Regulate the Dating Market: A modest proposal for romantic justice

This year’s Valentine’s Day was disastrous — not just for me, but for many ex-couples. But as I sat there on Sunday nursing my broken heart, I realized what’s wrong with romance today: not enough regulation.

The United States government has wisely chosen to regulate most other aspects of life, from what wage you are allowed to work for to what medicines a patient is allowed to buy over the counter. Voluntary interactions are all well and good, but the bottom line is that people have to be protected from themselves. The trade-off between liberty and security exists not only in privacy and foreign policy: we must strike a similar balance in the arena of love.

I propose the creation of a new government organization, the Committee to Assure Romantic Equity (CARE), to bring an end to the current Wild West of romance. Three powerful sets of regulations would bring much-needed stability to the chaos of dating.

1. Who’s allowed to date?

Just as professionals — from hair-braiders to interior decorators — must be licensed, so too the government must step in to license daters.

Right now, the dating market is overrun with shoddy specimens. Sleazy men buy women drinks and sleep with them on the first date. Immoral women cheat on their loving boyfriends. Many people lack the discretion to choose good partners for themselves, and their poor decisions can bring out the worst in people. Never mind that they sometimes have children.

To remedy this situation, any dating hopeful should have to submit an application to CARE. A licensing system should be set up whereby applicants pay for classes in order to certify both their good-heartedness and their ability to treat a partner well. In order to enforce this system, CARE agents would inspect couples, fining or jailing any individual engaged in dating without a CARE permit.

This wise step will remove the riff-raff from the dating market and ensure that good, kind individuals are never lured into romances they’ll regret. And if a few people find themselves forcibly removed from the dating pool, so what? They probably weren’t great partners to begin with.

Read the rest at The Freeman…

Paying for a movie, even if you don’t see it

Sunday, filmmakers and movie stars will walk the red carpet at the Academy Awards.

However, this is not the only time of the year Hollywood receives special treatment. California taxpayers fund Oscar-nominated films through expensive tax credits gifted to the motion picture industry.

All eight films nominated for Best Picture were subsidized by taxpayers. “American Sniper” received $6.8 million from California’s 20 percent feature film tax credit, meaning that if there was an Oscar for Best Tax Break, the film would take home the statuette. “Sniper” star Bradley Cooper should remember to thank California taxpayers during his acceptance speech, should he win Best Actor.

Though $6.8 million is a lot of money, it is dwarfed by the amount received by last year’s Best Tax Break winner, the “Wolf of Wall Street.” Since the movie was filmed in New York, it received the state’s 30 percent, fully refundable tax credit.

The film’s $100 million budget means that New Yorkers paid up to $30 million for the honor of having Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese shoot in their state. Similar to this year, all nine 2014 Best Picture nominees were filmed in locales with incentives.

Movie production incentives do little more than give legislators an opportunity to brush elbows with the rich and famous. Tax credits targeted to specific industries do not generate long-term economic benefits for states, and support has recently waned as the associated costs have become clearer.

At their peak in 2010, these film incentives cost 40 states a total of $1.4 billion.

Though many states have cut back, or eliminated, their film tax credits, some are ignoring the economic costs and instead choosing to seek the film industry’s approval.

For example, California recently tripled its film credit spending to $330 million, likely in an attempt to keep up with New York’s $420 million limit. Mike Gatto, a state assemblyman who represents Hollywood, said he wanted the tax break to be “[big] enough of a break to incentivize productions to stay here, to locate here, to incentivize long-term health of the industry.”

Instead of catering to a favored industry, legislators should be concerned with the health of the overall economy. Gatto admits that lower tax burdens create incentives for firms to locate in the state and expand. A far better policy would be to lower tax rates for everyone – not just Hollywood.

Read the rest at the Orange County Register…

Slate: Speech codes are great because college students are little children who need protection

An article at Slate is lauding censorship of student speech because “students today are more like children than adults and need protection.”

Eric Posner, writing on the new climate of free speech at universities being regulated by so-called speech codes to prohibit offensive speech targeted at racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities, says “Most liberals celebrate these developments, yet with a certain uneasiness. Few of them want to apply these protections to society at large.” Yet, the truth is that most liberals do support the same limits of speech to society as a whole. One need only look to the leftwing support for hate speech laws or the Ban Bossy campaign made famous by the likes of Michelle Obama to see the truth.

Posner continues, “the justification for these policies may lie hidden in plain sight: that students are children. Not in terms of age, but in terms of maturity. Even in college, they must be protected like children while being prepared to be adults.”

This is laughable; college age students are old enough to vote and enlist in the military, old enough to consent to any sexual activity, and get married. To believe that those coming to college are uneducated, and most be protected, is to ignore every other standard our society has towards adulthood. The double standard is stunning, as liberals continually push for lower drinking ages and lower ages of sexual consent, and easier access to birth control for minors. Liberals have no problem with children having sex or getting drunk, but have a serious issue with young adults espousing opinions that differ from theirs.

Posner cites an incident at Marquette University which libertarians and conservatives are up in arms over, as being blown out of proportion. While studying the philosophy of John Rawls, one student opined that he believed gay marriage was supported by Rawlsian philosophy. After class, another student expressed that he disagreed and was subsequently told that his opinion was not welcome in class because it could be offensive to some students. The professor asked if the student knew if any of his classmates were gay, and the student did not. Why should this matter? Did the professor ask if any the students were Christian, or if they held particular religious beliefs about marriage? Of course not. In the liberal world of academia, you have no right to be offended unless you’re leftwing.

Read the rest at the Federalist Papers Project…