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News
  • Aug 31,2017
    At the moment, Republicans still insist that they want to pass a tax reform bill by the end of the year. Not just a tax cut, mind you, but a full-fledged reform package that will clear out the countless deductions, loopholes, and special-interest carve-outs that have turned our corporate tax code into a sieve. In theory, this is a completely unobjectionable goal. The United States could use a more...
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  • Aug 29,2017
    One of the bewildering things about Hurricane Harvey, for observers and especially for Houstonians themselves, has been the lack of a comprehensive sense of the extent of the flooding. We don’t quite know, quite yet, who has been hit the worst. Storm surges come from the sea; a swollen river envelops a downtown along a predictable route. But the Houston metro area is nearly...
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  • Aug 28,2017
    Ten days before Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to speed up the pipeline for federal infrastructure projects. One component of that Aug. 15 order? Eliminating an Obama-era rule called the federal flood risk management standard that asked agencies to account for climate change projections when they approved projects. That drew condemnation...
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  • Aug 28,2017
    Hurricane Harvey is on pace to produce the greatest single-storm rainfall in the United States in at least a century and may wind up being one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. To make matters worse, since much of the damage is occurring inland and outside of the 100-year floodplain, insurance coverage will be low. Naturally, a congressional relief package will be forthcoming. Which...
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  • Aug 28,2017
    The disaster that is Tropical Storm Harvey is still ongoing. It will be some time before the waters recede and the effect on Houston can be fully assessed. But it is already clear the damage to property will be immense. Tens of thousands of structures were impacted by floodwaters. Eventually, Houston will require massive cleanup, demolition, and reconstruction of individual homes, large buildings,...
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  • Aug 28,2017
    If you look at a satellite image of Harris County, Texas, where subdivisions cascading west into the Katy Prairie have helped make the Houston area the country’s fastest growing metropolitan region since 1980, you can see two large green splotches on either side of the Katy Freeway. These are the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, evidence of how Houston’s planning has been overwhelmed by unregulated...
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  • Aug 25,2017
    It's possible to get rich if your business only caters to rich people. But it's hard to have a massive and really successful industry in the United States today if you only cater to rich people. There are only so many people in the country with good credit and lots of cash sitting around. And this week, we got evidence that one of America’s largest industries may be running into trouble because its...
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  • Aug 24,2017
    As of now, every county in the United States now has at least one health insurer lined up to offer coverage on its Affordable Care Act exchange next year. CareSource, a nonprofit health insurer, announced Thursday morning that it would offer Obamacare coverage in Ohio's Paulding County, the last remaining market that lacked a carrier for the 2018 open enrollment season. CareSource has previously...
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  • Aug 23,2017
    With Obamacare repeal defeated for the time being, Democrats have begun looking ahead and crafting plans to expand health coverage to the millions of Americans who still remain uninsured. On Tuesday, Vox previewed one such proposal from Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, which would let middle- and upper-income Americans buy into Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges. “Exclusive: Sen. Schatz’s...
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  • Aug 23,2017
    In the past year, Amazon has quietly slipped into the apparel-manufacturing business, with goods ranging from lingerie to men’s dress shoes. These private-label brands have innocuous names like Paris Sunday and Goodthreads, and they haven’t made huge splashes in their respective markets—except for one. Scout + Ro, Amazon’s children’s brand, has exploded, according to a recent report from...
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  • Aug 23,2017
    It has been nearly five months since Donald Trump formed the Office of American Innovation, an initiative led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to make the federal government run more like a business. Aside from the presence of Kushner, the New Jersey housing heir who married the president’s daughter and who once demonstrated his business acumen by spectacularly overpaying for a Manhattan skyscraper,...
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  • Aug 21,2017
    Republicans have spent the better part of a year claiming that Obamacare was finally unraveling just the way they always predicted it would. For proof, they often pointed to parts of the country where carriers had decided to pull out of the local market, and it looked as if there might not be any insurers offering coverage through the law's exchanges in 2018. As counties in states such as Tennessee,...
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  • Aug 21,2017
    For many of us, tracking down the correct eyewear was hassle enough leading up to Monday’s total eclipse. But what about unloading them now that it’s over? Just hours after the eclipse, people are looking to make some quick cash by selling their “gently used” protective glasses. On Craigslist sites for cities in and around the path of totality—a narrow region running across the country in...
