URLs du Jour — 2009-04-28

  • Genius Harvard Econ Prof Greg Mankiw knows where the economic bodies are buried. So, for example, when President Obama promises to increase spending on scientific research and development, Mankiw can easily pull an embarrassing quote from Obama economics adviser Austan Goolsbee that contends that the primary effect of increased R&D spending is to raise salaries for R&D workers. (In short: it's much more likely that the result will not be a cure for cancer, but nicer cars in the NIH parking lots.)

  • OK, so that's evidence against a central tenet of the Statist faith, that spending (or "investing") taxpayer money is an effective method to achieve worthy goals. At Cato@Liberty, Andrew Coulson provides more evidence by noting "a productivity collapse unparalleled in any other sector of the economy": the performance of government schools as revealed by the National Assessment of Educational Progress:
    At the end of high school, students perform no better today than they did nearly 40 years ago, and yet we spend more than twice as much per pupil in real, inflation-adjusted terms. I can't think of any other service that has gotten worse during my lifetime. Our school system has failed alone.
    But the cars in the teachers' parking lot are nicer.

  • Via Dartblog, a story about specialty license plates, specifically those that bear the "Choose Life" slogan. States are getting sued when they refuse to issue such plates; they're also getting sued when they do.

    There's a Granite State connection, because the last time the Supreme Court ruled on a license plate issue, it concerned a New Hampshire driver who taped over his "Live Free or Die" slogan. (That's kind of ironic isn't it?)

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