THE POLICY THINKSHOP "Think Together"

Public Policy is social agreement written down as a universal guide for social action. We at The Policy ThinkShop share information so others can think and act in the best possible understanding of "The Public Interest."

How the Great Recession Has Changed Life in America | Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project

As the various candidates for the office of President of the United States define themselves and throw their hat in the ring, we should probably take a good look at their position on the American workforce and the American workplace. Especially important will be how economic policy affects these two important areas of life–both the quality of life for most working families in the country and the quality of life at the community level as it relates to access to quality education and training for working families.

More via How the Great Recession Has Changed Life in America | Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project.

Filed under: access to education, Blogosphere, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Economic Recession, Economic Recovery, Family Policy, Job Sector, Mortgages, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Economy, Polls and pollsters, Presidential Election, Public Policy, Unemployment, Vote, WeSeeReason

CBO | The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024

We talk allot about taxes but not enough about how our government spends them, or perhaps more importantly, how it chooses to spend them.

The budget of the United States is one of the main engines that make the world go around.  The office that is responsible for monitoring it and projecting how federal policies will impact the country’s future is the federal Congressional Budget Office (CBO).   The reports this office puts out are important because they spell out the inner workings and societal impacts of the nation’s spending plans.  The CBO report is also an important focal point for congressional debates on all matters public policy, especially the holly grail we now call the budget deficit.  The repository for all the nation’s ills and the proverbial excuse for doing one thing or another by politicians.

The Policy ThinkShop presents you with a user friendly link to this important resource.

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/45010-Outlook2014.pdf

“The federal budget deficit has fallen sharply during the past few years, and it is on a path to decline further this year and next year. CBO estimates that under current law, the deficit will total $514 billion in fiscal year 2014, compared with $1.4 trillion in 2009. At that level, this year’s deficit would equal 3.0 percent of the nation’s economic output, or gross domestic product (GDP)—close to the average percentage of GDP seen during the past 40 years.

As it does regularly, CBO has prepared baseline projections of what federal spending, revenues, and deficits would look like over the next 10 years if current laws governing federal taxes and spending generally remained unchanged. Under that assumption, the deficit is projected to decrease again in 2015—to $478 billion, or 2.6 percent of GDP. After that, however, deficits are projected to start rising—both in dollar terms and relative to the size of the economy—because revenues are expected to grow at roughly the same pace as GDP whereas spending is expected to grow more rapidly than GDP. In CBO’s baseline, spending is boosted by the aging of the population, the expansion of federal subsidies for health insurance, rising health care costs per beneficiary, and mounting interest costs on federal debt. By contrast, all federal spending apart from outlays for Social Security, major health care programs, and net interest payments is projected to drop to its lowest percentage of GDP since 1940 (the earliest year for which comparable data have been reported).”

More via CBO | The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024.

Filed under: Blogosphere, consumers, Economic Recession, Economic Recovery, Federal Entitlement Programs, Healthcare Reform, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Economy

The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. – NYTimes.com

The business world is always selling us something.  And thank God!  

Buying and selling is a huge part of our culture.  Measuring the value of what we own and what that means to us and those around us is also central to our social experience and identity.  America is about progress and the pursuit of happiness is at its very essence; we must always strive to have things and be places.  Understanding our place in the American social hierarchy  may not be as simple as counting our possessions though.  We are all Americans but we are not all equal–not even close.  Being an American is real.  But what about the so called “Middle Class”?  Have you seen it?  Do you possess a piece of it?  Are you standing in it?  If you can make a good argument that you are in it, will your children share as lofty an address?

Today’s NYTs clamors about yet another elusive metaphor that we have lived by: The Middle Class.  Illusive and metaphor because we cannot be sure if it really ever existed, at least not in all its Hollywood and public media glory.  Like the nuclear family propelled and burned into the public mind by popular TV shows like “Father Knows Best,” the middle class is a very inclusive category which most Americans strive to get into;  and yet another very important segment labors to stay above and beyond it (including today’s infamous top 1%).

For hundreds of years the extended family and agrarian life dominated gender relations, work, time and leisure.    The modern middle class and Levittowns (Levittown was the first suburb and is considered the “archetype” for America’s suburbs America’s.) are an economic creation buttressed by Hollywood and Madison Avenue cultures.  The Nuclear family of “Mom, DAD and Children,” can be similarly understood as an ideal.   Nevertheless, in perhaps a nostalgic way, today’s popular media considers the Middle Class in danger of disappearing, if nothing else, from our imaginations.  In historical terms the middle class was here for about a relative minute.  Gone so soon?

