And That’s My Opinion!

Before I head to a new assignment, here are some final words on a few topics.

Comments: 87

  1. What the heck, Nocera on the Sports Page? One of the smartest and most skeptical guys around who writes so knowledgeably about on the topics of finance, Wall Street and too-big-to-fail won't be speaking any more from the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times?

    What's next, Gretchen Morganson moved to Fashions of the Times?

  2. Brilliant, but we expect nothing less. Do it Mike. Buy the gun companies. What could be simpler? Supreme Court term limits...again, how simple. Voting should be a three or four day undertaking but at the very least, okay, on a weekend. You should be able to vote electronically, like going to an ATM machine, putting in your SSN and some pin and lickety If the banks have figured out how to protect your bank accounts (I use the term protect very loosely), why can't we figure out how to vote at multiple locations such as ATMs, why do we all have to trot down to public schools. Porky and Bess. If it is so important to Joe, do it Peter. I have no comment re: e-cigs. Wonderful column. I too, will now have to read the sports section...ugh.

  3. I haven't read all the comments, so I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but Louisiana votes on Saturdays (except for presidential elections), and I wouldn't say that Louisiana is the poster child for good governance. Arizona votes largely by mail, and ditto.

  4. Thank you for your many mind-opening columns, Mr. Nocera. Your knowledge will be missed on these opinion pages. I hope someone of equal good conscience and social understanding will take your place. Good luck in sports!

  5. I'm not sure I agree regarding school buildings. In my town we have many new or improved buildings, but they haven't made a bit of difference in the miserable performance of teachers or students.

  6. I attended the old Stuyvesant High SChool, which was a building straight out of Dickens. That was in the mid 1960s.

    I did not find science faculty as consistently brilliant as those at Stuyvesant until I began medical school, in the late 1970s.

    In my experience, the building has far less to to with education than the people inside it- all the people inside it.

  7. On a Sunday in rural France, I watched many people going enthusiastically to vote in a national legislative election. I learned that virtually everyone in that district voted that day. There are certainly a good number of Americans who would not vote no matter what, but why penalize those who do vote by making it difficult for them to do so? I think that Chris Rock has a point.

  8. On gun violence, most of the discussions on the need to improve gun control are a debate on the margins. By that I mean that any new legislation for strengthening gun controls requiring, for example, to improve background checks, will affect only new purchases of guns. But any such new legislation will leave the remainder, all of the guns already owned, unaffected. It is as if existing gun owners have been grandfathered by old laws. This is not a solution.

    The reality is that there are an estimated 310 million guns in a population of about 320 million. That amounts to almost one gun per person. But the issue is that there are an estimated 44 million gun owners in the US amounting to about seven guns per gun owner. With 14% of the total population owing guns, the high incidence of deaths by firearms in the US is a “Tyranny of the Minority” by gun owners on innocents. The key issue here is the proliferation of guns and the easy access to guns.

    Tinkering on the margins has not and never will work to get rid of this social cancer. There is only one solution:

    America: Demand Congress to repeal the Second Amendment.

    While the supporters of the Second Amendment are stronger and more powerful than the supporters of the First Amendment who speak on their rights for the safety and security of persons, until this happens, there will continue to be broken and destroyed families.

    The new law to repeal the Second Amendment should be called: “The Innocents’ Law.”

    Thank you.

  9. Sadly, Nocera is one of the few regular Times op-ed columnist who doesn't offer us regurgitated pablum on a regular basis. I think most would benefit from a change of scenery-Krugman to food, Blow to Modern Love, and Maureen would be a great TV critic.

  10. I saw the Met's Porgy (and one other production at City Center). It's one of the most underappreciated opera in the repertoire, and the crowning glory, the ultimate confirmation, of Gershwin's brilliance as a composer.
    Sadly, though, the Met is very Eurocentric because its audience and patrons are largely Eurocentric about opera, and its star singers are specialists in the grand European tradition. It takes a lot of people to fill that house, and every ticket counts. Also, Porgy has gone through its share of controversy--many in the black community denounced it for what are described as demeaning characters, created by Jewish Americans (and a patrician Southerner). However, since the demise of the City Opera, it's way past time for the Met to take on a wider role....and risk educating the public about great operas that aren't composed across the pond. The new production of Othello without blackface would be beautifully complemented by another Porgy. Offer more discounts to get minority audiences in, and celebrate their (and all Americans') artistic heritage.

