Archive for the ‘Social Policy’ 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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  • Both sides of the debate should want government out of the abortion issue

    on Dec 1, 09 • in All Columns, Domestic Policy, Politics, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    Both sides of the debate should want government out of the abortion issue

    There is no issue more divisive or distressing – or more manipulated in service to bloc-headed politics – than abortion. As the Senate debates healthcare reform this week, abortion confronts us like an unwanted pregnancy itself. Most of us wish it would just go away. But there is a solution, if we focus on the right question: how to get government out of the issue entirely. The first step is to create space for an honest national conversation about abortion – something we haven’t had since Roe v. Wade. That 1973 Supreme Court ruling made

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  • Calling Obama a socialist hides the real debate

    on Nov 5, 09 • in All Columns, Domestic Policy, Politics, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    Calling Obama a socialist hides the real debate

    San Francisco Approaching a year in office, President Obama is not only waging two wars overseas, he’s fighting a serious perception battle at home. It’s more serious than an uncivil war of words and far-right rants about socialism and government-run healthcare. It challenges every dimension of the change and reform he promised this country. The heart of the problem is that his far-reaching agenda hasn’t appealed to the better judgment of the broad political center, not to mention the right. He still can – if he enlists individual choice more effectively. The power of personal

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  • What can America learn from Switzerland and France about healthcare reform?

    on Sep 1, 09 • in All Columns, Business, Domestic Policy, Health Care, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    What can America learn from Switzerland and France about healthcare reform?

    San Francisco Anyone put off by the poster that paints President Obama as a “socialist joker” might take a look at the typical American in the mirror. We already combine the worst features of both socialism and market forces in healthcare, because we can’t seem to learn from the best examples in other countries. It’s time we did – because that’s where the real choices are. And eventually, we’ll have to choose. On the (fully) socialized side, US Medicare and Medicaid consume 8 percent of our national income – about the same share as socialist

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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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  • Your brain on charity

    on Dec 25, 08 • in 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

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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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  • American philanthropy and foreign assistance in hard times

    on Dec 22, 08 • in Foreign Policy, 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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  • 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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  • The Outrage in Your Credit Card’s Fine Print

    on Aug 13, 08 • in All Columns, Domestic Policy, Featured, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    The Outrage in Your Credit Card’s Fine Print

    Would you sign a contract that says, “Any term can be changed at any time for any reason, including no reason”? Anyone who uses a credit card already has. Such are the absurd terms of the consumer credit-card industry, which is poised to be the next big crisis (after housing) that banks have aided and abetted in US households. Americans have now racked up nearly $1 trillion in credit-card debt. As housing equity shrinks and costs rise, agencies such as Moody’s report swelling numbers of accounts with balances three or more payments past due. Reinforced

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