Some interesting angles on what's going on in the world:
Dean Baker and Kevin Hassett wrote an interesting essay on the long-term cost of unemployment. What they have to say on unemployment's impact, for me, wasn't as meaningful at the idea they shared from Germany. Germany, when it encountered the cyclical unemployment that came with the Great Recession embarked on offering subsidies to companies if those companies would keep workers on their roles, albeit at reduced hours. Instead of paying out unemployment benefits they subsidized the payrolls of companies that otherwise would've been sending workers tot he unemployment office. I like it. It strikes me as committing money for something more purposeful than just supporting the misfortunate. It's giving them something purposeful they can do.
Jess Gavora's op-ed in the Washington Post struck a chord with me She was commenting on the Julia advertisements from President Obama's campaign. I share Gavora's perspective. I watched the whole ad on the president's election website and I felt unsettled at the ominpresent nanny-state it seemed to call for. To me, there seems only a small degree of difference between Uncle Sam being there for every life change and Big Brother being there instead. It's the sort of ad that won't win any convert, but instead reassure bases. Conservatives watch it and are repelled. Liberals watch it and might be tempted to look for the "Donate Now" button. Let's face it, that's what the candidates' websites should do. I wonder how the target demographic for which Obama's campaign is targeting would feel about Governor Romney's Mother's Day marketing. I couldn't help but feel a little sad for that future that the ad depicted because, with the exception of Julia's son Zachary, there is no one else in her life. No spouse, no parents, no siblings, no friends; only a government on whom one could lean. Life is richer with others.
Speaking of Mother's Day, did anyone in the media think about doing a series of interviews with recent presidential moms? If I'm not mistaken, the mothers of Obama, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton are still alive. Oh, whoops, I'm very wrong. The president's mother died in 1995. Never mind.
Little else in the news intrigued me today. A lot of coverage about the president's decision to endorse same-sex marriage, but after a while that commentary seems repetitive, and it seems like conservative pundits aren't weighing in on it yet, which leads to a lot of commentary that seems like an echo chamber. Then again, I don't miss any commentary decrying the president's endorsement. I'm glad the president did it, but there is no legislation or amendment pending in Congress regarding the topic. What occurred was more symbolic than practical last week. Though symbolic acts offered by presidents usually are seismic.
One odd gem: Apparently Studebaker once sold a car called the Dictator, or so says George Will in his column. I would call the 1930s an inopportune time to choose that as the label for an automobile.
My conservative friends reading this might be surprised that I linked to a NY Times piece. I broke down and got a digital subscription. Hope I'm not voted off the island. Ironically, some justification comes from a column written by the Washington Post's ombudsman about the massive IT infrastructure their paper now requires. There is no such thing as a free lunch. If we want good journalism, we need to support the businesses on which we rely.