  11. You mention several outstanding ideas here. I particularly like the one about the Supreme Court - since that is an idea that I myself have had for a long time. I would carry it one step further, however - I would set the title of "Chief justice" automatically on the senior most justice. So every President gets to nominate 2 justices (then 2 more if re-elected), who go on to serve for up to, but no more than, 16 years after that President leaves office. And each Chief Justice serves for 2 years, and only after having 16 years of experience with how the Court operates. The result would be a Court that "smooths out" the edges of partisan politics, slowing down the pace of change (the Conservative ideal) while still allowing the citizenry to democratically move forward into the future (the Liberal ideal). Win-win, right?

    Of course, getting this change would require passing a Constitutional amendment, which is probably impossible in the current environment of extreme partisan division. But one can dream.

  12. I appreciated Nocera’s columns on gun control, especially. But he is a Business Page columnist, self labeled financial wonk, and it was noticeable he got the fewest number of reader comments of any columnist, consistently.

    He wasn’t too interested to tackle the takeover of our politics by the financial industry and corporate big money, especially since Citizens United and too big to fail banks. On how our elections are directed by billionaire donor, with their candidate choices making breaking news. More on the negative effects of monopolies and lobbyists would have been welcome.

    We did get columns on sports issues and some interesting CEOs on various topics. Not too much on under funding of govt agencies, lack of business regulations and our extreme economic inequality compared to other advanced nations.

    For 2016 especially, we need a regular columnist to comment and analyze for the interests of the vast majority, who live on salaries, not investments. Who have seen decades of stagnant pay as CEO compensation has soared, who are in danger of a low living standard retirement without pension, and the millions who still can’t afford basic health insurance. And whose preferences are ignored by lawmakers in favor of elite interests, as studies of our laws show.

    This is the big issue of our time and there’s no regular columnist focused on it from the standpoint of how millions of daily lives are affected.

  13. Well Joe, most things in life can be likened to sports. The presidential campaign, pro-choice vs. pro-life, the dogfights in Congress, you get my point. Sports is a very broad area of human society. Transform our idea of "sports" into something broader and it'll seem like you never even left the Op-Ed section. The article below should give you some food for thought... baseball displayed on an electoral map...

  14. Excellent! Mr. Bloomberg, step in an make some serious changes!

  15. It'll be a few years, but when you're in the Sports section you can take the lead on covering the wonderfully effective marriage between the mighty NFL and the country's newly instituted Sunday voting effort.

  16. These are all good common sense ideas we should do immediately. But, as Will Rogers famously noted, "common sense isn't all that common these days."

  17. Really sorry to see you go from the Op Ed World. I might just mention that a young man by the same name as yourself form the City Of Youngstown Ohio, was a Hard Running Full Back at the University of Iowa years ago. I believe it was a Coach at Iowa at the time know as a True Gentleman, - Forrest Evashevski. (he also coached a very poor kid from Gary Indiana, - another Steel Town like Youngstown, - he was a small Individual who went on to play Professsional Foot ball as a Defensive linesman for the Detroit Lions for years, but was once suspended for 1 year for Gambling, - the same year when Paul Horning, the Golden Boy was suspended. As a Sportswriter I am sure you know I am referring to Alex Karras.
    As a 2nd generation Italian/American I was happy to see that you named your Son Amato!

  18. Sad to see you go, Joe. I enjoyed reading your columns. Will be interesting to see what the Editorial Page puts in your place. While we're at it, you might get them to consider getting rid of Ross, Maureen, and David Brooks. Would be nice to open up the page of the world's greatest paper to some voices who truly deserve the space.

  19. Bloomberg and Sorros have been failures with their anti gun agenda because it is an astro turf movement. Supporters of gun rights number in the millions. For everyone of the NRA's 5 million members there are 3 or 4 other family members who also support gun rights. Without Bloomberg, Sorros, Hollywood airheads' billions and the support of the media on the coasts there would be no anti gun movement. The average person knows that gun laws only restrict the law abiding and that not one gun law has ever been proven to work. In the past Smith and Wesson and Colt tried cooperating with the gun haters and both nearly went bankrupt when people started boycotting them.

