The local public library recently spit into my hands Reihan Salam's slender volume about US immigration policy, "Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders." The "son of immigrants" in question is Salam himself, who is so thoroughly integrated into American life he manages to hold down a gig writing for the fringe conservative website … [Read more...] about Book review: Reihan Salam and the limits of American greatness
A spectre is haunting the United States — the spectre of "effective altruism." This is the idea, lifted from the corridors of financial capital, that philanthropy can and should be streamlined, optimized, A/B tested, and transformed to make sure each dollar is deployed "effectively." The other day I saw Dylan Matthews, in honor of "Giving Tuesday," write about his own … [Read more...] about “Effective altruism” is as stupid an idea as “smart beta”
A headline passed across my Twitter feed yesterday that seemed like a good bank account signup bonus: "$500 Bonus for New Money Market Account at Capital One." $500 is a lot of money, so I clicked through to check out what the requirements were. As usual, there were some deposit requirements, in this case a $50,000 deposit of outside money, held in the account for 6-8 weeks … [Read more...] about What goes into a good active savings strategy?
I've written before about the ways homeownership in the United States is heavily subsidized by the federal government, at the expense of current and future taxpayers: preferential tax treatment of capital gains on primary residences, with $250,000 or $500,000 (depending on filing status) of a home's appreciated value being completely tax free; the tax deductibility of … [Read more...] about Idiosyncratic bets on real estate: homeownership or mutual funds?