Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Radical Left's Infiltration of Academia Creating Generations of Ideological Robots

Anthony Daoud writes in the Post Millennial about the need for academic reform. He notes that students who identify as anything other than left wing have been silenced and made to feel uncomfortable. The left uses words like "fascist" and "bigot" as weapons to silence anyone who disagrees with its failed theories. The left's motives are control, power, opposition to freedom of speech, and failed socialist nostrums.

Dauod correctly notes that the left's policy menu is in "utter disarray." Despite the incoherence and absurdity of its policy proposals, though, universities have considerable power.  For example, Harvard University is in the top one percent of  contributors to politicians and the top 15 percent of spenders on lobbying. Penn State is in the top seven percent of contributors and the top 17 percent of spenders. Advocates of academic reform face a lobby no less powerful than the tobacco, gun, pharmaceutical, or banking lobbies. How can reform proceed given universities'  political power?

Heretofore, the Republican Party has failed to respond to the Democrats' illegal use of universities for political advocacy, lobbying, and propaganda.  The reason is that universities have been able to intimidate them through lobbying and contributions.  However, the Republicans need to face a hard reality about the academic corner of the deep state: The university system is training America's elite to vote against, to actively oppose, and to hate Republicans. If the Republican Party continues along its current  path of indifference, it will disappear.

Hopefully, Republicans' indifference will change. One way to start will be the validation of college programs.  Validation means that every academic program should be required to prove that it produces valuable results.  Validation is a best practice in the human resource field, and it is outrageous that government (not counting out-of-pocket tuition) spends $200 billion a year on higher education programs that are not validated, i.e., whose effects are unknown. The system is rife with fraud. Many programs promise that degrees will lead to jobs, but the promised jobs do not materialize.  Claims that a subject is being taught when the students learn next to nothing are common.

In this context, proximal validation involves general knowledge and field-specific examinations. Distal validation involves tracking of job and graduate school placement.  Programs that fail to place graduates in program-relevant jobs or admission to graduate school and that produce no or limited gains in general or field-specific knowledge and cognitive skills should not receive public support either in the form of tax exemption or of funding. 

Programs that focus on politics instead of knowledge building will produce graduates with weaker skills who are less able to find good jobs. Under scrutiny these programs will wither away.

As well, it is time for the IRS to start enforcing  existing rules against 501(c)(3) organizations' use of tax exempt money for political purposes.  The IRS ought to set up a qualification review process to determine whether course offerings conform to the requirements of Section 501(c)(3). This would be similar to the review process for pension and 401(k) plans, which leads to a qualification letter. Violation of the terms of the review would be criminalized as tax fraud.Part of the Republican Party's lackadaisical attitude toward anti-Republican discrimination and indoctrination in universities has been its willingness to let the IRS ignore the misuse of 501(c)(3) money. That needs to change.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

College Students Denounce "Trump" Immigration Quotes Until Realizing Democrats Said Them

Fox News in Nashville quotes my research in the context of a story about students  at American University.  Cabot Phillips of Campuswatch read statements that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had made about the need for border security. When the students thought that President Trump had made the statements, they called the statements "divisive." When they learned that President Obama and Senator Clinton had made the statments, they laughed nervously, were at a loss for words, or said "that's interesting." The piece notes that intolerance and pressure to conform shape many college students' political views.  The article cites Pew research that finds that 61 percent of Americans believe that college education is going in the wrong direction.

The current milieu suggests the need for policymakers to begin to think about restructuring higher education.  The concept of validation in psychology and human resource management should be brought to bear on higher education.  There is limited evidence that controlling for IQ all college programs contribute to finding a job or provide any education. Many likely do not.  A study done seven years ago found that half of students make no gains in college. These are likely concentrated in the social sciences and cultural studies fields. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019


I recently bought a small bundle of groceries at a mid-sized IGA supermarket in Ulster County, New York, and I noticed a sharp increase in prices.  I also overheard the checkout staff discussing the phase-in of New York's minimum wage, which is now $11.10 outside of the city and $15 in the city.  It will increase upstate  to $11.80 next December 31 and $12.50 on New Year's eve 2020.

Large retailers like Home Depot have been experimenting with checkout scanners for many years. They work well there, but Hannaford's, an upstate supermarket chain that is larger than the mid-sized market, is still working on perfecting its checkout equipment.   The mid-sized market has yet to purchase automatic checkout equipment.

The virtue of automatic checkout equipment is that it eliminates jobs.  As wages rise above the equilibrium level, employers look for capital investments that will net positive returns.  The firms become less profitable because it was preferable to employ human labor before the minimum wage, but it becomes more profitable to substitute capital for labor, albeit at a lower level of profit, following the minimum wage mandate.

This puts larger chains like Home Depot and Wal-Mart at a competitive advantage over smaller firms like Hannaford's because the large firms' cost of capital is lower.  Larger firms have greater net worth, so they pose less risk to lenders.  Larger local firms like Hannaford's, of course, have a corresponding advantage over mid-sized supermarkets like the Boiceville market.   In turn, small retailers have less of an advantage still. Moreover, Dollar General, a national chain of discount stores based in rural communities, likely has an advantage over non-chain local stores because of its lower cost of capital and higher sales per store.

In this mix, there is untapped demand for electronic checkout equipment.  There are several leading manufacturers, but according to Outsider Club, "NCR leads the world in self-checkout and point-of-sale technologies."  NCR is undervalued, but it is currently losing money; hence, it does not have a price-earnings ratio.  In 2015 NCR had invited Blackstone to invest in preferred shares, and NCR then repurchased its own shares, increasing the risk level of its common stock. In June 2018 Robert Honeywill wrote in Seeking Alpha: "At some stage Blackstone will likely exit the remainder of their position in NCR. This event, and ongoing share repurchases, may provide an opportunity for savvy common stock shareholders." Honeywill adds, concerning the share repurchase policy:

Repurchasing common stock, particularly at an excessively high price, rather than reducing NCR's borrowings, advantages the preferred stock holders, while significantly increasing risk for ordinary shareholders.  

That said, Honeywill likes NCR because it is a powerful cash generator.

It is unclear whether other states will imitate New York's high-minimum-wage, high-unemployment strategy.  However, local minimum wage increases in a number of blue states will likely stimulate strategic thinking about checkout technology.  There's a reason why tech company executives swing left.  Given that I will be paying higher supermarket prices, I decided to hedge my risk and bought NCR.