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  • Aug 18,2017
      Steve Bannon was supposed to be the brains behind the Trump presidency—the “populist” ideologue who personified the the White House's xenophobic, race-baiting, protectionist tendencies. Saturday Night Live literally depicted him as the grim reaper whispering evil commands into our half-wit commander in chief's ear. Now Bannon is out of a job, fired from the West Wing thanks to his penchant...
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  • Aug 17,2017
    Chances are you haven't thought much lately about the economic tragedy that's unfolding in Puerto Rico. Not with nukes in North Korea and neo-Nazis and Obamacare repeal to dwell on. But Thursday at the New York Times, Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research has written a grim reminder that, in the wake of the island's debt crisis, we've essentially sentenced it to another decade...
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  • Aug 16,2017
    Thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, Americans have gotten used to thinking about home entertainment as a $10-per-month, all-you-can-binge buffet. Now, a company run by one of Netflix's co-founders wants to bring a similar model to movie theaters—which are decidedly unhappy about it. This week, the 6-year-old startup MoviePass announced that it was dropping the cost of its ticket...
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  • Aug 15,2017
    If Donald Trump tries to go nuclear on Obamacare, the effort might just fizzle. For what feels like eons now, the president has been publicly hinting that he might cut off important subsidies to insurers that keep the Affordable Care Act's exchanges up and running as intended. These funds, known as cost-sharing reduction payments, are worth billions to carriers, and it's been widely assumed that halting...
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  • Aug 14,2017
    Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice. CEOs of large public companies have faced something of a conundrum in the age of Trump. On the one hand, here was a historically unpopular president who lost the popular vote, who is actively hostile to many of the values to which their companies are committed—diversity, inclusion, reckoning with climate change, globalization, free...
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  • Aug 11,2017
    Along with “decline of civilization,” add “danger” to the list of reasons fidget spinners are bad for the youth: Two recent incidents reveal the mindfulness tool and classroom distraction can burst into flames and explode. Michelle Carr of Fenton, Michigan, told an NBC outlet in May that her Bluetooth fidget spinner caught fire while it charged on her bookshelf. Another incident in June in...
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  • Aug 10,2017
    On Snap Inc.’s second earnings call as a public company, CEO Evan Spiegel started with the good news. Users visited Snapchat more frequently in the latest quarter, and spent more time on it “than ever before,” Spiegel said Thursday. It’s the sort of generic superlative that tech executives reach for when they need to put a positive gloss on a discouraging trend. Snapchat did add 7.3 million...
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  • Aug 10,2017
    As the Democratic Party continues to flail over what besides resistance to Donald Trump it stands for (what’s the health care plan, anyway?), they can look for inspiration to Oregon, where Democratic Gov. Kate Brown signed the country’s first statewide employee scheduling law on Tuesday. Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice. Starting in July 2018, Oregon will require...
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  • Aug 10,2017
    A couple of San Francisco–based, fortysomething executives posted a Craigslist ad looking for a personal assistant on Wednesday. The post is a good example of why not everyone is cut out to be an HR director: It’s a long, stream-of-conscious list of required and desired qualities that, interpreted generously, tries to offer a potential employee a full picture of the gig. Read less generously, it...
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  • Aug 9,2017
    Overmatched in Congress by gerrymandering, rural bias, and clustering, blue cities and states have little power in Washington to stop President Trump’s border wall. Back at home, however, they issue billions of dollars in procurement contracts to some of the same construction companies that are bidding to build the wall along the U.S-Mexico border. Maybe it’s there, politicians reason, that they...
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  • Aug 8,2017
    Downtown business interests in Columbus, Ohio, say rents are down and the office vacancy rate is rising—simply because there’s no place to park. It’s the same complaint that downtown power brokers made during the 1950s, one that helped create the streetscape of U.S. downtowns, which features plenty of street parking, large single-use parking garages, and parking on the lower floors of office...
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  • Aug 8,2017
    Millions of Americans who would qualify for financial help to buy health insurance under Obamacare seem to be leaving that money on the table by purchasing coverage that's ineligible for assistance, according to a new paper published in the journal Health Affairs. Why are so many people turning down government help? In short, we don't know for sure. But the study, authored by researchers from the...
