User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by Walter E. Williams

        For many parents, August is a month of both pride and tears. Pride because their teenager is taking that big educational step and tears because for many it's the beginning of an empty nest. Yet, there's a going-away-to-college question that far too few parents ask or even contemplate: What will my youngster learn in college?
        The American Council of Trustees and Alumni provides some answers that turn out to be quite disturbing. ACTA evaluated every four-year public university as well as hundreds of private colleges and universities. That's more than 1,100 institutions that enroll nearly 8 million students, more than two-thirds of all students enrolled in four-year liberal arts schools nationwide. ACTA's findings were published in their report "What Will They Learn? 2018-19." It doesn't look good.
        The ACTA assigned grades tell some of the story. Just 23 (2%) of the over 1,100 colleges earn an A grade; 343 colleges (31%) earn a B grade; 347 (31%) get a C grade; 273 (24%) earn a D; and 134 (12%) colleges earn an F. If you're thinking that your youngster will get a truly liberal arts education, you are sadly mistaken. It turns out that less than half of the schools studied require courses in traditional literature, foreign language, U.S. government or history and economics. At some colleges, students can fulfill their humanities requirement with a course titled "Global X: Zombies!" A U.S. cultural pluralism requirement can be fulfilled with "The Economics of 'Star Trek.'" And an arts and Literature requirement can be fulfilled with either the "History of Comics" or "Game Design for Non-Majors."
        Colleges often do not live up to their own promises. In college mission statements, as well as their course catalogs, they frequently exalt the virtues of a "well-rounded" liberal arts education. The reality is something different with only 68% of the schools ACTA surveyed requiring three or fewer of the seven core subjects. Their curricula poorly represent critical subjects such as U.S. history, economics and foreign languages.
        The list of schools that received ACTA's "A" grades includes Pepperdine and Baylor, known for their commitment to the liberal arts and academic excellence. But there are some lesser-known colleges such as Christopher Newport University, Colorado Christian University, Kennesaw State University, Bluefield College and Regent University that deserve accolades.
        ACTA's "F" list includes prestigious names such as University of California, Berkeley, Bowdoin, Hamilton and Vassar colleges. Ivy League colleges received ACTA's two "Bs," four "Cs," one "D" and one "F." These grades reflect significant overall curricular weaknesses. For example, Yale doesn't require college-level math courses; Harvard accepts an elementary-level foreign language study; and Brown has an "open curriculum," which means students may take whatever classes they want, without strict requirements. Even though some of the best-known colleges earn poor marks for their general education curricula, it doesn't necessarily mean they do all things poorly. A student can get an excellent education at these schools if classes are chosen wisely.
        There's another college-related issue not given much voice and that's how important is a college education in the first place. That's an issue raised by a Market Watch article, "Half of young Americans say their degree is irrelevant to their work."
        Parents think a college education is necessary for success. Their youngsters think differently. According to the TD Ameritrade study, 49% of young millennials said their degree was "very or somewhat unimportant" to their current job. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in an October 2018 report, found that many students are underemployed, filling jobs that can be done with a high school education. More than one-third of currently working college graduates are in jobs that do not require a degree, such as flight attendants, janitors and salesmen.
        The bottom line for parents and their youngsters is that spending four or more years in college and accumulating tens of thousands of dollars in debt is not the only road to a successful life.
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by John Stossel

    President Donald Trump promised he'd get rid of bad rules.
    "Remove the anchor dragging us down!" he said when campaigning for president. "We're going to cancel every needless job-killing regulation!"
    Trump was a developer, so he knew that the thicket of rules government imposes often makes it impossible to get things done.
    But would he keep his deregulation promise? I was skeptical.
    Republicans often talk deregulation but then add rules. People called President George W. Bush an "anti-regulator." But once he was president, he hired 90,000 new regulators!
    Trump has been different.
    When he took office, he hired regulation skeptics. He told government agencies: Get rid of two regulations for every new one you add.
