This is the great hidden truth about Obamacare. It was never a program for improved medical coverage. It was a program for redistributing wealth by force from the healthy to the sick. It did this by forcing nonmarket risk pools, countering the whole logic of insurance in the first place, which is supposed to calibrate premiums, risks, and payouts toward mutual profitability. Obamacare imagined that it would be easy to use coercion to undermine the whole point of insurance. It didn’t work.
And so the Trump executive order introduces a slight bit of liberality and choice. And the critics are screaming that this is a disaster in the making. You can’t allow choice! You can’t allow more freedom! You can’t allow producers and consumers to cobble together their own plans! After all, this defeats the point of Obamacare, which is all about forcing people to do things they otherwise would not do!
I forget whether it was Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell who pointed out that whites have magic powers. They know which black homes have books in them, and oppress only those blacks whose homes lacked them.
Or maybe there’s another explanation that fits the data…
Walter E. Williams
Nov 29, 2017
The educational achievement of white youngsters is nothing to write home about, but that achieved by blacks is nothing less than disgraceful. Let’s look at a recent example of an educational outcome all too common. In 2016, in 13 of Baltimore’s 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient on the state’s mathematics exam. In six other high schools, only one percent tested proficient in math. In raw numbers, 3,804 Baltimore students took the state’s math test, and 14 tested proficient. Citywide, only 15 percent of Baltimore students passed the state’s English test.
Last spring, graduation exercises were held at one Baltimore high school, 90 percent of whose students received the lowest possible math score. Just one student came even close to being proficient. Parents and family members applauded the conferring of diplomas. Some of the students won achievement awards and college scholarships. Baltimore is by no means unique. It’s a small part of the ongoing education disaster for black students across the nation. Baltimore schools are not underfunded. Of the nation’s 100 largest school systems, Baltimore schools rank third in spending per pupil.
Baltimore’s black students receive diplomas that attest that they can function at a 12th-grade level when in fact they may not be able to do so at a seventh- or eighth-grade level. These students and their families have little reason to suspect that their diplomas are fraudulent. Thus, if they cannot land a good job, cannot pass a civil service exam, get poor grades in college and flunk out of college, they will attribute their plight to racism. After all, they have a high school diploma, just as a white person has a high school diploma. In their minds, the only explanation for being treated differently is racism.
Let’s look at math. If one graduates from high school without a minimum proficiency in algebra and geometry, he is likely to find whole fields and professions hermetically sealed off to him for life. In many fields and professions, a minimum level of math proficiency is taken for granted.
Let’s look at just one endeavor — being a fighter jet pilot. There are relatively few black fighter jet pilots. There are stringent physical, character and mental requirements that many blacks can meet. But fighter pilots must also have a strong knowledge of air navigation, aircraft operating procedures, flight theory, fluid mechanics and meteorology. The college majors that help prepare undergraduates for a career as a fighter pilot include mathematics, physical science and engineering.
What’s the NAACP response to educational fraud? At a 2016 meeting, the NAACP’s board of directors ratified a resolution that called for a moratorium on charter schools. Among the NAACP’s reasons for this were that it wanted charter schools to refrain from “expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate” and “cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.” Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys is a charter school. In 2016, 9 percent of its students scored proficient on the state’s math test. This year, over 14 percent did so. It’s in the interest of black people for more of our youngsters to attend better schools. However, it’s in the interest of the education establishment — and its handmaidens at the NAACP — to keep black youngsters in failing public schools.
Few people bother to ask whether there’s a connection between what goes on at predominantly black high schools and observed outcomes. Violence at many predominantly black schools is so routine that security guards are hired to patrol the hallways. The violence includes assaults on teachers. Some have been knocked out, had their jaws broken and required treatment by psychologists for post-traumatic stress disorder. On top of the violence is gross disorder and disrespect for authority.
The puzzling question for me is: How long will black people accept the educational destruction of black youngsters — something that only benefits the education establishment?
While I’m at it, here’s something from Larry Elder.