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  • Aug 8,2017
    In April 2015, a couple from San Jose, California, quietly bought one of America’s most exclusive and expensive streets for a song. For a measly $90,000, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Tina Lam and Michael Cheng purchased San Francisco’s tony, private Presidio Terrace. Flanked by mansions that sell in the eight figures, the street has been managed by nearby homeowners—which have included...
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  • Aug 7,2017
    American progressives like to remember the mid–20th century as a time when the only thing higher than a Cadillac’s tail fin was the top marginal tax rate (which, during the Eisenhower years peaked above 90 percent for the very rich). Uncle Sam took 90 cents on the dollar off the highest incomes, and—as any good Bernie Sanders devotee will remind you—the economy thrived. Conservatives, however,...
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  • Aug 3,2017
    The Trump administration may or may not be preparing a legal assault against college affirmative action policies. But in case lawsuits do start flying, here's a piece of context that's worth keeping in mind: Outside the very top tiers of higher education, race-based admissions have largely disappeared already. That was the finding from a recent working paper by sociologists Daniel Hirschman of Brown...
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  • Aug 1,2017
    The full transcript of Donald Trump's Wall Street Journal interview, which leaked to Politico, is enough to make anyone spiral into despair—like most performances from our president, it's full of moments that illustrate his tenuous grasp of reality. As Slate's official economics correspondent, though, there was one section that left me especially crestfallen—in just one short paragraph...
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  • Aug 1,2017
    President Trump took to the Twitter-waves to broadcast some important economy news Tuesday morning. Trump usually posts such tweets—another one Tuesday was on the media’s failure to report on the stock market’s gains this year—to take credit for the strength of the economy and reassure his audience (and himself) of his general awesomeness. Trump never tweets negative news, like, say, the crap...
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  • Jul 31,2017
    With Obamacare repeal dead in Congress for the time being, the White House is signaling that it may step up efforts to sabotage the law this week—and possibly throw insurance markets into chaos in the process. The rumblings began with a Saturday afternoon tweet from President Trump, in which he suggested that, after months of toying with the idea, he might finally follow through on a threat to end...
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  • Jul 28,2017
    The tendency to lean on political beliefs is one of the most powerful forces in investing and financial media, and one of the most dangerous. There’s a general sense that Republicans are good for business (lower taxes, fewer regulations, an overall permisiveness) and therefore good for the stock market. And there’s a sense that Democrats are bad for business (higher taxes, more regs, a skepticism...
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  • Jul 27,2017
    Republicans have finally unveiled the “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill they plan to vote on this evening. Like everybody expected, it’s an atrocious bit of policy—a piece of legislation that, as many GOP senators have already admitted, would destabilize the insurance markets by killing off the individual mandate while leaving the Affordable Care Act’s other regulations in place. Somewhat surprisingly,...
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  • Jul 27,2017
    Donald Trump won the presidency in part on the promise of reviving the Rust Belt, ending job loss and population stagnation, and bringing back the halcyon days of meaningful factory work. But if that doesn’t work, the president conceded in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, you should probably just move: I’m going to start explaining to people: When you have an area...
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  • Jul 27,2017
    At some point in the next day or so, Senate Republicans are expected to vote on their Plan C for killing Obamacare—“skinny repeal.” Nobody knows exactly what is in the bill yet, because it was still being written Thursday afternoon. But the rough idea is to wrap a handful of ideas the entire GOP can support into a piece of bare-bones legislation that avoids controversial issues like cuts to Medicaid...
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  • Jul 26,2017
    Right now, Senate Republicans are desperately attempting to pass something—anything—that can plausibly be called Obamacare repeal so they can then sit down with their colleagues in the House and craft a piece of compromise legislation both chambers will vote on. The plan is to keep making forward progress and hope that sheer momentum carries this whole shambolic legislative effort over the goal...
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  • Jul 26,2017
    Once again, President Donald Trump is slamming his perceived enemies on Twitter, this week returning to an old favorite: the Washington Post, whose owner is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Though the Post is a separate company from Amazon, Trump tried to smear both by referring to the paper as the “Amazon Washington Post” and asking whether it was a “Lobbyist for Amazon and taxes?” In Trump’s rhetoric,...
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  • Jul 25,2017
    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels. And politics may be the last refuge of CEOs whose companies miss their earnings. In a call Tuesday, Michael Roth, CEO of the giant advertising agency Interpublic, blamed the firm’s disappointing earnings—which sent the shares down 12 percent—on nonexistent political happenings. “Our results in the quarter reflect the fact that macro uncertainty...
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  • Jul 25,2017
      With just hours to go before they are expected to start voting on health care despite there being no actual legislation in sight, desperate Senate Republicans are reportedly considering a last-resort, stripped-down bill that would end Obamacare's individual mandate, along with some of its taxes, while leaving the rest of the law untouched.  Here is how the four-step “skinny repeal”...
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  • Jul 24,2017
    When the Dutch company Fairphone launched in 2013, it was supposed to be built around two related principles: sustainability, in the sense that it maintained decent working conditions and used entirely sustainable, less-hazardous, or recycled materials; and sustainability in the sense that you wouldn’t have to chuck its phone after two years. Hoping to break the typical life cycle of smartphones,...
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  • Jul 21,2017
    Here is the most generous way I can explain the policy goal that Senate Republicans are trying to accomplish with their health care bill, some version of which may finally get a vote next week. By deeply cutting Medicaid while offering adults who live below or just above the poverty line subsidies to buy inexpensive, catastrophic insurance coverage, they are looking to move people off of a government...
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  • Jul 21,2017
    Of course Anthony Scaramucci is joining the White House. If you look at his career on Wall Street, in media, and in public life, he checks just about every box that Trump would want for a communications director—in part because there’s a remarkable level of Trumpiness to him. He’s like Trump’s younger, shorter double, except he’s a bit of a globalist and he can speak in complete sentences. But...
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  • Jul 21,2017
    As the Trump era drags on, the hope that cities would be bastions of resistance has melted into air. In some cases, cities don’t have the authority to serve as an effective bulwark against Republican control of statehouses and Washington, and against federal agencies like ICE. In others, they don’t have the capacity to preserve or increase protections for the poor and vulnerable. But there is...
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  • Jul 19,2017
    After the Republican health care bill collapsed Monday night beneath the weight of the party's ideological incoherence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a plan B. He would revive the bill to simply repeal most of Obamacare that the GOP Congress passed in 2015. Then his caucus could figure out a replacement for the law a few years down the line. It is unclear if that's still his strategy,...
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  • Jul 19,2017
    For eight years, Rob Astorino has led Westchester County, New York in its refusal to comply with the terms of a federal consent degree to hasten the integration of New York City’s racially stratified wealthy northern suburbs. Ten times, the county submitted a self-satisfied examination of how county zoning impacts racial segregation and what leaders planned to do about it. (Conclusions: It doesn’t;...
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  • Jul 18,2017
    Now that the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare appears to have crashed, you’re probably wondering whether the health law is finally safe for good. After all, conservatives have spent the past seven years hunting it like a pack of would-be Captain Ahabs, only to find themselves swimming amid the political wreckage of their efforts. The GOP couldn't possibly want any more of this punishment, could...
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  • Jul 18,2017
    The Senate health care bill appears to be dead—done in by the Republican Party's inability to agree on a basic philosophical question: Should healthy Americans have to subsidize the sick? This is the quandary that has dogged GOP lawmakers throughout their entire attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Many of that law's most popular planks—such as the rules banning discrimination...
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  • Jul 17,2017
    For once, foreign bankers are the most popular people in Europe, as pols in Ireland, France, Germany, and beyond try to recruit financial operations that will likely be disrupted by the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. Friday was the deadline for international financial institutions based in the U.K. to submit contingency plans to the Bank of England explaining what they plan to do...
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  • Jul 14,2017
    One of the first things that virtually every health policy expert noticed about the latest version of the Senate health care bill was that it would effectively shunt Americans with pre-existing conditions into their own separate insurance market, where they could potentially face sky-high premiums. This was thanks to a provision negotiated by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who demanded it in return for his support. Cruz,...
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  • Jul 13,2017
    Ted Cruz: 1. Humanity: 0. That is, sadly, the simplest way I can summarize the latest version of the Senate health care bill, which Republicans unveiled Thursday afternoon. Not much has fundamentally changed about the legislation, which still amounts to a large tax cut financed by shearing away large swaths of the social safety net. But it does represent a big win for the senator from Texas, as it...
