Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Some links to stories that caught my eye ... with of course my 2 cents!

Forget all you know about the income gap between rich and poor. USAToday analyzed the data and found the income gap is a generation gap, where the baby boomers are prospering, while the younger among us are suffering. If true, this should strongly influence policy. Social security and Medicare reform, anyone?

American Public Media's program Marketplace reported the UK government is introducing Sharia bonds, bonds that steer clear of un-Islamic enterprises like gambling, to attract the untapped Muslim financial enterprises. There are some interesting issues, but this led me to think of a crazy idea. The story interviewed a lady called Ms Thorneycroft of Lawyers Christian Fellowship, who protested that the government could be attracting money with strings attached - say, no funding for media purposes. Bad, right? Well, what if we embraced that principle partly - say, cut taxes in general, but allow taxpayers to allot upto a certain percentage of their tax revenues to certain causes. Think we need more education funding - fine! But then you have to cut out spending on other causes. I think allowing the taxpayer to be much more involved in spending will lead to a citizenry much more cost conscious than what we have now.

Got to love the double standards politicians have. So workers coming together in a union to negotiate higher wages - good. Oil producers trying to make sure they generate adequate revenues for their masses - bad. Anti-trust lawsuits, screams the US House. Well, phooey! It's amazing what passes for leadership when gas prices are high. Here's a suggestion to those respected members - if you want to solve economic threats, develop some vision. But seeking to break the oil cartel is not only beyond your abilities and bad policy, it also pushes poor people on the brink further down to subsidize a rich nation addicted to consumption.

Mr John Edwards has been in the news recently for receiving $55,000 in speaking fees to address a group of UC Davis students. Of course, he's hardly the only one - the story points out former President Bill Clinton pocketed $100,000 while Mr Rudy Giuliani charged Oklahoma State University $100,000 for a speech -- and $47,000 for the use of a private jet. So, setting aside partisan rhetoric ... why should schools spend those superbucks on attracting candidates and the like? Doesn't that account to a misuse of public money? How come there aren't equal access clauses like there are with the public airwaves. Not that that is the solution. In the end, we should do with politicians what we do with musicians - if you want to hear them, you can pay out of your own pocket!

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