WSJ: Tech Giants Are Heading Towards Monopoly Status

A new column the Wall Street Journal argues that companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are heading towards monopoly status in their respective industries. A Thursday column in the Wall Street Journal by Christopher Mims argues that several Silicon Valley giants are gaining monopoly-sized market shares in their respective industries. Mims explained that modern monopolies look much different than monopolies of the past. Mims cited the example of monopolist Andrew Carnegie using armed guards against his striking workers. One way todayÂ’s monopolists are different from the robber barons of old is that theyÂ’re not exactly ​behaving like, for example, Andrew…

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Jon Hamm Reveals Jeremy Renner Broke Both Of His Arms Filming ‘Tag’

Based on a story written in the Wall Street Journal back in 2013 comes new comedy movie ‘Tag’, starring the likes of Jeremy Renner , Ed Helms, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress, Jake Johnson, and Leslie Bibb. Following an incredibly unique narrative of 10 friends who have played the game Tag for over 20 years, the film looks to be a hilarious affair, but it wasn’t all laughs for those on set when Renner sustained an incredibly painful injury.

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at Least the Aussies and Brits are American Patriots:

According to Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel, Alexander Downer, the former top Australian diplomat to the U.K., passed information about a conversation he had on May 10, 2016 with Papadopoulos to the U.S. embassy in London. Downer claimed that Papadopoulos told him during a barroom conversation that Russia had information that was potentially damaging to Hillary Clinton.

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Goldman VP nabbed for insider trading; more challenges for Deutsche

Risky business: The proposed changes to the Volcker rule will allow banks to take on more trading risk – but not dangerously so. “Volcker 2.0 gives banks more flexibility to take advantage of the shifting landscape,” which includes “a new wave of global market volatility,” the Wall Street Journal says.

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Wednesday evening links – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

1. Chart of the Day I (above) shows graphically the amazing “life course dynamics of affluence” that summarize the research of Thomas Hirschl and Mark Rank, based on their empirical investigation of individual lifetime income data over a 44-year period for individuals from ages 25 to 60 to see what percentage of the American population would experience different levels of affluence during their lifetimes. The results above are striking and remarkable and were featured before on CD here and here, and totally worthy of a re-post here.

As Washington University professor Mark Rank wrote in a 2015 New York Times article about his research with Thomas Hirschl, “Rather than being a place of static, income-based social tiers, America is a place where a large majority of people will experience either wealth or poverty — or both — during their lifetimes.” The chart above is based on the data in Table 2 of the research paper and shows the following remarkable finding on income mobility in America:

More than half of American adults (53.1%) will be in the top 10% of the income distribution for one or more years between the ages of 25 and 60. But staying in the top 10% is much less likely, and only about one in three Americans (35.4%) remain in the top 10% for two consecutive years between ages of 25 and 60, about one in four (26.7%) for three or more consecutive years, about one in five (21.7%) for four or more years, and only about one in 13 (7.8%) stay in the top 10% for ten consecutive years or more.

Don’t the Hirschl and Rank findings above of significant income mobility (including the finding that nearly 70% of Americans make it into the top 20% for at least one year and nearly 62% for at least two years) pretty much destroy the narrative of income inequality being the “defining challenge of our time,” as we heard so frequently from Obama?

2. Chart of the Day II (above) shows annual US real manufacturing GDP value-added (in 2009 dollars) from 1997 to 2017, which increased to a new record all-time high of $1.955 trillion last year. It was the first time since the Great Recession since that the output (value added) of US factories surpassed the previous, pre-recession record high $1.925 trillion in 2007. While it took an entire decade, US manufacturing has now officially and completely recovered from the devastating effects of the Great Recession. Interestingly, I couldn’t find this manufacturing output milestone reported elsewhere, so perhaps you’ve heard it here first! Carpe vestibulum!


3. Cartoon of the Day I (above), self-explanatory!


4. Cartoon of the Day II (above), self-explanatory!


5. Cartoon of the Day III (above), another great one from Michael Ramirez.


6. Quotation of the Day is from Anatoly Kurmanaev writing in the Wall Street Journal (“The Tragedy of Venezuela“):

Growing up in provincial Russia in the 1990s, I lived through the collapse of a superpower and witnessed the corruption, violence and degradation that followed. I thought I had the street smarts to navigate Venezuela’s maddening Socialist bureaucracy and controls, while enjoying much nicer weather.

What struck me on arriving was how little the Socialist leaders cared about even the appearances of equality. They showed up at press conferences in shantytowns in motorcades of brand new armored SUVs. They toured tumbledown factories on live state TV wearing Rolexes and carrying Chanel handbags. They shuttled journalists to decaying state-run oil fields on private jets with gilded toilet paper dispensers.

7. Chart of the Day III (above) shows the gradual decline in average US round-trip, inflation-adjusted airfares, which have fallen by nearly 30%, from $485 in Q1 1995 to $347 in Q4 2017 (in 2017 dollars), inspired by the article by Robert Poole in the June issue of Reason MagazineIf You Can Afford a Plane Ticket, Thank Deregulation“:

In 1979, the first year of deregulation, the average domestic fare was $616 (in 2016 dollars), or 1.2% of average household income that year. The most recent comparable data I can find is for 2016, when the average fare was $344—a mere 0.6% of average household income.

So after adjusting for both inflation and increases in average household income, the cost of air travel in the US has fallen by 50% since deregulation.


8. Chart of the Day IV (above) was inspired by Manhattan Institute fellow Robert Bryce’s New York Post article “Bad news for green energy lovers: US oil & gas are booming“:

The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has resulted in the fastest and biggest addition to world energy supply that has ever occurred in history. How big is that addition? Over the past decade, merely the increase — I repeat, just the increase — in US oil and gas production is equal to seven times the total energy production of every wind turbine and solar project in the United States (see chart above).

Climate-change activists like to claim that renewable energy can power the entire economy and that we should “do the math.” I couldn’t agree more — on the math part. In 2008, US oil production was about 5.2 million barrels per day. Today, it’s about 10.2 million barrels per day. In 2008, domestic gas production averaged about 55.1 billion cubic feet per day. Today, it’s about 87.6 billion cubic feet per day. That’s an increase of about 32.5 billion cubic feet per day, which is equivalent to about 5.5 million barrels of oil per day. Thus, over the past decade, US oil and gas output has jumped by about 10.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (see chart).

Let’s compare that to domestic solar and wind production which, since 2008, has increased by 4,800 percent and 450 percent, respectively. While those percentage increases are impressive, the total energy produced from those sources remains small when compared to oil and gas. In 2017, US solar production totaled about 77 terawatt-hours and wind production totaled about 254 terawatt-hours, for a combined total of 331 terawatt-hours. That’s the equivalent of about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day. Simple division (10.5 divided by 1.5) shows that since 2008, the increase in energy production from oil and gas is equal to seven times the energy output of all domestic solar and wind.


9. Who’d a-Thunk It? Raising the minimum wage results in reduced fringe benefits for low-skilled workers? That’s the finding of an NBER research paper “The Minimum Wage, Fringe Benefits, and Worker Welfare,” here’s part of the conclusion (italics added):

We find robust evidence that recent state minimum wage increases resulted in declines in employer-sponsored health insurance for minimum wage earners. Our estimates also suggest that insurance and wage effects spill over to those earning above, but not far from, the minimum wage.

We conclude by observing that while employer insurance coverage is an important non-wage job attribute, it is but one of many non-wage job attributes. Our findings thus point to the need for an analysis of other job attributes and how they fluctuate with the minimum wage. Margins of interest, some of which have received attention in recent work, include the flexibility of work hours, implicit effort contracts, the pace of work and occupational safety. Standard theory suggests that such margins may have high relevance for worker welfare.

In other words, the researchers only examined the demonstrated reductions in employer-sponsored health insurance that result from increases in the minimum wage. As economic theory and basic logic tell us, health insurance is just one of many fringe benefits and job attributes that are adjusted by employers to the disadvantage of limited-experience workers following artificial, government-mandated increases in labor costs in the form of minimum wage laws. That is, minimum wage laws = minimum/reduced fringe benefit laws for the most vulnerable workers.

10. Video of the Day (below) features Charles Koch discussing the “History of Freedom” who takes a look across history at how increasing freedom and openness in society dramatically increases human well-being.

