It is important to consider factual abortion statistics for the pro-abortion and pro-life arguments.
There are a startling 42 million abortions worldwide every year.
Over a lifetime, that totals about 1 abortion for every woman on the planet, and in fact, nearly 1 in 2 women worldwide will have an abortion in their lifetime.
I don’t care if you’re pro-life or pro-choice, these numbers are sobering. And let’s get real for a minute. Whether there are laws prohibiting abortion or not, there are going to be abortions.
Abortion fact: about 20 million women each year obtain abortions in countries where the practice is either illegal or restricted. Abortion is our reality.
I can’t really debate whether abortions should be legal under the “do the right thing” lens. That there are strong pro choice and pro life arguments in the abortion debate is not the point. The problem with the abortion debate is that it is about beliefs. Pro-lifers believe life begins at inception, while pro-choicers believe life starts at some later point – often defined as the point of viability of the fetus. And beliefs, by definition, are not provable. Depending on where you come out on this belief, you will argue that abortions are ethical or not.
Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, what is generally not debated is that having an abortion is an undesirable, difficult, emotional experience. In an ideal world, there would be no abortions. But these startling abortion statistics show the magnitude of the issue is huge. We should, therefore, work together to reduce abortions and more specifically the underlying causes for abortions.
What can we do? The US government, pro-life groups, pro-choice groups and anti-aids groups should band together in a (somewhat uncomfortable) alliance and focus their resources on the following areas.… Read the rest
On May 25, 1961 – nearly 50 years ago – John F Kennedy uttered a few words that transformed a nation, inspiring its citizens to undertake an unthinkable, unachievable task:
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him back safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”
It was a preposterous challenge, and the costs would be enormous. But Kennedy insisted, and the nation responded. On July 20, 1969, the dream was fulfilled when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. The ancillary benefits were huge and far reaching. Here’s a list of 79 of them.
Fifty years later, no president has come close to harnessing the energy, determination, and spirit of the American people to achieve a great and unobtainable goal like the race to the moon.
But now is the time.
The fact of the matter is, this nation, this continent, this planet is facing serious environmental change, that will have major economic, political, and human wellbeing consequences. Of that, there is no longer any serious doubt or debate. I can think of no single issue with greater importance to human welfare that the United States should take a leadership position on. To Kennedy, I say:
“This nation should reduce its per capita production of climate changing emissions from the highest in the industrialized world to the lowest in the industrialized countries by 2020.”
I cannot think of a more difficult, more inspiring, or more important challenge for the world today. I can already hear the critics starting to murmur:
… Read the rest
If you listen carefully, you can hear Milton Friedman – the father of neo-conservative economic theory – turning over in his grave. Milton, who believed markets to be rational, perfectly transparent, and generally smart enough to look after their own interests argued vigorously against government regulation or government intervention in economic policy. In Milton’s world, corporations would be smart enough to avoid an economic crisis, and if one occurred, they would be able to pull themselves out of it. Alas, the 2008 economic crisis seems to have successfully unsettled his basic premises and derailed a half century neo-conservative economic policy and dogma.
Friedman’s onetime idol and conceptual opposite was John Maynard Keynes. Keynes was the most influential economist of the 30s and argued that in cases of catastrophic economic crises, corporations and markets may not be capable of pulling themselves out of the “death spiral”, resulting in a recession or even depression much deeper with more severe societal dislocation than would otherwise be necessary. In the direst cases, strong government intervention was the only solution to ending economic collapse. In fact, massive government spending and employment did successfully end the great depression.
So who is ultimately right?
They both were in a sense. The challenge with Keynes was that he argued for consistent and regular government meddling in short-term economic swings, which ultimately led to the stagflation of the 70s. Ultimately, Friedman was correct in the respect that short term meddling in unemployment rates and economic growth lead to unintended consequences. But he – like Allan Greenspan – was wrong to think that corporations can operate at optimal efficiency without government regulation. This being proven by the failure of:
- AIG: One of the largest insurers of the world
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac : The largest mortgage originators of the
… Read the rest
Virtually all economists agree that a massive economic stimulus package is necessary to prevent one of the most severe recessions (and potentially depressions) since the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, the $800 billion stimulus bill working its way through Congress is fatally flawed.
This battle must be won on two fronts. First, we must fix the root of the problem, which is the housing crisis. And second, we must stimulate spending which accounts for 2/3 of the US economic output.
The challenge with the current bill is that it spreads out the money over too many areas without addressing these two core investments. There is but a small amount pledged to help homeowners (which does help address the root but insufficiently). At the same time, there is a massive amount of spending to bail out the states, but that money isn’t going to into incremental programs that would stimulate the economy. It’ll just help plug the massive state deficits without any incremental spending there.
Additionally, there are massive tax breaks spread across broad income brackets. That’s frankly just a massive waste of money. Do you really think someone is going to go out and have the confidence to start spending again because they have an extra $20 in their paycheck every 2 weeks? That’s just absurd.
Rather, the stimulus spending should be solely on getting unemployment down or extending benefits for unemployed:
- People without jobs are not going to spend (obviously).
- People collecting unemployment will spend since they have no choice. That helps the economy, but it’s not sustainable long term.
- People who get a new job created through government spending will not only create value for society through product work, but they will then have the confidence to spend their earnings and even finance some of their spending
… Read the rest
The biggest enemy to the end of the financial crisis and the beginning of an economic recovery is Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson himself. Let’s forget for a minute that the decision by Paulson and Bernanke to let Lehman Brothers fail was the precipitating event leading to credit markets freezing up and the first round of financial panic. Since then, the two have been working diligently to correct this colossal mistake. But separating actions from words, we see that words are in fact much more potent.
Since the end of September, every time Henry Paulson has opened his month, the Dow has dropped on average 196 points. On days when he was silent, the Dow has dropped on average 28 points.
September 26, 2008 to December 1, 2008
|Paulson Silent (Dow Change)
||Paulson Speaks (Dow Change)
So whats going on here? When the crisis started spiraling out of control after the Lehman failure, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke swiftly stepped in with bold action, taking over AIG, preventing further failures, and proposing an unprecedented bailout fund of $700 billion. That was all somewhat re-assuring. But when congress waivered, Henry Paulsons second monumental mistake was appealing directly to the public, telling them if he didn’t get the package the US would face the next great depression.
And the world responded. “Great depression?” they gasped. Consumer confidence plummeted, as did consumer spending (which accounts for a stunning 2/3 of US GDP). Corporations, in a mass panic, swiftly switched into a mode of panicked layoffs and cost cutting. The banks, already spooked, continued to tighten their lending not just to consumers but to corporations and other banks as well. And ditto for the rest of the world.
Economics is as much or more about confidence and psychology than it … Read the rest