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May 22, 2019

Baseball is at the threshold of change. While speeding up game time and the possible implementation of a computerized strike zone are at the forefront of on-field changes, they probably won't have as big a long-term impact as the fight for change concerning the league's labor system. Carter Stewart, a 19-year-old pitcher who decided to skip the upcoming MLB draft and sign with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League, could be one of the catalysts in that regard, ESPN reports.

Even highly-drafted baseball prospects rely mostly on their signing bonuses, before rambling through the minor leagues on low annual salaries. Once they get to the majors, players still don't make much until they become arbitration eligible, or perhaps sign an extension. Therefore, their long-term futures are left up to chance. An early-career injury, for example, could prevent even the most talented players from receiving long-term financial security.

Stewart, who was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of last year's draft, but did not sign when the team lowered their offer because of an alleged injury, was expected to go early in the second round this year, which would likely have netted him somewhere around a $2 million bonus. But he decided to opt for a six-year, $7 million contract with incentives with Fukuoka instead — choosing stability, guaranteed money, and greater autonomy. If all goes well for Stewart, who is the first American amateur to sign with a Japanese team, he'll then become a free agent at the age of 25 if he ultimately wishes to return to the U.S.

Japanese teams are only allowed to have four foreign players on their rosters, so it's unlikely there will be a massive wave following in Stewart's footsteps. But, as ESPN writes, he could serve as a precedent that gives amateurs leverage in future negotiations. Read more at ESPN. Tim O'Donnell

February 7, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is back with another head-turning economic theory.

The freshman congresswoman debuted her Green New Deal bill on Thursday, which aims to overhaul the U.S. economy and eliminate carbon emissions. Despite a slew of Democratic backers, NPR says the bill is unlikely to pass — especially with Ocasio-Cortez's current far-left proposal to pay for it all.

Ocasio-Cortez's proposed 70 percent income tax on the mega-wealthy ended up being more popular than politicians and billionaires thought. But in a Thursday NPR interview, Ocasio-Cortez also declared we also have to "break the mistaken idea that taxes pay for 100 percent of government expenditure." She argued for a "combination of" taxes and deficit spending, essentially saying it's worth increasing the deficit if an idea might "actually pay for itself" through job creation later on, and that lawmakers could regulate inflation with strategic taxes down the line.

Essentially, Ocasio-Cortez is continuing to argue for Modern Monetary Theory — something she said "absolutely" needs to be "a larger part of our conversation" in a recent Business Insider interview. The theory says that because governments can literally print money, "they can spend as much as they like," Politico explains. "Inflation is the only obstacle" that should stop the presses, The Week details here. In short, it's a big, untested idea for a big, untested plan.

Read more two columnist's opinions on why the theory would and wouldn't work here at The Week. Kathryn Krawczyk

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