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Posts published in “Guest”

A Conservative Billionaire’s Unrestricted Gift to Harvard

The Supreme Court struck a symbolic blow to Harvard University this June by declaring its racial admissions preferences illegal. It remains to be seen what stratagems Harvard will use to try to continue engineering racial diversity. One thing is certain, however: the university will pay no price in reputation or in philanthropic support for the Court’s rebuke.

To understand just how confident Harvard can be in its irresistible appeal to donors, consider one of its recent windfalls. In April 2023, hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin bestowed $300 million on the university, close to the largest single donation in the institution’s history.

Griffin’s cumulative giving to the school now totals over $500 million, spread between the education, law, and business schools, as well as other entities. In exchange for this latest gift, Harvard renamed its graduate division the Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Business as usual, you may think; another billionaire plowing treasure into an institution whose values are, at best, in tension with American traditions and, at worst, antithetical to them. But Griffin is a conservative.

Read in City Journal

Read excerpt in The Wall Street Journal

Read here on The Red Line

Harvard Discriminates Against Middle-Class Kids

Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard exposed how Ivy League admissions favored not only blacks and Hispanics but also the children of affluent alumni and donors at the expense of others—especially Asian-Americans.

Three economists found that for high-school graduates between 2010-15, a legacy or a child of a donor or faculty who ranked in the top 20% of his high-school class was four to six times as likely to be admitted as other students with similar qualifications.

Harvard claims its legacy preferences serve a “community-building function” and that scrapping the practice might jeopardize alumni “generous financial support.”

Read in The Wall Street Journal

Read here on The Red Line

Debt Isn’t a Crisis

The other day Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the refusal by Republicans in Congress to raise the debt ceiling would cause a “constitutional crisis” that might cripple the economy and financial system as the government ran out of money and defaulted on some of its bonds.

May 17, 2023 - Scroll down for second part of two-part column

Nonsense. Because it retains the power of money creation, the federal government can never run out of money. It can create money to infinity. The government prefers not to create money so frankly, since it might be inflationary, but the government has the power.

Read in Journal Inquirer - 2nd of two-part column

Read here on The Red Line

Republicans Are Right to Demand a ‘Dirty’ Debt Limit Bill

President Biden portrays House Republicans as hostage-takers for demanding that deficit savings accompany any debt limit increase. He maintains that “clean” debt limit bills reflect typical Washington practice.

The president's position is the one that actually represents the departure from Washington norms and precedents.

For decades, the debt limit served as a legitimate tool for both Republicans and Democrats to address budget deficits. Indeed, of the eight largest deficit-reduction laws since 1985, all eight were attached to debt limit bills.

Read in Daily Beast

Read here on The Red Line

CT’s investment performance badly lags nation

If Connecticut had even average annual investment performance from its underwhelming pension funds, our tax burden would dramatically decrease.

Connecticut’s previous treasurers provided this state, consistently, with one of the single worst investment track records of all 50 states, as our Yale research team found through an original, comparative 50-state analysis of state pension fund investment performance.

Read in CT Insider

Read here on The Red Line

Chicago Has Learned Nothing; Will Connecticut Ever Learn?

Chicago has just thrown out an incompetent, arrogant, and far-left Democratic mayor who presided over an explosion of crime and the collapse of the city's schools, only to elect a mayor pledged to even more extreme leftism with higher taxes and lower educational standards. The new mayor is a former lobbyist for the teachers union.

April 19, 2023

It's as if Chicago voters thought the city's decline has been a matter of mere personalities rather than policies too.

Chicago and Illinois show the future of cities and states that cannot put the government employee unions back into a subordinate position and put the public interest ahead of the special interest.

It can be done, or at least it could be done 45 years ago when Ed Koch, then a U.S. representative, ran for mayor of New York City as what he called "a Democrat with sanity.” The city was falling apart amid crime, incompetence, corruption, and failing schools while being cannibalized by the city employee unions.

Running on this platform -- "It's time we had a tough bargainer on our side of the table,” -- Koch unexpectedly won the 1977 New York Democratic mayoral primary and the election and then won re-election twice with more than 75% of the vote.

Read in Journal Inquirer

Read here on The Red Line

Progressive Democrats Take an Inch and a Mile

Hartford Democrats Hartford Democrats propose to increase the highest personal income marginal tax rates to 7.49% and 7.20% and establish a 1% and 0.75% surcharge on net gain from sale of capital assets for top earners.

Last week, as reported, something called the “Cap The Rent CT” campaign was launched online by the Connecticut Democratic Socialists of America, some Democrat politicians, and more than 200 supporters. As you might have guessed, this “Cap The Rent CT” campaign seeks to apply state-wide in Connecticut the type of rent control that exists in New York City.

This is happening as another, similarly well-organized group called DesegregateCT is rolling out its third try to thwart local control of zoning by denouncing local planning and zoning commissions as racist. This year’s campaign is a slight variation from their push in 2022 and their ambitious, multi-faceted attempt in 2021.

While some developers may see opportunity in activist efforts to override local zoning controls because it would remove obstacles to the building of large apartment complexes, I wonder if developers are aware of which way Connecticut laws are trending and their effect on the rental business model. 

In 2022, Connecticut passed a law mandating a “fair rent commission” for every municipality with a population of at least 25,000. And last year Connecticut launched a new program to provide “free” legal services for low-income renters in eviction proceedings.

Read in CT Examiner

Read here on The Red Line

The border crisis has never been worse. And Biden seems fine with it.

Last year, President Biden presided over a record crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico. This year, by every conceivable metric, that crisis got far worse.

December 14, 2022

In the 2021 fiscal year, we had more than 1.7 million encounters at the Southern border. That was a record … until this fiscal year, when it rose to almost 2.4 million. And the 2023 fiscal year, which began in October, has already seen more than 500,000 encounters — putting us on track to exceed this year’s record.

That’s not all. In 2021, there were nearly 390,000 known “gotaways” — migrants we know evaded U.S. Customs and Border Protection and slipped into the country; this year, the number of gotaways grew to more than 600,000. In 2021, there were 15 terrorism watch list arrests at the border; this year, that grew to 98 (and who knows how many violent criminals were among the gotaways).

As bad as that is, things are about to get worse when Title 42 — the Trump-era public health order that has allowed border officials to turn away hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants to prevent the spread of covid-19 — expires on Dec. 21. When migrants can no longer be expelled under this order, even more will try illegal crossings — and the floodgates will truly open. Yet the Biden administration is pushing for a cut in funding for detention beds in the omnibus spending bill from the current level of 34,000 to 25,000 just as the need for these beds will dramatically increase.

Read in Washington Post

Read here on The Red Line

Tim Cook’s Bad Day on China

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been taking a beating over his company’s coziness with Beijing. It comes amid protests across China against the government’s strict Covid-19 lockdowns, including at a factory in Zhengzhou where most of the world’s iPhones are made. Hillary Vaughn of Fox News perfectly captured Mr. Cook’s embarrassment on Capitol Hill Thursday when she peppered him with questions.

December 5, 2022

“Do you support the Chinese people’s right to protest? Do you have any reaction to the factory workers that were beaten and detained for protesting Covid lockdowns? Do you regret restricting AirDrop access that protesters used to evade surveillance from the Chinese government? Do you think it’s problematic to do business with the Communist Chinese Party when they suppress human rights?”

A stone-faced Mr. Cook responded with silence.

Read in The Wall Street Journal

Read on The Red Line