Justin Katz

Woe Is the Early Retiree

By Justin Katz | April 24, 2008 |

Steve Peoples’s story, which Marc mentioned earlier, of the likely mass retirement of public workers wishing to retain the current healthcare deal for retirees emanates cognitive dissonance. How are readers expected to react to this: Sheila Ellis waited for nearly an hour inside the stuffy reception area of the state retirement office yesterday afternoon. And…

Out of the Mud

By Justin Katz | April 24, 2008 |

Although the details are sparse, thus far, I hope the pending settlement of all lawsuits related to the soil pollution down the hill from me brings the matter to a close that protects everybody involved, and helps those whose health has suffered. It’s certainly been a tragedy of history’s reach into the present. I continue…

Locking Up the “American Temperament”

By Justin Katz | April 24, 2008 |

This bit of tsk-tsking is floating among newspapers: … the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences…

Not a Bad Idea, but Dumb

By Justin Katz | April 24, 2008 |

Yeah, well, while I’m not so sure that forcing hospitals to pay property taxes is such a good idea, RI Senator Harold Metts (D, Providence) has a point when it comes to universities: “In 1989, it was estimated that 35 percent of the city’s taxable properties were owned by a few tax exempt institutions,” said…

Don’t Pie Me, Bro!

By Justin Katz | April 23, 2008 |

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman joins the list of pundits to face the confectionary firing squad: Friedman ducked, and was left with only minor streams of the sugary green goo on his black pants and turtleneck. He stood in bewilderment and mild disgust as the young man and woman bolted from the stage and…

The Cost of Divorce

By Justin Katz | April 23, 2008 |

A recent study (PDF) produced by a group of family-values organizations, led by the Institute for American Values attempts to quantify the public monetary costs of divorce (emphasis in original): Based on the methodology, we estimate that family fragmentation costs U.S. taxpayers at least $112 billion each and every year, or more than $1 trillion…

The Big One’s Yet to Come

By Justin Katz | April 23, 2008 |

Today’s Providence Journal has more on the supplemental budget. There’s some reason to hope that the General Assembly will manage to avoid making things worse — although without bold changes, treading water could simply mean drifting further out to sea. Here’s the key part of the report, though: The vote marks a significant step forward…

Not Going Around the Block

By Justin Katz | April 22, 2008 |

You don’t name a new entity “the Moderate Party” in the current political context without the expectation that social liberalism will be implied. If Ken Block wanted to emphasize the single-minded nature of his new party, he would have called it “the Fiscal Party” or something along that line. Rhode Island conservatives should allow Mr.…

Wait a Second, Mr. Marx

By Justin Katz | April 22, 2008 |

Some aspects of Marxism have a sort of common-sense appeal on first reading. Those of a conservative bent may feel something to be awry, but it takes some sifting to raise, and even then the subtleties foil discussion with those of differing inclinations. Consider Mickey Kaus’s confession of Obamaesque snobbery (via Instapundit): If Democrats had…

Free Trade Is a Two-Way Street

By Justin Katz | April 21, 2008 |

Trade isn’t a topic on which I can express all of the relevant arguments, but this suggestion from University of Maryland School of Business Professor Peter Morici sounds reasonable to me: China is the biggest problem. It subsidizes foreign purchases of its currency, the yuan, more than $460 billion a year, making Chinese products artificially…