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Showing posts from June, 2015

Free college won't address inequality

Populist proposals for free or reduced college tuition won't help reduce inequality and might exacerbate it. Yet, I still support tuition breaks at state universities for some specific fields of study to encourage more graduates in those fields.

How could free education be a bad idea to reduce inequality?
Educational attainment K12 corresponds to income, and parental education attainment;test scores also correspond to income and parents;free colleges still have limited space;elite schools, both private and state, will remain elite; andcollege breaks benefit the upper-middle class most. Yes, some students from low-income and lower-middle would be helped by free tuition, but many already qualify for grants and scholarships. The reality is that college tuition is a middle class concern, like the home mortgage deduction. Politicians aim for the middle, where voters are.

Colleges are not going to build thousands of new classrooms and hire tens of thousands of instructors. Not that the…

Rhetorical Games Writing Professors Play

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My original title for this posting was a bit presumptuous:

Rhetoric of the Liberal Professor Afraid to Debate

After reflection, I realize the professor isn't "afraid" to debate an economic issue, but simply doesn't realize there is a debate because his worldview and selection biases screen out other information. At least, that's my theory.

Recently, as part of a trend of articles on the dangers of too much political correctness and identity politics on campus, an anonymous "liberal professor" mentioned that a (racist) student wrongly associated Fannie and Freddie with the housing bubble. This example was to show that the professor handled "debates" well in the past. Actually, the example shows quite the opposite: that conservative and libertarian ideas are depicted as racist, mean-spirited, ill-informed, and furthered by ignorant people.

Quite simply, the example is a stereotype. Accurate of events or not, this shining example of how gr…

Bernie Sanders: Nice Guy, Bad Policy

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Watching Senator Bernie Sanders on CNBC last week, I was reminded of why I like him as a person and worry that such an earnest, nice politician (a true rarity) could have such misguided ideas about economics. If only I felt the same about the men and women who tend support more classically liberal policies. I do not trust the politicians with whom I agree on economics, and I adamantly oppose the policies of the few politicians I might trust.

Yes, another lousy election season begins, not that they ever end.

Here is what Sen. Sanders said that troubles me. It proves he doesn't get market economics or how the areas in which government is most involved are least responsive to customers.
10 questions with Bernie Sanders
John Harwood
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 | 6:10 AM ET

The whole size of the economy and the GDP doesn't matter if people continue to work longer hours for low wages and you have 45 million people living in poverty. You can't just continue growth for the sake of grow…