Unintended Consequences of De-funding the Police

There exists an essentially universal belief that generally reducing adverse criminal justice outcomes will tend to reduce (a) relative racial differences in rates of experiencing the outcomes (as commonly presented in terms of the ratio of the rate for Black individuals to that of white individuals) and (b) the proportion Black individuals make up of persons experiencing the outcomes (compared with the proportion they make up of the population).

The belief underlies the calls for defunding the police that were heard in many places over the past year. The belief also plays an important role in support for criminal justice reforms aimed at generally reducing prison populations, expanding options for pretrial release and diversion programs for defendants with low risk of recidivism, de-incentivizing traffic stops, and modifying police practices in ways that can reduce all adverse interactions between the police and the public.

Law 360

That is, when two groups differ in their susceptibility to an outcome, generally reducing the outcome tends to increase, not reduce, relative differences in rates of experiencing the outcome while reducing relative differences in rates of avoiding the outcome, i.e., experiencing the opposite outcome.

Correspondingly, reducing an outcome tends to increase the proportion the more susceptible group makes up of persons experiencing the outcome and persons avoiding the outcome. The pattern can be easily illustrated with test score data where two groups differ in the average performance on the test, as in Table 1 below.

The table is a slightly modified version of a table I used in my testimony at a December 2017 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing on discipline disparities in public schools, where I attempted to explain the effects of reducing adverse discipline outcomes.

If your goal is to reduce disparities, being more strict seems to be the way to go.

You Can’t Make Up Stuff Like This

Here’s a letter to a high-school senior who regularly reads Café Hayek:

Colin:

Thanks for your e-mail in which you ask my opinion of your “teacher’s proposition to sue businesses who don’t pay workers enough to keep them off welfare.”

The idea is terrible, especially for poor workers. Adoption of your teacher’s scheme would turn all low-skilled workers into potential legal liabilities for their employers.

Of course this policy would render unemployable all workers who cannot now produce enough to enable them to earn wages sufficiently high to make them ineligible for welfare. Who’s going to hire a 100-percent-certain legal liability?

But your teacher’s policy would also render unemployable even many workers whose pay makes them currently ineligible for welfare. The reason is that employers know that governments can, and sometimes do, lower welfare-eligibility requirements. And so many workers who today are paid enough to be ineligible for welfare might tomorrow – simply because of a change in welfare standards – become eligible. Because these workers would suddenly subject their employers to your teacher’s proposed legal actions, these workers would be unemployable.

Source: You Can’t Make Up Stuff Like This

This payout by the city of Minneapolis won’t affect the Chauvin trial – no, not at all

This may be the sound of justice being Crumpled.

The Minneapolis City Council has made a decision to settle a civil lawsuit:

The city of Minneapolis on Friday agreed to pay $27 million to settle a civil lawsuit from George Floyd’s family over the Black man’s death in police custody, as jury selection continued in a former officer’s murder trial.

Council members met privately to discuss the settlement, then returned to public session for a unanimous vote in support of the massive payout. It easily surpassed the $20 million the city approved two years ago to the family of a white woman killed by a police officer.

Floyd family attorney Ben Crump called it the largest pretrial settlement ever for a civil rights claim…

These cases are Crump’s specialty, and lying to the press about them is also his specialty (I’ve written about Crump before, in particular here in connection with the Jacob Blake case, and he was involved in the Trayvon Martin case as well as the Michael Brown case and of course the Floyd case). I don’t know exactly how it works, but I’ve read that lawyers take one-third of settlements, and if so then Crump will net a cool nine million.

Source: This payout by the city of Minneapolis won’t affect the Chauvin trial – no, not at all

‘Hero Pay’ Requirement for Grocery Workers Results in Unemployed Heroes

Mandated “hero pay” will add up to about $0 an hour for some grocery store workers in Los Angeles. Grocers there are closing three stores in response to newly enacted legislation that requires them to pay their workers an additional $5 an hour during the pandemic. “It’s never our desire to close a store, but when you factor in the increased costs of operating during COVID-19, consistent financial losses at these three locations, and an extra pay mandate that will cost nearly $20 million over the next 120 days, it becomes impossible to operate these three stores,” said grocery store chain Kroger in a statement given to CBS Los Angeles, announcing that two Ralphs-branded stores and one Food 4 Less location, would be shutting down.

Source: ‘Hero Pay’ Requirement for Grocery Workers Results in Unemployed Heroes

A Serious Argument Contains Serious Argumentation

(Don Boudreaux) Here’s a letter to a college student who tells me that she was “shocked,” when while doing research for a debate on welfare policy, she encountered my blog posts on minimum wages.

Ms. L___:

Thanks for your e-mail.