Nov 09, 2017
A Rasmussen poll taken in 2013 asked American adults, “Are most white Americans racist?” “Are most Hispanic Americans racist?” and “Are most black Americans racist?” Of the three groups, the winner was blacks.
Thirty-seven percent said most blacks were racist; 18 percent felt most Hispanics were racist, and 15 percent said most whites were racist.
Thirty-eight percent of whites felt most blacks were racist. Even blacks agreed, with 31 percent saying most blacks were racist, while 24 percent of blacks thought most whites racist and 15 percent believed most Hispanics were racist.
This brings us to the Cornell University’s Black Students United and whether the organization is engaging in racism — against blacks. The BSU complains that the prestigious Ivy League school admits too many blacks — from Africa and the Caribbean. “We demand that Cornell Admissions to come up with a plan to actively increase the presence of underrepresented Black students on this campus,” the BSU student group said in its demands. “We define underrepresented Black students as Black Americans who have several generations (more than two) in this country.”
Hold the phone. Isn’t the mantra of modern higher education “diversity,” “inclusion” and “overcoming disadvantage”? If so, the black African and Caribbean students would seem to nail all three.
Maybe the problem is that it is tough to explain why so many black foreign applicants outperform America-born blacks on what some call “culturally biased” standardized tests. A 2007 study by Princeton and University of Pennsylvania sociologists examined the standardized test scores of black students enrolled at 28 selective universities. As to the SAT, the test most colleges use as an important factor in offering admission, the study found that foreign-born black college-bound students earned a statistically significant advantage on SAT scores, averaging a score of 1250 (out of 1600) compared to 1193 average points for their American black counterparts. This explains, in large part, why first- or second-generation black immigrants made up 27 percent of the black student bodies at colleges nationwide. In the Ivy League, black immigrants comprised 41 percent of black students.
What is the basis for the black students’ protest? Don’t black foreigners face even more obstacles? After all, America spends more on education, K through 12, than the top 34 industrialized countries save Switzerland, Austria, Norway and Luxembourg. New York City and Washington, D.C., annually spend approximately $21,000 and $15,000 per student, respectively.
BSU might want to consider the letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal written by a man from Congo:
“I grew up in the Congo and have numerous friends in the U.S. from the Congo and other African countries who are here for an education or a better life. Every one of them is grateful for the opportunity to secure an excellent education. … Most come here from different cultures with minimal money and limited English language skills. Interestingly, I’ve never heard one complain about discrimination, obstacles or being a victim. Rather, they are grateful. Juxtapose this with Cornell’s Black Students United (BSU) whose members feel they should be treated better than every other color or race if they have ancestors who’ve been here for more than two generations.
“The counterintuitive posturing of American blacks denying other blacks from Africa or the Caribbean is appalling. First-generation African or Caribbean students have more obstacles to overcome to get into any university, much less a prestigious one like Cornell. Furthermore, the liberal American blacks who worship at the altar of ‘diversity’ and ‘victimhood’ should welcome real Africans or Caribbeans versus seeking preferences for those American blacks who truly have the superior advantage of having grown up in the U.S.
“If my Congolese friends are grateful for their opportunities here and have more challenges to overcome, why should American blacks get special treatment? Call this action what it is: racism. And it’s being pushed and protected under the guise of alleged victimization and preferential treatment at the expense of others of all colors and walks of life. So I challenge the BSU folks to start focusing on the concept of succeeding in life instead of always dwelling on the idea that the system is rigged against them.”
The black immigrant culture rejects the victicrat mentality embraced by so many American blacks. In “The Triple Package,” a 2014 book about immigrants’ children, a son of Nigerian-born parents says, “If you start thinking about or becoming absorbed in the mentality that the whole system is against us, then you cannot succeed.”
Rather than complain about the success of foreign-born blacks, why not give failing urban schools some competition through vouchers to give parents greater choice in where to educate their children, a policy currently pushed by the Trump administration? In the Detroit public school district, for example, just seven percent of eighth-graders are proficient or better in reading and just four percent are sufficient or better in math, despite total expenditures per student of over $18,000, according to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress tests.
