Must-Reads for November 2
MarketWatch: George Lucas’s Jedi estate planning
That Lucas struck a deal in 2012 may be no accident, either, advisers say. Long-term capital gains tax from the sale of assets held more than one year are taxed at a rate of 15% for investors in the 25% income-tax bracket or above (Lucas’s level), and zero for investors in the 10% or 15% bracket. Those rates are set to jump to 20% and 10%, respectively in January.
Reason: The tax reform mirage
"Tax reform" has become a magic incantation that banishes all the bogeymen the major parties conjure up in budget debates. A simpler tax code with lower rates, we are led to believe, means Grandma won't have to go before the death panel, college students won't lose federal aid, defense contractors won't starve and taxes will stay down.
Must-Reads for November 1
Chicago Tribune: Government unions and the downfall of Illinois
Big problems usually come from big sources. The most powerful political force in Illinois today, by far, is the government employee labor unions. They have contributed mightily to our state's budgetary and economic chaos.
The New York Times: A Keynesian blind spot
Economists normally think that eroding incentives (as they call it, raising marginal labor income tax rates) depresses the labor market rather than expanding it, and that it would be tough for the labor market to get back to its 2007 form without returning incentives to what they were back then.
Chicago Tribune: Despite rough economy, school spending climbs in Illinois
Per-pupil spending for 2010-11 stands at $11,664 statewide, with a handful of districts now spending more than $25,000 per child. Average teacher salaries are $66,614, while the average administrator makes $110,870.
Must-Read of October 31
Chicago Tribune: Chicago schools need radical change
The bureaucracy of CPS, like most urban districts, has great inertia toward the comfortable. The fact is the public school district is an outdated model that is not flexible or responsive enough to serve the needs of all students.
Chicago Sun-TImes: 82 Chicago principals get up to $20,000 in merit bonuses
Merit pay bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 apiece were awarded Monday to 82 Chicago Public School principals whose schools demonstrated "exceptional growth" in four key measurements of student success.
Acton Institute: Hurricanes lead to broken windows—and broken window fallacies
Frederic Bastiat provided the ultimate rebuttal to this spurious thinking 162 years ago in his essay ‘That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen.’ So why do we people make the same claim that destruction is economically beneficial? Could it be that people are simply unaware of Bastiat’s "parable of the broken window"?
RealClearMarkets: David Axelrod is right: The Buffett Rule is a cheap shot
Republicans have been hectoring Mr. Buffett, who complains about paying such a low tax rate, to assuage his conscience by writing a check to the IRS. Somehow they miss the fact that it is so much easier. All Buffett need do is to stop claiming those massive checks he writes to charity as deductions.
Chicago Sun-Times: State officials bash federal education standard 98% of high schools don’t meet
More than 98 percent of Illinois’ high schools fell short of a federal benchmark in 2012, so many that state officials on Tuesday called the No Child Left Behind law governing education "severely deficient."
Must-Reads for October 30
Chicago Tribune: Why some CPS schools must close
The Chicago Teachers Union should help guide CPS closings, not stand in the doorway of every school, shouting "No!"
RealClearMarkets: The evidence is in: Green jobs are a total waste
In fact, the green jobs training programs have the lowest entered employment rates and employment retention rates of all Labor Department training programs. But the results of the program are even worse than these numbers suggest.
The Wall Street Journal: Jerry Brown vs. the 99%
Mr. Brown has placed an initiative on the state ballot, Proposition 30, that targets "millionaires" who earn more than $250,000 annually. Persuading the 99% to raid the 1% normally shouldn't be hard, yet voter distrust of government in the Golden State is such that Mr. Brown is having to pull out all the stops to get the initiative passed.
Must-Reads for October 29
The Wall Street Journal: The lame duck Congress's fiscal duty
The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that the U.S. will be in a recession in 2013 if the tax increases and sequester go into effect. That means more pain for American families and possibly a return to double-digit unemployment.
State Journal-Register: What? The state has money problems?
What the state probably needs right now is not another study saying there are financial problems, but some experts in getting people off their duffs to do something about it. Now that might accomplish something.