Thursday, November 8, 2018

Stanford University Faculty, Staff, and Students Living in Campus Housing Voted 10.8% for John Cox Republican for Governor and 9.8% for Christine Russell Republican for the House of Representatives

Four precincts (Santa Clara County Precincts 2542, 2544, 2545, and 2546) circumscribe Stanford University.  Precincts 2542 and 2544 consist of undergraduate and graduate students.  Precinct 2545 consists of faculty and staff.  Precinct 2546 includes both students and faculty/staff.

The percentages supporting the Republican and Democrat candidates for Governor and House of Representatives District 18 in each of the four precincts were similar, ranging from a low of 87.1% to a high of 91.8% for Democrat Gavin Newsom for Governor and between 88.7-92.5% for Democrat Anna Eshoo for California District 18.  Democrats Newsom received 89.2% and Eshoo 90.2% of the votes for all four precincts taken together.  Newsom received 1,137 out of 1,275 votes cast and Eshoo 1,145 out of 1,270 cast.

To summarize, Stanford campus residents cast 9 Democrat BLUE votes for every 1 Republican RED vote for both offices.  Faculty, staff, and students voted almost identically BLUE and RED.  From a political point of view, Stanford enjoys 10% RED DIVERSITY from the 90% BLUE majority.

BTW, the BLUE vote declined from Hillary Clinton’s 91.6% share in 2016.  Put another way, political diversity increased almost 2%.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Dateline: November 7, 2018, Qo’noS (Kronos), Klingon Home World

On November 7, 2018, the Klingon High Council imposed an indefinite ban on visas to Earthling members, supporters, and donors of the Democrat Party to visit any settlement or planet in the Klingon Empire.

Responding to a question from an Earthling reporter at an interstellar press conference, the spokesman for the High Council replied that the central value defining Klingon Warrior Culture is honor.  The spokesman stated that Democrats have no honor as revealed in their treatment of President Trump and Judge Kavanaugh.  Accordingly, Earthling Democrats will be denied the privilege of sightseeing and interacting with Klingons.

Simultaneously, on the Vulcan Home World, the Vulcan High Command issued a similar ban on visas to Earthling Democrats for travel in Vulcan space.

Responding to an Earthling reporter’s question at an interstellar press conference, the Vulcan spokesman replied that the central value defining Vulcan Culture is logic and the suppression of emotion.  The spokesman stated that Earthling Democrats reject logic and resorted to mobs in their treatment of President Trump and Judge Kavanaugh.  Accordingly, Earthling Democrats will be denied the privilege of sightseeing and interacting with Vulcans.

Seeing a chance to profit from the Klingon and Vulcan bans on Earthling tourism, on November 8, 2018, at an interstellar press conference, the Grand Nagus and members of the Ferengi Commerce Authority announced incentives for tourist agencies that bring free-spending Earthling Democrats to Ferenginar and other settlements in the Ferengi Alliance.  The Ferengi are obsessed with profit and trade.  The 285 Rules of Acquisition is the basis on which Ferengi society is organized.  Ferengi strive to accumulate as may bars of gold-pressed latinum as possible, and take pride in swindling unwary customers.

Similarly, at an interstellar press conference, a spokesman for the Imperial Senate and the Continuing Committee of the Romulan Star Empire encouraged Earthling Democrats to visit their Romulus and Remus Home Worlds.  Romulans are a counterpoint to the logical Vulcan race, whom they resemble and with whom they share a common ancestry.  Romulans are characterized as passionate, cunning, and opportunistic, the exact opposite of the logical and cold Vulcans.  The press spokesman stated that Romulans and Earthling Democrats could learn duplicitious, deceitful, dishonest, and treacherous methods from each other.

Other humanoid extraterrestrials, including the Cardassians, Andorians, Bajorans, and Betazoid, have convened their political leadership on how best to capitalize on the exclusion of Earthling Democrats from Klingon and Vulcan space, and if they could benefit in some way by competing with the Ferengi and Romulans to encourage Earthling Democrats to visit their worlds.