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  • Jul 13,2017
    There is something knowing about the title of Visa’s latest initiative, the Visa Challenge, in which the payment company will offer 50 restaurants, cafes, and food trucks $10,000 each to eliminate cash payments. “We are declaring war on cash,” a Visa spokesman told the Associated Press. It’s a bit like if GM issued a Chevrolet Challenge, and gave you money to drive around in a Silverado (perhaps...
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  • Jul 13,2017
    It is easy enough these days, in countless metropolises, to pick up and pay for a bike or car in one place and drop it off in another—so easy that an entrepreneurial sort might conclude that the model could be applied to other consumer products that city-dwellers often require. Like umbrellas. Or basketballs. But the recent foibles of two Chinese companies illustrate how hard it is to translate...
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  • Jul 12,2017
    Qatar, the subject of a crippling blockade by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, will welcome 4,000 herbivorous foreigners in the coming months to help fulfill the country’s dairy demands. Arriving on a Qatar Airways flight from Germany via Budapest, the first batch of 165 cows landed in the tiny Gulf nation on Tuesday and were promptly transported to a newly built dairy facility. Dairy products...
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  • Jul 11,2017
    Even if he fails to repeal Obamacare, it looks like Donald Trump will be responsible for ratcheting up insurance premiums for millions of Americans in 2018. That much is becoming clear now that insurers have started requesting their annual rate increases. The numbers so far are staggering. With filings submitted in 18 states, carriers have asked regulators to let them hike premiums by an average of...
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  • Jul 11,2017
      For a few years following the recession, there was some speculation that America had reached peak driving. Possible reasons for this epochal shift included reurbanization, telecommuting, and the stall of southbound migration patterns (we like our towns denser up north). It now appears the shift was a blip. The past three years have all but erased a 10-year decline in driving that began in...
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  • Jul 10,2017
    In the two developed-world economies that suffered the most during the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing recession, the central banks are at last declaring victory. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates three times in the past seven months and has telegraphed its intention to start shrinking its massive balance sheet this year. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen remarked in June that another...
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  • Jul 10,2017
    Navigation technology is making you dumb—or at least a little less geographically knowledgable than you would be if you were using a traditional paper map. This process, which experts call “spatial cognitive deskilling,” has been demonstrated over and over again: As we grow more and more dependent on sophisticated navigation services like Waze, our brains stop doing the heavy lifting necessary...
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  • Jul 7,2017
    On Aug. 28, St. Louis may become the first city in the United States to see its minimum wage fall, from $10 an hour to $7.70 an hour, as the Missouri statehouse enables a pay cut for some 35,000 workers. That’s the date when a new state pre-emption law, drafted specifically to target St. Louis, is scheduled to take effect. The Missouri measure will override the city’s own minimum wage increase,...
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  • Jun 30,2017
    On the one hand, we’re told, robots are coming to take all our jobs any day now. But then there are 6 million job openings in the U.S., and large companies in a range of industries are telling us they are running out of humans to perform labor. The reality, of course, is somewhere in between. Automation is substituting for human labor in ways large and small. The productivity engine isn’t completely...
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  • Jun 29,2017
    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Manhattan on Thursday to declare a “state of emergency” at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the beleaguered agency that moves millions, some of them to the office and some of them to tears, every workday. The event in question was the launch of the MTA Genius Transit Challenge, a yearlong quest to figure out how to run a big city subway system. Three...
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  • Jun 29,2017
    One of the key reasons Senate Republicans have not been able to reach a health care compromise is that they can't agree about what to do with Obamacare's insurance market regulations. Conservatives, like Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, want to let states junk all of them in order to make coverage cheaper for healthy adults. Moderates, meanwhile, don't want to be blamed for eliminating highly popular consumer...
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  • Jun 27,2017
    To New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who so loves his fancy car and flashing lights but is unfortunately saddled with the extremely grown-up responsibility of running the busiest subway system in the Western world, I recommend a child’s lesson: When you get in trouble, tell the truth. Fessing up would be a necessary tonic for Cuomo’s dissembling act about who controls the Metropolitan Transportation...
