Mr. Piketty hypothesized that income inequality has risen because returns on capital—such as profits, interest and rent that are more gleanings of the rich than the poor—outpaced economic growth. The evidence modern capitalism foments inequality, the former adviser to French Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal argued, was in capital’s rising share of income at the expense of labor’s contribution over the last four decades.
But Mr. Piketty’s thesis, posed by the French economist in his controversial 2013 tome “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” isn’t proved by historical data, says International Monetary Fund economist Carlos Góes.“There is little more than some apparent correlations the reader can eyeball in charts,” Mr. Góes says in a new paper published by the IMF. “While rich in data, the book provides no formal empirical testing for its theoretical causal chain.” Mr. Góes tested the thesis against three decades of data from 19 advanced economies. “I find no empirical evidence that dynamics move in the way Piketty suggests.”
In fact, for three-quarters of the countries he studied, inequality actually fell when capital returns accelerated faster than output.
Those findings support previous work by Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and political scientist James Robinson, now of the University of Chicago, suggesting Mr. Piketty’s thesis was far too simplistic for the complexities of real-world economies that are affected by politics and technology.
Nine in 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name, according to a new Washington Post poll that shows how few ordinary Indians have been persuaded by a national movement to change the football team’s moniker.
Among the Native Americans reached over a five-month period ending in April, more than 7 in 10 said they did not feel the word “Redskin” was disrespectful to Indians. An even higher number — 8 in 10 — said they would not be offended if a non-native called them that name.
But for more than a decade, no one has measured what the country’s 5.4 million Native Americans think about the controversy. Their responses to The Post poll were unambiguous: Few objected to the name, and some voiced admiration. “I’m proud of being Native American and of the Redskins,” said Barbara Bruce, a Chippewa teacher who has lived on a North Dakota reservation most of her life. “I’m not ashamed of that at all. I like that name.” Bruce, 70, has for four decades taught her community’s schoolchildren, dozens of whom have gone on to play for the Turtle Mountain Community High School Braves. She and many others surveyed embrace native imagery in sports because it offers them some measure of attention in a society where they are seldom represented. Just 8 percent of those canvassed say such depictions bother them.
Comments Naomi Schaefer Riley in the Atlantic:
As a recent Washington Post survey concluded, most American Indians are not offended by the term “Redskins”—the name of D.C.’s football team. In interviews, I couldn’t find a single native who mentioned sports-team names as an important issue facing American Indians today. While I did read one editorial in a reservation newsletter arguing against the celebration of Columbus Day, I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to discuss the issue further.
While researchers have argued that team names such as this impair Native youths’ self-esteem, many of those young people have grown up in poverty, living with one or no parents, often exposed to adults who have problems with drugs and alcohol. When these young people have few educational options and little hope of employment ahead of them, it seems ignorant, if not offensive, to focus solely on the names of sports teams, if that distracts from addressing more serious problems. [Native Americans in the U.S. and Property Rights: A Comparative Look at Canada’s First Nations Property Ownership Act – The Atlantic]
Or perhaps it is smart of so-called tribal leaders to create distractions so they don’t get blamed for not addressing the real problem.
Why blame the policies that benefit them as tribal leaders, but hurt Indians in general, when the Washington Redskins can serve as a scapegoat. After all look what it has done to empower and enrich “Black Leaders.”
The 2 million Natives in the U.S. have the highest rate of poverty of any racial group—almost twice the national average. This deprivation seems to contribute not only to higher rates of crime but also to higher rates of suicide, alcoholism, gang membership, and sexual abuse. As of 2011, the suicide rate for Native American men aged 15 to 34 was 1.5 times higher than for the general population. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Natives aged 10 to 34.
Alcohol-use disorders are more likely among American Indian youths than among any other ethnic group. Involvement in gang activity is more prevalent among Native Americans than it is among Latinos and African Americans. Native American women report being raped two-and-a-half times as often as the national average. The rate of child abuse among Native Americans is twice as high as the national average. And each of these problems is worse among the half of Natives who live on reservations.
The economic devastation in American Indian communities is not simply a result of their history as victims of forced assimilation, war, and mass murder; it’s a result of the federal government’s current policies, and particularly its restrictions on Natives’ property rights.
