Monday, May 12, 2014

Star Tribune story raises question: Equality or Immorality?

A surprising story carried by the Star Tribune on events over this weekend regarding two men kissing on national television and a bearded cross dresser. Here are the final lines from the story.
Raynard Jackson, a conservative columnist who writes often about LGBT issues, connected last weekend's events to recent laws legalizing marijuana and allowing California schoolchildren to choose their bathrooms and sports teams based on their chosen gender identity.  
"When you connect the dots, you have a society being created in which there are no absolutes, no right or wrong, up or down, black or white," Jackson said. 
So where is guidance supposed to come from for our laws? "It used to be you could look to God, to the Bible," Jackson said.  
"Now it's almost illegal to mention God or Christian values "If you have no standards of right and wrong, then morally it's the Wild Wild West," Jackson said.  
"If everyone has laws that are unique to them, that's a recipe for disaster for society."

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Only 7% of journalists say they're Republicans.

Here's story out of the Washington Post pointing out that only 7% of journalists identify themselves as Republicans while 28% as Democrats.  50% identify themselves as Independents.

Of course, journalists will argue they're still objective whatever their personal views. However, worldview, how a person sees the world, impacts what they perceive happening in the world.  Here journalists I suspect are overwhelmingly liberal whatever their political affiliation, even if they view themselves as Independents. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Prayer at city council meetings still legal on 5-4 vote at Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that city council meetings can still be opened with prayer, at least for now. On a 5 to 4 vote the court said,
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation's traditions.
"The inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers," Kennedy said.
At least for now the exclusion of God from the public square wasn't extended.  My how we've moved towards a judicially mandated secular state.  Looks like one vote from locking it in.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bad job market for college graduates in Minnesota.

Here's an interesting story on the state of the economy in Minnesota.

It points out the job market is very poor for young people.  60 percent of kids who graduated in 2011 with college degrees don't have full time jobs today.

I suspect the dramatic increase of the minimum wage in Minnesota will only the make the situation worse, particularly for non-college graduates. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Income inequality and wealth redistribution. Doesn't everybody lose in the long run?

There's a lot of talk about what to do about income disparities as the percent of income in society is moving towards the wealthy.  The easy, almost knee jerk reaction of some is redistribution of wealth through raising taxes on the wealthy, raising minimum wage and so forth. 

But simply taking money from higher income people and giving it to another through a government welfare program often benefits no one in the long run.  Welfare, except for the truly needy, discourages work and initiative and encourages dependency.  The wealthy person taxed has less incentive to work hard and invest and create jobs, so there are fewer jobs for lower income folks.

Here's a discussion of this by columnist Robert Samuelson.  He references a French economist Thomas Piketty who dislikes income inequity so he wants to redistribute money.
He objects to extreme economic inequality because it offends democracy: Too much power is conferred on too few. His economic analysis sometimes seems skewed to fit his political agenda.
Take his tax increases. He doubts that they would hurt economic growth. This seems questionable. Incentives must matter, at least slightly. Or consider his predicted slowdown in the world economy.

This seems possible, but if it happens, capital owners would likely suffer lower returns. As for the power of the superrich, they hardly control most democracies. In the United States, where about 70 percent of federal spending goes to the poor and middle class, the richest 1 percent pay nearly a quarter of federal taxes. After-tax and post-government-transfer incomes are less unequal than Piketty's pretax figures.

Still, the present concentration of income and wealth instinctively feels excessive. It understandably stirs resentment. We'd be better off if the rich were less so and other Americans were more so. But it's doubtful that political action to force this transformation would be similarly beneficial. Class warfare is bruising; today, it would degrade the confidence needed for a stronger recovery.