Jeff Jacoby
Jeff Jacoby
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

The collapse of the taxi-medallion shakedown

July 19, 2017  •  The Boston Globe

IT MADE HEADLINES in 2011 when two New York City taxi medallions changed hands for $1 million apiece. At the time, it was the highest price ever recorded for one of the numbered metal tags that are required to lawfully operate a cab on the city's streets. It was also a vivid demonstration of how a government-created monopoly can send prices rocketing to stratospheric heights — even the price of something with almost no intrinsic value, like a little aluminum medallion issued by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission.

A million bucks for a taxicab medallion? That may have come as a shock in 2011, but the price kept climbing. By 2014, medallions were going for $1.3 million apiece.

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A nation on the verge of a nervous breakdown

July 16, 2017  •  The Boston Globe

THE STRANGER rang the doorbell. Five minutes later, she was sobbing in our living room.

It was a little before 7 p.m. when we heard the bell. With a glance at my wife to confirm that we weren't expecting anyone, I went to open the front door. Standing in the entrance, a tentative smile on her face and an iPad in her hand, was a young woman wearing shorts and an olive T-shirt.

"Hi, do you have a moment? I'd like to tell you about Greenpeace," she began.

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What Rick Perry really said about supply and demand

July 12, 2017  •  The Boston Globe

Lordy, how the mean girls jeered when Energy Secretary Rick Perry offered some extemporaneous words of encouragement to workers at a coal-fired power plant in West Virginia last week.

"Here's a little economics lesson," Perry said in response to a question about how the coal industry can stay competitive when the shale revolution of the last 10 years has made the supply of natural gas so abundant and cheap. "Supply and demand: You put the supply out there, and the demand will follow."

Cue an avalanche of media scorn.

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From normalizing Bill Clinton to normalizing Donald Trump

July 9, 2017  •  The Boston Globe

"AT SOME POINT I'm gonna be so presidential that you people will be so bored," Donald Trump took to telling campaign rallies and TV interviewers in the spring of 2016. "I'll come back as a presidential person, and instead of 10,000 people, I'll have about 150 people. And they'll say: 'But, boy, he really looks presidential!'"

Of course it was never Trump's intention to "come back as a presidential person" — that was the whole point of his smirking declaration. Seriousness and self-control don't fill arenas with pumped-up crowds, and for Trump the crowds have always been the priority.

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When I ride the T, I miss my auto-nomy

July 2, 2017  •  The Boston Globe

AS INDEPENDENCE DAY approaches this year, there is less independence in my days.

With the Boston Globe's move to new offices downtown, I no longer have the option of driving to work and parking on-site. Since the fee for downtown parking garages is too steep for my budget, I now do something every day that I haven't done since I was a Boston University graduate student: I commute by public transit.

As commutes go, mine (so far) isn't bad: Most days I spend between 20 and 30 minutes on the MBTA Green Line, and both home and office are only five minutes' walk from a convenient subway stop.

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