Posted by orrinj at 8:44 PM
A CERTAIN SAMENESS:
Regarding issues of morality, "people overestimate how dramatically liberals and conservatives differ," psychologists Jesse Graham, Brian Nosek and Jonathan Haidt write in the online journal PLoS One. Specifically, their research suggests those on the left unfairly assume their counterparts on the right are cold-hearted on issues involving harm and fairness.
"There are real moral differences between liberals and conservatives," the researchers write, "but people across the political spectrum exaggerate the magnitude of these differences, and in so doing create opposing moral stereotypes that are shared by all." [...]
"Extreme liberals exaggerated the moral political differences the most, and moderate conservatives did so the least," Graham and his colleagues report. "Liberals were the least accurate about conservatives and about liberals."
Liberals tended to stereotype conservatives as uncaring, rather than realize that conservatives' genuine concerns about harm and fairness are tempered by other moral values that have less value to the left, such as loyalty and respect for authority.
Distorting the picture further, liberals tend to underestimate the degree to which their fellow liberals take those "conservative" values into account when making moral evaluations. Although conservatives did this to some degree, liberals showed a stronger tendency to stereotype their political soul mates, assuming an exaggerated level of ideological purity.
Posted by orrinj at 8:22 PM
The Republicans should also demand consolidation of federal social policies. The U.S. has six large programs -- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers, unemployment insurance and the earned-income tax credit -- spread across four Cabinet departments and the Internal Revenue Service.
Every one of the six plans encourages recipients to earn less, because aid levels are tied to income. Although the adverse incentives in an individual program are
moderate, collectively they can represent an effective tax rate far exceeding 50 percent. (How this works: The federal housing vouchers follow a 30 percent rule -- you spend 30 percent of your income on housing if you have a voucher. If your income goes up by a dollar, 30 cents of it goes for increased housing payments. With food stamps, for every extra dollar you earn, your allotment goes down by 30 cents. Putting the two programs together adds up to a 60 percent tax on earnings.)
The six programs should be better targeted, to provide more effective aid for the disadvantaged at less cost. Rather than extending unemployment insurance, which encourages long jobless spells, current recipients should receive a fixed payment for a limited duration that they will receive as long as they either look for work or find a job. Consolidation will also highlight the total amount of U.S. welfare spending, and will force serious thinking about the trade-offs between different types of spending.
Most important, the Republicans need to demand fundamental changes in Social Security and Medicare. They have already endorsed the easy solution: raising eligibility ages. That move will cut costs, and it is the right response to any Social Security funding shortfalls. Yet it will not save Medicare.
Any program that offers an open-ended commitment to pay for new medical procedures will generate an unending stream of expensive new treatments from private-sector innovators. As economists Jeffrey Clemens and Joshua Gottlieb have documented, when Medicare reimbursement rates go up, costly elective procedures also become more common, with little improvement in patient health.
Posted by orrinj at 8:19 PM
SO DO WE STILL HAVE TO PRETEND TO BELIEVE IN "LACTOSE INTOLERANCE":
Stone Age people living in northern Europe were making cheese more than 7,000 years ago according to scientists who believe they have found the first direct evidence of dairy processing.