Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study: stronger net neutrality laws are a tax on Internet use

The leftist Washington Post reports on a new study which counts the cost of the Obama administration’s proposed “net neutrality” policies.

Excerpt:

[A] new study suggests that strong controls on Internet providers might force Americans to pay more for their Internet, anyway.

Internet service providers would be subject to more than $15 billion a year in new fees if the Federal Communications Commission decides to start regulating them with Title II of the Communications Act — the same tool the agency uses to police telephone service, according to Hal Singer and Robert Litan, two economists who support less-aggressive net neutrality rules. And those charges, they say, would inevitably be passed along to you.

Regulating broadband under Title II would allow federal, state and local governments to collect the same fees from ISPs that they already levy on phone companies. Among these are a “universal service” fee that was established decades ago to help ensure everyone in the country had access to telephone service.

In a paper published by the Progressive Policy Institute, Singer and Litan argue that these and other charges stemming from various state and local rules could add $84 or more to a U.S. household’s yearly Internet bill.

“Although the state and federal governments collect these fees from broadband providers,” Singer and Litan write, “history shows — and economic models of competitive markets predict — that the fees are passed along to customers, just as they are now on telecommunication services. So consumers’ Internet bills will soon have all those random charges tacked on at the end, much like they see on their phone bills.”

The study is the latest effort by opponents of strong net neutrality rules to describe the potential economic fallout of regulating ISPs under Title II. Last month, telecom lobbyists argued to the FCC that aggressive regulation would slow down the pace of industry investment in network upgrades, to the tune of $45 billion over the next five years.

And there is this from the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank:

On June 17, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski pushed through a 3-2 vote along party lines to begin his agency’s process of reclassifying broadband Internet access under a more restrictive regulatory regime known as Title II. Once the Internet is reclassified as a telecommunications service rather than an information service under Title I, the FCC will have seized the power necessary to micromanage the vibrant medium we take for granted.

Numerous studies have found FCC enforcement of net neutrality rules would harm the digital economy and consumers. The research on net neutrality points out regulation would stifle innovation and impose costs that would be passed on to consumers. Study after study finds net neutrality is an attempt to fix a “market failure” that doesn’t exist.

A recent study from New York University concluded net neutrality would cost Americans 500,000 jobs and $62 billion over the next five years. The international market research firm Frost & Sullivan found net neutrality regulations would likely pass on to the consumer up to $55 per month in additional costs. These and other studies show a hands-off approach to Internet regulation maximizes social and economic welfare.

The rest of the Heartland post links to studies that discuss the impact to the economy and to consumers of these net neutrality laws.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

The biggest driver of income inequality is single motherhood

Welfare and out-of-wedlock births

Welfare and out-of-wedlock births

Indian economist Aparna Mathur, whose work I’ve featured here before, writes about it in Forbes magazine.

Excerpt:

The fabric of our society is changing. In 1980, approximately 78 percent of families with children were headed by married parents. In 2012, married parents headed only 66 percent of families with children. In a new report, Bradford Wilcox and Robert Lerman explore the role of family structure with new data and analysis, and document how this retreat from marriage is not simply a social and cultural phenomenon. It has important economic implications for, amongst others, men’s labor force participation rates, children’s high school dropout rates and teen pregnancy rates. Since these factors are highly correlated with economic opportunity and the ability to move up the income ladder, this suggests that income inequality and economic mobility across generations are critically influenced by people’s decisions and attitudes towards marriage. Understanding the role of family structure is therefore key to understanding the big economic challenges of our time.

[…]Wilcox and Lerman document how the shift away from marriage and traditional family structures has had important consequences for family incomes, and has been correlated with rising family-income inequality and declines in men’s labor force participation rates. Using data from the Current Population Survey, the authors find that between 1980 and 2012, median family income rose 30 percent for married parent families, For unmarried parents, family incomes rose only 14 percent.

These differential patterns of changes in family income have exacerbated family-income inequality. Since unmarried parent families generally expand the ranks of low-income families, while high-income, high-education adults increasingly marry partners from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, inequality trends are worsened. Comparing the 90th percentile families to the 10th percentile families in 2012, the top 10 percent had incomes that were more than 11 times higher than the bottom 10 percent. However, if we restrict the sample to married families with children, the ratio drops to nearly 7, suggesting that within married families, income inequality is less stark. The authors estimate that approximately 32 percent of the growth in family-income inequality between 1979 and 2012 is associated with changes in family structure. Other research, studying the period 1968-2000, finds that the changing family structure, accounted for 11 percent of the rise widening of the income gap between the bottom and top deciles.

Another interesting observation relates to the trends in employment participation by men. The Wilcox-Lerman study finds that for married fathers, employment and participation rates have remained consistently higher than for married men with no children and unmarried men with no children. The authors speculate that between 1980 and 2008, about 51 percent of the decline in men’s employment rates can be associated with the retreat from marriage.