Isn’t this the real problem?
A meme, and a notion, floating around the Internet:
So do these changes really kick-start an economy? Here’s an analysis from the “Being Classically Liberal” Facebook page:
1. Minnesota had ALREADY been experiencing a decent economy prior to the tax increases. As USA today explains, “Minnesota had one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates in 2012 …and one of its highest GDP growth rates, at 3.5%.” [a] The tax increases came the following year, in 2013. [b] Minnesota continued to maintain its rank of having one of the best unemployment rates, and any further decrease in its unemployment rate simply mirrored national trends. One cannot reasonably conclude, then, that the 2013 tax increases had “caused” the good economy which was already in place before said tax increases even existed.
2. Understand that this controversy is over TWO tax increases; One which increased income taxes on individuals earning above $150,000 a year or couples earning above $250,000. [b] [c] The other which increased the state’s excise tax on cigarette sales by 130%. [d] It’s rather disingenuous for progressives to point to the these two tax increases and declare ideological victory since jobs hadn’t vanished. For one, they’re conflating conerns. Concerns over businesses fleeing to neighboring states are not based on income taxes but more so on a state’s business environment. And in that regard, it’s relevant to point out two key facts:
a. Business taxes have actually been CUT since 2013. [e] This is something progressives don’t seem to be acknowledging.
b. Once analyzed in a 2014 study, the cigarette tax increase has, as predicted, been quite detrimental to sales. [d] We will list the pertinent details below.
THE CIGARETTE TAX:
“In 2013 the Minnesota Legislature passed a 130% increase in the cigarette excise tax and also increased the tax on other tobacco products from 70% of the wholesale price to 95% of the wholesale price.” In 2014, when a study was conducted to measure the effects of this new policy, the following conclusions were found: [d]
• 1,100 jobs were estimated to have been lost or eliminated by 2014 as a result.
• Tobacco sales declined 50% in Minnesota stores along the border.
• Dramatic sales increases of tobacco products occurred in all four bordering states, indicating consumers had merely shifted to out of state purchases.
• By 2014, $38 million of lost sales in non-tobacco products also occurred as an indirect result.
• Nearly a quarter of all cigarettes consumed in Minnesota are now estimated to be purchased in other states.
As you can see, Minnesota may in fact be doing well, but this is due to other variables and not due to an increase in income taxes or cigarette taxes. One must consider the many other relevant variables at play. For instance, Minnesota borders water which automatically benefits ANY region, as it makes it part of a commercial trade route. This alters the conditions that might otherwise push businesses to conduct commerce elsewhere. Consider this. Part of Minnesota’s border is water (beneficial to business), another part is Canada (not appealing to most companies seeking to stay in the US), and the rest of its border are 4 neighboring states, where 3 of which are landlocked. This gives Minnesota an upper hand relative to other states, which is entirely relevant when one’s concern is commerce. Furthermore, Minnesota is home to a major natural resource and produces 75% of the country’s iron ore. [f] The iron-ore industry can’t just pick up and leave. Lastly, there has emerged a rather extensive list of tax CUTS, credits, or simplifications, all potentially offsetting the detriments of the aforementioned two tax increases. [e] They are as follows:
• $230 million in reduced taxes, as well as a simplification of the tax code, for Middle Class Minnesotans.
• The elimination of the “marriage penalty” tax, saving more than 650,000 married couples an average of $115 per year.
• Over 16,000 additional middle class families will qualify for the Working Family Tax Credit.
• Tax Cuts for Parents. More than 25,000 families who qualify for child care tax credits will see an average increase in their tax credit of $74 per year.
• Tax Cuts for Students. More than 285,000 recent college graduates could save up to $190 per year by deducting their student loan interest. Another 40,000 current college students and parents will receive a tuition deduction of $140 per year, on average.
• Tax Cuts and simplification of the tax code for Small Employers as well as an elimination of a requirement to maintain separate records for federal taxes.
