If the U.S. and Europe truly want to support the causes of freedom and global integration that hundreds of thousands of protesters are defending in Kiev, there's one simple thing they could do: Abolish tourist visa requirements for Ukrainians. And while they're at it, for Turks, Russians and everyone else in the world.
Hang on, you might ask: What would happen to migration flows if visas were abolished? Wouldn't wealthier countries be inundated by people trying to become permanent immigrants? Nobody knows for sure, but the available evidence suggests that nothing much would change.Read more »
The U.S. is about to cut the maximum duration of public support for the unemployed. The federal extension of unemployment insurance expires on Jan. 1. To see the consequences, look at North Carolina.
I’ve been watching the state since July, when it cut the maximum length of benefit from 99 weeks to just 19, and reduced the weekly check from $535 to $350.Read more »
A "coin toss." That's how most economists describe the outcome of this week's Federal Reserve meeting and the decision on whether to start slowing its asset purchases tomorrow or wait until early next year.
From an economic point of view, it matters very little whether the Fed cuts its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program now, in January or in March. Most folks expect the first reduction to be modest anyway, on the order of $10 billion or $15 billion.Read more »
I think there is a fair chance that the U.S. Court of Appeals will overturn yesterday’s order by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon that the National Security Agency halt its telephone metadata collection program and destroy its existing records. Leon’s preliminary injunction, handed down in an angry opinion in the case, Klayman v. Obama, orders President Barack Obama's administration to end the program within six months unless a higher court should reverse him.
What has already gained attention -- quite properly -- is the judge’s refusal to follow Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 Supreme Court decision holding that citizens lack a reasonable expectation of privacy as to the list (as against the content) of their phone calls. So settled and accepted is Smith that legal experts routinely assert that “it is well established that individuals do not have an expectation of privacy in the phone numbers they call.”Read more »
Supporters of immigration reform see a glimmer of hope that an immigration bill could clear the House of Representatives next spring.
Immigration reform legislation, which cleared the Senate earlier this year, has stalled in the House because of Republican resistance. Supporters see three potentially encouraging new signs:Read more »
Here's what you missed last night in sports:
Lions Let One Slip Away
The Baltimore Ravens failed to score a touchdown and still came away with a win against the Detroit Lions on Justin Tucker's clutch 61-yard field goal, keeping hold of the AFC's final wild card spot and moving within one game of the AFC North lead. The Lions, meanwhile, fell to third in their division, giving the Chicago Bears sole possession of first place in the NFC North.