Sunday, July 10, 2011

More questions for progressives

Almost exactly a year ago I posed two sets of questions for self-described progressives. Here are some more:
  • Would our system of higher education be improved or worsened if it were modeled after primary education, with students assigned to a college/university based on where they live?
  • Last year former Rep. Tom McMillen (D-Maryland) noted that "Almost every other nation has a cabinet or sub cabinet level ministry of sports..." The US, despite the lack of such a government entity, has still somehow managed to produce large numbers of elite athletes as evidenced by both a vibrant professional sports scene and regular US success at the Olympic level. Should such a government body be established here in the US? Would politicians becoming involved in the US sports scene serve to improve matters? Why or why not?
  • France, among other European countries, has a government body devoted strictly to promoting the French film industry. This organization, the CNC, distributes over a billion euros in funding. Is it strange that Hollywood has managed to become so successful without a US equivalent of the CNC? Would the involvement of the federal government be more likely to improve or harm the US film industry? Would you go see a movie with funding earmarked for it by Rep. Michele Bachmann?
  • Does it make sense that firms should be able to hire unpaid interns but cannot hire an employee for less than $7.25/hour? What is the logic?
  • Do you think the US Postal Service, Transportation Security Administration and Amtrak are as efficient and effective as their private sector counterparts in the package delivery, security and transportation industries? If not, how would you explain this? Should these three services be privatized (or, in the case of the TSA, simply disbanded and replaced with private firms)? 
  • How would explain the fact that indices of economic freedom regularly find a linkage between prosperity and reduced government interference in the economy?
  • The $821 billion stimulus package passed in January 2009 consisted almost entirely of spending and temporary tax breaks for items such as green energy. If the government had instead passed a bill for $800 billion in permanent tax rate reductions and the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent 2.5 years later would you have regarded that as a success? Would you have regarded the original stimulus package as a success if it were championed and signed by George W. Bush instead of Barack Obama?

Hopefully someone will step up to answer these questions, along with the ones I first posed last year. So far though, no takers. 

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