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Assistant Prof. Noah Smith’s Life on the Welfare Rolls. Will He Get Tenure?

Written by Gary North on July 4, 2014

Recently, Noah Smith wrote an article comparing Austrian School economics to brain worms.

This is not the sort of rhetoric that a man inside academia uses against his intellectual peers. I do, of course, but I am not inside academia. It is surely not the kind of rhetoric that a man with an established reputation uses. But Dr. Smith has no established reputation. Thus, he felt no constraints on his rhetoric.

So, who is Noah Smith? He is a young man on welfare. Rather than using food stamps — sorry: a free food debit card — he works for a tax-funded state university. He owes his income to people with badges and guns who go to taxpayers and announce: “You will pay this guy’s salary, or you will go to jail.” They pay. He prospers. For now. Maybe not for long. He does not have tenure, or as it is known to those of us not on the dole, “lifetime welfare checks in exchange for 9 hours a week of lectures, 8 months a year.”

As a dutiful employee of the state of New York, he is a proponent of additional government enterprises, most notably those of the crony capitalist variety. He thinks the Export-Import Bank is just great. The Ex-Im Bank is perhaps the most representative American institutional testimony to mercantilism. It provides federal loan guarantees to large American corporations that try to export stuff that they may not be able to sell.

In 1776, Adam Smith’s book, The Wealth of Nations, was a warning shot across the bow of the H.M.S. Bounties. It showed why the wealth of nations is based on low taxes and free trade, not state-funded crony capitalism. Noah Smith would do well to read Adam Smith. But I digress.

Dr. Smith is a bright young man fresh out of graduate school (2012). He is not tenured. To attain tenure, he needs to get some articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals in economics. On his web page at Stony Brook University, he has posted his CV. It is from 2011. It lists not one published article or book. Here is his woefully sparse CV, as of today. These achievements constitute his visibly marginal bona fides. If he does not get his CV up to speed, with at least half a dozen articles in some version of The Journal of Desperate Assistant Professors, he will not get tenure. His articles as an unpaid blogger on Bloomberg do not count for tenure. Neither do his articles on his personal blog, which has the clever name of Noahpinion. (It would be more accurate to call it MarginalGains.)

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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14 thoughts on “Assistant Prof. Noah Smith’s Life on the Welfare Rolls. Will He Get Tenure?

  1. I'm academe, therefore I am……not worth reading.

  2. Winston says:

    Take that guy with a large dose of Statist liberal ideology and you get another oven-baked form of Barack Obama Marxism.

  3. Well,sounds like this guy got brain worms of the nasty kind

  4. The islamic, left has taken over the education system. All tenure should be recinded I suggest 20% a year reduction in such fraudulent payments.

  5. Mike Borland says:

    I expect someone who is in academia to use facts to argue their point of view. Name calling is an Argument by Intimidation and is a logical fallacy unworthy of any college or university staff member. There also should be accountability for doing bad science. The same scientists who claimed there would be a new Ice Age in ten years starting around 1970 are now saying global warming is happening. Both have been proven wrong by the actual data from these times. Maybe these tenured professors should be fired, made to apologize for their incompetence, and get a different job . They certain don't deserve getting more and bigger grants.

  6. william russell says:

    Hey just so glad that new york is paying this free loaded and he is teaching 9 hours a month at a university. Just happens in liberal progressive democratic states like new york, no wonder tuition is sky high and every going higher. Maybe if the democratic leaders would make these professors teach more classes than the tuition could start going done. Where are all the young people that complain how much business people make, this guy works 9 hours a month, a pretty sweet job which i had one like that.

  7. Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach. Those that are confused, seek tenure. See my blog at http://cranky-conservative.blogspot.com

  8. Devilrider says:

    The last time I checked, it is the student who is paying this guy's salary. Tuition costs have risen astronomically since I went to college. I graduated from a top-rated PAC-12 university in 1960. The cost of my entire 4 years there, while living at home (and not counting that because I worked), was less than $800 including books. FOR THE ENTIRE 4 YEARS. Now that same school would charge more than that for a few books. The total 4 year cost, while living at home and working would now cost more than $50,000.

  9. Devilrider says:

    Wrong RL – As a former professor, I would like to say that as a CPA, I left a great position to teach. My students loved me because I knew what I was doing. The young (and old) PhDs could not teach the classes I taught. I taught the upper division classes and could not get tenure because I did not have a doctorate even though I held two masters degrees in my field. Most of my teaching career was at small, private Christian colleges and believe me – the taxpayers paid nothing. The students paid nearly all, assisted by alumni who gave freely to establish scholarships.

  10. Devilrider says:

    Yo Jerry – Errors on your post:
    1) Islamic should be capitalized.
    2) No comma after Islamic.
    3) Rescinded not recinded.
    4) Period (.) after rescinded.
    5) The article "a" between "I" and "suggest".

    Other than that, the entire underlying tenor of your post makes no sense at all.

  11. Patriot10 says:

    This is largely because of government involvement. Government loans, grants. The Universities increase their fees and tuition because it was largely government money that was flowing into the schools. Everytime government gets involved the cost of the services go up. Medical care is an example. The rapid rise in medical costs coincides with the enactment of medicare.

  12. baleisen says:

    The idea that professors work only 9 hour a week makes no sense. Their time is taken up be the job of making the school money. Bring in enough and you only do your research.
    Professors are expected to find their own grants. Grants pay the University, the professor, and pay for the prof to do some research that results in a positive gain for the grant givers. If you ended tuition at most major schools, only minor things would have to be cut. Schools are always looking for ways to give away or spend their excess money. Lowering tuition is considered a bad idea since it would let lower level academic students attend. Most University Faculty are functionally worthless. They went from school to school. They never had a real job and don't understand how totally worthless they truly are. Put them in front of a cash register and they are lost. They can't even flip burgers. End college loans. End all 'Studies' departments. Shrink Academic America. It is a useless burden on Americans.

  13. You only prove the rule by your exception. Even you admit, "My students loved me because I knew what I was doing. The young (and old) PhDs could not teach the classes I taught. I taught the upper division classes and could not get tenure because I did not have a doctorate". RL is speaking of those very people you left in the dust. Gary's commentary is pointed at state-run and state-funded institutions, like SUNY Stonybrook.

  14. Centurian says:

    Well, you missed on five: 5) The article "a" between "I" and "suggest".

    That should read:
    5) The article "a" following the word "suggest." The sentence would be more clear if "20% a year" read "20% per year." The final period of your response should occur before, rather than after the close quote. I otherwise agree with you, but when you start to throw grammar and syntax rocks, watch out! 😉

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. I had a mom who was a teacher, very good English and Latin teachers, married a teacher and have used some world class editors in my work. They were all slave drivers.