  20. Jeff, I'll disagree with only one thing you said. The NRA is made up of approximately 2 % of the adult population. I'd suggest for every NRA member there are dozens of people who agree with most, not all, but most of their positions. I know dozens of people who own guns and few of them belong to the NRA. It's this "tacit" support that confronts people like Bloomberg, not just the NRA.

  21. Yet another idea from left field. If Bloomberg bought S&W that would be meaningless. There are numerous large companies in the world, Sig Sauer, Glock, Colt, Ruger, to name but a few. And these companies manufacture the same kind of guns as S&W, and many would say of better quality. If S&W went out of business tomorrow it would have zero impact on guns. If they converted to "smart guns" few would buy them. Good luck Joe, I'll miss ideas such as this.

  22. Joe: Over the years, I've enjoyed your thought provoking columns; making business issues comprehensible, your advocacy for the underdog, your level headed discussion of social issues and your columns on the NCAA. I look forward to reading your sports columns. Thanks,

  23. Say it isn't so Joe! Who else could have come up with the brilliant idea of Bloomberg buying a gun company? Your financial insight and thoughtful commentary will be sadly missed. I may just have to force myself to read the sports page.

  24. I'm sorry to see you move to the sports page. I've enjoyed your thought-provoking columns that with greater frequency than usual go against my gut thinking. I appreciate that, as intuition is not always so hot.

    Alas, I am unlikely to follow you to the sports page. I just don't care enough about sports to go there. Reading about sports is like reading about the weather: Mostly daily trivia.

  25. Thanks for one, last memorable column. We'll miss your writing in the Op-Ed pages, and I hope someone with a similar devotion to the truth, understanding, and justice takes your place.

  26. I've very much enjoyed your columns. You're opinions were informative backed by methodical yet insightful reasoning. You are good at taking a lot of information and making sense of it. Alas I have sports blindness (my attention wanders during most sports most of the time). Your opinions on free ranging topics will be missed.

  27. Hey Joe, please don't go. Sports seems like a waste for someone with your skills. Not that you wouldn't be great at that too. Thanks for your inspiring opinions.

  28. Joe, thanks for your service of sharing your opinions (not sarcastic).

    I like Ornstein's Supreme Court prescription, and I agree that the potential length of appointments to the Court make it too much of a high stakes enterprise. Another solution would simply be to limit justices' terms to ten years, giving a justice time to grow into the position and make his/her mark, but is not so long as to make the appointment absolutely pivotal.

    On e-cigarettes: True - they won't kill you with tar, and therefore *could* be safer than normal cigs. However, I'll never let my son smoke them...they are composed of unknown chemicals made in China. Do I need to spell it out? Chinese manufactures put toxic melamine in baby formula, anti-freeze in toothpaste. Do you trust them with e-cigs? If you do, you ought to have your head examined.

  29. 1) The problem with failing schools is not the building. As Diane Ravitch, the historian of education, argues, schools "fail" because their students live in poverty.
    2) You named your son Amato?

  30. it means "loved" in Italian, not a bad choice!!

  31. Dear Joe.... really going to miss you here-- another strong reasonable, considerate person. Regarding "Porgy and Bess," alas, the characters are stereotypical caricatures, and are less than ennobling for modern audiences--

  32. The Supreme Court term limit suggestion is singularly brilliant!

  33. I love the idea of someone like Bloomberg buying a gun manufacturer--could test a lot of interesting ideas with something like this. I'm not sure the similar idea works for education infrastructure--you may recall the nearly billion dollar boondoggle the LA school district wasted on building just 2 high schools. 5 years later, graduation rates are still abysmal (and not improving).

  34. As always, well conceived and thoughtful commentary. Will miss your column but am excited to hear that your insights will soon expand to the sporting world. I'm sure the NCAA can't wait!

  35. Thanks, Joe! I've always enjoyed the column and you will be difficult to replace!

  36. Sorry to lose you from the Opt page. I didn't always agree with your opinion but liked reading your POV. Hope you enjoy your next assignment.

  37. To use a famous sports quote that has made its way into our lexicon, "Say it ain't so, Joe!" I thank you for your always thoughtful musings. I've enjoyed reading your opinions, though I've not always agreed with them, but then no one's perfect, neither you nor I. I will miss your insights and your thoughts, but I look forward to "seeing" you in the sports pages.

