PowerLine -> Are Colleges Committing Consumer Fraud? – A single-payer test drive?

PowerLine -> Are Colleges Committing Consumer Fraud? – A single-payer test drive?

Daily Digest


  • Are Colleges Committing Consumer Fraud?
  • Civil War on the Left, Part 40: Too Much Pride?
  • Tune In Tomorrow to VIP Live
  • Tear Down This Wall @ 30
  • A single-payer test drive?
Are Colleges Committing Consumer Fraud?

Posted: 13 Jun 2017 03:45 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

Colleges are all about teaching “critical thinking,” though in most places that are a mere euphemism for teaching “critical theory,” which is not the same thing. Quite the opposite: “critical theory” is the highly ideologized core of the academic left. And it shows.

News item:

Exclusive Test Data: Many Colleges Fail to Improve Critical-Thinking Skills

By Douglas Belkin

Freshmen and seniors at about 200 colleges across the U.S. take a little-known test every year to measure how much better they get at learning to think. The results are discouraging.

At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table, The Wall Street Journal found after reviewing the latest results from dozens of public colleges and universities that gave the exam between 2013 and 2016. (See full results.)

At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years. . .

For prospective students and their parents looking to pick a college, it is almost impossible to figure out which schools help students learn critical thinking, because full results of the standardized test, called the College Learning Assessment Plus, or CLA+, are seldom disclosed to the public. This is true, too, of similar tests.

In any other industry, this deliberate opacity and failure to deliver the promised service would attract the attention of the Federal Trade Commission and other government “consumer protection” agencies. But the higher education cartel is too well wired politically for this to happen.

Then there’s this little gem in the story:

Some of the biggest gains occur at smaller colleges where students are less accomplished at arrival but soak up a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum.

This would be places like Hillsdale, St. Johns, Ashland, Thomas Aquinas, etc. Let’s pile on:

Flagship institutions such as the University of Kentucky and the University of Texas at Austin attract some of the brightest students in the country. Their students showed little improvement in CLA+ performance. Their value-added score put their ranking in the bottom third of all schools that gave the test in the same year.

So how did these universities respond?

Kentucky and UT Austin officials criticized the test and said they no longer use it.

Accountability is for little people.

Now let’s shift focus to another aspect of this problem:

The Kids Aren’t Alright: More young voters are rejecting capitalism and democracy—from the United States to France. It doesn’t bode well for our own political future.

By Josh Kraushaar

Thursday’s shock­ing elec­tion res­ult from across the pond could carry big­ger long-term polit­ic­al im­plic­a­tions in the U.S. than the im­pact of James Comey’s seis­mic testi­mony against Pres­id­ent Trump on Cap­it­ol Hill. Against all ex­pect­a­tions, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May saw her gov­ern­ing ma­jor­ity dis­sip­ate, des­pite run­ning against a far-left La­bour nom­in­ee (Jeremy Corbyn) whose plat­form was more Marx­ist than so­cial demo­crat­ic. Corbyn’s sur­pris­ingly com­pet­it­ive show­ing was fueled by young voters, who ral­lied be­hind Labuor by a whop­ping 34-point mar­gin (63-29 per­cent), ac­cord­ing to Brit­ish exit polling.

For all the fears of creep­ing na­tion­al­ism, it’s the grow­ing dis­con­tent of the mil­len­ni­al vote that’s been a con­sist­ent theme in re­cent West­ern elec­tions. Young voters are more will­ing to cast bal­lots for can­did­ates on the fringes, op­pos­ing the neo­lib­er­al­ism of the Clin­ton/Blair vari­ety and the na­tion­al­ist, anti-European Uni­on/pro-Brexit sen­ti­ment in­creas­ingly dom­in­ant on the Right. Many young voters are re­ject­ing cap­it­al­ism en­tirely, at­trac­ted to rhet­or­ic prom­ising free tu­ition and a gen­er­ous so­cial safety net at a time when many are strug­gling to make ends meet. Nu­mer­ous stud­ies also show young­er voters are much more skep­tic­al to­wards the value of demo­cracy than their eld­ers. . .

Gee—I wonder if there’s any connection between this and the “critical thinking” students receive in college these days?

Civil War on the Left, Part 40: Too Much Pride?

