Thursday Edition



Surging GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s campaign said Wednesday the former South Carolina governor raised $24 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, more than doubling the $11 million she raised in Q3. (The Hill)

Haley’s on the rise, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to fade:

Vivek Ramaswamy is leaning into the fringe: Ramaswamy announced Tuesday he was dropping out of a Jan. 10 CNN debate he probably wasn’t going to qualify for anyways (candidates need a minimum of 10% in three national or selected Iowa polls) and doing a live show with conservative influencer Tim Pool instead. He’s repeatedly called Jan. 6 an “inside job” and recently touted the endorsement of former Iowa Rep. Steve King, a Republican who was disciplined by the party for his remarks on white nationalism and white supremacy. Ramaswamy's currently polling in the mid single digits.

Former President Trump is still the likely nominee: Trump leads Haley and DeSantis in the polls by a huge margin (about 50 points). He also has a big fundraising and endorsement lead over his rivals. With House Majority Whip Tom Emmer announcing yesterday he’s backing Trump, the former president has wrapped up the endorsements of the top four House Republicans.

The Iowa GOP caucuses take place in less than two weeks: Rounding out the top three in Iowa in FiveThirtyEight’s average are Trump (50%), DeSantis (18.4%) and Haley (15.7%).

State and local governments are shelling out a lot of money for services and benefits for migrants amid record high border crossings into the U.S.. (ABC News)

California: On Monday, the Golden State became the first in the country to offer health insurance to all undocumented immigrants, regardless of age. Previously, California offered its state Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented immigrants up to the age of 25, as well as adults 50 and older.

  • The expansion will cost $835.6 million in 2023-2024 and $2.6 billion annually thereafter.

Denver, Colorado: 10% of the city’s general fund budget this year is expected to go toward addressing the migrant crisis. Mayor Mike Johnston estimated the crisis could cost Denver $180 million in 2024 if current trends continue. The city is also planning on paying one month’s rent for migrants who have a job and are looking for housing.

New York City: The estimated cost of supporting migrants in the Big Apple is $12 billion over the next three years, city officials said in October. The city is paying between $55 and $385 per day to 37 hotels for migrant housing, often above standard room rates, Bloomberg reported in July.

A September report by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute: “New York City spent an estimated $1.7 billion on shelter, food, and other services for migrants through the end of July. Chicago expects to have spent $255.7 million between August 2022 and the end of 2023. Washington, DC spent $36.4 million on migrant services by late August, and expects the total to reach $55.8 million by October.”

While many advocates and policy makers say we should fight hate crimes by funding initiatives that educate people about bigotry and root out prejudice, Manhattan Institute fellow Charles Fain Lehman suggests the best way to reduce hate crimes is to reduce crime generally. (The Atlantic)

Lehman in a new essay for The Atlantic: “[By] focusing on hate, policy makers may neglect the ways in which they can fight hate crime by treating it as a crime. This is in part because hate criminals, research by myself and others indicates, are far more similar to other criminals than we might suspect, suggesting that hate crimes might most effectively be reduced not by programs that target bigotry per se, but by the criminal-justice system’s normal processes.”

According to one analysis of data from Boston, less than 1% of offenders are “mission” offenders, those who commit a crime because they’re determined to harm a group they hate. On the other hand, up to two-thirds are so-called “thrill” offenders, who commit crimes because it’s exciting.

Most hate crime offenders have criminal histories, similar to other criminals. One British study of incarcerated hate criminals found nearly 98% had a prior offense. Another study found people convicted of hate offenses had an average of 5 prior convictions.


Several members of Congress made a lot of money from stock trading in 2023, despite concerns about conflicts of interest. (The New Republic)

Chart: Unusual Whales

A new report by market analysis service Unusual Whales:

  • In 2023, 33% of 100 trading members of Congress beat the S&P 500 index (SPY) with their portfolios.

  • Overall, Democratic members gained 31% in returns, surpassing Republicans' 18%.

  • The best performer, Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., achieved a 238.9% return in 2023, dwarfing the S&P 500's 24.8% increase.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to ABC News in November: “We have access to sensitive information. And to think that a [member of Congress] could then purchase individual stock and make bets and trades and personally benefit from that is, I think, in direct conflict with the spirit of public service that we're here to do.”

A number of lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., back bipartisan bills to ban congressional stock trading. But so far, all the proposed bills have stalled in Senate and House committees.

Job openings in the U.S. decreased by over 15% by the end of 2023 compared to the previous year, according to employment website Indeed. (WSJ)

That squares with the Department of Labor’s most recent data:

  • U.S. job openings in November fell to their lowest level (8.79 million) since March 2021, nearly a three-year low.

  • The DOL also reported a drop in people quitting jobs, suggesting less job-hopping for higher wages. Resignations fell (by 157,000) to 3.471 million, the lowest level since Feb. 2021.

  • Hiring fell by 363,000 to 5.465 million, the lowest since April 2020.

Context: There are benefits to a cooler labor market, especially since job openings remain above prepandemic levels. Fewer available jobs and less job switching for higher pay could mean steadier wages and lower hikes on prices for everyone.

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