Don’t Like the Left’s ‘Jobs Guarantee’ Idea? Well, the Right Is Cooking Up One of Its Own

 

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, researcher Max Gulker offers a harsh critique of a “federal jobs guarantee.” Example: “Temporarily unemployed workers, along with millions of low-paid workers, would be diverted into a complex bureaucracy with no mechanism or incentive to put the workers’ skills and time to their best use.”

Oh, the idea has problems, such as the possibility of these permanent government gigs possibly crowding out existing jobs. (That and many other problematic issues are discussed in an excellent blog post by economist Timothy Taylor.) Still, some folks on the right are cooking up their own idea of a jobs guarantee. In the new book “The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America,” former Mitt Romney policy adviser Oren Cass argues for what he calls the “worker hypothesis.” This is the idea, Cass writes, that an American labor market “in which workers can support strong families and communities is the central determinant of long-term prosperity and should be the central focus of public policy.”

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Thank You for William Goldman

 

My senior year in high school, I took College English with Father Dibble. He only taught four days a week, and on the fifth day we had a study hall. One day I decided to bring in a book for pleasure, The Princess Bride by William Goldman. The movie is funny, but the book is even funnier. I sat there reading, trying to stifle my giggles. My guffaws. My out-loud laughter.

Each time I burst out, I looked up and caught the eye of Fr. Dibble staring at me. I muttered apologies and slid down in my desk to keep reading. Finally I let out a loud shout of laughter, and Fr. Dibble walked over to me with a stern look on his face and a pad of paper and pen in hand. Leaning over, in a whisper he asked me, “What are you reading? If it is only one-half as funny as you think it is, I want to read it too.”

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TV History Thursday Night, Part 4: You’re (Not) Watching PBS

 

That’s an article from 13 years ago, at a critical moment in the history of broadcasting. Yes, the American Cinema Foundation was hosting a big Hollywood event, a national online conversation about the future of PBS, sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Yes, the American Cinema Foundation was well known as a group of Hollywood conservatives. The irony of that title is that what keynote speaker Rob Long demanded wasn’t a seat at the PBS table at all. He wanted it ended, but in the nicest, wittiest, most reasonable way. For weeks, the “blob” of employees and administrators of PBS stations sputtered in rage. But what they didn’t do—the only thing that might have saved most of their jobs over the following decade—was to listen to us. We were polite. We were entirely polite. We said, “You’re doomed”.

Public broadcasting wasn’t always a political issue. Well, it was once only a mildly political issue. When the first college instructional stations signed on in the mid-Fifties, there was still widespread, bipartisan belief that TV could bring the very best teachers into every classroom within reach of an antenna. The US armed forces, faced with the Cold War job of instructing hundreds of thousands of recruits about the new mysteries of electronics and atomic energy, worked hand in hand with universities and the corporate world to explore the possibilities of mass teaching through television. This was true on the other side of the Iron Curtain as well.

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French Nationalism

 

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Another Coup for NYC

 

NEW YORK Nov. 15, 2018 (AP) — Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio today announced a major coup for the city in securing an agreement with the Sinaloa drug cartel to establish their new US distribution headquarters in New York City. The small portion of revenues the cartel has promised to disclose will bring in as much as $200 million per year in state and city tax revenues beginning in 2030 when the tax amnesty inducement package expires and the last of the $1.7 billion dollar incentive transfer payments to the cartel have been made.

The deal has been roundly condemned by NYC’s existing drug gangs. Jorge “Little Frog” Ochoa and Tyus “Dreads” Kingston of the mayor’s own Drug Gang Advisory Board expressed outrage that unlike their own activities, the Sinaloa operation would get a pass from police scrutiny and a likely blank check from law enforcement if and when they undertake to exterminate competing distributors.