• Tax cuts for seniors, teachers, and homeowners.
• A reduction in business sales taxes by $232 million.
• All three business-to-business taxes were repealed.
• The sales tax on repair and maintenance of electronic, farm, and commercial equipment has been repealed.
• The warehousing sales tax was repealed.
• Sales tax on telecommunications equipment has been repealed.
• $3 million in tax CREDITS for “Innovation and Jobs” and specifically “fuel innovation” has been set aside.
• Another $3 million in Tax Credits for startup businesses and entrepreneurs.
• Simplification of the Estate Tax, raising the exemption from $1 million to $2 million.
• Elimination of the Gift Tax; a reduction of $43 million.
• Furthermore, in May of 2014, an additional $103 million in tax cuts for homeowners, renters and farmers was agreed to. [g]
To point to all of this and declare, “Tax increases created jobs!” is MORE than a bit questionable. When you already have a decent economy, and firms see tax cuts for businesses and consumers on the horizon, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’d likely remain in the state. Minnesota is doing well for many reasons, but their 2013 income tax increase on the top 2% of earners and their 2013 cigarette tax increase are NOT why. Add to all of the Minnesota tax cuts the fact that their government has begun shrinking in size per recent jobs numbers showing the government shed 4,200 jobs in December of 2014 alone [h] and it’s a wonder why Progressives keep proudly waiving this example around.
The problem is, there are a multitude of variables in any economy. In order to claim that any given outcome is due only to one or two changes, you’d really need to have two Minnesotas, one where the changes happened, and one where they didn’t, but are otherwise identical.
This doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.
Nazism did not simply appear out of thin air and infect the minds of docile German people.
Jonah Goldberg takes a stab at defining conservatism.
Actually, you’d think he’s re-enacting the shower scene from “Psycho”…
“I am a democrat [proponent of democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man.
I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government.
The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. . . . I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. . . .
The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.”
― C.S. Lewis, Present Concerns
Put me with Pence and Coates. I also have rules. I’ll have lunch alone with female colleagues, but in more than 20 years of marriage, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve had dinner alone with a woman not my wife. And I’ve managed that without ever disadvantaging or discriminating against any woman I worked for or with. I have other rules as well. For example, I travel quite a bit, but when I’m traveling alone I don’t eat or sit at bars — especially hotel bars — unless there is no other place to sit.
I have those rules not because I think that without guardrails I’m going to assault someone, but because I understand human nature and because I respect women. I don’t want any woman to feel like I’m putting her in an uncomfortable or compromising position. This may come as a surprise to critics of the Pence rule, but there are quite a few women who don’t want to dine alone with male bosses. There are quite a few women who believe that dinner (especially with drinks) is unnecessarily intimate and that business can be conducted in the office or with other colleagues present.
But don’t tell that to Pence’s critics. This week Christianity Today’s Katelyn Beatty took to the pages of the New York Times to write “The Christian Case Against the Pence Rule.” Given her intelligence and theological knowledge, I was surprised to see this paragraph:
The Pence rule arises from a broken view of the sexes: Men are lustful beasts that must be contained, while women are objects of desire that must be hidden away. Offering the Pence rule as a solution to male predation is like saying, “I can’t meet with you one on one, otherwise I might eventually assault you.” If that’s the case, we have far deeper problems around men and power than any personal conduct rule can solve.
No, no, no. Let’s break this down in the simplest terms possible. The Pence rule (or its variations) arises from an accurate view of man’s fallen nature. In this context, it means three things.
First, when men and women are alone — especially at night, especially with drinks — there is a far greater chance of mutual or one-sided attraction (not assault) than when they’re in groups or in professional settings. Even if they don’t intend the attraction. Even if they’re happily married. If you doubt this reality then, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Spend any time in professional settings, and you’ll understand that workplace attraction happens, and when it happens it tends to happen not in the midst of conference calls but rather in those settings that get far more personal and less professional.
