The Apartment of Labor
Scott Lincicome’s comprehensive and illuminating article “The Truth about Trade” (April 11) describes several government policies that have acted to exacerbate current labor-market inefficiencies. One could speculate on the role of an additional government policy in the genesis of the problem — its aggressive promotion of home ownership. Unable to deal politically with middle-class wage stagnation, the government for decades sought to prop up middle- and lower-class living standards by pushing subprime-mortgage availability through the banking system. (It worked pretty well until 2008.) The anchoring effect of home ownership could well act as an additional deterrent to work-force mobility.
J. A. Frascino
Upper Saddle River, N.J.
Crows and Crockery!
In the “The Week” (April 11), the editors referred to Donald Trump’s supporters, contemptuously, as “Trumpkins.” Thimbles and thunderstorms! Is that any way to use the name of an honorable Dwarf, a loyal servant of King Caspian X, and (at the end of his life) a Lord Regent of Narnia? I do hope that an apology to Trumpkin will be forthcoming in your next issue.
I appreciated Ross Douthat’s review of the underappreciated Terrence Malick movie Knight of Cups (“Angelic Fleshpots,” April 25). In one respect my reaction differed from his, however. I don’t think Malick needed and failed to portray how “the appeal of a life lived in the moment, and more specifically the appeal of a purely physical attitude toward sex,” managed to keep the main character from hearkening to the call of redemption. I don’t think the allegory was supposed to be that heavy. Bunyan is thematically relevant, but so is the Zen-master character who asserts the completeness and perfection of the present moment, a character whom I see as an exponent of something useful rather than as an adversary. The main character, being aware and perceptive and reflective, discovers within the present moment, which after all includes his own state of mind and his ability to think about it, the unsatisfactoriness of his romantic involvements. Less than wicked, they turn out to be subtly empty. Malick dramatizes that in a convincing way, although perhaps at a cost in drama.