Morning Links

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

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65 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  albatross | 


    Actually, the same issue will come up with vouchers, w.r.t. private school tuition. If we ever get vouchers, I expect private school tuition will go up substantially in the short run, and somewhat in the long run. In the short run, my kids’ Catholic school can fill all its spaces right now without vouchers, albeit with some families (especially ones with lots of kids) getting some financial aid. In the long run, there will always be an advantage to getting kids whose parents are willing to spend their own money to send their kids to school–you’ve just selected for parents who are both wealthier and also are *much* more likely to push their kids to do their homework and behave properly in school than randomly-selected parents.

  2. #2 |  albatross | 


    ISTM that our child support laws are something of a disaster for folks at the bottom.

    A friend of mine works in a state child support enforcement office, and apparently, there’s a certain subset of the cases they see that are guys with no particular salable skills, and multiple kids. So you’ve got some guy who dropped out of high school, and in between times in jail he’s had three kids from three mothers. He owes enough money per month that he can’t earn enough to pay it off in any legitimate job he can get, and when he’s in jail or out of work, the debt just accrues.

    Now, it’s lousy to have kids and abandon them, and there’s not a particular reason why the rest of the taxpayers ought to get stuck with that guy’s bill. But he’s basically set up to be in unpayable debt for the rest of his life, including having any on-the-books job he gets have some large fraction of the paycheck garnished to pay those debts. (Guess how big the incentives are to get an above-ground job when your skillset qualifies you for just above minimum wage at best, and 40% is taken off whatever’s left after withholding.) And there are a fair number of guys in that position, as I understand it.

  3. #3 |  Reginod | 


    However, if you say you don’t disagree with anything I said about the afore-mentioned unintended consequences, then what the deuce?

    The issue is that there is a huge difference between saying you can’t use “intelligence tests” and between saying you can’t use “intelligence tests” that test for non-job related skills and that in effect discriminate rather than test actual intelligence. Forbidding the use of racist tests that do not measure anything related to job performance (especially those tests adopted to replace explicitly discriminatory employment policies) is a reasonable thing to do, but forbidding intelligence tests full stop is ridiculous. And behaving as if the Supreme Court said the latter rather than the former spreads misinformation and adopts a false narrative about anti-discrimination law that is often used to bolster racist arguments in favor of discrimination. So I think it is important to be clear, when this reading of Griggs pops up, that it is not accurate.

  4. #4 |  rmv | 

    @ Leon Wolfeson

    “@rmv – Sure. Except… education isn’t something which should be considered a market commodity below the post-graduate level, though, and even then there are glaring exceptions (such as in medicine).”

    The use of the word “should” is very telling and exactly what I was referring to. Positive vs. Normative

    The central underlying principle of economics is TANSTAAFL, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

    We cannot wish nor hope away the fundamental aspects of the world just because we don’t like it. The world is.
    Education is not special in regards to the effects of Supply and Demand.

  5. #5 |  Highway | 

    Albatross, I agree that in the short term it will happen. But also in the short term, there will be many new schools that are looking to get in to the action. Some will be good, some will be bad. Some will last, some will not. And you’d better believe that the current ‘exclusive’ private schools will raise the price, both to keep exclusivity and to capture all the revenue they can.

    The difference will be if more schools can open, or if people can move their children from one public school to another. Opening more colleges doesn’t really work, because it’s constantly fought by the accreditation boards and the schools themselves. They don’t want to add more capacity, they want to raise the price.

    The key will be that the vouchers don’t turn into a subsidy. That the vouchers are a set amount that represents some amount of money that will get a child a public school education. And really, one of the biggest advantages of the idea isn’t that vouchers will get kids into new schools. It’s that it will put that funding for the old crappy schools on the line, rather than what happens now.