“In Manhattan, the upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace the bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose Chelsea store closes in a few weeks. Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving. And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators dwarfs sales growth of mass-market models.”

via The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: access to education, Blogosphere, Children and Poverty, consumers, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Economic Recession, Economic Recovery, Education Policy, Education Reform, New American Electorate, News, Parenting, Philanthropy, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Economy, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, WeSeeReason

What’s So Bad About Income Inequality?

Adam Smith played an important part in our understanding of how society affects the evolution of civil society and business.  As mathematics and reason improved economic theory through the development of rational choice theory, econometrics and mathematical modeling, economists took an important role at the governance table of most democracies.

The current deep and long recession and the troubling recovery, however, have cast some doubt on prevailing economic theories and their pundits and disciples.   Perhaps the turning points were the Enron scandal and Madoff caper because the inequality that pervades America today is not going away.  Somehow we have arrived at the moment when we are looking at values and relative differences between those who climb the ladder and those for whom there seems to be no ladder at all.  As America continues to be decided on ideological grounds and social space and social relations continue to be segregated in terms of education, access to higher paying jobs and wealth, it becomes increasingly difficult to see an American future where a large middle class supports the notion that everyone who tries hard can make it here.  That is a significant problem that is now seemingly being institutionalized as the American economy fails to create a necessarily clear and reasonable path between birth and upward mobility.

“One interpretation of the Pareto Principle, which suggests that 20% of the people own 80% of the wealth, is that there\’s no point in being angry about that inequality. Maybe the 20% is doing better than you because they went to college and you didn\’t — but that\’s not hurting you.

Dr. Deaton: I agree with the Pareto Principle, but you can be hurt by that kind of inequality, and that can happen in many different ways. If a bunch of people get extremely rich but nothing happens to your income, that\’s OK. But if they use their wealth to start buying the government, for instance, then it\’s not OK, because you don\’t get your share in the democracy anymore.

I\’ll give you an example from the U.S. right now. If you\’re a drug manufacturer and you come up with a blockbuster drug that does very well, eventually the patent runs out. Your business could let the patent run out and let the generics manufacture that drug, which is what\’s supposed to happen. But your company could also spend a lot of money lobbying Congress to get an extension of your patent. That\’s an example of blocking equality, and it hurts people. And economists have been very weak on that.

Like everyone, we economists specialize in what we do. So economists think we\’re the gods of income; we tend to think about well-being in terms of income, and we don\’t worry too much about the other things that contribute to well-being, such as health, education, or participating in a democratic society. But not having access to an important medicine doesn\’t show up as a share of GDP.

When we think about well-being, we can\’t just think about wealth. That\’s one of the things we\’ve learned from the Gallup World Poll — how important many other elements are to a person\’s satisfaction with his life.”

via What’s So Bad About Income Inequality?.

Filed under: access to education, Blogosphere, Children and Poverty, consumers, Demographic Change, Economic Recession, Economic Recovery, Education Policy, Education Reform, Job Sector, News, Political Economy, Pundits

Prison reform: An unlikely alliance of left and right | The Economist

How can we square the fact that we are the number one nation in the world in the number of people we put in prison, that an African American male is more likely to end up in jail in today’s America than he would have been under South Africa’s Apartheid regime?  According to the London Economist, China is a distant second in number of people incarcerated despite its significantly larger population.

This facts serve to put into perspective the real and urgent need to reform our “crime and punishment” system.  It is simply too expensive and the statistics clearly show that affects Americans from different communities in disproportionate fashion.

Historically, crime and punishment have been an ongoing challenge for all empires and for all leaders.  American is miserably failing in this regard and we can’t afford to continue down this path of wasting human life in a criminal justice system that is a revolving door with little accountability and without rational goals that serve society as a whole.

What will it take to get America to invest in its young in the areas of education, job training and re-training and, frankly, in a more robust and inclusive view of an America that invests in its most challenged urban and rural areas with a view to the future?  Prison reform could yield a significant downpayment on new more enlightened policies that could bring together both sides of the isle for the sake of millions of families and young people.

“ERIC HOLDER and Rick Perry (pictured) have little in common. America’s attorney-general is black, liberal and uses the word “community” a lot. The governor of Texas is white, conservative and says “God” a lot. Last month Mr Holder’s Justice Department sued Texas for allegedly trying to make it harder for blacks to vote. Last year Mr Perry ran to unseat Mr Holder’s boss, Barack Obama.

