Four questions for 2015

Four questions for 2015

Will President Obama approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline? Up until recently, I always assumed that Obama would, sooner or later, despite the protests of the environmental community. In March 2012, for instance, hespoke positively about the proposed pipeline, which would bring oil mined from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, approval of the pipeline is important to the government of Canada, our neighbor and ally….

Will insider-trading prosecutions disappear? Thanks to a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, they just might. The ruling overturned the convictions of two hedge fund managers who had made stock trades based on information they received, third- or fourth-hand, from corporate insiders. Because they didn’t know the identity of the insiders — or whether those insiders were receiving any tangible benefit for leaking information — the court ruled that the fund managers had not committed a crime. Thus did the appeals court define insider trading narrowly, making it difficult to charge anybody who did not directly pay off a source for information….

Will Uber survive? I’m only being partly facetious. Uber has an enormous war chest and is a popular service that now operates in 255 cities. But it has a serious problem: It keeps bumping into government resistance. When a company like, say, Skype began offering free phone calls, it disrupted the telephone industry. But the phone companies couldn’t do much about it. Uber, however, is disrupting services that are controlled and regulated by governments. Uber can argue all it wants that those government regulations are outmoded. It can even be right.


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