Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cruising the Web

Wow. That's a frightening statistic.
A July intelligence estimate suggested that up to 3,000 ISIS militants were of European origin and 1,500 of those are young British Muslims, according to Birmingham MP Perry Barr. Framing the problem of Europe’s failure to assimilate its Muslim minorities perfectly, a new report indicates that there are more British Muslims fighting with Islamist militants in the Middle East than there are in the British armed forces.
And those guys have a passport to return back to Britain and take their murderous ideology with them. As Noah Rothman reminds us, two British Muslim radicals beheaded a British soldier on the street in London. And who knows how many Americans have gone over to Syria and Iraq to join up with Isis. It's truly frightening to contemplate.

It's refreshing when the bad guys inadvertently tell the truth.

So why should so many occupations require licenses and excessive hours of training? It's all about those with the jobs limiting their competition. Ian Tuttle discusses how ridiculous this has gotten.
A fun fact: The emergency medical technician (EMT) responsible for aiding the victim of a car accident undergoes, on average, 33 days of training. The cosmetologist whose salon that driver just left studied for 372 days.

That the typical rescue worker requires fewer hours of training than the typical manicurist, barber, and interior designer is the upside-down result of occupational licensing, the wormhole of training courses, examinations, fees, and other hoop-jumping required by many states to ply a number of trades. As unions decline, occupational-licensing requirements are on the rise, facilitated by back-scratching among industries and legislators both state and federal.

In 2012, the Institute for Justice (IJ) released a study identifying 102 occupations that require licensing somewhere in the nation and in which practitioners made less than the national average income: EMT and cosmetologist are on the list, as are preschool teacher, vegetation-pesticide handler, florist, and a host of others. According to economists Morris Kleiner and Alan Krueger, just over one-third of jobs in the United States today require some sort of licensing.

And, of course, occupational licensing has its place: Health and safety concerns are often genuine, as is the instinct to protect consumers from fraudsters — hence all states and the District of Columbia require licensing for city-bus drivers and EMTs, and 39 states license mobile-home installers.
But licensing frequently serves as a regulatory mechanism to bar new competitors from entering a market and to drive up employees’ wages. As Kleiner and Krueger reported in the British Journal of Industrial Relations in 2010, “having a license is associated with approximately 15 percent higher hourly earnings.” Current players in a given industry, angling to safeguard their market share and to keep earnings high, have incentives to adopt or toughen licensing requirements.

So the Democrats failed in their attempts to play mischief in the GOP's primary in Alaska.

WSJ quotes some wise words from an essay by Michael Munger about how many of his Duke colleagues think about how government works.
When I am discussing the state with my colleagues at Duke, it's not long before I realize that, for them, almost without exception, the State is a unicorn. I come from the Public Choice tradition, which tends to emphasize consequentialist arguments more than natural rights, and so the distinction is particularly important for me. My friends generally dislike politicians, find democracy messy and distasteful, and object to the brutality and coercive excesses of foreign wars, the war on drugs, and the spying of the NSA.

But their solution is, without exception, to expand the power of "the State." That seems literally insane to me—a non sequitur of such monstrous proportions that I had trouble taking it seriously.

Then I realized that they want a kind of unicorn, a State that has the properties, motivations, knowledge, and abilities that they can imagine for it. When I finally realized that we were talking past each other, I felt kind of dumb. Because essentially this very realization—that people who favor expansion of government imagine a State different from the one possible in the physical world—has been a core part of the argument made by classical liberals for at least three hundred years.
So true. I'm not surprised when my 10th graders think this way, but it's so discouraging how many Americans think like this.

Why are feminists so frivolous? There are women who are truly oppressed in the world. And American feminists get worked up by the silliest things.

Clint Bolick writes on the FDA's paternalism asking why people with fatal diseases shouldn't be allowed to take the risks, with informed consent, to try treatments that haven't yet been approved.

Here's a heartening story about a Colorado school district that took on the unions and won.

Daniel Henninger writes about the ongoing tragedy in Ferguson and so many other urban areas - that so many black, young men don't receive an education that helps them find a job and economic growth that supplies those jobs.
Connect the dots: What younger black men need is a decent job and the education necessary to get and hold that job. Absent that, normal life is impossible, for them or for their neighborhoods.

More dots: Last August, the Pew Research Center published a report, also documenting that the "black unemployment rate is consistently twice that of whites." Gaze, however, at Pew's chart of unemployment by race based on seasonally adjusted Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 1954 to 2013. It reveals what works.

Peak unemployment for all blacks hit 19.5% in 1983, after a deep recession. Then it plummeted, to about 11%. These were the boom years of the Reagan presidency, when economic growth hit 7% in 1984 and averaged 3.6%. Following a recession in the early 1990s, that strong-growth trend continued during Bill Clinton's presidency, and black unemployment fell further, below 10%.

The postrecession growth rate for the first five years of the Obama presidency was below 2%, and joblessness for young black men is unprecedented. Something, obviously, isn't working.

Good growth is half of what works. Without a functional education, holding a job, or improving on the one you've got, is nearly impossible. Ferguson's school system, the Washington Post's visiting reporters noted Tuesday, "is crumbling."

The decline of inner-city public schools is the greatest, most bitterly ironic social tragedy in the 50 years since passage of the liberating civil-rights acts. But what works here is no longer an unsolvable mystery. It is the alternatives that emerged to the defunct public system—charters schools and voucher-supported parochial schools. Over the past 20 years, these options, born in desperation, have forced their way into the schools mix. Freed of politicized, sludge-like central bureaucracies, they've proven they can teach kids and send them into the workforce.

Economic growth is nonpartisan. But inner-city public education is totally partisan. Democratic politicians made a Faustian bargain with the teachers unions, and the souls carried away have been the black children in those doomed schools.

What America's Fergusons need—from L.A. to Detroit to New York—is a president, and a party, obsessed with growth and messianic about giving a kid what he needs to hold the job that growth provides. Maybe by the 100th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

Check out which college basketball team is the most hated in each state. Duke seems to be taking the prize for quite a few states, except for North Carolina where, apparently UNC is the most hated.

Every year the University of Chicago comes out with the most ridiculous application questions. And this year is no different. It makes me so very glad to not have to deal with college essays ever again.