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Monday afternoon links


1. Chart of the Day I (above).  The Cato Institute’s Human Freedom Index (HFI) measures the state of human freedom in countries around the world based on a broad measure that encompasses personal, civil, and economic freedom. Here’s a link to the most recent website and report that was based on 152 countries for 2012, the most recent for which data are available. Above is one of the most striking results of the report and shows the relationship between human freedom and GDP per capita. For the quartile (25%) of the most free countries, the per capita GDP was about $30,000, compared to only about $6,000 per capita for the next quartile, $5,400 for second lowest 25% and only $2,600 for the bottom quartile.

Bottom Line: The difference between capitalism and human freedom and socialism and human repression? Capitalism and freedom work!


2. Chart of the Day II (above). How big and successful is Uber vs. traditional legacy taxis? Really, really big and really, really successful, see chart above and find more details here Summer of Uber: Everything you need to know about the upstart ride-sharing service.

Bottom Line: What’s the difference between Uber and legacy taxis (“Big Taxi”)? Uber works.

3. Real Winners of the $15 Minimum Wage – Landlords? In a Forbes article “Minimum Wage Hikes Could Have Surprising Impact On Housing,” Adam Ozimek explains how landlords could be the real winners of a $15 an hour minimum wage:

If minimum wages go up and employment doesn’t, then workers will bid up the price of housing, and be willing to accept higher cost of rent. If a landlord knows that all workers are making $15 an hour at the minimum, it’s easy to charge more without seeing demand for housing decline. In this case, the gains to workers from a higher minimum wage all get eaten up by housing costs, and landlords are the real winners.

4. Minimum Wage Math. From the New York Times article “As Minimum Wages Rise, Restaurants Say No to Tips, Yes to Higher Prices“:

When Daniel Patterson first started working as a chef in the early 1980s, he said, labor used to account for about a third of total costs, and owners could enjoy a 10 percent to 20 percent profit. Now, as a partner in five San Francisco Bay Area restaurants, Mr. Patterson says labor costs eat up about 40 percent to 45 percent of the budget. At the same time, rent costs are skyrocketing.

“Even a good restaurant doing a lot of business that’s popular on every level, is bringing 2 percent or 1.5 percent to the bottom line,” he said. “It’s like a not-for-profit.”

Bottom Line: It’s pretty easy for a restaurant to go from a razor-thin profit margin of 1.5-2% to just breaking even or to losing money, and that’s the main reason that minimum wage hikes are really a “math problem.”


5. Venn Diagram of the Day (above). Do unions support the minimum wage or not?

6. Pell Grant Abuse. Billions of taxpayer dollars go to college students who never end up with a diploma in their hands, a new report found. And also:

To make matters worse, the government keeps no official tally of what proportion of those who receive the grants end up getting degrees — despite the fact that money spent on Pell grants has quadrupled since 2000.

Another reason college tuition has gone up more than any other consumer product, good or service — $250 billion in government taxpayer subsidies to students, which allow colleges collectively to charge something like $250 billion more for tuition.

7. Only Black NBA Players Matter. According to the University of Central Florida’s The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport‘s (TIDES) “2015 Racial and Gender Report Card for the NBA“:

a. In 2015, 74.4% of NBA players were black. (Although not reported by TIDES, that compares to only 13% of the US population.)

b. 23.3% of 2015 NBA players were white vs. 63% of the US population.

c. Latino players make up only 1.8% of the 2015 NBA but are 16.7% of the US population.

d. Asian players are 0.2% of the NBA, but 5% of the US population.

NBA Letter Grade for Player Diversity: A+

Bottom Line: The NBA sure doesn’t “look like America” so it’s hard to understand the A+ grade for player diversity from the University of Central Florida’s “diversity deciders.” Apparently only “black players matter” under this grading system?

8. Quotation of the Day, from Christina Sommers’s article “While women overseas face true oppression, Western feminists dream up petty hashtags” (slightly edited):

Millions of women’s basic rights are being ruthlessly violated in countries like Iran, Yemen, Egypt, and Cambodia, where women are struggling for freedoms most women in the West take for granted. But American feminists are relatively silent about these injustices — especially feminists on campus. During the 1980s, there were massive demonstrations on American college campuses against racial apartheid in South Africa.There is no remotely comparable movement on today’s campuses against the gender apartheid prevalent in large parts of the world.

Why not? Today’s young feminist activists are far too preoccupied with their own supposed victimhood to make common cause with women being oppressed in other countries.

9. Who-d a-Thunk It? Oil-rich, but socialist, Venezuela is “fast on its way to becoming a failed state?

Indeed, by some metrics — homicide and violent crime rates, broken supply chains, number of high regime officials currently under investigation by the US Treasury for narcotrafficking — it has already arrived.

See Item #1: The difference between capitalism and socialism? Capitalism works.

****Unfortunately, the video below is currently “private,” but will be changed to “public” ASAP.****

10. Video of the Day (below). August 29th marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall along the Gulf Coast as a Category 5 hurricane. Katrina was the costliest natural disaster, and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. In the video below, economist Steven Horwitz explains why private sector firms like Walmart outperformed FEMA in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and why we should think of Walmart “as hero.”

Source: New AEI Feed
Monday afternoon links

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