Second, variations of the Pence rule protect both sides from reputational harm. It’s a simple fact that observing a married man alone at dinner with a woman other than his wife can start tongues wagging, and it’s also a fact that leaders of Christian ministries have often had to take extreme measures to protect against intentional sabotage of their reputations. I know leaders who never travel alone in part because of actual past hostile attempts to place them in compromising positions (with photographic evidence). If we should understand anything in 2017 it’s that our politics is vicious and poisonous. The more high-profile you become, the more careful you should be.
Third, surprise, surprise but there are actual predators out there, and women who operate under some version of the Pence rule gain an additional layer of protection. Moreover, corporate implementation of the rule is like a flashing sign that says, “This workplace aims to be safe and professional.”
Beatty says, “All the people I know who keep the rule are men.” This is yet another puzzling statement. Every Christian ministry I know that imposes the rule on its employees does so without regard to gender, and these are ministries that employ multiple powerful women. In fact, almost every powerful Christian woman I know keeps a version of the Pence rule.
But here’s where critics of the Pence rule have a point. If you’re in a position of authority, you should endeavor to create a workplace where equal opportunity is evident and gender-based favoritism is absent. It is unfair to take Luke out for dinner and never take out Laura. The better approach is to keep business matters in business settings, and that includes when it’s late and folks need to eat.
People Are Questioning Your Sacred Cows? Listen Up
There’s good reason to scrutinize claims like the Roy Moore mall story. It’s certainly not to protect a pedophile.
I’m skeptical about the mall story. No one in the New Yorker story seems to have been directly involved with the alleged mall ban; every source who was willing (even eager) to talk seems to have heard the story from someone else. It seems probable that there was a rumor floating around that Moore was banned from the mall; it seems possible that this rumor was even true. But it’s also possible it’s false. Those of us over a certain age will remember how many compelling, yet false, urban legends we believed before Snopes.com was invented. And who was the source for every one of those legends? That stalwart figure, “a friend of a friend.”
So without better confirmation than “35 years ago, I heard from a guy that Roy Moore got banned from the mall,” I will withhold judgment on whether Moore was actually banned. I tweeted as much after I read the New Yorker story. And was immediately inundated with aggressive accusations of covering up for a child molester and general partisan hackery.
I am not generally identified as a member of Team Trump, much less Team Roy Moore. Indeed, prior to my tweet about the mall story, I’d been saying some fairly astringent things about the people who were attacking Moore’s accusers — or worse, saying “But Democrats covered for Bill Clinton!” I just didn’t happen to think this particular story was very strong.
I also didn’t think it particularly mattered. If Moore did everything he has been credibly accused of, would we be inclined to give him a pass because that supreme judicial authority, the mall of Gadsden, Alabama, never got around to banning him?
But as I attempted to explain why this story looks weak to a lot of journalists (I was not the only one who noticed the thin sourcing), I began to understand why I’d triggered such outrage. Because several people asked me some version of the same question: “Why would you even question this story?” In their minds, it was clear that there could be only one reason: because I was trying to somehow salvage Moore’s candidacy.
I get asked this question a lot these days. Why would you even argue about rape statistics, when we know that rape is a problem? Why would you give even a moment’s consideration to those who theorize that global warming could be moderate rather than catastrophic? Why would you raise questions about that terrible gang rape at UVA?
My interlocutors have a point: We all make choices about which assertions we interrogate, and which we accept on easy faith. And because we are biased, we tend to interrogate most ruthlessly the inconvenient claims that stand in the way of something we’d very much like to believe. When someone casts doubt on a politically charged story, it’s not crazy to infer an ulterior ideological motive (even though in this particular case involving my qualms about that Roy Moore mall story, this inference was dead wrong).
But if we are committed to believing only things that are likely to be true, then how much does the motive of a questioner really matter? I’d argue “not much.” Knowing someone’s political commitments tells you that they are likely to accept evidence for some propositions more easily than for others. But it does not tell you that their analysis is wrong.