Reservation land is held “in trust” for Indians by the federal government. The goal of this policy was originally to keep Indians contained to certain lands. Now, it has shifted to preserving these lands for indigenous peoples. But the effect is the same. Indians can’t own land, so they can’t build equity. This prevents American Indians from reaping numerous benefits.
Indian reservations, Terry Anderson and Shawn Regan wrote in Louisiana State University’s Journal of Energy Law and Resources, “contain almost 30 percent of the nation’s coal reserves west of the Mississippi, 50 percent of potential uranium reserves, and 20 percent of known oil and gas reserves”—resources worth nearly $1.5 trillion, or $290,000 per tribal member. Tragically, “86 percent of Indian lands with energy or mineral potential remain undeveloped because of federal control of reservations that keeps Indians from fully capitalizing on their natural resources if they desire.”
The people I met on reservations were not suffering because others don’t understand their heritage or know their tribal language. What American Indians need are real property rights.
DONALD J. TRUMP […] is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.
…there is nothing on Mr. Trump’s résumé to suggest he could function successfully in Washington. He was staked in the family business by a well-to-do father and has pursued a career marked by some real estate successes, some failures and repeated episodes of saving his own hide while harming people who trusted him.
Given his ignorance, it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. In years past, he supported immigration reform, gun control and legal abortion; as candidate, he became a hard-line opponent of all three. Even in the course of the campaign, he has flip-flopped on issues such as whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States and whether women who have abortions should be punished. Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda. Existing trade deals are “stupid,” but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically.
What the candidate does offer is a series of prejudices and gut feelings, most of them erroneous. Allies are taking advantage of the United States. Immigrants are committing crimes and stealing jobs. Muslims hate America. In fact, Japan and South Korea are major contributors to an alliance that has preserved a peace of enormous benefit to Americans. Immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans and take jobs that no one else will. Muslims are the primary victims of Islamist terrorism, and Muslim Americans, including thousands who have served in the military, are as patriotic as anyone else.
Worse, he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. He has threatened that those who criticize him will suffer when he is president. He has vowed to torture suspected terrorists and bomb their innocent relatives, no matter the illegality of either act. He has vowed to constrict the independent press. He went after a judge whose rulings angered him, exacerbating his contempt for the independence of the judiciary by insisting that the judge should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump has encouraged and celebrated violence at his rallies.
The party’s failure of judgment leaves the nation’s future where it belongs, in the hands of voters. Many Americans do not like either candidate this year . We have criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the past and will do so again when warranted. But we do not believe that she (or the Libertarian and Green party candidates, for that matter) represents a threat to the Constitution. Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger.
A message worth reading….
To the honorable Senator Cruz,
I write these words in great haste, since in a few short hours you will address the RNC. At that moment you will be handed a rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: you will have the chance to denounce Donald J. Trump, your party’s 2016 Presidential Nominee, as the disgrace to our Republic and to your party that you know him to be. I urge you to take it. I plead with you to take it. I beg you to take it. And, with what little eloquence I possess, I will try to persuade you to take it.
Senator, you have three choices: You may endorse Trump, you may try to neither endorse nor reject him, or you may reject him.
If you endorse him, then you will forever bear the stain and responsibility for that endorsement. If there is any sense left in America, any decency left in America, or even a decent sense of smell left in America, then Trump will be defeated in a spectacular land-slide. That is the best that you can hope for your party and for your subsequently tarnished reputation. Worse will be if he loses by a modest margin, for it will embolden many would-be demagogues to attempt what he nearly achieved. And why wouldn’t it? Then President H.R. Clinton would be no less compromised by her past in 2020 than Senator H.R. Clinton is today, in 2016. Some other charlatan will realize that if Trump had only been just slightly less stupid, slightly less narcissistic, and slightly more Presidential, then he would have been swept into office on a massive wave of support. Worst will be if he is elected, and may God forbid such a day to see light. You will then be responsible for having endorsed the ascension of America’s Nero. He will fiddle away with tweets while our country burns. He will loot it, and line his filthy pockets, while he drives it further into bankruptcy-just as he has done half a dozen times before. And when it is over he will brag that he came out richer.
