"Donor-advised funds run by huge money management firms are exploding," says the lede in Jesse Eisenger's article, "The Wall Street Takeover of Charity." The problem? Donor-advised funds don't have to spend all the money their donors put into them right away -- indeed, these funds disbursed $10 billion of the $17 billion they received in 2013 -- which means that while donors get the tax advantages of having donated, good causes don't. Which also means that the funds plow most of the money they get into other investments, a situation Mr. Eisenger dryly says "gets the notion of charity wrong." It's like the banksters can even make money screwing up charitable giving. And they are screwing it up.
City of Albuquerque, NM, fires police officer Jeremy Dear some eight months after he shot and killed a 19-year-old alleged truck thief without recording the incident on his lapel camera, as all city police officers must do. The city did not say for sure if Mr. Dear's camera malfunctioned or if he simply turned it off before shooting, but apparently Mr. Dear has demonstrated a pattern of not recording video. You'd think a good cop would note any malfunctions to his superior, if only to prevent further malfunctions and, yes, to be able to produce evidence of his innocence. Oh, and one more time: do we punish car thieves by shooting them to death?
Harold Meyerson describes the recent "Retail Workers' Bill of Rights" enacted in San Francisco, which mandates that employers give workers their schedule at least two weeks in advance, pay workers upon canceling scheduled shifts, and offer part-timers more work before hiring more workers. That last item looks a bit wiggly to me, but also probably represents actual compromise between right and left on the issue. It's bad, though, when you can't even count on working a certain number of hours. I thought the Reagan Revolution was supposed to liberate us and make us all our own bosses.
Republicans want the Congressional Budgeting Office to add "dynamic scoring" to their budget estimates, on the grounds that CBO estimates don't take into account all the revenues that come from tax cuts. But you remember what happened when President Reagan cut taxes? Revenues fell and the deficit exploded. And when Bush the Lesser cut taxes? Revenues fell and the deficit exploded (and I'm counting the Bush bailout in that explosion, because that's where it belongs). They didn't work because the rich don't spend the windfall they get from tax cuts; they hoard it, like you or I would. Why, it's almost like that's the idea!
Finally, Canadian researchers develop a faster way of "solarizing" surfaces, by spraying tiny solar cells directly onto a film that then coats the surface. "SprayLD" achieves roughly the same efficiency as the more established (and much slower) ALD method, and though an efficiency rate of just under 8 percent doesn't compare with, say, rooftop solar, there are many more surfaces in the world than there are roofs.