Iowa, New Hampshire won’t vote 1st next time?

(NATIONALJOURNAL) — Re­ince Priebus and the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee have taken drastic steps to re­struc­ture the GOP’s pres­id­en­tial primary pro­cess, in­clud­ing cut­ting the num­ber of de­bates, com­press­ing the nom­in­at­ing sched­ule, and in­tro­du­cing harsh pen­al­ties for can­did­ates and states that vi­ol­ate party rules.

But with the RNC this week fi­nal­iz­ing its rules and reg­u­la­tions for next year’s primary, Priebus said in an in­ter­view that there is un­fin­ished busi­ness he’d hoped to handle ahead of 2016 and ex­pects the party to ad­dress be­fore the next cycle: shak­ing up the early states on the primary cal­en­dar.

“It’s a hot top­ic. These early states are very used to fight­ing this out every four years. It’s just something I think we ought to look at as a party,” Priebus said. “If you look at my his­tory, I’ve been very sup­port­ive of the early states as gen­er­al coun­sel and as chair­man. But I don’t think any­one should get too com­fort­able.”

Shopping for Soulmates

One of the fun parts about learning economics is realizing how broadly it can be applied. Once you understand the basic logic of scarcity, opportunity cost, and the rest of the economic way of thinking, all kinds of social phenomena are open to explanation.

Including relationships.

The economic way of thinking might explain some recent changes in how people find their way into romantic relationships. These changes affect marriage, divorce, and infidelity.

The key to the story is the idea of transaction costs. These are the costs of engaging in an exchange, from finding a trading partner, to negotiating a price or other elements of a contract, to ensuring that all parties abide by its terms. When transaction costs are low, people find it easier to engage in mutually beneficial exchanges. And when more of these exchanges take place, people benefit more.

One way of viewing the progress of the Western world is that, through a variety of institutional innovations, we have continually reduced transaction costs. These reductions have made exchange far easier and more common, making it simpler for people to increase their wealth.

In both romance and the marketplace, the other party has to have what you want and want what you have.

The discovery of language and the emergence of institutions like property, money, and the law are part of this process, as are the invention of modern banking and technological innovations in communication. Think of how the Internet and sites like eBay have made it so much easier to find trading partners.

Innovation has also made it easier to find a specific kind of “trading partner” — the romantic kind. And we can apply some basic economics to our thinking about finding a romantic match. 

People expend resources to look for Mr. or Ms. Right (or Right Now). For people to decide they have found a match, two things have to be true. First, the other person must m…

Trump tax-rates higher than his previous proposal

Donald Trump (

Donald Trump (

While the tax plan unveiled by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Monday would entirely eliminate income taxes for millions of Americans and lower the rate for most income earners, it calls for higher rates than he proposed in his 2011 book.

Trump’s new plan establishes a simpler tax code with four brackets – 0, 10, 20 and 25 percent – instead of the current seven.

But aside from the first bracket, the plan proposed in his book “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again” calls for lower tax rates.

Tax guru Grover Norquist offers a solution in which America thrives and Americans keep more of their hard-earned cash in “End the IRS Before It Ends Us: How to Restore a Low Tax, High Growth, Wealthy America”

Trump’s presidential tax proposal revealed Monday would eliminate federal income taxes on individuals earning less than $25,000 and married couples earning less than $50,000.

His new plan:

Trump’s latest plan also abolishes the death tax.

The candidate says his plan can be paid for by reducing or eliminating deductions and loopholes available for the highest income earners; establishing a one-time repatriation of corporate cash held overseas at a 10 percent tax rate; and putting an end to the deferral of taxes on corporate income earned overseas.

On his campaign website, Trump hails his plan as the “lowest tax rate since before World War II.”

In his 2011 book, the billionaire outlined a plan to completely transform the tax code with a uniform proposal for all Americans to pay lower taxes.

At the time, Trump labeled the revenue prescription his 1-5-10-15 income-tax plan.

