Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Heritage Insider: There's a war on women's safe spaces, tax havens are useful, universal preschool not likely to help and may hurt

May 14, 2016

Obama’s Justice Department is rewriting the law in order to force public schools to let men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms. That doesn’t sound like a good idea to women who have been sexually assaulted by men in women’s restrooms. While the Obama administration is busy sexually integrating bathrooms, Harvard shows equal cluelessness about the value of single-sex social clubs. When some economists say tax havens are not useful, they should be asked: Useful to whom? Universal preschool would end up being another middle class entitlement. Worse than that, it might actually hurt the kids. Plus, over 40 new studies, articles, speeches, videos, and events at The Insider this week. Visit to see what the conservative movement has been thinking, writing, saying, and doing to win battles for liberty. 

First they said gender identity and sex are not the same thing; now they say they are the same thing. On Friday, the Obama Justice Department declared that federal law requires schools receiving federal assistance to allow men who identify as a woman to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms. As Ryan Anderson explains, the administration has decided that schools must treat each student’s gender identity as his sex in order to comply with a 1972 law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools receiving federal assistance. Among the many problems with this decision, says Anderson, is that it amounts to rewriting the law, something only Congress can do. [The Daily Signal]

Sexual assault does happen in women’s restrooms and locker rooms. In the debate over bathrooms, you may have heard that transgendered people are not likely to be sexual predators. That’s a red-herring, because the issue is whether the law can be abused by men who are not transgendered but pose as though they are in order to gain access to women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. Watch this video by the Alliance Defending Freedom, and then ask yourself if you think the new rules pose a risk. [Alliance Defending Freedom]

More illiberalism in higher ed: Harvard’s President, supported by the Dean, have announced sanctions against students who belong to single-sex social clubs. Their action, explains Richard Epstein, shows how disconnected Harvard is: “If you type in in women’s fitness on Google, you’ll come up with millions of entries on all-women gyms and training groups. No one makes any woman join these clubs, but it should be painfully obvious that a diverse society lets its members have more choices, not fewer. The new puritans at Harvard are so blinded by their own global vision that they literally find it incomprehensible that any of the young men and women in their charge would want to spend some portion of their lives in all-men or all-women environments, and moreover, might have good reasons for doing so.” [Hoover Institution]

Useful to whom? Oxfam has found 355 economists who are willing to sign a letter claiming tax havens “serve no useful economic purpose.” What they really mean is that tax havens are not useful for governments that want high tax rates so that they can redistribute more income. And that, as Dan Mitchell points out, means precisely that tax havens do serve a useful economic purpose: Providing a check on profligate governments. [International Liberty]

The evidence is growing that preschool doesn’t help, and may in fact hurt. The most recent large-scale studies of early childhood programs in Tennessee and Quebec found that the programs achieve no lasting gains in educational achievement and may impair emotional and behavioral development. By contrast the evidence supporting the other side of the argument for continuing federal subsidies are studies that took place over 40 years ago and were conducted on programs that do not resemble current efforts. Lindsey Burke and Salim Furth summarize the research thus far. [The Heritage Foundation]

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