Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Abortion: The Solution

David Brooks on abortion:
If we could get this issue away from the abortion professionals and their orthodoxies, we could reach a sensible solution: abortion would be legal, with parental consent for minors, during the first four or five months, and illegal except in extremely rare circumstances afterward.
Exactly right! My sense has always been that 60-65% of the American public supports this view. But somehow the 15-20% of extremists on each side control the debate. And, of course, the courts got involved, which mucked things up terribly.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Equal Pay for Equal Work

From the AP:

Women make only 80 percent of the salaries their male peers do one year after college; after 10 years in the work force, the gap between their pay widens further, according to a study released Monday.

The study, by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, found that 10 years after college, women earn only 69 percent of what men earn.

Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the study found that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained. The group said that portion of the gap is "likely due to sex discrimination."

It's not clear exactly what this gap means, but let's be clear about what it does not mean. It does not mean that two first year associates, one female and one male, hired by the same firm to do the same job will make different amounts. They will, in fact, make the same salary.

As for what it does mean, my best guess is that women tend to take jobs that pay less than men. For example, there are more women who take elementary school teaching jobs and more men who become engineers. The article says that this is due "sex discrimination." That's probably not the best way to characterize it, however, as it seems to imply the cause is mainly the decisions of senior male hiring people. In truth, I think there's a broader issue of how society views the role of women and men that is the root cause.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Obama's Economics

The NY Times notes the following about Obama's chief economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee:
The two men met when Mr. Obama was teaching at the [U. of Chicago law school], and they both seem to favor achieving Democratic goals through market-oriented policies. As Mr. Goolsbee has written: “Moral exhortation doesn’t change people’s behavior. Prices do.”

I like the sound of that. A moderate Democrat on economic issues. That's what Obama needs to be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban and the Comerce Clause

From today's Supreme Court opinion upholding the federal law that prohibits partial birth abortion, Justice Thomas said the following in dissent:
I also note that whether the Act constitutes a permissible exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause is not before the Court. The parties did not raise or brief that issue; it is outside the question presented; and the lower courts did not address it.

Please, please, please, will somebody please challenge this law under the Commerce Clause? Justice Thomas is practically begging you to! It could bring some common sense back to the Commerce Clause doctrine! Or I suppose it could make things worse if they decide that the law has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. But even if they go that route, there is the advantage that they are exposed as idiots, for whatever that's worth.

Monday, April 09, 2007

"Obama to skip Fox-sponsored debate"

This is kind of lame, in my opinion. If he really wants to be different than the typical politician, he shouldn't go for cheap shots like bashing Fox. Sure, Fox is biased. But so is everyone else (maybe not to the same degree, but there are more of them).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Obama's Health Care Pre-Plan

Obama on health care:

Obama said he's not wedded to any specific system, but he thinks the plan he'll eventually support will offer universal coverage and will squeeze efficiencies out of the health care system. It also will stress preventive programs, such as weight control.

"The status quo is unsustainable," Obama said. "Standing pat is not an option."

Obama said if he was starting from zero, he would likely support a single-payer system, similar to the government-run program in Canada. But he's leery of taking such a step because the United States already has a complex and established system of employer-based health coverage.

He said that the country is already moving toward a government-based health system.

"The government is already covering half the people," said Obama, noting that Medicare, Medicaid and veterans health systems cover a vast number of Americans.

To build a political consensus for a new system, Obama said he'll hold a series of similar meetings to gauge public sentiment. He plans to offer a health care proposal in a couple months, he said.

Some interesting statements. I'm not sure what to make of them. Saying he would support single-payer if starting from scratch might be his way of paying lip service to the extreme left view. The reference to "squeezing efficiencies" is a good sign that he will not go too far in expanding the government's role. It's still not really clear where he's going with this, though.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mis-leading Headline of the Day

From Reuters:
"Three Yale students arrested for burning U.S. flag"

Wow, what a great free speech controversy, right! Um, maybe not. The article provides some context:

"Police said the three torched a flag hanging from the porch of a house in New Haven near the Ivy League school."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Obama on Yucca Moutnain

I'm a bit late in mentioning this, but here it is anyway:
Obama said he was opposed to plans to build a permanent nuclear waste repository
at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The senator suggested he
might support regional dump sites.

He "might" support "regional dump sites"? Seriously? Look, I can understand why people in and near Nevada don't want nuclear waste stored there. But we have to store it somewhere. If not Yucca mountain, then come up with another plan. You can't just reject Yucca and not offer an alternative.