How not to stop violence

A psychiatrist named Jeffrey Lieberman complained yesterday that the recently headlined incidents of violence are due to “our country’s failed mental health care system.” Here’s how he describes an example of how he failed, involving an 18 year old college athlete: Continue reading

How liars figure

Figures don’t lie, but liars will figure. Here’s an example from an editorial originally titled “Bernie Sanders’s Small-Beer Donors” in The New York Times. Continue reading

Greece: predatory lending and austerity

The euro was a mistake, we’re told. Look at Greece, where their economy would be in much better shape if only they could devalue their currency, but they can’t because they don’t have their own currency.

There’s a lot more to it. To begin with, the Greek government was spending money they didn’t have and borrowing to cover the difference. Enabling that, banks outside Greece were lending to a borrower they knew would be unable to pay it back, at ever increasing interest rates. In our country, lending to people who can’t pay it back is called “predatory lending.” It leads, both here and in Greece, to making poor borrowers poorer.

The theory behind “austerity,” requiring borrowers to spend less, is that if the borrower (the Greek government, in this case) spends less, there will be more left to pay back the lender. In fact, it doesn’t work that way. Continue reading

Difference between Liberals and Conservatives

I read this article several times to try to figure out what it says. The author clearly says conservatives and liberals don’t look at society the same way.

Conservatives, he says, see society as a system of concentric rings, beginning with “loving family attachments,” then “personal commitments and relationships,” state and regional affinities, and finally a national identity. “Explaining the persistence of entrenched, intergenerational poverty,” he says, “requires taking into account the interconnectedness of the generations and the institutions that make up communities.”

To liberals, he says, society “consists of individuals and the government. All common action, therefore, is ultimately government action…. The persistence of entrenched poverty, family breakdown, social dysfunction, and poor mobility in many communities in America looks like a function of a failure to allocate resources properly.” Continue reading