Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

  • Obama and the myth of job creation

    on Jan 28, 10 • in All Columns, Business, Community, Domestic Policy, Politics, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    Obama and the myth of job creation

    A president’s speechwriter, desperate to relieve the rhetorical ramble of a State of the Union, will often stage a special guest in the gallery, or a line or two from a letter – anything to generate something like intimacy. Wednesday night, President Obama described the letters that he reads “each night. The toughest to read,” he said, “are those written by children, asking … when their mom or dad will be able to go back to work.” Does official Washington really believe that we’re waiting for government to generate jobs, somehow? What is the effect

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  • Redeem the Prison Generation

    on Jun 3, 09 • in All Columns, Community, Domestic Policy, Featured, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    Redeem the Prison Generation

    They’re the least popular constituency in America. People we’d rather forget. Last year, a record 1 in every 100 American adults was in prison. One in every 30 men aged 20 to 34. And among black males in that age group? One in 9. Why? Because America’s crime and punishment policies reflect an incoherent mix of motives: justice, retribution, vengeance, the illusion of expedience, the cruel bigotry of nonexistent expectations. And absent decent job training, counseling, and re-entry programs, the system only incites violence and invites recidivism. It’s past time to reconsider our approach to

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  • Giving can change your mind

    on Dec 25, 08 • in All Columns, Community, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    Why would any rational American give to a charity this year? The economy is staggering. We lost half a million jobs in November alone. Home foreclosures are at record highs. And while Washington may be wrapping up great piles of economic stimulus and rescue packaging for the holidays (with endless sheets of our best green paper), the rest of us are winding up a little … short. Grumpy, even. Meanwhile, charities and social services groups are facing enormous budget shortfalls just as demand for their services is accelerating. But here’s a surprising paradox. Even in the midst of

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  • Why give now?

    on Dec 22, 08 • in All Columns, Community, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    At home, social-services groups and charities face enormous budget shortfalls just as demand is intensifying. Abroad, systemic increases in food prices have pushed the number of people facing starvation to nearly 1 billion. In normal times, American generosity is legendary. Between 65 and 85 percent of families make charitable donations every year. In 2003, the average donated was more than $1,800. But in the midst of a financial crisis, a seized-up economy, home foreclosures, and half a million jobs lost last month alone, how can Americans be expected to just … give money away? Because

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  • A road map for Detroit

    on Nov 19, 08 • in All Columns, Business, Community, Domestic Policy • with Comments Off

    When your car is burning oil, you have a few choices. Buy quart after quart and watch your money go up in smoke. Scrap it and try to manage without. Or overhaul the engine and keep it for the long run. As it stands, the $25 billion US auto industry bailout championed by congressional leaders amounts to another quart of oil. The only jobs it may save – temporarily – are those of executives, without forcing real accountability for management and unions. Hope, maybe. Change? Not a chance. But Republican resistance to intervention – the

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