Here’s what Trump proposed as his income-tax plan in 2011:

  • Those making up to $30,000 will pay 1 percent.
  • Income from $30,000 to $100,000 is assessed a flat 5 percent tax.
  • $100,000 to $1 million income will be taxed at 10 percent.
  • $1 million or above will be taxed 15 percent.

“It’s clear and fair,” wrote Trump. “Best of all, it can be filled out on the back of a postcard and will save Americans big bucks on accountants and massive amounts of time wasted attempting to decipher the tax code.”

In the book, Trump called for companies that outsource jobs overseas to be hit with a 20 percent tax hike. The billionaire also suggested lowering to zero the tax rate for companies that return to the U.S. after outsourcing overseas.

Neither policy prescription made it in his 2016 presidential tax plan.

Move Fast, Break Things

What follows is testimony submitted from Evan Baehr, Able cofounder, to the House Budget Committee of the US House of Representatives for the hearing, “Restoring the Trust for Young Americans,” September 9, 2015.

For years, I wanted to be you. I ran for city council (but lost). I worked at DC think tanks and as a legislative aide in Congress. I believed that public policy was the best avenue for social change. I no longer believe that. Thank you to Chairman Price for inviting me here to share why.

I met a man named Peter Thiel, who taught me it is precisely the people who want to “change the world” that should start companies instead of working for government or nonprofits. Peter brought this spirit to bear on many major public problems — and for each he created a company.

  • Wrangle in the Fed? PayPal.
  • Get to Mars? Space-X.
  • Combat terrorism? Palantir.

The good news is that this spirit is alive among my generation. According to the Reason-Rupe Millennial Survey, 55 percent of millennials want to start a business — and not merely for financial gain, but also to improve the world around them.

When we are asked what factors lead to our ability to pull this off, we respond: hard work (61 percent), ambition (39 percent), and self-discipline (36 percent). At the bottom of that list — literally the lowest ranked option — is government programs. In fact, 53 percent say Social Security is unlikely to even exist when we retire.

So largely this means we are a go-it-alone generation. AngelList, LegalZoom, Amazon Web Services, Codecademy, and others have all democratized innovation in important ways. But here’s the problem: it isn’t just that government doesn’t get it; it’s that government stops many of us who do.

There are burgeoning tech industries such as genomics, mobile health, the quantified self, bitcoin, 3-D pri…

Steven Spielberg enlisted to make Hillary more likable

(NEWS.COM.AU) — IN HIS new book, Unlikeable, journalist Edward Klein unveils the lengths Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign will go to avoid the mistakes of the 2008 race — when Obama famously said, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” In an exclusive excerpt from The New York Post, Klein reveals how Bill Clinton reached out to a famous friend for help.

Hillary was taking lessons on how to be more likable.

She was doing it for Bill, not for herself. It was all his idea.

One evening while they were having drinks with friends, he turned to Hillary and said, “Let’s ask Steven for help.”

Their old Hollywood buddy Steven Spielberg could supply Hillary with acting coaches to help her when she had to give a speech.

Poll: 1/3 of Americans would not hide a Jew in Holocaust

(Hollywood Reporter) One-third of American adults, if alive during the Holocaust, would refuse to hide a Jew from the Nazis.

That data comes courtesy of a scientific poll conducted as part of an odd marketing ploy to promote the digital release of the film Return to the Hiding Place, which tells the true story of Christians who risked death to shelter Jews from Nazis seeking to ship them off to death camps during World War II.

Get the story of the Holocaust from an eyewitness, in “Trapped in Hitler’s Hell,” by Holocaust survivor Anita Dittman.

The film, in fact, is similar to 1975′s The Hiding Place, only this time around the story is told from the perspective of a physics student who refuses to join Germany’s Nazi party.

Four Justices Who Stood for Justice

Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.

“We want a Supreme Court,” declared President Franklin Roosevelt in March 1937, “which will do justice under the Constitution — not over it. In our courts, we want a government of laws and not of men.”

