The Locker Room

November 19, 2008

Re: Pyramid Jobs

Posted by Geoff Lawrence at 5:23 PM

Becki and Mitch:


 Maybe  Duke has been trolling for ideas.


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re: We could create jobs by building pyramids too

Posted by Becki Gray at 4:38 PM

Mitch, they actually are creating jobs by building, well not pyramids, but new buildings and upgrading existing buildings.  

The Triangle Business Journal reports this afternoon that members of the U.S. Green Building Council have decided to make climate change and energy efficiency measures in construction guidelines a higher priority in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system.  Apparently a LEED certification has become much sought after in commercial and residential construction projects. Generous government incentives are one of the primary reasons the LEED certification is sought after.  And now certification will include more energy efficiency measures and reduction in carbon emissions in new and existing buildings.

No word on the cost to the industry, to consumers or how this government interference will impact the housing market.


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Cato's Online Debate Series

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 2:17 PM

The Cato Institute has a monthly online debate called Cato Unbound. This month the topic is "When Corporations Hate Markets."  In the back and forth of the debate, some of our policy wonk friends who work at Cato were inadvertently drawn into the debate.  See the contributions to the discussion by Randal O'Toole, Jerry Taylor and Timothy Lee here.

When Corporations Hate Markets

This issue tackles a grave misconception: the idea that corporations and markets are synonymous, and that what’s good for the one is good for the other.

Astute economists have noted that far too often, corporations act to restrict the free operation of the market. Corporations that have become successful in a free or quasi-free market don’t like to face competition any more than any other entity, and their success gives them the resources, unfortunately, to stifle would-be competitors. In these cases, corporations and governments can often find themselves in an unholy alliance against consumers, other firms, and liberty itself: corporatism, in other words — a system that seems to value corporations as an end in themselves.

And after that — what’s an advocate of the free market to do?

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No love for Jim Hunt

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 2:14 PM

From WRAL:

Former Gov. Jim Hunt is being honored for driving school reform in North Carolina, and he plans to talk about what President-elect Barack Obama should do for education.

North Carolina State University honors the four-term governor on Wednesday with an award from an education innovation institute [College of Education's William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation].
Now survey the reader comments, like:
I would put Jim Hunt as being the one person most responsible for the pathetic public school situation that is the nightmare we have today.

Gov. Hunt did NOTHING for this great State of ours but TAX TAX TAX us to death.

Failure is not the point to democrats. The point is he TRIED gosh darn it! He TRIED!

Yes thank you hunt for the flailing system and the tons of debt you inflicted on the State.

His quality work laid the foundation for the system we currently have. Soon our drop-out rate will be over 50 percent and his greatness will be even more evident....
The people of North Carolina have spoken.


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NCICL takes on new suit involving Certificate of Need law

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:20 PM

From the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law:

Raleigh, N.C. — At the request of two plaintiffs and their legal counsel, the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law (NCICL) has officially entered a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina’s health care Certificate of Need laws.  NCICL joins Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough, LLP as co-counsel in the suit.  The suit attacks North Carolina’s requirement for medical providers to obtain state permission before being allowed to compete in certain health care markets.

North Carolina law states that certain health care services cannot be provided unless a state board makes a determination that the new service will be needed in a particular area of the state.  The board that reviews Certificate of Need requests is made up of health care professionals, some of whom are employed as officers or directors at hospitals or other health care providers that could provide the same services being requested.

Jason Kay, Senior Staff Attorney at NCICL, commented: “We are glad to be involved in resolving such an important constitutional issue.  This issue not only affects the ability of health care providers to offer new services, but it affects the health care choices of North Carolinians.”

The plaintiffs in the suit, Hope – A Women’s Cancer Center, P.A. and Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic, P.A., contend that the Certificate of Need laws unconstitutionally delegate legislative authority to make laws and deny due process of law to those seeking to engage in otherwise lawful business.  Hope is located in Asheville and Raleigh Orthopaedic is located in Raleigh. 

The John Locke Foundation is no fan of the CON game, as evidenced here and here.