  6. #6 |  hattio | 

    The differences you are pretending exist are largely non-existent. You say opening more colleges doesn’t work because of accreditation problems. But, there will still be a school board with a required curriculum (accreditation) and the fact is that new colleges open up all the time. They just don’t tend to be cheaper. The only thing providing vouchers is going to do is mean even less money for underperforming schools without any way for the poor to escape those schools. If you make a voucher, tuition is going to rise on average to just under the amount of the voucher plus whatever they charge now. Very few families that cannot afford tuition now will be granted the ability to afford tuition.

  7. #7 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    rmv – I know what you’re arguing, and I think it’s nonsense. Pushing the poor out of large parts of the educational system in the name of assigning values to education *isn’t* a good idea.

    hattio – Absolutely. We’re going to see this in the UK, with the Tories and their Free Schools (especially since many will be Faith Schools).

  8. #8 |  CharlesWT | 

    Controversy over arrest of woman who filmed traffic stop Rochester PD is investigating the arrest of Emily Good after she refused to go inside and stop filming

  9. #9 |  Mike T | 

    Now, it’s lousy to have kids and abandon them, and there’s not a particular reason why the rest of the taxpayers ought to get stuck with that guy’s bill. But he’s basically set up to be in unpayable debt for the rest of his life, including having any on-the-books job he gets have some large fraction of the paycheck garnished to pay those debts.

    Ironically, ending child support rights would do wonders to prevent men like this from becoming fathers. For most of Western history, unmarried mothers had absolutely no legal rights against the father(s) of their children. This reduced the rate of bastardy considerably by making it clear to women that the law was completely disinterested in their welfare if they had behaved irresponsibly in their sex life.

    Liberals wanted to get rid of this system because it effectively ends the sexual autonomy of most women without firing a shot. Social conservatives, starting in the Victorian Era, saw this as a form of legally-sanctioned irresponsibility.

  10. #10 |  rmv | 

    @Leon Wolfeson

    “assigning values”? I’ve done no such thing. I only mentioned the laws of supply and demand. Rereading my comments, only positive statements and arguments have been made.
    There are normative statements and arguments made in your posts. What we should do, and whether something is a bad idea.

    Re: pushing out the poor
    no strawmen

  11. #11 |  rmv | 

    Wetware issues on my phone cut off my comment

    Re: pushing out the poor
    No strawman, pretty please

    Please reread my initial comment. It’s very much applicable in this discussion.

  12. #12 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    rmv – It’s not a strawman. It’s a demonstrated consequence. Those are entirely different things.

    We’re seeing it happen in the UK *right now* with the hike in tuition fees.

    That’s what the market *means* for education, if you charge end-users “market prices” as you’re clearly advocating. (Since there is NO clear end-cap on market pricing for intangibles)

  13. #13 |  Doc Merlin | 

    “Study: Wrongful convictions have cost Illinois taxpayers $214 million.”

    And that there is the problem. The cost to the officials that issue the wrongful convictions is very small, but the cost to the taxpayers is very high.

  14. #14 |  albatross | 


    Actually, there’s an intermediary step. For most of human history, it was also basically accepted that people at the bottom who had kids that they couldn’t support were probably going to have those kids go hungry and dress in rags. At some point, pretty much everywhere decent, people decided we weren’t okay with that–we provide education for kids, and want them fed and clothed properly. Hell, we’d even like them to see a doctor now and again. At that point, *someone* is going to pay for those children, and it’s just a matter of who is going to pay.

    I’d guess the decision to demand child support from the baby daddies is probably much less important, in terms of encouraging women to have kids they can’t support on their own, than the decision to support those kids. And yet, since the alternative is having kids growing up in the US going hungry and dressing in rags, it’s not so easy to avoid providing this encouragement. After all, it’s not like the kids *asked* to be born to shiftless, improvident parents.

  15. #15 |  hamburglar007 | 

    Helmut, you are not an IL citizen, you are an IL resident. And as far as the political class is concerned, that makes you IL property, to be disposed of as they will. This is not just an Illinois problem, it is an inevitable result of one group of people claiming absolute authority over another group and being willing to enforce that authority through violence, aka government.