Blog author: jcarter
Monday, February 10, 2014
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In defense of the official poverty measure
Robert Doar, AEI Ideas

In leaving out all that government does to help the poor, the official measure focuses on what poor Americans are able to earn for themselves. It is a measure of their independence and ability to work and earn a sufficient amount to support themselves and their families on their own – which is what they want.

Why Unemployment is High in Parts of Michigan
Stephen Moore, The Foundry

The Motor City’s meltdown has overshadowed the muscular economic recovery in this region, whose success reflects a manufacturing and technology renaissance.

War on Poverty Needs New Strategy
Josh Good, The American

Since LBJ’s War on Poverty was launched, America has witnessed an unprecedented rise in cohabitation, divorce, and out-of-wedlock births. In 2014, reforms should promote personal dignity and encourage work and responsible fatherhood.

Global poverty is falling dramatically and so is global inequality, so why the obsession about inequality?
Mark J. Perry, AEI Ideas

In a recent article, Matt Ridley presents some of the facts behind the inequality debate and points out that despite the overblown obsession with inequality, few people are aware that at the global level, both inequality and poverty are falling dramatically.

A recent report from the CBO contains an appendix detailing updated estimates of the labor market effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Pundits for and against the ACA have wasted no time in putting their own particular spin on the projections. Republicans and some other opponents have seemingly celebrated the idea that these estimates may show that the ACA is “a job-killing, economy-crushing villain,” while Democrats and some other supporters have claimed that in times of high unemployment, it’s “an economic benefit” that some will be voluntarily reducing hours or dropping out of the labor force because that means greater demand for labor — those currently unemployed would therefore have more options.

So who’s right? These are mutually contradictory claims, or so it appears. The report is ultimately limited and mixed, but nevertheless raises some serious concerns, caused, in part, by the polarization of Congress both when the law was passed and up to the present. (more…)

jobs-reportThis morning the federal government released the latest jobs report. You may have noticed confusing headlines and reporting about the data, such as this story from NPR, “Job Growth Less Than Expected, But Unemployment Hits 5-Year Low.” What does that mean? Is that bad news mixed with good news? How should we interpret the jobs report?

Here’s what you need to know to understand what the job report is, what it tells us, and what it means for the economy:

What is the “jobs report”?

The “Jobs Report” is the term often used to refer to the Employment Situation Summary, a monthly report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that is based on surveys used to monitor the labor market. This report is released on the first Friday of every month.

Why is the jobs report considered so important?
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NovakIt is no stretch to say that Michael Novak is a towering figure in 20th century Catholic social thought. His 1982 seminal work, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, influenced thinkers in the U.S., Latin America and Soviet-controlled countries. George Weigel has summed up Novak’s vocation and contribution to Catholic social teaching, economic thought and moral culture in an article at City Journal. Weigel begins by stating that Novak’s work wasn’t simple:

Novak has applied his philosophical and theological skills to virtually every consequential aspect of the human condition. He has not followed a preset itinerary but has deliberately charted previously unexplored territories and terrain. That choice—to break out of conventional patterns of thought and become one’s own intellectual GPS—has not always made for an easy life.

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Sirico13What does the Acton University experience have to offer a newly-graduated college student? Thomas Wheeler, from Minnesota, attended AU 2013 on recommendation from his dad. In this podcast, Wheeler talks about how the message of human dignity that he heard at Acton University has informed his life choices. Enjoy the discussion.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, February 7, 2014
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UN Attacks Catholic Teaching Under the Pretext of Protecting Children
Anne Hendershott, Crisis Magazine

In their continuing quest to marginalize the influence of the Catholic Church on the culture war issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is attempting to resurrect yet again the moral panic surrounding exaggerated claims of clerical sexual abuse.

In Defense of the Christian Private School Bubble
Andrea Palpant Dilley, Christianity Today

Giving parents grace in a complex educational landscape.

How Obamacare Hurts The Poor
John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

Encouraging dependence and discouraging work.

Why Extreme Poverty Will Not Always Be with Us
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

There are many reasons to be hopeful that we will stamp out extreme poverty in our lifetimes – and this is the first time in human history that we have been able to make this claim. Once we stamp out extreme poverty, then we can focus on how to bring about ever-increasing levels of flourishing for the least advantaged across the world.

affluenzaIn the book A Conflict Of Visions, Thomas Sowell explains that progressives look for the cause of crime because they believe human beings to be essentially good and not prone to self-interest or moral failings. For progressives, “It is hard to understand how anyone would commit a terrible crime without some special cause at work, if only blindness,” observes Sowell.

Progressives “see human nature as itself adverse to crime, and society as undermining this natural aversion through its own injustices, insensitivities, and brutality.” In other words, criminals are not responsible for their actions. We have to find some external cause to make sense of why anyone would commit a deviant act. For the millennial generation, raised in a therapeutic culture, when they commit crimes the ultimate culprit is usually one class of people: their parents.

It’s not that “the devil made me do it.” No, that would be too simplistic and supernatural. Today, it’s “my parents made me do it.” This progressive vision of human nature is so injurious that it is perverting our justice system. For example, in a recent Texas court case a 17-year-old student who caused the death of several people while driving drunk was given probation because he was too “coddled.” Leigh Jones at World Magazine summarizes the case:
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