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Let's kindle this fire!

Posted by George Leef at 12:45 AM

The fire I'm talking about is the demand from Americans that we dump our failed monetary system (irredeemable fiat currency managed by a semi-political oligarchy called the Fed) in favor of gold.

In the Christian Science Monitor, Walker Todd of the American Institute for Economic Research comes out slugging for a return to gold. Read his piece here.

The country elected Barack Obama, but that doesn't mean they're in favor of Keynesian economic theories. (Keynes called gold a "barbaric relic" and wanted to get rid of its influence so governments could spend money at will, an idea that has proven to be disastrous.) I think we need a full-bore effort at making monetary system reform the biggest issue of 2009.

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What would James Madison think of the bailout?

Posted by George Leef at 12:27 AM

Writing in the Washington Times, lawyer Bruce Fein shows that he would have been unalterably opposed. Read Fein's piece here.

Madison wanted to avoid a politicized soceity, with "factions" competing for favors from the state. He knew that would lead to an increasingly contentious but decreasingly productive society. Unfortunately, we've been moving away from Madison's conception of the country faster than a speeding bullet ever since the New Deal. Equally bad, most people are used to our highly politicized society and think it's normal. Therefore, they can't see the ominous trend.

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Should we "track" students?

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 10:50 AM

In other words, should schools assign students to classes based on academic performance and ability or randomly assign them?

Researchers argue that tracking is bad because low performers benefit from having high performers in their classes, i.e., the "spillover effect." Teachers argue that they are better able to tailor instructional practices and curriculum in classes that are more homogeneous. They point out that "differentiating instruction" in heterogeneous classes is taxing and often yields disappointing results.

A new NBER study argues that we should listen to the teachers. In "Peer Effects and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," researchers conclude,

After 18 months, students in tracking schools scored 0.14 standard deviations higher than students in non-tracking schools, and this effect persisted one year after the program ended. Furthermore, students at all levels of the distribution benefited from tracking. A regression discontinuity analysis shows that in tracking schools scores of students near the median of the pre-test distribution score are independent of whether they were assigned to the top or bottom section.

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Worthy reads

Posted by David N. Bass at 10:20 AM

  • A voice of reason on the Supreme Court (Houston Chronicle)

  • NAACP wants students to get the boot (N&O)

  • Keeping it “flexible” for Obama (CNS News)

  • Traditional values sell at the box office (American Spectator)

  • Meek to step down as Democratic chairman (N&O)

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Don't Forget: Mark Bauerlein at UNC-CH!

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 09:50 AM

The Pope Center and the UNC-Chapel Hill Libertarians will jointly host a lecture by Mark Bauerlein at UNC-Chapel Hill on November 19.

Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University in Atlanta, is the author of a new book, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future; Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30. The book is a scathing criticism of the college youth of today—and it challenges the popular view that today’s youth are smart because they are so adept at new technology.

Mark Bauerlein, who has a doctorate in English from UCLA, has taught at Emory University since 1989. He took a two-and-a-half year break in 2003-05 to serve as the director of the Office of Research and Analysis of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Check out Mark's appearance on Reason TV!

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The cost of higher education "failure factories"

Posted by George Leef at 09:38 AM

In this week's Pope Center Clarion Call, I comment on a recent AEI paper entitled "The Cost of Failure Factories in American Higher Education."

While the author inclines to the view that we have a national problem because, on the whole, the graduation rate among American college students is rather low (around 50 percent), I think all it shows is that too many weak students are lured into college in the first place.

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Inflation returns as a political issue

Posted by George Leef at 09:20 AM

Even "low" inflation, the 2% sort we have experienced in recent years, erodes the value of savings, but people stopped paying attention to it as a political issue. Now that the Fed has been creating money at a very rapid clip to help the government pay for its prodigious new expenditures, we're sure to see it become an issue again.

In this article, FEE president Lawrence Reed gets down to basics in explaining what inflation is and why we should care about it.

It's crucial that people understand that inflation (that is, rising prices, the most observable consequence of inflation of the money supply) is not caused by greedy business people, by nasty foreigners, by shadowy manipulators, but is due to the government's expansion of the supply of money, done to cover its spending by cheapening the dollar.

