March 20, 2019

Money

"America’s now trendy socialists mistake accretion for creation when it comes to wealth. This error of convenience serves as self-justification for the left’s policies, by simply assuming wealth will inevitably result...

"We have tied work closely to our overall life satisfaction — indeed, to our very identities. It isn’t surprising, then, that our jobs are letting us down."

"Ride hailing is going public. According to Reuters, both Uber and Lyft are on course for an initial public offering this year. Lyft will probably debut later this month. Uber is readying the paperwork..."

"What made millennials the way they are? Why are they so burned out? Why are they having fewer kids? Why are they getting married later? Why are they obsessed with efficiency and technology?"

"The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) might have your money. The tax agency has announced that more than $1.4 billion in outstanding refunds remain unclaimed from 2015. Yes, billion."

“For a decade now, the people whose job it is to predict the economy’s performance have made the same mistake, again and again and again. They have been too optimistic.

The pattern started during the 2007-09 financial crisis, of course. But it didn’t end there. In the immediate aftermath, the Federal Reserve was too quick to see “green shoots” sprouting across the economy. And in the years since, forecasters at both the Fed and in the private sector have repeatedly made forecasts that turned out to be too sunny.

I was inspired to dig into these forecasts — and the errors in them — after reading a new academic paper last week, by Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury secretary, and Lukasz Rachel, of the Bank of England. That paper is part of Summers’s continuing argument that the economy is suffering from something called “secular stagnation.” The economy isn’t simply enduring a slow recovery from the crisis. Its problems are deeper, as I lay out in the column.”

"From a retired couple who lived in a tent to a young woman who got divorced, we talked to people about how they stopped the debt spiral."

"If such a thing as American exceptionalism remains, maybe it can be found in this: most Americans still pay their income taxes every year..."

"It’s the empirically verifiable conclusion from the 20th century’s bitter contest between capitalist and socialist states. It’s not a race we should have to run twice."

"So, just how expensive is it? Despite the fact childbirth is one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions in the U.S., it can be difficult for an individual to estimate how much she might end up paying to deliver a baby."

"In 2008 the U.S. economy was collapsing, but I myself was experiencing a brief and temporary period of financial abundance, the first and only time like this I have ever known."

"Tipping is confusing, and paradoxical. We tip some people who provide services but not others who work just as hard for just as little pay."

"Democrats are avoiding questions about how to pay for Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. The answer is quite simple... Polling has shown that raising taxes on the wealthy is popular with a majority of voters."

"Conservatives need to start talking about the rich as ‘fountainheads’ and ‘Atlases,’ individuals who are indispensable to wealth creation and general prosperity."

"“It’s not that children make you unhappy,” Blanchflower told me. “It’s the fact that they bring lots of expenses and difficulties. You have to buy the milk and the diapers. And that financial pressure gets muddled up with this.”"

"I for one believe that commercial drivers licenses are a necessary thing. Ditto the restrictions that we rightly impose upon the ability of any lunatic to declare himself a dentist and start drilling away with the Crafstman in his garage. But hair?"

"Since 1980, the incomes of the very rich have grown faster than the economy. The upper middle class has kept pace with the economy, while the middle class and poor have fallen behind."

"It was just one branch of one company in one city, but Amazon’s cancellation of its planned New York office has cities and companies all over the country rethinking their plans."

"The super-rich are always looking for ways to decrease the amount of taxes they have to pay. But what are the things they do to ease their burden? Experts break down 5 common strategies that help save their clients money."

"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."

"For a decade, the oligarchs of Silicon Valley and Puget Sound worked overtime to win over progressives. For the most part, they enthusiastically back the Left on its immigration, environmental, gender, and racial agendas."

"Progress in technological innovation, reducing poverty, and increasing life expectancy around the world continues to increase. Yet there is also persistent poverty in poor and fragile states..."

"In talmudic tort law.. the responsible party must transfer to the plaintiff an area of his best land of equivalent value- rather than a larger area of low-quality land. From the standpoint of classical economics, such a requirement is nonsensical."

"Yes, we’re all overwhelmed with email. One recent survey suggested that the average American’s inbox has 199 unread messages. But volume isn’t an excuse for not replying."

"In his State of the Union address last week, President Trump vowed the country can make its middle class “bigger and more prosperous than ever before.”"

"S’well’s success is impressive, but the brand has a host of competitors nipping at its heels in what has become an enormous market for high-end, reusable beverage containers."

"Millions of Americans filling out their 2018 taxes will probably be surprised to learn that their refunds will be less than expected or that they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service after years of receiving refunds."

"Smartphones often tether us to our jobs even when we're not at the office, making it hard to disconnect and find the balance between work and personal time."

"layoffs in the sense we mean now — when a business decides to terminate the employment of workers in the name of strategic planning... are a relatively recent phenomenon."

"Your office is a den of thieves. Don’t take my word for it: When a forensic-accounting firm surveyed workers in 2013, 52 percent admitted to stealing company property. And the thievery is getting worse."

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"On a recent visit to Fiji I was able to confirm that the majestic islands of the South Pacific remain as close to paradise as one can get in this world. But alongside the sparkling crystal waters... I saw something darker at work in the region..."

"The American legal system pretends to marble-and-mahogany majesty, but is in fact often a rickety, underfunded contraption, run by overworked mortals who are sometimes incompetent and sometimes actually ill-intentioned."

"For generations, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been portrayed as the key to making regional peace. Proponents of this concept have claimed that a solution of the protracted conflict would pave the way to Middle East peace..."

"20 years ago, if you saw something on TV that offended you and you wanted to let someone know, you would’ve had to get a pen and paper and write, “Dear BBC, I’m bothered.” But you didn’t do it because it was too much trouble."

"America’s now trendy socialists mistake accretion for creation when it comes to wealth. This error of convenience serves as self-justification for the left’s policies, by simply assuming wealth will inevitably result...

"What would happen if you put together a group of diverse people to produce information? What would the results look like? Evans knew just the place to conduct the experiment: Wikipedia."

"Nowadays, the Men’s Rights movement runs the gamut from incels to red pillers, but in the 1970s, men's libbers looked something like… feminists?"

" I’ve just finished Vicky Ward’s “Kushner, Inc.,” a scintillating investigation of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s White House sojourn, which comes out on Tuesday."

"The most obvious and glaring problem with Workin’ Moms is the privilege of its main characters, which is blinding, exhausting, and all-encompassing."

"Have you ever eaten wasabi? If you answered “yes” to that question, you are likely mistaken. Most sushi eaters—even in Japan—are actually being served a mixture of ground horseradish and green food coloring..."

"DNA identification has gone mainstream—from the elite labs of “CSI” to your living room. When it first appeared over 30 years ago, it was an arcane technique. Now it’s woven into the fabric of everyday life..."

"According to our Sages, Purim signifies a significant change in the attitude of the Jewish people towards how we encounter God. This shift is analogous to changes in our own time."