7.8.17

MARKING OFF.


See you down the road.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO FLY YOUR LEAR JET TO NOVA SCOTIA TO SEE A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN.

Amtrak laid on a train to Carbondale, which is as close as you can get, railroad-wise, to the locus point of greatest totality.  It sold out in less than a day, despite an oh-dark-hundred (Three a.m., to be precise) departure from Chicago, and a return from Carbondale at 5.15 pm, calling only at Champaign.)

There's apparently more to do than the usual near-campus activities in Carbondale the day of the eclipse.
[Amtrak spokesman Marc Magiliari explained] "This schedule enables a full day in Williamson County without affecting our other services.”

The return special to Chicago, train No. 398, will depart Carbondale at 5:15 p.m. one hour after the regularly-scheduled Illini, also only stopping at Champaign.

Unlike other Illinois corridor trains, the Eclipse Express will not carry pets or bicycles and won’t have business class seating, but it will have a café car. Magliari has promised that overhead lighting in the coaches will be turned off for early morning snoozers.
But will it carry a special headboard or drumhead?

And astronomers, amateur or otherwise, have been rail-aware for months.
Amtrak’s northbound Illini, train 392, has been sold out on Aug. 21 for weeks, even after heavy demand prompted the company to add an extra coach to bring capacity up to 340. Since the special is bypassing other intermediate stations, travelers from Homewood to Gilman, Ill., and Mattoon to DuQuoin, Ill., can’t make a same-day round-trip.

If Amtrak, the state, and CN had agreed to reschedule the southbound Saluki earlier months ago, there would not be the existing imbalance of traffic on Aug 21 which made running a special train a necessity. If that happened and demand was heavy enough, extra sections could have been added to satisfy it. Between Aug. 1 and Aug 18, the northbound morning Saluki is scheduled two hours earlier to accommodate track reconstruction north of Champaign.

Although some Carbondale hotels have been sold out for nearly a year and just a handful of rooms within 100 miles of the city have been available for months, Amtrak only announced its co-sponsorship of Carbondale events on June 27. Part of the involvement includes distribution on the Express of special glasses, which are necessary to prevent permanent eye damage from viewing the sun in its partial eclipse phase. They will be given out on the southbound Express.
Let us be grateful there are enough spare coaches on hand, or enough cleverness in diagramming coaches for servicing, that Amtrak can lay on this extra train, plus a similar service on the Cascades route, which is also briefly under the band of totality.

My plan will be to hang out at the university observatory or someplace similar and watch the coverage from there.  Or perhaps rely on the nifty shadow patterns you get on the sidewalk when an eclipsing Sun shines through the trees.

INDENTURE USED TO INVOLVE PAID TRANSPORTATION.

That is, when the British Empire was populating the Haklyut Archipelago.  These days, it works differently, with state colleges conditioning free tuition on staying in state to complete a term of service.  Dumb idea, says Matt "Dean Dad" Reed.
The point of public education is to benefit everybody.  Sometimes that means sending folks off to places where their unique talents will make a better fit. That’s fine; that’s what makes the economy work.  But even if the economics turn out to be a wash, there’s a deeper ethical point here. Education is about, among other things, freedom.  If some of the peasants want to flee the land, let them. If states want to keep more of their own, and attract others from outside, let them make themselves more appealing destinations. Attract the ones who want to be there, rather than trapping the ones who don’t.
Yes, and there's no reason a state university can't run a balance of trade surplus with China, or with New Jersey or with Illinois.
Remember the Great Recession?  Imagine graduating the University of Michigan in 2009, only to be told that leaving the state would require ponying up all that past tuition, but the in-state economy simply isn’t hiring.

Conservative economist Tyler Cowen has argued, I think correctly, that people going where the opportunity is often leads to better outcomes all around. Shackling them to a depressed region isn’t likely to lead to positive outcomes.

Residency requirements, if they spread, would also greatly shift the balance of power when companies play states off against each other in bidding wars for relocations. As hard as it is to move for a job -- something I know personally -- it’s that much harder to see the job move away and know that you don’t have the option to follow it. That already happens between countries, but moves between states are much more common.  Allow capital to move but tie workers to places, and I’d expect to see ever more public funding get diverted -- whether directly, as through subsidies, or indirectly, as through tax credits or abatements -- to owners, even as wages go down.
I'm not sure that "conservative" adjective, which isn't precise with respect to Professor Cowen anyway, helps much.  Efficiency gains are more likely wherever economic agents operate under fewer constraints: that is, with more agency, and Tyler Cowen and Joseph Stiglitz and Stephen Karlson for that matter are likely to cite the same theorems in defense of that proposition.  Now, with Foxconn extracting some tax preferences from Wisconsin, even without a Wisconsin Indenture Free Tuition program in place, the states are locked in this subsidy arms race.  Now immobilize the labor force with these indentures and the states might compete to pick up the exit taxes of workers moving to the new jobs.

But Matt might want to be careful about subverting the state.
People aren’t supposed to be tools to realize goals of the state. The state is supposed to be a tool to realize the goals of people. Social contract theory isn’t new, but it’s based on an insight that still holds: the state is here to serve us, not the other way around. This kind of economic coercion, essentially kneecapping the educated young for the short-term gain of the state, is a category mistake.
The beginning of classical liberalism, anyone?

PROJECT ANALYSIS IS HARD WORK.

Put another way, rosy corporate scenarios are not the same thing as cost-benefit analyses.
The economic impact study that provided this figure came with a high status logo on its cover, too, that of the global accounting and consulting firm EY.

Given that big number, though, it’s still far from a no-brainer for Wisconsin public officials to jump up and claim credit for this one. That’s because the economic impact would be the same if Foxconn paid for everything with its own money. And it’s not going to.

There could be more than $3 billion of Wisconsin taxpayer subsidies thrown into the project. Could all that subsidy, spread around a thousand Wisconsin businesses, generate twice as many good jobs as the Foxconn project?

What the people of Wisconsin needed was a cost-benefit analysis to answer that question. What they got was Foxconn’s economic impact study — and few things are as useless as one of those when trying to make a good decision.

But these impact studies are enduringly popular. A huge number is exactly what promoters are eager to pitch when they go looking for taxpayer money.

“Our lawmakers, if they ever hear of an economic impact study, they should just recoil in fear,” said John Spry, economist and finance professor at the University of St. Thomas. “They are being hoodwinked.”

No one bothers to teach students in economics how to do one of these, Spry said, because it’s hard to justify an analysis that omits the very fundamental idea of how much a rational person would be willing to pay for whatever benefit they got. He described, with genuine exasperation, some memorable economic impact studies he has seen crop up in recent years.
To the contrary, being able to assess opportunity costs is exactly what economics students learn to do; and more than a few young men rushed into their capstone papers eager to tout stadium subsidies, only, once it dawned on them that they ought not generalize from their own enthusiasm, to figure out just how little economic benefit a facility open only in summer, or for eight to ten games in fall, produced.

The same sorts of arguments apply, where a new flat screen factory is concerned.
For economists like Timothy Bartik of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Michigan, one big unanswered question is what other beneficial use the state could put $200 million a year to, rather than mailing it to the home office of a global electronics manufacturer.

