In a note published almost 10 years ago on the Web page of the Yale Class of 1962, he [Templeton] questioned a “tolerance” that “demands incessantly that one abandons all judgment.” He went on to ask: “Should we tolerate a public educational system with its entrenched self interest in which virtually every inner-city parent knows is destroying any hope or possibility of their children achieving meaningful opportunity in a 21st Century Economy?”
Also from the Wall Street Journal is this outstandingly good essay by Martin Feldstein, explaining that “Today’s pessimists about the economy’s rate of growth are wrong because the official statistics understate the growth of real GDP, of productivity, and of real household incomes.” (gated) A couple of slices:
The measurement problem is particularly severe for new products. Consider a new drug that improves the quality of life, reducing pain or curing a previously incurable disease. The ability to buy that new product means that a dollar is worth more than it used to be, and that the properly measured level of real GDP is higher.
The official method of calculating the price index doesn’t incorporate this new product until total spending on it exceeds some threshold level. It is then added to the government’s price calculations, but only to record whether the cost of the drug goes up or down. The main effect of raising well-being when the drug is introduced is completely ignored. The same is true of other new products.
Americans are enjoying faster real income growth than the official statistics indicate, but we can achieve even faster growth with more capital accumulation, increased labor-force participation, and greater innovation that leads to new products and more efficient means of production. Better tax policies can help achieve all three.
(As the rate of new-product introductions increases, so too does the underestimation of economic growth.)
Jeff Tucker rightly condemns the Los Angeles City Council for raising the minimum wage in that city. (Robert Reich will draw white-board graphs explaining why no unemployment will result; clever yet unwise economists will draw monopsony graphs to depict just how a higher minimum wage might actually increase the employment of low-skilled workers; politicians will draw campaign contributions from labor unions who greedily support minimum-wage legislation and from Hollywood types who are expert at putting their facile humanitarianism on public display; many low-skilled Angelenos will, if they are lucky, draw unemployment checks.)
Despite its scorn for reticence, the new sexual revolution has a deep puritanical streak. Consensual sex is viewed as always under control, the result of a rational, fully autonomous choice. In this vision, there is either unequivocal “enthusiastic consent” or reluctant submission. In real life, though, there are many other possibilities.
You could agree to have sex to please your partner despite not being in the mood, and get enthusiastic later. You could be sexually eager but emotionally ambivalent, or vice versa. You could be torn between passionate desire and ethical or practical reasons not to act on that desire. You could get drunk to quiet your scruples, or hope to be coaxed into surrendering to temptation. (Obviously, “coaxed” does not equal “physically overpowered.”) Some of this behavior may be unhealthy or immature. But if it involves consenting adults—ones who can refuse sex without reasonable fear of harm—those adults should be free to make mistakes.