Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Big government at work

Link here.

From the article:

The park's popular ice-cream stand was unexpectedly shut down by state officials over the weekend, after the stand's operator made building improvements at the site without getting permission first.



"I like ice cream as much as anybody, so it pains us to even temporarily close what is an iconic property, but we have to make sure people eating ice cream there are safe," said Lambert.

Make them safe?  Really?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Academia opposing free speech ...

The Chronicle of Higher Education fired an editorial writer for daring to question the educational value of black studies.  Original op-ed here.  Story about it here.

We could and should argue whether this field has any value.  Some people question the value of the field of economics.  That is their right.  And, as an economist, I should be able to defend it.

When there is a debate, you can often tell who is losing.  Look for the side that will want to punish the other person for speaking or start labeling their counterpart (racist, etc.).  They usually will resort to that when the merits of their argument are weak.  It's sad, however, when academics are the ones who try to oppose free speech.

New WSJ op-ed by the original author.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Local school issues

I had a great time in Europe, but it's wonderful to be back home.  So ... onto local news.

We live in (and our children attend) the Selinsgrove school district.  They've had budget problems, and are laying off a number of teachers (story here).

I don't think anybody has really taken the school district to task for their past decisions.  Everybody now recognizes that the school district has less money and that tough choices have to be made.  However, why do we have less money?  Part is the economy, of course, but part is from the decisions made by school board members in the past several years.

When my oldest started school, he was at a building called "Jackson-Penn elementary" but they were building a new school.  Why a new school?  Jackson-Penn seemed perfectly functional.  However, a new school was built.  It is nice, but it cost a lot of money.  The payments that are being made to pay off that school could have kept several teachers employed.

These are questions the press should be finding/reporting:

1. What was the total cost of the new buildings/construction?
2. What are the annual debt payments on these buildings?
3. How many teachers could have remained employed for that money?