    I think his anti-regulation attitude is why stock prices rose and unemployment dropped. Trump sent a message to business: Government will no longer try to crush you. Businesses then started hiring.
    Of course, the media wasn't happy. Reporters love regulation.
    They call Trump's moves "an attack on the environment" and on "workers' health." The New York Times ran the headline "Donald Trump Is Trying to Kill You!"
    What the media don't get is that regulations have unintended side effects that often outweigh the good they're intended to do.
    Cars built smaller to comply with President Obama's rules that require doubling of gas mileage cause increased deaths because smaller cars provide less protection.
    "Should the government tell you what kind of car to buy?" asks Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform in my new video about Trump.
    Norquist says that Trump has largely kept his deregulation promise, and that's been great for America.
    For example, Trump repealed the Obama-era plan to classify franchise businesses like McDonald's as one single business. Why?
    "The trial lawyers want to be able to sue all of McDonald's, not just the local McDonald's, if they spill coffee on themselves," says Norquist. "And the labor unions want to unionize allMcDonald's, not just the one store. That would have been a disaster."
    Trump's FCC repealed Obama's "net neutrality" rule, which would have limited internet providers' freedom to charge different prices.
    Democrats and other regulation-lovers predicted repeal would mean that rich people would dominate the internet. Bernie Sanders even tweeted that repeal would mean "the end of the internet as we know it."
    Of course, none of those things happened. Or as Norquist puts it: "None of it! None of it!"
    But some Obama regulations sounded so important.
    Norquist laughs at that. "The names for these regulations are written by regulators. They're advertisements for themselves."
    Of course, unlike advertisers, regulators don't list side effects of their rules, which Norquist says should read: "May cause unemployment, may reduce wages, may raise the cost of energy, may make your car not drivable."
    Trump's deregulation record would be better were he not so eager to add regulations, such as tariffs, at the same time.
    "There is a challenge. Trump is a protectionist in many ways," says Norquist, sadly. "Tariffs are taxes, and regulations on the border are regulations on consumers."
    So are Trump's "buy American" rules.
    "That sounds like a good idea, but it's a dumb idea, and I wish he hadn't done it," says Norquist. "That is not deregulation. The good news is that the vast majority of the acts have been deregulatory and tremendously helpful."
    Recently, Trump announced, "We have cut 22 regulations for every new regulation!"
    He exaggerated, as he often does. The real number is about five. But that's still pretty good. Better than Ronald Reagan did.
    I wish Trump would do more.
    I wish he'd remove his tariffs and agricultural subsidies and kill the Export-Import Bank, drug prohibition and the onerous rules that encourage illegal immigration by making it almost impossible for foreigners to work here legally.
    Keep your promise, President Trump! Repeal 22 regulations for every new one!
    Nevertheless, so far, mostly good.
    Every excessive rule repealed is a step in the right direction: toward freedom.
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by John Stossel

    Have you volunteered to be an organ donor? I did.
    I just clicked the box on the government form that asks if, once I die, I'm willing to donate my organs to someone who needs them.
    Why not? Lots of people need kidneys, livers, etc. When I'm dead, I sure won't need mine.
    Still, there are not enough donors. So, more than 100,000 Americans are on a waiting list for kidneys. Taking care of them is so expensive, it consumes almost 3% of the federal budget!
    So why not allow Americans to sell an organ?
    People already legally sell blood, plasma, sperm, eggs and bone marrow. Why not a kidney? People have two. We can live a full life with just one.
    If the U.S. allowed people to sell, the waiting list for kidneys would soon disappear.
    "Poor people are going to be hurt," replies philosophy professor Samuel Kerstein in my latest video. Kerstein advised the World Health Organization, which supports the near universal laws that ban selling organs.
    "Body parts to be put into Americans will come from poor countries," warns Kerstein. "I don't want to see poor people in Pakistan having their lives truncated."
