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Weekly Digest: Out of Ideas
Welcome to my weekly digest for March 11, 2022.
For new subscribers, this contains a roundup of my recent writings and podcasts, as well as links to the best articles from around the web this week. You can control what emails you get from me by visiting your account page.
Content and Media Mentions
The Indianapolis Star ran a major article looking at proposed tax cut in the state that quoted me. It’s subscriber only and of mostly local interest, so I’ll stick an excerpt at the end of the digest. They used my statement about the state being “out of ideas” as part of the headline for the piece.
I was on a segment of the Point of View radio program talking about my three worlds of evangelicalism piece.
If you missed it from my post earlier this week I was a guest on the Theology Pugcast podcast, also talking about my three worlds piece, with a lot of material beyond that which I’ve never written about before.
Paul VanderKlay, a Christian Reformed Church pastor with a very interesting Youtube channel, did an entire video that is an extended commentary on one of my podcasts about the implications of the decline of mainline Protestantism. His video is called “Establishment Protestantism Won the Culture and Lost Its Christian Identity.”
New postings this week:
What Caused the Negative World? - I examine some of the structural factors that led to the emergence of the negative world (that is, a mainstream society that has a negative view of Christianity), such as the end of the Cold War.
Delegitimizing Men’s Fitness (Subscriber only) - I examine a couple of recent major media pieces trying to associate men’s fitness - especially weightlifting - with pathologies.
My podcast this week was “You Can’t See Into My Heart,” a look at one of the biggest "gotchas" people try to use in response to criticism, namely that it's impossible to know the motives of the person being criticized. Subscribers can read the transcript.
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Best of the Web
Michael Foster posts some advice for fathers in how to help a pre-teen boy with a porn habit.
City Journal: Victoria’s Secret’s woke ad campaign
Oren Cass: Searching for Capitalism in the Wreckage of Globalization - Oren talks about his journey from free market purity to a more sophisticated view of economics, in part a result of the results we saw from global trade, especially with China.
Economic reality was in the process of disproving decades of economic theory. America was about to lose millions of jobs to the “China Shock” of cheap imports flooding the domestic market; those labor resources could not quickly shift to other jobs, though many did shift onto ballooning disability rolls or slide into drug addiction. Production did not shift quickly to other goods for domestic consumption: industrial productionrose 94% from 1980 to 2000, but only 7% from 2000 to 2020; excluding the notoriously mismeasured production of semiconductors, American industrial output in the 21st century has declined by 10%. Nor did it shift to other goods for export: even in advanced technology products, those two decades saw a healthy American trade surplus collapse into a yawning deficit.
And here’s an excerpt from that Indy Star article citing me.
Tax policy is just one factor in determining the wealth of a state, economists say. Others include climate, labor force and location.
But even so, it’s become apparent to Aaron Renn, an economic development and urban analyst who recently wrote a scathing journal article about the state’s economic plan, that continuing the state’s decades-long pursuit of cutting taxes for businesses won’t make the state more prosperous. He called certain cuts a giveaway.
“Ultimately, it shows me that the state government is completely out of ideas,” Renn, a former senior analyst at the conservative think tank Manhattan Institute, said of the proposed tax cuts. “Indiana is getting poorer, and all these guys think to do is cut taxes.”
If one of the goals of cutting more business taxes is to increase well-paying jobs to the state, the policy isn’t working, he said.
Renn noted that Indiana lost a number of manufacturing businesses to other states, including GM's plans to expand in Michigan and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly Co., which announced plans in January to build a plant in North Carolina.
"Lilly selected Concord because of the manufacturing technology experience of the local labor force; its proximity to universities with strong science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs; and its access to major transportation infrastructure,” the company said in a news release.
Just in January, Intel, a Silicon Valley semiconductor maker, announced it would invest $20 billion for two chip factories in central Ohio, boasting an average wage of $135,000 per year. One of the reasons? The “strong talent pipeline sustained by world-class educational institutions,” according to a Columbus Dispatch guest column.
Some of the cases can be attributed to the nicer climate in southern states, Renn said, but businesses like Lilly are also looking for a skilled labor force and a good quality of life for their employees. So, instead, Indiana's tax policies have attracted low wage employers, like warehouses, because those are the businesses searching for savings.
There’s proof of that: between 2009-2019, the biggest category of employment growth in Indiana was for people with less than a high school diploma.
Hicks compared it to picking a car or tennis shoes based solely on price. That just doesn’t happen, or everyone would be driving a 1992 Corolla and wearing Dollar General tennis shoes, Hicks quipped.
Click through to read the whole thing.