  38. I will continue to read you, Joe Nocera, wherever you're published. Hat's off to you for a column well done.

  39. Always a great read, always a new twist, always thoughtful. Joe, you'll be missed on these pages.

  40. Thank you.

  41. Sport? This has got to be a joke. Why waste a serious writer on such nonsense? I mean, sports writers, even on The New York Times, refer to the baseball championships as the World Series. What other countries competed? None as far as I know. Call them what they are: the U.S. Series. My condolences, Joe.

  42. They wasted Michael Powell on sports a year ago, not to mention Homer before him.

  43. Good column, and good luck in the sports section. But voting on Tuesdays is bad? I don't think so. I have a good job, which means I have weekends off. It's a hassle for me, but I still manage to get to the polling place and cast my vote on a Tuesday.

    The people who have to work weekends are for the most part less well off than those of us who have weekends off. Why should we punish them by holding election day on the weekend? If you're stuck working weekends, you don't need any more hassles from the government.

  44. I've enjoyed your columns. Thanks.

  45. Mr. Nocera, Some wonderful "out of the box" ideas. I particularly like the Bloomberg gun company purchase idea. There is no reason, however, that Bloomberg is the only avenue. I'm sure some enterprising venture capitalist can raise money to do it. I'm certain there are many americans, myself included, who would be willing to invest in such a project. The second great idea, I like is the SCOTUS term limits though the chances of that are nil given a constitutional change would be needed. Lastly, I like the public school idea. Charter schools are not a viable solution to what's wrong with public schools. Indeed, they exacerbate the problem by removing promising students and further isolating the poor and underprivileged.
    Good luck on your new endeavor, whatever it is.

  46. Long before the Metropolitan Opera stages Porgy and Bess as an opera, there will be peace in the middle East, pigs will fly of their own accord and North Korea will petition the U.S. to become our 51st state. But hope springs eternal, I suppose.

    In any event, best wishes with your new assignment on the sports pages. Your observations on general American society will be missed, but I look forward to reading what you have to say about our sports scene.

  47. Say it aint so, Joe!

    Oh, well, I'll find you on the sports pages, hopefully analyzing and railing against some of the the sports world's hidden -- and not so hidden -- seamier aspects.

    As to our schools: what we need is for China to land someone on Mars or, at least, the moon. The last time we materially and respectfully supported education in this country was after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik. I had fervently hoped that before it collapsed, it would send someone to Mars to get us moving again on education, to stop living off the fruits of past efforts, to stop eating our intellectual and civic seed corn.

    As to gun control: the idea that Bloomberg buy a gun company is very interesting. I don't know if it would have a significant effect, but that is precisely what we need in so many areas: a new way to think of solutions to problems, solutions that are not simply and uselessly dependent on demonizing the "opposition."

  48. The sports page?
    An excellent mind is a really terrible thing to waste.

    (No offense intended, sports writers. Some of you are no doubt really sharp, too.)

  49. Good luck with your new assignment; my brother-in-law is a sports reporter and man, does he have some good stories! Enjoy!

    More seriously, I would like to thank and commend you for the reporting you did on gun deaths. Together with a very hard-working colleague, you chronicled gun-related fatalities in the USA for about one year. It was exhausting, absurd, tragic and shocking. I have never seen anything like it. I thought it was Pulitzer-worthy reporting.

    Once again, thank you and good luck!

  50. Instead of voting on the weekend, just send me my ballot in the mail and I'll vote when I want by Tuesday's election day. It works well in Oregon (we also are automatically registered to vote through the DMV).
    Thanks Joe, you will be missed!

  51. I was hoping it was David Brooks who was being put out to pasture, but if what you want people to remember of your deep thoughts and concerns is why a particular opera isn't being performed, then it's definitely time to go.

  52. Wadda ya mean "...from the sports page." I so enjoy your writing direct from here. I like the variety of subjects, your take on the issues, and your experience.

    Well, if I have to wade through the news about sports to read your column I will. But I'd prefer you right here. Thank you for your writing. I really do enjoy and learn from your views.

