Monday, April 21, 2008

"Bittergate"

By now I'm sure you've heard about Obama's "bitter" speech. I think it is emblematic of the "culture wars" thesis. Two recent editorials do a good job pointing this out. George Will, speaking from a conservative viewpoint, argues that Democratic leaders have become elitist, and out of touch with middle America, the red state, or the traditionalists. E. J. Dionne, speaking from a liberal perspective, argues that the Republican Party has used these cultural issues (God and guns) to get middle class voters to vote against their pocketbook interests. There is a certain segment of the population that would hear Obama's comments and say, "yeah, that sounds about right." While there are others who hear his comments and say, "what!, that's outrageous!," thus suggesting that there is a cultural divide in the US, where the two sides speak a different language and have difficulty understanding each other. What do you think? Was this incident truly emblematic of a larger cultural divide, or was it just a misunderstanding?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life Examined - New York Times

OK, this story doesn't have anything to do with politics. But, for those of you still in search of a major, it might be worth looking at. CSU does not have a philosophy department, but much of what the article is talking about would apply to majors in the other liberal arts, such as religion, history, or, dare I say, political science.
In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life Examined - New York Times

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Grains Gone Wild - New York Times

Have you noticed the price of your breakfast cereal going up recently? Along with bread, milk, beef,.... This Paul Krugman editorial does a good job explaining all the reasons. Some of the reasons are beyond our control, but some aren't. As Krugman points out, part of the reason is bad policy. Congress-passed legislation that led to corn-based ethanol being added to our gas tanks is definitely part of the problem. And, one that is reversible.
Grains Gone Wild - New York Times

Monday, April 7, 2008

Medicare Finds How Hard It Is to Save Money - New York Times

This story is a good illustration of how difficult it is to change how bureaucracies do things. With the rising cost of health care, the Medicare program is one bureaucracy that needs to find creative ways to save money. It often finds it difficult to do that, however.
Medicare Finds How Hard It Is to Save Money - New York Times

Pork Barrel Remains Hidden in U.S. Budget - New York Times

It looks like we have a long way to go with earmark reform. Apparently, with the reforms of "hard" earmarks, members of Congress have gone to "soft" earmarks to get their pet projects funded. This article does a good job explaining the difference between the two:
Pork Barrel Remains Hidden in U.S. Budget - New York Times

Friday, April 4, 2008

Liberal versus Conservative health care policies

I found two articles illustrating the difference between conservatives and liberals on health care.

In this Paul Krugman editorial, the liberal viewpoint is represented. More control of the system will enable universal coverage.

In this editorial I found on the Heritage Foundation website, you have the conservative viewpoint. We need more freedom and personal choice in the system.

Which would you prefer? A system that makes a lot of decisions for you, but in which you always know you will have coverage, even if you're going through a "rough patch", or are you willing to accept some personal risk in exchange for more personal freedom?