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Michael Avenatti escalates battle with Wall Street Journal, which blasts him for ‘false and outrageous’ claims

Michael Avenatti escalated his battle with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, releasing emails that he claimed show that the publication sat for over a year on its story about the hush-money payment made to his client. The emails show that The Journal had …

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Faculty jobs cut, staff told they are at risk of layoffs at Evergreen State University

Earlier this week I highlighted a piece at the Wall Street Journal which warned layoffs were coming to Evergreen State College. Yesterday, Campus Reform reported that the layoffs have already begun:

John Carmichael, the chief of staff and secretary to the Evergreen State College Board of Trustees, announced in a memo to staff and faculty members on Tuesday that the school has already cut 24 faculty lines and eliminated 19 vacant staff positions, and warned that up to 20 additional staff members could seen be laid off.

“Over the past several days, 20 staff members have been notified that they are at risk for layoff,” Carmichael wrote. “These layoffs, although necessary to stabilize the college’s budget, represent a profound loss felt by many.”

It’s not clear how many of the faculty jobs were already vacant when they were cut. It sounds from this as if the 19 staff positions that were eliminated were already vacant but an additional 20 staff positions that are not vacant could be cut at any time.

“As painful as it is to lose valued colleagues, we know that we must take dramatic steps to stabilize the budget,” Carmichael wrote. “These steps, along with the re-organization of senior leadership positions and fee changes previously announced, will stabilize the budget.”

They don’t actually know that yet. Evergreen announced 2 weeks ago that it was preparing for a 10 percent decline in enrollment next year. Accommodating that decline will require cutting $5.9 million from the budget. But the 10% projection is actually the midpoint of a larger range. Back in February, the school warned the actual decline could be closer to 18 percent. And the WSJ report this week that enrollment for next year is currently down 20%, though the school claims many students choose to enroll at the last minute. All of that to say, Evergreen’s predicament may be significantly worse than the current preparation suggests. I will not be at all surprised if the school goes through another round of deep cuts sometime this summer.

Once the budget is under control, he concluded optimistically, the school will be able to focus on “the critical initiatives that staff and faculty have identified for revitalizing the college by, for instance, identifying paths of study, launching enrollment recovery initiatives, investing in the First-Year experience, modernizing our marketing program, and committing to inclusive excellence and equity for all students.”

Evergreen hasn’t learned anything from last year’s fiasco. So long as President George Bridges is still there, this school is going to continue to struggle. Maybe at some point things will get bad enough that someone will suggest he needs to go but so far the school appears willing to let dozens of other faculty and staff members pay the price for Bridges’ dumb decisions.

One thing that hasn’t gotten cut, at least so far, is the school’s Play Day, where it sets up inflatable bounce houses in Red Square. [h/t Benjamin Boyce]

The post Faculty jobs cut, staff told they are at risk of layoffs at Evergreen State University appeared first on Hot Air.

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Starbucks says everyone’s a customer after Philadelphia bias incident

A woman protesting outside of a Philadelphia Starbucks in April 2018 after two black men were arrested there after employees called the police. Mark Makela/Getty Images In a letter to employees first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Saturday …

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Accused Texas shooter’s father blames bullying for son’s rampage

The father of the 17-year-old charged with killing 10 people at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, said Monday that his son was a “good boy” and had been “mistreated at school.” Antonios Pagourtzis said in a brief phone interview with The Wall Street Journal that his son Dimitrios was bullied and “I believe that’s what was behind” the shooting. Dimitrios Pagourtzis is being held without bond at the Galveston County Jail after he allegedly burst into an art classroom Friday morning at Santa Fe High School armed with a shotgun and pistol and opened fire, before surrendering to police. In a probable cause statement, authorities said he admitted to the shooting. The Santa Fe Independent School District didn’t respond to requests for comment on whether Dimitrios Pagourtzis was bullied. On Saturday, it denied reports that he was bullied by high-school coaches in this small rural Texas town southeast of Houston. Nicholas Poehl, a lawyer hired by the Pagourtzis family to represent their son, said Monday that the teen had been bullied but declined to go into specifics. He said he was still trying to ascertain details, including how school officials responded. The elder Mr. Pagourtzis, who owns a shipping repair company based in Houston, said his family was distraught over the mass shooting.

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