Who pays for Medicare? Etc.

Who pays for Medicare?  •  Loonies don’t need guns  •
Parental involvement in educationStruggles of the long-term unemployed

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The truth about who really pays for Medicare

I am weighing a post responding to Rampell’s previous column, “The safety net catches the middle class more than the poor,” and have a draft in the works responding to Robert J. Samuelson’s proposal, “Let’s get rid of entitlements.”

As to her current column, I think she makes crucial points.  Social Security has been marketed with a degree of fraud from the beginning.  It never was a savings plan from which folk would eventually “draw on” what they had “paid in” — never really a benefit that anybody “earned.” The benefits paid out now to retirees come directly from the pockets of the day’s current workers. It is an “entitlement.”

On the one hand, the e-mailer to whom she responds has simply been under that delusion. On a different hand, if can bridle my impulse to demonize my own generation, Social Security and Medicare are especially hard to get control of now because of the sheer number — and the entitlement mentality — of the Baby Boomers, the most populous age cohort in history. I saw this problem coming decades ago. From the 1950’s forward, by virtue of their sheer numbers, they have — in short, always had their way; and their way has always been, with very few exceptions, self-centered.

Maybe human nature means it can never have been any other way.

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Four school stabbing victims in critical condition; teen suspect charged as adult

Boy in Pennsylvania school stabbing spree left note about plans

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Parental Involvement Is Overrated

Thanks to Brian Williard for sending the link.

The authors contend, based on meta-analysis of numerous studies, that parental involvement in education is, in many cases, surprisingly counterproductive. There are baffling discrepancies according to ethnicity.

In many cases, what they call “involvement,” I’d call “over-involvement,” and it’s certainly not the kind of attention I, as a student, would have wanted from my parents. I agree with their conclusion: “What should parents do? They should set the stage and then leave it.”

“Setting the stage” inlcudes numerous factors aside from direct involvement in the children’s schooling. It includes being a role model, by finishing one’s own education. It includes establishing a stable residence and a stable marriage (sic). It includes being clean.

Those four things may be enough for my neighbors to work on.

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Long-term unemployed struggle to find — and keep — jobs

This is a big topic. The “long-term jobless” certainly include me.

If 47% of hiring managers reject out-of-hand applications from folk who display long-term joblessness; absent a massive, collective spasm of conscience that I don’t think is likely to happen, there’s not much we can do about it.

I don’t believe skills decay during joblessness; not skills directly related to the job. An auto mechanic won’t forget how to turn wrenches. What is likely to be lost is performance-related self-esteem; see the recent “Courage to walk unarmed” for a substantial discussion of the relevance of self-esteem to courage and employability. The flipside to that loss is the jobless person’s likelihood of acquiring dysfunctional attitudes and behavior patterns — likely to deter success in the interview and, as well, success on the job.

I don’t share Roderick Negron’s optimism. The online job search is an endlessly depressing, needle-in-a-haystack proposition, and I know no way to get through it (short of, as suggested, a reinstatement of the draft) but sheer grit.

(Originally posted 04/21/14.)


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