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The Main Blog of Independent Institute

Don’t Trust Government to Distribute Covid-19 Drugs
Thursday July 9, 2020 | Raymond J. March

As new Covid-19 cases continue across the U.S., many states are preparing for a potential second wave of outbreaks and reinstated lockdown measures. Arizona hospitals are enacting emergency plans to accommodate a rapid influx of new infections. Florida has ordered bars to stop serving alcohol (after allowing them to reopen less than a month ago). Texas Governor Greg Abbot has stopped all reopening phases, ordered bars to close (again), and reinstituted stringent size limits on public gatherings. But not all recent developments are bad news. (more…)

The Moderate Left Tries to Thwart a New Reign of Terror of Its Own Making
Thursday July 9, 2020 | William J. Watkins, Jr.

Moderate voices on the Left, fearful that the current cultural revolution has/will devolve into tyranny where opposing voices are forcibly silenced, have signed an open letter pleading with the radical Left. Signatories include Gloria Steinem (feminist and journalist), Garry Wills (historian), and J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter books). Signed by 150 movers and shakers, the letter assures readers of the signatories’ wokeness by praising the “[p]owerful protests for racial and social justice [that] are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts.” It goes on to vilify Trump as “a real threat to democracy.” (more…)

Paycheck Protection Payouts Give Taxpayers Plenty To Ponder
Wednesday July 8, 2020 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security package (CARES), is intended to blunt the economic damage from the current pandemic. As CNBC reports, the payouts include a $5-10 million loan for the Archdiocese of New York, $350,000 to $1 million to the Ayn Rand Institute and $1-2 million for the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, named after the son-in-law of President Trump. The media payouts were also of interest. Forbes Media bagged “at least $5 million,” according to CNBC and the Washington Times got at least $1 million. The Washingtonian and the Daily Caller both got at least $350,000, and The American Prospect received at least $150,000. While propping up media, the PPP payouts did not neglect the political side. (more…)

I Am Not a Mascot
Wednesday July 8, 2020 | Randall G. Holcombe

I’ve been following the debate on the possible renaming of the Washington Redskins football team with some interest for a few reasons. One is that I am a faculty member at Florida State University, whose sports teams are named the Seminoles. If the Redskins change their name, how long can Florida State athletes continue to call themselves Seminoles? (more…)

The Danger of Depending on Unaccountable Bureaucrats
Monday July 6, 2020 | Craig Eyermann

The coronavirus pandemic is providing a treasure trove of case studies in how government bureaucrats are failing ordinary Americans. Failures to protect the public have come to pass despite many of career officials having both adequate funding and years of time to prepare for just this kind of disaster. That’s one of the two main unstated takeaway findings of a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released by Gene L. Dodaro, the Comptroller General of the United States. The other unstated finding is that government bureaucrats, when forced to implement new policies quickly, are failing to institute obvious safeguards to prevent fraud and protect the interests of American taxpayers. (more…)

July 4th or July 14th? Today’s Upheaval Isn’t George Washington’s Revolution
Thursday July 2, 2020 | William J. Watkins, Jr.

America is experiencing a revolution. But it is a far different revolution than the one we celebrate every Fourth of July. In fact, it has much more in common with the French Revolution of 1789 than the Spirit of 1776. The American Revolution is often called a lawyers’ revolution. This is based on the arguments employed as well as the conduct of the revolutionaries themselves. (more…)

Better than Common Core: Florida’s New K-12 Standards Raise the Bar, Says New Report
Thursday July 2, 2020 | Williamson M. Evers and Jonathan Hofer

The Independent Institute has published a briefing that vindicates Florida’s K-12 curriculum-content standards. A team of education policy experts demonstrates that Florida’s standards have particular strengths relative to their predecessor Common Core in areas such as knowledge acquisition and guidance for teachers. The guidelines actually offer a new gold standard that other states may well choose to emulate. In the Spring of 2020, the Florida Department of Education announced its new state standards called “B.E.S.T.”, for Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking. B.E.S.T. is a replacement for the Obama-era Common Core Standards in English and mathematics. The change came after Governor Ron DeSantis, who had vowed to “eliminate the Common Core from Florida schools,” issued a 2019 executive order to create new curriculum-content standards. (more…)

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