hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012
Arthur Silber (Once Upon A Time...) - Accomplices to Murder

Susie Madrak (Suburban Guerilla) - Orionid meteor shower

Sasha Said - Tax Code Insanity: Couple Living Below Poverty Line Faces Higher Tax Rate Than Romney

Ben Carson M.D. - America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great

Carson's book is fairly conservative, and I didn't agree with a lot of it, but it is shot through with good passages. My personal favorite:
". . .If we really want to eradicate poverty, we should allocate significant resources and personnel toward providing education and opportunity for the poor. And if we are to provide assistance to our able-bodied citizens, it should be attached to a requirement for work or acquisition of education and/ or skills. Not only will this improve self-esteem, it will prepare those individuals to participate in an increasingly sophisticated workforce. Work projects could also contribute to the maintenance of our national infrastructure and beautification, if the right kinds of jobs are assigned as a requirement for benefits. 
If they have to work anyway, many people will put real effort into finding the kind of job they want as opposed to collecting unemployment benefits and being assigned to work they consider undesirable. Some conservatives would say that we should leave such people on their own to sink or swim because we cannot afford to keep supporting them, while some liberals would say that these people already have enough problems and that it would be unfair to require anything of them that would add to their stress. I reject both of those positions. . ."
There is also a powerful parable about the importance of political compromise:
"The lives of some close friends of ours were destroyed due to lack of compromise. The husband felt that he had a special gift of singing and used a great deal of the family’s resources to pay for voice lessons. The wife was in the health-care profession and worked overtime to take care of the family needs, and she strongly disagreed with the way her husband was “squandering” the money. In his opinion, however, he was “investing” in a wonderful future. They were unable to resolve their differences, and one night I was awakened by a phone call informing me that the husband, wife, and one of their children had been killed in an accident. The wife, very distraught, had been driving very fast and had plowed the car into the back of a tractor-trailer truck, killing everyone. This needless tragedy could have been avoided if all were in a better frame of mind, willing to have some reasonable give-and-take. In the same way, many of the problems facing our nation today could be resolved if only the two sides were able to reason together and compromise when necessary."

next post: 12/14/2012

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