On one thing, however, the two men agree. On August 12th Mr Holder said: “Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law-enforcement reason.” He then unveiled reforms to reduce the number of people sent to America’s …”

MORE via Prison reform: An unlikely alliance of left and right | The Economist.

Filed under: African American, Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Discrimination, Guns on our streets, Minority Males, News, Parenting, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Economy, Public Policy, Unemployment, WeSeeReason, , , ,

Surveillance in America: Dark arts, black hats

For those of us who have nothing to hide today, the idea that tomorrow’s leaders may be peeping at everything we do that we presume to be private is downright creepy!  Indeed, the so called leak scandal in DC today is giving more and more people some pause.

Imagine that we continue to allow the government to peek in on our lives with impunity.  Tomorrow, a government program that is partly privatized lands your most personal and private information in the hands of a leaker.  But that leaker does not leak to the general public, he or she sells or uses your information for personal gain.   The possibilities are no longer hypothetical.  It  all seems to be unraveling before our very eyes…

“‘WE WANT you to help us do this better,” asserted General Keith Alexander (pictured), the director of America’s National Security Agency (NSA), to hundreds of computer hackers at Black Hat, an annual information-security conference in Las Vegas on July 31st. General Alexander claimed that his agency’s mass-surveillance programmes had stopped 54 potential terrorist plots. He reassured the audience that their privacy was being protected. Still, there were a few heckles.

America’s spies have had a tough time since Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, began leaking information that revealed the massive scale of NSA snooping. Indeed, just as General Alexander tried to charm the geeks, Britain’s Guardian newspaper published another leak by Mr Snowden. This one revealed a system called XKeyscore that lets the NSA glean emails, chats and browsing histories without specific authorisation. The intelligence agency confirmed the programme, but said it was lawful and essential.”

More via Surveillance in America: Dark arts, black hats | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Culture Think, MashCrunchWired, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, political corruption, Political Economy, Political Facts and Fiction, political plots, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, Technology and You,

Mountain of Petroleum Coke From Oil Sands Rises in Detroit – NYTimes.com

There may be no more important singular idea than the notion that corporations are persons.  Indeed, they are.

The Koch brothers continue to be the target of media attention and this time they are not strategizing or paying for it.  They are getting a freebee.  It appears that an environmental secretion from their pursuit of wealth function has piled up higher and deeper in the  eye of the media and in the middle of the “pristine” great lakes region.  Oil… of course.  Texas gold, or US black mud… or whatever earth exploiters and investors call it these days.  Environmentalists and world builders are colliding once again as they accuse one another about tree hugging the world on the one hand and exploiting it for  greed on the other.  In the meantime the real lesson at hand here goes unnoticed.

The key and central problem we see on the horizon today is not piles of environmental waste but the proverbial “free rider problem” which is as old as cave metaphors and necessary untruths.   It is big corporate money (to be sure corporate profits in the hands of ideologues) applied to our political discourse.  The NYTs points it out… but what are we to do?

“Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the …”

via Mountain of Petroleum Coke From Oil Sands Rises in Detroit – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, consumers, ideology, lobbying, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, political corruption, Political Economy, profit motive and carcinogens, propaganda and spin, Public Health, Public Policy, regulations, , , , ,

2010 > FDA Approves New Formulation for OxyContin

Oxycontin is still a drug abuse problem in our society… The FDA approved a new version of the drug back in 2010 and the company is supposed to do a followup study to tell us how safe the new FDA approved version is…. Have you seen the study?  Five years have gone by and God knows how many addictions and lives?

“The reformulated OxyContin is intended to prevent the opioid medication from being cut, broken, chewed, crushed or dissolved to release more medication. The new formulation may be an improvement that may result in less risk of overdose due to tampering, and will likely result in less abuse by snorting or injection; but it still can be abused or misused by simply ingesting larger doses than are recommended.

“Although this new formulation of OxyContin may provide only an incremental advantage over the current version of the drug, it is still a step in the right direction,” said Bob Rappaport, M.D., director of the Division of Anesthesia and Analgesia Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

“As with all opioids, safety is an important consideration,” he said. “Prescribers and patients need to know that its tamper-resistant properties are limited and need to carefully weigh the benefits and risks of using this medication to treat pain.”

According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately half a million people used OxyContin non-medically for the first time in 2008.

