Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein's latest column is up at the Hoover Institution web site. It's about financing higher education:
many of the financial problems faced by colleges and universities stem from the simple fact that they often lack control over their own budgets. Labor, both from faculty and staff, is a huge component of educational costs. Yet at every stage, the federal government sharply restricts the degrees of freedom that universities, like other employers, have in managing, hiring, and firing their employees. One conspicuous example is the federal requirement that colleges and universities abandon their time-honored system of mandatory retirement for tenured faculty. This is a classic case in which uninformed political actors override the judgment that every single college and university had adopted on its own. The point here is not that all professors who reach 65 or 70 years old are incapable of doing academic work. It is, rather, this: how can colleges and universities set up incentives for them to work up to their potential? Tenure may well be needed to preserve academic freedom. But it serves that objective well if faculty members, on a routine basis, rotate into retirement, without fear of arbitrary dismissal.