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Some Non-Covid Links

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy isn’t impressed with Mitt Romney’s so-called “Family Security Act.” A slice:

However, this universality creates other work disincentives. For example, experiments with the universal basic income provide evidence that unconditional cash payments can be detrimental to beneficiaries’ employment. This undermines the importance of work as a pathway out of poverty for some low-income Americans and their children. In fact, Scott Winship at the American Enterprise Institute has made a powerful case that the work requirements included in welfare reform of the 1990s played an important role in reducing child poverty.

Jon Sanders is rightly grateful for being “price-gouged” (so-called).

Wall Street Journal columnist Dan Henninger is appropriately critical of the insidious tyranny lurking in Progressives’ notion of “our democracy.” A slice:

So be it, until the 2022 midterms. But how does voting to demote the election in a Georgia congressional district, no matter how freakish its representative’s views, square with “our democracy”?

Within days of that House vote, an inevitable corollary event arrived, with a New York Times columnist suggesting that in light of “our [that word again] national reality crisis,” some academics were urging the creation of a federal “reality czar,” whose office would identify and presumably correct false thinking.

It may be an exaggeration, but only a small one, to suggest that its proponents want a federal office of reality because they think that virtually all the 74 million Trump voters in 2020 were steeped in QAnon-like falsity. What an extraordinary juncture in U.S. politics. If you believe that everything your opponents think is false, and that everything you believe is the “truth” (apologies again for the oh so slight exaggeration), this surely is a form of insanity.

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley wonders if teachers’ unions have finally overplayed their hand. A slice:

According to the most recent data from School Digger, a website that aggregates test score results, 23 of the top 30 schools in New York in 2019 were charters. The feat is all the more impressive because those schools sported student bodies that were more than 80% black and Hispanic, and some two-thirds of the kids qualified for free or discount lunches. The Empire State’s results were reflected nationally. In a U.S. News & World Report ranking released the same year, three of the top 10 public high schools in the country were charters, as were 23 of the top 100—even though charters made up only 10% of the nation’s 24,000 public high schools.

We are told constantly by defenders of the education status quo that the learning gap is rooted in poverty, segregation and “systemic” racism. We’re told that blaming traditional public schools for substandard student outcomes isn’t fair given the raw material that teachers have to work with. But if a student’s economic background is so decisive, or if black students need to be seated next to whites to understand Shakespeare and geometry, how can it be that so many of the most successful public schools are dominated by low-income minorities?

What is equity?

As Ryan Bourne reports, the absurdity of the arguments made in support of minimum wages knows no limits.

Speaking of minimum wages, here’s a brand new – and very important – paper on the subject from economist Jeffrey Clemens. A slice:

I show that margins including nonwage job attributes can have first-order implications for analyses of minimum wages. In models that account for such factors, predictions for the effects of minimum wages on unemployment and worker welfare can, perhaps surprisingly, be reversed from our basic intuitions. I also show how these results can be illustrated through minor extensions to basic diagrams of labor supply and demand.

George Will justly criticizes Chuck Schumer’s and Elizabeth Warren’s proposed welfare for the well-to-do. A slice:

One drama of Joe Biden’s infant presidency was foreshadowed 13 months ago in Iowa when a rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, answered a question. Her “a program for every problem” repertoire included as much as $50,000 of forgiveness for indebted students or former students from households making less than $100,000, declining to zero for $250,000 households. An Iowan said to her:

“My daughter is getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money [so that] she doesn’t have any student loans. Am I going to get my money back?”

Warren: “Of course not.”

Iowan: “So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money, and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?”

Of course: Activist government usually serves those who know how to activate it — relatively affluent and articulate complainers.