Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gun control, economy, and Boston Bombings

Last posting was in early Nov 2012, so it is almost 6 months ago.  Very busy during this time, which is the main reason.  Another reason is that the events during this period of time have been  largely predictable.  Obama has a new term, but his overall policies are not unlike Bush's.  The US political system has long been paralyzed and will remain so for the foreseeable future.  Like, despite all the gun related violence and mass killings, there is zero chance any meaningful changes in gun control will be enacted.  So we will have more killings, more sensational stories, more talks, and then all business as usual.  It is ironic that the senators who oppose more background checks for "personal freedom" are eagerly supportive of the real, offensive, Bush and Obama's surveillance state policies.

Also, the economy, debt talk, entitlement reforms, etc.  Nothing will be done to the structural changes needed to revive the economy.  The US economy is actually quite good compared to others, like Europe and Japan, but there are problems common in all.  In short, the high living standard is incompatible with the work performed in these countries for the long run, in this age of global economy.  In Europe, if you want a good welfare system, you need to work more hours, at least like in the US, to support it.  For the US, being a global military empire will definitively bankrupt the economy.  A larger sum of money should be spent on people in the US instead of making bombs to kill people overseas, which will perpetuate wars and make the homeland less safe and citizens less safe around the world.  And it is rather simple to rescue social security; the best way is to eliminate or increase the cap in SS taxation.  It is harder for Medicare and Medicaid, as the major cause is that the doctors and hospitals are charging too much for various reasons, with Obamacare doing little on that.  While it is difficult to say you can't charge that much and your salary will all be lower next year, it is easier to train more doctors and to slow the increase in costs (drugs, salaries, hospital fees, medical insurance, and legal trouble).  If people are willing to sacrifice, likely 5%, in salaries or taxes, especially those who can afford it, the situation will improve significantly.  Even then, the living standard will change little and remains much higher than in the rest of the world.  It amounts to whether you want to stay in a $500 a night hotel or a $450 one.  But don't hold your breath for any of these actually happening.

In terms of less safety in the US, we got the Boston Bombings on April 15.  One of the killed was a Chinese graduate student, explaining the more reporting, reactions, and emotion in China this time.  A lot of people in China are commenting on it and how well the US handle the aftermath, including the so-called "Public Intellectuals", a misnomer ("Learning from the Americans",;postID=3801045415645813639;onPublishedMenu=template;onClosedMenu=template;postNum=17;src=postname).  But as many people around the world have pointed out, every time this happens, where is the equally or even more justifiable emotion from similar bombings in other countries, e.g., Iraq and Afghanistan, which kill more people, including children and babies, on a daily basis?  American citizens may be within their right because it occurred in the US, but why do the Chinese, especially the "Public Intellectuals", need to kiss up?  As Chinese nationals had died in overseas before.  There are likely two main reasons.  First is that this doesn't happens often in the US.  If in the Iraq or Afghanistan, then it is not news.  We don't want to go into why that is now.  The second is that people like to see good looking people in good suits, dresses, or uniforms, with good "toys" like cars, trucks, and guns, speaking "good" languages like English, on the news.  Basically, very shallow things.  This is also true on TV.  Those Arab- or Iranian-looking people speaking broken English instantly have less credibility than the Harvard educated, slick-talking nice suits.  Merits of their arguments and facts be damned.

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