The moral hazard of fuzzy contracts

“You may already be aware that many state and local public pensions are in trouble,” says Victor V. Claar in this week’s Acton Commentary. “By one estimate, the nation’s state, county, and municipal governments face a combined funding shortfall of about $5 trillion. Continue Reading...

Finding ‘the lost tools of learning’

“If you were to read Dorothy Sayers’ The Lost Tools of Learning and thereafter read the curriculum of Veritas Classical Academy,” says Elizabeth Yeh in this week’s Acton Commentary, “you would find that the “lost tools” have been found in the small town of Marietta, Ohio.” The curriculum at Veritas is based on the Trivium. Continue Reading...

Saving Charlie Gard

“The case of 11-month-old Charlie Gard continues to garner international attention and pleas for his life from Donald Trump and Pope Francis,” says Anne Rathbone Bradley in this week’s Acton Commentary. Continue Reading...

What if there were no profits?

Like many oth­ers, Pope Francis fails to see the good of profit, says Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary. There is a false dichotomy here between profits and poverty. Stock markets measure company value, which is related to profit but not the same, and people can idolize that. Continue Reading...

Reining in the EPA’s regulatory overreach

President Donald Trump turned heads and drew criticisms for his efforts to curb the regulatory reach of the Environmental Protection Agency. With the appointment of Scott Pruitt to lead the agency, Trump has vowed to create a leaner bureaucracy by requiring agencies to repeal two regulations for each new regulation enacted. Continue Reading...

Why Seattle’s minimum wage law is now destroying wages

“The city of Seattle has the highest minimum wage in the United States,” notes Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary. “While economists and policy-makers continue to debate the issue, a recent working paper from researchers at the University of Washington (UW) raises serious questions about the effectiveness of minimum wage hikes.” In short, the study concludes that the “increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent.” The researchers explain, “The reduction in hours would cost the average employee $179 per month, while the wage increase would recoup only $54 of this loss, leaving a net loss of $125 per month (6.6%), which is sizable for a low-wage worker.” If this study holds up to scrutiny, it will show that, contrary to their intention, those who hoped to help workers at the bottom have actually made things worse. Continue Reading...

The cooperative magic of work

“When people work together,” says Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary, “they are able to multiply the fruits of their labors far beyond what they could each do alone.” “Work,” wrote the Reformed theologian Lester DeKoster, “is the form in which we make ourselves useful to others.” I like this definition because it puts things in a realistic, everyday perspective. Continue Reading...

The DeVos budget: Toward a new paradigm of public education

“If school choice effectively functions as a standing critique of public education as well as being a potential solution to problems evident in the current system,” asks Hunter Baker in this week’s Acton Commentary, “how can public school advocates ever approve of an appointee like Betsy DeVos?” That question leads to others. Continue Reading...