The manufacturer of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma L.P., will be required to conduct a postmarket study to collect data on the extent to which the new formulation reduces abuse and misuse of this opioid. The FDA is also requiring a REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) that will include the issuance of a Medication Guide to patients and a requirement for prescriber education regarding the appropriate use of opioid analgesics in the treatment of pain.”

See:

http://healththinkshop.com/2013/04/06/there-is-a-reason-why-we-have-a-war-on-drugs-and-why-we-cannot-win-it/

 

Aslo see more via 2010 > FDA Approves New Formulation for OxyContin.

Filed under: Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Community Tragedy, consumers, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Death and Dying, Health Literacy, Health Policy, News, Parenting, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Economy, Public Health, Public Policy

There is a reason why we have a war on drugs and why we cannot win it… « HealthThinkShop

So the issue is twofold:

First, there is the problem of a powerful drug being re-marketed as Oxycontin and promoted in ways that lead to abuse.

Secondly, there is the demand for this drug that is created that in turn creates a tremendous market that seduces the greedy and the stupid (the marketers and the profiteers because thinking you can sale this stuff and not get caught is not brilliant) and the users who are often victims who innocently become dependent and spend the rest of their lives needing more of the drug to prevent from “getting sick” when they violently experience withdrawal from this highly addictive and dangerous drug–people get so sedated under this drug that they stop breathing and die…).

This is not most importantly a debate about weed or about politics, or even about criminality… It is a calculated business move by investors to promote a substance that is now running wild in our society and killing innocent people…

via There is a reason why we have a war on drugs and why we cannot win it… « HealthThinkShop.

Filed under: Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Community Tragedy, consumers, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Death and Dying, ethics, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, News, Parenting, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, political corruption, Political Economy, Political Facts and Fiction, Public Health, Public Policy, regulations, waging war, WeSeeReason, , , ,

Report Faults India Government Over Child Sex Abuse – NYTimes.com

India’s troubles continue beyond its economic slump into its social fabric.  The immense country is home to a huge portion of the world children and it’s laws do not seem up to the task of nurturing and protecting them.  India is a society of hierarchy and class leaving many poor children at the mercy of those with privilege and power…

“Sexual abuse of children is “disturbingly common” in India, and the government’s response to it has fallen short, both in protecting children and in treating victims, Human Rights Watch said in a report released…”

via Report Faults India Government Over Child Sex Abuse – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Child Abuse, Children and Poverty, Community Tragedy, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Gender, Gender Policy, Maternal and Child Health, News, Parenting, political corruption, Political Economy, Women's rights,

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,253 other followers

ThePolicyThinkShop @Twitter

Health Alert!

Patriotic Clean, we're headed for deep waters!  It's your choice ...
Conflict at work: Stick to your principles

Conflict at work: Stick to your principles and they will take you far ...

Resources and Latests News: Top Clicks

Who we are:


Public Policy for the rest of us...

Provided by: PolicyABCs

Moderated by: The Policy Think Shop

Categories

We are on Twitter too!

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Recent Posts from our new PolicyABCs Blog: PolicyABCs ... "Thinks with us ..."

We cannot load blog data at this time.

Thank you for visiting. Here are ways you can stay connected to us.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,253 other followers

Goodreads

The ThinkShop promotes connections to all forms of social media to bring you resources beyond what you’ll find in your daily routine…

How Hispanics Describe Themselves

How Hispanics Describe Themselves

Poli Thinkshop

Create Your Badge

Take a "Brain Break" and visit this "fun link" by clicking this image now...

Break for Fun… click video below or have more fun by clicking the pic above…

Policy ThinkShop: Relax, we did the research for you…

Welcome to Policy ABC's ThinkShop, where getting news and public policy analysis is as easy as "A B C."

"The Policy ThinkShop team works hard researching the latests and most interesting news and reports. The resulting links will point you to the original sources so that you can spend as little time as possible getting the most news possible."

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,253 other followers

The Policy ThinkShop

ThinkShop Wordle

The Policy ThinkShop

Public Policy and Culture

Policy ThinkShop Resources

Policy ThinkShop Resources for your policy work

Our experts do the searching and serve up the best resources to help you stay on top of key public policy issues.

Featured Twitter Friend: Health Literacy ABCs

Health Literacy

Twitter Friend: MigrationPundit

Policy ThinkShop: “THINK TOGETHER”

"Policy is codified knowledge that stands as a universal guide for social action. Public policy is shaped by those who know and who act on that knowledge. We at The Policy ThinkShop share information so others can think and act in the best possible understanding of "The Public Interest."
%d bloggers like this: