A capital-gains tax break sold as a way to induce the wealthy to invest in poor neighborhoods, opportunity zones appear to be providing more opportunity for the wealthy to cut their tax bills than to the people who live in designated zones. It’s a case study on how very hard it is to tweak the tax code to direct money to places and activities that Congress favors without creating windfalls for the rich.
Two books by three brave economists carry a simple message: There is no student loan crisis—if by “crisis” one means that a huge number of Americans are buried under piles of debt for college educations that aren’t paying off.
Tom Wainwright, a reporter of The Economist, argues in “Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel” that the illegal drug trade resembles a global, highly organized business and the boasts and complaints of the notorious characters who run the cartels remind him of corporate managers.
There’s no question that most American industries have become more concentrated. Economists are trying to understand whether this is necessarily a bad thing for competition. The government’s approach to antitrust violations is due for an overhaul.
Mark Riley was 53 years old when he lost his job. Three years (in 2014) he was still looking. He was not unusual. In that year, more than one in six men between the ages of 25 and 54 didn’t have jobs, about three times the fraction in the early 1970s.