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  • Jun 27,2017
    On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the Senate's Obamacare repeal legislation would leave 22 million Americans uninsured within a decade. Most people in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, seem to have accepted that this forecast is, in fact, not flattering to the bill (which is one reason why a vote on the thing has been postponed). But a few stalwart conservatives have...
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  • Jun 26,2017
      The Congressional Budget Office confirmed on Monday that Republicans are incapable of writing a humane health care bill. The Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act, which it revealed to the public on Friday and may vote on this week, would leave 22 million additional Americans uninsured within a decade, according to the CBO, largely by cutting both Medicaid and subsidies for private insurance...
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  • Jun 26,2017
    On Monday, Trump party planner Lynne Patton assumed her role at the top of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Region II, HUD's largest bureau, where she will oversee HUD operations in New York and New Jersey. Patton's experience in government and housing amounts to a six-month stint as the department's director of public engagement, during which she organized director Ben Carson's speaking...
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  • Jun 26,2017
    The U.S. Conference of Mayors is meeting this week in Miami Beach, a perfect locale for a group that, following President Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, sees itself as the heir to America’s global leadership on climate change. And then some: U.S. cities (and states) have also recently supplanted the federal government in negotiating with Canada. They have crafted...
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  • Jun 26,2017
    After spending seven years attacking Obamacare's unpopular individual mandate for requiring Americans to buy insurance, Senate Republicans have decided to replace it with a rule that could be even more politically toxic. Under the proposal, Americans who let their health insurance lapse for 63 days over the previous year will have to wait at least six months before they can get coverage again—even...
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  • Jun 22,2017
    Uber CEO Travis Kalanick may have been pressured into resigning on Tuesday after major investors demanded he do so, but now some of his former employees are demanding he remain in place in an “operational role.” Michael York, a product manager at Uber, sent around an email to staff on Wednesday with a petition for company employees to sign, as multiple outlets have reported. The email received...
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  • Jun 22,2017
    One of the expressed intentions of Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare is to undo some of the age-related distribution inherent in the system. Today, healthy young people pay more so that older, less-healthy people don’t have to pay quite as much. The Republican plan unveiled in the Senate on Thursday sharply scales back the distributional nature of the system—on an income basis,...
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  • Jun 22,2017
    Buried deep in the Senate health care bill is a provision that is designed to penalize Northeastern states that have traditionally run generous Medicaid programs while carving out special exemptions for sparsely populated Western states like Alaska, which are conveniently represented by Republicans. Call it the Klondike kickback.1 It is not the most egregious part of this legislation by any means,...
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  • Jun 22,2017
    The defining feature of the Senate Republican health care bill is that, over the long term, it would absolutely decimate Medicaid—moreso even than the House legislation passed last month. And it accomplishes this wrecking job with surprising efficiency, a mere six lines of text in a 142-page document. Here's what that translates to. Like their House colleagues, Senate GOPers want to cap the amount...
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  • Jun 21,2017
    Details of the Senate’s “draft” health care bill, which Republicans were set to unveil Thursday after weeks of secretive negotiations, have finally leaked—and from the sound of things, Mitch McConnell and his cohorts have written a morally appalling piece of legislation that many conservatives will nonetheless find deeply underwhelming. According to the Washington Post, which cites “a discussion...
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  • Jun 21,2017
    When the pugnacious Uber CEO and founder Travis Kalanick announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence last week, it was, at least in part, an effort to mollify his critics inside and outside the company—the ones who said that Uber’s sexist, brutish workplace culture had become too toxic not to require a wholesale overhaul, the ones repulsed by the startup’s mercenary business tactics,...
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  • Jun 20,2017
    In the wake of scandal, a corporate shake-up, and a federal investigation, is Uber’s decision to finally add a tipping function this July an olive branch to the company’s drivers? Why else would the New York–based independent drivers guild have called it an "important win”? Doesn’t the policy come with other worker perks, like charges for wait time? Plus, couldn’t this newfound posture...
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  • Jun 20,2017
    The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday morning that delivery giant UPS will add a small shipping surcharge for packages this holiday season. Between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2—the period including Black Friday and Cyber Monday—and again between Dec. 17 and Dec. 23, shippers will pay an additional 27 cents for ground shipments (and an additional 81 cents for next-day air delivery). This is, in a word,...
