Tag: Constitution

Want a Choice Not an Echo in Education? Then Keep the Feds Out »

A provision of the recent House GOP tax plan would allow parents to use up to $10,000 of their 529 college savings plans for K-12 expenses including private school tuition. Parental choice in education is a bedrock Republican principle, and President Trump along with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are leading advocates. Yet even if...
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Principal-agent Theory and Representative Government »

In recent decades economists have devoted great efforts to the analysis of the principal-agent problem (see for example Milgrom and Roberts 1992 and the Wikipedia article on “Principal-agent Problem”). This area of study has to do with the incentives and disincentives of an agent acting on behalf of a principal that he is presumed or...
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The School Choice Deplorables »

Are you now, or have you ever been, a supporter of the right of parents to choose their children’s schools? Then you’re a school choice deplorable. At least, that’s what some school choice opponents want us to believe. It’s no secret that President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are long-time school choice supporters....
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Checks and Balances: Assessing Trump’s First 200 Days »

President Donald Trump’s administration has passed the 200 day mark, a milestone that might make it reasonable to look at what he’s accomplished after making big promises in his campaign. No Obamacare repeal. No tax reform. No NAFTA repeal. No wall. No immigration reform (although he did issue some executive orders that were partially...
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50 Years Ago Today: The Detroit Riot and the Decline of Civil Rights Liberalism (III) »

(continued from Part II) After the Watts riot of 1965, bureaucrats in the administrative state (e.g., EEOC, Small Business Administration) created racial preferences in employment and lending programs based on their own administrative authority, not any explicit authorization from the Congress. Indeed, the Democratic majority (and the Republican minority) were adamantly opposed to racial discrimination...
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50 Years Ago Today: The Detroit Riot and the Decline of Civil Rights Liberalism (II) »

Throughout American history, government at all levels has used race to categorize, enslave, segregate, regulate human behavior, and limit immigration with “nationality” quotas that served as substitutes for race. Categorizing by race was essential to racist agendas.

In response, classical liberal civil rights activists struggled to eliminate government-mandated racial categories. They were anything but naive: racism was real, categories or no categories, but the government stamp of approval made things worse–and caused constant mischief in the ever increasing addition of group categories in the census or in immigration statutes. The only feasible solution was the most radical one: the complete elimination of government racial categories. Individuals might discriminate but would no longer have the support of the State. With time, classical liberals felt, the irrationality of racism and xenophobia would give way to better human relations.

50 Years Ago Today: The Detroit Riot and the Decline of Civil Rights Liberalism (I) »

Fifty years ago today (July 23, 1967), the largest urban riot of the 1960s rocked Detroit for five days (July 23-28). An encounter with the police (shutting down an illegal after-hours bar), sparked looting and arson on a scale far surpassing the riots that had burned in other American cities. While such riots often started with incidents involving law enforcement, the police were ordered—again and again—to stand down and let a small minority of African Americans loot property of small business owners (both black and white).

The Detroit Riot marked a turning point in how American policymakers dealt with race. The classical liberal tradition of civil rights, with its emphasis on rule of law and equal protection (regardless of race) gave way to policies that purposely treated minorities as “protected categories” deserving of treatment not accorded other citizens.

Crowdsourced Redistricting »

Last Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear a Wisconsin case that would overturn a highly gerrymandered State Assembly redistricting map that heavily favors Republicans. The Court plans to hear arguments next fall, and it is expected that it will be closely divided. (New York Times, “Justices Take up Gerrymandering Based on...
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Response to Gordon Lloyd’s Review of Crossroads for Liberty »

Gordon Lloyd has a review up on the Law of Liberty Blog of my book Crossroads for Liberty. Lloyd is the Dockson Emeritus Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University and has been heavily involved in the creation of the useful website TeachingAmericanHistory.org. I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Lloyd a few years...
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Trinity Lutheran and a Response to Michael Stokes Paulsen and NRO »

On May 3, The Wall Street Journal posted a short op-ed I wrote on the Trinity Lutheran case. (Sorry, but the op-ed is behind a pay wall; however, here is a blog post that gives some background to the case and my first impressions.) Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, alleging I was “wrong on every...
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