Some Links

by Don Boudreaux on May 9, 2023

in Current Affairs, Education, Housing, Philosophy of Freedom, Seen and Unseen, Social Security, Trade

In this letter-to-the-editor of the Wall Street Journal, Harvey Silverglate explains the source of teachers’-unions enormous political power:

William McGurn’s critique of the power-hungry head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, is spot on (“On Randi Weingarten’s Waterfront,” Main Street, May 2). There is a reason that Ms. Weingarten has been able to accumulate all of the power she possesses. The public school boards of education with which Ms. Weingarten and the union deal are, in fact, public. In negotiation sessions between any public-sector union (teachers, law-enforcement officers, firefighters and so forth) and the political body on the other side, the latter is dealing with the taxpayers’ money, not its own

On the other hand, in the private sector, management is dealing with its own and its shareholders’ financial interests. Hence, there is an incentive to hold the line in the face of unreasonable bargaining demands. It’s that simple.

Harvey A. Silverglate
Cambridge, Mass.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board decries yet another progressive policy that inflicts disproportionate harm on low-income Americans by reducing the supply of housing. Two slices:

The Biden Administration’s regulatory onslaught continues, with almost no media coverage about the costs or consequences. A case in point is a new Department of Energy rule due to hit on May 31 that will make manufactured homes less affordable.

Some 22 million Americans live in manufactured homes, often called mobile homes, and their median household income is $35,000 a year. The average cost of a manufactured home ranges from $72,000 to $132,000, compared to $365,000 for a traditional house. Manufactured homes were about 9% of new single-family home starts in 2021, providing more than 100,000 affordable homes.

…..

Manufactured homes already have a relatively small carbon footprint. They are manufactured with minimal waste in factories, are smaller than most site-built homes, and comply with existing HUD efficiency standards. Yet as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott noted in a recent letter to [Energy Secretary] Ms. [Jennifer] Granholm, the low-income purchasers of these homes are being “unfairly asked to bear the costs imposed by climate alarmists.”

GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino warns of the Biden administration’s assault on automatic dishwashers. A slice:

The most common dishwashers on the market right now use less than four gallons of water per load. Even old dishwashers, which are less efficient, would be very unlikely to use more than 12 gallons per load.

As usual with environmentalist crusades, the target is poorly chosen and the “solution” is likely to aggravate people, with no benefit to the planet.

Pierre Lemieux understands the real benefit of free-trade agreements. Here’s his conclusion:

The main, if not the only justification, of a “free trade agreement” between your government and the government of somebody else is to tie the hands of your government, to chain your own Leviathan and limit its “state capacity.” In this, you stand in solidarity with your fellow human of the other country who wishes to defang his own Leviathan. When nobody, or at least nobody in power, believes in that goal, no wonder that free trade agreements have become unpopular. (See also my 2017 EconLog post “Taking Comparative Advantage Seriously.”)

The marginal cost of absorbing Bryan Caplan’s ideas is close to zero while the marginal benefit is very high.

I do not now and have never considered myself to be a Randian, but I do now believe, as I have always believed, that many of Ayn Rand’s moral arguments – as explained here by Robertas Bakula – in support of the free-market order are sound and important.

“Failing to reform Social Security means mandatory cuts,” so explains Reason‘s Eric Boehm.

Monica Gandhi tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

ERADICATION: 4 features of a pathogen that make it eradicable: 1) no animal reservoirs/ only primates like polio; 2) short period of infectiousness; 3) symptoms distinctive; 4) sterilizing immunity to infection or vax. Polio possible next. #COVID19 sadly has 0 of these features

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