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  • Jun 19,2017
    Thanks to Amazon’s surprise acquisition of Whole Foods, the e-commerce giant’s odds of world domination feel more inevitable than usual these days. But in India last week, the biggest rival to Amazon’s business there showed just how precarious the company’s ascendance might be. Last Thursday, Indian antitrust regulators announced they would allow Bangalore-based Flipkart to purchase eBay’s...
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  • Jun 19,2017
    With health care negotiations hitting a critical stretch this week, Senate Republicans are reportedly considering a new plan that would cut per-patient Medicaid spending even deeper than the bill passed last month by the House. According to the Hill, lawmakers are considering a tweak to the program's funding formula that would, for all intents and purposes, put its budget in a vise. The House legislation,...
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  • Jun 16,2017
    On Friday morning, news broke that Walmart had purchased the menswear retailer Bonobos for $310 million. Arriving, as it did, in tandem with the announcement that Amazon had acquired Whole Foods for a far more astonishing figure, Walmart’s purchase threatened to become a footnote. Nevertheless, the Bonobos deal suggests an important story about the ways Walmart is striving to reach out into new markets—some...
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  • Jun 16,2017
    In recent years, traffic has gotten bad in the tony Silicon Valley town of Los Altos Hills, California. The big-picture problem is that the San Francisco Peninsula has become a global business hub but hasn’t adapted its road and rail network (or its housing supply, for that matter) to accommodate that. So there’s traffic in places like Los Altos Hills, which straddles Interstate 280 west of Mountain...
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  • Jun 16,2017
    Amazon will buy Whole Foods for more than $13 billion, Bloomberg News and others reported Friday morning. The move should awe but not shock. Amazon was already pushing into the $800 billion grocery business via its Amazon Fresh delivery business, which competes with the likes of Instacart, FreshDirect, and Google Express. So far these services have made inroads mostly in the nation’s densest cities,...
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  • Jun 15,2017
    The liberty-lovin’ Texas Legislature meets once every two years, which isn’t always enough time to enact a liberty-lovin’ agenda. Which is why, last week, Gov. Greg Abbott called the legislature in for a special July session covering issues like abortion, property taxes, and school financing—the statehouse equivalent of summer school. And then, in the middle of an ambitious 19-item agenda,...
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  • Jun 15,2017
    Right now, the second most important health care story in the country may well be unfolding in Iowa. The most important story, of course, is the Senate GOP’s attempt to craft an Obamacare repeal bill entirely behind closed doors. But if that effort sputters—God willing—the future of the Affordable Care Act, and the extent to which conservative-leaning states will be able to simply rewrite it...
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  • Jun 15,2017
    On Tuesday, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced he would take an indefinite leave of absence from the company. The move followed an ever-tightening spiral of scandals for the San Francisco–based ride-hailing juggernaut that boiled over this week following the resignation of the company’s senior vice president for business, Emil Michael, on Monday; the release of a report by former Attorney General...
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  • Jun 14,2017
    On June 1, the U.S. Climate Mayors—a network of more than 300 city leaders, including the mayors of the country’s five largest cities—published a commitment to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.” The cities would carry out the promises Donald Trump had abandoned. I have bad news for this feel-good caucus. Want to fight climate change?...
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  • Jun 13,2017
    When the House was busy negotiating its Obamacare repeal bill this spring, conservative Republicans said they had one—and pretty much only one—goal for the legislation: It had to bring down insurance premiums. Period. “I can tell you that there is one score that the American people will pay attention to,” Mark Meadows, chairman of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, said in March, after the...
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  • Jun 13,2017
    Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced Tuesday he is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the company, after the death of his mother in a boating accident and a series of scandals over Uber's workplace environment and business tactics. "If we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader this company needs and that you deserve," Kalanick wrote in...
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  • Jun 13,2017
    Today in heartbreaking indictments of the entire U.S. health care system: Bloomberg is out with a piece about how online crowdfunding campaigns by families who need help paying medical bills have become so common they're driving the growth of major platforms like GoFundMe. And given the direction health care seems to be headed in this country, companies expect that trend to continue. "Whether...
