Rhetoric and Public Opinion on the Economy

I always find polls to be interesting. In my mind, one of the more fascinating things is when there is a large disjunction between individuals’ assessment of X (e.g., the environment, crime, education, the economy) as they experience it and their assessment of X as the nation experiences it. I often attribute the differences to … Continue reading Rhetoric and Public Opinion on the Economy

More on OECD Welfare States

In my last post, I said "total net social spending" included net public spending and mandatory private social spending. In fact, it includes voluntary private social expenditures as well. The U.S. has by far the highest voluntary social expenditures in the OECD, so if you subtract those out, the U.S. net public and mandatory private … Continue reading More on OECD Welfare States

The United States’ Big Welfare State

The United States has long had a larger welfare state than most other Western democracies. Surprised? You may not be aware of the new research on "net social spending." Net social spending includes not just government expenditures on social programs, but also tax credits for social purposes and, as a debit, government taxation of social … Continue reading The United States’ Big Welfare State

Partisan Rationalization in Action

Thomas Carsey and Geoffrey Layman in The Monkey Cage: The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reported on June 10, 2013 that the percentage of Democratic identifiers who found NSA surveillance programs acceptable increased from 37 percent in January 2006 to 64 percent in June 2013. In contrast, the percentage of Republican … Continue reading Partisan Rationalization in Action

Making Sense of the Numbers

The early figures on the Affordable Care Act are raising some concerns for those who believed that it would address the problem of the uninsured. Christopher Weaver and Anna Wilde Matthews (Wall Street Journal) report: Early signals suggest the majority of the 2.2 million people who sought to enroll in private insurance through new marketplaces … Continue reading Making Sense of the Numbers

Libertarians and Abortion

Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Reason held an interesting panel in 2013 (participants: Katherine Mangu-Ward, Ronald Bailey and Mollie Hemingway, with Nick Gillespie moderating) highlighting some of the core areas of debate among libertarians. The question of abortion has continued to spark disagreements  involving core questions of when personhood (and thus … Continue reading Libertarians and Abortion

The Omnivore’s Duties

We all agree that it's wrong to put cats in microwaves. Animals' welfare matters to us. (I don't think Damon Linker has it right when he says our moral concern for animals is simply a natural "expansion of the sphere of human concern and empathy." My concern for my fellow human beings dictates precisely nothing … Continue reading The Omnivore’s Duties