Monthly Archive for August, 2006

New Studies Find Private Schools In Voucher Programs Less Segregated Than Public Schools

If segregation is what you fear vouchers are a better source of prevention than public schools:

rivate schools participating in Cleveland and Milwaukee’s school voucher programs are much less segregated than the public schools counterparts, according to two landmark studies released today by the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation and in Ohio The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions. The studies find that students using the voucher program have a more integrated school experience in private schools, contrary to claims that school vouchers lead to greater segregation.

“The widespread claims that private schools have high segregation levels and vouchers will lead to greater segregation are empirically unsupportable,” said the study’s author, Friedman Foundation Senior Fellow Greg Forster. “In these two cities voucher students attend schools that are less segregated than the public schools. School vouchers have the potential to break down neighborhood racial barriers in a way public schools can’t match,” added Forster.

The full report could be found here.

Quote Of The Day

The new president of Canada’s National Medical Association is an outspoken advocate of greater privatization of Canada’s national health care system. Dr. Brian Day, who was elected at the organizations annual meeting on Tuesday, operates a private-pay medical clinic in technical violation of Canada’s single-payer health care laws. Last year, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down Quebec’s prohibition on private payment for health care, and implying that other similar restrictions in other provinces were similarly unconstitutional. However, the prohibition remains on the books in Vancouver where Dr. Day runs his clinic. Dr. Day points to the long waiting lists and patient suffering under Canada’s system and says, “A state-run monopoly is not the best way to run anything, let alone a health care system.” Canadian journalists and observers say that Day’s election is the latest manifestation of a Canadian unhappiness with their government-controlled system. Maybe they know something that advocates of a single-payer system in this country don’t?”– Michael D. Tanner, writing at Cato @ Liberty blog

Equal Rights For Polygamists Too

Polygamists demand they, like gay couples, be given their ‘equal treatment’ as well:

Youth from polygamous communities spoke of family, friendships, faith and their hopes for the future in a historic gathering Saturday in Salt Lake City in defense of the banned life-style.

They offered one another encouragement, provided glimpses into their lives and appealed to the public to stop fearing their families.

“We are not brainwashed, mistreated, neglected, malnourished, illiterate, defective or dysfunctional,” said Jessica, 17. “We are useful, responsible, productive members of society.”

About 300 people from four fundamentalist Mormon communities attended the rally held at the Salt Lake City-County Building.

“I was so proud of them. I had no idea what to expect. They wrote all their own stuff,” said Joe, a Salt Lake City polygamist whose children were among the 15 speakers. “It was inspiring. There is something about seeing young people being actively involved and speaking up for their rights and constitutional freedoms.”

Of course if you are against allowing polygamists to marry you are no different than someone who would deny interracial marriages, are a ‘heterophobe’, oh and of course, your probably a religious bigot who wants to impose your views on the rest of us. The full article can be found here.

Quote Of The Day

“Between 1990 and 2002 more than 174 million people escaped poverty in China, about 1.2 million per month. With an estimated $23 billion in Chinese exports in 2005 (out of a total of $713 billion in manufacturing exports), Wal-Mart might well be single-handedly responsible for bringing about 38,000 people out of poverty in China each month, about 460,000 per year. Even without considering the $263 billion in consumer savings that Wal-Mart provides for low-income Americans, or the millions lifted out of poverty by Wal-Mart in other developing nations, it is unlikely that there is any single organization on the planet that alleviates poverty so effectively for so many people. Moreover, insofar as China’s rapid manufacturing growth has been associated with a decline in its status as a global arms dealer, Wal-Mart has also done more than its share in contributing to global peace”. —Michael Strong, CEO and co-founder (with John Mackey) of FLOW

Toyota and Volkswagen ALSO Have To Pay For Employees Health Care

Liberals are fond of saying that the reason General Motors and US based companies in general are having so many problems competing is because Toyota and Volkswagen, located in Japan and Germany respectively, don’t have to pay health care costs and US based companies do – putting GM at a disadvantage to foreign competition.

Megan Mcardle, deputy countries editor of the Economist, exposes this myth:

This is a persistent meme on liberal sites, and with good reason: the logic is compelling. The only problem–and it is a slight one–is that this meme is not true. In both Japan and Germany, workers at large corporations get their health insurance via joint contributions from employeer and employee, just as they do in the United States. Big corporations in both countries also have pension schemes, just as in the United States, and higher social security contributions.

To be sure, their health care costs are lower, in large part because they are administered by the government, which rations it more strictly than GE can. But their pension fund deficits are often worse than ours.

Where does this idea come from that the Japanese and German corporations don’t have to pay any costs to cover their employees’ health and retirement? And why hasn’t anyone bothered to check it?

I am not surprised. Economist Don Boudreaux has more.

Update: Catallarchy has more.

Quote Of The Day

“All observers of poverty and hunger, however, need to ask a number of important questions about the needy themselves, old and politically incorrect questions about personal morality and decision-making. How much of the hunger that plagues America stems from the unwillingness of adults to delay child bearing beyond the teens, get married, finish high school, and have and hold a job? Child bearing? In 2004, a record 1.5 million babies were born to unmarried women in this country. Get married? A recent article by Mark M. Alexander reveals that “the 30 percent of children who live apart from their fathers will account for 63 percent of teen suicides, 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 71 percent of high school dropouts, 75 percent of children in chemical-abuse centers, 80 percent of rapists, 85 percent of youths in prison, and 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders….In fact, children born to unwed mothers are 10 times more likely to live in poverty as children with fathers in the home.” The Census Bureau reports that in 2002 21.5 million children under age 21 were living with only one of their parents. The vast majority of those millions are living without their fathers”.–Thomas C. Reeves, historian writing in the History News Network

Democrats’ Shameful Wal-Mart Demonization

That’s the title of a recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times. Here is the article in full:

Democrats’ Shameful Wal-Mart Demonization
Presidential hopefuls only hurt themselves when pandering to unions by bashing the country’s largest employer.

WITH ONE EYE ON 2008 and one on their labor union base, Democratic luminaries are canvassing Iowa and other states this summer to campaign against the nation’s incumbent … retailer. They obviously see Wal-Mart as this season’s Enron, the one corporation that represents all that is wrong with America.

Too bad the party can’t simply draft Costco or Target to run for president. Instead, Democratic presidential aspirants — including Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico — feel compelled to bash one company, the largest employer in the U.S., to score points with labor organizers. The candidates are so intent on gaining tactical advantage in the primary season that they risk alienating possible supporters in the general election.

Most Americans do not want their politicians ganging up on one company. Wal-Mart may be a behemoth that employs 1.3 million people in this country and earned $11 billion in profit last year, but it still looks like bullying when politicians single out one business to scapegoat for larger societal ills. And when they start passing laws aimed at their scapegoat — as the Maryland Legislature did when it passed legislation forcing Wal-Mart to spend a certain amount on employee healthcare — the judiciary rightly balks. A federal judge struck down the regulation, holding that it violates laws requiring equal treatment of employers.

But there is no stopping the campaign rhetoric. At an anti-Wal-Mart rally last week in Iowa, Biden noted that the retailer pays people $10 an hour, and then asked: “How can you live a middle-class life on that?” It’s clearly the company’s fault, at least from a skewed senatorial perspective, that all Americans cannot live a comfortable middle-class life. How dare it pay prevailing retail wages? Bayh, who appeared at another rally, was quoted as saying that Wal-Mart is “emblematic of the anxiety around the country.” That may be true. But if it’s the emblem he’s worried about, he should stay in Washington and work to make healthcare more affordable for working families.

The gusto with which even moderate Democrats are bashing Wal-Mart is bound to backfire. Not only does it take the party back to the pre-Clinton era, when Democrats were perceived as reflexively anti-business, it manages to make Democrats seem like out-of-touch elitists to the millions of Americans who work and shop at Wal-Mart.

One reason the Democrats may have a tin ear on this subject is demographic. Certainly most of the party’s urban liberal activists are far removed from the Wal-Mart phenomenon. The retailer has thrived mainly in small towns and exurbs, which is one reason a Zogby poll found that three-quarters of weekly Wal-Mart shoppers voted for President Bush in 2004, and why 8 out of 10 people who have never shopped at Wal-Mart voted for John Kerry. Denouncing the retailer may make sense if the goal is to woo primary activists, but it’s a disastrous way to reach out to the general electorate. Or to govern, for that matter.

The article can be found here.

Update: Daniel Drezner has more and Sebastian Mallaby of the Washington Post has more.

Update: Robert Samuelson has more.

Update: Other economists weigh in.

Quote Of The Day

“THERE are two sides to the school choice debate. On one side are those who believe politicians and government are best suited to make decisions for our children; on the other are people who believe parents are best suited to choose what is best for their children. School choice is just that: a chance for parents to choose the best school for their own child…It is no comfort to parents who want to send their children to a different school to hear that their child’s school will “eventually” improve. Parents and their children cannot afford to wait for their schools to improve; children either learn and develop today or, in most cases, stay a step behind forever”. —Leininger, a doctor and businessman living in San Antonio, has funded private scholarships for low-income children in San Antonio and other Texas cities and has advocated enactment of school choice programs in Texas for more than 10 years.

Quote Of The Day

“I always get the question, did you come from an affluent, middle-class background? It never occurs to them that perhaps the Andrew Youngs and the Thurgood Marshalls came from middle-class backgrounds.”–Thomas Sowell

Defending a Vilified Wal-Mart

The New York Sun has a great article on Wal-Mart and the Democrats campaign against it:
Continue reading ‘Defending a Vilified Wal-Mart’

Quote Of The Day

“Perhaps surprisingly, our review of the evidence provides little reason for optimism that a reduction in poverty or an increase in educational attainment would meaningfully reduce international terrorism. Any connection between poverty, education and terrorism is indirect, complicated and probably quite weak. Instead of viewing terrorism as a direct response to low market opportunities or ignorance, we suggest it is more accurately viewed as a response to political conditions and long-standing feelings of indignity and frustration that have little to do with economics”. —Alan B. Krueger and Jitka Maleckova, economists

The Intergenerational Assimilation of Mexican Americans by Stephen J. Trejo

On Tuesday Stephen Trejo responded to Richard Rodriguez’s Monday article Mexicans in America. Here is a teaser of what his response contained:

What do we know about the socioeconomic achievement of the children, grandchildren, and more distant descendants of Mexican immigrants? In light of the reasons for pessimism listed above, U.S.-born Mexican Americans have done surprisingly well, though certainly areas of serious concern remain. Like Europeans in the past, Mexicans enjoy ample intergenerational progress between first-generation immigrants and their second-generation children. Relative to their parents, the U.S.-born second generation experiences dramatic increases in English proficiency, educational attainment, and earnings. From this generational perspective, the lightning-rod issue of language—in terms of both English acquisition and Spanish preservation—loses all its spark. By the time they are teens, second-generation Mexican Americans overwhelming prefer to speak English rather than Spanish, and by the third generation most Mexican Americans no longer speak Spanish at all.

In general, the labor market opportunities available to U.S.-born Mexican Americans are similar to those afforded non-Hispanic whites with identical skills. On average, the employment and earnings of Mexican Americans are close to the outcomes of Anglos who are the same age and have the same schooling….

There is one crucial area, however, where Mexican Americans lag behind both whites and blacks: education. This problem is well-known, although popular accounts often greatly exaggerate its magnitude by not distinguishing Mexican immigrants from U.S.-born Mexican Americans. Nonetheless, high school dropout is disturbingly prevalent for U.S.-born Mexicans, even for those in the third generation and beyond (i.e., for the U.S.-born grandchildren and later descendants of Mexican immigrants). Inevitably, college attendance and completion rates are also much lower for Mexican Americans. Because the educational disadvantage of this group largely explains their below-average earnings, finding a way to eliminate the schooling gap would go a long way toward bridging the economic divide that remains between Mexican Americans and the Anglo majority. As Rodriguez notes, the limited educational success of U.S.-born Mexicans may reflect cultural pressures to subordinate personal achievement for the sake of family unity, a social dynamic that Rodriguez aptly describes as the struggle between competing pronouns “I” and “we”. Surely, however, some other immigrant groups (e.g., Italians) faced a similar dynamic and still were able to integrate fully into American society, so perhaps we can expect that ultimately the same thing will occur for Mexicans.

The full article can be found here.