    What arrogance.
    People have free will. Poor people are just as capable of deciding what's best for them as rich people. Who are you, I asked Kerstein, to tell people they may not?
    "We are people who care about people who are different from us," he replied, "and poorer than we are. That's why we care."
    These are "vacuous moralisms," replies Lloyd Cohen, an attorney who's long argued against the ban on organ-selling.
    "Transplant surgeons make money. Transplant physicians make money. Hospitals, drug companies make money," he points out. "Everybody can get paid except the person delivering the irreplaceable part!"
    He's right, of course, except that today some donors do get paid. Whenever foolish governments ban things that many people want, black markets appear.
    Some people go overseas and buy organs from shady middlemen. Some make secret deals in America.
    The process would be much safer, and prices lower, if buying and selling were legal.
    "Financial incentives work for everything!" says Cohen. "They work for food; they work for housing; they work for clothing!"
    He calls the warnings that "the weak and poor will be exploited" paternalistic.
    "We heard the same argument with surrogacy," he points out. "Then you interview the women. (They say) this is a wonderful thing that they can do. And they get paid!"
    Oddly, the one country that allows the selling of organs is Iran. The government buys organs from people willing to sell. I don't trust statistics from Iran, but a PBS report claims legalization has dramatically reduced the waiting time for a kidney.
    Twenty-four years ago, Cohen went on "60 Minutes" to argue for legalization of organ sales. At the time, he joined the debate simply because he strongly felt the ban was unjust. But now Cohen has learned that his own kidneys are failing. He needs a transplant.
    He won't break the law and turn to the black market. He hopes to get a kidney though a group called MatchingDonors that pairs altruistic volunteers with people who need organs. Remarkably, a woman volunteered to give Cohen one of her kidneys. She's now being tested to see if she is a match for him.
    If not, Cohen will be back on the waiting list with 102,914 other Americans. Most will die, waiting.
    "Organs that could restore people to health and extend life are instead being buried and burned," sighs Cohen.
    All because timid governments would rather suppress commerce than give patients a market-based new shot at life.
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by Walter E. Williams

    There is discrimination of all sorts, and that includes racial discrimination. Thus, it's somewhat foolhardy to debate the existence of racial discrimination yesteryear or today. From a policy point of view, a far more useful question to ask is: How much of the plight of many blacks can be explained by current racial discrimination? Let's examine some of today's most devastating problems of many black people with an eye toward addressing discrimination of the past and present.
    At the root of most of the problems black people face is the breakdown of the family structure. Slightly over 70% of black children are raised in female-headed households. According to statistics about fatherless homes, 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes; 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father figure; 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes; 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes; and 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions have no father. Furthermore, fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school and twice as likely to end up in jail.
    One might say, "Williams, one cannot ignore the legacy of slavery and the gross racism and denial of civil rights in yesteryear!" Let's look at whether black fatherless homes are a result of a "legacy of slavery" and racial discrimination. In the late 1800s, depending on the city, 70% to 80% of black households were two-parent. Dr. Thomas Sowell has argued, "The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life."
    As late as 1950, only 18% of black households were single parent. From 1890 to 1940, a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. In 1938, black illegitimacy was about 11% instead of today's 75%. In 1925, 85% of black households in New York City were two-parent. Today, the black family is a mere shadow of its past.
    Let's ask a couple of questions about crime and education and racial discrimination. It turns out that each year more than 7,000 blacks are victims of homicide. That's slightly over 50% of U.S. homicide victims. Ninety-four percent of the time, the perpetrator is another black person. Along with being most of the nation's homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes such as assault and robbery. At many predominantly black schools, chaos is the order of the day. There is a high rate of assaults on students and teachers. Youngsters who are hostile to the educational process are permitted to make education impossible for those who are prepared to learn. As a result, overall black educational achievement is a disaster.
