Saturday December 20, 2014
April 2nd, 2014
In the debate over economic inequality, most of the discussion is about new things the federal government should do to make the distribution of our society's resources more even: raise the minimum wage, say, or impose higher tax rates on the rich.
But what about getting Washington to stop some policies that skew after-tax income distribution upward?
Of all people to talk, former Secretary of War Donald Rumsfield is probably the most inappropriate regarding the current state of affairs with Putin's seizure of Crimea. Yes, I know the department name has morphed into Defense but in the case of Mr. Rumsfield, War is obviously the correct title.
As a general rule, more Americans work than do the citizens of other advanced economies. Since the late 1970s, when the number of women in the workforce ballooned, the share of Americans who either had jobs or were trying to get one was greater than the share of comparable Europeans. For reasons good and bad - the higher availability of jobs, the need to bolster stagnating incomes, the linkage of jobs to health insurance - Americans worked like the dickens.
President Obama's first salary as a community organizer was paid by a Catholic group and his earliest social justice work was rooted in Catholic social doctrine. He identified with Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, then Chicago's archbishop, whose consistent ethic of life encompassed a dedication to the poor, a concern over the human costs of war, and opposition to the death penalty.
The first shocking headlines after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared revealed that two men had boarded with stolen passports. "Stark evidence of security gap," blared The Christian Science Monitor.
It appears that illegal immigration, not terrorism, was the two Iranians' intention. But media and governments across the globe shook their heads wildly that an airport security system had failed to check an international database for stolen passports.
Let's take a minute to search for life lessons in the latest Chris Christie bridge-traffic-jam episode. I believe there are two. First, when the political ship is going down, nobody will bother to rescue the unattached woman and the dork from senior year.
Also, it's always handy to have a law degree.
Gloria Steinem turned 80 this week -- still strong and smart and beautiful and changing the world. I first heard her speak 40 years ago, when my sister graduated from Simmons College, but it was seven years later, in 1980, that she gave me a gift and taught me a lesson about feminism that I have tried to follow ever since.
During the Cold War, the Western allies kept relative peace by committing to intervene militarily against overt violations of the national borders set at the end of World War II. In the current crisis in Ukraine, President Obama's straightforward acknowledgment that there is no "military solution" will no doubt come as an affront to hard-liners at home.
Older voters and younger voters used to be largely on the same page when they went to the polls. No more.
Gallup released two reports about the split this week. The first was called "U.S. Seniors Have Realigned With the Republican Party," and the second was "Young Americans' Affinity for Democratic Party Has Grown."
I had no idea so many Republicans were nostalgic for the Cold War. President Obama should dust off the zinger he used in a campaign debate against Mitt Romney: "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back."