The Security Value of Inefficiency

For decades, we have prized efficiency in our economy. We strive for it. We reward it. In normal times, that’s a good thing. Running just at the margins is efficient. A single just-in-time global supply chain is efficient. Consolidation is efficient. And that’s all profitable. Inefficiency, on the other hand, is waste. Extra inventory is … Read more The Security Value of Inefficiency

Hot Dogs, the Jewish American Fast Food

Many think that fast food was invented by Ray Kroc when he opened his first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955. But it is probably Nathan Handwerker who deserves the distinction, argues his grandson Lloyd Handwerker in his new book Famous Nathan (in 2014 Handwerker made a documentary film with the same name). Nathan … Read more Hot Dogs, the Jewish American Fast Food

We’re All Living in Youngstown Now

Today’s professional white collar workers are about to get the same treatment as steel and auto workers received in the 1970s and 80s. Back then the narrative was unequivocal. Manufacturing was dominated by overpaid highly unionized workers who were lazy and entitled. Wages and benefits were too high. Productivity and innovation were being stifled by … Read more We’re All Living in Youngstown Now

The Cloud over the Future of America’s Downtowns

America’s downtowns were on a roll. Starting to revive in the 1980s and ’90s after years of decline, they had grown to become regional engines again: destinations for entertainment, residential neighborhoods in their own right, and homes to growth in business sectors as industries like technology startups began to cluster there. Some downtowns were downright … Read more The Cloud over the Future of America’s Downtowns

First Family, Then Freedom

Without stronger kin, the American way grows fatally weak. . . . We should be concerned about the falling fortunes of the family in this nation because, as Thomas Klingenstein has noted, such a downfall poses a very real threat to the health of the American way of life. Consider three key elements of our … Read more First Family, Then Freedom

The Virus’s Uneven Path: Working-class communities face mounting economic stress

In this miserable Covid-19 spring, it’s tempting for remote workers to vent our frustrations with being hemmed in, forced to stare at screens while unable to do much else other than walk around the block or go to Costco. Yet the pain felt by the teleworking middle class is dwarfed by that of working-class Americans. … Read more The Virus’s Uneven Path: Working-class communities face mounting economic stress

The Conservative Case for the U.S. Postal Service

The Postal Service is financially burdened by a mandate to pre-fund its retiree’s healthcare benefits decades in advance—a requirement that does not apply to any other branch of government (or private corporation). This directive had placed the Postal Service in a precarious financial position even before the economy was shut down due to COVID-19, so … Read more The Conservative Case for the U.S. Postal Service

Heritage Foundation: More than half of all U.S. counties report zero COVID-19 deaths

More than half of all U.S. counties have reported no coronavirus-related deaths, an analysis by the Heritage Foundation shows. In light of the data, the Heritage Foundation created a National Coronavirus Recovery Commission to offer policy solutions to lawmakers to avert an economic depression “regardless of whether COVID-19 is suppressed in the next several months … Read more Heritage Foundation: More than half of all U.S. counties report zero COVID-19 deaths

Delivering when it matters: Quick-service restaurants in coronavirus times

With much of the world’s population being asked or required to stay home and follow physical-distancing guidelines, once-bustling restaurants and cafés now sit empty. Although a few quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are seeing heightened demand in takeout and delivery—several US pizza chains, for instance, are hiring thousands of workers as orders spike—most other QSRs have experienced … Read more Delivering when it matters: Quick-service restaurants in coronavirus times

No students. No graduation. ‘Total devastation’ in college towns during coronavirus pandemic

Before the closures, no one could have imagined that for Clemson’s (South Carolina) 50-year-old downtown district. The football team’s run of championship contenders and a 30% rise in enrollment since 2010 propelled a surge on College Avenue after the 2008 economic recession and road construction that discouraged traffic through the area. Now, the open parking … Read more No students. No graduation. ‘Total devastation’ in college towns during coronavirus pandemic

Kitchen Nightmares In The Restaurant Apocalypse of 2020

Restaurants never run themselves. The work routine cannot be established and then left on autopilot. The work is endless and thankless. Five percent of it, perhaps, has something to do with cooking; the other 95 percent is cleaning, budgeting, ordering, hiring, managing, filling out paperwork and paying taxes. A restaurant is not a big dinner … Read more Kitchen Nightmares In The Restaurant Apocalypse of 2020

As Food Supply Chain Breaks Down, Farm-To-Door CSAs Take Off

Images of some American farmers dumping milk, plowing under crops and tossing perishables amid sagging demand and falling prices during the deadly coronavirus pandemic has made for dramatic TV. But it’s not the whole story. “We had a reporter call here and say, ‘We want to see some produce rotting in the field and milk … Read more As Food Supply Chain Breaks Down, Farm-To-Door CSAs Take Off

