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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Non-Media Media

Newspapers and magazines are closing or cutting jobs.  Journalists are finding other kinds of work.

At Axios, Nicholas Johnston reports on non-media companies producing media:
By the numbers: The proportion of people on LinkedIn who report they work in content/editor roles at non-media companies has grown by 32% in the past decade, according to LinkedIn data. The biggest increases were at "consumer," "high tech" and "corporate" firms, like marketers and consultancies.
Yes, but: Sara insists that I note much of this content creation is not typical news or journalism; many of these editor jobs are more accurately described as "head of content" roles.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Immigration and Population Growth

Mike Allen at Axios:
Immigrants accounted for almost half of population growth in the U.S. from 2017 to 2018, according to new Census Bureau data, Axios' Stef Kight reports.
  • Why it matters: It's a reminder of how rapidly the demographics of the country are changing — and how the bitter political fights over immigration aren't changing the broader trends.
Immigration could help mitigate the negative impact of falling birth rates.
  • The U.S. is headed toward a large dependent population of children and retirees and a much smaller workforce, which would slow economic growth.
The big picture: 9% of the nation's counties grew due to immigration rather than more births than deaths — including counties that contain most of San Francisco, Houston and Boston, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.
  • More than half the population growth in D.C., Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and 7 other states was due to immigration.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Social Security Storm Ahead

From the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:
The Social Security Trustees released their annual report today, continuing to show that the Social Security program must address its funding imbalances to prevent across-the-board benefit cuts or abrupt changes in tax or benefit levels. They find:
  • Social Security Will Be Insolvent in Only 16 Years. Social Security cannot guarantee full benefits for current retirees. The Trustees project that on a theoretical combined basis, the trust funds will run out by 2035. That means the program will be insolvent when today’s 51-year-olds reach the retirement age and today’s youngest retirees turn 78. At that point, all beneficiaries will face a 20 percent across-the-board benefit cut, which will grow to 25 percent over time.
  • Social Security Faces Large and Rising Imbalances. The Social Security program will run cash deficits of nearly $1.8 trillion over the next decade, the equivalent of 1.8 percent of payroll or 0.6 percent of GDP. Program deficits will rise to 3.3 percent of payroll (1.2 percent of GDP) by 2040 and 4.1 percent of payroll (1.4 percent of GDP) by 2093. Social Security’s 75-year actuarial imbalance totals 2.78 percent of payroll, which is nearly 1 percent of GDP and $14.8 trillion in present value terms.
  • The Problem Is Similar to Last Year, but It Has Deteriorated This Decade. This year’s projected 75-year shortfall is slightly better than last year’s – 2.78 percent of payroll as opposed to 2.84 percent – due to improvements in the disability program’s finances. However, Social Security’s shortfall has grown dramatically since 2010, from 1.92 percent of payroll to 2.78 percent in this year’s report.
  • Lawmakers Must Start Making Changes Immediately. The sooner changes are made, the less severe they will need to be. Restoring solvency today would require the equivalent of a 22 percent increase in payroll taxes, a 17 percent reduction in all benefits, a 20 percent cut to new benefits, or some combination. Waiting until 2035 would increase the needed adjustments to overall taxes and benefits by over a third and would make it impossible to save Social Security with changes for new beneficiaries alone. Acting now would also allow policymakers to phase in changes gradually.
With Social Security only 16 years from insolvency, policymakers cannot afford to continue delaying action. Significant changes to revenue, benefits, or more likely both will be needed to secure the program. Refusing to make changes or compromises today to fix Social Security means putting the retirement security of 84 million beneficiaries and another 190 million workers at risk.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Oppo and Journalism

What is a trend going on in the U.S. or abroad that doesn’t get enough attention? 
“The surface blurring of lines between reporting and opposition research. All information is now democratized so everyone can act like a researcher and reporter, and everyone with a smartphone can be a video tracker. Thankfully the advancement of technology has made us realize our competitive advantage is going back to basics. Only talented oppo researchers can go into the county courthouse and pull the records they need to build a narrative. Only a reporter can talk to a source and bring sometimes decades-old anecdotes to the surface.”

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Faithful Execution

Article II of the U.S. Constitution twice imposes a duty of “faithful execution” on the President, who must “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” and take an oath or affirmation to “faithfully execute the Office of President.” These clauses are cited often, but their background and original meaning have never been fully explored. Courts, the executive branch, and many scholars rely on one or both clauses as support for expansive views of presidential power, for example, to go beyond standing law to defend the nation in emergencies; to withhold documents from Congress or the courts; or to refuse to fully execute statutes on grounds of unconstitutionality or for policy reasons.
This Article is the first to explore the textual roots of these clauses from the time of Magna Carta and medieval England, through colonial America, and up to the original meaning in the Philadelphia Convention and ratification debates. We find that the language of “faithful execution” was for centuries before 1787 very commonly associated with the performance of public and private offices—especially those in which the officer had some control over the public fisc. “Faithful execution” language applied not only to senior government officials but also to a vast number of more ministerial officers, too. We contend that it imposed three core requirements on officeholders:

(1) diligent, careful, good faith, and impartial execution of law or office;

(2) a duty not to misuse an office’s funds and or take unauthorized profits; and

(3) a duty not to act ultra vires, beyond the scope of one’s office.

These three duties of fidelity look a lot like fiduciary duties in modern private law. This “fiduciary” reading of the original meaning of the Faithful Execution Clauses might have important implications in modern constitutional law. Our history supports readings of Article II of the Constitution, for example, that limit presidents to exercise their power in good faith, for the public interest, and not for reasons of self-dealing, self-protection, or other bad faith, personal reasons. So understood, Article II may thus place some limits on the pardon and removal authority. The history we present also supports readings of Article II that tend to subordinate presidential power to congressional direction, limiting presidential non-enforcement of statutes, and perhaps constraining agencies’ interpretation of statutes to pursue Congress’s objectives. Our conclusions undermine imperial and prerogative claims for the presidency, claims that are sometimes, in our estimation, improperly traced to dimensions of the clauses requiring the President's faithful execution.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Urban-Rural Divide on News

Elizabeth Grieco at Pew:
Roughly six-in-ten self-described urban residents (62%) say their local news media mainly cover the area they live in, while a majority of those who describe themselves as rural residents (57%) say the opposite is true – their local news media mostly cover some other area, a concern raised by many journalism watchers following newsroom cutbacks and media consolidation. Self-described suburbanites are more evenly split, according to the survey conducted Oct. 15-Nov. 8, 2018, among nearly 35,000 U.S. adults.
Urban residents are also more likely than those in rural and suburban areas to feel that their local news media have a lot of influence on their communities: 44% of urban residents say so, compared with 30% of those in rural areas and 38% in suburban areas.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The United States is a Democracy

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:
One of this age’s great crank ideas, that the U.S. is a “republic” and not a “democracy,” is gaining so much ground that people in Michigan are trying to rewrite textbooks to get rid of the term “democracy.” And the discussion is such a mess that a New York Times article about the fight manages to get it wrong.

The truth is actually simple: For all practical purposes, and in most contexts, “republic” and “democracy” are synonyms. 1 The big difference is that the first comes from Latin and the latter from Greek. To say that the U.S. is a republic, not a democracy, is like claiming to eat beef and pork but not cows and pigs.

The debate may seem like hair-splitting, but it is important in the same way all assaults on knowledge are important – it’s part of the never-ending fight against attempted partisan intervention into education, whether it’s denying evolution or pretending the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. But it’s most important because opposing the idea of democracy can be a step toward opposing the reality of democracy, at a time when voting and other structures of formal equality are at risk.