A month earlier, the very same FDR announced his plan to “pack” the Supreme Court with enough additional justices to accomplish precisely the opposite. The last thing FDR wanted was a court that defended the Constitution; he preferred one that would meekly sanctify the centralizing nonsense of his New Deal.

Four justices in particular drew FDR’s wrath in the 1930s. They did the job they were sworn to do: uphold the Constitution as it was written against all attempts to subvert it or the liberties of the people it protected. They were respected legal scholars of the first order. Unlike Roosevelt, they didn’t think it was their duty to torture the Constitution until it confessed to federal powers never dreamed of by those who designed it. Power and political expediency were not among their priorities. These four heroes were George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter, James Clark McReynolds, and Pierce Butler.

In few law schools today are these four defended as heroes. They are, in fact, commonly vilified as legal Neanderthals who stood in the way of FDR’s vast expansion of federal power to deal with the Great Depression.

Unlike FDR, these four justices didn’t think it was their duty to torture the Constitution until it confessed to federal powers never dreamed of by those who designed it.

Progressive intellectuals in the 1930s labeled them with the epithet “the Four Horsemen” — comparing them to the biblical harbingers of the Apocalypse. But I count…

Michael Savage warns of communist–like pope

Pope Francis addresses Congress.

Pope Francis addresses Congress.

Nationally known, top-ranked radio host Michael Savage sent out a not-so-subtle appeal to Catholics and others with religious beliefs, saying in his newsletter those of the faith need to “save us” from the communist agenda touted by Pope Francis.

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“[It’s tragic] to see a pope arise out of nowhere who espouses the very communistic principles that the church opposed … Communism. Priests died under the hands of communists. The communists burned churches, destroyed icons and artifacts in Bolshevik Russia,” he said, in a piece headlined “Catholics, save us from this pope’s collectivist agenda” in his newsletter.

He went on: “Wherever communism has appeared, the church has suffered. Catholics have suffered terribly.”

Savage then referred to Pope Francis – a “man wearing the same vestments of the church” and carting “the same philosophy” as the church’s previous persecutors – and warned: “Oh, beware the enemy within. He’s everywhere. He’s everywhere now.”

Is a 900-year-old prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes? See the fascinating DVD movie, “The Last Pope?”

Savage went on, speaking directly to Catholics and others of faith: “Just make sure he’s not inside your own heart. You have to fortify yourself with knowledge. Knowledge is power and knowledge is really the only thing you have left against these con men and shysters who would steal your very freedom. … Wait until you see what goes on over the next two days.”

Are Prisoners Who Make Low Wages Being Exploited?

Over the summer, critics objected to Whole Foods’ participation in a program that used poorly paid prisoners to make expensive cheese for the grocery store’s upscale customers, according to Vice:

Whole Foods responded to the criticism by saying it sources tilapia and cheese from CCI as part of its mission to support communities, “and that includes the paid, rehabilitative employment of inmates at CCI. They are paid for their work, and learn job skills that can help them contribute to society in meaningful ways upon their release,” the company said in a statement.

Libertarians are generally in favor of “capitalist acts between consenting adults,” even in situations that many moralizers view as exploitation. However, we need to be very careful in a situation where there is overt coercion, namely a workforce being held behind bars. The normal logic of win-win market exchanges between employer and employee may not apply in the context of a prison.

In this particular case, the benefits of the program, as expressed by representatives for the prison work program as well as Whole Foods, are real. Indeed, they resemble economist Ben Powell’s persuasive justifications for “sweatshop” labor in the developing world.

Specifically, even though (according to the Vice article) prisoners may earn as little as 74 cents per day, the participating prisoners can earn more at these private/public jobs than the inmates who perform more traditional tasks such as working in the kitchen or laundry. Just because a job strikes outsiders as horrible and underpaid doesn’t mean we should be quick to advocate removing these options.