Yonatan Ben-Shalom et al.: An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Anti-Poverty Programs in the United States: "We assess the effectiveness of means-tested and social insurance programs in the United States. We show that per capita expenditures on these programs as a whole have grown over time but expenditures on some programs have declined. The benefit system in the U.S. has a major impact on poverty rates, reducing the percent poor in 2004 from 29 percent to 13.5 percent, estimates which are robust to different measures of the poverty line. We find that, while there are significant behavioral side effects of many programs, their aggregate impact is very small and does not affect the magnitude of the aggregate poverty impact of the system. The system reduces poverty the most for the disabled and the elderly and least for several groups among the non-elderly and non-disabled. Over time, we find that expenditures have shifted toward the disabled and the elderly, and away from those with the lowest incomes and toward those with higher incomes, with the consequence that post-transfer rates of deep poverty for some groups have increased. We conclude that the U.S. benefit system is paternalistic and tilted toward the support of the employed and toward groups with special needs and perceived deservingness."
Izabella Kaminska: Bitcoin: Magic: The Undercapitalised Gathering Online/a>: "Who’d have thought that there might be an incentive for operators in a totally unregulated market to take people’s assets and run? Or that self-regulation would be so lacking in a market that purposefully concocts information asymmetries that benefit money creators/the tech-savvy…. or that the Bitcoin system was only recreating and replicating all the bad incentives we know and love in our current system, which are now being curbed by intensified post-crisis regulation?"
Andrew Kramer: Ukraine Turns to Its Oligarchs for Political Help: "Mr. Turchynov on Sunday vetoed a divisive law passed last week that would have eliminated Russian as an official second language: about half of Ukraine’s population speaks Russian."
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Diving Deep on Commonly Encountered Eligibility and Enrollment Issues
- Paul Krugman: War
in HeavenAmong the Economists
Jeffrey Goldbert: Obama to Israel--Time Is Running Out: "When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House tomorrow, President Barack Obama will tell him that his country could face a bleak future -- one of international isolation and demographic disaster -- if he refuses to endorse a U.S.-drafted framework agreement for peace with the Palestinians. Obama will warn Netanyahu that time is running out for Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy. And the president will make the case that Netanyahu, alone among Israelis, has the strength and political credibility to lead his people away from the precipice. In an hourlong interview Thursday in the Oval Office, Obama, borrowing from the Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel, told me that his message to Netanyahu will be this: 'If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?' He then took a sharper tone, saying that if Netanyahu 'does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach'. He added, 'It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible'."
Scott Lemieux: The Historical Roots of the “Civil Rights = Slavery” Argument: "I’ll have more to say about Samuel Bagenstos’s brilliant essay about legal arguments against civil rights.... I’d like to highlight this, about how the argument that requiring public accommodations to treat customers on equal terms is the equivalent of slavery has long been used by white supremacists: 'Other times, the arguments against Title II were framed in terms of the Thirteenth Amendment. The argument was not the one we might have expected from the Civil Rights Cases—that discrimination in public accommodations was not a badge and incident of slavery that Congress had Thirteenth Amendment power to target. Instead, it was the rather stunning argument that prohibiting businesses from discriminating on the basis of race conscripted the business owners into involuntary servitude. Strom Thurmond made this argument in his separate views attached to the Senate Report on the proposed Civil Rights Act. Senator Thurmond described the Thirteenth Amendment as “an insurmountable constitutional barrier” to Title II, because, by forcing businesses to serve customers their owners desired not to, the bill would impose “involuntary servitude” on them. As Christopher Schmidt explains, “in the early 1960s, this unusual Thirteenth Amendment argument figured prominently in the debate over the appropriate line between antidiscrimination policy and personal liberties.”' Terrible reactionary arguments never die; they just get recycled..."
Should Be Aware of:
Kevin Lang: Addressing the teen-motherhood ‘crisis’: "Women who give birth as teens (and their children) have much worse outcomes as adults than those who did not. An alternative explanation is that teen mothers have had disadvantaged childhoods.... [Trying] to disentangle the causation from the correlation using biological fertility shocks... the most consistent results state that there are no large adverse adult outcomes stemming from teenage motherhood. The key to reduce teen pregnancy is changing the environment. Policies should focus on providing opportunities that disadvantaged women would not like to forgo due to a teen birth."
Wikipedia: Ukraine After World war I: "The Russian and Austrian empires [collapsed].... During 1917–20, several separate Ukrainian states briefly emerged: the Ukrainian People's Republic, the Hetmanate, the Directorate and the pro-Bolshevik Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (or Soviet Ukraine)... in the former Russian Empire... the West Ukrainian People's Republic and the Hutsul Republic... in the former Austro-Hungarian territory.... An anarchist movement called the Black Army led by Nestor Makhno.... Poland defeated Western Ukraine in the Polish-Ukrainian War, but failed against the Bolsheviks in an offensive against Kiev.... The Peace of Riga... between the Soviets and Poland, western Ukraine was officially incorporated into Poland, who in turn recognised the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.... Eastern Galicia was given to Poland, Pripyat marshes... to Belarus, half of Sloboda Ukraine and northern fringes of Severia... to Russia, while on the left bank of Dniester River... Moldavia.... Bukovina was annexed by Romania and Carpathian Ruthenia... was admitted to the Czechoslovakian Republic.... The civil... left over 1.5 million people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.... Soviet Ukraine had to face the famine of 1921.... The Ukrainization policy pursued by the national Communist leadership of Mykola Skrypnyk... encouraged a national renaissance in literature and the arts... Ukrainian culture and language enjoyed a revival.... Stalin instituted a programme of collectivisation of agriculture... millions starved to death in a famine known as Holodomor.... The famine claimed up to 10 million Ukrainian lives as peasants' food stocks were forcibly removed by the Soviet government by the NKVD secret police.... With Joseph Stalin's change of course in the late 1920s... Moscow's toleration of Ukrainian national identity came to an end. Systematic state terror of the 1930s destroyed Ukraine's writers, artists and intellectuals; the Communist Party of Ukraine was purged of its 'nationalist deviationists'. Two waves of Stalinist political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union (1929–34 and 1936–38) resulted in the killing of some 681,692 people; this included four-fifths of the Ukrainian cultural elite..."