Still no plan.
The election of a Republican President hasn’t seemed to slowed the thump of progressive policies. In Denver, officials are initiating a program aimed at providing thousands of paying jobs to the homeless. A variety of work is included in the plan, launching as similar projects crop up elsewhere.
Initiated on November 1st, “Denver Day Works” hopes to put thousands of the city’s homeless to work. According to Denverite, many assignments include park maintenance, planting trees, clearing snow, etc. Denver Human Services Spokeswoman Julie Smith says they’re aiming for “low to no barriers. No background checks. Do you want work? We’re going to put you to work today.”
Sweden punches way above its weight in debates about economic policy. Leftists all over the world (most recently, Bernie Sanders) say the Nordic nation is an example that proves a big welfare state can exist in a rich nation. And since various data sources (such as the IMF’s huge database) show that Sweden is relatively prosperous and also that there’s an onerous fiscal burden of government, this argument is somewhat plausible.
A few folks on the left sometimes even imply that Sweden is a relatively prosperous nation because it has a large public sector. Though the people who make this assertion never bother to provide any data or evidence.
I have five responses when confronted with the why-can’t-we-be-more-like-Sweden argument.
The massive enforcement of laws criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the United States causes devastating harm, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a joint report released today. Enforcement ruins individual and family lives, discriminates against people of color, and undermines public health. The federal and state governments should decriminalize the personal use and possession of illicit drugs.
The 196-page report, “Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States,” finds that enforcement of drug possession laws causes extensive and unjustifiable harm to individuals and communities across the country. The long-term consequences can separate families; exclude people from job opportunities, welfare assistance, public housing, and voting; and expose them to discrimination and stigma for a lifetime. While more people are arrested for simple drug possession in the US than for any other crime, mainstream discussions of criminal justice reform rarely question whether drug use should be criminalized at all.
To build democracy in Iraq, the United States must focus on the next generation.
The current US presidential campaign debate on Middle East policy has focused disproportionately on the US response to the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). This series will focus instead on five alternative Middle East policy challenges facing the next president. This first part discusses the importance of the future of US policy toward Iraq.
Democracy is not illusive in Iraq. To help the war-torn country get there, however, the United States must finally engage in long-term thinking. In a departure from the policies of past administrations, the next president should support the democratic potential of Iraqi youth by exploring policy options geared toward the health of the country’s next generation.