autumn wallpaper, men in trees, welfare states beyond ideology

tree lined road autumn wallpaper

I don’t think that I’ve posted much if anything on television. I just caught one episode of Men in Trees a couple weeks ago and really liked it. While I recognize some of the character actors, Anne Heche is sought of the lead of an ensemble cast and is the character that stood out. She has a great quality as an actress, similar to Michelle Pfeiffer. She makes you lean in wondering what she’ll say or do next. Yes the scenery is more suburban Seattle, but the idea is to introduce nature and our struggles with it and also as a a kind of motif – everyone is always at odds with something – women with men, men and women with their jobs, with their families etc. and a pace of life that almost requires that you pay more attention to small details that might be overwhelmed in a bigger city. Recreating the beautiful state of Alaska isn’t really the point of the show. Someone in the comments over at TV Squad said that it reminded them of a reinvented Northern Exposure and that isn’t a bad comparison, but elements of Trees reminded me of The Love Letter (1999)

Happy Autumn 1600×1200. Resize or crop to fit your monitor.

Welfare States, beyond Ideology

The results for the households at the bottom of the income distribution are astoundingly good, especially in contrast to the mean-spirited neglect that now passes for American social policy. The U.S. spends less than almost all rich countries on social services for the poor and disabled, and it gets what it pays for: the highest poverty rate among the rich countries and an exploding prison population. Actually, by shunning public spending on health, the U.S. gets much less than it pays for, because its dependence on private health care has led to a ramshackle system that yields mediocre results at very high costs.

Von Hayek was wrong. In strong and vibrant democracies, a generous social-welfare state is not a road to serfdom but rather to fairness, economic equality and international competitiveness

It is unfortunate that the social safety net has gotten such a bad rap. A few people abused it and that was in turn used to demonize the entire system rather then fix what was broken. Notice that we don’t have nearly the outrage over the billions incorporate welfare (“The Great Iraq Swindle”). In fact there is no federal welfare anymore. There is a federal aid to dependent children program where the usually single mother recipient must work forty hours a week and may only collect assistance for five years nearing her entire lifetime. Anyway back to the article,

Sweden now spends nearly 4 percent of GDP on R&D, the highest ratio in the world today. On average, the Nordic nations spend 3 percent of GDP on R&D, compared with around 2 percent in the English-speaking nations.

The Nordic states have also worked to keep social expenditures compatible with an open, competitive, market-based economic system. Tax rates on capital are relatively low. Labor market policies pay low-skilled and otherwise difficult-to-employ individuals to work in the service sector, in key quality-of-life areas such as child care, health, and support for the elderly and disabled.