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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
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Volume 17, Issue 48: December 1, 2015

  1. Immigrants Deserve Our Thanks
  2. Remembering Rosa Parks—and Other Civil Rights Heroes
  3. Terrorism and the American Left
  4. Clean Nuclear Power versus Regulatory Excess
  5. New Blog Posts
  6. Selected News Alerts



1) Immigrants Deserve Our Thanks

We should be thankful for immigrants. That’s the theme of the latest op-ed from Independent Institute Research Fellow Abigail R. Hall, published on Thanksgiving in the Orange County Register. “I’m grateful for those who come here legally and for those who come here illegally,” she writes.

Hall argues that immigrant workers create several benefits. They foster job creation—with each immigrant producing about 1.2 new jobs, according to a recent study by Indiana University. They boost economic growth—such as by increasing the degree of specialization in the labor force. And immigrants reduce poverty—not only their own, but also in their country of origin when they send money to family members back home. “These remittances substantially benefit their poor families, in many cases providing more money and opportunities than foreign aid,” Hall writes.

“So when we gather with family and friends to give thanks for all we have, remember those who have recently arrived in our country,” Hall continues. “Immigrants boost our economy, create jobs and reduce poverty around the world. I’m glad they’re here.”

We Should Be Thankful for Immigrants, by Abigail R. Hall (Orange County Register, 11/26/15)

The Economics of Immigration: Market-Based Approaches, Social Science, and Public Policy, edited by Benjamin W. Powell

Global Crossings: Immigration, Civilization, and America, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

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2) Remembering Rosa Parks—and Other Civil Rights Heroes

December 1 is Rosa Parks Day—an occasion to celebrate not only the courageous life of a woman tired of discrimination, but also the original NAACP and its successful crusade against state-sponsored racial discrimination. Historian and Independent Institute Research Fellow Jonathan Bean, editor of Race and Liberty and America: The Essential Reader, has written an eye-opening piece about Rosa Parks, the NAACP, and its top lawyer during the (early) civil rights era, Thurgood Marshall.

Sixty years ago, Parks was arrested for refusing to surrender a bus seat to a white man and defying Montgomery, Alabama’s racial segregation ordinance. Her action—and the government’s response—is remembered for inspiring mass civil disobedience. But it wasn’t “taking it to the streets” that ended segregation. According to Bean, the lion’s share of credit goes to the lawyers of the NAACP “who battered down the walls of institutional racism with the force of the constitution, color-blind law, and capitalist forces that worked against racism—hallmarks of the classical liberal tradition of civil rights.”

Thurgood Marshall, the lawyer who led the NAACP to victory in the Supreme Court (and who would later join the Court as its first African-American member) is “arguably, the civil rights advocate who had the greatest impact on American life, greater than that of Martin Luther King, Jr., for whom we celebrate another holiday,” Bean writes. “The street protests and demonstrations are part of our civil rights history. Yet, when it comes to the desegregation of buses, credit belongs to the constitution-minded lawyers who, for too long, have not gotten the remembrance they deserve.”

Rosa Parks Day: The Triumph of Colorblindness and Capitalism, by Jonathan Bean (The Beacon, 11/20/15)

Race and Liberty and America: The Essential Reader, edited by Jonathan Bean

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3) Terrorism and the American Left

Pundits and politicians hold many bad ideas about how to deal with terrorism. In a recent piece for Townhall, Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman ferrets out numerous dubious or mistaken assumptions he has found in left-wing commentary about the “war on terror.”

“If there are no boots on the ground, you’re not really at war.” Goodman attributes this bad idea to President Obama, who has in fact ordered dropping bombs on people—a de facto state of war. Another bad idea: “Killing people with robots (i.e., drones) isn’t really killing.” The Public Authorities Theory argues that it’s lawful to kill American citizens overseas if it’s an emergency. But that theory is full of holes, Goodman argues. And it’s certainly not enough that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reviews cases of the federal government targeting a citizen. The whole enterprise is a bad idea.

Goodman examines many other bad ideas, including the notion that “terrorism isn’t terrorism if our side does it.” Two classic examples Goodman discusses took place during World War II—the firebombing of Dresden and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No matter what the pragmatic rationale, Goodman argues, “terrorism that works is still terrorism.”

How the Left Thinks about the War on Terror, by John C. Goodman (Townhall, 11/21/15)

A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, by John C. Goodman

Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, by John C. Goodman

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4) Clean Nuclear Power versus Regulatory Excess

Twenty years in the making, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s “new” nuclear reactor will soon go online. It will also be technologically behind the times: it’s only a Generation II reactor, rather than the Generation III type used in Canada, France, and Japan. Climate policymakers gathering in Paris this week should lament the regulatory chicanery responsible for the delays. After all, “nuclear power is a carbon-footprint-free technology,” writes Independent Institute Research Director William F. Shughart II. In a recent op-ed for Investor’s Business Daily, Shughart explains that excessive government regulation has been a great hindrance to nuclear power in the United States—much to the detriment of humanity and to the cause of a cleaner environment.

“U.S. politicians who are legitimately concerned about the impact of fossil fuel combustion on the world's climate should be among the strongest advocates of nuclear energy,” Shughart writes. “It is clean, safe and reliable (much more reliable than solar and wind power).”

The Obama administration says very little about nuclear power in its recent “Clean Energy Plan.” So perhaps we should just be thankful that it did not further delay the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor. “The NRC’s decision to license the operation of another nuclear reactor in the Tennessee Valley deserves one-and-a-half cheers,” Shughart continues. “Were it not for the time and money the government unnecessarily squandered on the project they might get three cheers.”

TVA’s New Nuke Plant Shows How Regulation Stifles Clean Energy, by William F. Shughart II (Investor’s Business Daily, 11/9/15)

Taxing Choice: The Predatory Politics of Fiscal Discrimination, ed. by William F. Shughart II

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5) New Blog Posts

From The Beacon:

From MyGovCost News & Blog:

Big Bucks for a Bureaucratic Drunk
K. Lloyd Billingsley (11/30/15)

VA Executives Plead the Fifth, Reap Financial Rewards
Craig Eyermann (11/28/15)

Bridge to No Accountability Keeps Cracking Up
K. Lloyd Billingsley (11/27/15)

An $8 Trillion Thanksgiving?
Craig Eyermann (11/26/15)

Tesla Tags Taxpayers for $4.9 Billion
K. Lloyd Billingsley (11/25/15)

You can find the Independent Institute's Spanish-language website here and blog here.

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6) Selected News Alerts

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