This article is cross-posted at the Scholars Strategy Network, where it first appeared.
A recently issued Heritage Foundation report on the cost of legalizing currently undocumented immigrants in the United States has been widely discredited because one of its authors, Jason Richwine, has made outlandish racial assertions about the supposedly lower intelligence of Hispanic immigrants. Nevertheless, some commentators still believe the report’s fiscal projections. “You can’t wish away the facts about immigration amnesty,” says Daily Beast columnist David Frum, as he points to the Heritage claim that “the Senate immigration bill will cost taxpayers $6 trillion over the next 50 years.” However, a close look reveals that this cost projection rests on problematic calculations and morally repugnant assumptions.
In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prevents gun companies from being sued by the victims of gun violence. The National Rifle Association (NRA) got it right when they called it “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years.” No other industry enjoys such special treatment.
Although the Chicago teachers strike appears to be mostly about issues other than salaries and benefits, the question of the appropriate pay for educators still courses through the debate. Some commentators argue that teachers are already paid comparatively poorly, and that attempts to meet budget shortfalls through the reduction of expected raises and benefits reveal that elites and society at large place educators at the bottom of the professional totem pole. I’m not sure that they do. Looking at the taxes and expenditures of Chicago recently, it seems more likely that severely constrained city governments have to resort to layoffs and pay freezes because there is, unfortunately, nowhere else to go.
In the past three weeks, there have been a number of high-profile shootings, including the murder of 12 people in Aurora, Colorado; six Sikh worshippers in Wisconsin; and a possible shooting spree prevented by a guard at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Family Research Council. In a routine that’s become empty, gun control once again became a news topic for a few days as a proposed way to “stop this from happening again,” as the tired phrase goes. Some correctly noted that far more people are killed in day-to-day gun murders than in aberrational shootings by psychopaths, so those gun deaths should be the real justification for gun control. But even these savvier commenters are wrong, in a way. The majority of gun deaths aren’t due to any type of homicide at all; they’re due to suicides.
A couple of weekends ago, a photo appeared in The New York Times that captured a story’s essence better than the article it was attached to. The picture showed a red fire hydrant, like you’d see in any city or town, with some changes: The cap of the hydrant was covered with an empty bucket of chicken, reading “New Fiery Grilled Wings.” On the hydrant column was Colonel Sanders, and below him a KFC logo. The town of Brazil, Indiana, allowed KFC to repair and emblazon its fire hydrants because it couldn’t afford to repair them itself. Around the same time in 2010, Indianapolis accepted fire extinguishers and smoke detectors from KFC to put in its public recreation centers and gyms.
During the controversy over the proposed ban of sugary drinks over 16 ounces in New York City, Jon Stewart pointed out that if Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban and Governor Cuomo’s marijuana decriminalization both pass, a 17-ounce soda will draw a larger fine ($200) than a 25-gram bag of marijuana ($100). It was a funny bit, but it reveals a larger, unfortunate fact of recent liberalism: We’ve been incoherent and hypocritical in our policies toward vices.
Progressives should cheer Kevin Williamson’s current cover story in the
National Review, in which he claims that Republicans, not Democrats, are
the true historic bulwark of civil rights. Who’d have thought that a
pro-civil rights piece would ever appear in the magazine of William F.
Buckley, who once assailed the civil rights movement for being “far gone in
a commitment to state socialism” and an enemy of “the American way of life and our civilization”?