The state might miss out on the economic benefits of having that $200 million go into K-12 education. Or maybe the Foxconn subsidies get funded by higher individual income taxes, costing the state the economic impact of money that won’t be spent on home improvements, new cars or other household items.

The way you get to a bottom line on this kind of choice is to do a cost-benefit analysis. They sound costly and complex to do, but the concept is really no more complicated than just the “Is spending this money worth it?” exercise that business owners do all the time.

No business owner would be happy with just an economic impact study. Imagine the boss receiving a recommendation from the CFO to build a new facility for all the great benefits it would provide, but the memo didn’t quite get around to saying it would also cost $10 million to build.
That last is true in part: what is the return on investment from that $10m?  Likewise, it appears as though the company's "economic impact study" claims "We're going to hire 10,000 people" and a proper cost-benefit analysis asks "From where?" and "In this factory's absence, what might those people otherwise be doing?"  But we have to push the discussion further.  Sure, some of those Foxconn employees might be living in Illinois, and they're going to pay Illinois income taxes.  But in the absence of a Foxconn plant employing Illinoisans, will there be welfare migration into Wisconsin as Illinois continues to come apart.  And thus do capstone papers not write themselves.

DON'T GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS.

Brian Joondeph proposes, I think with tongue in cheek, that college admissions criteria mimic those used for immigration.
Colleges have admissions requirements. In other words, their admission is skill-based with a point system reflecting grades, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, accomplishments, recommendations and a language proficiency test in the form of one or more essays. Suppose colleges waived all such requirements and opened their classrooms to any and all who wanted to attend?
That's kind of how it works once you get away from the hundred or so institutions claiming to be in the U. S. News top ten, but I digress.  But where immigration is all about reuniting families, there might be analogues in higher education admission.
Why not for Harvard too? Buffy is admitted to the incoming freshman class. She is a straight A student with exceptional board scores. She was captain of the lacrosse and softball teams. She started a small business while in high school, sold it to Google, used the proceeds to fund an AIDS treatment clinic in Africa, and in her spare time tutors the homeless. Her college essay was published in The Atlantic. On the point system, she was a slam dunk admission.

Her brother Biff, on the other hand, flunked 10th grade, never took the SATs, spent 6 months in jail for larceny, has a cocaine problem, and is Hepatitis C positive. Shouldn’t he automatically be admitted to Harvard by virtue of being Buffy’s brother? Suppose Biff is married to Candy, who he met in a Vegas strip club. Candy started working in the adult industry after 9th grade. She is quite accomplished and skillful, but not in the way Harvard admissions committees prefer. She would automatically be admitted along with Biff.

As would her mother Tiffany, only 14 years older than Candy, working as a waitress, believing that a Harvard degree would improve her lot in life. Once Tiffany is at Harvard, she can bring her brother Billy Bob, currently working in a Mississippi junkyard. And so on and so on.
I suspect the intersectionality types could fill up hundreds of screens with lines and lines of pomo-babble on just how wrong the above is, or how awful it is that there is, like, no way Biff is going to find himself in that pass, because privilege, and thus unlikely to encounter Candy in Vegas, although he might take liberties with her at a lacrosse team party.

BETWEEN THE PROPHET AND THE HERO IS THE NOMAD.

As in between Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy there is Dwight Eisenhower; or, in fiction, between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker there is Han Solo.  So, too, is it with the Thirteenth Generation (although, in the current state of things, the Baby Boomers visions aren't all that great, and the Millennials' commitments are far from heroic.)
Born between about 1965 and 1980, Generation X came of age in the 1980s and early 1990s. The oldest members of this cohort remember Watergate as children; the youngest are still forming their families today. Most became politically aware during the Reagan-Bush or Clinton years. They are more conservative than millennials and less partisan than boomers. Their outlook was shaped by a childhood defined by broad-based domestic prosperity, slow but steady technological progress, relative racial harmony and social stability, and the Cold War triumph over the Soviet Union.

They were raised with the expectation of inheriting a world at peace, enforced by the global supremacy of the US military, but also a world in which sexual relations were haunted by the specter of AIDS. They were taught in school that doing drugs was dangerous, premarital sex was to be avoided and there were, in fact, just two genders.The US divorce rate peaked in the early 1980s, just as the oldest Xers entered their teen years. Their mothers entered the workforce en masse. Many became so-called latchkey kids — independent, resilient, slightly cynical. Perhaps jaded by these experiences, Xers got married later than their parents did but have stayed married longer. Like millennials today, Xers were once slandered as sullen, withdrawn and difficult to please.

The charges didn’t stick. As adults, according to the University of Michigan’s Longitudinal Study of American Youth, Xers have become “active, balanced and happy.”
And yet, the Thirteeners fought Desert Storm, supposedly to settle things in the Gulf once and for all, the way their saecular antecedents, the Lost Generation, fought the War to End All Wars.  Oh, wait.
Some say that, in America, everything works out in the end. These optimists put their full faith in the American system — representative democracy, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, free markets, free minds, liberty and justice for all; or, alternatively, in the arrival of a political Superman to put us back on course. Sometimes, though, no Superman can be found, and an entire generation of Americans must step into the breach. It’s happened before.
Yes, and there have to be pragmatic managers to moderate the conceits of the prophets and the heroes alike.  "Don't get cocky, kid" and all that.

NEVER COMPLAIN, NEVER EXPLAIN.

Thirty ways to conserve your sanity.  An example: "Other people do not have to approve of your motives for your life choices to be valid." Another: "Conforming to [others expectations of you] keeps you small." Much more at the link.

STOP MISAPPROPRIATING STATE PROPERTY.

Judge stops NIU from paying rest of ousted president's severance package.
A DeKalb County judge Friday barred Northern Illinois University from paying the remainder of ousted President Doug Baker's severance package while the court considers whether school trustees violated the law when they approved the deal.

But Baker — who left in June after the release of a state report alleging improper spending during his tenure — already has received most of his money, including a $450,000 payment to end his contract a year early and another $137,500 to resign from his tenured position at the business school.

NIU will not have to claw the money back under the ruling by Circuit Judge Bradley Waller, university officials said. Instead, while the case is still pending, the school will withhold any remaining reimbursements for legal expenses Baker incurred during his 4-year tenure.
The deal by which Mr Baker stepped out of line and disappeared might not have been properly announced in the trustees' order of business.
According to the suit, the board typically holds an open session at the meetings and follows that with a closed session. But on June 15, it said, the board departed from that practice and reserved one item on the agenda for a second open session, after the closed session, which lasted more than seven hours.
The announcement of Mr Baker's resignation thus was made public, but only for the curious who also had time to hang around for the seven hours of closed sessions. And as far as I know, no white smoke or black smoke was vented from Altgeld Hall before the second open session.

4.8.17

A SLOW RAILROAD DIES FASTER THAN A FAST ONE DOES.

