Entering a Poverty Quagmire


Expanding Opportunity Cover

Poverty has many fathers, but its grandparent is scarcity. This is an inherent and ineradicable feature of the human condition—indeed of the natural world. Consequently, attempts to wage war on poverty as opposed to alleviating its symptoms will always become quagmires. It is thus regrettable that Paul Ryan has signed up for a new assault.

Read More

Mired in Dysfunctional Federalism


It’s no fun being the skunk at the garden party, but amidst the widespread praise of Paul Ryan’s recently announced anti-poverty reforms it appears some criticism is overdue. 

Read More

Breaking The UniParty

Yet again, for the nth time, Republican Congressional leaders and their Democrat counterparts produced a Trillion dollar, multi-thousand-page spending bill that was voted immediately after being unveiled, without having been read. Republican 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan authored the latest edition along with Democratic Senator Patti Murray. Republican leader John Boehner preempted Democrats by preemptively accusing Republicans who opposed the bill of wanting to shut down the government. He topped off this feat of leadership by declaring political war on the conservatives who had given Republicans the majority that had made him Speaker of the House – a war that Republican leaders cannot sustain.

Read More

David Sloan Wilson on Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan

David Sloan Wilson is an interesting biologist.  He is most known as a strong advocate of group selection and favors employing evolution to understand human behavior.

Wilson has a piece up where he seeks to explore the reasons why Paul Ryan, who he terms a religious fundamentalist, was attracted to Ayn Rand’s atheistic approach.  While Wilson argues that religious fundamentalism and Randianism seem to be radically different views, they have more in common than at first appears.

Wilson argues that both views do not recognize tradeoffs.  They see their recommendations as good for everyone.  Wilson writes:

Rand created a system of thought that is just like religious fundamentalism in portraying a world without tradeoffs. This begins to explain her enduring appeal. She offers a world that has been simplified to the point where the only choice is to head toward glory (the pursuit of self-interest) and away from ruin.

Read More