You allege that my and other “neoliberals’” opposition to minimum wages “shows” our racism. You reach this conclusion by asserting that, because blacks generally are paid less than whites, “raising the minimum wage to $15 will raise more black than white incomes.” Therefore, you reason, opposition to raising the minimum wage must be rooted in racism.

Are you aware that most research on the effects of minimum-wage hikes shows that, while some workers do get higher hourly pay, some other workers lose employment? Pushing up employers’ costs of labor makes labor less desirable to employ. And so especially if you’re correct that “America as a nation is inherently racist,” then do you not worry that blacks will bear a disproportionately large share of these job losses? Might it then be said that support for minimum-wage hikes is evidence of racism?

I happen now to be re-reading a book that I recommend to you; it’s my late colleague Walter Williams’s 2011 volume, Race & Economics. In this book Walter presents ample documentation of the racist consequences of minimum wages, as well as of other smiley-face-wearing government interventions, such as statutes mandating equal-pay-for-equal-work. Walter shows also that blacks would now bear a disproportionate share of the unemployment caused by minimum wages even in the absence today of racism.

Ms. L___, you might in good faith disagree with the arguments, and question the data, that are presented in Walter’s book, in the paper linked above (and in those linked below), and in the mountains of other research that reveal minimum wages to be an enemy of blacks and other minorities. I would welcome your reaction to this research after you study some of it.

But even if you have no wish to communicate further with me about minimum wages, it’s in your own interest to carefully study this research. If you’re genuinely convinced that minimum wages are “one of society’s best antipoverty and pro-equity tools,” then you owe it to the groups whose welfare you champion to make yourself as informed as possible in order to be as effective as possible an advocate for minimum wages. You’ll want to know your opponents’ strongest arguments so that you’ll be prepared to counter these with your strongest arguments.

To learn your opponents’ strongest arguments against minimum wages, consult the works of scholars such as – to name only a few – Walter WilliamsThomas SowellDavid Neumark and William WascherJeffrey ClemensJonathan Meer, and Richard Burkhauser.

You’ll greatly improve your prospects of swaying people to support minimum wages if, rather than accusing opponents of minimum wages of racism, you instead address the best arguments offered by these people and then do your best to explain why they are mistaken. If you’re correct about minimum wages, you should have no trouble doing so.

Source: A Serious Argument Contains Serious Argumentation

Sounds Like Something Out of an Ayn Rand Novel

Here’s a letter to someone in California who apparently believes that economic reality is optional:

Mr. Víctor Sánchez, Director
Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community

Mr. Sánchez:

You call “shameful” the decision by Kroger to close stores in Long Beach after the City Council there ordered certain supermarkets to raise the hourly pay of some workers by $4 (“Kroger to close 2 California stores instead of giving $4 hourly ‘hero pay’”). This decision by Kroger, you allege, will “deny their workers the compensation they deserve.”

Put your money and action where your mouth is. If these workers really are worth employing at the wage mandated by the City Council, you should have no trouble convincing investors to back you in efforts to buy Kroger’s Long Beach facilities in order for you to keep these operating as supermarkets that pay wages as high as those ordered by the City Council.

If, however, you’re unwilling to make this effort, then your talk is cheap. No one has any reason to trust that you actually believe that the workers who you pose as championing really deserve a $4 per hour raise.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics

Source: Sounds Like Something Out of an Ayn Rand Novel

Portland police leaving the poorly run city

Daily Wire:

Portland, Ore., police officers are fleeing the city’s force, and often taking a hit to pay and benefits to do so. The flight of law enforcement from the city is “unprecedented,” Assistant Chief Michael Frome told the Portland Tribune.  “We really have not seen this many people leaving at this stage in their career.”

….

The activists’ calls to cut police budgets were picked up by some of Portland’s elected officials. In June, the City Council approved a $15 million cut to the police department’s budget to funnel more money into spending on social programs.

The cut sent the bureau reeling as it laid off some officers and cut its recruiter position since the department did not have money to make new hires anyway. The department cut vacant positions that it had historically held open to keep a steady stream of recruits, which require 18 months of training to begin independent police work, coming into the force.

“When the cuts came in and we basically lost our vacancies, that put us in a bigger fiscal hole than we were anticipating being in,” Frome said. “We didn’t have the money to hire, so we laid off basically half of our background investigators. We laid off our recruiter, because we just did not see a position in the near future where we were going to be able to use them to capacity.”

 

Source: Portland police leaving the poorly run city

Biden Should Beware of Nemesis

Joe Biden will be our next president. But he will face Nemesis in a way that few other presidents have ever encountered the cruel Greek god. Biden’s hubris and that of the media/Democratic Party fusion almost guarantee such divine retribution.