And freight operations guru Hunter Harrison appears to be destroying CSX Railroad in order to save it.
From Indianapolis comes word today that CSX decided against closing Avon Yard and moving its work to Hawthorne Yard. Hawthorne had been the finest yard on the Pennsylvania Railroad—in 1910. It was in sad shape before CSX spent millions recently to make it partially viable. Now the decision is to keep Avon open, just to shut down its hump yard later this week and flat switch cars. Earlier, a bevy of locomotives had appeared at Avon, assigned to empty yard tracks and haul everything to other yards, such as Louisville, Cincinnati and Willard, Ohio. Customers may get those cars in a week or two.

Three investment analysts have polled CSX customers since the start of last week. With each survey, the percentage of CSX customers who say they are diverting business grows. The most recent to report was Jason Seidl of Cowen & Company. He says half of the customers not captive to CSX are handing off carloads to rival Norfolk Southern. What really struck me was the anger that customers expressed to Seidl about CSX. A sample: “Service has declined to the point that it appears CSX is trying to drive my plant out of business. I have missed customer orders and been forced to idle my plant numerous times due to failure to get service. The only answers we get are basically, ‘That’s tough. Get used to it.’ The situation is untenable, and I am actively looking to switch my business elsewhere wherever possible, as soon as possible.”

Heard enough? As of last week, the only portion of CSX that seemed to operate normally and close to scheduled times was across the Water Level Route in upstate New York, between Buffalo and Selkirk. Today?
Perhaps it's possible to cut your way to prosperity, although the stockholders are going to have to be patient.  Or perhaps CSX is too much a jumble of railroads for anyone to make sense of.

GOING UNARMED TO THE COLD CIVIL WAR.

Keep doubling down on the identity politics, Democrats.
Progressives see Democratic efforts to move on from the divisive culture wars that typified Barack Obama’s second term and Balkanized the electorate as a subtle rebuke of their myopic Identitarian obsession. They’re observant. Apparently, they’re not going to take their abandonment lying down.
Fine, how many seats in Congress does Hollywood, and Martha's Vineyard, and Chicago, have?

ILLINOIS IS WHAT DEMOCRATS DO.

Or, in the case of Cook County maharajah Toni Preckwinkle, what Lord North would do.  We find it in the public interest that Our subjects pay a pop tax.  Don't even think about that due process, peasants!
According to Crain's Chicago Business, Preckwinkle's lawyers will try to extract a crushing $17 million from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, a private interest group that represents retail stores. The group had challenged her tax in court, arguing that it was unconstitutionally arbitrary.
Watch, though, when the retail merchants stop doing business in Cook County, for former president Valerie Jarrett and school lunch expert Michelle Obama to complain about a growing "food desert."

They're being spared the view of pitchforks and torches that they deserve, though, because tax sanity is as close as Wisconsin, or Indiana.
Cook County residents understand that Preckwinkle tried to play them for chumps by claiming the sweetened beverage tax was for the public's health. No, it's for the politicians' revenues.

From Wilmette to Calumet City, residents have been waking up. If only Preckwinkle understood the unrest. People resent public officials, unable to control their spending, exploiting the simplest of pleasures. A soda from the convenience store. A coffee with fancy whipped cream.

Preckwinkle didn't get the anger a few months ago when taxpayers absorbed what was about to happen. By siccing county lawyers on merchants stuck with collecting her tax, she shows she still doesn't get the anger now.
Keep it up, Chicago.  What is the revenue yield of a privilege tax when there are no businesses subject to the tax?

END STATE-SANCTIONED DISCRIMINATION.

The Trump administration might be investigating academic affirmative action, or, as the deanlets and deanlings would have it, curating an entering class that sings the proper liberal music.  Get the government out of the collegiate discrimination racket, suggests Reason's David Harsanyi.

But the real disadvantage faced by protected-status applicants is a government-provided disadvantage.
None of this is to dismiss the obstacles that many African-American and Hispanic kids have to overcome like being forced to attend failing schools and dealing with poverty. This puts them at an immediate and sometimes crippling disadvantage. This destructive problem can only be fixed in the public school system, not in the admissions process.
Yes, and the public school system ought be, well, schooling students for success, rather than, say, fretting about disproportionate suspensions for disengaged students.

TO UNDERSTAND GOLF IS TO UNDERSTAND TRUMP.

Condescend much, Robert Lipsyte?
For successful greedheads and their wannabes, golf is the most sacred of sports, the symbol of all that is retrograde and exclusionary in American life. There’s far more to golf, however, than mere inequality or a history of institutional racism and sexism. Golf is also a waste of space and water, and a sinkhole for chemicals poisoning the local aquifer. Think of all the organic vegetables that could be grown on those swards or the walking trails and wildlife sanctuaries that could be established. Think of the affordable housing that could be built on that land. There has to be a better use for the millions of dollars that will be squandered this year on overpriced golf duds and equipment, lessons, playing fees, and memberships in the latest trendy clubs (that these days often have you-know-who’s name on them in large golden letters).

Golf is marketed as a test of character -- especially of those business school values of focus, perseverance, and self-improvement. A golf course is laid out as a hero’s journey.  You strike out from the tees (usually at different distances from the hole for men and women) onto a long carpet called a “fairway” that winds among natural “hazards” to be avoided: small ponds, sand traps, patches of undergrowth representing the oceans, deserts, and jungles that must be colonized or conquered on your 18-hole journey to capitalistic triumph.  (Golf nomenclature, including “par” and “lie,” which is where the ball comes to rest after a shot, is too vulnerable to mockery to be addressed here.)
Eight years of culture studies wasted on this guy, who rattles on interminably for another sixteen paragraphs, and for all his experience interrogating jock culture appears still to be clueless about differences in upper body strength between women and men.

3.8.17

BUYING INTO AMERICA?

Victor Hanson suggests that, rather than Donald Trump's election heralding a white identity politics as countervailing force to all the other identities politic, we might be witnessing a rediscovery of assimilation.
The startling 2016 presidential election weakened the notion of tribal identity rather than a shared American identity. And it may have begun a return to the old idea of unhyphenated Americans.

Many working-class voters left the Democratic Party and voted for a billionaire reality-TV star in 2016 because he promised jobs and economic growth first, a new sense of united Americanism second, and an end to politically correct ethnic tribalism third.
In a world of Oppression Olympics and empty intersectionality and trans-exclusionary radical feminists, that might even be good for the identity politics crowd.  Or perhaps the identity politics crowd can offer something fun to the folks outside the tribe.
In the 19th century, huge influxes of Irish and German immigrants warred for influence and power against the existing American coastal establishment that traced its ancestry to England. Despite their ethnic chauvinism, these immigrant activist groups eventually became indistinguishable from their hosts.

Then and now, the forces of assimilation, integration and intermarriage make it hard to retain an ethnic cachet beyond two generations -- at least without constant inflows of new and often poor fellow immigrants.
I disagree, in part. Everybody can be Irish in mid-March, particularly in Chicago and a few other big cities.  Then everybody can #GetYourDeutschOn from August into October.


As I noted at the time, "give these kids an America to buy into, and an America that buys into these kids, and we'll be OK."

