Category Archives: History

Big money in politics is a bad thing … except when it elects the people you like

If you’re no fan of Doris Kearns Goodwin and her skewed reading of American history, you’re likely to enjoy Algis Valiunas’ profile in the latest issue of Commentary, headlined “The Rise and Rise of Doris Kearns Goodwin.” Valiunas takes a closer look at Goodwin’s own history, showing that the 24-year-old’s career took off in 1967Continue Reading

Even the Market plays April Fools sometimes

Here are some fun historical financial facts that seem to be an April Fool’s joke – but actually happened in the financial markets…. 1901: Northern Pacific railway stock hits $96 a share as E.H. Harriman and J.P. Morgan fight for control of the railroad. By May 9, the stock will peak at an astonishing $1,000Continue Reading

The wrong kind of judicial activism

You can agree with Clark Neily of the Institute for Justice that a certain amount of judicial activism — judicial engagement is his preferred term — is merited when judges face unconstitutional laws or executive actions. And you can agree that the federal government had to play an active role in the 1950s and 1960sContinue Reading

Placing the Crimean crisis in historical context

Thomas Donlan takes a break from offering well-informed economic observations this week and instead devotes his Barron’s editorial commentary to the history and possible future of Crimea. Crimea is a holding pen for bitter memories. With peace and security, Crimea would make a pretty nice little country. Its warm shore-side climate and scenic mountains madeContinue Reading

Historian Gordon highlights role of entrepreneurship in American history

Entrepreneurs built the United States of America, as historian John Steele Gordon recounts in the speech adapted for the latest issue of Hillsdale College’s Imprimis. Gordon explains that this nation’s unique position in history enabled entrepreneurs to fare better here than in late 18th-century Europe. Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations was published the sameContinue Reading

Today in Financial History…

In 1971, President Richard Nixon signed legislation providing a 10% increase in Social Security benefits (and a hike in the payroll tax rates, from 5% of the first $7,800 in wages to 5.15% of the first $9,000).  A retiree who would have received $500 a month at the beginning of 1969 would be receiving $759Continue Reading

Hanson notes Obama’s Nixonian tendencies

Victor Davis Hanson explains for National Review Online readers why he sees similarities between the 44th president and the 37th. What would a president do if he were furious over criticism, or felt that his noble aims justified most means of attaining them? Answer that by comparing the behavior of Richard Nixon to that ofContinue Reading

Forbes doesn’t believe the Crimean crisis will turn out well for the Russians

Steve Forbes explains in the latest issue of Forbes magazine why he believes Vladmir Putin’s misadventures in Crimea will end poorly for the Russians. WITH RUSSIA’S SEIZURE of Crimea (and who knows how much else of Ukraine) Vladimir Putin has made a strategic blunder that could rival the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.Continue Reading