Good morning. 

Today’s Reformer

The debate at the Legislature in recent weeks about who should pay for security for the Derek Chauvin trial has opened up festering wounds in Minnesota’s body politic about who is paying the bills and getting the loot — the Twin Cities or greater Minnesota. The data are clear: The metro is paying a far larger share of the taxes, and not getting a proportional amount in return. Ricardo Lopez reporting

The geographic socialism creates quite a bit of cognitive dissonance for people in greater Minnesota, given their perceptions of themselves and the cities. 

But metro Minnesotans should also acknowledge that greater Minnesota has gifted the cities with its most important asset: Its people. The metro is filled with talented, productive people who came from a small town in greater Minnesota. 

Our guest commentary comes from Justin Stofferahn and Pat Garofalo (not the lawmaker!) who give us a helpful review of Minnesota’s tech industry heyday and then argue that anti-competitive practices by Google and Apple are thwarting innovation. Good stuff

Max Nesterak watched a state Senate committee in which the GOP majority passed a bill banning rent control, which is aimed at Minneapolis, where voters could be voting on a rent stabilization regime in November. 

Local control for me, not for thee. 

Still and all, if you don’t want these kinds of encroachments, you need to win the Senate. Why did the DFL not win the Senate? 

Regarding rent stabilization, this opinion piece in Bloomberg offers a cautionary tale about what a hard ceiling can do to a market, in this case Berlin, Germany. It’s fouled it up big time. Andreas Kluth reports there are two parallel markets: One for regulated apartments, in which there’s zero supply. And one for unregulated apartments, in which supply can’t keep up, which means prices are rising. The economics textbooks would predict this. This isn’t a perfect analog to what’s been done in California or Oregon, or what’s being proposed here, however. Oregon allows a 7% increase above inflation, for instance. 

More gov speculation

A couple GOP operatives reached out to tell me I was missing a quality 2022 candidate for governor in state Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake. Nominating a woman won’t necessarily close the gender gap — women voters crush Republicans every election — but it can’t hurt either.  

The kids are not alright

As we approach one year of pandemic restrictions, I thought it worth returning to a piece by Lisa Miller that ran in late November in New York about the effects of stress and anxiety on children. She focuses on a University of Oregon neuroscientist named Philip Fisher, who began sending out digital questionnaires to parents April 6 and collecting data. His qualitative findings match other preliminary reports. The science works like this: 

“Serve and return” is psychologyspeak for the essential signals that travel 

continuously between young kids and their parents or the people who care for them. A baby fusses or wails or droolingly smiles; the caregiver notices and responds with a diaper change, a warmed bottle, a sloppy raspberry kiss. This constant exchange and recognition is the bedrock of the evolutionary business we now call “parenting.”...

This attention to children is even more important when they are growing up in stressful environments like deprivation, poverty, neglect and abuse, or “toxic stress.” The consequences are both brutal and very long term. Here’s Miller again:  

When kids ask and they receive no answer, or when the answer they do receive is inconsistent, unpredictable, or cruel, the long-term consequences on development are dire. They include cognitive delays; learning problems; impulsivity or aggression on the one hand and numbness or lack of affect on the other; addiction and alcohol abuse; and social difficulties, including with romantic partners and authority figures. Children who grow up in environments of toxic stress, without the buffering presence of a responsive adult, struggle as they get older — not just with more psychiatric disorders but with higher rates of asthma, diabetes, teen pregnancy, and lower educational outcomes. Toxic stress was already endemic before this pandemic. Too many families were struggling to keep it together. And now there are too many more.

Mind you: That piece was published in November. Imagine how much worse it is now. 

Also, apropos the subhead: “The Kids Are All Right” is a great movie. 

Somewhat less dour, as the pandemic nears its end, Zeynep Tufekci has wise words on the five mistakes we’ve consistently been making throughout the pandemic: 

  1. Prevention measures (like masks, or, for that matter, seat belts or condoms) do not make people reckless, so we should always encourage them. 
  2. We went with a bunch of “rules,” like 6 feet and all that, rather than explaining to people clearly how the virus is transmitted: Indoors, by super spreaders. 
  3. Scolding and shaming don’t help.
  4. Harm reduction is a good strategy. People are going to socialize. Kids have to go to school. They have to. The key is get them to do it safely.  
  5. The way scientists talk and operate is idiosyncratic and needs better translation to the general public. 

Read the whole thing. 

Enjoy the beautiful weather. 


Have a great day all! JPC


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