URLs du Jour

2021-04-14

[Amazon Link]

  • News You Can Use. Paul Graham tells us How People Get Rich Now.

    Every year since 1982, Forbes magazine has published a list of the richest Americans. If we compare the 100 richest people in 1982 to the 100 richest in 2020, we notice some big differences.

    In 1982 the most common source of wealth was inheritance. Of the 100 richest people, 60 inherited from an ancestor. There were 10 du Pont heirs alone. By 2020 the number of heirs had been cut in half, accounting for only 27 of the biggest 100 fortunes.

    Why would the percentage of heirs decrease? Not because inheritance taxes increased. In fact, they decreased significantly during this period. The reason the percentage of heirs has decreased is not that fewer people are inheriting great fortunes, but that more people are making them.

    How are people making these new fortunes? Roughly 3/4 by starting companies and 1/4 by investing. Of the 73 new fortunes in 2020, 56 derive from founders' or early employees' equity (52 founders, 2 early employees, and 2 wives of founders), and 17 from managing investment funds.

    Mr. Graham does a good job of cutting through a lot of ideological cant. You may not agree with his interpretations, but his facts are pretty solid.


  • An Actual Profile in Courage. Provided by Bari Weiss, who hosts an article by Paul Rossi on her substack: I Refuse to Stand By While My Students Are Indoctrinated.

    I am a teacher at Grace Church High School in Manhattan. Ten years ago, I changed careers when I discovered how rewarding it is to help young people explore the truth and beauty of mathematics. I love my work.

    As a teacher, my first obligation is to my students. But right now, my school is asking me to embrace “antiracism” training and pedagogy that I believe is deeply harmful to them and to any person who seeks to nurture the virtues of curiosity, empathy and understanding.

    “Antiracist” training sounds righteous, but it is the opposite of truth in advertising. It requires teachers like myself to treat students differently on the basis of race. Furthermore, in order to maintain a united front for our students, teachers at Grace are directed to confine our doubts about this pedagogical framework to conversations with an in-house “Office of Community Engagement” for whom every significant objection leads to a foregone conclusion. Any doubting students are likewise “challenged” to reframe their views to conform to this orthodoxy.

    RTWT, if your blood pressure is under control.

    Many articles about Rossi are sympathetic and outraged. And point out that the school's yearly tuition is $57,300.


  • Someone Will Probably Observe That Hysteria is Sexist. But you know who doesn't care about such observations? Kevin D. Williamson: Hysteria is not a Program.

    A number of right-leaning readers wrote in, occasionally spitting with rage, to protest my suggestion that the time is ripe for a bipartisan deal on gun policy. The refrain was, for the most part: “No compromise!” Some of the less verbal among the critics sent cartoons of Lucy van Pelt pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. The usual right-wing social-media accounts desperate to draft off of NR’s traffic did the sort of thing they usually do, in the usual sad-clown fashion. And to think: It was only a few years ago these folks were talking up The Art of the Deal.

    Here’s some negotiating advice: When the other side offers you something you want, take it.

    Of particular interest to me was former Brady Campaign director Dan Gross’s column in the New York Times, in which he forthrightly conceded that if our goal is reducing the level of criminal violence in these United States in a meaningful fashion, then focusing on mass-shooting events (which claim fewer lives every year than do firearms accidents) and pressing for policies such as a ban on so-called assault weapons is not the way to go. Gross suggested several possible courses of action, including doing more to investigate and prosecute gun-trafficking operations. So, if you are keeping score: Gross supports an assault-weapons ban in principle, writing, “I believe there is no place in civilized society for guns that are made for the express purpose of killing people,” which is a case against the Second Amendment per se — the right enshrined therein isn’t about pheasant hunting. I, along with most other gun-rights advocates, would oppose such a ban. But the action item here isn’t what we disagree about — it’s what we agree about. If there are more like Gross, willing to put the “assault weapons” issue on the back burner (I don’t expect them to set it aside entirely) and instead work with conservatives on trafficking and straw buyers — something many Second Amendment advocates have been seeking for years — then why on God’s green earth should we pass up the chance to take “Yes” for an answer?

    One problem with cracking down on "trafficking and straw buyers": doing so will put a disproportionate number of "people of color" in jail. And I can't imagine lefties going along with that; they'd prefer to make new criminals out of previously law-abiding citizens.


  • But That's SOP for the FDA. Ronald Bailey spells it out: The FDA’s Decision To Pause J&J Vaccination Will Kill People.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement today "recommending a pause in the use" of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. The agencies took this step "out of an abundance of caution" based on six cases of a rare blood clot disorder in people who had been inoculated with the one-dose vaccine. There have been six cases out of 6.8 million people who have already been inoculated with the vaccine. The blood clot incidents all occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48. Those odds amount to one in 1.13 million, which is comparable to your annual chances of being struck by lightning (1 in 1.22 million).

    For comparison, a November 2020 meta-analysis in The Lancet found that more than one in five very ill hospitalized and post-mortem* COVID-19 patients experienced venous thromboembolism—that is, blood clots in their veins. A 2010 study in the Journal of American Preventive Medicine reported that the annual incidence of thromboembolism between the ages of 15 and 44 was about 1.5 cases per 1,000 people. In addition, the risk of blood clots from taking oral contraceptives is about 1 in 1,000 annually.

    A March 2021 study in Science reports that more than 70 percent of new COVID-19 infections have been driven by Americans between the ages of 20 and 49. The faster that people in that age group get vaccinated, the less likely it is that other Americans who remain unvaccinated or immunocompromised will become infected.

    How can I say this diplomatically? The incentives for FDA bureaucrats are not to save lives; instead, they are incentivized to err on the side of a flawed conception of "safety."

    Even when that means killing people.


  • Shoulda Stuck to Writing Books. I liked J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy a lot. But as Patrick Hedger demonstrates, that talent doesn't translate into being right: J.D. Vance Shows How the Populist Right Adopted the Logic of 'You Didn't Build That'.

    While running for reelection in 2012, then-President Barack Obama defended the progressive economic agenda of greater wealth redistribution with the now infamous line, “If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Republicans correctly skewered him for that proclamation because it was a deeply insulting remark to the countless entrepreneurs and critical institutions that protect private citizens and their property and have helped make America the most prosperous nation in history. That wasn’t a one-off gaffe from Obama, either, but a genuine reflection of his worldview. Remember the Life of Julia video, also from 2012? It told the story of a woman’s life entirely through the lens of her reliance on government programs. Conservatives recoiled in horror.

    Yet, not even a decade later, in a troubling sign of growing authoritarian tendencies in the Republican Party, many on the political right are embracing the exact same logic toward a far more dangerous end.

    Last week, best-selling author, and all-but-declared Republican candidate for the Senate from Ohio J.D. Vance was interviewed by Tucker Carlson. When discussing regulating companies and the First Amendment, Carlson asked Vance how he responds to the argument that Google, as a stand-in for Silicon Valley broadly, is a private company. Vance responded stunningly: “I just don’t care.”

    Yeesh.