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Mark Perry

Mark Perry

Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

Articles by Mark Perry

50 years of failed doomsday, eco-pocalyptic predictions; the so-called ‘experts’ are 0-41 – Publications – AEI

September 22, 2019

AEI
50 years of failed doomsday, eco-pocalyptic predictions; the so-called ‘experts’ are 0-41
This week Myron Ebell (director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute) and Steven J. Milloy published a post on the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) blog titled “Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions:”
Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today. None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true. What follows is a collection of notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science.
More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions

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Quotation of the day on the ‘High Church of Environmentalism’…… – Publications – AEI

September 21, 2019

AEI
Quotation of the day on the ‘High Church of Environmentalism’……
….. is from Gerard Baker’s op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal  “St. Greta Spreads the Climate Gospel: A movement that believes in sin, penance and salvation doesn’t sound very scientific“:
The High Church of Environmentalism has acquired many of the characteristics of its ecclesiastical predecessor. An apocalyptic eschatology warns that we will all be consumed by fire if we don’t follow the ordained rules. The notion that it is our sinful nature that has brought us to mortal peril—from the Original Sin of a carbon-unleashing industrial revolution to daily transgressions with plastic bottles and long-haul flights—is as central to its message as it was to the Catholic Church’s. But repentance is near. A gospel of

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Animated chart of the day: Public school enrollment, staff, and inflation-adjusted cost per pupil, 1970 to 2016 – Publications – AEI

September 20, 2019

AEI
Animated chart of the day: Public school enrollment, staff, and inflation-adjusted cost per pupil, 1970 to 2016

My latest animated “bar chart race” visualization above shows the growth over nearly the last 50 years in: a) the number of students (K-12) enrolled in public schools, b) the number of public school teachers, c) the number of non-teaching staff (administrators, principals, assistant principals, support staff, librarians, guidance counselors and instructional aides), and d) the inflation-adjusted cost of public school education per pupil, all from 1970 to 2016. All of the figures shown in the animated chart are the percent of 1970 values. Here are some observations:
1. Over the 1970-2016 (most recent year available) period, the increase in the number of students attending US

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Videos of the day: Index funds, renewable portfolio standards and eco-anxiety – Publications – AEI

September 19, 2019

AEI
Videos of the day: Index funds, renewable portfolio standards and eco-anxiety

1. Video of the Day I (above) is from the Wall Street Journal — Index Funds Are the New Kings of Wall Street — that accompanies an article in today’s print edition by the same name, here’s a slice:

Money managers that mimic the stock market just became the new titans of the fund-management world. Funds that track broad U.S. equity indexes hit $4.27 trillion in assets as of Aug. 31, according to research firm Morningstar, giving them more money than stock-picking rivals for the first-ever monthly reporting period. Funds that try to beat the market had $4.25 trillion as of that date. The passing of the asset crown is the latest chapter in one of the most dramatic transformations in the history of financial

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Tuesday afternoon links – Publications – AEI

September 17, 2019

AEI
Tuesday afternoon links

1. Chart of the Day I (above) shows the cumulative gender college degree gap since 1982. Over the last 37 years, women have earned 13.7 million more college degrees in the US than men, and 6.1 million more bachelor’s degrees. It’s perhaps the most remarkable academic success story in US history. And yet colleges and universities continue to pretend that women are so inferior to men academically that they need a disproportionate share of campus resources including women’s centers and women’s commissions, and female-only scholarships, fellowships, initiatives, awards, clubs, and camps.

2. Chart of the Day II (above) shows that America’s net petroleum imports through July of this year are at a 70-year low of only 5.7%, down from a peak of 60.3% in 2005.

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Quotation of the day on the inconsistency of treating children as both role models and incompetent snowflakes….. – Publications – AEI

September 16, 2019

AEI
Quotation of the day on the inconsistency of treating children as both role models and incompetent snowflakes…..

