Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cruising the Web

This year's college graduates and their families are not very optimistic about their children's employment futures.
About half of students expect to be supported financially by their parents for up to two years after graduation, according to a new survey of 500 students and 500 parents released Tuesday by Upromise, the savings division of Sallie Mae, the student lender....

Parents seem to be more lenient about letting their graduate children come back home. Some 36% of parents say they expected to support their children financially for more than two years, up from just 18% last year, and only 2.8% of parents expect their kids to have a full-time job after college and only one-quarter see them having any kind of job in their chosen field when they graduate. And if they moved in with their parents after graduation, 20% of students expect it would be at no cost to themselves....

Almost one-third of graduates expect to receive some support for up to six months, and another third expect to rely on their parents for up to two years, according to Serido’s study. The final third are evenly divided between those who foresee financial support for over two years and those who expect no financial support from their parents. It also appears to be impacting other life ambitions: Some 28% say marriage is not an important life goal, while 19% say the same about home ownership.

This interdependence between parent and graduate offspring underscores the continuing struggle facing college graduates even at a time when the overall unemployment rate hit 5.4% in April, down from 6.2% in April 2014. The effective unemployment rate for 18 to 29 year-olds, which adjusts for labor-force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, was 13.8% in April, according to Generation Opportunity, a conservative, nonprofit think tank based in Arlington, Va.

Mark Hemingway details how Christina Hoff Sommers has become the number one enemy to radical feminists because of her common-sense, fact-based arguments about some of their wildest claims. Her newest book, Freedom Feminism: Its Surprising History and Why It Matters Today (Values and Capitalism), promotes her vision of what should be the goals of feminists in contrast to what today's feminists are riled up about. And her arguments are so powerful, that the only alternative seems to be to attempt to silence her rather than debate her.
This view, she writes, “stands for the moral, social, and legal equality of the sexes,” but also for women’s freedom—including the freedom to embrace traditional femininity. “Efforts to obliterate gender roles can be just as intolerant as the efforts to maintain them,” she writes, and “theories of universal patriarchal oppression or the inherent evils of capitalism are not in [freedom feminism’s] founding tablets.” Above all, Sommers’s approach is moored in reality, not utopian notions of social justice.

Sommers’s efforts to spread her gospel have annoyed many academic feminists for years, but recently the response to her has gone from confrontational to hostile. “I have never stopped going to campuses, and I’ve been going to law schools. But I have rarely faced protests,” she tells The Weekly Standard. “I used to face vigorous debate, and the young women would come ready to argue—and that was fine, that’s what I was there for. But this is different, and it only started happening this year.”
When she appears to now on college campuses, there are protests that attempt to deny her the ability to speak and present her message.
Indeed, an inability to distinguish between threats and disagreements seems to be a hallmark of this contemporary feminism. Sommers is scary precisely because she doesn’t shy away from heightening the contradictions. Where op-ed writers have patiently picked apart the discredited “wage gap” statistics feminists insist on recycling, Sommers shows up in the proverbial lion’s den, calmly points her finger at the scolds-in-training, and challenges them to prove their commitment to female equality by changing their major to the lucrative and male-dominated field of petroleum engineering.

These days, campus feminists make no attempt to debate Sommers on substance. Instead, she routinely faces attempts to shun her, silence her, or distort her message. After her Georgetown speech, there were demands that the student group that had hosted her remove the protesters from video of the event. A university administrator warned that if the upset students weren’t edited out, “Georgetown [would] need to step in.”

Got that? Protesters showed up at a public event to draw attention to their message—but then realized that footage showing ostensible adults holding signs saying “Trigger Warning: Antifeminist” was an embarrassment to the students and bad PR for the school, so they wanted it censored. Another embarrassment is young feminists’ ignorance.
Whenever one side seeks to totally silence the other side instead of combating its arguments, they have indicated their own intellectual surrender.

Kirsten Powers whose book, The Silencing, argues that this sort of effort to silence someone whose views they dislike is part of a general effort to make sure that such arguments never get heard. And what has been happening to Christina Hoff Summers is part of this campaign.
I see the trigger warnings as being extremely aggressive. I think people have laughed them off frequently and the safe spaces and sort of say ‘Oh, these poor…they’re so frail.’ And that may be true. They are very intellectually frail. They’re unable to deal with different ideas but there’s a real intimidation factor to it. So when you’re Christina Hoff Summers showing up at Oberlin, as happened in April, and you have people portraying you as if you’re creating an unsafe environment for them, to the point that the university has to give you security. And you show up and there’s a sign outside saying, “Warning: You may hear discussions of sexual assault or a person denying your experience,” which is of course nothing she’s ever…she’s never denied anybody’s experience of being raped. And then a safe room in this room. That’s an intimidation tactic. If you’re Christina Hoff Summers, first of all, it’s lying about who you are and it’s meant to delegitimize you and to make it seem like you’re a person who is expressing views that are dangerous. They’re so dangerous that you have to go to a “safe space.”

BN: So it’s aggressive and passive-aggressive.

KP: Right. Yeah, it’s passive-aggressive but, I don’t know, it’s an aggressive act to treat somebody as if they pose some sort of psychological danger to you because they’re expressing an opinion. And that’s what they’re doing. Like I said it’s one thing if they’re off doing this on their own. Whatever. They can do whatever they want but that’s not what they’re doing. They’re trying to delegitimize a speaker who is coming by pretending that you need to have a safe space because she’s speaking and they’re standing their with trigger warnings. A trigger is supposed to refer to PTSD. That is a serious illness. To suggest that somebody coming in and speaking about equity feminism, which is what she was there to do, is a potential threat to your psychological well-being, literally to the extent that you could have a melt-down because of what she’s talking about–it’s delegitimize her as a speaker.

BN: So it is an attack in a way.

KP: Yeah, that’s why a lot of people when they laugh about it… this isn’t funny. Sometimes it is funny but you have to kind of then step back and see it in the broader context and you realize these aren’t things that you should just roll your eyes at.

Since deductibles and insurance premiums have jumped so high under Obamacare, the law's advocates have their own typical solution - more government regulation.
So now, many of the same groups that agitated for Obamacare are agitating for new government spending or tighter controls on the insurance industry and businesses to "solve" the problem. But perhaps the first question to ask is: How did those deductibles get so high in the first place?

The answer is Obamacare.

Obamacare's upward pressure on deductibles started in the law's first year. By the fall of 2010, six months after President Obama signed the bill into law, Obamacare dictated that insurers could no longer impose lifetime caps on payments, could not deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and had to insure adults up to the age of 26 on their parents' policies.

Those provisions raised the insurers' costs, and since then some additional cost-increasing Obamacare provisions have become law. Sure enough, deductibles began to increase significantly. The pro-Obamacare group Commonwealth Fund measured adults for whom the insurance deductible represents five percent or more of annual income. In 2003 and 2005, Commonwealth Fund found, three percent of adults were in that category. In 2010, the figure doubled, to six percent. In 2012, it rose to eight percent. In 2014, it rose to 11 percent.

Republicans have long predicted the increase in deductibles. But most analyses from liberal groups pay scant notice to the effect that Obamacare's edicts are having on deductibles. Instead, groups on the left like the Center for American Progress are coming up with proposals for new mandates, like more free preventive services and a "shared savings rebate," in which employers would be forced to turn over some healthcare payments to employees, as solutions to the problem.
Look for these proposals in the upcoming election as Democrats seek more government power to apply their own approach to the problem they exacerbated in the first place.

Meanwhile, Megan McArdle looks at the projected increases in Obamacare insurance rates and doesn't see much comfort for consumers.
Eyeing the Journal's list, the most obvious pattern is that states are converging on a price somewhere well north of $300 a month for a 40-year-old nonsmoker seeking a Silver plan; the states with the biggest rate hikes all had premiums under $250, and are asking to be allowed to go near or over $300, while the states that asked for low increases were already over $300, and in some cases well over. (Vermont is at $430 -- and asking to go to $476! "Only" an 8.4 percent increase, but wow.) It seems as if states where insurers initially underpriced are now trying to move toward a natural price somewhere between $3,600 and $5,000 a year for a single nonsmoker. If that's the price of providing basic benefits, regulators cannot command it away by fiat; the best they can do is to force insurers out of the market.

Paul Waldman thinks that the Koch brothers are preparing to wield their financial might in the GOP primaries to help those candidates they like and perhaps promote separation between their favored candidates and all the others.

Dennis Prager makes an attempt at dissecting the fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives. As Thomas Sowell argued in A Conflict of Visions, Prager places the foundational difference in ideologies in their views of human nature.
Left-of-center doctrines hold that people are basically good. On the other side, conservative doctrines hold that man is born morally flawed — not necessarily born evil, but surely not born good. Yes, we are born innocent — babies don’t commit crimes, after all — but we are not born good. Whether it is the Christian belief in original sin or the Jewish belief that we are all born with a yetzer tov (good inclination) and a yetzer ra (bad inclination) that are in constant conflict, the root value systems of the West never held that we are naturally good.
This difference in views leads to different approaches to crime.
This is so important to understanding the Left–Right divide because so many fundamental Left–Right differences emanate from this divide.

Perhaps the most obvious one is that conservatives blame those who engage in violent criminal activity for their behavior more than liberals do. Liberals argue that poverty, despair, and hopelessness cause poor people, especially poor blacks — in which case racism is added to the list — to riot and commit violent crimes....

So, poor blacks who riot and commit other acts of violence do so largely because they feel neglected and suffer from deprivations.

Because people are basically good, their acts of evil must be explained by factors beyond their control. Their behavior is not really their fault, and when conservatives blame blacks for rioting and other criminal behavior, liberals accuse them of “blaming the victim.”

In the conservative view, people who do evil are to be blamed because they made bad choices — and they did so because they either have little self-control or a dysfunctional conscience. In either case, they are to blame. That’s why the vast majority of equally poor people — black or white — do not riot or commit violent crimes.

Likewise, many liberals believe that most of the Muslims who engage in terror do so because of the poverty and especially because of the high unemployment rate for young men in the Arab world. Yet, it turns out that most terrorists come from middle-class homes. All the 9/11 terrorists came from middle- and upper-class homes. And of course Osama bin Laden was a billionaire.

Material poverty doesn’t cause murder, rape, or terror. Moral poverty does. That’s one of the great divides between Left and Right. And it largely emanates from their differing views about whether human nature is innately good.

Instapundit has a round-up of posts about how, as Bob Woodward says, Bush didn't lie about WMD in Iraq and Obama's policies have helped lead to the mess we're facing now in the Middle East. Glenn Reynolds reminds us of how Obama and Biden bragged and campaigned about pulling troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. He concludes,
Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.