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Just when you thought President Obama was going to go gently into an end-of-second term good night, he wants to stick another item on the tab. Actually, it’ll be your tab.
If he gets his way, then taxpayers could be on the hook for an additional $43 billion. That’s a sum that even this spendthrift government says is “significant.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Department of Education (DOE) wants to allow current and former students to sue their school or college even if there is no evidence of intent to defraud or mislead.
It’s a provision that goes way beyond current protections.
Bad…

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Friday’s scary 611.21-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average was not what it seems. Although it was a political earthquake, the British electorate’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) had only a minor impact on the real value of U.S. equities. Here’s why.The Dow is a price, and every price is the ratio between the real market value of the item in question and the real market value of the dollar. Looked at from this point of view, at least 78% of Friday’s decline in the Dow was caused by the failure of the Federal Reserve to do its basic job, which is to keep the dollar stable…

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What is the real economic impact of national party conventions? For every Presidential election cycle cities woo the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee to bring their quadrennial confabs (and dollars) to town. But do the promises hold true?
We will find out when the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) rolls into Philadelphia next month. This convention promises to be an even larger revenue producer since the Republican National Convention in 2000, with an economic multiplier effect five times greater - and providing a much larger economic punch than last…

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The original Magna Carta was a charter agreed to by King John of England in 1215. It just celebrated its 801st anniversary. So no, I wasn’t there. But that charter has become part of an important, iconic, political myth that the deal between an unpopular king and rebellious barons marked the beginning of individual English freedoms, personal liberties, and due-process protection of individuals under the law. Magna Carta has also been cited as providing the essential foundation for the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles such as habeas corpus. That’s the mythology, and it’s…

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The FCC’s dramatic 2015 pivot on Internet regulation sought to envelope advanced broadband networks in the shroud of telephone company rules rolled out in the Mann Elkins Act of 1910. These historic common carriage “Title II” regulations - originally the province of the Interstate Commerce Commission, long ago antiquated and finally abolished in 1995 — were cited as exemplars by the Commission in last year’s Open Internet Order. The Commission justified its regime switch on the grounds that it would protect the “virtuous cycle” of technological innovation and network growth that has…

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Janet Yellen has been doing a lot of talking lately, with more and more attention paid to the words she says and the contexts in which she delivers them. Maybe, then, it just seems as if the Fed Chair is speaking more, since it may be just as likely that she isn’t doing anything different and that it is us who have changed. The fact that the FOMC has failed to follow through but for that one time in December is very likely the cause. Two years ago, Yellen spoke a lot of words but they were familiar, unnoticeable noise drowning in a sea of almost exactly the same phrases and sentiment….

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You can add health care to the causes of growing wage inequality in America. There’s a largely unknown paradox at work. Companies that try to provide roughly equal health insurance plans for their workers, as many do, end up making wage and salary inequality worse. A new economic study shows how this perverse bargain works.
It’s simple arithmetic, writes Mark Warshawsky of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, author of the study. Paying for expensive health insurance squeezes what’s left for wage and salary raises. Economic inequality increases, because health insurance typically…

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Regular readers know that I produce a list each December of 15 “surprises” for the coming year, which I define as “possible improbable events.”
One of this year’s surprises has recently come true:
“Surprise No. 10: It’s Hillary vs. The Donald
Despite his rude and crude campaign, Donald Trump [comes out] ahead of all of his Republican competitors.
He takes on Democrat Hillary Clinton, and their first televised debate attracts nearly 100 million viewers. Given the world’s chaotic landscape, the November election is much closer than expected, but Clinton beats Trump 293 electoral votes to…

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During World War I England’s Royal Navy imposed a blockade on Germany in hopes of frustrating trade between its enemy and the U.S. U.S. exports to Germany subsequently plummeted, but out of nowhere they soared to Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. Trade between the U.S. and Germany continued; albeit via the Scandinavian countries.
Fast forward to the 1970s, and the non-Arab OPEC countries imposed an oil “embargo” on the United States. Oil spiked for unrelated reasons (commodities were then, and are now priced in dollars, and the dollar was in freefall), but imports of oil into the…

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On Friday, June 17, federal prosecutors made the unusual decision to suddenly drop a drug prosecution after a week of trial, some two years after indictment. The judge in the case, Charles R. Breyer, had expressed skepticism, calling it a “novel prosecution.” And indeed it was: the defendant in the trial was not an individual but the delivery company FedEx-though the government invoked some of the same statutes it’s used to go after the Mexican kingpin “El Chapo.”
Federal prosecutors had accused the package-delivery company of delivering packages that contained pharmaceuticals illegally…

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With roughly 8.4 million inhabitants, Switzerland has the world’s 97th largest population. Of the world’s total population, the Swiss account for 0.11 percent.
Despite its rather light demographic footprint, and allowing for the fact that GDP is a very inaccurate measurement of anything, Switzerland’s economy is the world’s 20th largest. In an economic sense, its citizens punch well above their weight.
Even more interesting is that while the country’s population is once again a microscopic fraction of the world’s total, according to the Wall Street Journal the Swiss franc “is the fifth most…

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WASHINGTON — We Americans have a confused and contradictory relationship with vacation. In theory; we love it; in practice, we often dread it. So much expectation is heaped on a few weeks of free time that disappointment, if not inevitable, is common. Worse, our escape from the job and daily routine fills us with anxiety that, somehow, this interlude will inflict a gruesome revenge once we return to work.
Nevertheless, we go forth.
We hustle to beaches, mountains, national parks, theme parks, unfamiliar cities or (best yet!) the backyard. The democratization of recreation is one of the 20th…

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Kansas City Fed President Esther George has taken up the argument where former Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher left off. Both are ardent inflationists and have not been shy saying so. Prior to this latest June FOMC meeting, George has taken to becoming the policy dissident, voting against the consensus “dovishness” time and again. At the April policy gathering, George was the lone dissenter against holding interest rates steady, same as she was in the middle of March. Curiously, however, there were no recalcitrant votes in January amidst the biting crush of “global turmoil”; not even…

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Famed investor Wilbur Ross recently told CNBC that “Trump represents a more radical new approach to government that the nation’s economy desperately needs.” He’s right. Trump seeks an overthrow of the establishment. He’s a disrupter. Just what we need to fix the economy.
The situation is that desperate.
The last 15 years of economic policy, especially the last eight years, represent a relapse that harks back to the 1970s. Now like then, we have a high-tax, high-spend, high-regulation, Fed-pump-priming, standard-less dollar-manipulation policy mix. In general, it’s a government-planning…

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In his May Revise of the state’s budget, California Governor Jerry Brown included an interesting trailer bill policy item - streamlining the housing development approval process for projects that included a certain percentage of low-income units. Despite the state grappling with a growing housing affordability crisis, the policy proposal immediately drew a cold reception from legislators, “not-in-my-backyard” (NIMBY) groups, unions, and environmentalists. However, while not perfect, Brown’s “as-of-right” reform is an important first step to correcting the state’s most pressing policy…

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