  53. Well, I'll read you in another section.
    Some suggested Sports topics for you to take up:
    Why is the proprtion of recruited athletes so high in the Ivy League. How many of them receive grants-in-aid, potentially an evasion of the league rule "prohibiting" athletic scholarships.
    More about teams (especially in the NoFunLeague) extorting public funding of private venues. Especially pungent is Walmart Heiress-in-law Stan Kroenke leveraging St. Louis to replace a 20 year old dome by threatening to buy up land and move (back) to LA.

  54. Thank you Joe. I have enjoyed your columns over the years. Good luck in your new assignment. I am such a fan that I will follow you across to the Sports section. By the way, is there anything that you cant't do.

  55. Really appreciated your thoughts and opinions, Joe... you will be great wherever you end up providing your thoughtful commentary.. Peace

  56. Joe, I'll miss your columns (and look forward to reading you in Sports). It won't be the same. In the OpEds you had such a broad perspective and the Sports section will necessarily redefine the scope of your work. I'm sure, however, that you will continue to have opinions, and that I will read them. Further, I will agree with most and, periodically, think that you are crazy. (That's what opinions are about, right?)
    Thank you!

  57. So Mr. Nocera is leaving Op-Ed for sports. Well, I rarely read the sports pages, but maybe I will now from time to time. I found Joe's columns on the NCAA extremely enlightening. But I also recall early in his Op-Ed tenure he wrote a column mourning the loss of Robert Bork to the supreme court. It was atrocious in its lack of understanding of who that particular legal crazyman really was, legally speaking anyway. All in all, Joe's was a fun generally interesting voice on the pages and I wish him the best of luck in the new gig.

  58. Excellent ideas. I truly hope Bloomberg follows your suggestion. Best of luck with your new assignment.

  59. Oh dear you're leaving us for the sports page? Noooooooo. :-( Your approach to commentary here in the Opinion Pages is always spot on and your column has been among those that I seek out most regularly.

    Sports page??? What a shame....
    (Can you guys gives this a second thought please?)

  60. I hope this move from Op-ed to Sports is a request you've made, Mr. Nocera. For me, your best role is right where you are, commenting on national affairs, business and finance, and, yes, sports, in the form of your important work exposing the hypocrisy of big-time college football and men's basketball. In any event, well done to you. If anyone needs to be re-assigned out of Op-Ed, it is Mr Douthat, who should be parked in the On Religion section where he can wage his spiritual "civil war" in a more appropriate venue.

  61. Going to the sports page ???

    The NFL has not produced any realistic solutions to deal with the serious issue and scourge of concussions among football players, including active and retired players of all ages, whether they are professional, college or high school players.

    Beware NFL, Joe Nocera is coming !!!

    Joe: Give them hell !!!

  62. It's been a pleasure reading your Opinion pieces ... when I get my daily NYTs highlights page email I immediately go to he Op Ed section to see who is writing that day .. some I click to read and some , quite frankly , I never read because of their obvious bias and agendas .. you , I always clicked and read along with Friedman and a handful of others ... I hope you're a sports guy and making this move was your decision because you are damn good at this and if you're just being moved it's a travesty .. good luck going forward ! I'll checkout your new pieces ..

  63. Thank you Joe Nocera for your thoughtful columns. I enjoyed your swan song-- great ideas! On voting-- love the way Coloradoans are voting now. We receive our ballots by mail, can fill them out and drop them in secure drop boxes in the community or mail them. Citizens can also vote on election day at a polling place in the community. Long lines at polling places are eliminated; more people vote. BTW Colorado followed Oregon's lead. It's disappointing that more states have not adopted these changes.

  64. Thabk you so much for all of your interesting columns and best wishes in the world of sports.

  65. your respected sensible opinion will be missed.

  66. Thank you Joe!! I can't wait to see you in the sports section!

  67. Gonna miss your editorials, Joe, but happy to follow you over to sports.

    One thing about the school solution from your future daughter-in-law:

    Here in Kansas City MO (home of the world-champion Royals!), over a billion dollars has been spent to fix the school district, which is mostly urban and black. A lot of money has been poured into state-of-the-art schools. Many years have passed, and it hasn't helped. The schools and the district are still failing miserably.

  68. Election day could be a national holiday, and kept on Tuesday so it didn't create a super weekend, with its own calls to be absent.