Interstellar reporters on the home worlds of these other races were told that announcements would be forthcoming,

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Economic Freedom, Part 3

The attempt to develop a rigorous, quantitative measure of economic freedom may strike some as a presumptuous undertaking.  The effort requires agreement on the conceptual dimensions of economic freedom, the indicators or data that fit or reflect each of the several dimensions of economic freedom, and the generation of a number (or numbers) that sums up all of the different dimensions, thereby permitting comparative ratings on the degree of economic freedom that exists both in the aggregate for each of the different dimensions of economic life in every country in the world at any point in time.  This post summarizes the initial effort.  I encourage you to read the full text of defining economic freedom and some possible measures, which appears in Chapter 4, Economic Freedom:  Toward a Theory of Economic Measurement (pages 87-108).  It lays a foundation for subsequent efforts to refine the conceptual elements of economic freedom, identify data requirements, and develop quantitative measures.  The ultimate objective is an annual report or yearbook, which has been produced annually by the Fraser Institute since 1996, rating economic freedom in every country around the globe, thereby upgrading the initial Freedom House Rating prepared by Zane Spindler and Laurie Still (Chapter 5, pages 135-171).

In Chapter 4 I tried to offer a preliminary definition, a check list, or a recipe of economic freedom ingredients.  I tried to identify the fewest number of dimensions that would be self-contained, consistent, and coherent.  Obviously, you could break them into many more.  This same set of seven dimensions could be subdivided into 10, 20, 25, or 30, as the case may be.  I compromised in the trade-off to produce something that is both meaningful and simple.

Some of the seven dimensions represent notions about individuals and others aggregate notions about the whole society.  For example, the schedule of marginal rates affects an individual’s decision to work, save, and invest, while an average tax burden may affect the society as a whole.

A second way to slice through these seven categories is in terms of institutions or rules and policies or incentives.  The first two, private property and the rule of law, I regard as institutional framework rules.  The others are public policies that governments undertake which have an effect on people’s capacity to do things economically and make them more or less free.

Two Institutions

My taxonomy is guided by philosophical considerations.  One cannot proceed without talking about private property.  A second area connected to private property is the rule of law.  In one community the rules are clear and one can expect fair and impartial treatment, and in the other the laws seem whimsical and decision making appears capricious.  The rule of law can enhance economic freedom through a written code, an independent judiciary, the structure of the legal codes, what kind of legal code it is, rights of appeal, and so on.

Five Categories of State Intervention

The first area of state intervention I examine is taxation.  Taxation can encompass high taxation, low taxation, the structure of taxes, composition of taxes, visible versus invisible taxes, rates of tax, whether taxes are used to redistribute income and wealth, taxes versus user fees to finance public services, and a broad-based proportional low tax scheme that promotes or enhances economic freedom as opposed to a loophole-ridden selective system with high rates on some kinds of economic activities and no rates on others.

A second area is public spending, the counterpart of taxation.  For centuries, the principle of balanced budgets regulated budget policy.  For the past 75 years, budget deficits have become a way of life in most advanced and developing countries. Until 1929, public spending in the U.S. consumed 10% of GDP.  Since then it has tripled.  The amount of spending, how it is spent, the amount of interest paid on a large and growing public debt, and the growing welfare state all have an impact on economic freedom, the ability of individuals to exercise responsibility for their own affairs.  What kind of spending enhances economic freedom and which doesn’t?

