Manhattan Institute Daily Update

Keeping you up-to-date on the latest by Manhattan Institute scholars
October 31, 2014

Energy & the Environment

Report: Coal Key To Reducing Energy Poverty

FBN's "Varney&Co," 10-28-14. Watch video.

Economy & Finance

New Report: Inequality Does Not Reduce Prosperity

NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show," 10-27-14. Listen.

Podcast: Caroline Baum And Marvin Goodfriend On The SOMC And Monetary Policy

Leading up to the Shadow Open Market Committee's meeting on November 3, SOMC Member Marvin Goodfriend discussed the committee's core beliefs and thoughts on the end of quantitative easing with e21 Contributor Caroline Baum. Listen here.

D.C. Leads The Way With New Ridesharing Bill

Jared Meyer,, October 29, 2014
The Washington, D.C. City Council made history on Tuesday by making D.C. the first jurisdiction in the country to pass a bill explicitly legalizing popular ridesharing services such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar. The Vehicle-for-Hire Innovation Act, which passed the Council by a margin of 12 to 1, is an example of smart regulation that is not beholden to the special interests of the existing taxi industry. . .

No Band-Aids, Let's Have Real Tax Reform

Diana Furchtgott-Roth,, October 28, 2014
Whatever the results of the election, Congress is planning to reconvene on November 12 for a lame duck session, so-called because the days in office of some members will be numbered. As well as passing a budget for fiscal year 2015, the 113th Congress will try to finish up other bills, including the extension of tax provisions that expired on January 1, 2014. . .

Federally-Funded Infrastructure Is Costly And Inefficient

Jared Meyer,, October 28, 2014
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's call for more publicly-funded infrastructure fails to acknowledge that infrastructure funding, when directed by government, goes to costly projects favored by politicians, not enterprises for which users are prepared to pay. . .

New NBER Study Shows Negative Effects Of Higher Minimum Wage

Jason Russell,, October 28, 2014
As Election Day pulls closer, the minimum wage remains a contentious issue. Statewide minimum wage hikes are on the ballot in five states: Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota. . .

Watch For The FOMC Debates

Peter Ireland,, October 26, 2014
The Federal Reserve's policy statement, to be released immediately following this Wednesday's meeting, will likely show further signs of dissension within the Federal Open Market Committee. Indeed, debates between Committee members may well intensify in coming months over the appropriate timing and speed with which short-term interest rates will have to rise off their zero lower bound beginning next year. . .

'Anti-Tesla Bill' Means Economic Loss For Michigan

Jared Meyer,, October 25, 2014
Against the interests of Michiganders, Governor Rick Snyder has signed a bill banning Tesla Motor's direct-to-consumer automobile sales in the state. The original focus of House Bill 5606 was on determining how franchise-dealership fees are charged. Then, right before the vote, an amendment banning automobile sales directly to consumers was added by State Senator Joe Hune. . .


Reclaiming The American Dream VI: The (Other) Lessons Of Khan Academy

Howard Husock,, October 28, 2014
To say that Khan Academy has important lessons to offer is to state the obvious. The Mountain View-based internet teaching institution--which has grown from founder Salman Khan's individualized YouTube math lessons for his 7th grade niece to a worldwide phenomenon--offers thousands of free, plain-spoken online courses, from algebra to biology. But there are even broader lessons to be taken from the astounding success of Sal Khan, winner of the Manhattan Institute's $100,000 2014 William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship. Indeed, the lessons extend well beyond education. . .

Legal Reform

Overcriminalizing The Wolverine State

1320 AM's "Capital City Recap w/Michael Cohen," 10-29-14
1340 AM WJRW's "Michigan's Morning News Show," 10-29-14

Overcriminalization Is Also A Problem In The States

James R. Copland and Isaac Gorodetski, Washington Examiner, October 31, 2014
In North Carolina in 2011, Steven Pruner was sentenced to 45 days in the Durham County Sheriff's custody for selling hot dogs from his food cart outside Duke Hospital without a proper permit. In Michigan in 2009, Lisa Snyder faced prosecution until the state legislature intervened on her behalf. Her alleged crime? The state claimed that in assisting her neighbor's children board the school bus in front of her house each morning, free of charge, Ms. Snyder was illegally operating a day-care center without a license. . .

'Magnet Courts' Attract Class Action Corruption

Fox 5 NY's "Positively Ernie" interviewed James Copland, 10-30-14


The Emerging Political Divide Between Public And Private Unions

Steven Malanga, The Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2014
. . .The labor rift in Chicago politics has emerged elsewhere, too. Government workers are increasingly fighting to defend their pay and benefits, including trying to defeat officials running for re-election who have preached fiscal reform. But private unions have embraced some of these same candidates, arguing that when economic growth is sluggish, politicians should focus on creating jobs. . .

The Democratic Embrace Of Al Sharpton

Heather Mac Donald, The Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2014
The Rev. Al Sharpton once epitomized New York's bad old days of the 1980s, when the then-corpulent, gold-medallion-bedecked tub thumper inflamed racial hatred and courted violence. Today, against all expectations and at least 100 pounds lighter, he has been rehabilitated into the Democratic Party's civil-rights leader of choice. Has Mr. Sharpton changed or simply outlasted his critics? . . .

TRN's "The Jerry Doyle Show," 10-27-14. Listen.

Albany Albatross

E. J. McMahon, City Journal, Autumn 2014
. . ."This state has no future if it's going to be the tax capital of the nation," Cuomo has said. But the governor spent most of his first term redistributing New York's taxes rather than reducing them. In December 2011, going against an earlier promise, Cuomo extended nearly all of a temporary "millionaire's tax" hike set to expire at the end of that year. . .

Maybe There Should Be A State Ballot That Bans State Ballots

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, WSJ's, October 31, 2014
Americans will go to the polls next week and vote for their congressional representatives, both in the House and in the Senate, their governors and their state representatives. In addition to votes for representation, citizens will vote on a whole range of issues, from corporate governance to marijuana sales. . .

Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino Passes Away

New England Cable News's "Broadside with Jim Braude" interviewed Howard Husock, 10-30-14

Students Petition To Drop Bill Maher From Commencement

WPHT 1210 AM's "The Rich Zeoli Show" interviewed Sol Stern, 10-29-14

Opportunity In America: What It Means And How It Grows

CSPAN covered Heather Mac Donald event appearance, 10-29-14

Policy Rewind

Canada Issues New Safety Requirements For Oil-By-Rail

Yesterday, Canada issued new safety regulations for transporting oil by rail as part of its response to last year's tragic derailment in Quebec.

Read Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Diana Furchtgott-Roth's report that argues transporting oil and natural gas by pipeline is a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to oil-by-rail.

State and Local Budgets

Breaking: Pensions Are Unnecessary To Attract Good Teachers

Stephen Eide,, October 28, 2014
. . .Two reports released late last week question whether the rewards are proportionate to the risk. They show that unpensioned teachers can be outstanding, and that upfront cash may function more efficiently as a hiring incentive. . .

California: Premium Pay For Ordinary Duties

Steven Malanga,, October 24, 2014
. . .If you're thinking that maybe you earn premium pay for, say, tough duty like working on a national holiday, or hazardous duty, here are a few of the categories approved by the Calpers board, according to an LA Times sidebar. . .


Violent Crime In The US Has Declined Rapidly. What Happened?

Heather Mac Donald, The Daily Signal, October 28, 2014
. . .The fact that the American crime drop encompassed every category of serious violent and property offense makes this transformation virtually unique among Western countries. Particular crimes went down by sometimes comparable amounts in other G7 countries, but those nations experienced increases in other serious offenses. And the fact that crime went down everywhere across America makes the phenomenon particularly puzzling, since crime is a local condition. . .

New York City/State Policy

Cuomo's Dubious Tax-Cap Dodge

E.J. McMahon, New York Post, October 28, 2014
Like most incumbents seeking re-election -- perhaps even more than most -- Gov. Cuomo has a proclivity for exaggerating his record. One claim isn't just hype, though. In pushing through a cap on property-tax levies, Cuomo achieved one of the most significant fiscal reforms in New York history. . .

Ebola City: Why New York Can Handle It

Nicole Gelinas, New York Post, October 27, 2014
. . ."What happened in Dallas was the exact opposite" of what will happen in Gotham, the governor intoned. "It's unfortunate." Cuomo's mess-with-Texas swagger sounds reckless -- and this kind of stuff is why the rest of the country hates us. But our way works. . .

Urban Affairs

San Bernardino, Oakland And Pot's Dystopia

Ben Boychuk, Riverside Press-Enterprise, October 28, 2014
. . .Lately, though, I've come to think of San Bernardino less as Detroit's sister city and more as Oakland South. Sure, San Bernardino may lack a lovely waterfront, or the gentrified, fortress-like apartment buildings surrounding the newly upscale square named for the socialist Jack London. But there's a certain similarity of sights, sounds - and smell. . .

City Journal

Lies, Damned Lies, And College Admissions

Steve Cohen, City Journal Online, October 29, 2014
College-application season is shifting into high gear, and with it comes anxiety and abuses--on both sides of the admissions desk. Some wealthy parents will pay private counselors more than $40,000 for "tweaking" their kids' essays, on the implicit promise that these consultants have connections inside admissions offices, where many once worked. . .

The Hunt For An Ebola Vaccine

Paul Howard, City Journal Online, October 28, 2014
The effort to contain the spread of Ebola through traditional infection-control measures in West Africa may fail. The nations suffering from the outbreak are poor, and their medical infrastructures are already strained past the breaking point. Many hospitals in Liberia lack even basics like gloves, soap, and bleach. . .

City Smart

Aaron Renn, City Journal Online, October 24, 2014
Reviewed of The Responsive City, by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford
From the debacle to the Veterans Administration scandal to the bungled Ebola response, Americans have good reason to be pessimistic about the competence of government. But Harvard professor Steve Goldsmith, formerly both mayor of Indianapolis and deputy mayor of New York City, remains bullish about government's ability to improve services, at least at the state and local level. . .

Twisted Times

Dennis Saffran, City Journal Online, October 24, 2014
It's amusing to watch the New York Times contort itself into a pretzel when one of its left-wing orthodoxies conflicts with another. Last Sunday, the Times led its front page with Anemona Hartcollis's remarkably sympathetic story about claims by "mental-health advocates"--who typically advocate the "rights" of the severely mentally ill to refuse treatment and sleep in their own excrement on the sidewalk--that a New York law is making it difficult for mental health patients identified as dangerous to obtain and keep guns. . .

Shame And Redemption

Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal, Autumn 2014
Scandal delights us because it lends respectability to our prurience and allows us to indulge in the most pleasurable of all emotions: righteous indignation. Scandal also reveals important or successful people to have feet of clay and thereby soothes our resentment at not being important or successful ourselves. It is therefore not surprising that we in Britain are good at it. . .

Infected By Politics

Salem Communications "The Bill Bennett Show" interviewed Heather Mac Donald, 10-31-14

Health Care

Want To Fix The "Doc Fix"? Experiment!

Yevgeniy Feyman,'s "The Apothecary," October 27, 2014
For health policy wonks, the end of the year isn't just the holiday season. With the falling temperatures will come a renewed "doc fix" debate, as Congress deliberates on ways to avoid a scheduled double-digit (24 percent last year) cut in Medicare's physician payments. And avoid it they will. . .

Cuomo Says Ebola Quarantines Can Be Spent At Home

97.1 FM's "The Randy Tobler Show" will interview Yevgeniy Feyman at 9:35 a.m. ET 11-1-14
TRN's "The Jerry Doyle Show" interviewed Yevgeniy Feyman, 10-29-14. Listen.
Fox 5 New York interviewed Paul Howard, 10-29-14
NPR Albany's "The Capital Pressroom w/Susan Arbetter" interviewed Yevgeniy Feyman, 10-28-14
FBN's "The Willis Report" interviewed Paul Howard, 10-27-14
Hot 97's "Street Soldiers w/Lisa Evers" interviewed Paul Howard, 10-26-14. Listen.


Immigration Advocates Warn Obama Not To Think Small

FBN's "The Lou Dobbs Show" will interview Heather Mac Donald at 7 p.m. ET today


CA: Public Sector Environmentalists Vs. Jobs

Steven Malanga,, October 29, 2014
On Saturday I observed in the WSJ that private and public unions were increasingly in conflict this election season, particularly as left-leaning public union leaders align with members of the Democratic coalition like environmentalists, whose no-growth economic policies cost blue-collar workers jobs. . .

Higher Education

Do The Liberal Arts Today Serve Any Public Function?

John Agresto,, October 28, 2014
. . .The liberal arts are dying in America, and they are dying in large measure because the public is unconvinced that any attention to these subjects, especially the humanities, are worth the cost, the effort, or the time. . .

Three Reasons To Affirm Free Speech

Steven Pinker,, October 26, 2014
This is the the keynote address delivered by Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker on October 23rd in New York at the fifteenth anniversary dinner of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). . .

Press inquiries can be directed to the Manhattan Institute Communications Department:, 212.599.7000

If you would like to unsubscribe, please reply to us and type "Unsubscribe" in the subject line.