Young non-voters

I learned this morning that the percentage of young people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 29 who actually vote is just 16 percent — yes, that’s not a typo — just 16 percent of them go to the polls. I have no idea which way the country would swing if they all voted but I think that I do know that we are not a functioning democracy without their vote.

Brett Kavanaugh

The process by which this man was appointed leaves us feeling absolutely aghast. We like to think that if he were truly innocent that he would have mandated full disclosure of all his records and called for a full FBI enquiry. If he truly has nothing to hide, then why not. The fact that he wants his past concealed speaks volumes – against him. A sad day for America.

President Donald J. Trump

We have just watched his very gracious acceptance speech. Who would ever have thought that Donald Trump would be President Donald Trump? Who would ever have thought that he would sweep the country? As the Washington Post has just said “he did it by completely blowing up the electoral map and all of our projections and expectations of it.” More than one pollster and their fancy programs are wondering just what happened and how it was that they got it so wrong. No doubt long analyses will follow and we’ll learn just how all the models were so far off. What a day!

Stunned

The only word for what I’m feeling right now is STUNNED and in capital letters. Who would ever have thought that Americans would vote for someone who had never served in government, never served in the military, and never paid taxes. On the other hand, I have been saying for months now that the elite ignore the very real pain in the country to their peril. Well, the country has now spoken and the elite is indeed in peril. It is clear that we are witnessing, to use Paul Begala’s words, an earthquake. Time for those who “have” to pay attention to those who don’t. The next four years are going to be fascinating ones to watch especially when one figures that this was not a vote for Republicans but a vote against the Establishment.

Why educate?

Why do we bother to educate our young? Or put alternatively, why do our young bother to get educated? The discussion revolving around the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action at the University of Michigan seems to muddle those two questions. Do we, as a society, have an interest in educating our young? Or is education a purely private affair? More sharply put, is education all about “me” or is it about “us.” Those who oppose affirmative action seem to be arguing that “I” am being denied an education because someone else was given preference over me; those who favor affirmative action seem to be suggesting that society has an interest in how people are educated. Continue reading

A moral economy

Arthur C. Brooks, President of the American Economic Institute, is catching my eye these days and speaking my kind of language. This morning’s Capitalism and the Dalai Lama (http://nyti.ms/1nt5ptR) captures my sentiments almost entirely. Quoting the Dalai Lama with approval, he writes: “Markets are instrumental, not intrinsic, for human flourishing. As with any tool, wielding capitalism for good requires deep moral awareness.” And again, “Advocates of free enterprise must remember that the system’s moral core is neither profits nor efficiency. It is creating opportunity for individuals who need it the most.” Bravo! Continue reading

Budget Blues

I have written at length over the years about how government does not distinguish between expense and asset i.e., whether money spent is for today or for tomorrow. It is pleasing to see the House actually vote in favor of a budget — any budget. Unfortunately, this one seems to continue to slash the investment side while leaving the expense side intact. The opposition to the bill would be more credible if it were not in favor of simply slashing both investment and expense.