Friday, May 1, 2015

You Won't Believe How I Lowered my WSJ Digital Subscription!

Way back in the Dark Ages, in spring 2010, my Wall Street Journal digital subscription was $140 per year. But that was a mere two years after Rupert Murdoch had bought Dow Jones, the Journal's corporate owners, from the Bancroft family. Then the rate started going up.

In spring 2011 I paid $207 for a year's digital WSJ. Yikes!

In 2012, the Journal switched me to a monthly subscription, which I hated, at $17.29 per month, or $207 per year.

Then the billing boys went into a swoon and stopped charging me for months. I finally sent a letter to their back office in Chicopee, Massachusetts, begging them to bill me, and got a very nice email back from a Victoria Chin, who was trying to untangle back-office mess.
I completely agree that our technology needs work. This year, we began a migration of our customers from an old legacy database and fulfillment system to a brand new, more robust system. In the process, there was an error with your account that resulted in your credit card not being charged and the site being locked. 
I shoulda stayed in bed. When the Journal got its act together in November 2012 the monthly payment had gone up to $21.62 a month. That's $259 per year. Writing letters can cost you!

In September 2013 the rate went up to $22.99 a month. That's $276 per year.

In 2014 the rate went up to $24.99 a month. That's $300 per year. Whoa there, Rupert baby. You've just doubled my Journal subscription in four years!

But then, yesterday, I got an email from the Journal asking me to update my credit card information. It turned out to be an error, but it reminded me that my credit card information was out of date. I got online but couldn't get onto the payment information page. So I thought: Bucket, just like President Obama, and called up the 800 number to cancel my subscription.

But then, unlike the president, I cooled off a little, and decided that I'd continue if the Journal would crawl on their knees and cut my subscription rate.

And it turned out they would! So now I'm signed up for $14.50 per month, a manageable $174 per year.

Yay! But no doubt the rate will go back up, because I suspect that the $14.50 rate is a special limited-time offer available only to disgruntled old geezers and members of the Murdoch family.

And then we'll see.

Look, I love The Wall Street Journal, and got my start as a twenty-something in the 1970s, reading for the first time about Hayek and Mises, learning for the first time about Austrian economics and roads to serfdom.

In the late 1970s the edit page under Bob Bartley was the place to be. You got chaps like Irving Kristol on the Board of Contributors and you got Bob Bartley's wild young men like Jude Wanniski, and the famous meeting at Michael 1 restaurant in New York City where Bartley and Wanniski met with Art Laffer and Bob Mundell to cook up the Laffer Curve. What fun! Bartley stayed on as edit page editor until 2002, and then died of cancer in late 2003 at age 66.

Since the death of Bob Bartley the Journal edit page has been led by Paul Gigot. Paul's a great guy, but you don't get the excitement of the old Bob Bartley days. I wonder if that's because Paul Gigot spends a lot of time on TV. You just can't be changing the world on the edit page and presiding as a talking head on PBS at the same time. And where are the consummate intellectuals like Kristol? Where are the wild men like Wanniski?

Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. Maybe what we have instead, with a whole universe of conservative thought sparking away, is progress.

And really, you couldn't hope for a better political setup than right now.

First, you have a Democratic president that has utterly failed to deliver on the promise of ending the race problem and the partisan divide. And he's failed to fix the economy.

Second, you have no less than three top-notch young GOP presidential candidates -- Walker, Cruz, and Rubio -- vying for the crown dropped nearly 30 years ago by the sainted Reagan.

Meanwhile, I'm still a subscriber of the Wall Street Journal. Until the next time they treat me like a rack-rented Irish peasant in a Trollope novel.

Then I'll show 'em!

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