It's really up to Mr Hanson to come up with something more fun than Ikea, or lutefisk.
The strained effort to champion the victimized tribe can turn comical. In the 1960s, my family still tried to buy Swedish-made Volvo automobiles and Electrolux vacuum cleaners. But it proved hopeless to cling to a fading Swedish heritage.

For all the trendy talk of the salad bowl and the careerist rewards of hyping a multicultural ancestry, America still remains a melting pot of diverse races, ethnicities and agendas.
A hint:  Skol translates as Prosit!

I'll give Mr Hanson an optimistic last word, though. "'Them' is out, and 'us' is back in."  Yes, and Polonia and Bavaria refrain from re-litigating the Polish Corridor.

TIME TO RECLAIM COHERENT BELIEFS?

Duke historian Nancy McLean recently published a book, supposedly alleging that Virginia political economy guru James Buchanan was really a tool of neo-confederates and the non-nautical Koch Brothers.  Suffice it to say that the book is a hatchet job, designed more to make Atlantic readers and culture-studies types comfortable with their prejudices, and there's enough error and response thereto in it to keep Don "Cafe Hayek" Boudreaux busy tracking it all down: just keep scrolling.

Professor McLean can get away with it, however, because The Narrative.
Her libertarian critics' responses are important and necessary, but they are not sufficient as long as they assume a modernist framework and make modernist arguments.

Two generations of postmodernism have laid the sub-cultural groundwork within which books like MacLean's can get published by university presses, and that groundwork enables MacLean and her fans to simply set aside concerns for objectivity and double-down on their subjective commitments.

That postmodern philosophical groundwork must also be challenged, uprooted, and replaced.
The good news, dear reader, is that even experiments against reality eventually collide with reality.

FIRST, LEARN NOT TO BE STUPID ABOUT BEING SMART.

The American Conservative's Noah Millman sees a crisis in the existing political institutions.
The challenge for those who oppose Trump isn’t to convince the American people that Trump presents a threat to democracy, or to wean them off the thrill of a reality show roller coaster in Washington. The challenge is to win back the trust of people who have tuned them out entirely.

The fact is that liberalism has always been an elite rather than a popular ideology, and we shouldn’t panic that our democracy will collapse if large numbers of Americans want to restrict speech they don’t approve of. What we should worry about is the mutual alienation between ordinary Americans and the elites that inevitably man the institutions of the state and civil society. That’s what fuels populism, whether of the left or the right. And populism by its very nature cannot build institutions, cannot govern, even if the populist leader is more competent than Trump is.
Arguably, governance, irrespective of guiding ideology, is the work of elites, but some elites are, or give the impression of being, more responsive to the wishes of their constituents, and the current incarnation of liberalism is too heavy on the scolding, the patronizing, the hectoring, the condescending, the Voxing.  I'm not so worried about populist impulses being effective at building institutions, because institutions are emergent anyway.  I'm more worried about people hanging onto the existing institutions, even when (as is the case with much of the New Deal structure) it is no longer useful.

With that in mind, here is a Roger Kimball checklist on taking stock of a Trump presidency.
  1. His judicial appointments. Is he keeping his promise to nominate judges and justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia?
  2. Regulation. Is he keeping his promise to roll back burdensome and counterproductive regulation?
  3. Immigration. Is he keeping his promise to get a handle on illegal immigration?
  4. The military. Is he keeping his promise to upgrade the U.S. military and give it greater flexibility in responding to threats to our national security?
  5. Energy. Is he reversing the Obama administration’s various strictures on America’s ability to harvest its own energy resources?
  6. Jobs. Is he working to create an environment that is job-friendly for American workers?
  7. Obamacare. Is he working to repeal and replace Obamacare?
  8. Taxes. Is he working to cut taxes?
  9. Making American Great Again. This is more amorphous but not therefore indiscernible. What has Trump done about the virus of political correctness and the ideology of identity politics? What’s the mood of the country?
My assessment, arguably with incomplete information:
  1. Off to a good start.
  2. Off to a good start; hope to have something more detailed once the festival season ends.
  3. There's anecdotal, impressionistic evidence from the neighborhood to that effect.
  4. Too soon to tell, and outside my area of expertise.
  5. I'm seeing a lot of frac sand cars moving on the Troy Grove line and the Overland Route.
  6. Too soon to tell, although with a Dow 22000 is the #resistance really betting on a recession?
  7. I'm totally disappointed.  Recent Republican mailings don't even ask about health.
  8. Too soon to tell, and that's going to take an effective Congress.  Effective is not the same thing as "clear the calendar to go on vacation."
  9. Higher education continues to double down on microaggressions and toxic masculinity.
I would add to the list that Ambassador Haley at the United Nations is an excellent pick, and if he's identified a possible shatterer-of-that-highest-glass-ceiling, I would not be displeased.

SOCIAL ENGINEERING IS AVOIDABLE.

Just go read it.

While you're at it: Order emerges from the bottom up and not the top down.

Just go read that too.

And count your blessings you don't live in Venezuela.

WINNERS, WHINERS, AND LOSERS.

In higher education, it's labs, ladders, and laggards.  Somehow, despite the continuous administrative follies, Northern Illinois University gets to brag about being a leader.
[The Brookings] study evaluated 342 selective, public, four-year universities and identified which institutions serve as “ladders” or “labs.” Additionally, 70 public institutions, including NIU, were categorized as “leaders” in both research and social-mobility objectives.

NIU ranked 58th on the leaderboard. One other state public institution, the University of Illinois System, also was identified as a leader, coming in at No. 61.

The report specifically focused on research and social mobility, calling those criteria “the two most celebrated purposes of the American public university system.”

“Combining the two datasets allows us to estimate the share of America’s selective, public, four-year universities that succeed in promoting opportunity, producing research, both or neither,” the authors said in their report.

Just 20 percent of the universities studied managed to accomplish both objectives—to be both ladders and labs.

“This recognition highlights exactly what distinguishes NIU from other universities in Illinois and elsewhere—our commitment to providing students from all walks of life with a higher education experience that engages them in knowledge creation,” NIU Acting President Lisa Freeman said.
Isn't it time to let the faculty do its work, rather than coming up with ever more intrusive methods of data collection, and ever more time spent on administrivia?

Why am I asking these questions?  Because on occasion I'll catch up with colleagues who are still in the trenches, and this, along with the scandals from headquarters and the lack of pay raises, without fail comes up.

1.8.17

SKEPTICISM ABOUT WISCONN VALLEY.

Jim "The Political Environment" Rowen is not pleased that there is not a passenger train to move techies between the Madison area and Pleasant Prairie.  He's right about that, but the failure of the train is a failure of its advocates to note that extending an existing service from Milwaukee to Madison increases the number of possible trips among intermediate stops.  That let a few Milwaukee radio talkers mischaracterize the extension as a new service for the benefit of lawyers and lobbyists.

