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Ethnic Identity vs the Law

The editors of The National Review comment on the  Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action ruling in Half a Win on Racial Discrimination:

Excerpt:

In a perfectly Orwellian dissenting opinion, which she read dramatically from the bench, Justice Sotomayor argued that the decision of the people of Michigan to end racial discrimination is itself an instance of racial discrimination and that the only way to mitigate such racial discrimination is through the mandatory maintenance of racial discrimination. In this opinion she was joined by Justice Ginsburg, with Justice Kagan recusing herself from the case. Justice Sotomayor argued that Michigan’s Proposal 2, which mandates race-neutral state policies, is the sort of legislation used to “oppress minority groups.” By outlawing racial discrimination, she argued, “a majority of the Michigan electorate changed the basic rules of the political process in that State in a manner that uniquely disadvantaged racial minorities.”

Justice Sotomayor is here arguing in effect that if a constitutional referendum doesn’t go the NAACP’s way, then its effects are invalid. This is not an exaggeration: Justice Soyomayor argues explicitly that Michigan’s voters would have been within their rights to, for example, lobby university authorities to adopt race-neutral admissions standards but that by adopting a constitutional amendment insisting on race neutrality, thereby transferring the decision from the education bureaucrats to the people themselves and their constitution, they “changed the rules in the middle of the game.” Her opinion is legally illiterate and logically indefensible, and the still-young career of this self-described “wise Latina” on the Supreme Court already offers a case study in the moral and legal corrosion that inevitably results from elevating ethnic-identity politics over the law. Justice Sotomayor has revealed herself as a naked and bare-knuckled political activist with barely even a pretense of attending to the law, and the years she has left to subvert the law will be a generation-long reminder of the violence the Obama administration has done to our constitutional order.

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Political Hack Dressed in Economists Clothing

Thomas Piketty’s new book is getting strong approval from the Krugmanites of the left, but the critiques are coming forth as well,

This from Real Clear Markets Diana Furchtgott-Roth, The Systematic Errors In Thomas Piketty’s New Book :

Excerpts:

Piketty states, “From 1980 to 1990, under the presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the federal minimum wage remained stuck at $3.25, which led to a significant decrease in purchasing power when inflation is factored in. It then rose to $5.25 under Bill Clinton in the 1990s and was frozen at that level under George W. Bush before being increased several times by Barack Obama after 2008.” (page 309).

Wrong, Professor Piketty. The federal hourly minimum wage rose twice in the presidency of George H.W. Bush, from $3.35 to $3.80 in 1990 and then to $4.25 in 1991, a 27 percent total increase. Then, under President Clinton, it rose to $4.75 in 1996 and $5.15 (not $5.25, as Piketty states) in 1997, a 21 percent total increase.

The next increase in the minimum wage, from $5.15 to $7.25 over three years, a 41 percent increase, was signed into law in 2007 by President George W. Bush. The federal minimum rose to $5.85 in 2007, to $6.55 in 2008, and to $7.25 in 2009. President Obama has not yet signed a minimum wage increase into law, despite beginning his first term with the political advantage of a Democratic Congress.

One might overlook one isolated error as sloppiness to which we are all susceptible. But Professor Piketty’s supposed history of changes in the minimum wage is not tarnished by a single error, but by a vast array of systematic errors.

His history is pure revisionist fiction, and revisionist fiction with a political purpose: making Democratic presidents look magnanimous and Republican presidents look uncaring. Yet, over the past quarter century, the period Piketty describes as showing a dramatic increase in inequality, Republican presidents signed into law larger percentage increases in the minimum wage than did Democratic presidents.

Piketty suggests that America copy France, where the minimum wage in 2013 was 9.43 euros ($13 dollars) an hour. But the consequences of the minimum wage can be seen in the differences in youth unemployment rates in the two countries. In 2013, young people aged 15 to 24 had an unemployment rate of 24 percent in France and 16 percent in the United States, according to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development statistics. Germany has no minimum wage: its youth unemployment rate was 8 percent last year.

Another reason we might not want to copy France: OECD data also show that in 2012 France’s per person GDP was 70 percent of per person GDP in the United States.

HKO

Like Krugman Piketty is a political hack dressed in economist clothing.  Why are we so wont to emulate Europe without studying its outcomes?

 

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Extinction by Consensus

Outside the ‘Consensus’–Notes of a Climate Change ‘Denier’ -  by Peter Wood

excerpts:

Perhaps even more to the point, the signing of both agreements means that the largest university endowment in the world will now be managed more or less in accord with the “consensus” on climate change. Harvard, of course, is free to do what it wants with its money.  Who am I, an anthropologist, to disagree with the judgment of President Faust, a historian of the Civil War, on how many parts per million carbon dioxide are right for the Earth’s atmosphere? These decisions come from some place, but not, pace President Faust, from “worldwide scientific consensus.”

Perhaps eons hence someone picking through the rocks in what once was Cambridge will find fossils of delicate imprint showing that once intelligent life once lived until it was lost in a mass extinction brought on by “consensus.”

- See more at: http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2014/04/outside_the_consensusnotes_of_.html#sthash.UsjBoBJg.dpuf

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Consensus is a Political Act- Not a Scientific Act

Outside the ‘Consensus’–Notes of a Climate Change ‘Denier’ -  by Peter Wood

excerpts:

In time, scientific controversies get resolved, often by the emergence of new kinds of evidence that no one originally imagined. Views that are maintained, to some degree, by a wall of artificial “consensus” die hard. That, of course, was one of the lessons of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), which inaugurated the long vogue for the word “paradigm” to describe a broadly accepted theory. Kuhn’s work has often served as a warrant for those who see science as a social project amenable to political manipulation rather than an intellectual endeavor with strict standards of evidence and built-in mechanisms for correcting mistakes.

Thus when the “anthropogenic global warming” (AGW) folks insist that they command a “consensus” of climate scientists, they fully understand that they are engaged in a political act. They intend to summon the social and political dynamics that will create a “consensus,” by defining the skeptics as a disreputable minority that need not even be counted. It is a big gamble since a substantial number of the skeptics are themselves well-established and highly respected scientists, such as MIT’s Richard Lindzen, Princeton’s Will Happer, and Institute of Advanced Studies’ Freeman Dyson. But conjuring a new “paradigm” out of highly ambiguous data run through simulation computer models is tricky business and isn’t likely to produce a “consensus” all on its own.

What’s needed is the stamp of authority. And if that doesn’t work, just keep stamping. Or stomping.

- See more at: http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2014/04/outside_the_consensusnotes_of_.html#sthash.ObczLZY2.dpuf

 

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Inconvenient Social Realities

Robert Marano and Michael Crouch write in the Wall Street Journal -Ignoring an Inequality Culprit: Single-Parent Families

Excerpts:

The two-parent family has declined rapidly in recent decades. In 1960, more than 76% of African-Americans and nearly 97% of whites were born to married couples. Today the percentage is 30% for blacks and 70% for whites. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for Hispanics surpassed 50% in 2006. This trend, coupled with high divorce rates, means that roughly 25% of American children now live in single-parent homes, twice the percentage in Europe (12%). Roughly a third of American children live apart from their fathers.

Does it matter? Yes, it does. From economist Susan Mayer’s 1997 book “What Money Can’t Buy” to Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” in 2012, clear-eyed studies of the modern family affirm the conventional wisdom that two parents work better than one.

“Americans have always thought that growing up with only one parent is bad for children,” Ms. Mayer wrote. “The rapid spread of single-parent families over the past generation does not seem to have altered this consensus much.

More than 20% of children in single-parent families live in poverty long-term, compared with 2% of those raised in two-parent families, according to education-policy analyst Mitch Pearlstein’s 2011 book “From Family Collapse to America’s Decline.” The poverty rate would be 25% lower if today’s family structure resembled that of 1970, according to the 2009 report “Creating an Opportunity Society” from Brookings Institution analysts Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill. A 2006 article in the journal Demography by Penn State sociologist Molly Martin estimates that 41% of the economic inequality created between 1976-2000 was the result of changed family structure.

Why isn’t this matter at the center of policy discussions? There are at least three reasons. First, much of politics is less about what you are for than who you are against, as Jonathan Haidt, a New York University psychology professor, noted in his popular 2012 book “The Righteous Mind.” And intellectual and cultural elites lean to the left. So, quite simply, very few professors or journalists, and fewer still who want foundation grants, want to be seen as siding with social conservatives, even if the evidence leads that way.

Second, family breakup has hit minority communities the hardest. So even bringing up the issue risks being charged with racism, a potential career-killer. The experience of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is a cautionary tale: Moynihan, who had a doctorate in sociology, served in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration as an assistant secretary of labor and in 1965 published a paper titled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” warning about the long-term risk that single-parent households pose for black communities. He was attacked bitterly, and his academic reputation was tarnished for decades.

HKO

The damage of the politically correct is to turn a blind eye to that evidence that thwarts one’s world view.  This social development will not be repaired by either higher redistributive taxes or a higher minimum wage.