  69. I suspect sports will be even more stressful. You'll be verging on the religious as well as political...

  70. Thanks, Joe and best of luck in the sports arena. Anything you can do to keep "deflategate" alive will make this Buffalo NY native now based in Boston very happy.

  71. Wow! What a downer! Your columns were insightful, effective, and always worth a read. It's hard to see how and why you would give up an Op-Ed column in the NYT: the best "Bully Pulpit" in the Western Hemisphere.

    Thanks and good luck to you!

  72. Sorry to see you go ... to Sports? Well I guess I'll have to start reading the Sports Section. I'd like to toss out a suggestion for reforming the NRA - let's all join. NRA has about 5 million members and it only costs $25/yr. If 5+ million reform minded folks join, they would have the power to push the organization to advocate for sensible gun controls. If Bloomberg wanted to fund it, the cost is only $125 million, pocket change for Bloomie. Sure the crazies would bail out and start a new organization but we could all just join that new organization ad infinitum. Just a thought.

  73. You have been my favorite NYT columnist. You show boyish enthusiasm for new ideas and don't care who you offend, right or left. Next time we are at our local coffee place and my wife is vaping, we will give a toast to you. Thanks for supporting personal freedom and opposing corruption. I will miss your work.

  74. All the best with your new gig Joe. You are right about e-cigarettes. I wish we had an advocate for them like you in the Australian press. You are right that elections should not be held on a Tuesday. Move them to Saturday and the much fewer people for whom that is not a good day to cast a vote can do so in the week before hand perhaps?

  75. Have you ever heard black opera singers of today sing Porgy and Bess? They might just as well as be white. It’s not the time to use the telephone voice.

  76. How fabulous that you'll be writing on the sports pages. The spirit and substance of Grantland will live on after all--- in your new column.

  77. Oh no! You're the best columnist here, by far. And .. the sports page?! Hopefully it was a case of you saying "I retire" and the paper saying "Um, uh .. we'll give you any assignment you want" and you thought it'd be fun to have prime seats at any game anywhere while working less.

  78. Well done. The Times should re print Nocera's columns re Fannie Mae.

  79. Joe:

    You have been one of the reasons for my subscription. Please tell us you will at least chime in here once and a while, when the spirit (and a serious issue) moves you. Maybe both you and Frank Rich could (each) do a column once a month? Thanks for all the thought and shoe leather you've put on these pages.

  80. A new assignment? No more Nocera-fix in Times Opinion? Who will speak truth to the Wobblies of both left and right who adopt a “cause” for no other purpose than they have time on their hands?

    Guns. Joe’s long-running gun-death column will be remembered. It didn’t succeed at shaming gun fanciers into less protective behavior but it made very evident the absence of a companion column that identified how history might have changed beneficially if certain individuals actually HAD been the victims of gun violence.

    And education. I can think of lots of ways of improving it, but finally getting a bang for the philanthropist buck by taking creativity out of educational giving is useful – fund plant rather than district bureaucracies and teachers unions, a la Zuckerberg, and at least you wind up with valuable piles of brick for your money.

    It’s interesting to me that our political culture NEEDED to “heal” just as U.S. Supreme Court decisions started favoring the role of the Court as referee and not legislator. But I could live with 18-year terms, so long as replacements are guaranteed to be as entertaining as Scalia and Ginsberg.

    And of COURSE we don’t want you to vote. But that’s a desire that affects low-information voters of BOTH right and left and it’s at least more honest than the left’s desire to leverage the limited in the name of securing governance objectives they apparently can’t secure any other way.

    America has enough sports page pundits. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

  81. All things considered by Joe really refreshing....Le,ts have a
    PBS debate on Changing the US Constitution regarding owning guns.

    Let;s also have a PBS Debate on term limits for The US Supreme Court.

    Let's move ahead...WITHOUT the SPIN of the commercial media provoking
    all the stories that are revolting ...horrifying...and grow up about the news..!!

  82. we'll miss you Joe!!!

  83. Nocera has been in many ways the best Times op-ed writer: clear, logical, well-researched, persuasive and provocative. Why move him? This is a MISTAKE.

  84. You made us think, for which we are grateful......

  85. Fantastic recommendations- game changing recommendations!!
    Puuhhleeaze get them in front of the people who can make them happen,
    oh, yeah you just did!!

  86. Your departure is a TERRIBLE LOSS.