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Inflation’s hidden cost
Plus: An education milestone in Arizona; the failures of higher ed accreditors; and a new federal database for police misconduct
Inflation destroys the long-term value and reward for saving your own money: FREOPP President Avik Roy returned to the “What Bitcoin Did” podcast with Peter McCormack to talk about inflation, its disproportionate impact on the poor, and how the harms compound over time. The result of even modest inflation is a growing wealth divide and a cost of living crisis. (The inflation discussion starts at the podcast’s 44-minute mark.) Given the outsized role the Federal Reserve’s easy monetary policy has played in these problems, Bitcoin—the hardest money ever created—is an increasingly important part of the solution.
Interested in the new Lummis-Gillibrand crypto bill? The show opens with Avik and Peter’s conversation about the good, bad, and neutral aspects of the bipartisan regulatory framework for digital assets introduced by Senators Lummis and Gillibrand last month.
→ Peter McCormack reads FREOPP Highlights (thanks for the shout-out at the top of the show, Peter!) and your friends should too. Please share our work!
Arizona’s landmark ESA law will dramatically expand educational opportunity: In June, the Arizona legislature granted education savings accounts (ESAs) worth $6,500 per year to all the state’s 1.1 million children. This move gives families direct control of a share of their children’s K-12 education funding and an opportunity to choose the school setting that works best for them. The new program, FREOPP Senior Fellow Dan Lips writes, comes at a crucial time for promoting equal opportunity in K-12 education. ESAs can help parents overcome the educational and emotional costs of prolonged public school disruptions that devastated a generation of children, giving them access to high-quality options and narrowing out-of-school learning gaps. Policymakers in other states should look to Arizona’s new program as a model, and Congress should reform federal laws to give disadvantaged children and special education students direct access to education funding.
Not convinced about the promise of ESAs? Check out Dan’s 2005 paper for the Goldwater Institute proposing that Arizona policymakers create the nation’s first statewide ESA. This is the vision that became a reality for all the state’s students this summer.
Accreditors rarely enforce student outcomes standards at colleges: Each year, the federal government hands out billions of dollars in grants and loans to students attending colleges and universities that receive a stamp of approval from higher education accreditors. But new research from College101 finds that less than 3% of the actions accreditors took against colleges had to do with student outcomes. Most disciplinary actions focused on non-academic matters like governance and finance. As FREOPP Senior Fellow Preston Cooper describes, this mismatch between accreditor activity and return on investment indicates that accreditors are not adequate gatekeepers of taxpayer funding. Congress should stop relying on them to ensure quality and develop a new, outcomes-based system of accountability for institutions dependent on federal funding.
New federal database looks to keep “bad apples” off the street: In May, the Biden Administration ordered the creation of a national register of officers terminated for misconduct called the National Law Enforcement Accountability Database (NLEAD). FREOPP Research Fellow Jonathan Blanks writes that, while department-wide culture and policies are extremely important, advocates for reform should not underestimate the damage a few bad officers can cause the communities in which they serve. As difficult as it is to gather and track information from the roughly 18,000 different agencies that enforce overlapping state, local, and federal laws, a federal repository of bad actors should make it easier for departments to report officers that were terminated and exercise due diligence in hiring. Checking and contributing to NLEAD is a valuable step for all those—including most police officers—who care about good policing and improved public safety.
Thanks for keeping up with FREOPP, and have a great weekend!
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