To the contrary, partisans with an axe to grind are often the people who see what others don’t. The faked Second Amendment scholarship of Michael Bellesiles, the forgeries that suggested Bush had gone AWOL during Vietnam, the imaginary gang rape at a UVA fraternity — in all cases, the people who raised questions were dismissed as cranks and partisans, and often this was actually true. And yet, they were the ones seeing clearly, while the people questioning their motives were not.
Truth is powerful stuff; it can be bottled up for just so long before it bursts its container and splatters all over the place. And when that happens, the revelation of the lie hurts the credibility of everyone who embraced it — and harms the very cause they thought they were helping.
So instead of labeling folks as partisan and dismissing their questions, we should embrace a tough critique regardless of its source. You have your blind spots, just like they have theirs. By overlaying their world view onto yours, you may be able to get a fuller picture. You’ll get closer to the truth by listening to people who see the world very differently from you, especially the ones who ask questions that make you uncomfortable. If what you believe is true, their objections can only refine your ideas into something stronger. And if what you believe is false — well, it’s better to find out quick.
I’m seeing posts on Facebook declaring that at least some of Trump’s judicial picks lack requisite experience.
Consider the ABA’s “not qualified” rating of Leonard Steven Grasz, a Nebraska attorney nominated to the appeals court. The ABA claims Grasz is unfit because of his “deeply held social agenda.” During his 11 years as Nebraska’s chief deputy attorney general, he defended many of the state’s laws, including a ban on partial-birth abortion. Defending that law was his job.
Opposing any limit on abortion is enough to outrage pro-choice activist Cynthia Nance, the law professor who led Grasz’s recent ABA review. She stooped to grilling him on why he sends his children to religious schools — an out-of-bounds question — instead of sticking to probing his legal philosophy. Apparently, being religious is disqualifying.
Grasz reiterated his “solemn obligation” to put aside personal views and “faithfully apply” Supreme Court precedent. Astonishingly, that’s an assurance the left rejects. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), argues “there’s simply no way to prevent a judge’s … personal beliefs from influencing” rulings. The conclusion is obvious. To Democrats like Whitehouse, only nominees with left-wing agendas are acceptable.
CARTOONS | JERRY HOLBERT
Another nominee rated “unqualified” by the ABA is Brett Talley, Trump’s nominee for a federal district court in Alabama. Last Thursday, Talley won Senate Judiciary Committee approval despite the ABA’s claim that Talley lacks “requisite trial experience.”
In truth, Talley is superbly qualified — with a law degree from Harvard, clerkships at the trial and appeals court level, litigation experience in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and a stint as Alabama’s deputy solicitor general. He’s got about as much trial experience as Justice Elena Kagan, rated “well qualified” by the ABA when President Obama nominated her to the highest court.
What’s Talley’s real problem? His political views and Trump connections. (His wife is chief of staff to the White House counsel, a fact he should have disclosed sooner.) Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) grilled Talley about abortion, gun control, gay marriage and his disdain for Hillary Clinton — whom he once dubbed “Hillary Rotten Clinton” on Twitter.
Imprudent maybe, but hardly in the league with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comment to The New York Times that she couldn’t “imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president.”
Talley assured senators he would “never allow personal opinions or experiences to justify a departure from the law.” When Whitehouse said courts need judges who empathize with what it’s like to be a teenage mom, African-American, gay or poor, Talley shot back that everyone appearing in front of a federal judge deserves empathy.
Back in 2013, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) chastised Senate Republicans for opposing Obama’s female nominees, arguing the court needs more women. But hypocrisy is on display now, with Warren and fellow Democrats attacking Trump’s female nominees.
Amy Barrett, nominated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, got hammered for her Catholicism. Feinstein suggested Barrett’s religion “lives loudly within” her, making her unfit. The University of Notre Dame’s president warned that “it is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge.”
Millions voted for Trump because he pledged to appoint judges who would uphold the Constitution, not invent law to advance a social agenda. Twenty-one percent of Trump voters called it their highest priority. But the ABA and other activists aren’t surrendering their grip on the courts without a fight. Remember that when you hear the smears about “unfit” nominees.