Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Heritage Insider: Dodd-Frank is 6 and still costly, students are taking it easy thanks to loans, are police shootings a race problem or a crime problem? and more

July 23, 2016

Dodd-Frank is 6-years-old this week. It’s not getting better with age. Student loans not only inflate the cost of college; they also deflate the amount of work college students are doing. Do police shootings reflect racism or simply the places where police are most likely to be doing police work? Have you noticed planes aren’t getting any faster? It’s probably because of the FAA’s speed limit. Happy 104th to Milton Friedman. Get your nominations in for the Bastiat Prize. 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.

Happy birthday, Dodd-Frank. Now go away. Sam Batkins and Dan Goldbeck summarize the effects of the financial reforms passed six years ago this week: “Dodd-Frank has imposed more than $36 billion in final rule costs and 73 million paperwork hours, up from $24 billion in final rule costs and 61 million paperwork burden hours from last year’s report. To put those figures in perspective, the costs are approximately $112 per person or $310 per household; for paperwork, it would take 36,950 employees working full-time (2,000 hours annually) to complete a single year of the law’s paperwork, and those are based on agency calculations. In recent research, AAF even found the law had resulted in a 14.5 percent decline in revolving consumer credit.” [American Action Forum]

Students are getting paid to take it easy. College costs continue to rise, as does the burden that taxpayers shoulder for financing higher education. Not only do taxpayers bear the cost of loan defaults, they also pay for loan forgiveness programs, which have been expanded. But what are taxpayers getting for their expense? Mostly they are making it easier for college students to take it easy, according to research by Lindsey Burke, Jamie Bryant Hall, and Mary Clare Reim. They write: “The combined education and work effort of the average non-employed, full-time college student (25.8 hours per week) most closely matches that of a non-student, part-time employee (22.9 hours per week), but remains substantially less than that of a high school student (34.0 hours per week) or even a part-time employee, part-time college student (33.8 hours per week).” [The Heritage Foundation]

Do police shootings reveal racism or the incidence of crime? Black Lives Matter activists seem to think police shooting statistics should reflect population statistics. If 13 percent of the population is black, so the thinking goes, then something is wrong when 28 percent of the victims of police shootings are black. But, as Heather McDonald argues, police work isn’t randomly distributed among the population. The police respond to crime and most crimes are committed by blacks. “In America’s 75 largest counties, comprising most of the nation’s population, blacks constituted 62 percent of all robbery defendants in 2009, 57 percent of all murder defendants, and 45 percent of all assault defendants — but roughly 15 percent of the population in those counties.” She continues: “The data-driven, proactive policing revolution that began in the mid-1990s has saved tens of thousands of black lives that would have otherwise been lost to urban gun violence had crime remained at its early 1990s rate. Unfortunately, those crime gains are now at risk, thanks to the false narrative that police officers are infected with homicidal bias.” [Washington Post]

Why aren’t planes getting faster? The time it takes to fly from Los Angeles to New York is the same today as it was 40 years ago. Why is that? In 1973, the Federal Aviation Administration banned supersonic flight over the continental United States. The result, argues Eli Dourado and Michael Kotrous, is that there has been virtually no innovation in airplane speeds since that time. “The outright ban limited the market for the Concorde to transoceanic routes and destroyed incentives for research and development of new supersonic transports. Since 1973, airplane manufacturers have innovated on margins other than speed, and as a result, commercial flight is safer and cheaper than it was 40 years ago. But commercial flight isn’t any faster—in fact, today’s flights travel at less than half the Concorde’s speed. If we want to restore mid-century levels of aviation innovation and break the sound barrier again, we must first break regulatory barriers.” [Mercatus Center]

Two things to do: (1) Say huzzah for Milton Friedman, the original school-choice advocate. Friedman’s 104th birthday is coming up (July 31) and a number of organizations will host events to celebrate, including the Center of the American Experiment, the James Madison Institute, the John Locke Foundation, the Mackinac Center, and the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. (2) If you know a writer who defends liberty well and wittily, then nominate him or her for the Reason Institute’s Bastiat Prize. The prize is named after Frederic Bastiat, the 19th century French essayist who works include “What Is Seen and What Is Unseen,” and the “Candlemakers’ Petition.”

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