Ahead of Debates, Many Voters Don’t Know Much About Where Trump, Clinton Stand on Major Issues

Pew Research Center: “The first presidential debate Monday night offers Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton an opportunity to explain their positions on important issues facing the country. Two months after the party conventions, only about half of voters (48%) say they know “a lot” about where Clinton stands on important issues, while even fewer (41%) say this about Trump.”

How the New Driverless Car Rules Could Cost Lives

Real Clear Policy: “Three numbers: 35,200 people were killed in auto accidents last year; 94 percent of car crashes are due to human error; 613,501 lives have been saved by advances in auto safety over the past 50 years. These numbers form the basis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head’s argument for autonomous vehicles and a friendly regulatory environment.”

“In a speech on Monday at the Automated Vehicles Symposium in San Francisco, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said that his agency’s goal is to create ‘a framework that will speed the development and deployment of technologies with significant lifesaving potential.’ However, the very next day, his agency released the long-promised NHTSA guidelines for autonomous vehicles, proposing two new authorities that would do the exact opposite.”

“The problem is that approving every single model for every single manufacturer would be a monumental task — and a slow one. Do we really want an FDA-style premarket approval process when delays could cost lives?”

“‘If we wait for perfect, we’ll be waiting for a very, very long time,’ Rosekind said of autonomous vehicle technology in general. ‘How many lives might we be losing while we wait?”

The Coming Anti-National Revolution

Robert Shiller: “For the past several centuries, the world has experienced a sequence of intellectual revolutions against oppression of one sort or another.”

“I think the next such revolution, likely sometime in the twenty-first century, will challenge the economic implications of the nation-state. It will focus on the injustice that follows from the fact that, entirely by chance, some are born in poor countries and others in rich countries. As more people work for multinational firms and meet and get to know more people from other countries, our sense of justice is being affected.”

“The next revolution will not abolish the consequences of place of birth, but the privileges of nationhood will be tempered. While the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment around the world today seems to point in the opposite direction, the sense of injustice will be amplified as communications continue to grow. Ultimately, recognition of wrong will wreak big changes.”

Just Three Percent of Adults Own Half of America’s Guns

Washington Post: “Just 3 percent of American adults own half of the nation’s firearms, according to the results of a Harvard-Northeastern survey of 4,000 gun owners.”

“The survey’s findings support other research showing that as overall rates of gun ownership has declined, the number of firearms in circulation has skyrocketed. The implication is that there are more guns in fewer hands than ever before. The top 3 percent of American adults own, on average, 17 guns apiece, according to the survey’s estimates.”

More Gig Economy Workers Can Now Get Paid on Demand

Bloomberg Tech: “The gig economy is built on people offering their services on demand. Now more of them will have the option of getting paid just as quickly.”

“Care.com Inc., Instacart Inc., Postmates Inc. and several other marketplace providers will soon start giving workers the chance to cash out their earnings immediately, instead of waiting for the usual weekly deposit. That’s because Stripe Inc., the payment processing service that underpins many of the on-demand companies, will introduce the feature to all customers for a fee.”

“Quick cash is a big draw for workers. Stripe originally built a version of instant payouts at the request of Lyft Inc., the largest U.S. ride-hailing app behind Uber. Lyft began offering same-day pay to its drivers in December. Since then, Stripe has processed $500 million in instant payments for Lyft, and half of all driver payouts now go through that feature, the companies said.”

Preparing for North Korea’s Inevitable Collapse

Eli Lake: “Crimes against humanity generally cost a regime its legitimacy, if not its sovereignty. And yet most national security professionals would regard the collapse of the North Korean slave state as a calamity. The reason for this is simple: all the nuclear weapons and material.”

“Trying to secure all this after a chaotic collapse or overthrow of the Kim regime would be a nightmare.”

“A far better use of American diplomacy is to quietly push China and South Korea to begin planning with the U.S. for the day the North Korean regime falls. It’s a long shot.”

“That said, North Korea is a time bomb for China as well as for the U.S. Beijing is worried about refugees coming over its border, and loose nukes would be as much a danger to China as to America’s East Asian allies.”

Uber Wants to Take Over Public Transit, One Small Town at a Time

The Verge: “Uber has so far been pitching itself as a supplement to existing transit programs rather than a replacement. But in June of last year, for the company’s five-year anniversary, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick envisioned a future where increasing efficiency would make Uber cost-competitive not just with owning a car, but with traditional mass transit.”

“With the help of public subsidies, that future is coming fast. The speed with which Uber has entered the public transit sector has stunned industry activists. ‘It’s happening very quickly,’ says Lawrence Hanley, the international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union. “It’s like a tsunami.'”

“With or without the cooperation of public agencies, Uber is becoming a new transit provider for at least a segment of the population. For cities like New York with extensive transit systems, this could mean a new front in the Uber wars — or a new era of private-public collaboration in transit. Either way, the rise of ride-sharing will spell major changes in how the country’s largest transit systems move people.”

Six Companies Are About to Merge into the Biggest Farm-Business Oligopoly in History

Quartz: “With six agricultural giants on the verge of merging into three separate companies, consumers and farmers are feeling uneasy about the global implications and how it might impact the food system.”

“Top executives from Bayer, Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Chemical, and Syngenta today (Sept. 20) testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, making a case for why federal regulators should approve the mega-mergers, which stand to fundamentally reorganize global agriculture.”

Consumers advocates say they worry the mergers will usher in a “new era of sterile crops soaked in dangerous pesticides.” Farmers worry that less competition in the marketplace will give the merged companies an ability to increase prices of seeds and chemicals—something that would be particularly harmful during a time when US farm incomes are dropping.”

The Old Fed Is Dead

Robert Samuelson: “It wasn’t that long ago that the Fed was seen as almost all-powerful. It gave us (so it seemed) the ‘Great Moderation‘ — a quarter-century (1982 to 2007) of economic growth with only two mild recessions. A few flicks of its short-term interest rate, up or down, could contain inflation or sustain growth.”

“No more. Now the Fed and other major central banks seem deeply frustrated. They’ve flooded the world with cheap money. By Moody’s estimates, the amount is $13 trillion. That was used to buy bonds and other securities. It includes purchases by the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England. For all their trouble, the central banks have got no more than a weak recovery that avoided a second Great Depression.”

 

Americans Appear Willing to Pay for a Carbon Tax Policy

New York Times: “The stumbling block in Congress for confronting climate change has perpetually been the economic challenge. There has been little support for paying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“But now, there is some evidence of a quiet undercurrent of support for a carbon policy, whether it be a tax, cap-and-trade or regulations.”

“The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) — which, in full disclosure, I direct — and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released a poll Wednesday on how Americans feel about various issues related to climate and energy.”