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Some Non-Covid Links

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley asks why there aren’t more black coaches in the NFL. Three slices:

One reason is that teams don’t want to hire someone they can’t fire without being labeled racist.
Not long after Barack Obama became president, he made an appearance on the “Late Show With David Letterman. ” It was September 2009, and the administration’s plans to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system had not been going over well in the polls. Some people, including former President Jimmy Carter, were insisting that criticism of Mr. Obama was racially motivated. Asked about it, Mr. Obama demurred. “It’s important to remember,” he said to Mr. Letterman, “that I was actually black before the election.”

Mr. Obama’s response was not only classy and amusing, but it was based on a certain logic that seems lost on those who are quick to reach for the race card. Last week, Brian Flores, who was recently fired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, filed a lawsuit against the National Football League alleging that the league discriminates against black coaches. But Mr. Flores was also black when he was hired.
We also shouldn’t ignore other plausible explanations for this racial imbalance that may have nothing to do with racial bias. Progressive icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent 27 years on the Supreme Court while hiring only one black law clerk. Was she guilty of discrimination, or was she simply choosing from a pool of candidates that, for whatever reason, included relatively few blacks?

Susan Love Brown asks what liberty has to say to black history. A slice:

Carter G. Woodson, who became the second African American to receive a Ph.D. (Harvard, 1912), was the son of former slaves and the father of Negro History Week, which eventually became Black History Month. He was unable to find a major university position after receiving his doctorate, and he and other Black historians were sometimes prohibited from attending sessions of the American History Association (AHA) when it met in the South (Hine 1986:406). Consequently, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLF), as well as a journal, The Journal of Negro History. Like Du Bois, Woodson was also a prolific writer and continually pressed for more research into Black history, which he felt had been neglected.

Both Du Bois and Woodson faced similar circumstances – that of being Black scholars who were themselves subject to the same struggles for equality as other African Americans, and who were at the same time trying to bring the history of those struggles into general knowledge. This alone often affected the way in which Black history was interpreted. In the 1960s, a fertile period following the civil rights movement, the reclaiming of that history and its instantiation in university courses, popular television shows, and books brought recognition of the roles African Americans had played in the U.S. military (the Buffalo soldiers and the Tuskegee Airmen), sports (the fact that Black jockeys were the early winners of the Kentucky Derby but later banned on the basis of race, and the existence of the Negro leagues in baseball), literature (the work of Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, William Wells Brown, the slave narratives of Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs, and the Harlem Renaissance poets), and the arts (the Black Arts Movement), and music (for example, the creation of new American forms, such as jazz and the blues). The push for the recognition of achievement is the push for the recognition of a common humanity. The long list of “firsts” among African Americans speaks to progress being made and to past attempts to block achievements.

Wall Street Journal columnist Andy Kessler, inspired by George Gilder, explains “how capitalism is the most charitable system.” A slice:

I asked the author and economist George Gilder about wealth creation. “Wealth is most essentially knowledge,” Mr. Gilder says. “Let’s face it, the caveman had access to all the materials we have today. Therefore, economic growth is learning, manifested in ‘learning curves’ of collapsing costs driven by markets.” Yet these learning curves get waved away by economists. Mr. Gilder says information, not materials, drives growth: “Crash a car and all its value disappears, though every molecule remains.”

Another paradox is the belief that entrepreneurs like Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg are driven by greed despite capitalism’s charitable characteristics. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, showing her misunderstanding of economics, said in 2020, “No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars.” Have you ever noticed that those who criticize capitalists the most are too lazy to be capitalists?

Mr. Gilder counters, “Capitalism is not chiefly an incentive system, where entrepreneurs act in rote response to rewards and punishments like in a Skinner Box. It’s an information system governed by the unveiling of surprising truths, innovation. If the creativity of entrepreneurs wasn’t a surprise, socialist planning would work.” Karl Marx didn’t—and Bernie Sanders doesn’t—understand productivity! Some recent surprising truths: mRNA, neural networks, Crispr, quantum computing.

Craig Eyermann details and decries the U.S. government’s growing indebtedness.

Scott Lincicome argues that the steel deal is getting continually worse. Here’s his opening paragraph:

Yesterday, the Biden administration announced an agreement with Japan to lift some of the U.S. “national security” tariffs on Japanese steel products that the Trump administration imposed in 2018 pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. As with a similar European deal announced last Fall (see our writeup here) and implemented in January, the U.S.-Japan deal has been lauded as “ending” Trump’s steel tariffs and “mending ties with a major ally,” but a closer examination reveals it to share many, if not more, of the EU agreement’s shortcomings and to continue President Trump’s misguided and ineffectual approach to tariffs, international trade law, and geopolitics.

James Bacchus and GMU Econ alum Gabriella Beaumont‐​Smith are rightly disappointed that “President Joe Biden has extended the tariffs former President Donald Trump imposed on imported solar cells and panels.”

My GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan thanks regulators for less than nothing.

Lenore Skenazy continues her important reporting on the Karen-like tyranny imposed on parents.

The fact that the mainstream media and many educrats treat Nikole Hannah-Jones as if her intellect and work are worthy of respect tells you, pretty much, all you need to know about today’s mainstream media and educrats.

GMU Econ student Dominic Pino, writing at National Review, reports on the soaring private investments in improving supply chains the supply web. A slice:

Those numbers are remarkable compared with past levels of investment, as the report says, but they are also remarkable compared with what politicians want to take credit for. President Biden likes to tout the $17 billion for ports in the bipartisan infrastructure law as helping supply chains. But remember, spending numbers from that legislation are totals over ten years, and there’s an arduous grant process through the Department of Transportation to apply for and get the money. Private investors, with no central direction, spent $7 billion more in three quarters of one year than the federal government will spend over the next ten.

The money from private investors will almost certainly be better spent as well. It doesn’t come with strings attached by the federal government that make the money virtually useless. The Freightos report highlights investments in software, e-commerce, and last-mile solutions that aren’t touched by government spending at all.

Government spending also suffers from focusing on things that already exist instead of spurring new technologies. Private investors, on the other hand, are creating new unicorns, or start-ups with valuations over $1 billion, all across the supply-chain space.

Russ Roberts talks with John Taylor about inflation, the Fed, and the Taylor Rule.