Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Genetic determination of social class

Using twin studies, Charles Murray showed 2 decades ago that IQ is mainly genetically inherited and that IQ underlies social class.  The rich are brighter;  the poor are dumber.  The findings below reinforce that. The researchers were able to identify the actual DNA behind that relationship.  High IQ people and high status people had different DNA to low status and low IQ people.

The research also showed something else that people find hard to digest: That family environment matters hardly at all.  That repeatedly emerges in the twin studies but flies in the face of what people have believed for millennia: That your kid's upbringing matters.  It may matter in some ways (value acquisition?) but it has no influence on how bright the kid will be.  So now we have confirmation from a DNA study which shows that both IQ and social status are genetically determined.  Home environment has nothing to do with it.  The genes which give you a high IQ are the same ones that lead to high social status.

People can perhaps accept the genetic determination of IQ but accepting the genetic determination of social status will be more jarring.  The wise men all tell us that a good upbringing will make you more likely to get rich.  It won't.  What you have inherited in your genes (principally IQ) is what will make you rich or poor

To specify exactly what was found:  In a representative sample of the UK population, children from high status homes were found to be genetically different from children from low status homes -- and the DNA differences concerned were also determinant of IQ

Genetic influence on family socioeconomic status and children's intelligence

Maciej Trzaskowskia et al.


Environmental measures used widely in the behavioral sciences show nearly as much genetic influence as behavioral measures, a critical finding for interpreting associations between environmental factors and children's development. This research depends on the twin method that compares monozygotic and dizygotic twins, but key aspects of children's environment such as socioeconomic status (SES) cannot be investigated in twin studies because they are the same for children growing up together in a family. Here, using a new technique applied to DNA from 3000 unrelated children, we show significant genetic influence on family SES, and on its association with children's IQ at ages 7 and 12. In addition to demonstrating the ability to investigate genetic influence on between-family environmental measures, our results emphasize the need to consider genetics in research and policy on family SES and its association with children's IQ.



Let’s Try Honest Healthcare Reform

When MIT economist Jonathan Gruber testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Tuesday, don’t expect the Obamacare health-policy advisor to double-down on the remarks that landed him in hot water—quips about the “stupidity of the American voter” and comments about tax subsidies being available only through the state-based exchanges. But don’t expect Gruber to retreat from his support for Obamacare or to put forward new ideas on how to restore confidence in the American healthcare system, either. For such insights, look instead to the economist that top-tier news media should be interviewing daily: Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman. As Goodman explains in a recent op-ed, sound healthcare reform doesn’t require deception; it requires honesty. And honesty means prioritizing the worst problems in our broken healthcare system, and offering solutions that might rub collectivist ideologues and other special interests the wrong way.

In particular, three honest reforms would go a long way toward fixing the worst of Obamacare’s problems, according to Goodman. For starters, replacing the Affordable Care Act’s complex and arbitrary schedule of mandates and subsidies with a universal tax credit that is the same for everyone (“about $2,500 for an adult and $8,000 for a family of four”) would bypass the many problems that plague the online insurance exchanges. That’s because those problems arise from a single cause: the technically complex challenge of corroborating an applicant’s eligibility for tax subsidies by pulling data from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Labor, and state Medicaid programs.

Second, Goodman calls for allowing Medicaid (or private-insurance equivalents) to compete with other insurance; low-income enrollees shouldn’t be relegated to a low-performing system. Third, Goodman calls for denationalizing and deregulating the Obamacare exchanges. Deregulating them and lifting the mandates would end the insurers’ “race to the bottom,” i.e., their offering policies meant to attract healthy customers and avoid the sick. Ending the mandates and implementing a uniform, universal tax credit for the purchase of health insurance would also lift the perverse incentives for employers to stifle job growth or limit their workers’ hours. Goodman writes: “There you have it: Three easy-to-understand, not very difficult changes, and millions of problems vanish in a heartbeat.”



Obama has made the American security services into a new Stasi (the social control apparatus of the old East Germany)

This column has provided much evidence that government has institutionalized waste, fraud and abuse. None is more chilling than what former CBS television journalist Sharyl Attkisson describes in her new book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington. Unlike most of what emerges from the old-line establishment media, her reports on the Benghazi scandal were at odds with Obama administration propaganda that a video caused the death of four Americans, including ambassador Christopher Stephens.

Attkisson describes writing on her computer when it is suddenly taken over and material starts to disappear. She has the presence of mind to grab her phone and take a video. Experts conclude that her computer has been infiltrated by means of spyware proprietary to government agencies such as the CIA, FBI and NSA, now conducting surveillance against all Americans. She also finds the intruders planted classified information on her computer. That adds “the possible threat of criminal prosecution” to the author’s list of delay, denial, obstruction, intimidation, retaliation, bullying, and surveillance from the government. The supposedly transparent Obama administration has transformed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies into a Stasi deployed against Americans. The author notes that federal snoops knew about the Boston Marathon bombers but did nothing. But when it comes to a persistent journalist, they take action to intimidate and silence.

Stonewalled also notes the waste from the government public-relations hacks who “thinks they personally own your tax dollars.” She finds teams of “taxpayer funded media and communications specialist” including 1200 at the USDA. A White House hack named Dag Vega even tries to strong-arm C-SPAN.

