Tag Archives: new york times

Regulation of the Day 122: Home-Schooling in Germany

It is illegal to home-school your children in Germany. Even so, German parents Uwe and Hannelore Romeike believe home-schooling will give their children a better education than sending them to a school. So they pulled their children out of school, hoping the law would not be enforced.

They were wrong. The New York Times lists what they were threatened with:

[F]ines eventually totaling over $11,000, threats that they would lose custody of their children and, one morning, a visit by the police, who took the children to school in a police van. Those were among the fines and potential penalties that Judge Burman said rose to the level of persecution.

Facing the facts, the family decided to pack up their belongings and move to Morristown, Tennessee.

A Memphis judge recently granted the family asylum so they could remain in the U.S., and so they can educate their children the way they see fit.

The Romeikes’ troubles are not over, however. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is appealing their grant of asylum. It is unclear why the agency would do such a thing. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Romeike pose a threat to national security. They are not criminals. They are not a drain on the economy; Mr. Romeike earns an honest living as a piano teacher.

American parents don’t have much in the way of educational choice. But it does appears they do have more than German parents do. Immigration and Customs Enforcement should stand up for the Romeikes’ rights.

(Hat tip: Megan McLaughlin)

Stimulus Spending Helps the Few, Hurts the Many

Here is a letter I sent recently to The New York Times:

February 17, 2010

Editor, The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

To the Editor:

Michael Cooper’s article, “Stimulus Jobs on State’s Bill in Mississippi” (February 16, page A1), lists several people who have directly benefited from the stimulus package.

The article names none of the roughly 300 million people directly hurt by that same stimulus package. The money that pays for Roshonda Bolton’s factory job was taken away from other people. They would have spent that money in other job-creating ways.

The stimulus doesn’t actually create jobs. It rearranges them. The best possible result is no net effect. Stories touting jobs saved or created by government are at best incomplete.

Ryan Young
Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Washington, D.C.

Social Security, Health Care, and Partisan Hackery

Megan McArdle points out a delicious piece of partisan hackery.

Back in 2005, President Bush proposed privatizing Social Security. This was one of his few good ideas. But because of poor salesmanship, it was less than popular. Nothing came of it. Rather than press on, The New York Times urged him to cave in, in accordance with the peoples’ wishes.

This year’s health care bill is similarly unpopular. Now The New York Times is urging President Obama to press on, against the peoples’ wishes.

Go read her whole post. It’s great.

This Guy Gets It

Today’s quotation of the day from The New York Times daily email:

“I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of guy. I want the Democrats out of my pocket and Republicans out of my bedroom. The one word I would use for what’s going on in Washington is embarrassing.”

RON VAUGHN, who provides health insurance to his 60 employees at Argonaut Wine and Liquor in Denver.

Regulation of the Day 78: Green Energy Subsidies

Today’s New York Times has a classic dog-bites-man story. The green energy sector is shedding jobs, despite being given billions of taxpayers’ dollars by Presidents Bush and Obama.

As so often happens, regulators’ efforts to change people’s behaviors aren’t working as hoped.

To paraphrase Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren’s work on ethanol subsidies: if it’s commercially viable, then it doesn’t need any subsidies. If it isn’t, no amount of subsidy will make it so.

A Lesson in Cause and Effect

Ari Fleischer, President Bush’s former press secretary, has a piece in today’s New York Times that is, to be polite, dumb.

His article is a lament that the Yankees only seem to win championships when Democrats are in the White House. Fleischer is both a Republican and a Yankee fan. What is he to do?

Yes, Fleischer presumably wrote with tongue in cheek. His argument is still stupid.

Correlation does not equal causation. There is no causal relation between the current president’s party afiliation and who wins the World Series. Fleischer has no need to fret about his divided loyalties. Maybe one reason the Times is doing do badly is that it too often uses its scarce op-ed space for fluff instead of substance.

Food: Mankind’s Doom

vegetable

In Sweden, food and menu labeling has started to include the estimated carbon footprint of each item.

Don’t read too much into the labels, though. The New York Times notes that “the emissions impact of, say, a carrot, can vary by a factor of 10, depending how and where it is grown.”

With that much imprecision built in, if the labels change consumer behavior as much as supporters hope, it’s entirely possible that eco-concsious diets could result in more carbon emissions, not less. A classic case of leaping before you look.

This new religion is a piece of work. It comes complete with a deity (Gaia), clergy (activists), indulgences (carbon credits), and now, dietary restrictions.

Funny, That

An article in today’s New York Times laments the difficulty of “building momentum for an international climate treaty at a time when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years.”