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Back to the future and other commentary


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Social theorist: Back to the Future

How will COVID-19 change the face of American society? “I hope to be proved wrong,” Michael Lind writes at Spectator USA, “but I suspect the trauma will endure long enough to effect lasting changes in lifestyles and business models” — returning us to the 1950s, with massive suburbanization to rival that of the postwar years. “A few elite neighborhoods in Paris, London and New York will always be fashionable, but others could ­undergo the kind of dystopian urban decay that was familiar as recently as the 1980s, inspiring movies like ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976).” Working-class America would get the drug- and crime-ridden urban peripheries. The middle class? “Larger firms may use worker-friendly policies and benefits as a way to discourage unionization, so that gains for workers may take the form of more corporate paternalism” — buttressed by delivery drones, home delivery of everything and streaming entertainment. But hey, at least “TV screens are much bigger now, and there are a lot more channels.”

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Campaign watch: Democrats’ Worst Nightmare

In April, economist and ex-Obama adviser Jason Furman made the “startling claim,” Politico’s Ryan Lizza and Daniel Lippman report, that the United States may “see the best economic data” in its history right ­before the November election, with “the most explosive monthly employment numbers and GDP growth ever.” If this collapse is similar to “what happens to a thriving economy during and after a natural disaster,” Furman argues, that means “a quick and steep decline in economic activity followed by a quick and steep rebound.” His prediction has “spooked” top Democrats, since it means President Trump could boast

“the best jobs and growth numbers ever” — a huge boon for his re-election chances.

Foreign desk: A Calamity in Hong Kong

China’s crackdown on Hong Kong, frets Minxin Pei at Project Syndicate, only begins with the new law that will let “Chinese security agents” engage in “surveillance, intimidation and arrest” of both Hong Kongers and “foreign nationals.” Expect “spiraling violence” and “an economic meltdown as capital and talent flee Asia’s global financial hub.” Washington will likely cut “almost all commercial and travel privileges” for Hong Kong, possibly “dealing a fatal blow to the city’s economy” — and triggering “another cold war.” China’s leaders must have decided the crackdown was worth “these calamitous consequences,” sighs Pei: “The international community must prove them wrong.”

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Conservative: Media’s Tara Reade Fail

“The emergence of Tara Reade’s story has . . . served as a kind of stress test for the fourth estate,” Commentary’s Christine Rosen observes. “Would they apply the same standards of credibility and proof to Reade’s allegations as they had for those made by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was also accused of assault?” The answer: No. And the failure was “revelatory.” The

New York Times “slow-walked” the story for at least three weeks, surprising, given that the Grey Lady “had been quick to publish every (often uncorroborated) detail as it emerged about” Kavanaugh, among other accused public figures. Meanwhile, “television producers, usually dogged in their pursuit of sexual and political controversy, seemed anesthetized” when it came to Reade. Bottom line: “The Tara Reade case provided media institutions with a major opportunity to establish some broad nonpartisan norms” for such stories — and they lost it.

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Libertarian: Child Care After Corona

“Day care options are disappearing” in the pandemic, with even surviving centers operating at “limited capacity for a time” — the reason, Shoshana Weissmann argues at Reason, we have to remove regulations that are “nuisances in the best of times and deeply damaging in the worst.” Take Washington, DC, which has huge child-care costs but “decided to require college degrees for day-care workers, increasing costs further.” Wisconsin “imposes more than 400 requirements on licensed family child-care providers,” while Oklahoma specifies “the number of puppets that must be available per child.” It’s time to eliminate such senseless “barriers to work.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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