"Origins" - Tennis
I finally got off my ass and wrote a post last night and just prior to sending my laptop battery ran out, without warning, and the work disappeared. I hate it when that happens. But once more unto the breach:
- I picked up Tim Noah's new book, The Great Divergence, which deals with the growth of income inequality in American, expanding on a great series that he wrote for Slate. I have just read the first couple of chapters, but it seems quite promising. I have no doubt Tim will bring the kind of intellectual rigor and honesty that the topic demands (and I don't just say that because he quotes me at one point in the book on the impact of undocumented workers on wages in the building trades). I have some flying time this week, so I hope to finish the book and have a complete report by the end of the week.
- James Poulos, the man who taught us what women are for, had a sad post the other day in which he argues against student loan debt relief, something that would be of great help to him. Poulos clearly harbors great shame for having made what he perceives as a terrible choice to go to law school and then abandon that venture, but not before accumulating a fairly staggering debt. So deep is his guilt that he argues the government would somehow "own his future" if he and others were allowed some break with respect to their obligations. Evidently it would be preferable to Poulos to have a bank own his future, then to catch a break at the hands of his ideological foes.
- And speaking of money and the future, Joe Nocera had a good column yesterday about the fact that on the cusp of sixty he finds himself in a position where he may well never have enough money to retire, despite the fact that he has made a good income over the years and has a fair amount of expertise in matters financial. Nocera's plight is yet another illustration of the utter failure of the 401(k) to serve as an adequate replacement for traditional defined benefit pension plans. We are going to be facing a crisis with people in Nocera's age bracket on down as they cease to be able to work and lack the means to support themselves. At some point this fact is going to have to translate into some type of policy response or we will be returning to the days when retired people are going to be living in the homes of their children -- who will also seemingly still have their adult children at home who cannot find employment. I guess this can be sold as strengthening the traditional family.
- I think that the notion that China represents the country of the future is shown to be delusional by its treatment of one dissident. This is not the act of a strong and secure power, but rather one of a government that feels its very legitimacy remains in doubt. I think the U.S. remains the power of the future simply by default. For all of our weaknesses, our possible competitors all have worse problems.
What's going on with you?