Monday, March 07, 2005

Sounds like a case of the Mondays

Two partly-related posts:

Laurent gives us a primer on how the thankfully-former SCC judge Louise Arbour is pushing to give "economic, social, and cultural rights" the same legal status as civil and political rights, and gee, some judicial fiats would spare us that annoying pain and delay of constitutional amendments. Consent of the governed, shmonsent...

And James Lileks brings up the U.S. Social Security debate, in which I have little interest, but he uncovered a new and interesting talking point:
"Dean Baker of the Washington-based Center for Economic Policy Research calculates that the ratio of all workers to all dependents – including children, retirees and adults who don’t work for wages – is close to highest it has ever been. This so-called 'total dependency' approach covers a multitude of unknowables, such as the cost to a worker of supporting a child vs. a Social Security beneficiary.

"'But if you’re looking at the strain on today’s workers of paying to support the nonworking population, it’s much lower than it used to be,' said Baker, author of Social Security: the Phony Crisis."

Wow. Wow. Get it? They’ve just made the costs of raising your own kids and the taxes paid to support "adults who don’t work for wages" morally equivalent, part of your general responsibility as a citizen. Apparently your obligation to fund the sunset years of Theoretical Gramps is ethically indistinguishable from your obligation to the kid across from the dinner table with your chin and last name.

As he says, it's nice that they're out in the open about it all.

And a third, I guess. Colby Cosh is surprisingly lacking in company when he identifies the big issue in the aftermath of the Mayerthorpe slayings ("The law must have had something like fifty chances to forestall Thursday's crime.."). I understand why the Canadian and Alberta governments would be interested in changing the subject, but everybody, everybody else, regardless of political persuasion, should be asking first and foremost:

Why wasn't this lunatic already in jail?

I also note that in at least one sense, blogs have the same problem as big media: that is, the time required for some sober research and reflection, especially in reaction to a tragedy, is willingly sacrificed in the panic to say something, now. (Exceptions noted.)

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