Did President Bill Clinton’s Lewinski scandal embarrass you as an American and offend you as a Christian? Imagine President Trump. Did the Watergate scandal and the lying and cheating of President Richard Nixon leave an entire generation disillusioned and distrustful of our national institutions? Imagine President Trump. Are you ashamed of the racism of President Johnson? Observe Donald Trump. Did the Smoot-Hawley tariffs devastate international trade and help bring on the Great Depression? Imagine President Trump. Roosevelt’s Japanese internment camps? Imagine Trump. Bush’s lies about WMDs? Trump. The Alien and Sedition Acts? Trump. Kennedy’s Philandery? Trump. Teapot Dome? Trump. The worst of all our national disgraces and debacles will be trumped by Trump, excluding-one hopes- only slavery and the slaughter of Native Americans.
In the name of preventing more violence and the pain that its victims will endure, I will use violent words, though I know some find them painful to hear:
Donald Trump will rape America.
And then he will call her a slut.
Will you endorse him?
What if you try to avoid the stubby orange elephant in the stadium, and try to neither endorse nor reject? To your party’s die-hards and insiders you will still appear disloyal and uncooperative. To the rest of your country you will appear feckless. Everyone will know that you do not support him, they will suspect that secretly you loathe him, and they will still say that you put the good of your party before the good of your country, and the good of your political career before the good of your soul.
Let me ask you, is the good of the Republican party so great a thing, when it nominates Donald Trump to the highest office in the land? It must be rebuilt or it must be replaced, but there is precious little by which it can be redeemed. He would not disavow the leader of the Ku Klux Klan – so can you or your party afford not to disavow him?
As for your own political future, you have staked your reputation on being unwavering loyal to conservative principles. You present yourself as being truly a man of conviction, and not merely one more Washington actor playing the part of ‘Representative with scruples’. If that is true, then let it be true now, for there has never been a firmer moral ground for you to stand upon. If it is false, then begin, today, to make it true if you would seek to be better, or give the performance of a lifetime. You will have a starring role in the most dramatic political moment in decades.
Won’t it ruin your relationship with the Republican party? You are notoriously unpopular with your fellow Republicans; or so it is said. Why not be unpopular with them for good reason, and popular with the American people for better reason still? You can run as an independent for the rest of your days and never be in doubt about your senate seat. You might even still be nominated for President. It looks like they’ll nominate just about anybody these days.
But, Honorable Senator Cruz, I truly hope that you are the man you claim to be. That you do have principles and convictions.
Sir, I am not a Republican. But if you are a loyal Republican, then I bid you to save the reputation and future chances of your party. You will further divide it today, but you will preserve some part of it for tomorrow. Trump and ‘Trumpism’ are gangrenous, by blade or by blaze you must eliminate them. I have read that tonight you will be speaking about how conservativism can still have a bright future in America. Still is right- your party and, by extension, conservatism, have never been under a darker cloud of ignominy. If you want either to have a future, you must show the nation and show us dramatically that there are some Republicans and some so-called Conservatives who know the difference between right and wrong or between a statesman and a would-be tin-pot dictator. At a time when race relations are at their worst, you may, at least, reject one of their worst instigators.
Sir, I am not a Christian. But if you embrace the message of Christ, and if you believe there is a Maker who will one day hold you to account, then surely you must know that He will hold you to account for what you do tonight. Remember that no man can serve two masters. Is your Lord a God of Justice? Of Mercy? Of Wisdom? Of Truth? Of Righteousness? Or is your master vanity, avarice, illicit power and the gold-plated calf that has been erected as its idol and that stands – or slouches – as its most shocking symbol?
Sir, my Honorable Sir, I am no Senator, no Statesman. I have never so much as dabbled in politics. But I do consider myself a patriotic American, and as such I charge you – as an elected representative in our highest legislative body to defend the Constitution from a man who has not read it, cannot understand it, and will never respect it.
If you clearly, articulately, and unwaveringly explain why you oppose the most wretched man to ever stand for this great office it will be remembered for the rest of your life and political career. Even your opponents, who would concede you nothing good, will begrudgingly admit that you did no wrong when you undid Trump. Everyone else will admire it as an act of independence, of courage, and of principle.
God bless you, Senator Cruz. May you always choose what is right even if it is hard rather than what is easy even if it is wrong.
Dr. Jason Rheins
To anyone else who may read this- I urge you to share it, retweet it, or whatever you can so that some leader who could yet make some difference might yet do some good.
…just imagine if this were 2000 and the resolution of the election depended on a Supreme Court decision. Could anyone now argue with a straight face that Justice Ginsburg’s only guide would be the law?