A third area is regulation of business and labor.  Regulatory agencies have dramatically increased in number and scope since 1960.  For business, important aspects of economic freedom include legal formalities required to set up a business should be few and inexpensive, free entry and exit into any line of production, absence or presence of monopoly practices that benefit specific firms or industries, and free movement of prices to equate supply and demand in the market place.  Other regulations are designed to control externalities such as air and water pollution, impose safety requirements on food, drugs, transportation carriers, the production of other goods and services that affect public health and safety, job safety inspections, equal employment opportunity enforcement, consumer product safety standards, and energy restrictions.  However, regulations can entail large expenditures to comply, or they can be imposed in a least-cost, minimally-interventionist manner.  How they are imposed affects both efficiency and economic freedom.

Labor regulations entail the rights of workers, choice of occupation, freedom to travel at home and abroad, unions (right to strike, compulsory payment of union dues, membership requirements), sick leave, vacation time, fringe benefits, hours of work, workmen’s compensation ordinances, pension fund requirements, and other measures.  All of these impact the economic freedom of workers and the overall labor market, raising the cost of production and reducing employment.

A fourth area is money.  The following policies, practices, and institutions, among others, should be examined to investigate a link between monetary policy and economic freedom:

The legal right of non-governmental entities to issue private currency;
The absence of legal tender laws;
The right to buy (free of sales and other taxes), own, and exchange gold (silver) coins;
An accurate description of the monetary system;
The successful conduct of monetary policy in terms of price stability and steady growth;
Convertibility of currency (into goods and services and other currencies);
Free inward and outward movement of capital;
Competition within banking and financial services sectors; and
Monetary policy rules.

The final area is foreign trade.  Free trade maximizes both efficiency and economic freedom.  It enables individuals to buy and sell freely on world markets, selling products at the highest possible price and purchasing goods and services at the lowest possible price and giving individuals the widest possible choice of consumer goods.  Free trade also permits specialization, division of labor, and the principle of comparative advantage to work to the benefit of individuals and firms in each country.

Those socialist and developing countries that pursued policies of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, import substitution, protectionism, and other inward-looking policies resulted in dismal records of economic performance and curtailed economic freedom.  Those that pursued policies in a milieu of free trade flourished.

Free trade means an absence of tariffs, non-tariff barriers, capital controls, restrictions on direct foreign investment, and government controlled marketing boards that fix the price of imports to consumers and exports to producers.

Summary

In the interests of parsimony here, I encourage you to read the full text of my paper and the subsequent discussion with the conference participants.

The measurement of economic freedom has been refined and improved since the Napa Valley Conference held in Vancouver in July 1988, both for the Fraser Institute Annual Report and the follow-on Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index.  I hope you will review the Fraser Institute Annual Report published in conjunction with the Cato Institute.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Stanford Donates 99.3% BLUE

Stanford University has its own zip code, 94305. In addition to academic buildings and athletic facilities, the campus is home to about one thousand faculty and staff (with their families) and around 12,000 students.  Campus faculty/staff residents number about half of Stanford's overall faculty and top administration staff, with the other half living in neighboring towns and suburbs.  (It's likely that on- and off-campus faculty and staff have similar political predilections.)

The current election cycle (the 2018 mid-terms) began on January 1, 2017.  As of October 26, 2018, the Federal Election Commission reported that those living in the 94305 zip code donated $1,751,903 to political candidates and political party affiliated organizations.  Of that amount, $1,740,303, 99.3%, was donated BLUE to Democrat candidates and organizations.  A minuscule $11,600, 0.3%, was donated RED to Republican candidates and organizations.

Hoover Institution Fellows and their families donated $11,350, 97.8% of all RED donations.  However, Hoover Institution Fellows and their families donated $20,180 BLUE.  Even at the ostensibly "conservative" Hoover Institution, BLUE donations almost doubled RED.  In addition, more Hoover Fellows voted BLUE than RED in 2016 and will do so again on November 6, 2018 (my informal survey).  In 1971, all 11 Hoover Fellows Donated and voted RED.

On November 7, 2018, I will report the precise BLUE/RED Stanford votes for governor and local House of Representatives member for the four precincts, 2542, 2544, 2545, and 2546, that constitute Stanford's zip code 94305.