Twenty years ago, California public schools were forcing thousands of Latino children into Spanish-almost-only classes against the wishes of their parents. In 1996, The Los Angeles Times told the story of a group of Latino immigrant parents who began a public protest against their local elementary school for refusing to teach their children English, boycotting... Read More
As a software developer and company co-founder who has lived in Palo Alto since the early 1990s, I understand the extraordinarily important contribution that immigrants have made to our technology industry over the last half century and the crucial role they play in maintaining American competitiveness. I've found it unfortunate that for years top Silicon... Read More
Schools like Harvard have become tax-exempt hedge funds with huge returns. Ending tuition would be a form of payback.
Although Harvard is widely known as one of America's oldest and most prestigious colleges, that public image is outdated. Over the last couple of decades, the university has transformed itself into one of the world's largest hedge-funds, with the huge profits of its aggressively managed $36 billion portfolio shielded from taxes because of the educational... Read More
Raising the Minimum Wage to $12 an Hour
During the 1950s peak of America’s post-war prosperity, Detroit was our wealthiest city, General Motors our biggest employer, and GM CEO “Engine Charlie” Wilson delivered the famously misquoted claim that “what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice-versa.” Times have changed. These days retail giant Wal-Mart is our largest corporation,... Read More
Millions of California immigrants work in low-wage service industries. They would be among the greatest beneficiaries of our ballot initiative to raise the state minimum wage to $12 per hour. Latinos, many of whom come from a relatively recent immigrant background, would gain the most. The data shows that around half of all Latino wage-earners... Read More
Aerospace execs sell their industry to Japan—one part at a time.
At a welcoming banquet in Japan in the 1980s, Ford Motor chairman Philip Caldwell received a memorably double-edged compliment. “There is no secret about how we learned to do what we do, Mr. Caldwell,” said the head of Toyota Motor, Eiji Toyoda. “We learned it at the Rouge.” Toyoda was referring to Ford’s fabled River... Read More
Lifting Our State Above Mississippi and Alabama
California is home to both Silicon Valley and Hollywood, two of the world's greatest wealth-producing engines, and much of the state enjoys tremendous affluence. By some estimates, my own town of Palo Alto has the world's highest per capita concentration of billionaires. But California also has pockets of enormous poverty. The U.S. Census recently estimated... Read More
From Making Low Wages Livable - A Symposium in The New York Times Tens of millions of low-wage workers in the United States are trapped in lives of poverty. Many suggestions have been put forth to improve their difficult situation, ranging from new social welfare programs to enhanced adult education to greater unionization. But I... Read More
Congress is currently considering bipartisan legislation providing an amnesty for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants, probably combined with extra visas for skilled workers and an agricultural guestworker program. But principled liberals and conservatives should both demand that any immigration reform proposal also include a sharp rise in the federal minimum wage. The reason is simple.... Read More
DUBLIN --CONGRESS might be at loggerheads, the unemployment rate might be too high and America's infrastructure might be crumbling -- but Americans of all political viewpoints comfort themselves with the notion that at least they lead the world in high technology and always will. It's a pleasing, convenient idea. China can't outrun the United States,... Read More
A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom.
During the three decades following Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 reforms, China achieved the fastest sustained rate of economic growth in human history, with the resulting 40-fold rise in the size of China’s economy leaving it poised to surpass America’s as the largest in the world. A billion ordinary Han Chinese have lifted themselves economically from oxen... Read More
Have three decades of Supreme Court support for affirmative action been based on fraud?
For almost 35 years, college-admissions decisions in America have been governed by the continuing legacy of University of California v. Bakke, in which a fragmented U.S. Supreme Court struck down the use of racial quotas but affirmed the legitimacy of considering race as one factor among several. The justices are now revisiting these crucial national... Read More
Just as their predecessors of the 1920s always denied the existence of "Jewish quotas," top officials at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the other Ivy League schools today strongly deny the existence of "Asian quotas." But there exists powerful statistical evidence to the contrary. Each year, American universities provide their racial enrollment data to the National... Read More
Harvard's academic mission is dwarfed by its $30 billion endowment.
From its 1636 foundation Harvard had always ranked as America’s oldest and most prestigious college, even as it gradually grew in size and academic quality during the first three centuries of its existence. The widespread destruction brought about by the Second World War laid low its traditional European rivals, and not long after celebrating its... Read More
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
Just before the Labor Day weekend, a front page New York Times story broke the news of the largest cheating scandal in Harvard University history, in which nearly half the students taking a Government course on the role of Congress had plagiarized or otherwise illegally collaborated on their final exam. Each year, Harvard admits just... Read More
A simple remedy for income stagnation
With Americans still trapped in the fifth year of our Great Recession, and median personal income having been essentially stagnant for forty years, perhaps we should finally admit that decades of economic policies have largely failed. The last two years of our supposed recovery have seen American growth rates averaging well under 2 percent. Although... Read More
How Los Angeles undercut its pathbreaking IHP project
In late September I attended a memorial service for William M. Fitz-Gibbon, a retired public school teacher who had passed away a few weeks earlier, just short of his 78th birthday. Without doubt Bill Fitz-Gibbon—“Fitz” to everyone—was the individual who had the greatest academic influence on my life, and my feelings were shared by many... Read More
Why won’t anyone talk about Tokyo’s auto protectionism?
Mitt Romney was in his element a few years ago as the Obama administration struggled to rescue the Detroit auto industry. In an eat-your-spinach tone, he ticked off his recommendations for reform. Top management should go, executive dining rooms should be shut, and factory wages slashed. Then there were the industry’s “legacy costs”: given how... Read More
Climate change is a cycle—of faddish opinions
I first encountered the strong case for global warming in the early 1970s in an Isaac Asimov science column. As an elementary school student, I merely nodded my head, assumed that America’s political leadership would address the danger, and moved on to an explanation of quarks. Even in those days, the subject was hardly new.... Read More
Remembering Alexander Cockburn (1941–2012)
I first encountered the writing of Alexander Cockburn in the early 1990s on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, where he served as a regular columnist. Given that Alex was one of the premier radical-left journalists of our era, this highlights the unique background of the man. Being myself then a rather moderate... Read More
In “Race, IQ, and Wealth,” I examined the pattern of IQ scores for various European peoples as presented by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen in IQ and the Wealth of Nations and noted the considerable evidence for a large socio-economic influence. In nearly all cases, impoverished, rural populations seemed to exhibit far lower IQ scores... Read More
What the facts tell us about a taboo subject
At the end of April, Charles Kenny, a former World Bank economist specializing in international development, published a blistering attack in Foreign Policy entitled “Dumb and Dumber,” with the accusatory subtitle “Are development experts becoming racists?” Kenny charged that a growing number of development economists were turning towards genetic and other intrinsic human traits as... Read More
Romney owes his only win to English for the Children.
With Mitt Romney now the de facto Republican presidential nominee, I sometimes recall how I inadvertently launched his political career a decade ago, which is less implausible than it might sound. Unlike the vast majority of previous major-party presidential candidates, Romney has a remarkably slender record of election victories, having previously won just a single... Read More
In contrasting China and America, pundits often cite our free and independent media as one of our greatest strengths, together with the tremendous importance which our society places upon individual American lives. For us, a single wrongful death can sometimes provoke weeks of massive media coverage and galvanize the nation into corrective action, while life... Read More
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The rise of China surely ranks among the most important world developments of the last 100 years. With America still trapped in its fifth year of economic hardship, and the Chinese economy poised to surpass our own before the end of this decade, China looms very large on the horizon. We are living in the... Read More