…. is from Pierre Lemieux’s (research Fellow at The Independent Institute and professor of economics at the Université du Québec en Outaouais) excellent post on EconLog “Power to the Children and Hail to the State!“:
It is not the only absurdity in the whole situation that demonstrating children [e.g., Greta Thunberg and the Sunrise Movement] are considered, by their adulated state itself, as fragile snowflakes to be protected from alcohol, tobacco, vaping, ideas, and life in general. (They may buy ice cream, though.) They are also political hostages of faddish causes. “The children” are constantly invoked to justify depriving adults of their liberties, whether it is free

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A huge gender disparity for loss of life trying to save others – Publications – AEI

September 16, 2019

AEI
A huge gender disparity for loss of life trying to save others
Search results from Bing.com for the following phrases:
1. “Man dies while saving“: 55.1 million results.
2. “Woman dies while saving“: 202,000 results.
Male-Female Ratio: 273-to-1
3. “Father dies while saving“: 1,550,000 results.
4. “Mother dies while saving“: 236,000 results.
Male-Female Ratio: 7-to-1
For that huge gender disparity, you can thank #Patriarchy, #ToxicMasculinity, and #MalePrivilege.
A huge gender disparity for loss of life trying to save others
Mark Perry

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Quotation of the day on the rise of the ‘comfort college’……. – Publications – AEI

September 14, 2019

AEI
Quotation of the day on the rise of the ‘comfort college’…….
….is from Williams College philosophy professor Steven B. Gerrard’ s Bloomberg op-ed “The Rise of the Comfort College”
What characterizes the comfort college? The slogan of the comfort college is “diversity and inclusion.” And just to be clear: The presence of previously underrepresented groups is vital, necessary and welcome. What’s more, insensitivity toward people’s identities should be self-censored, and social pressure to do so is a helpful tool.
But another agenda, an agenda that runs counter to true diversity and inclusion, has (often silently) accompanied these positive changes. At some point along the way, this laudable attention to the language of inclusion turned from a psychologically realistic sensitivity into a

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Income gains for US households and workers are much more upbeat than what’s being reported by the media – Publications – AEI

September 13, 2019

AEI
Income gains for US households and workers are much more upbeat than what’s being reported by the media

Following the release on Tuesday of the Census Bureau’s annual report on Income and Poverty in the United States, the majority of media reports painted a pretty gloomy picture of stagnating household income for Americans, here’s a sample:
1. CBS News. “Americans’ income barely inching up despite economic growth“:
Americans’ household income is barely rising despite ongoing economic growth and low unemployment, a sign the typical family is failing to see significant gains from what has been a record-long expansion.
The median household had income of $63,179 in 2018, not statistically different from the 2017 median, the Census Bureau said. On an inflation-adjusted basis, Americans

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More charts and commentary based on this week’s Census Bureau report on income – Publications – AEI

September 12, 2019

AEI
More charts and commentary based on this week’s Census Bureau report on income
The Census Bureau released its annual report this week on “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2018” with lots of new, updated data on household and family incomes, household demographics and poverty statistics through 2018. I posted two reports on the new Census Bureau report this week on CD here and here. Below are some additional charts with commentary based on the new household income data through 2018.

Median Household Income, Average Household Size and Income per Householder. The top chart above shows: a) median US household income (in constant 2018 dollars) and b) the average household size in each year from 1967 to 2018. The size of the average US household has declined steadily over time and

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Explaining US income inequality by household demographics, 2018 update – Publications – AEI

September 11, 2019

AEI
Explaining US income inequality by household demographics, 2018 update

The Census Bureau released its annual report yesterday on “Income and Poverty in the United States” with lots of updated data on household income and household demographics. Based on those new data, I present my annual post titled “Explaining Income Inequality by Household Demographics” (see my previous versions of this analysis for years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017).
Most of the discussion on income inequality focuses on the relative differences over time between low-income and high-income American households. But it’s also informative to analyze the demographic differences among income groups at a given point in time to answer questions like:

How are high-income households different demographically from

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Happy 139th Birthday to the ‘Sage of Baltimore’ — H.L. Mencken – Publications – AEI

September 11, 2019

AEI
Happy 139th Birthday to the ‘Sage of Baltimore’ — H.L. Mencken

Tomorrow (September 12) is H.L. Mencken’s birthday. The “Sage of Baltimore” (pictured above) was born on September 12 in 1880 and is regarded by many as one of the most influential American journalists, essayists, and writers of the early 20th century. To recognize the great political writer on his 139th birthday, here are 14 of my favorite Mencken quotes:
1. Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
2. A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
3. A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
4. Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
5. Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of

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Three charts based on today’s Census report show that the US middle-class is shrinking…. because they’re moving up – Publications – AEI

September 10, 2019

AEI
Three charts based on today’s Census report show that the US middle-class is shrinking…. because they’re moving up

The new animated “bar chart race” visualization above is a dynamic version of the second static chart, and both show the percent shares of US households by total money income for three income categories annually from 1967 to 2018: a) low-income households earning $35,000 or less, b) middle-income households earning between $35,000 and $100,000 and c) high-income households earning $100,000 or more (all in constant 2018 dollars). The income data are from the new Census Bureau report released today “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2018.” The third chart above is another way to visualize what might be among the most important finding in

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Animated chart of the day: Recorded music sales by format share, 1973 to 2019 – Publications – AEI

September 9, 2019

AEI
Animated chart of the day: Recorded music sales by format share, 1973 to 2019

Updated: Here’s a new animated “bar chart race” visualization above (see previous visualization here with data through 2018) showing the format share of recorded music sales in each year from 1973 to 2019 based on sales data from the Recorded Industry Association of America (RIAA) and new mid-year sales data that were just released by the RIAA for the first half of 2019.
Related: See this news article based the RIAA’s mid-year data: “Vinyl set to outsell CDs for first time since 1986“:
The new report states that vinyl records earned $224.1 million (from 8.6 million units) in the first half of 2019. This figure is impressively close to the CD numbers ($247.9 million, 18.6 million units).
With vinyl revenue

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Video of the day: Christina Sommers on HBO’s ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ discussing the state of modern feminism – Publications – AEI

September 8, 2019

AEI
Video of the day: Christina Sommers on HBO’s ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ discussing the state of modern feminism

The video above shows AEI scholar and “Factual Feminist” Christina Hoff Sommers’ HBO top-of the show appearance on Friday’s edition of “Real Time with Bill Maher” where she discussed the state of modern feminism.
Here are a few excerpts of Christina’s comments via Real Clear Politics:
This is not what feminism is supposed to be. There are these professors and they pass along these messages that we’re all traumatized, we’re all fragile, we’re diminished under this patriarchal oppressive system. This is madness. American women, arguably, are among the freest, most self-determining in history…
At the very moment where we have this opportunity for just profound equality with

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The limits of clean energy…. – Publications – AEI

September 7, 2019

AEI
The limits of clean energy….
… is the title of an article by Jason Hickel in Foreign Policy, with the sub-title “If the world isn’t careful, renewable energy could become as destructive as fossil fuels,” here’s the opening:
The conversation about climate change has been blazing ahead in recent months. Propelled by the school climate strikes and social movements like Extinction Rebellion, a number of governments have declared a climate emergency, and progressive political parties are making plans—at last—for a rapid transition to clean energy under the banner of the Green New Deal.
This is a welcome shift, and we need more of it.
But a new problem is beginning to emerge that warrants our attention. Some proponents of the Green New Deal seem to believe that it will pave the way to a

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The increase in hurricane frequency hypothesis is overblown – Publications – AEI

September 7, 2019

AEI
The increase in hurricane frequency hypothesis is overblown
In a New York Times op-ed this week “Hurricanes Are Getting Worse: Why are so many people afraid to talk about climate change?” David Leonhardt writes:

The frequency of severe hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean has roughly doubled over the last two decades, and climate change appears to be the reason. Yet much of the conversation about Hurricane Dorian — including most media coverage — ignores climate change. That’s a mistake. It’s akin to talking about lung cancer and being afraid to mention smoking, or talking about traffic deaths and being afraid to talk about drunken driving.
Climate change, likewise, doesn’t cause any one hurricane on its own, but it’s central to the story of the storms that are increasingly battering the

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Video of the day: Trump is terrible on trade and the top 2020 Dems are no better – Publications – AEI

September 6, 2019

AEI
Video of the day: Trump is terrible on trade and the top 2020 Dems are no better

Video of the Day (above) is from Reason.tv featuring Eric Boehm (“Trump Is Terrible on Trade. Top 2020 Dems Are No Better.”) and he highlights how “By erecting tariffs and threatening to tear up trade agreements, President Donald Trump has done more to achieve one of the left’s longstanding policy goals than any other modern president.”
Money quote: “The Democrats are essentially arguing all we need is a more competent protectionist in the White House. But there’s no way to correctly implement a policy that stops individuals from freely exchanging goods and services just because they live in different countries.”
Related: The chart below shows that since 1997, manufacturing output in the US have increased

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The trade war’s winners don’t include us….. – Publications – AEI

September 5, 2019

AEI
The trade war’s winners don’t include us…..
…. is the title of an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal by Robert B. Zoellick (former World Bank president, U.S. trade representative and deputy secretary of state). Here’s the part of the article where Zoellick outlines five adverse effects of Tariff Man’s trade war (bold added):
President Trump’s trade policy represents a fundamental break from the past 85 years. It’s more than a matter of aggressive negotiating tactics. Not since Herbert Hoover has a U.S. president so openly embraced trade protectionism. In his inaugural address, Mr. Trump proudly proclaimed himself a protectionist; we should now believe him. His assertion that he is a “tariff man” should convince any holdouts.
What have been the effects of Mr. Trump’s return to

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The environmental fiasco of wind energy….. – Publications – AEI

September 5, 2019

AEI
The environmental fiasco of wind energy…..

…. is the title of a post at the Power Line blog by John Hinderaker, here’s a slice:
I doubt that many “green” energy advocates have thought seriously about the environmental problems associated with decommissioning wind farms. It isn’t just disposing of the fiberglass blades, see the 15-second video above.
If a wind farm includes 100 turbines, that means that 500 million pounds of concrete (which off-gases CO2, by the way) have been poured into what previously was likely farm land. When the turbines are defunct after a mere 20 years, what will be done with hundreds of millions of pounds of concrete? To my knowledge, wind farm developers are not required to have any plan to reclaim the land when the useful life of the turbines has

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Inspired by Hurricane Dorian, I propose the Maximum Temperature Act to stop unconscionable temperature gouging – Publications – AEI

September 5, 2019

AEI
Inspired by Hurricane Dorian, I propose the Maximum Temperature Act to stop unconscionable temperature gouging

Inspired by recent news reports about the imposition of anti-price gouging laws in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina as Hurricane Dorian approaches and threatens those states, I’d like to propose a “Maximum Temperature Act.” Specifically, couldn’t the government intervene in the market for temperature-reading equipment to counteract unconscionable “excessively high” summer temperatures (“temperature gouging”) just like state governments are now intervening to counteract unconscionable “excessively high” prices (“price gouging”) following natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian?
Let me explain, and start with a typical non-economic “Defense of Price Gouging

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Videos of the day from the Clear Energy Alliance – Publications – AEI

September 4, 2019

AEI
Videos of the day from the Clear Energy Alliance
The videos below are from the Clear Energy Alliance whose mission is below:
Clear Energy Alliance (CEA) strives to raise the EIQ (Energy Intelligence Quotient) of our society. Much of what the media and activist groups tell us about energy is misleading or entirely false, which can lead to dangerous and expensive outcomes. CEA challenges false claims and premises in a fun, interesting and sharable format. We arrive at our conclusions using logic, reliable data, human experience, history and rational analysis.
You can find more CEA videos here.