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The Pope Center's recent conference

Posted by George Leef at 08:57 AM

Last Friday, the Pope Center hosted its annual conference. This year we held a roundtable discussion that brought together a baker's dozen of academics from a wide variety of disciplines to consider how we might help students make more of their undergraduate years.

One of the participants, Peter Wood, writes about the conference here.

In my view, the central problem of American education, from kindergarden through college, is that, as Thomas Sowell puts it, the system is dominated by the interests of the producers rather than the interests of the consumers. That is what needs to change if we're to start getting education that's more effective and less costly.

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Re: Big 3 Bailout

Posted by George Leef at 08:56 AM

I suggest that the remaining Republicans simply vote "present" on everything.

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The Big 3, subsidiaries of the Sierra Club.

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 08:39 AM

Or so says this WSJ article.

When is $25 billion in taxpayer cash insufficient to bail out Detroit's auto makers? Answer: When the money is a tool of Congressional industrial policy to turn GM, Ford and Chrysler into agents of the Sierra Club and other green lobbies.

That's the little-understood subplot of the Washington melodrama over a taxpayer rescue for Detroit. In their public statements, proponents describe the bailout as an attempt to save jobs, American manufacturing and the middle-class way of life. But look closely and you can see that what's really going on is an attempt to use taxpayer money to remake Detroit in the image of the modern environmental movement. Given a choice between greens and blue-collar workers, Congress puts the greens first.

[Review & Outlook]AP

Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli, and GM CEO Rick Wagoner at a Senate hearing on the state of the auto industry on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008.


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Big 3 Bailout?

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 08:18 AM

Pat Buchanan believes that Republicans in the Congress should vote to bailout the Big 3 auto companies.  He notes here that instead "they are now about to do something terminally stupid."  He goes through the entire scare list of how many jobs will be lost to Japan and Korea, etc.

But what caught my interest is his his easy dismissal of classical liberalism and free trade economics.

But the most magnificent industry, the auto industry that was the pride of America and envy of the world, we surrender to predator-traders from Asia and Europe, lest we violate the tenets of some 19th-century ideological scribblers that the old Republicans considered the apogee of British stupidity. (emphasis added)

"Real" Republicans don't let friends engage in free trade. 

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We could create jobs by building pyramids, too

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:11 AM

A headline in today's News & Observer proclaims: "Duke study says 'going green' will grow jobs in U.S."

It's unfortunate that neither the study nor the article contains information that would generate an accurate subhead: "Unless the government forces the 'greening' through mandates, restrictions."

When the government takes steps that pull resources from their most efficient uses, the economy loses jobs. For example, if North Carolina adopts climate-change ideas now on the table, the job losses could number in the tens of thousands.

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Rove gives props to Burr

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:00 AM

In offering Newsweek his prescription for a Republican rebound, Karl Rove offers some praise to North Carolina’s soon-to-be-senior senator:
Senate and House Republicans will be seen more than any party chair or 2012 aspirant. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner must put on center stage their most persuasive, compelling members: Richard Burr and Jon Kyl in the Senate, and Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, Cathy McMorris, Peter Roskam and Kevin McCarthy in the House, for example.

We’ve already discussed in this forum the race to face Burr in 2010.

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Sloppy thinking. Sloppy writing.

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:58 AM

Regardless of your take on Anna Quindlen’s latest Newsweek column, I hope you find this attempted joke odd:
The felony was that Mildred was black and Richard was white and they were therefore guilty of miscegenation, which is a $10 word for bigotry.

Uh, no. It’s entirely possible that someone engaged in miscegenation could be a bigot. But the word describes an interracial marriage or cohabitation. I suspect Quindlen intended to say that those who would level a charge of miscegenation — not those involved in the act — were bigots.

In the words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:48 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report about a fre-market after-school art program that's expanding in North Carolina.

John Hood's Daily Journal explores areas outside tax policy in which N.C. government decisions have hurt the state's competitiveness.

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