For their part, the old-line media tend to believe that government is always benevolent, and they tend to recycle what the government hands them on everything from “Fast and Furious” to Obamacare. As the author notes, CBS removed from her story the information that HUD’s own inspector general had found $3.5 billion in waste and fraud at the federal agency in a single year. CBS bosses also deleted a fraud case in the same story. Attkisson doesn’t work at CBS any more, and the nation is much better off as a result.



California version of Obamacare has huge problems too

As we have noted, Covered California is the Golden State’s wholly owned subsidiary of Obamacare and similarly dysfunctional, insecure, and wasteful. Even so, some people managed to sign up, the largest group ages 55 to 64. Now, according to Emily Bazar of the Center for Health Reporting, many are finding it impossible to leave. Enrollees secured the tax credits available under Covered California, but when they turn 65 and go on Medicare they become ineligible for those same tax credits. As Bazar explains, “you will owe money to the government if you keep getting the credits after Medicare begins.” That could be $1,000 a month.

Bazar advised people to cancel their Covered California plan. Unfortunately, she explains, “I’ve heard from Californians and insurance agents across the state who have tried mightily—and failed—to do just that. Instead, their premiums just keep on coming.” One reader had been trying since August and says “This is a NIGHTMARE!” One insurance agent found that “terminating coverage with Covered California has proven impossible.”

Bazar learned that Covered California controls eligibility and cancellation of its health plans, “which means plans must wait for direction from the agency before terminating coverage.” They have not done so, likely because that would lower the numbers of people Covered California can claim are enrolled. People can simply stop paying their premiums, but they still face a “grace period” of 90 days, and that method of cancellation reflects badly on the individuals themselves.

Covered California blames a “programming problem” with the agency’s troubled $454 million computer system. So it’s all just another glitch. Those wishing to cancel should contact Covered California. “How helpful,” says Bazar, “That’s exactly what these consumers tried to do.” So here’s the deal.

Those consumers couldn’t keep the plans they like before Obamacare. Now they have to keep the Covered California plan they don’t like and need to cancel. A statist scheme stripped individuals of their freedom to choose, so no surprise that it should throw up a Berlin Wall to keep those people captive. Doubtless, it will soon be leaving sick people to get well on their own or just drop dead.



Latest Federal Mandate On 'Fair Housing' Is Anything But

In the eyes of the Obama administration, Americans are not the best judges of where they should live and raise their families

Patrick Henry, an ardent supporter of a smaller, local government, once said: "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." Something tells me that he would not utter such a statement were he alive in 2014.

Henry and many other Founding Fathers are likely rolling over in their graves as a result of the incessant intrusion into local affairs by our current president and the federal government.

In the eyes of the Obama administration, Americans are not the best judges of where they should live and raise their families. At least that's the message coming from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Just when you thought the administration's Orwellian sovereignty had reached its limits, HUD has declared that our nation's suburbs aren't diverse enough and that local governments may not be the best arbiters of housing and zoning regulations.

To remedy this perceived cultural malaise, the administration has issued a new proposed regulation that mandates a barrier for individuals and families on where they can choose to live.

In so doing, the president and his administration are encroaching on the rights of local governments and again needlessly injecting race into public policy issues, setting the stage for even further division and animosity.

To accomplishing this goal, the president has proposed a rule known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), which according to Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will "push Americans into living how and where the federal government wants.

"It promises to gut the ability of suburbs to set their own zoning codes. It will press future population growth into tiny, densely packed high-rise zones around public transportation, urbanizing suburbs and Manhattanizing cities."

The administration fails to appreciate a unique American value: mobility. We practically invented the modern open road, symbolizing our freedom to choose where we live. The president's rule would restrict that freedom.

Washington bureaucrats would tell us where we can live and whom we can live next to, all in the name of social justice and ideological utopianism. Nothing could be more wrong and un-American.

Just like we don't need the government choosing our doctors, neither do we need it choosing our neighbors.

The 1968 Fair Housing Act already makes discrimination illegal in the "sale, rental and financing of dwellings based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin." The act was amended in 1988 to add disability and familial status as covered conditions.

But apparently that's not enough to provide everyone with equal opportunity in housing. What the administration wants is equal outcomes, and the only way to achieve that is for the federal leviathan to force itself on local jurisdictions.

No one should ever be targeted for exclusion from a neighborhood because of their ethnicity or any other protected category. But neither should there be quotas for neighborhoods to achieve some sort of racial balance that would not happen naturally. A level playing field that lets Americans choose where they live gives zoning authority to local governments is the wisest policy.

To curb this federal overreach, I sponsored an amendment in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would block funding for the president's rule on AFFH.

Some colleagues and I have issued a new call to action, asking appropriators to include the same defunding language that passed the House of Representatives in any appropriations package we vote on and send it to the president. If the rule is implemented and municipalities do not comply with AFFH, community development grant money will be withheld.

The sad truth about this Obama social engineering proposal is that HUD conducted its own study in 2011 that concluded that moving people living in poor neighborhoods into suburban neighborhoods neither helps children do better in school nor decreases their family's dependence on welfare — the goal of the proposed AFFH rule.

A compelling reason to defund this regulation is that it will have the opposite impact on the people it is intended to assist, increasing their likelihood of government dependency.

This is an encroachment into the domain of local governments, even bypassing state governments, and violates the basic intent of our Founders. So if you hear reports of a minor earthquake near Patrick Henry's resting place in Charlotte County, Va., it should be easy to locate its epicenter.



Something to cheer us all up


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