Ten reasons to end the lockdown now

Writing in this magazine a month ago, I applauded the government’s stated aim of trying to follow the science in dealing with Covid. Such promises are easier made than kept. Following science means understanding science. It means engaging with rival interpretations of the limited data in order to tease out what is most important in … Read more Ten reasons to end the lockdown now

States face economic death spiral from coronavirus

Early numbers show how significantly the coronavirus is devastating states’ revenue streams — and could force choices between raising taxes or gutting services and laying off public employees. Why it matters: Even as some states move toward reopening, the economic ramifications of having shut down will haunt them far into the future. When states can … Read more States face economic death spiral from coronavirus

60 Questions Americans Need To Consider About How To Handle Coronavirus

Shutdowns and bailouts are unsustainable for 18 months to two years. We need a new and better set of strategies, and we can’t put it off any further. In mid-April, 69 percent of 2,394 registered U.S. voters polled said it is “necessary” to develop a coronavirus vaccine “before we reopen the economy.” Politicians are beginning … Read more 60 Questions Americans Need To Consider About How To Handle Coronavirus

Mike Rowe Is Right: There’s ‘No Such Thing’ as a Non-Essential Worker

Few people in history have seen more jobs up close than Mike Rowe, the longtime host of the Discovery Channel’s hit TV show Dirty Jobs. Now the blue-collar icon has a message for those who say “non-essential” employees have no business working during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent TV appearance with Dana Perino on … Read more Mike Rowe Is Right: There’s ‘No Such Thing’ as a Non-Essential Worker

Welfare States in Miniature

“Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket,” advises the proverb. Why not? Anyone who ever has spoken with an investment adviser has heard the sermon about diversification of risk. And most people understand that in the context of an investment portfolio. But in other contexts, we respond to risk with the opposite of … Read more Welfare States in Miniature

A critique of contact-tracing apps

I also have worried about how testing and liability law would interact. If the positive cases test as positive, it may be harder for businesses and schools to reopen, because they did not “do enough” to keep the positive cases out, or perhaps the businesses and the schools are the ones doing the testing in … Read more A critique of contact-tracing apps

How to stop the coming meat shortage

“Where’s the Beef?” was once just a funny (yet successful) advertising slogan. But now, it could soon be an actual question on the minds of many shoppers. Amid the coronavirus crisis, some are calling attention to the coming meat shortages the United States faces as the virus continues to ravage our economy. Rep. Thomas Massie … Read more How to stop the coming meat shortage

Farmers’ Markets Adapt to Survive In the ‘New Public Square’

It can sorely be hoped that shutdowns don’t imperil the long-term health of one of the most intensely local of our retail institutions, farmers’ markets. Most states permitted them to continue functioning under lockdown orders. (Virginia was one exception but has since permitted them.) But many markets shut down anyway or canceled or delayed starts … Read more Farmers’ Markets Adapt to Survive In the ‘New Public Square’

Time to Wake Up

Eugénie Bastié: The crisis we are going through seems to be bringing about a return of the State, after decades of talk of its decline. Even President Emmanuel Macron has admitted “we must rebuild our national and European sovereignty.” Are we witnessing the great comeback of the idea of the nation? Pierre Manent: While waiting … Read more Time to Wake Up

Why Politicians Focus on Trivia in the Midst of Disaster

Why would a city, short of tax money in a crisis, pay an enormous sum to disable a public space from being used by the citizens who paid for it? Because the city can do nothing about the virus. In a crisis, we often worry about the wrong things. You’ve probably heard: The municipal government … Read more Why Politicians Focus on Trivia in the Midst of Disaster

The New Class War Comes For The Economy

The coronavirus is being politicized. We hear it all the time. A recent headline at The Atlantic reads: “The Social-Distancing Culture War Has Begun.” On the New York Times opinion page, a contributor laments: “The reopen America protests are the logical conclusion of a twisted liberty movement.” And Vox suspects that GOP megadonors backed recent … Read more The New Class War Comes For The Economy

A Federal Bailout Won’t Fix States’ Finances

Bailing out the Illinois state pension system is the worst idea from a week in which we were discussing the health benefits of mainlining Lysol. (Please do not mainline Lysol. It will kill you.) Irresponsible state and local governments are attempting to exploit the fear and disruption of the coronavirus epidemic to push off the … Read more A Federal Bailout Won’t Fix States’ Finances

Where Will You Live in the Post Covid-19 Future?

Cities are cramped, sprawling suburbs are a dead end. That leaves two places well equipped for uncertain times. he Covid-19 corona virus has suddenly accelerated two momentous historical trends long lurking in the background of everyday life, but generally taken for granted until the crisis forced these issues: the end of globalism as we knew … Read more Where Will You Live in the Post Covid-19 Future?