Here are some highlights.

America’s Mayors Say the Heartland Needs Immigrants

By Fiona Harrigan, Reason, June 24, 2024.


As population and economic downturns hit many parts of the American heartland, some policy analysts and elected officials have begun to throw their support behind place-based visas that would bring high-skilled immigrants to those areas facing decline or stagnation. The idea got another nod this weekend.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors—a nonpartisan organization of mayors and other elected officials who represent cities with populations of 30,000 or more—called on federal lawmakers to establish a “heartland visa” that would bring high-skilled immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs to communities facing population and economic decline.

Why Does (It At Least Appear That) Justice Barrett Applies “New,” “Heightened,” and “Elevated” Standing Rules?

by Josh Blackman, Reason, June 28, 2024.


It is a tall order! The standards she erects are so byzantine, it is unlikely that anyone could ever satisfy them. And maybe that’s the point. Justice Barrett, more than anyone else on the Court, is serving as the gatekeeper. She is extremely stingy on cert grants. She turns away all emergency petitions on the shadow docket (unless they’re from the Fifth Circuit). She no longer believes in cert before judgment. And she forces lawyers to establish standing to a degree of certitude I’ve never seen before. Critics often charge that the Roberts Court is slamming shut the courthouse doors. Justice Barrett is the embodiment of that theme.


I’ve made this point before, and I’ll make it again. Justice Barrett spent virtually no time in private practice. During her time in academia, she engaged in zero litigation. And she had a very brief stint on the appellate court. She simply lacks the experience of a lawyer who has tried to seek expedited relief in a complex case with a fast-moving timeline. When she asserts that sophisticated litigants failed to meet a burden that is not clearly established in the case law, introspection would suggest that such a burden is not really present. I get the sense that Justice Barrett grades briefs like she would grade a seminar paper–or worse, give feedback at a faculty workshop. She has exceedingly high expectations which are borne based on her subjective sense of which cases belong in federal courts and which do not.

DRH note: The way I put Josh’s point when I was explaining it to someone at pickleball yesterday is, “She seems to be grading students’ papers and insisting that they get an A+.”


The Free-Market Tories Britain Needed

by Ryan Bourne, AIER, June 28, 2024.

Americans who only dabble with British politics, the recent TV debate between Labour leader Keir Starmer and Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak might have sounded familiar. That’s because the Tory leader’s electoral pitch on economics could have easily come from a Reaganite Republican. “Vote Labour, and your family’s taxes will go up substantially,” was Sunak’s paraphrased message. “Not just that, but your fuel bills will jump as Labour ploughs on with unnecessarily rapid plans to decarbonize the economy.” Here was Sunak sounding like Grover Norquist, warning that Britain’s progressive left would increase people’s taxes and ramp up costly environmental regulations.

To which a Brit would say: “the brass neck of it!” Yes, Labour will surely do more tax and spend and regulation than the Conservatives. But Sunak’s own government has been no stranger to growing the state’s footprint and raising taxes aggressively already. Indeed, under Sunak’s chancellorship turned premiership, the UK’s total tax burden has risen a whopping 3.4 percent of GDP since 2019 to its highest level since the aftermath of World War II. The Prime Minister has frozen income tax thresholds through a high inflation environment to deliver the largest stealth tax increase in British history. All this to finance a state that has already grown to over 40 percent of GDP — its biggest since the start of the Thatcher revolution — with the Tories pushing for new regulators for digital markets and football, their own net zero target, a further state takeover of early years childcare, and plans to (in time) totally ban smoking.

DRH note:

I pointed out to Ryan, when considering this article, that I particularly appreciate the fact that he put the tax increases as a percent of GDP; it’s an important dose of numeracy. He replied that that is more commonly done in Britain than in the U.S.

I also just noticed that Ryan put it in terms of tax burden, which isn’t quite correct. Tax burden includes the deadweight loss from taxes, which, at that level of taxation, would be quite high since the DWL from a tax is proportional to the square of the tax rate. A correct statement would be that tax revenues have risen by 3.4 percent of GDP.

A Day in the Life of a California Fast-Food Manager Who Makes Up to $174,000

by Heather Haddon, Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2024.

Monique Pizano has spent three years as a general manager and her six-figure earnings have helped her save for a house down payment, take a honeymoon to Japan and support her mom.

The 27-year-old from Ontario, Calif., feels lucky—many of her fellow University of California, Riverside, graduates haven’t been able to find jobs or are earning low hourly wages.

Pizano is one of about 850 general managers for Raising Cane’s, where her pay can reach $174,000 annually including bonuses based on her location’s sales and profit. The fast-growing chicken chain views its managers as critical partners, and the company, based in Baton Rouge, La., pays them to be perfectionists.

I found this article, which is, unfortunately, gated, very inspiring.

Note that there is some regulation here:

Gaining less attention was the requirement for chains to boost pay for managers. Big fast-food chains are required to pay salaried managers at least $83,200 to comply with California rules, up from $66,560. If not, operators need to pay their managers an hourly wage, plus overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week.

But clearly, in the case of Monique Pisano, that regulation is non-binding.

By the way, Heather Haddon is becoming one of my favorite WSJ reporters on labor market issues: she calls balls and strikes fairly, something that WSJ reporters don’t always do.