Posted: 13 Jun 2017 12:52 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

Last weekend was the occasion for gay pride parades in many cities around the country. Insofar as gay pride is associated with contemporary liberalism and has enjoyed continuous political triumphs over the last decade or so (including the election last November of our first ever president who took office having public supported gay marriage—heh), you’d think such parades would be matters of celebration. And you’d be wrong. Because never underestimate the ability of the left to fall out against each other.

In Washington DC, the pride parade was disrupted by other identity politics leftists. Something called “No Justice, No Pride” objects to all this gay pride:

WASHINGTON, DC — DC’s queer and trans community is no longer willing to accept that Pride isn’t possible without support from deeply problematic corporate sponsors. Capital Pride has consistently demonstrated that it is more interested in accommodating the interests of Metropolitan police and of corporate sponsors than it is in supporting the very communities it supposedly represents.

Because of the current political climate and in response to years of being dismissed and ignored by Capital Pride, members of Washington, DC’s queer and trans community took direct action on Saturday, June 10, blocking the Capital Pride parade.

Similar to other protests at Pride events around the country, members of No Justice No Pride, an ad-hoc coalition of local organizers, brought the parade to halt, offering a different vision for what LGBTQ Pride looks like and demanding that the Capital Pride board bar the participation of institutions that harm LGBTQ2S communities, specifically naming metropolitan police as well as corporations who profit from pipelines and war.

Read the whole thing if you want to get the full chuckle experience.

The DC gay pridesters apparently anticipated this and simply re-routed the parade in real time when the protesters showed up. The anti-pridesters apparently aren’t the equal (heh) of their cousins up in Toronto, as this report from James Kirchick last year makes clear:

On Sunday, Black Lives Matter activists pulled off the sort of victory that right-wing hooligans could only hope to achieve: They stopped a gay pride parade.

“We are calling you out!” Alexandria Williams, co-founder of the group’s Toronto chapter, shouted through a megaphone as the Black Lives Matter float came to a halt and marchers sat down. Amid rainbow-colored smoke bombs, she accused event organizers of harboring “a historical and current culture of anti-blackness” — a curious claim considering how the festival welcomed Black Lives Matter as “guests of honor.”

Black Lives Matter refused to budge unless pride organizers acquiesced to a list of demands, which included increased funding for black-related pride events, “prioritizing black trans women” in hiring, and “a commitment to more black deaf & hearing ASL interpreters.” Surely, these issues — which are always “demands,” never “requests” — could have been taken up in a constructive manner before the parade. But dialogue has never been the preferred mode of communication for Black Lives Matter, not even, apparently, in uber-polite Canada.

It took only 30 minutes for festival organizers to surrender to this bullying. . .

Live by the four-way intersectionality, die by the four-way intersectionality, since a crash is inevitable where there is no equivalent of a stop signal to leftist craziness.

Tune In Tomorrow to VIP Live

Posted: 13 Jun 2017 11:29 AM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

Tomorrow, starting at 7 p.m. Central time, we are doing a VIP Live event. If you are a VIP member, you will get an email with a link to a live YouTube address where you can watch the event and submit your own comments and questions. We won’t have a guest this time, it will be the Power Line crew talking about the issues of the day, and responding to you. Given the headlines these days, there is a lot to talk about.

If you are not already a VIP member, you can become one by clicking on the box in the upper right portion of our sidebar. Membership costs $4 per month or $40 per year and gives you access to Power Line Live events, as well as special benefits like videos of Steve’s great lectures on substantive due process. (Seriously, they were riveting!) You will eliminate most ads on our site. And, most important, by becoming a VIP you support our work.

So if you are a VIP, please tune in tomorrow; if you aren’t, please consider subscribing.

Tear Down This Wall @ 30

Posted: 13 Jun 2017 11:15 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of President Reagan’s famous speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin that culminated in the famous line, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” I began the second volume of my Age of Reagan political biography with an account of it, and it seems worth repeating today:

Most of his senior aides didn’t want him to say it.  Indeed, they tried repeatedly to talk him out of it.  You’ll embarrass your host, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.  You’ll anger and provoke Mikhail Gorbachev, with whom you’ve just started making progress on arms control.  You’ll whip up false hope among East Germans—for surely the Berlin Wall isn’t coming down anytime soon.  Besides, Germans have grown used to the Wall.  The ultimate reason: You’ll look naïve and foolish, Mr. President.