But there's something in a longer Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article that merits further analysis.
If Foxconn landed tomorrow, it would siphon tech talent from existing employers, leaving gaping holes throughout the region in one information technology department after another. Wage inflation would be inevitable, particularly for high-tech positions, as would be a new breed of long-distance commuter drawn from Chicago and Madison, who would spend hours every day on I-94, business leaders concur.
Foxconn will not be landing tomorrow, which will give real estate hustlers opportunities to plat and build new clusters of Executive Boxes and McMansions with Lake Michigan water mains, for the tech wizards who would rather not spend a second shift on the roads.  Not to mention, that some workers might be enticed away from Silicon Valley with the right pay packets and house prices.

That might not necessarily be a bad thing.
As disruptive as it might be, some cheer a rare opportunity to jolt the economic ecosystem.

“I say bring it on,” said Jeff Joerres, who retired in 2015 as chief executive of ManpowerGroup, a multinational Milwaukee-based staffing and recruitment service that matches job candidates with employers.

To dismiss Foxconn because it would cause disarray and inconvenience would relegate the region to status quo, “which is a pretty dangerous place to be,” Joerres said.
On the other hand, to attract such a different sort of business with massive tax inducements brings dangers in train.
Great for Foxconn, almost certainly, but not for most of the people of Wisconsin, Matthew Mitchell, a senior researcher with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, says.

"With enough subsidies," Mitchell tells Reason, "you could get orange growers to relocate to Wisconsin."
Arguably, the parity formula that supports cheese prices as a function of distance from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, works the same way.  But I digress.  Although I'm no fan of factory-chasing subsidies, here we have an information technology company that seeks to locate somewhere other than Silicon Valley, or Greater Boston, or the Illinois Research and Technology Corridor, and the dominant strategy for a state that wants to get in on the action might be to offer some tax breaks.

It's less encouraging, though, to contemplate these investments as hedges against a future trade war.
The high public cost of each job is evidence the Foxconn project is not suited to area. "The last thing a region wants in order to prosper is a bunch of firms that aren't really suited for the region," Mitchell says.

Cato trade policy expert Dan Ikenson agrees. The Foxconn deal has less to do with creating prosperity in Wisconsin and more to do with President Trump's potential to crack down on trade.

"Foxconn is hedging against a U.S.-China trade war which it feels is increasingly likely," Ikenson says. "If it's stuck in Shenzhen snapping iPhones together and there is a trade war, they could be jeopardy."

Having a manufacturing plant in the United States would allow Foxconn to ship its goods to its American customers without the fear of being hit with tariffs says Ikenson.
We can produce smart 'phones in Wisconsin in a Foxconn factory.  Or we can produce smart 'phones in Wisconsin in a dairy.  The trade war will hurt dairy operators.

MEXICO WILL PAY FOR THE COPPER.

That's an ancient trade route, from Michigan's Copper Country by way of Elkhart Lake, Aztalan, Cahokia, Longview; and there's a similar prehistoric pyramid near Vicksburg on the east side of the Great River.  (The generic name, "Mississippian pyramid builders" is there for a reason.)  It's more likely that a conch shell wound up in a Wisconsin burial pit as a trade good, than that ancient astronauts buried it there.

OUCH.

I hesitate to pick on student journalists, but I can't let this Northern Star commentary pass.
Human Resources officials distributed an email to university employees Friday informing them payroll will see the effects of the state tax increase beginning with Monday’s payment, meaning faculty and staff are going to take an immediate hit because of the actions of state lawmakers.

The withholding rate is being increased from 3.75 to 4.95 percent, which will be reflected in employees’ decrease in post-tax wages. It also may mean additional income tax may be owed for the 2017 tax year, according to the email.

Though the tax hike, which was made effective July 1, is what allowed lawmakers to finally pass a full budget after nearly three endless, tight years without complete appropriations, it’s sad to see the reality of the increase — a reality in which faculty and staff are repaying the debt of incompetent lawmakers.
Arguably a number of my colleagues, good Donk court intellectuals that they are, will accept the additional withholding as in the public interest.  They might also suggest to students that without the tax increases, there might be no financial aid, and fewer classes on offer.

INSIDER INTUITION.

Philosopher Shannon Sullivan, affiliated with one of the basketball schools of the Carolinas, proposes that the expression "white privilege" is imprecise.
This article introduces the concept of white priority and challenges the false universalism built into the concept of white privilege. Proceeding from the perspective of "trash crit," the article analyzes white domination from the perspective of poor and working class white people. While racial advantages exist for poor and working class white people, the concept of white privilege does not capture them well. The concept of white priority—the sense of coming before another, of not being at "the bottom of the well" (Derrick Bell)—is needed to help America grapple with race and class in a post-Obama era.
I'm not sure what this trash crit refers to, probably a new name for an old line of social science inquiry.  Think attempts to understand the Klan, any time in the twentieth century, or coming to grips with the union-busting George Wallace appealing to blue-collar northerners, something that echoes this day.

The College Fix quotes the professor as not yet having developed any testable implications.  "As for proof that white priority exists, Sullivan stated she does not exactly have any, noting 'white priority is not something that can be empirically verified or disproven.'"

Perhaps, there being a division of labor in the academy, it is not the place of philosophers, or social theorists viewed generally, to contemplate the testable implications, or to argue a prima facie case that yes, here is a useful way of thinking about social stratification.

But if you want to sort through some testable implications, start here, then go here.

You're welcome.

31.7.17

APPEALING TO THE INNER ELEPHANT.

Trainers of circus animals fully understand that a successful animal act is all about encouraging the big cats, or the pachyderms, or the dogs and ponies, to do on cue that which they will do at some time anyway.

That might be something to keep in mind in policy analysis.
The idea of the rider and the elephant is not that we're powerless, but that, in order for our logic to be followed, it needs to appeal to our base instincts. The rider can try to convince the elephant where to go, but if the elephant is not in agreement, it will go where it wants. In a battle of head versus heart, the heart has an easier task.

And to take it a step further, when we try to persuade someone else to change their mind, we won't get far trying to persuade their rider. We actually need to appeal to their elephant, to their intuitive sense of how they see the world.
That's relevant, for instance, to the tax inducements Wisconn Valley includes.
I understand that the proponents of this deal are going to argue that it will have all kinds of spinoff effects, the so-called multiplier. I'm not going to argue that the multiplier effect is bogus, but I will argue that it's also not some bit of economic magic that would, let's say, reduce an investment with an overly optimistic 55-year break-even point to something more like a generation (which is still absurd). Sure, all of these employees will need homes and appliances and hair cuts and restaurants, but they will also need highways and schools and police protection and health care. If you have a structural deficit now, adding more people to the current system is not going to change that.
Political theater it might be.  Ultimately, though, it's about working out governmental arrangements that are symbiotic with commerce.  In Illinois, government has become parasitic on commerce.  The Foxconn deal might well be water for elephants, er, rents for rent-seekers.  And where public expenditures are concerned, pay-back periods can be long.  What is the value of winning World War II, for instance, or handing out land grants to the Pacific Railroad?

TURF THEM OUT.

Here's another excerpt from my quarter-century old "The Costs of Correctness."  "The employers who hire our students and the legislators who underwrite our efforts are questioning our effectiveness."  Yes, when Fredrik deBoer picks up the theme, you can't very well trash him as in thrall to The American Spectator.  The reckoning will have to concentrate minds, according to William Voegeli.
There is, in short, a strong case apart from anti-conservative bias for state legislatures to make far more skeptical, rigorous, and targeted funding decisions about post-secondary education. The political question all but cinches it. And the political question is not about exerting power or exacting revenge but affirming fairness. Non-coercion and intellectual pluralism really are valuable principles.

The fact that, with little optimism, deBoer appeals to self-preservation to get professors to respect these standards shows how contemptuously they are regarded in the academy. Elected officials who fail to uphold academic principles in the only language academics understand—by eliminating faculty lines and slashing budgets—will vindicate academia’s contempt for intellectual freedom, and for the taxpayers who subsidize higher education.
When you deny coherent beliefs ...  And the contempt higher education has brought upon itself?  Self-inflicted, notes Peter Wood.
My thanks to all the social-justice warriors, race hustlers, faculty ideologues, and administrative enablers who have brought about this change in public opinion. I couldn’t have done it without you.

But I don’t want to organize a victory parade on the basis of one small poll taken in the wake of several years of really atrocious behavior.

The Pew question demands a gestalt answer, and the gestalt answer for me is that American higher education, taken all in all, has put itself in opposition to America’s best principles, its most admirable aspirations, its open-mindedness, and its capacity to a create a generation of worthy civic and political leaders. That opposition has public consequences, the most important of which is the malformation of students who mistake their anger for clear thinking and who have developed contempt for their country and their countrymen.

Anger and contempt will, of course, be met with anger and contempt, and what colleges and universities have provided is a radical intensification of our partisan divide.
And Republican voters particularly, Mr Wood suggests, are not going to fund work that demeans and hectors and condescends and engages in intellectual arabesques to undermine bourgeois convention.  Not when, as Mr Wood notes, there is no civic-mindedness left.
Republican voters have at last begun to relinquish their fond hope that our colleges and universities are, despite numerous defects, still a net good for the United States. The exorbitant costs, the student-debt crisis, the immolation of the humanities, the trivialization of much of the curriculum, the turn to making an accusation of "sexual harassment" into proof of guilt — none of that was enough to cancel the patience of conservatives with an institution they are by nature inclined to love. But Middlebury?
The discontent was there before Middlebury.  Back to Mr Voegeli.
Not only is America closely divided between two parties, but Republicans are especially powerful at the state level, where funding decisions about higher education are made. No, he doesn’t expect that the Republican governor and legislature of Wisconsin, for example, will shut down its flagship state university. But he does think that the Republican voters’ new consensus—higher education no longer merits deference or the benefit of the doubt—portends that states will start to close down identity-politics departments like Women’s Studies, and make taxpayer support contingent on enforcing “harsh restrictions on campus groups and how they can organize.”
Wisconsin's legislature is not yet ready to shut down The Great State University of Wisconsin, although they have revised tenure protections in a way that have more than a few scholars running for the exits.

30.7.17

THERE IS A CHEDDAR CURTAIN.

It's not quite as obvious on a night satellite view as the Demilitarized Zone separating the Koreas, but that might change.  Board a northbound Hiawatha and find a window seat on the east side of the train.  Finish your coffee and start looking out the window just beyond Abbott Park.  You'll see a few houses, Gurnee, a few horse farms, a parking lot full of empty trailers.  There's a biker bar on the inside of a curve just before the Cheddar Curtain, then empty wetlands.  Immediately north of the Cheddar Curtain come the warehouses, including Amazon and Uline, factories including a chemical plant, and a large generating station.  A number of these facilities still have rail connections.  And additional commercial and industrial construction is in progress beyond.  Somewhere in this space will be the Wisconn Valley complex, assuming it gets built.

Entering Milwaukee, you'll see a number of tannery buildings repurposed as lofts: some of these even offer balcony views of the tracks.  (The premium balconies face the river.)  And Northwestern Mutual have a new office tower under construction.


What, you were expecting an architecture tour?  Ach, du Lieber!  I'm here for this:


A proper German festival begins with the ceremonial tapping of the first keg.  Followed by a few choruses of Ein Prosit!

Now, perhaps you've seen Matt "Dean Dad" Reed's objections to Our President suggesting upstate New Yorkers migrate to Wisconsin, where the jobs are.  "Um, not okay."

Fair enough, Matt, but I'll see your white hot and a Genny Cream and raise you a Usinger Brat with(*) and a Sprecher Black Bavarian.  In a liter glass.


Yeah, that's from last year.  Milwaukee is the city where you hand the rider out the window on Friday the bus pass that is good until Saturday.  Same principle applies to your liter mug.  That's eight bucks for more beer.

And it's Spanferkl time.  Sauerkraut, proper Kartoffelsalat, cold, black bread.  You don't have to do something ironic like "garbage plate."  Just slice 'em up and serve 'em up.  With, of course, your liter mug.


And wonderful, lower temperatures near the lake, and fireworks after sunset.


Yes, you can fill your liter mug with Coors Light or Miller Lite (that's all the same company now) which is what the visiting Chicago Cub fans were doing.  They'll have plenty of opportunity to be socialized into proper Wisconsin ways once the taxes and the Wisconn Valley jobs bring them to the prosperous side of the Cheddar Curtain. Moin, moin!

(*)With means sauerkraut and Düsseldorf mustard.  The concessions make an effort to accommodate flatlanders with that yellow French's glop.  Their money is still good.

RESIDUALLY INHABITED BY BURNOUTS?

Our President, perhaps enjoying himself after liquid crystal screen manufacturer Foxconn might have picked a parcel of land he recommended to establish a large assembly plant in Wisconsin, now suggests displaced workers migrate to Wisconsin.

The locals are calling the area Wisconn Valley and making much of the size of the plant: Eleven Lambeau Fields!  More corridor space than the Pentagon!  For perspective, this works will occupy about the same acreage as the Gary Works, with a similar work force, that is, before oxygen impingement and ladle metallurgy and the rest augmented the power of men (and provided safer working conditions for men and women) and reduced the labor requirements in a steel works.

And Milwaukee's Journal-Sentinel, with an aggressively Democratic editorial board, is skeptical of Project Foxconn paying off.
Stripping away the hype, this is a raw-bones business deal: Taxpayers forgive Foxconn’s taxes for 15 years and deliver the tax credits, and Foxconn delivers thousands of good-paying factory jobs and makes a $10 billion investment in Wisconsin.

Nonetheless, it's an enormous subsidy by Wisconsin taxpayers. In a perfect world, it's a deal that would not be made. Unfortunately, in the real world, states and localities do compete and bid against each other for business, and tax breaks are the coin of the realm.
Tax breaks are a part of the deal, yes. The editorial writers also wonder if the project will provide work opportunities for the poor and long-unemployed residents of the blighted parts of Milwaukee.  Probably not: the project appears to expect workers to commute by car, or perhaps by bus from Racine or Kenosha.  Fix Milwaukee first.  "[T]hird world cities all have one thing in common: an absence of free and open markets."  And those industrial robots?  A steel mill is no place to show up for work stoned.
“The difficult part about marijuana is, we don’t have an affordable test that tells me if they smoked it over the weekend or smoked it in the morning before they came to work. And I just can’t take the chance of having an impaired worker running a crane carrying a 300,000-pound steel encasement,” [Warren Fabricating co-owner Regina Mitchell] said.
Neither is a boiler factory.
It’s not that local workers lack the skills for these positions, many of which do not even require a high school diploma but pay $15 to $25 an hour and offer full benefits. Rather, the problem is that too many applicants — nearly half, in some cases — fail a drug test.

The fallout is not limited to the workers or their immediate families. Each quarter, Columbiana Boiler, a [Youngstown area] company, forgoes roughly $200,000 worth of orders for its galvanized containers and kettles because of the manpower shortage, it says, with foreign rivals picking up the slack.

“Our main competitor in Germany can get things done more quickly because they have a better labor pool,” said Michael J. Sherwin, chief executive of the 123-year-old manufacturer. “We are always looking for people and have standard ads at all times, but at least 25 percent fail the drug tests.”
But the burnouts have been taking over the Rust Belt towns for a long time.  "[A]n industrial era in which monopoly rents attenuated the incentive for some people to invest in human capital, followed by an era of do-your-own-thing nonjudgementalism could only end badly for the people who didn't make the investment, who have been left behind by their neighbors who did."  "Leave Garbutt" became a meme during last fall's presidential election.  National Review's Kevin Williamson is still on the theme, suggesting that the likes of Garbutt, or much of Appalachia, or Lancaster, Ohio, aren't exactly promising places to build technology factories.
You could build a new Apple or Google facility in one of those towns, or a Tesla battery factory, or a Lockheed Martin plant, but you’d have to bring in many if not most of the workers from outside the area. In these places, industrial and blue-collar workers are a lot like municipal bonds: The ones you want, you can’t get, and the ones you can get, you don’t want. If that cold economic comparison offends your romantic view of blue-collar labor, then you probably are too sentimental to be making public policy.
There are parts of Wisconsin, away from that part of Greater Chicago along the state line, and away from Madison, that you probably wouldn't want to build a technology factory either. We'll see how Wisconn Valley plays out.  With the Packers back in camp, perhaps Mr Williamson is thinking of spiking the football.  "I assume my mailbox at Buckley Towers will be full of apologies and retractions now that Nurse Trump is recommending the same prescription as Dr. Williamson."

THE LONG TWILIGHT STRUGGLE CONTINUES.

Higher education's self-inflicted troubles continue, and I continue to have to point them out, and I continue to have to recognize other voices that are advancing the fight.

Let's set the Wayback Machine to April 2005, before I seriously contemplated walking away from it all.  The spin from the management of higher education has long been that it's know-nothings and anti-intellectuals, and for all we know, Neanderthals and Visigoths besieging the castle, and yet that perspective is self-serving and wrong.
Universities are failing to carry out their mission. Contributing to this failure is a collection of ideas we call "politically correct." The intellectual foundation of these ideas is an extreme relativism that questions the possibility of objective knowledge and seeks to dispel "coherent beliefs of any kind." A university built on such a foundation cannot stand.
The latest variation on this theme comes from Frederick M. Hess and Grant Addison in National Review.
The problem is not that conservatives have lost faith in the mission of the university, but that too many universities have discarded their sacred commitments to dialogue and truth in favor of ideological crusades.

Indeed, the mandarins of the academy now openly spout Orwellian arguments for speech suppression based entirely on feelings. Earlier this month, Northeastern University psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett penned a piece for the New York Times titled “When Is Speech Violence?” that claimed the mantle of “science” to argue for campus speech restrictions. Before that, an April Times op-ed by NYU’s vice provost for faculty, arts, humanities, and diversity, “What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech,” justified censorship on the grounds that subjective emotions should be privileged “over reason and argument,” and that “[freedom of speech] means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community.” Disappointingly, the author never quite got around to specifying just who will determine the criteria for this “balancing.”

In short, the academy has abandoned its core values of free inquiry in the service of ever-more-rigid political dogmas.
Dogma begets censoriousness begets a lack of learning. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Universities best serve their students through rigorous development of reasoning skills and respect for what we have learned. Rigor is likely to diminish incivility on campus, because students kept grappling with intellectual problems will have less time to fight with each other. Better that they be unhappy with a few demanding professors.
Messrs. Hess and Addison give me no reason to walk away from that claim.
[T]oday’s universities — rife with speech codes, “scientific” defenses of speech suppression, and faculties that speak in one voice on seminal issues ranging from race relations to immigration policy — have failed to adhere to their professed ideals or even to his organization’s own standards. It’s true that there are plenty, on the Left and the Right, who sometimes prefer dogma to science. Colleges and universities, however, are supposed to offer a corrective to such thinking; they’re not supposed to be a party to it. The sad truth is that conservatives are right to look askance at higher education in 2017. Too many of our most esteemed academic institutions have drifted from their historic mission — and that’s their fault, not ours.
But we must be happy warriors: the Excessively Earnest people who ru[i]n higher education cannot bear to be mocked.
[L]et us not expect that if we just kick in the door, the entire rotten structure will collapse. There is still work to be done. It calls for patience. It calls for fortitude. It calls for persistence. It calls for reiterating the basic themes. And it calls for humor. The academic establishment is full of Earnest People whose worst nightmare is Carrie's: they're all going to laugh at you. Yup. Heartily.
Undermine them with mockery!

27.7.17

SHIPPING OUT THE INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY.

There's more to the Rust Belt story than the loss of Big Steel and Big Automotive and Big Tires in the big cities such as Akron, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Youngstown.  Get off the interstates, and the tales of loss are everywhere.

One such story takes place in Lancaster, Ohio.  Brian Alexander's Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town, Book Review No. 19,  looks at what happens as Lancaster Glass and Anchor-Hocking (the Pyrex folks) restructure and move headquarters out of town and outsource production to China.  (How can a management mess things up that badly?  Glass is a weight-losing, low-value-to-weight fragile proposition, and the loss and damage from trans-Pacific shipment alone ought to undo any cheap labor advantages.)

Thus, the middle managers who supported local civic activities, from churches to the P.T.A. to the summer music festival move out, and the suits and academicians from Columbus who treat Lancaster as a bedroom suburb don't take much interest in civic life, and the mediating institutions crumble.

Meanwhile, the eighty-six-proof anaesthetic crutches of the senior executives give way to the more potent, if less lawful, painkillers that become the gateway drug for the various opiates.  There has to be something more at work in the emergence of painkillers as initiative killers than simple cultural rot ... possibly that's a topic for future inquiry?  Mr Alexander concludes his book with some reflections on whether downscale middle America is more sinned against or sinning: that being the fashion in the run-up to the general election.

The "1% Economy?"  Not so much.  There is still a strain in punditry that sees Reaganite deregulation or Friedmanian open markets as the Root of All Evil, and the maintained hypothesis of Glass House is that businesses set free to increase shareholder value shattered the glass plants of Lancaster.  I'm not persuaded.  "Shareholder value," particularly in the quarterly report form, is simply another business fad, the same way conglomeration was a half century ago, and Total Quality Management a quarter century ago.  Businesses have to be mugged by reality sometimes, and one of these years the geniuses in suits will figure out that stripping cash out of boring businesses to support the Latest Big Thing doesn't end well.  Just ask Bangor Punta (if you can find them) or LTV (still looking) or whatever that integrated travel firm United Airlines thought itself to be was.

(Cross-posted to 50 Book Challenge.)

WHEN THE MEN LOSE REASON AND FAITH.

A game of musical chairs timed to the biological clock?
A dearth of marriagable men has left an “oversupply” of educated women taking desperate steps to preserve their fertility, experts say.

The first global study into egg freezing found that shortages of eligible men were the prime reason why women had attempted to take matters into their own hands.

Experts said “terrifying” demographic shifts had created a “deficit” of educated men and a growing problem of “leftover” professional women, with female graduates vastly outnumbering males in in many countries.
What would we ever do without experts?

Might it be that after thirty years, the guys have figured out the code?  "Cold Spring Shops is not an advice column, but gentlemen, if you ever hear 'I'm not ready for a commitment,' treat your situation as friends-with-benefits, no matter how desirable the benefits are."  The ladies who were truthfully saying so are now in a position of having to freeze their eggs.  It's not so much "leftover" as having pushed away potential keepers over the years.  As far as those who were not truthfully saying so ... gold diggers come with warning signals, and perhaps the "not ready for commitment [until some rich real estate hustler comes along]" are OK with being traded in for a newer number in a few years.  Good business for prenup-drafting lawyers and pshrinks, not so much for the spawn.
Prof Marcia Inhorn, Professor of Anthopolgy at Yale University, said professional women found themselves losing out in a game of “musical chairs” because there were simply too few men of the same calibre to go around.

“There is a major gap - they are literally missing men. There are not enough college graduates for them. In simple terms, this is about an oversupply of educated women,” she said.

“In China they call them ‘left over women’. It sounds cold and callous but in demographic terms this is about missing men and left over women.”

The former President of the Society for Medical Anthropology said the women interviewed in the study were highly successful, with 81 per cent having a college degree.

“These are highly educated, very successful women and one after another they were saying they couldn’t find a partner. How could it be that all these amazing, attractive intelligent women were lamenting about their ability to find a partner?” she said.

“The answer comes in the demographics - growing disparities in the education levels of men and women.
In China, sex-selection abortions are legal, and in higher education, "toxic masculinity" is a thing, and not the kind of thing that invocation thereof is going to turn a guy on, no matter how spectacular the lady's credentials otherwise are.

Heat Street's Martin Daubney asks, "Is feminism’s greatest victory – equality in the workplace – starting to look like a bauble if the kickback is the prospect of loneliness and childlessness?"  Don't say I didn't warn you.

But I was probably too restrained.  Here's Mr Daubney.
[Men] are growing wary of women who have decided “I’m ready!” What man wants to go straight from Tinder to the kid’s section of IKEA without a few years’ fun first? It’s sensible, risk avoidance: making sure she’s mother material. Only she doesn’t want to wait, ‘cos fertility. So, men avoid them.

We’re all increasingly making more informed choices later in life – so it’s a bit rich to claim it’s a bad thing when men do it. You can’t have it both ways, ladies.

Instead, these men are increasingly dating younger women, not because they’re shallow sexists, but because they don’t want to have children yet. Again, their body, their choice, doubly so when their reproductive clocks can be ticking strong as they turn into grandfather clocks (see: Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, etc)

The report next blames “terrifying” demographic shifts and “sweeping social changes,” and here they’re onto something.

With unexpected irony, the gender education gap – girls and women now outperform boys and men at every level of education from kindergarten to college – is suddenly a problem for women, too.

Not because these entitled careerists suddenly care that, increasingly, boys are destined for a life of servitude, performing the low-paid, dangerous jobs nobody else wants.

But because they can’t get laid by a graduate.

It’s almost funny.
It might be, though, that the hamster wheel is no longer the only job description.  Maybe, in Germany, it's subsidized child care.  (Or perhaps demographics?)
Among university-educated women between the ages of 40 to 44 surveyed, 25 percent had no children - 3 percentage points lower than the 28 percent recorded in 2012.

The study suggests that the decreasing rate of childlessness is due in part to improved conditions for the balance of work and family, in particular better child care offerings. The report authors state that this hypothesis is confirmed by the simultaneous increase in working mothers over the last eight years.

Among mothers whose youngest child was age two, this percentage increased to 58 percent who had jobs. But in 2008, working mums made up less than half of this same category at 46 percent.

The report also found that university-educated women are more quickly jumping back into their careers than they were eight years ago. In 2016, 58 percent of such mothers started working again when their youngest child reached age one, while 54 percent did the same in 2008.

Additionally, 19 percent of academics with one-year-olds started working again full-time. In 2008, 16 percent did the same.

For years, experts have feared a shrinking German population in the future - even with immigration - due to the long-term trend of death rates outstripping birth rates.
Terms of employment are likely to change long before they're codified at law.

The corrective to second- and third-wave feminist excess may come late for me, but come it will.

RUNNING EXTRA.

Welcome, Chicago Boyz readers.

AVOIDING THE ILLINOIS PRIVILEGE TAX.

Taiwan's electronics firm Foxconn announces plans to build a new factory in Wisconsin.

It's all too much for the editorial writers at Chicago's Tribune.
Once again, the people of Illinois see how [state House speaker Michael] Madigan and [state senate president John] Cullerton, with their combined 86 years in Springfield, have left Illinois ill-prepared to compete for 21st-century jobs. Their agenda is about raising taxes, not about delivering those reforms. As we wrote a few days ago, every other state on Foxconn's short list looked better than Illinois by the basic measures of financial stability and pro-growth economies.
Illinois is what Democrats do, and Democrats would just as soon tax achievement as encourage it.

Now, it might be that Wisconsin is chasing jobs with tax benefits, and throwing tax benefits at factories will turn out as badly as throwing tax benefits at big-box stores and sports teams.  But the reason states engage in such behavior is that doing so might be a dominant strategy, and you look good when your strategy works.
We don't know details of whatever federal, state and local government incentives lured the company Beyond the Cheddar Curtain. And we can't be certain how many billions of dollars in investment, and how many thousands of jobs, Wisconsin will gain.

But we do know this: Wisconsin boasts a freshly burnished global image. One of the planet's largest tech firms, with a million workers worldwide, says its search led it to bet a fraction of its future on Wisconsin. Assuming that happens, expect robust economic growth from suppliers, subcontractors, construction companies and other businesses that will serve Foxconn and its workforce.
Some Wisconsin Democrats are throwing shade at the Foxconn deal, but their objections offer the Chicago-Springfield Combine little solace.  "Even the Democrats know they’re (accurately) viewed as anti-business when a news release starts with 'While I welcome new businesses to the state …'"

The likely location of the complex will be in Speaker Paul Ryan's district, likely in the Lake Michigan watershed.