It's turning out to be a rich day on a variety of fronts, for many issues that I have written about in the past, so why not simply round it all up in one post?
Immigration: How timely that there is a new study out from NCPA about the $52 trillion in government program liabilities from Medicare and Social Security. Their conclusion? "Social Security and Medicare can be reformed so that each worker saves and invests funds for his own post-retirement pension and health care benefits. The burden for the current generation of workers would be substantial: saving for their own benefits while at the same time paying taxes to fund the benefits of current retirees. However, over time Social Security and Medicare would be transformed from pay-as-you-go programs in which each generation is dependent on the next generation of workers/taxpayers into funded programs in which each generation pays its own way." Or, as I suggested, you could also expand the pool of young bright attractive (kidding) workers by importing them.
Gay right and useless NY democrats: Via JMG, we're hearing that we will be, after all, shafted by the Democrats in NY state senate. "And thus ends our hope for marriage equality in New York in the near future. In 2010 there will be a redistricting in New York state, a process that the Democrats will at least now be able to control. Therein may lie our hope for marriage equality in 2011." Really, no comment at all except to say that I pray every night for the Republicans to magically transform into a decent party and kill the Democrats in the next election.
Healthcare: Ezra Klein and Andrew Sullivan have spent the last 2 days exchanging jabs on the topic, and it's delightfully full of clashes: progressive vs libertarian, personal vs theoretical, American vs British. One of the ironies in the exchange is that Klein, an American, defends the UK system of healthcare, while Sullivan, a Brit, likes it Americana style. It started with this post by Klein about rationing, and it quickly got personal when Sullivan responded: "I prefer freedom and the market to rationalism and the collective. That's why I live here." Klein comes back saying the Brits are more satisfied with their system than Americans are with theirs, ergo it must be better, to which Sullivan goes all metaphysical: "there is a cultural aspect here - Brits simply believe suffering is an important part of life, especially through ill health. Going to the doctor is often viewed as a moral failure, a sign of weakness.. It was one of my first epiphanies about most Americans: they believe in demanding and expecting the best from healthcare, not enduring and surviving the worst, because it is their collective obligation. Ah, I thought. This is how free people think and act. Which, for much of the left, is, of course, the problem." Of course it doesn't stop there and it goes on and on. The beauty is that while Klein tries to argue with data, Sullivan operates with ideology, personal anecdote and cultural relativism - and yet Klein continues to humor him - with reason and data - for which he deserves some props.
Veganism: OK that one has been completely neglected here for a long time, but there's a nice article over at the American Prospect about the environmental benefits of eating less meat - and the unpalatability of the argument: "Why are environmental groups and even politicians willing to tell Americans to drive smaller cars or take the bus to work but unwilling to tell them to eat less meat?"