Once the last of the other Democratic primary candidates dropped out and Biden was nominated, all prior negative media stories about his apparent cognitive decline and his family’s financial entanglements disappeared. From April 2020 on, a virtual news blackout surrounded Biden. His rare interviews were scripted. Biden communiques were teleprompted. Press conferences were either nonexistent or revolved around his favorite milkshake or his socks.

Mentions of Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China and Ukraine were taboo. It was sinful to reference reports of a Hunter Biden email allegedly detailing a 10 percent distribution of such revenue to the “Big Guy” — presumably Joe Biden.

Unlike Donald Trump, Joe Biden never really campaigned. After the primaries, he outsourced his fall 2020 campaign to subordinates and pet journalists to attack Trump.

….

A President Biden cannot avoid the press forever. He will soon face unscripted meetings with foreign leaders. He will have to meet dozens of movers and shakers each week. Is he or the nation prepared for the consequences of his return to normality after nearly a year of media fawning and forced isolation?

….

Given the Democrats’ Faustian bargain with their leftmost faction, destructive rumors about Biden’s faculties or his family’s financial escapades will more likely come from his own party’s left wing, eager for a Harris presidency, rather than from the Republican opposition.

Biden will enter office with an ethical cloud hanging over his head — one that could have been vetted and adjudicated rather than blacked out for most of 2020. His son, brother and perhaps family associates may talk if faced with FBI and IRS probes, if not a special counsel investigation.

It will not help Biden that to defeat Trump, many of our institutions were deformed. Special counsels usually never receive a blank check — 22 months and $32 million — to assemble a team of partisans to investigate a new president on mostly hearsay evidence and an opposition-concocted dossier.

But that precedent ended with the ill-conceived Robert Muller investigation. By spring, Biden could have done to him what was done to Trump — and what Biden himself so frequently cheered on.

Nor do we impeach presidents often, especially knowing that the Senate will acquit them when there is no alleged crime as outlined in the Constitution. That bar is also gone. Should the Republicans hold the Senate and take the House in 2022, they could do what the Democrats did in 2020. But if they were to impeach Biden as a possible beneficiary of his family’s foreign influence-peddling, a Republican-controlled Senate might not so easily acquit him.

Biden variously called Trump supporters “ugly folk” and “chumps.” He compared the president to Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi propagandist. Biden smeared Trump by referring to him as the nation’s first racist president.

Half the nation will take some time to forget all that. The repair of warped protocols will take longer, given that the left forgot the ancient Thucydidean warning to us not to destroy the very institutions whose protections one day we may need.

Biden should hope that a rogue FBI does not conduct freelance investigations of him the way it did to Trump. Let Biden pray there is not a partisan medical community to diagnose him as impaired and suited for 25th Amendment removal, as was the case with Trump.

Biden should hope that if Republicans hold the Senate in January, they do not mimic the Democratic habit of voting against nearly every Trump nominee. If they were to do that as a majority party in both chambers of Congress, Biden would have trouble confirming even a single judge.

So let us celebrate Biden’s call to unity.

But Biden should hope that the opposition will not do to him and his party what the Democrats did so bitterly to Trump.

Source: Biden Should Beware of Nemesis

LEFTWING THUGS HAVE NEVER BEEN FRIENDS OF THE FREE PRESS: Portland MSM Shocked When Antifa Attacks T…

LEFTWING THUGS HAVE NEVER BEEN FRIENDS OF THE FREE PRESS: Portland MSM Shocked When Antifa Attacks Them for Covering Armed Takeover. Mike Strickland and Andy Ngo Say Told Ya So.

Source: LEFTWING THUGS HAVE NEVER BEEN FRIENDS OF THE FREE PRESS: Portland MSM Shocked When Antifa Attacks T…

Sorcerer’s Apprentice Syndrome: Never call up what you can’t dispel.

[Josh Blackman] The Minimum Rationality of COVID-19 Lockdown Measures

Again, the government has zero evidence that outdoor dining has contributed to the spread of COVID-19. All the Director can come up with is this behavior is “a little more risky” now that the community infection rate is higher.

Of course, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If people cannot eat safely at outdoor restaurants, there is a greater chance people will eat unsafely in indoor homes. No matter how hard government tries, the state cannot eliminate the demand for communal gathering. They will simply force people to satisfy those demands in underground, illegal fashions. For example, when governments raised the drinking age from 18 to 21, the states did not eliminate the demand for drinking by college students. Instead, college students would stop drinking at bars–where there is at least some supervision–and start drinking illegally in frat houses and other unsupervised places. The Governor’s edict here will have the likely consequence of forcing people to eat together, inside.

Source: [Josh Blackman] The Minimum Rationality of COVID-19 Lockdown Measures