“Virtually the entire foreign policy apparatus of the U.S. government,” Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson recalled, tried to stop Ronald Reagan from saying “Tear down this wall,” including Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz and the new national security adviser, General Colin Powell.  “Some Reagan advisers,” the New York Times reported without naming names, “wanted an address with less polemics.”  The State Department and the National Security Council persisted up to the last minute trying to derail it, including one meeting between Powell and White House communications director Tom Griscom that participants say were “tense and forceful.”  Reagan had to intervene against his own advisers.  Ken Duberstein, serving then as Reagan’s deputy chief of staff, has offered different accounts of how the conversation went, but the gist of it was like this—Reagan: “I’m the president, right?”  Duberstein: “Yes, sir, Mr. President.  We’re clear about that.”  Reagan: “So I get to decide whether the line about tearing down the wall stays in?”  Duberstein: “That’s right, sir.  It’s your decision.”  Reagan: “Then it stays in.”

But even this wasn’t the end of the effort to deflect the president from his purposes.  While Air Force One was in flight to West Berlin, State and the NSC sent by fax one more speech draft to the plane without the Berlin Wall line.  It went into the trash.  Today Reagan’s personalized call to “tear down this wall” is recognized as the most memorable line of his presidency, and Reagan’s role in the surprising and swift end of the Cold War the most celebrated aspect of his statecraft.  Some of the people who opposed the line and tried to stop it now claim to have written it and been for it all along.

The Berlin Wall speech is a perfect microcosm of Reagan’s entire political career.  Reagan, the New York Times said in its news story about the Berlin Wall speech, “revived a long-dormant debate over the Berlin Wall.” (Emphasis added.)  “Long dormant” for whom?  Certainly not the people of East Germany.  Nor for the people of America, for whom Reagan revived lots of long-dormant debates great and small about our political life.  Indeed, the dominant theme and focus of this narrative is to survey and tie together the massive number of arguments Reagan opened up on nearly every front of American political life.

Kudos once again to Peter Robinson, the principal speechwriter for that speech, nowadays one of the impresarios of Ricochet among other things.

A single-payer test drive?

Posted: 13 Jun 2017 09:35 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

The Wall Street Journal editors ask: “If Democrats believe the lesson of ObamaCare is that the government should have even more control over health care, then why not show how it would work in the liberal paradise?”

The question is prompted by the California Senate’s recent passage of a single-payer health care bill. The legislation guarantees free government-run health care for California’s 39 million residents — no co-pays, deductibles or insurance premiums — as well as virtually unlimited benefits. Patients could see any specialist without a referral and receive any treatment that their provider says is medically appropriate.

Who is going to pay for this? The California Senate didn’t say. It did not include a funding mechanism, leaving that to the Assembly.

The Senate appropriations committee contemplated a 15 percent payroll tax. However, the California Nurses Association, which is pushing for single-payer in California, suggested, instead, a 2.3-percentage point increase in the state sales tax (to 9.55 percent, not including local add-ons) and a 2.3 percent business gross receipts tax on revenue exceeding $2 million.

In addition, the Nurses contemplate “reallocating” $225 billion a year in Medicaid, Medicare and ObamaCare spending for single-payer, assuming a federal waiver. With such a reallocation, they say, the legislature would only have to come up with $107 billion.

The Nurses Association relies, though, on a study claiming that single-payer would reduce health care spending by $37.5 billion a year. Unless you believe that letting people get treated for free whenever and wherever they want would save money, the Nurses’ proposed tax hikes won’t do the funding trick.

According to the Journal, Governor Jerry Brown has hinted that he won’t sign this sort of single-payer bill. Apparently, the idea is too radical even for him.

My friend Craig Harrison, a Californian, posted these comments regarding the prospect of single payer on the Journal’s op-ed:

Can the state really commandeer my federal Medicare benefits?

For purposes of purchasing secondary health care insurance, what do I need to do to establish residency in another state [the current plan makes it illegal to sell health insurance in California]?

When it takes 3-6 months to see a physician in California, can the state stop me from going to Nevada, Arizona or Oregon for care? Will they put me in jail if I do?

How many miles offshore need a hospital or clinic ship anchor to be outside of the reach of the state?

The Journal says I assume at least half in jest, that it is “warming” to the California legislation “as an instructive experiment in progressive government.” The idea is to “force progressives to live with the consequences before they foist another health-care experiment on the entire country.”

But then, the Journal’s editors don’t live in California.

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