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The Energy Department has already spent about $4.5 billion on the half-built plant near Aiken, S.C., designed to make commercial reactor fuel out of plutonium from nuclear bombs. New estimates place the ultimate cost of the facility at between $9.4 billion and $21 billion, and the outlay for the overall program, including related costs, could go as high as $30 billion.

Officials warn that the delays in the so-called MOX program are so bad that the plant may not be ready to turn the first warhead into fuel until 2040. ...

Energy officials want to spend only the money necessary to wind down the MOX program while the government shifts to a different method of disposing of the plutonium.

But what is a white elephant to the administration is a source of 1,700 construction jobs to state officials and members of the South Carolina congressional delegation, who have vowed to stop the move. ...

The struggle is a case study in the difficulty of cutting unnecessary or wasteful federal programs....

- James Risen, Half-Built Nuclear Fuel Plant in South Carolina Faces Test on Its Future, NYT, Feb. 8, 2016



Nelson Schwartz and Patricia Cohen report that according to Glenn Hubbard ("a top economic official to President George W. Bush who now serves as dean of the Columbia Business School"), the Brexit vote "reflects a deep distrust of the benefits of the global economic system among a wide swath of voters in Europe and the United States, and a broadly held view that government institutions — whether in Washington or Brussels — are calcifying and don’t work well."
- Nelson Schwartz and Patricia Cohen, ‘Brexit’ in America: A Warning Shot Against Globalization, NYT, June 25, 2016


This inability to adapt to economic reality is a signal of the impossibility, in the United States, of pragmatic, sensible tax reform. ...
By the standards of most economists, the United States has one of the most counterproductive tax regimes among advanced nations — one that raises little money yet vastly distorts decisions on investing and saving, and encourages all sorts of trickery to avoid the Internal Revenue Service. That shortcoming is keeping the American state from raising the money it needs.
- Eduardo Porter, The Tax Reform America Needs (and Probably Won’t Get), NYT, AUG. 1, 2017


“The reality is that government, for a long period of time, has for whatever set of reasons become less functional and isn’t working at the speed that it once was. And so it does fall, I think, not just on business but on all other areas of society to step up.”

That was Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive.... ...
Mr. Cook’s comments weren’t a dig at President Trump so much as they were a critique of Washington’s seemingly perpetual state of gridlock.
And now Mr. Cook is one of the many business leaders in the country who appear to be filling the void, using his platform at Apple to wade into larger social issues that typically fell beyond the mandate of executives in past generations. ...
Watching Mr. Cook over the years, I’ve been fascinated to see how he has become as animated when talking about big issues like education and climate change as he is when talking about Apple.

“I think we have a moral responsibility to help grow the economy, to help grow jobs, to contribute to this country and to contribute to the other countries that we do business in,” he said.
- Andrew Ross Sorkin, Apple’s Tim Cook Barnstorms for ‘Moral Responsibility’, NYT, AUG. 28, 2017



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