I’m a day late on posting highlights of my weekly reading because I got sick Friday night and felt crappy until this morning, when I feel so-so.

Eric Boehm, “Baseball Star Shohei Ohtani’s New Contract Is a Massive Tax Avoidance Scheme. Nice!,” Reason, December 15, 2023.


The 29-year-old Ohtani will collect $2 million in each of the next 10 years. The rest of Ohtani’s $68 million salary will be deferred for a decade, and the Dodgers will owe it to him in annual installments starting in 2034. By the time Ohtani collects the last of those payments in 2043, he’ll be 49 years old (and almost certainly well into retirement).

Because he’ll be playing most of his games in high-tax California, taking most of his pay via what’s effectively a fixed annuity gives Ohtani the possibility of avoiding some massive tax payments. “By the time he starts receiving the $68 million payments, he may be able to avoid state income taxes by living someplace like Florida without an income tax, or by moving back to Japan,” The Wall Street Journal reported this week.

Notice the word “avoidance,” not “evasion.” As far as I can tell, there is nothing illegal in this.

All of the $68 million that he doesn’t take immediately would have been taxed at a whopping 12.3 percent.

Steven Greenhut, “Why Are California’s Animal Shelters Killing So Many Pets?Reason, December 15, 2023.


Yet The Orange County Register‘s Teri Sforza reported on data analyzed by a former volunteer and found the “kill rate for adult dogs…has nearly doubled since 2018, and the amount of time they spend behind bars has jumped 60 percent.” During the pandemic, the shelter stopped walk-in visits and required appointments. That was understandable then, but even after the pandemic ended the shelter continued focusing on appointments and requiring accompanied visits.

Obviously, fewer people will fall in love with a purring or barking buddy if they can’t wander through the kennels and see which animal pulls at their heartstrings. You can no more pick out a pet based on a shelter’s photo than you can pick out a spouse solely on their dating website bio. Animal Care increased the number of walk-in visits amid criticism, but it’s still absurdly limited and I gave up trying to get info after a really long wait on its phone line.

The bureaucrats who run the facility—the largest municipal “animal-care” operation in the West—depict these customer-unfriendly, animal-harming policies as a means to protect the critters from stress and protect the public from animal bites. In reality, it’s just the latest instance of government putting the employees’ convenience above the public good—like the way public schools and teachers’ unions dragged their feet on school re-openings.

Adam N. Michel, “2026 Tax Increases in One Chart,” Cato at Liberty, December 12, 2023.