Wealth and Poverty Review

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Seattle’s Revolt of the Elites

In Seattle, people are losing patience with city leadership over the homelessness crisis, but the frustration is running in both directions: the city’s political, cultural, and academic elites are conducting their own revolt—against the people. Read More ›
Space Needle

A Brewing Rebellion in the Emerald City

For the past five years, like many of its West Coast counterparts, Seattle has endured a steady expansion of homelessness, addiction, mental illness, crime, and street disorder. But the activist class—a political and cultural elite comprising leaders in government, nonprofits, philanthropy, and media—has enforced a strict taboo on declaring the obvious: something is terribly wrong in the Emerald City. Last month, veteran Seattle reporter Eric Johnson of KOMO violated that taboo with a shocking, hour-long documentary called Seattle is Dying, which revealed how the city has allowed a small subset of the homeless population—drug-addicted and mentally-ill criminals—to wreak havoc. Johnson’s portrait is backed up by evidence from King County homelessness data, by city attorney candidate Scott Lindsay’s “prolific offender” report on 100 homeless individuals responsible for more than 3,500 criminal cases, and by my own reporting on the homelessness crisis. Read More ›

U.S. Trade Deal with China Imperfect, but Both Sides Benefit

The U.S. and China are edging closer to finalizing a trade deal that should end the tariff penalties that are at the heart of a year-old trade war. But a comprehensive deal that includes remedies for China’s theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfer from American companies doing business in China may not be in the cards in closing out this round of trade talks. When China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, it was granted “developing country” status, which allowed it to nurture infant industries by levying high tariffs on imports from the U.S. and Europe even while China benefited from low tariffs on its exports into those same countries. Read More ›

The Bill Walton Show: “Is War with China Inevitable?” with Adm. James Stark and Dr. Stefan Halper

In China, the U.S. confronts an adversary that saw itself as the Middle Kingdom –the center of the universe –for 3,000 years, then endured a century of humiliation and now seeks to return to what it sees as its rightful place in the world. Join Bill Walton as he and veteran Washington foreign policy experts Dr. Stefan Halper and Adm. James Stark discuss China’s comprehensive program to dominate its region and to challenge the U.S for cultural, economic and military superiority. Read More ›
Bill Walton

The Bill Walton Show: “Burn the Business Plan” with Carl Schramm

An entire industry – mostly government-funded – has sprung up around the idea of creating entrepreneurs. Don’t buy any of it. Don’t buy college. Don’t buy business incubators. Don’t buy mentors – you probably know more about what it takes to succeed in your business than they do. Start the business. As Carl Schramm and I discussed on “The Bill Walton Show,” get your education at the School of Hard Knocks. Observe your competitors. Work somewhere first so you can understand the choreography of business. There’s a right way to do it, but there are no short-cuts and no gimmicks to get there. Entrepreneurship is about lines of action. The best way to learn how to start businesses is to …

Artificial Intelligence
Businessman on blurred background using digital artificial intelligence interface 3D rendering

Universal Basic Income? Fear of AI Fuels a New Argument for Socialism

With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democratic candidates for president floating wilder trial balloons than a psychedelic circus, I’m surprised they have not (yet) picked up on the universal basic income (UBI). The UBI (guaranteed income for employable people who choose not to work) is far and away the favorite “solution” among those strong AI enthusiasts who expect machines to replace human work. They expect vast swaths of the country to be out of work for good. So far, the only candidate plugging UBI is entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Yang is more idea-oriented than his Democratic opponents and he has made UBI central to his presidential campaign in the key state of Iowa. His plan would offer $1,000 a month per person. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before other Democratic candidates pick up on this platform plank, on the assumption that their likely voters will imagine it as free money. Read More ›
Homeless man sleeping on a bench
Sofia, Bulgaria - November 4, 2014: Homeless man is sleeping on a bench in the center of Sofia. Years after joining the EU Bulgaria is still the poorest country in the union.

When “Compassion” is Contempt

The Washington legislature is one step closer to legalizing homeless encampments statewide. Last week, Democratic lawmakers passed through committee legislation, introduced by Representative Mia Gregerson, that would usurp the authority of city governments and legalize camping in all “plazas, courtyards, parking lots, sidewalks, public transportation facilities, public buildings, shopping centers, parks, [and] natural and wildlife areas” throughout the state. If passed, the bill, inspired in part by the work of Seattle University professor Sara Rankin, who claims to “advance the civil, constitutional, and human rights of visibly poor people” through “the repeal of laws that criminalize homelessness and poverty,” would represent the most significant extension of “survival crime” theory into American law. Survival-crime theory has been percolating through academic journals …

Edging Closer to a Trade Deal

The United States and China are edging closer to finalizing a trade deal that should end the tariff penalties that are at the heart of a year-old trade war. It’s also hoped that the deal will include enforcement and penalties for China’s national security-related intellectual property (IP) theft and espionage, and provide structural changes that would end forced technology transfer and protect trade secrets and intellectual property rights of American companies doing business in China. Tariff problems trace back to 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). At that time, China was granted “developing country” status by the WTO, which allowed it to nurture infant industries by levying high tariffs on imports from the United States and Europe even while China benefited from low tariffs on its exports into those same countries. Read More ›