Some Non-Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on November 11, 2021

in Budget Issues, Economics, Education, Energy, Environment, Media, Seen and Unseen, Taxes, Work

Here’s a new and very useful site – EdWatchDaily – started by Brad Thompson, with George Leef also on board.

Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen presents evidence that illiberal critical race theory is indeed being taught in at least some government K-12 “schools.” A slice:

Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools, which were ground zero in the debate over the role of parents in their kids’ education, paid $314,000 for critical race theory coaching for its teachers from the Equity Collaborative — a consulting firm that turns critical race theory into practices for “building more equitable learning environments.” In its presentation “Introduction to Critical Race Theory” the Equity Collaborative instructs teachers that racism is “an inherent part of American civilization” and attacks “ideas of colorblindness, the neutrality of the law, incremental change, and equal opportunity for all” for maintaining “whites’ power and strongholds within society.” It also questions “the idea of meritocracy” which “allows the empowered … to feel ‘good’ and have a clear conscience” and concludes with a breakout session for teachers to discuss “How might you use CRT to identify and address systemic oppression in your school, district or organization?”

One Loudoun country parent filed the public record request to find out what took place in these sessions and obtained a set of talking points used by the Equity Collaborative to train Virginia teachers. They were encouraged not to “profess color blindness,” but rather to admit their own “racist, sexist, heterosexist, or other detrimental attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and feelings” and acknowledge that “addressing one’s Whiteness (e.g., white privilege) is crucial for effective teaching.”

John Stossel writes that “[c[hildren are too important to be entrusted to unions or government monopolies.

Art Carden explains and applauds the long history of (competent) economists teaching diversity, equity, and inclusion. A slice:

Thomas C. Leonard’s Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era is a revelation (I review the book here). It turns out that a lot of the unintended and lamented consequences of things like price controls and workplace safety regulations were actually intended and celebrated consequences in the eyes of Progressive Era social scientists. These rules weren’t there to protect women, children, and the very low-skilled from rapacious, exploiting employers. They were there largely to protect white men from their competition. Leonard quotes Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who said that the unemployment intervention created was “not a mark of social disease, but actually of social health.”

Bryan Caplan wins another bet.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy is rightly appalled at the poor quality of the punditry’s pundit-ing on economic matters. A slice:

The same hasty commentary exists in the dozens of articles published daily about why we allegedly “need” a federal paid-leave policy. For instance, Eric Levitz of New York magazine recently opined that “Today, virtually every developed country boasts a paid-family-leave program that exceeds the 1919 standard — except for the United States, which still has no national paid-leave policy whatsoever.”

He implies that not having a national government program means workers’ benefits are stuck at 1919 levels. Also implied in pieces like this is that if Democrats succeed in passing the Build Back Better paid leave legislation, everyone without paid leave would get it. This logic is both sloppy and uninformed.

Commenting on new survey results published by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago for the American Enterprise Institute, Angela Rachidi writes, “Our newest findings contradict a central argument for the Democrat’s proposed government takeover of paid leave: that most workers cannot access paid leave when they need it.” For instance, the survey reveals that throughout the pandemic most workers had access to paid leave from their employers. Rachidi also notes that “most workers were paid during their time away, and this was consistent across types of leave.”

Another of my Mercatus Center colleagues, Tracy Miller, argues that “along with its enormous costs, the child tax credit discourages work.”

In response to one of the many bits of economic ignorance emitted by Biden, Randy Holcombe explains that “[t]he cost of trillions of dollars in spending is not zero. It’s trillions of dollars.

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, Bjorn Lomborg continues to make a strong case against climate hysteria. A slice:

The U.N. estimates that even if no country does anything to slow global warming, the annual damage by 2100 will be equivalent to a 2.6% cut in global gross domestic product. Given that the U.N. also expects the average person to be 450% as rich in 2100 as today, that figure falls only to 434% if the temperature rises unimpeded. This is a problem, but not the end of the world.

That means we don’t have to panic but instead can decide policy rationally. Economist William Nordhaus won the Nobel Prize in 2018 for his work on effective climate solutions, and the chart nearby shows the outcome of his model to find the optimal climate policy. His crucial point is that the damage global warming inflicts aren’t the only costly part of climate change; climate policies also create significant economic harm.

Speaking of climate hysteria, George Will wonders if it has hit its peak with COP26. A slice:

The Hoover Institution’s John H. Cochrane, a.k.a. the Grumpy Economist, notes that even with extreme assumptions about increased global temperature and negligible adaptation measures, it is difficult to postulate a cost larger than 5 percent of global GDP by 2100. Even assuming meager 2 percent growth, U.S. GDP in 2100 will be 400 percent larger than now. At 3 percent compounded growth, there will be 1,000 percent more GDP than now. From 1940 to 2000, Cochrane reminds, there was 3.8 percent compound annual growth, and GDP increased 10-fold.

Phil Magness is no fan of the proposed wealth tax.

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