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John Tierney argues that DEI really stands for “Didn’t Earn It.” A slice:

There’s nothing racist about expecting people to earn what they get, which is why the phrase is so powerful. It appeals to Americans’ basic sense of fairness. The civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960s succeeded because they demanded equal treatment for everyone. The idea of reverse discrimination was widely unpopular even among those who had just endured decades of Jim Crow: in a 1969 poll, most blacks were opposed to preferential treatment in hiring or college admissions. They realized it would unfairly stigmatize all blacks, including those who would have been hired or admitted purely on their merits. But activists needed a new cause, and they justified reverse discrimination by calling it “affirmative action” and claiming it was a “temporary measure.” As the programs became permanent and grew into bloated bureaucracies, they were renamed DEI in a further effort to make them sound fair.

This pretense inspired ludicrous doublespeak, as when Harvard and the University of Texas at Austin told the Supreme Court that their consideration of race would improve the chances of some applicants but never negatively affect other applicants—a claim that “defies the law of mathematics,” as Justice Samuel Alito observed.  DEI executives like to say that they’re defending women against  “systemic sexism,” but hundreds of studies in the past two decades have shown that female applicants for jobs in academia and other industries are now favored over similarly qualified males. However widespread racism and sexism were in the past, Americans have now experienced a half century of programs and policies promoting reverse discrimination. They’re sick of pretending that it’s not happening.

Using some research by Scott Winship, Timothy Taylor asks if worker pay has kept pace with productivity. A slice:

Winship argues that if one compares apples-to-apples, “Over 75 or 100 years, aggregate worker pay has closely tracked increases in productivity. Pay differences across industries, across firms within industries, and within firms all seem to correspond with productivity differences.”

Eric Boehm is correct: “The national debt is making us poorer.”

Charles Cooke is impressed by neither of the two manifestly ignorant and amoral men who are vying to be sworn in as president of the United States on January 20th, 2025.

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley writes that economist Glenn Loury’s memoir “is a cautionary tale of the unintended consequences of affirmative action.” A slice:

Racial preferences have tragically mismatched students with schools, funneling them into institutions where they were in over their heads, pooling at the bottom of the class academically, or dropping out. Privately, many of Mr. Loury’s fellow black graduate students began to complain of racism at the school, but he was skeptical. “I doubted very much that racial insensitivity could have accounted for the uncomfortable fact that many of my black peers were not performing that well,” he writes. “They were holding on by their fingernails.”

Michael Strain is insightful. A slice:

Biden has maintained and extended the Trump tariffs, and has embraced industrial policy to jumpstart domestic clean-energy innovation and semiconductor manufacturing. But substituting the judgment of politicians for the judgment of markets is meeting with predictable results: the US lacks the workforce  needed to use these funds effectively. Moreover, other countries are retaliating, blunting the impact of the subsidies. The White House is tripping over itself, pursuing contradictory goals.

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby has a better idea.

Reason‘s Nick Gillespie talks with Jay Bhattacharya about what’s at stake in Murthy v. Missouri.

David Boaz explains that “liberalism once saved the world — it can do so again.” A slice:

That liberation of human creativity unleashed astounding scientific and material progress. The Nation magazine, which was then a truly liberal journal, looking back in 1900, wrote, “Freed from the vexatious meddling of governments, men devoted themselves to their natural task, the bettering of their condition, with the wonderful results which surround us.” The technological advances of the liberal 19th century are innumerable: the steam engine, the railroad, the telegraph, the telephone, electricity, the internal combustion engine. Thanks to such innovations and an explosion of entrepreneurship, in Europe and America the great masses of people began to be liberated from the backbreaking toil that had been the natural condition of humankind since time immemorial. Infant mortality fell and life expectancy began to rise to unprecedented levels. A person looking back from 1800 would see a world that for most people had changed little in thousands of years; by 1900 the world was unrecognizable.