Quote Of The Day

“All in all, it seems sensible to encourage the experiment of voucher schools. In 2002, then U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige issued a statement during the historic Supreme Court case that later accepted vouchers in Cleveland: “Throughout America, far too many children are trapped in failing schools. These children need and deserve access to a quality education, and their parents should be empowered to help them achieve their dreams….As a nation, we must focus squarely on the needs of children and parents, not on perpetuating the status quo, especially in those areas where the system has failed to adequately serve its students. If I have to choose between protecting the system and educating the children, I’ll choose the children every time. We must help those children who need it most, especially in our competitive global economy.”” —Thomas C. Reeves, Historian writing in the History News Network

What Democrats Attack On Wal-Mart Says About Democrats

Daniel Griswold writes:

Wal-Mart and other price-conscious discount retailers are really a working family’s best friend. They operate in the marketplace as representatives for millions of consumers, ensuring that they get the best and lowest prices possible from wholesalers and producers. Tens of millions of American shoppers vote with their feet every week by visiting their local Wal-Mart.

If Wal-Mart offers wages and benefits that are below the national average, it is not because of company policy but because of the realities of the marketplace. Retail jobs in general offer below-average compensation because the jobs tend to be lower-skilled and less productive than most other jobs. Even so, Wal-Mart’s wages within the retail sector are competitive. A worker at Wal-Mart is more likely to have health insurance and be paid more than a worker with similar skills at a small, “mom and pop” retailer.

The denunciation of Wal-Mart is largely driven by politics. Labor unions, a key Democratic Party constituency, see non-unionized Wal-Mart stores as a threat to their efforts to organize retail workers, especially those in the grocery sector.

Democrats will need to decide who they want to represent: Tens of millions of cost-conscious, lower- and middle-income shoppers, or noisy but far less numerous union members who do not like competition.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. The full post can be found here.

Quote Of The Day

“This is because the solution to the energy crisis is so blindingly obvious. The solution is: allow the oil companies to drill for oil—in Alaska, in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of California, on all the land mass of the United States now set aside as “wild-life preserves” and “wilderness” areas. Allow the construction of new atomic power plants! Stop interfering with the strip mining of coal! Stop interfering with the construction of refineries, pipelines, and harbor facilities necessary to the supply of oil and natural gas! This will increase the supply and reduce the demand for oil (this last because substitutes for it will be more readily available). All this can be summed up in very few words: Politicians and environmentalists, get the hell out of the way!”–George Reisman, author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics and Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics

Seeing Mexican Immigration Clearly by Douglas S. Massey

On Sunday Douglas S. Massey responded to Richard Rodriguez’s Monday article Mexicans in America. Here is a teaser of what his response contained:

To Americans who fear cultural displacement, I say look at what’s happening south of the border. Cultural influences travel in both directions and in an integrated economy they are inevitable. Given the global hegemony of the United States, however, the cultural effects are asymmetric. We influence Mexican culture and society far more than their they affect U.S. culture and society. Within Mexico, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Toys ‘R Us, and 7-11 are increasingly displacing Mexican outlets. Even Taco Bell is making inroads, and American cultural traditions such as Halloween and Santa Claus now compete with Mexican celebrations such as Day of the Dead and Three Kings Day.

Linguistically, English-speakers certainly have nothing to fear. English is increasingly spoken in Mexico and is viewed as essential for social and economic advancement. Even the smallest towns and cities in Mexico have bustling English language academies, and English has become a core part of the Spanish spoken by most Mexicans. Within the United States, in contrast, few Anglo-Americans speak Spanish and although it may be widely spoken among new immigrants, there is a rapid shift to English over time. Few of children of immigrants use Spanish rather than English and virtually none of their grandchildren can speak it at all.

Mexican immigrants do not migrate to take advantage of U.S. social services. Their service usage rates are well below those of other immigrant groups and have fallen sharply since the mid-1990s. Undocumented migrants, in particular, are more likely to pay taxes than to use public services, and even those they do use—mainly education and medical care—are consumed at rates well below what one would expect given their socioeconomic characteristics. The problem of paying for services to immigrants is serious, but one that is easily solved through federal transfers. Whereas tax revenues accrue disproportionately to the federal government, the costs of immigration are borne locally.

Mexico is not a threat to U.S. national security. It is an ally and friendly trading nation that annually spends less than 0.8% of GDP on its military. There are a million U.S. citizens living in Mexico and ten million Mexicans living in the United States, all of whom have multiple ties of kinship, friendship, and commerce that cross the border. Tourism is extensive and large shares of citizens in both countries have spent time on the other side of the border. Mexico has no resident Islamic community, no known terrorist cells, and has never been a launching pad for terrorist attacks on the United States. Those attributes describe our neighbor to the north, not our neighbor to the south.

The full article can be found here.