Or, consider the educational achievement gap. Anti-racism advocates, in effect, are daring you to notice that some groups send their children to elite colleges and universities in outsized numbers compared to other groups due to the fact that their academic preparation is magnitudes higher and better and finer. They are daring you to declare such excellence to be an admirable achievement. One isn’t born knowing these things. One acquires such intellectual mastery through effort. Why are some youngsters acquiring these skills and others not? That is a very deep and interesting question, one which I am quite prepared to entertain. But the simple retort, “racism”, is laughable—as if such disparities have nothing to do with behavior, with cultural patterns, with what peer groups value, with how people spend their time, with what they identify as being critical to their own self-respect. Anyone actually believing such nonsense is a fool, I maintain.
Scott Lincicome worries that Biden will repeat Trump’s mistakes on trade policy. Here’s his opening paragraph:
The New York Times yesterday provided an in-depth look at the Biden White House’s plans to “transform the economy” through “dramatic interventions to revive U.S. manufacturing” – heavy on economic nationalism, industrial planning, and manufacturing jobs. If that approach sounds familiar, it should: it’s essentially the same gameplan that Biden’s predecessor used, with the only major difference being Biden’s emphasis on “green” industries like wind turbines, as compared to Trump’s love of steel and other heavy industry.
Eric Boehm wonders why Janet Yellen suddenly sounds like Trump on trade. (Any economist who remotely sounds like Trump on trade has seriously lost his or her way.) Here are two slices from Eric’s essay:
The best explanation, of course, is that Yellen is just trying to be a team player here. The Biden administration has signaled that it is unwilling to make a sharp break with Trump’s trade policies, likely because the White House sees domestic political benefits of talking about protectionism. Biden’s first major trade policy moves were the announcement of a “Buy American” plan for federal procurement that will force taxpayers to pay higher prices for goods the government buys, and the reimposition of tariffs on aluminum imported from the United Arab Emirates. Neither of those things should be expected to do much to boost American manufacturing, but both will marginally increase costs and complicate some of those global supply chains that Yellen knows are key to ongoing economic growth.
Furthermore, the decline of manufacturing as a share of the whole American economy has been more or less on a steady downward march since the end of World War II. This isn’t a crisis created by the rise of China or the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995.