Pool Traffic Violation Fines in St. Louis County

St. Louis County has a unique system for sharing sales tax revenue among municipalities. A similar pooled approach to fines from traffic violations would be a step towards reducing the abuse of traffic tickets by St. Louis’ smaller municipalities.
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I find myself getting frustrated…

when I say to someone “the evidence suggests that the officer used excessive force in shooting and killing Mike Brown”, and their response is “Well, all the evidence hasn’t come out yet.” Are these people actually suggesting that the police department has evidence it is sitting on that proves Mike Brown bull-rushed the officer and so he had no choice but to shoot and kill Mike Brown?
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More Thoughts from Ferguson

For a long time I lived in the U City Loop, one of the more diverse and integrated parts of St. Louis County. Years ago one of the hippy shops was robbed broad daylight, the hippy kid behind the counter killed. At first the robber wasn’t known, and there was a sense of dread that our happy little integrated community might be upended, that the robber might prove to be a Black person. When we learned it was a White kid from St. Charles County that was the murderer there was a palpable sense of relief.
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Thoughts from Ferguson

By chance I have always lived in integrated neighborhoods, and now I live in Ferguson, in a mixed neighborhood. What happened was a tragedy. Mike Brown has lost his life, and the police officer, in all likelihood a nice person, will carry this burden with him the rest of his life.
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For a “Social” Schema for Education

Better data capture and analysis are becoming important tools in our efforts to improve education in the United States. Increasingly districts and schools have a detailed, accurate picture of what happens to students inside the walls of a school, with an education “schema” used to pull together and associate data from different sources. We need to extend this data capture and analysis beyond the school walls. We need to develop a matching “social” schema that pulls together information from local and state public service providers to offer better insight into what is happening to students when they aren’t in school.
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Libertarianism and Representative Government

A thoughtful Libertarian: You noted “Who is the “we” who “outsourced” decisions on taxes to politicians? Whoever it is, it’s a group of people that doesn’t include me. I never did that. In fact, I don’t see that it includes anyone.”
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Are Taxes Voluntary or Coercive?

A thoughtful Libertarian: “Because, unlike businesses (who rely on customers who choose to trade money for goods or services) and unlike charities (who rely on donors who choose to give), governments rely on taxes to get their money. Similarly, they rely on threats, rather than persuasion, to get people to do or no do things.
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Did the Tea Party Change Anything?

I know it has to be have been a frustrating election cycle for the Tea Party, and there is a natural human desire to find something good in bad news. But if the Tea Party went away today I’m having a hard time understanding exactly how it would have made a difference in our government. The situation that I think sparked the anger that lead to the Tea Party, the bank bailout. But none of the intertwining between big government big finance that led to the bailout has been undone. Financial institutions are still free to sell trillions of dollars worth of derivatives to each other, exactly like the ones that caused the need to bail out AIG. Unregulated Hedge Funds are still free to borrow billions of dollars from the regulated economy to gamble on derivatives. Government spending is still far higher than it was when George W. Bush became president. What has actually changed? How is our country on a different path?
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A Conversation with a Rational Tea Partier

Via email (shortened just a bit)

Me: I have to say, very intriguing, lots of well written stuff. But also the paradox that I think is the main challenge to the Tea Party movement. There is this idea that absence of government results in a free market. But really it’s just the opposite – a national free market can’t exist without a strong national government. The government is the only entity that can be the guarantor of claims, and without a guarantor of claims people are far less likely to buy products make by people they don’t know. But as you correctly point out, a strong national government has regularly used its powers to distort the markets it helped create, for instance the export bank.
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Kids and Capitalism

It was an eye-opening moment. I asked the students if they knew what “capitalism” was. Not a single student knew the answer.

The students were what we gently refer to as “urban youth”, high school students from economically challenged neighborhoods. They were participating in a pilot after-school program at the Mathews Dickey Boys and Girls Club called “Sound Basics”. The goal of the program was to use the students’ fascination with the music industry to teach them the basics of business, about profit and loss statements and balance sheet – we were trying to teach them the skills of capitalism.
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