And why is single motherhood so ascendant today? Well, part of it is the loss of morality caused by secularism. If there is no God, then there is no way we ought to be, so let’s just do whatever makes us feel good, and pass the bill to the taxpayers. That only works, though, if we elect politicians who want taxpayers who are responsible to pay for the ones who are irresponsible.

So have we done that? Yes – Robert Rector explains in The Daily Signal.

He writes:

It is no accident that the collapse of marriage in America largely began with the War on Poverty and the proliferation of means-tested welfare programs that it fostered.

When the War on Poverty began, only a single welfare program—Aid to Families with Dependent Children —assisted single parents.

Today, dozens of programs provide benefits to families with children, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Women, Infants and Children food program, Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, child nutrition programs, public housing and Section 8 housing, and Medicaid.

Although married couples with children can also receive aid through these programs, the overwhelming majority of assistance to families with children goes to single-parent households.

The burgeoning welfare state has promoted single parenthood in two ways. First, means-tested welfare programs such as those described above financially enable single parenthood. It is difficult for single mothers with a high school degree or less to support children without the aid of another parent.

Means-tested welfare programs substantially reduce this difficulty by providing extensive support to single parents. Welfare thereby reduces the financial need for marriage. Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, less-educated mothers have increasingly become married to the welfare state and to the U.S. taxpayer rather than to the fathers of their children.

As means-tested benefits expanded, welfare began to serve as a substitute for a husband in the home, and low-income marriage began to disappear. As husbands left the home, the need for more welfare to support single mothers increased. The War on Poverty created a destructive feedback loop: Welfare promoted the decline of marriage, which generated a need for more welfare.

A second major problem is that the means-tested welfare system actively penalizes low-income parents who do marry. All means-tested welfare programs are designed so that a family’s benefits are reduced as earnings rise. In practice, this means that, if a low-income single mother marries an employed father, her welfare benefits will generally be substantially reduced. The mother can maximize welfare by remaining unmarried and keeping the father’s income “off the books.”

For example, a single mother with two children who earns $15,000 per year would generally receive around $5,200 per year of food stamp benefits. However, if she marries a father with the same earnings level, her food stamps would be cut to zero.

So you see, the thing the left complains about the most is actually the thing they do the most to cause. They are all about taxpayer-funded welfare programs and growing government to make more and more people dependent. They are causing the income inequality and then complaining about what they cause.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , ,

Top 5 myths that old feminists pass on to young women

Christina Hoff Sommers writing in the ultra-leftist Time magazine of all places.

The list:

  1. MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.
  2. MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.
  3. MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.
  4. MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.
  5. MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.

I’m posting 4 and 5 below, since they were mentioned in the video above (that’s not Christina Hoff Sommers):

MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.

FACTS: This incendiary figure is everywhere in the media today. Journalists, senators and even President Obama cite it routinely. Can it be true that the American college campus is one of the most dangerous places on earth for women?

The one-in-five figure is based on the Campus Sexual Assault Study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted from 2005 to 2007. Two prominent criminologists, Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox and Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Moran, have noted its weaknesses:

“The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”

Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.

Defenders of the one-in-five figure will reply that the finding has been replicated by other studies. But these studies suffer from some or all of the same flaws. Campus sexual assault is a serious problem and will not be solved by statistical hijinks.

MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.

FACTS: No matter how many times this wage gap claim is decisively refuted by economists, it always comes back. The bottom line: the 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.

Wage gap activists say women with identical backgrounds and jobs as men still earn less. But they always fail to take into account critical variables. Activist groups like the National Organization for Women have a fallback position: that women’s education and career choices are not truly free—they are driven by powerful sexist stereotypes. In this view, women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion. Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.

Her conclusion:

Why do these reckless claims have so much appeal and staying power? For one thing, there is a lot of statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics and political leaders. There is also an admirable human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering. Finally, armies of advocates depend on “killer stats” to galvanize their cause. But killer stats obliterate distinctions between more and less serious problems and send scarce resources in the wrong directions. They also promote bigotry. The idea that American men are annually enslaving more than 100,000 girls, sending millions of women to emergency rooms, sustaining a rape culture and cheating women out of their rightful salary creates rancor in true believers and disdain in those who would otherwise be sympathetic allies.

But if young women learn this for four years in college, what hope is there for any kind of trust and vulnerability with men? What hope is there for marriage? They are always going to be trying to find meaning in life on their own, apart from any kind of loving partnership with a man. And the more hooking up and cohabitating they do, the less they are going to value marriage and take practical steps towards it. That is the real problem – the wasting of time and the lack of seriousness, as if getting married can be left to age 35 with no preparation and no planning. As if careers and missionary work and traveling can fill the same hole that a family fills. Yet if no one tells these young women and pushes them to be sensible and discerning, they will mess up the most important decision of their lives.

