largest federal tax increase since 1942." It's the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason ("Here's How Biden's Proposed Tax Increases Will Affect You"), Newsmax ("Joe Biden Is Demanding Higher Taxes...Will the Cycle Ever End?"), and the New York Sun ("Now They Tell Us: Biden Readies Radical Tax Hikes.")

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Great GOP Hope Attacks "Corporate Media," Silicon Valley Successes

March 26, 2021 at 4:25 pm

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun ("DeSantis Using Socialist Lingo To Attack Press") and at Newsmax ("As DeSantis Eyes 2024 He Should Drop Socialist Lingo.")

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Expanded, Refundable Child Tax Credit

March 17, 2021 at 7:38 pm

Before spending a trillion dollars over ten years to make permanent the expanded, refundable child tax credit, how about seeing how it works in year one, or in smaller scale experiments? Please check out my full column on this topic at the New York Sun ("What Fate Awaits Biden's One-Year Child Tax Credit?"), at Newsmax ("Will the Child Tax Credit Really Help America's Children?") and at Reason ("Bipartisan Support of Child Tax Credits Is Too Hasty.")

And by the way—might the influx of families at the Southern border have something to do with the news that the U.S. Government will be showering sums of money on those with children?

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Get Ready For the Biden Baby Boom

March 11, 2021 at 8:56 am

The increase in the child tax credit, and its expected effects, are the topic of my latest column. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Get Ready for the Biden Baby Boom") and at the New York Sun ("Ready, Get Set for Biden Baby Boom, Begat by Congress.")

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Conservatives Against Free Markets

March 8, 2021 at 8:52 am

From a New York Times profile of Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri with degrees from Stanford and Yale:

Mr. Hawley sharpened his thinking in conversations with his adviser, Dr. Kennedy. Americans, Mr. Hawley argued, were suffering a crisis of "loneliness," prisoners of a culture of individualism unmoored from any shared sense of purpose. Hastening this plight, in his view, was the American right's devotion to the free market.

Dr. Kennedy was somewhat surprised to learn years later that his advisee was evangelical; for him, Mr. Hawley's ideological instincts had called to mind "Rerum Novarum," the encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 condemning unfettered capitalism and endorsing measures like trade unionism as means of reinforcing the dignity of the working class.

...His rejection of Republican economic orthodoxy was well documented, but he convinced libertarian-minded conservatives like Mr. Humphreys and David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, of his devotion to the free market.

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Rattner on the Inflation Threat and the Waste in the Stimulus Bill

March 7, 2021 at 10:21 am

A good column by former Obama administration official Steve Rattner. He concludes "Wasting precious dollars that could be better spent can't possibly be worth the risk of igniting high inflation again." Rattner writes:

the measure's spending far exceeds the extent of the shortfall in economic output caused by the pandemic....

The $510 billion in aid to states and localities (including for education) should also be dramatically reduced; the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget recently explained how Moody's Analytics estimates only "an additional $86 billion of aid is needed to cover revenue losses."...

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Latino Republicans

March 7, 2021 at 9:55 am

Interesting reporting in a front-page New York Times news article that interviews dozens of Latino men about why they vote Republican:

Like any voter, these men are also driven by their opinions on a variety of issues: Many mention their anti-abortion views, support for gun rights and strict immigration policies. They have watched their friends and relatives go to western Texas to work the oil fields, and worry that new environmental regulations will wipe out the industry there. Still, most say their favorable view of Republicans stems from economic concerns, a desire for low taxes and few regulations. They say they want to support the party they believe will allow them to work and become wealthy....

Sergio Arellano of Phoenix, Ariz., said he had a story he liked to tell about the moment he registered as a Republican. When he was an 18-year-old Army infantryman on home leave, he went to a July 4 event and spotted the voter registration table. He asked the woman sitting there: What's the difference between Republicans and Democrats?

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Vaccination Statistics Make Case for Brexit, Nationalism

March 3, 2021 at 6:57 pm

Britain's outperforming the European Union in vaccinating its population is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun ("Brexit Britain Besting Europe on Covid Vaxxes") and Newsmax ("Vaccination Statistics Make Case for Nationalism, Brexit.")

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Fred Segal

March 1, 2021 at 8:17 am

From the New York Times obituary of California clothier Fred Segal:

Mr. Segal credited his early success to his ability to be honest with customers.

"I learned at a very young age that the area of no competition is in integrity," Mr. Segal told Haute Living. "When I was selling in my store to my customers and they came in wanting to buy this or that, if they put an outfit on and they asked me for my advice, part of the time I'd say, 'Take that off, don't even buy that, that would be ridiculous, you don't even look good in that.' That's really deep honesty. You don't find that in business, you know?"

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