Sometimes music can express the plight of the disadvantaged better than any policy paper full of statistics. And certainly wealth is no guarantee of happiness, as this classic song expresses so well: "Riohard Cory," by Simon and Garfunkel, 1966.
Returning to America in 2017 after eight years away, I felt pride that at least the United States, unlike so many other countries, is attempting to address serious issues like police brutality, racial injustice, poverty and discrimination based on race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. In so many other countries of the world, these are taboo topics.... Continue Reading →
"Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else Behind" by Richard Reeves, contends that the top 20% of Americans -- those most likely to vote and have disproportionate political power -- rig the housing, education and labor markets for their own advantages, rather like an anti-competitive cartel. About 9 in 10... Continue Reading →
Conservatives lament identity politics, but the most powerful form of identity politics since 2016 has been Donald Trump's appeals to white resentment of immigrants and racial minorities. "Discomfort with 'the other' fuels 'fear of cultural displacement' among white working-class voters," wrote Eugene Scott in The Washington Post. Chronicling Trump's almost lifelong racist statements and actions,... Continue Reading →
Conservative intellectual Shelby Steele, in his book Shame, makes some valid points lamenting tribalism of the American right as well as left; white paternalism; fear of being perceived and shamed as racist. But he ultimately fails by ignoring important parts of US history, distorting liberalism, and putting his faith in crony capitalists eager to expand corporate... Continue Reading →
For Black History Month, NYT critics have selected 28 "must see" movies depicting African Americans. Click.
Sooner or later if you study economics or debate politics with a conservative, you will hear quotes from Milton Friedman (1912-2006). Indeed, it is stimulating to watch videos of Friedman on Youtube.com or to read his "brainy quotes." My son is majoring in economics and I encourage him, a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016, to... Continue Reading →
Barack Obama's "Dreams of My Father" will probably go down in history as a classic bridge-building book, not just as an autobiography of a president but as a study of what it's like to be black and white in America. Here he reads an excerpt and takes questions at Cambridge Public Library in 1995.
"It turns out that social status is the most powerful determinant of health for a wide range of outcomes including life expectancy, as well as illness and death from cardiovascular, pulmonary, psychiatric, and rheumatologic diseases and some cancers. It’s not only where we find ourselves on the social pyramid that matters, it also matters how that pyramid... Continue Reading →
Among the one million offenders incarcerated as of June 30, 2004, an estimated 576,000 were black males between the ages of 20-30 • For ages 25-29, 12.6% of blacks were in jail, compared to 3.6% of Latinos and 1.75 of whites • Once arrested, blacks are three times more likely to be incarcerated... Continue Reading →