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November 13, 2023

How The IRS Discourages Boomer Charity

Americans like to call ourselves the most generous nation on earth — but charitable giving is on the decline. In 2022, it fell 3.4% (10.5% when adjusted for inflation) to fall under $500 billion. It was only the fourth such decline in 40 years. What’s more, individual giving —  distinguished from that of foundations and corporations…

November 9, 2023

What Dems — And NYC — Can Learn From The GOP’s Bronx City Council Win

Some will attribute Kristy Marmorato’s election as the first Republican to represent The Bronx in City Council in 40 years to selfish NIMBY-ism. And there is no doubt her opposition to two subsidized- (a k a “affordable-”) housing developments in the northeast Bronx (District 13) were a key factor in her defeating incumbent Democrat Marjorie Velazquez —…

November 3, 2023

A Postcard from Ashkelon

Ashkelon, in the Hamas-targeted south of Israel, a few kilometers from Gaza, is the region’s largest Israeli city. It’s also the Israeli city that has been struck by more rockets than any other—more than a thousand. As I read about that, I think of my grandmother and the postcard she sent me from her trip…

October 24, 2023

Roanoke Atones for Urban Renewal—Artistically

Discussions of the ill effects of public housing, urban renewal, and urban freeways usually focus on big cities: the Chicago-lakefront hellhole called the Robert Taylor Homes, now-demolished; Robert Moses’s Cross-Bronx Expressway, which tore through the heart of that borough; the brutalist Boston Government Center, which replaced the vibrant Scollay Square. But a moving new exhibit…

October 13, 2023

Liberals Reap Consequences Of Their Homeless Policies

It’s cliche to observe that socially conservative views emerge when liberals are “mugged by reality.” But when it happens to the governor of California and the local leadership of Portland and Seattle, it’s not trite — it’s important. That’s exactly what has happened in the form of a push by leaders from every Western state asking the…

October 12, 2023

Blue States Are Getting More Federal Money Than They Should

The late New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan long complained — and commissioned data — about New York’s status as a “donor state,” for sending more in tax dollars to Washington than it received in return in the form of grants. This was always a misunderstanding of the virtues of the U.S. being a vast free-trade…

October 12, 2023

Blue-State Benefits: How Federal Grants Fail to Consider Population Shift

Abstract The federal government annually awards hundreds of billions of dollars in grants to states. In this report, I examine funding for the largest federal grant programs for 2020–22, focusing on grants-in-aid that do not fully adjust for population change. For states losing population, I calculate “avoided reductions,” the difference between the grants a state…

October 4, 2023

Variety Is the Spice

At first glance, Mayor Eric Adams’s extensive new citywide rezoning plan, meant to encourage new housing, may seem like more of the problematic same. It emphasizes, for instance, the construction of yet more “permanently affordable” new apartments through the dubious means of permitting more units to be built if some get set aside as “income restricted.” This “inclusionary”…

September 28, 2023

How To Halt New York’s Ubiquitous Illegal Pot Blight

The state Office of Cannabis Control has not demonstrated any capacity to control illegal pot distribution — more than 8,000 unlicensed “dispensaries” are thought to be operating in the city. The state has at least signaled a small step in a better direction: authorizing existing medical-marijuana outlets, whose products are more likely to be clean and…

September 26, 2023

Voter Suppression, New York Style

New York governor Kathy Hochul is preening about her Democratic Party’s commitment to democracy, in the form of legislation she just signed authorizing mail-in voting. Republicans are suing to stop the idea out of concern about voter fraud. As Hochul sees it, they are continuing a national GOP voter suppression effort “against marginalized communities ….