Political scientists and economists love natural experiments, the all-too-rare situation in which normal events set up a comparison between competing ideas. They can be pretty convincing because we can build a case using with real data, not just speculation about what ought to happen if the world adopts our wonderful ideas. Minnesota and Wisconsin are roughly comparable and took different directions in recent elections. Here are the results. You can guess that since I post it, progressives outperform the teaparty conservatives.
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From the NYTimes today – a really fascinating conversation and video on conducting music. “Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic, demonstrates and discusses the role of a conductor.” The NYU Movement Lab details the conductor’s gestures and movement, while he discusses the role of the conductor.
“It used to be that you could count on two pensions – social security and a pension from your employer. But now work-related pensions are an endangered species and Social Security is under assault from a lethal combination of Wall Street’s insatiable greed and the pernicious philosophy of Ayn Rand.”
From AlterNet, the clearest explanation of the economics of retirement and why it is getting so difficult. I know I’m not the only Boomer who plans on working well past 65. This helps explain why, and points to an even more challenging retirement for our kids.
One of our problems as humans is a bias for action. We want to do something. But there are times when doing nothing is just fine.
Here’s an interesting take on the deficit. If congress and the president do nothing at all, the deficit goes down by about 75%.
Read it here
And now I’ll leave the deficit alone for a while.
A lot of the news for the past several weeks has been about the deficit. There is a certain hysteria that we now have a huge deficit and nothing, including jobs, is more important than cutting the deficit.
The concern is driven by the Republicans, and especially by the Tea Party caucus. It’s fair to ask where they were when the deficit leaped up during the Bush 41 administration, or why policy issues like Planned Parenthood are more important than deficit reduction.The clear answer is that they don’t care about the deficit. What they care about is eliminating programs they don’t like, including health care reform and social security. Health care reform, to take an example, actually reduces the deficit. The Ryan budget increases the deficit, largely by repealing health care reform.
Reducing taxes increases the deficit. We know that from what is now 30 years experience with tax cuts. But the Ryan plan cuts taxes yet again, to levels not seen since 1929. Now that was a good year.
The point here is that we shouldn’t get sucked into a debate about the deficit with people who don’t care about it, but are merely posturing as a way of cutting the programs they don’t like. We’ve known this since the Reagan administration when Grover Norquist set out the agenda, which was to cut taxes until government got so small it could be drowned in a bathtub.
It’s not about the deficit. It’s about cutting important programs that protect the poor and middle class while cutting taxes for the wealthy. That’s what the GOP and Tea Party want to do.
Don’t get sucked into the wrong debate. Let’s instead talk about jobs, education, infrastructure, research and development. Those grow the economy and, with growth and increased tax revenue, the deficit takes care of itself.
I have avoided starting a blog for several years, even though friends suggested I write one.
You see, most blogs have a particular focus. I read blogs about politics, technology, teaching and learning, and faith. I didn’t see that my blog would have a singular focus like those that I read. Then I saw Jan Nunley’s blog. It was what I wanted to do. She writes about a variety of topics, and in a real sense gave me permission to start my blog.
I have a lot going on in my life and I’ll write about them. I’m program chair in Instructional Technology at Wayne State University, specializing in interactive technologies for learning. I’m deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Royal Oak, Michigan, having moved to the Episcopal Church after most of a lifetime as a Lutheran. I am a liberal-to-progressive Democrat, news junkie, and bread baker, gardener, and foodie.
I’ll write about those things and other things as I think I have something to say.
Read those posts that you find interesting and ignore the rest. It’s OK.
Tell me what you think. I’ll listen, read, respond and expect you to push back.