Category Archives: Social Policy

President Trump’s Budget: Neither Great nor Terrible

A reader asked me to post something on President Trump’s proposed budget to Congress.  Opinions have varied as to whether this budget is the apocalypse on one end or the second coming on the other, and pretty much every nuance in between.  As with most budgets–though you may not remember the last one, since it has been some time–this one is only a prospective declaration of a vision embodied in numbers.  There is no likelihood it will be adopted as… Continue Reading ››

The Core Problem of Common Core.

I suppose it is time to write about Common Core again, in light of the recent withdrawal of a former Bush administration pro-Common Core staffer, Hanna Skandera, from consideration as an assistant secretary for the Department of Education.  This blog is not about her specifically, though she is a member of one of the Common Core testing organizations, PARCC (Partnership of Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers).  Rather I am concerned about the incredible confusion that has set in… Continue Reading ››

Immigration: A Partial Response

My colleague Bert Wheeler wrote a recent piece on Bereans addressing more than one issue related to President Trump.  The one that caught my attention was immigration policy.  Bert expressed his concern (rightly) about Trump’s policies on that front.  I assume from his use of the word “concerns” meant that he might or did have disagreements with Trump’s immigration policies.  And he followed that with this sentence: “But the root of the concerns are based in the shift away from… Continue Reading ››

Elitism and Elitism

Am I an elitist?  Does the fact that I support the continued existence of the Electoral College make me elitist?  Does my sometimes suspicion of democracy in its raw form make me elitist?  And, is being an elitist all bad?  Or is there some distinction between being an elitist and a pernicious brand of elitism?  I am inclined to make just such a distinction.  The thought occurred to me as I was at a discussion at the American Enterprise Institute… Continue Reading ››

Immigration Policy and the Influence of Immigrants on a Society

Do immigrants import their economic (and political) destiny?  And is there any correlation between a past (in some nation) that is anti-market, undemocratic, untrusting and the present state of the nations to which they have migrated in sufficient numbers?  That first sentence is the title of an article in Evonomics: The Next Evolution of Economics, by Garett Jones of the Mercatus Center.  The questions above have been debated in various ways recently and they probably underlay at least some of… Continue Reading ››

Critical Thinking About Critical Thinking

“Are Students Really Learning to Be Critical Thinkers?” is the title of an article in BetterEd by Annie Holmquist (  This question has been on my mind for some time as I have listened to and read educational leaders, teachers, professors and literature extol the virtues of “critical thinking.”  But what have they almost always meant by that term?  And what should it mean?  And why should we care? Working backward, we ought to care of we value a true… Continue Reading ››

Is child labor something that Bereans should be against?

Not according to economist Ben Powell, and I’m with him (in the abstract).  Of course there are specific cases we should have outrage, but we can’t simply wish that all of the world was wealthy enough for no children to have to work.  Indeed, children working has been part of the human experience since the beginning; its only relatively recently that prosperous countries could outlaw certain types of child labor.  HT to Cafe Hayek I’ve never known child labor personally,… Continue Reading ››

Great link on the Transgender questions; yes there are many questions

Marc Clauson’s posts over the last few weeks generated a lot of heat, and perhaps less light than would be good (not due to his writing).  Given the emotion on this issue we saw here at BATG, I would refer you to The Gospel Coalition today.  Trevin Wax has a great post, raising several questions that we ought to consider as we debate social acceptance towards transgenders.  Read it here, and comment below if you’d like (or join in the comment discussion… Continue Reading ››

Protectionism, Donald Trump and the Kevin Williamson Blast

It seems this blog overlaps one just published by my colleague Jeff Haymond.  But I will publish mine anyway, since it nicely supplements his. Donald Trump has been saying quite a bit recently about the disappearance of (especially) manufacturing jobs in the South as well as the “Rust Belt,” blaming those lost jobs on the trade policies of both Democrats and “establishment” Republican politicians.  But in addition, an article appeared recently by Kevin Williamson, or at least is scheduled to… Continue Reading ››

Frederic Bastiat as Prophet

I have been reading quite a few articles lately in which the individuals (politicians, bureaucrats and just ordinary citizens) are asked about various issues related to the presidential campaigns.  One answer I have heard quite a bit is simply that “the government” should do something.  Sometimes the issues are even cast in terms of a “crisis,” about which someone ought to take action now (or NOW!).  “Pass a law” is another common response.  While I realize that this is a… Continue Reading ››