This might be a good article to share and bookmark.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Second nurse with Ebola called CDC about her fever, was allowed to fly

From CBS News.

Excerpt:

In the case of Amber Vinson, the Dallas nurse who flew commercially as she was becoming ill with Ebola, one health official said “somebody dropped the ball.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that Vinson called the agency several times before flying, saying that she had a fever with a temperature of 99.5 degrees. But because her fever wasn’t 100.4 degrees or higher, she didn’t officially fall into the group of “high risk” and was allowed to fly.

Officials in the U.S. have been trying to calm fears over the Ebola crisis, but time and again events have overtaken their assurances.

In August, before the first U.S. infection, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said: “We’re confident that we have the facilities here to isolate patients, not only at the highly advanced ones like the one at Emory, but really at virtually every major hospital in the U.S.”

[…]And there was reassurance from the White House.

“Every hospital in this county has the capability to isolate a patient, take the measures, put them in place to ensure that any suspected case is immediately isolated and the follow-up steps that have been mentioned are immediately taken,” Lisa Monaco, a homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President Obama, said Oct. 3.

But health care workers weren’t so sure.

“We want to make sure that we have the correct equipment – the protective equipment – to protect both our patients and ourselves,” Katy Roemer, who has worked as a nurse in California for 20 years, told CBS News correspondent John Blackstone last week.

Blackstone asked her whether hazmat suits were available to her.

“Not that I know of,” Roemer said.

Duncan died Oct. 8. Four days later, nurse Nina Pham got sick. Federal officials were now discovering what health workers had warned about.

[…]The director of the CDC, who in August said he was “confident,” said this Tuesday:

“We could’ve sent a more robust hospital infection control team and been more hands-on with the hospital from day one,” Frieden said. “… I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the patient – the first patient – was diagnosed. That might have prevented this infection.”

We have nothing to worry about, big government is in control. Don’t you doubt their ability to handle this. You can keep your doctor. You can keep your health plan. Health care premiums will go down. Nobody in the US will ever be infected with Ebola. Now that Ebola is here, it will not spread to anyone else. And if big government fails to protect you, the solution is for them to take more of your money.

Why should we believe that the same big government leftists who covered up Fast and Furious, who blamed Benghazi on a Youtube video, who lied to us about what pulling out of Iraq would cause, who covered up the IRS targeting of conservatives,  who performed clandestine surveillance of journalists, the Bergdahl terrorist-leaders-for-one-traitor swap, ETC., can be counted on to take ANY threat seriously? This is not the private sector we are dealing with – this is the government. The people who lead it win popularity contests. They couldn’t solve their way out of a wet paper bag. Whenever anything goes wrong, they cover it up – and ask for more money, so it “won’t happen again”.

Filed under: News, , , ,

Are “budget cuts” to blame for the CDC’s inept handling of Ebola?

Investors Business Daily tells the truth.

Excerpt:

There haven’t been any real cuts to those budgets at all. At least not in the sense that any American household would recognize.

The CDC’s budget today is 25% bigger than it was in 2008 and 188% bigger than in 2000. The NIH budget has been flat for the past few years, but at a level that’s more than double what it was 14 years ago.

Plus, spending at both of these agencies has actually been higher than President Obama himself proposed (see chart). The 2014 NIH budget, in fact, is almost $1 billion bigger than Obama sought in his budget plan, released in early 2010.

True, the heads of these agencies are decrying cuts. But that’s what government officials always do, even as their budgets continue to grow. Besides, the CDC and NIH are desperate to point the finger of blame somewhere other than their own incompetence.

Even if there has been some cutting here and there at these agencies, it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of fat to trim.

If the NIH was really so concerned about developing an Ebola vaccine, for example, it could have directed more grant money to that effort, rather than wasting it researching such things as diseases among male sex workers in Peru ($400,000), why chimps throw feces ($600,000) and sexual attraction among fruit flies (nearly $1 million).

The CDC isn’t much better at husbanding its resources. A few years ago, it dumped $106 million into a swanky visitors’ center in Atlanta, even though it already had one. It bought $10 million worth of furniture for its lavish new headquarters and spent $1.7 million to advise Hollywood on medical plots.

Yes, the federal government has blown it on Ebola. But that’s not because the relevant agencies have too little money to spend. It’s the result of unfocused missions, bureaucratic bloat and a shameful lack of accountability.

I think that this Ebola crisis is an excellent reminder to us why we should not trust government to be accountable to people. We were told that the government was going to handle this, and there was nothing to worry about. But now we know that there has been mistake after mistake. We were told that Ebola could not spread, but now two nurses have it. It’s another case of the government saying one thing, but the opposite is actually true. If we’re going to have government, we should at least have competent government, and that certainly is not a Democrat government.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

Wintery Tweets

RSS Intelligent Design podcast

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Evolution News

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,682,175 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,270 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,270 other followers

%d bloggers like this: