Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Community, I Learned in the Shtetl of Squirrel Hill

Three years ago, I was asked to deliver the keynote address at the American Jewish Committee Annual Dinner.  I chose to use that opportunity to explain what was so special about my childhood neighborhood, Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After the attack in Squirrel Hill yesterday, just a short walk from the front door of … Continue reading Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Community, I Learned in the Shtetl of Squirrel Hill

Dialogue on Catalan Independence

Today the Parliament of Catalonia declared independence from Spain, a move Spain declares illegal. It is the first contested independence declaration in Western Europe since Sinn Fein declared the Irish Republic in 1919.(*) In an effort to understand the positions of both sides, I have created a dialogue between two imaginary characters, both Catalan. Gemma … Continue reading Dialogue on Catalan Independence

Intergenerational Mobility Isn’t Always a Good Thing

Over at Learn Liberty, I take on the recent kerfuffle over intergenerational mobility. Some scholars and journalists are saying that the U.S. has a major "problem" with mobility because its "churn" numbers (the rate at which children of rich parents fall into lower income deciles and children of poor parents rise into higher ones) are … Continue reading Intergenerational Mobility Isn’t Always a Good Thing

Federalism Isn’t Unfair

My latest for Learn Liberty looks at proposals for starting an equalization program to redistribute from rich to poor states in the U.S. and finds them wanting. Due to the audience for that blog, I kept that post nontechnical and brief. I'll reproduce part of it here and then elaborate on some of the complexities … Continue reading Federalism Isn’t Unfair

Should the U.S. Recognize Catalonia If It Secedes from Spain?

Over at Learn Liberty, I take up the question of what the rest of the world should do if Catalonia's referendum on independence on October 1 succeeds, as is expected. I apply some straightforward assumptions about justice and individual freedom to the case. Secession is hard because it always involves violating some people's rights -- … Continue reading Should the U.S. Recognize Catalonia If It Secedes from Spain?

What’s Wrong with Immigration Restrictions? The Same Thing That’s Wrong with Gun Control

My latest post at Learn Liberty explores the close parallels between certain arguments for immigration restrictions and gun restrictions: A common argument for restricting immigration to the United States and other developed countries — maybe even the most plausible one — runs like this. Opening the borders will bring in people who will consume more … Continue reading What’s Wrong with Immigration Restrictions? The Same Thing That’s Wrong with Gun Control

The Health Care Shell Game: Why Not Leave Policy to the States?

In my latest blog post for Learn Liberty, I take on arguments against decentralizing health care policy to the states on the grounds of fiscal capacity: So if federal ACA spending were cut or even zeroed out, why couldn’t states that like the legislation simply reinstate the same taxes and spending that the federal government … Continue reading The Health Care Shell Game: Why Not Leave Policy to the States?