1. Video of the Day I (above) is “Climate Callout“:
Elite Green signalers beware! The mainstream press has suddenly decided it’s no longer going to overlook your climate change hypocrisy. Many

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Accurate weather information vs. inaccurate economic information before, during and after natural disasters – Publications – AEI

September 4, 2019

AEI
Accurate weather information vs. inaccurate economic information before, during and after natural disasters

Proposition 1. It almost goes without saying that there is near-unanimous agreement with the following proposition: Before, during and after a natural disaster like Hurricane Dorian, it’s in the public interest to provide the most accurate, up-to-date weather information, measured as precisely as possible about factors like the path of the hurricane, predicted areas and times for landfall, wind speed, hurricane category, rainfall estimates, water levels, power outages, areas affected, etc. And there would also be near-unanimous agreement that it would be reprehensible for politicians and government bureaucrats to falsify or report inaccurate weather information for political

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Happy 180th birthday to trade economist Henry George — he wrote Milton Friedman’s favorite book on trade – Publications – AEI

September 1, 2019

AEI
Happy 180th birthday to trade economist Henry George — he wrote Milton Friedman’s favorite book on trade
It would have been Henry George’s 180th birthday tomorrow on Monday September 2; he was born on that day in 1839 in Philadelphia and he died on October 29, 1897. This is my annual tribute to one of the greatest trade economists of all time, Henry George!
The excerpts below are from Henry George’s 1886 book Protection or Free Trade, which  was Milton Friedman’s favorite book on trade, according to Cato Institute’s Jim Powell, who wrote about the Henry George classic in his 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed “Milton Friedman’s Favorite Book on Trade.” Friedman called it the most rhetorically brilliant book ever written on trade, and it was also the first book to be read entirely into the

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On Labor Day in 1941, a Dallas editor coined the term ‘right to work’ – the ‘legal heritage of the free citizen’ – Publications – AEI

September 1, 2019

AEI
On Labor Day in 1941, a Dallas editor coined the term ‘right to work’ – the ‘legal heritage of the free citizen’

Seventy-eight years ago on Labor Day in 1941, Dallas Morning News associate editor William Ruggles (pictured above) wrote an editorial that set an important economic movement in motion – the “right to work.” Ruggles later said in a 1956 speech that he “felt in every fiber of his being” that the right to work was the “legal heritage of the free citizen” and he therefore strongly opposed forced union membership. In his September 1, 1941 editorial, Ruggles proposed that a 22nd amendment to the US Constitution be passed to guarantee American workers the right to work with or without union membership.
Here is a key paragraph from Ruggles’ 1941 Labor Day editorial:
Now this

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For Labor Day: Union videos by Milton Friedman, some quotations, and a photo – Publications – AEI

September 1, 2019

AEI
For Labor Day: Union videos by Milton Friedman, some quotations, and a photo

1. Union Video of the Day I. From a 1980 lecture, Milton Friedman discusses the “real world effects of unions” in the video above.
You must recognize that the only way in which any group of workers through union organization can increase the amount of its pay is to make sure that there are fewer jobs available. There is no way in which a union can simultaneously increase the number of jobs and the pay. The law of demand in economics is inescapable, you can not get out of it. Raise the price of anything and fewer people will buy it.
==============================================

2. Union Video of the Day II. From a 1978 lecture, Milton Friedman explains “the power of unions” in the video above and discusses

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Happy Labor Day and Happy Capital Day 2019! – Publications – AEI

September 1, 2019

AEI
Happy Labor Day and Happy Capital Day 2019!

From Larry Reed’s 2012 article “Happy Capital Day?” for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE):
Capital without labor means machines with no operators, or financial resources without the manpower to invest in. Labor without capital looks like Haiti or North Korea: plenty of people working but doing it with sticks instead of bulldozers, or starting a small enterprise with pocket change instead of a bank loan.
Capital can refer to either the tools of production or the funds that finance them. There may be no place in the world where there’s a shortage of labor but every inch of the planet is short of capital. There is no worker who couldn’t become more productive and better himself and society in the process if he had a more powerful

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Saturday evening links – Publications – AEI

August 31, 2019

AEI
Saturday evening links

1. Chart of the Day I (above) shows how college-educated female workers in the US have gradually closed the gap with their male counterparts over the last several decades and actually slightly out-numbered college-educated male workers in recent months as reported this week in the Wall Street Journal article “Historic Rise of College-Educated Women in Labor Force Changes Workplace“:
This year is shaping up to be the first year that women make up the majority of the college-educated labor force, a milestone that is already altering benefits packages offered by companies and one that could influence family sizes in the future. Women make up only 46.6% of the overall labor force, but they first reached 45% of the college-educated labor force at the turn of the

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