    Here are my questions to those who blame racial discrimination for the problems of black people: Is it necessary for us to await some kind of moral rejuvenation among white people before measures can be taken to end or at least reduce the kind of behavior that spells socioeconomic disaster in so many black communities? Is it a requirement that we await moral rejuvenation among white people before we stop permitting some black youngsters from making education impossible for other black youngsters? Blacks were not the only people discriminated against in America. While Jews and Asians were not enslaved, they encountered gross discrimination. Nonetheless, neither Jews nor Asians felt that they had to await the end of discrimination before they took measures to gain upward mobility.
    Intellectuals and political hustlers who blame the plight of so many blacks on poverty, racial discrimination and the "legacy of slavery" are complicit in the socioeconomic and moral decay. Black people must ignore the liberal agenda that suggests that we must await government money before measures can be taken to improve the tragic living conditions in so many of our urban communities. Black and white intellectuals and politicians suggesting that black people await government solutions wouldn't begin to live in the same high-crime, dangerous communities and send their children to the dangerous schools that so many black children attend.
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by Walter E. Williams

    Here's what President Donald Trump tweeted about Baltimore's congressman and his city: "Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is far worse and more dangerous. His district is considered the worst in the USA."
    "As proven last week during a congressional tour, the border is clean, efficient and well run, just very crowded," Trump added. Cumming's "district is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place."
    President Donald Trump's claims suggesting that Rep. Elijah Cummings' Baltimore-area district is "considered the worst run and most dangerous" has been called racist. But whether Trump's claims have any merit is an empirical matter settled by appealing to facts. Let's look at a few.
    In 2018, Baltimore was rated one of the "Rattiest Cities" in the nation by pest control company Orkin. According to Patch Media, although there has been progress in the last few years, Baltimore ranks ninth in rat infestation, down from its sixth position two years ago on Orkin's list.
    What about safety? In 2017, St. Louis had the nation's highest murder rate, at 66.1 homicides per 100,000 residents. Baltimore came in second, with 55.8 murders per 100,000 people. The unpleasant fact is that predominantly black and Democratic-run cities have the worst records of public safety. The Trace, an independent nonprofit news organization, using 2017 data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program, listed the 20 major U.S. cities with the highest homicide rates. After St. Louis and Baltimore, Detroit was third, with 39.8 murders per 100,000 people. Other cities with high murder rates included New Orleans; Kansas City, Missouri; Cleveland; Memphis, Tennessee; and Newark, New Jersey. With 24.1 murders per 100,000 residents, Chicago ranked ninth in the nation, followed by Cincinnati and Philadelphia. Washington, D.C., was 17th.
    What about education in Baltimore? In 2016, in 13 of Baltimore's 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient on the state's mathematics exam. In six other high schools, only 1% tested proficient in math. In raw numbers, 3,804 Baltimore students took the state's math test and 14 tested proficient. Citywide, only 15% of Baltimore students passed the state's English test. Money is not the problem. Of the nation's 100 largest school systems, Baltimore schools rank third in spending per pupil.
    Baltimore's black students receive diplomas that attest that they can function at a 12th-grade level when in fact they may not be able to do so at a sixth-, seventh- or eighth-grade level. These students and their families have little reason to suspect that their diplomas are fraudulent. Thus, if they cannot pass a civil service exam, they will accuse the exam of being racist. When they get poor grades in college and flunk out, they will attribute their plight to racism. The information that these black students have is that they, just as white students, have a high school diploma and the only explanation they see for unequal outcomes is racism. The same story of poor education outcomes can be told about most cities with large black populations.
    The problems that black people confront are immune to who is the president of the U.S. Those problems were not ameliorated when Barack Obama was president. Those problems are not going to be ameliorated by Trump's presidency, though the black unemployment rate is considerably lower. The lesson for black people is that politicians and government handouts are not solutions. If they were, at a public expenditure that tops $22 trillion over the past half-century, black people would not be confronted with today's problems.
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM