There Goes the Neighborhood

September 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Intangible Dividend in an Antipoverty Experiment – Happiness. This report is interesting because, like a lot of good research, it contradicts common sense. If you move the poor into affluent neighborhoods, there is no improvement in job or education outcomes – they just have more satisfying and happier lives.


Let Us Now Praise Stephen the Cautious

March 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

I have a couple of favourite conservatives – David Frum is one. I can occasionally see a compassion inherited from his Mom – heck, more than occasionally. Frum praises Harper’s caution in the last Federal budget – don’t cut too much, gradually get to a balanced budget.

For the centre left to ignore the debt and deficit is dishonest. Maybe voters are tired of being lied to, that they can have supportive social programs and low taxes, which essentially means debt and deficit. We might, however, recommend modest tax increases and straightening out the tax code.

Can we return to the greatest political slogan of all time? “Corporate Welfare Bums”

My argument with Harper is that in addition to welcome gradualism, there does have to be some shift in emphasis so that we are doing better over a 5 to 20 year time line. This means an emphasis on research and development, infrastructure, and education for employment.

Almost all social problems get addressed by emphasizing those three things.

If you’re getting your underwear in a knot, just remember that Harper isn’t Ryan.

Stupid socialists, blind capitalists.

June 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

An Obvious Secret | The Weekly Standard. The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce by Deirdre N. McCloskey.This book review outlines the arguments McCloskey makes for capitalism as the incubator of bourgeois virtues: courage, justice, temperance, prudence, faith, hope, and love. Most of her arguments for the failure of socialism rest on examples from the U. S., while she conflates socialism with various 20th Century totalitarian states. Can’t partial capitalism incubate social values? Can’t some state monopolies duplicate the efficiencies of large organizations? No one should defend stupid socialism: if a program doesn’t work in terms of cost, get rid of it or change it; if you don’t have the money to implement a program, don’t implement it. I’ve always loved the fact that the first socialist government in North America (1948 – Saskatchewan) was run by a bunch of tight fisted farmers who’d be disciplined by the depression to do the most the could with the dollars they had. Stupid socialism has wrecked Greece, Portugal and possibly Spain and Italy. Stupid capitalism wrecked Ireland and Iceland.  Sweden, on the other hand, has weathered the recession fairly well. Even when right of center governments have come to power in many socially democratic nations, they mostly have moved the balance a little more towards free enterprise without torching all government programs. Great Britain may turn out to be the exception, but so far it looks like gutless capitalism – half way measures that won’t make anyone too annoyed.

I wouldn’t let a dog…

May 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pringle confronts big job to reverse child welfare woes. This puts the whole Social Services issue in an even harsher light.

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