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  • Jun 9,2017
    In a speech on Friday dedicated to speeding up infrastructure construction, President Trump couldn’t resist deploying one of his favorite props: a big stack of paper. This time, the paper was the 10,000-page environmental report for the Intercounty Connector, an 18-mile highway in Maryland, enclosed in three binders that the president borrowed from a state highway official to demonstrate the waste...
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  • Jun 9,2017
    In the early 1990s, Apple built prototypes for a pair of blocky, white sneakers, exclusively for Apple employees. With their sateen tongues and vintage rainbow logo, they’re either a normcore dream or the ultimate dad shoe, and they quickly disappeared into obscurity. In 2007, one of these rare items emerged on eBay and sold for $79. Now another is on the market—the only other, according to Heritage...
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  • Jun 9,2017
    On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the Financial Choice Act, which is aimed at reducing the regulatory burden on banks imposed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. As the Wall Street Journal noted, the Financial Choice Act would “subject new financial rules to cost-benefit analysis, boost penalties for financial wrongdoers and repeal the Volcker rule restricting banks from speculative trading.”...
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  • Jun 8,2017
    It’s a cliché to observe that the objectives of the Republican Party do not often align with the interests of its  constituents—that an unholy alliance of megacapitalists and forgotten men is bound to have its fissures. And one of those fissures runs right through the administration’s infrastructure plan, which returned (again, and briefly) to the headlines with a proposal to privatize...
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  • Jun 7,2017
    Thanks to the state of Kansas, we now get to find out whether Republicans are capable of learning from their failures. On Tuesday, lawmakers in Topeka finally ended their costly misadventure in supply-side economics, when the GOP-dominated Legislature voted by wide margins to override a veto by Gov. Sam Brownback and reverse the massive tax cuts he championed in 2012. Kansas has faced chronic budget...
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  • Jun 7,2017
    All this time, all we needed to change America’s exploitative model of pro sports stadium construction was an Englishman to show us the way. Enter David Beckham, the midfielder-turned-mogul whose four-year quest to bring a new Major League Soccer franchise to Miami cleared a major milestone on Tuesday evening when the Miami-Dade Commission approved a deal to sell his group three acres of land,...
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  • Jun 6,2017
    You've heard all about Obamacare's deductibles. They're too damn high, supposedly. Families are forced to pay for health plans that leave them on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills before their care is covered, leading them to skip doctors' visits and meds even though they're theoretically insured. The New York Times has written about the issue. Donald Trump has ranted about it (even...
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  • Jun 6,2017
    Anthem, one of the nation's largest insurers, has announced it will pull out of Ohio's Affordable Care Act market in 2018, a move that will leave residents in up to 20 counties without any options for buying coverage on the state's exchange next year. The company's decision is yet another sign of how the Trump administration has managed to destabilize large chunks of the individual insurance landscape...
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  • Jun 5,2017
    The Trump administration kicked off “Infrastructure Week” on Monday with a proposal to privatize air traffic control, transferring control over American airspace from the Federal Aviation Administration to a private, nonprofit board. In a largely scripted speech from the White House, which was followed by a faux signing ceremony of airspace “principles” to transmit to Congress, Trump predicted...
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  • Jun 5,2017
    In the wake of the decision to leave the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Trump administration has been touting the salutary impact of its policies and general attitude on the beleaguered coal sector. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Meet the Press on Sunday that “in fact since the fourth quarter of last year to most recently added almost 50,000 jobs in the...
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  • Jun 2,2017
    On Thursday afternoon, Donald Trump delivered a factually challenged speech announcing that the United States would exit the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. In his address, the president made the case that staying in costs American taxpayers exorbitant amounts of money. “We’re going to be paying billions and billions and billions of dollars,” Trump claimed in his Rose Garden announcement....
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  • Jun 1,2017
    Tesla CEO Elon Musk and a bevy of corporate bigwigs reacted quickly to Donald Trump’s decision to yank the United States out of the Paris climate accord, which the president announced after a smooth jazz performance in the Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately for Trump, the musical intro did little to sooth the business leaders. They’re not happy. Musk was a member of the president’s...
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  • Jun 1,2017
    Donald Trump officially announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change on Thursday, framing the 2015 deal as a kind of global plot to sabotage America. “The Paris Agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense,” Trump said. “They...
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