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Quote of the Day: The Silence of Music

 

“The silence must be longer. This music is about the silence. The sounds are there to surround the silence.” Arvo Pärt, Estonian composer

From his youth, Arvo Pärt was a gifted composer, starting by mimicking the neo-classicists before following the trend of modernist atonality. While the tastemakers insisted this was the proper path, Pärt was disappointed with his output and music itself.

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The Abbottabad Archive and the Silence of the Chattering Classes

 

Earlier this week, Mary Habeck — a military historian whom I first met some twenty-three years ago when she was an assistant professor and I, a visiting professor at Yale — came to Hillsdale to give a talk for our local Alexander Hamilton Society. Over lunch, she told me something that I did not know — which set my mind a-wandering. Just over a year ago, the Central Intelligence Agency posted online nearly all of the materials collected from Osama Bin Laden’s lair by the Navy Seals who effected his demise.

This is no small trove. There are tens of thousands of pages of material, and items in the collection spell out in detail Al Q’aeda’s dealings with the governments of Pakistan and Iran — among others.

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It Ain’t Necessarily So: Midterm Results and Meaning

 

Two days after Election Day 2018, I wrote House Call: By the Numbers. In it, I laid out what was already known, as a matter of wins and losses, as to the House and the Senate. I laid out those indisputable facts with upper and lower bounds for the final results, based on the races that were not yet unequivocally won. Little, in the way of facts, has changed since that posting, and we will not have more indisputable facts until the beginning of December.

Naturally, we all want to roll out our own political points, and can find facts to support our polemics. As Ricochet member @iwe laid out in Making Sense of Anything:

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Making Acosta a Federal Case

 

Question: What does CNN’s Jim Acosta crave more than anything? If you said “attention,” go to the head of the class. It’s a mystery why the White House has given Acosta way more than that. By yanking his “hard pass,” after last week’s press conference (don’t ask who was obnoxious, they ALL were), Acosta has literally become a federal case. CNN filed suit claiming that their reporter’s First and Fifth amendment rights were violated. More than a dozen news organizations, including Fox, have filed amicus briefs supporting CNN, and even the Trump-friendly FoxNews judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano has opined that Acosta has a strong case. Mr. Showboat is just where he wants to be – the center of attention – but thanks to President Trump’s gratuitous swipe, he is also a free press martyr.

Acosta’s technique has been honed for many months – asking questions not to receive answers but to shame. At the November 7 press conference, Acosta rose to “challenge” the president on what he had said about the caravan during the closing days of the campaign. “As you know Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion. It’s a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border with the U.S.”

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Recipe of the Week: Quick Potato Soup for a Cold, Icy Day

 

Well, I couldn’t sleep. Woke up at about 4 AM and realized I hadn’t had much dinner last night, long story involving goats, dogs (Levi’s surgery went fine, thanks for asking) and preparations in the expectation of a sleet/ice/snow storm all day Thursday. (There’s already a glaze of ice on the porch steps, as I discovered when I stepped outside to put the dog out and measured my length on the ground immediately thereafter. Ouch). That was the point at which I abandoned the idea of a quick trip to the Giant Eagle to pick up some supplies before “things get bad.” They already are. Even with the weather.

So. Mother Hubbard’s cupboard isn’t quite bare, but there’s not much quick and easy to be found. I’ve always loved potato soup, though (good comfort food on a day like this), and I thought I’d see if I could make that work. Results are surprisingly and spectacularly delicious. Here’s the recipe, before I forget it. (Note that you could add other things. Celery springs to mind. But “springing” was the last thing the remaining two stalks of celery in my fridge were doing yesterday when I threw them in the compost. “Flopping” was more the order of the day. So, no celery for me, this time round.) But you could. Anyway, here we go:

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Is Faster Economic Growth Important for American Workers?

 

It’s an odd time to downplay the importance of boosting long-term economic growth. The expert consensus seems to be that American economic growth has, in all likelihood, permanently downshifted. Productivity growth has been moribund for more than a decade, and demographics suggest historically slow labor-force expansion is destiny. For instance: The Federal Reserve’s long-term, real GDP forecast stands at 1.8 percent, about half the average pace from 1947 to the start of the Great Recession.

And that’s bad for workers. For instance: In “Productivity and Pay: Is the link broken?” Harvard’s Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers find higher productivity growth is associated with higher average and median compensation growth. Moreover, boosting productivity growth is at least as good for workers as reducing inequality. Stansbury and Summers note that if inequality had stayed at 1973 levels, the median worker’s pay would have been around 33 percent higher in 2016. But if productivity growth had been as fast over 1973-2016 as it was over 1949-1973 — about twice as high — median and mean compensation would have been around 41 percent higher. (Recall that supposed Golden Age for American workers was also a time of rapid productivity growth.)

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Diminishing Returns

 

Economics, as I’ve come to believe, is a vastly useful branch of knowledge that can tell you amazingly useful things about the world, as long as you don’t try to pin it down. Matter of fact, I find that the nickel version of a concept will, if you treat it right, give you more benefit than the whole rest of your education on the subject. What’s more, Economics has a concept that tells you exactly that; the idea of Diminishing Returns.

Like a great many things Diminishing Returns can most easily be understood in terms of a pie-eating contest. A single piece of pie is divine. A second piece of pie is a bad idea for a couple reasons, but it still tastes just about as good as the first piece. By the third and fourth you’re getting sick of all this sweetness. By the time you’re six pies in you wish you’d never heard of the confection.

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Putin’s ‘Florida Plan’

 

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Parenting with Dead Parents

 

Parenting whilst having dead parents is one of the most treacherous emotional minefields in the human experience. To be a parent after having lost one’s parents is, in hopefully the most healthy way possible, the only way that lost relationship can be regained, albeit in reverse.

My relationship with my daughter is identical to the one I had with my mother. We are too alike; we fight, we snuggle, and we fight again, in a cycle.

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Uncommon Knowledge: A New Afghanistan With H.R. McMaster And Janan Mosazai

 

Former National Security Advisor H.R, McMaster and former Afghan Ambassador to China Janan Mosazai analyze the state of affairs in Afghanistan today. They discuss the role that terrorist groups Al Qaeda and the Taliban have had in the formation of the country, the United States’ military action in the country, and where Afghanistan is headed.

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Veterans’ Day in Mesa, AZ: Bigger and Better

 

For decades, the Phoenix Veterans’ Day parade dominated the state, and certainly the Valley of the Sun. While Mesa has always hosted a parade, it has been much smaller, and less spectacular. This year’s East Valley Veterans Parade was bigger, better, and showed signs of truly being the East Valley Veterans Parade, hosted by Mesa.

Mesa Mayor John Giles and the city council participated, as always, but this year they were joined by Mayor Jenn Daniels and the town council of Gilbert. As the Mesa Police Department led the parade, with a line of motorcycle officers, and a marching unit, the Gilbert Police Department countered with a restomodded heavy Chevy.

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Old Habits Die Hard

 

Listening to Mark Levin on the radio yesterday I heard his analysis of the results of the election: immigration. Now, this has multiple dimensions. The most obvious one involves external immigration that no longer promotes assimilation, thus appeals to tribalism and government entitlements attracts votes of this late-20th to 21st-century phenomena. More and more new voters in this country simply do not share values that drove our politics before 1970.

The less obvious, but potent, is internal immigration: People leaving failed progressive strongholds but voting in the new place just like they voted in the old place. The change of address is not accompanied by a change in attitude for the internal immigrant any more than it is for the external immigrant.

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Professor Files Lawsuit Against University Requirement to Use Transgender Labels

 

Professor Nicholas Meriwether has finally had enough.

In June 2018, a warning was put in this professor’s personnel file because he refused to refer to a transgender student, who was biologically male and called himself Alena Breuning, with female personal pronouns.

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