Mr. Trump’s hands, of course, are far from clean on the matter of judicial independence. It was just weeks ago that he was lambasting Gonzalo Curiel, the United States District Court judge overseeing a case against Trump University, saying that as a “Mexican,” the Indiana-born judge could not be impartial.
All of which makes it only more baffling that Justice Ginsburg would choose to descend toward his level and call her own commitment to impartiality into question. Washington is more than partisan enough without the spectacle of a Supreme Court justice flinging herself into the mosh pit.
Ginsburg is right about Trump — sadly she as an impartial justice is little better — and in some aspects worse.
J.K. Rowling held up Donald Trump as an example of the importance of freedom of expression in her remarks Monday night at the PEN America Literary Gala, where she received the 2016 PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award.
Says J.K. Rowling:
Intolerance of alternative viewpoints is spreading to places that make me, a moderate and a liberal, most uncomfortable. Only last year, we saw an online petition to ban Donald Trump from entry to the U.K. It garnered half a million signatures.
Just a moment.
I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted. But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there. His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine. Unless we take that absolute position without caveats or apologies, we have set foot upon a road with only one destination. If my offended feelings can justify a travel ban on Donald Trump, I have no moral ground on which to argue that those offended by feminism or the fight for transgender rights or universal suffrage should not oppress campaigners for those causes. If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on them grounds that they have offended you have crossed the line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.
Austin prides itself on being a fun place for travelers to visit, but suddenly, with Uber and Lyft bailing in a political dispute, it’s not such a great party town anymore.
Austin has gone back in time 20 years, to an era where the taxi monopoly and the Hertz cartel had a total chokehold on visitors.
“Austin’s trying to be Oh yeah we’re so cool by rejecting ridesharing,” she says, “but it’s just showing how backwards we are. I probably should have just walked.”
Meanwhile, ten thousand drivers are out of a job—or at least a second job. The city’s huge phalanx of former ride-sharing drivers finds itself scrambling for work. The city responded by setting up a useless hotline and a “job fair” that consisted of little more than telling people how to apply for expensive chauffeur’s licenses and cab medallions. Most people can’t afford those, so instead drivers are offering their services on hastily assembled underground Facebook ride-sharing communities, marketing themselves in the same way a freelance handyman or pool-repair guy would. And desperate riders are responding.
Other than the occasional savvy low-scale entrepreneur and sharky car-rental and cab companies, no one appears to be benefitting from this insane transit apocalypse. Though the city frightened voters with terrifying depictions of a plague of Uber-rape, it’s now come out that people with sexual assault convictions, and even drunk-driving arrests, are actually allowed to drive cabs in Austin, few questions asked. “If you have ever been convicted of theft at any point, you could never get a chauffeur’s permit,” a city council member told a local news station. “That just seems like too much.”
Also, the city allows cab drivers to smoke in their cars.
The market creates. The politician destroys. The world moves on albeit…much more slowly.
Genetically Engineered Food is Safe: No Evidence that GE Crops are Unsafe to Eat, or Do Damage to the Environment
“The inescapable conclusion, after reading the report, is the G.E. crops are pretty much just crops. They are not the panacea that some proponents claim, nor the dreaded monsters that others claim.” — Wayne Parrott a professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia.
A two-year analysis of almost 900 journal articles on the past 30 years of genetically modified, or engineered (GE), crop use concludes that there is no evidence that GE crops are unsafe to eat, or do damage to the environment. The 400-page report — Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects’ published by the National Academies Press on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. — was conducted by 20 scientists, and commissioned by the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
The report looks at the impacts GE crops have had since the 1980s. Its findings include:
- Generally positive economic outcomes for farmers, but no indication GE crops changed the rate of increase in yields;
- Decreased crop losses, insecticide use and greater insect biodiversity for insect-resistant Bt crops, but also instances of insects evolving resistance;
- No decrease in plant biodiversity for herbicide tolerant crops, but a major problem with herbicide-resistant weeds due to heavy glyphosate use;
- No evidence that foods from GE crops are less safe to eat than conventional food.
Looking to the future of GE crops, the report notes that new genetic technologies are blurring the line between conventional and GE crops, and that the U.S. regulatory system needs to assess crop varieties based on their individual characteristics, not the way they are produced.