Category Archives: United States

29827105190_5b81218a16_b

Bernie Is Blind to Compassion without Compulsion

During the confirmation hearings for Representative Tom Price’s appointment as Health and Human Services Secretary, Bernie Sanders took aim at Price’s claim that America is fundamentally compassionate. “No, we are not a compassionate society … In terms of our relationship with poor and working people, our record is worse than virtually any other country on earth,” the junior senator from Vermont claimed.

On 2016’s doozy of a campaign trail, Bernie Sanders focused his attention less on societal values and virtues — whether, for instance, we as a whole people act virtuously or otherwise — and much more on the size and scope of government programs and regulations. But the question of whether Americans act compassionately is distinct, and one Sen. Sanders gets wrong. Americans as private moral individuals are rife with the virtue of compassion. And this is not in spite of our wealth and relative freedom, as some might suggest, but because of it.

Sen. Rand Paul, for his part, addressed Sanders’ claim with statistics. At $400 billion dollars in 2014, and similar numbers annually, private individuals and organizations donated more than the GDP of many nations. Paul then compared that figure with “socialized” countries of the sort Sen. Sanders often professes a desire to emulate.

Here, Paul was plainly defining compassionate behavior as something individual moral agents display. The compassion of America is displayed through the generous actions of people. The paradigmatic case of this is in people like Bill and Melinda Gates, whose charitable foundation has received billions of dollars from the couple.

Continue reading at FEE.

hammer-1537123_960_720

The Case against the American Bar Association

On Friday, January 6, the for-profit Charlotte Law School announced it will remain open despite the Department of Education’s decision to withhold the school’s access to student loans. The crackdown follows the American Bar Association’s (ABA) decision to similarly clamp down on law schools with low bar passage rates.

There’s plenty of bad things to say about law schools that overcharge students, especially the poorly qualified sort who have a meager chance of getting a good enough legal job to pay back their student loans. With the second-highest tuition in North Carolina, Charlotte Law is certainly the overcharging type. Yet most people don’t consider that the real cause for exorbitant tuition and poor outcomes for law students is both the mandatory bar exam and the ABA’s monopoly on legal accreditation.

At law schools, the debt problem is exacerbated by the dim employment prospects awaiting graduates. More than 10 percent of law students find themselves without a legal job following graduation, and that number seems low when one considers that it conceals poor employment outcomes and large debt loads concentrated in low-tier schools.

Continue reading at FEE.

dream

Urging Trump to push comprehensive immigration reform

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump successfully tapped into voters’ frustration about the country’s broken immigration system. While it is still unclear how the president-elect will resolve the issue, immigration opponents are pressing him to consider repealing the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that enables many migrants to become productive economic players. Giving into these pleas to use executive fiat will further marginalize the important role of the legislative branch. Instead, Trump should utilize his deal-making skills to work with Congress on a more comprehensive immigration reform.

Enacted in 2012, DACA permits children of undocumented parents to work and study in the U.S. on a temporary basis. DACA also stayed the deportation of those who benefit from the DREAM Act, a law providing conditional residency for immigrants with no felony convictions or significant misdemeanors who are enrolled in school, graduated from high school, or are enlisted in the military.

With Trump’s election, DREAMers are afraid that the policy that offered them the opportunity to achieve their dreams in their new homeland could soon be overturned. Take the case of Diana Chacon, a DACA recipient originally from Lima, Peru, who is studying in college with hopes of attending law school. “DACA changed my life,” Chacon recalls. “It allowed me to be involved in school more, spend more time doing my class work assignments, spend more time applying for programs, and just get involved in my community in general.”

Continue reading at The Greenville News.

John_Roberts_Confirmation_Hearings

Committee senators failed to address key questions at DeVos hearing

American students continue to trail behind students from other industrial countries in educational achievement.  In the most recent Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) report, American students ranked 25 out of the 72 countries that participated in the study.  This report comes after an equally appalling Pew Research study revealed that American students are floating in the middle of the pack.  Betsy DeVos’s  confirmation hearing for Secretary of Education in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Tuesday was, therefore, an opportunity for Americans to learn more about the country’s trajectory in the next four years.

The committee hearing was not policy-focused and ended up being mainly a partisan debate.  Thus, it is important to discuss some pressing issues that were not clarified during the committee hearing as well as one specific issue that was hidden beneath the partisan quagmire.

Continue reading at American Thinker.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates attends the first session of the NATO Defense Minister's meetings at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium March 10, 2011.  Defense Department photo by Cherie Cullen (released)

EU must find backbone to survive in Trump’s world

In a recent Atlantic interview, Henry Kissinger argued that above all, states and politicians around the world need to take the time to understand the implications of a Trump administration. He predicted that a “frenzy of studying” will now take place in an effort to formulate a response to this year’s election. The European Union (EU), however, cannot afford the luxury of a period of reflection.

Trump’s election has serious implications for European states and far too much is at stake for Europe to simply wish him well and hope for the best.

European states must pay attention to what Donald Trump has been saying about European affairs and be prepared to take the necessary precautions.

On the issue of European security, Trump is correct. Europe has developed a habit of relying on the US to make its tough foreign policy decisions.

Its external security has hitherto been guaranteed, but it has paid the price in internal friction, worsened by its inability to form a coherent foreign policy and effectively deal with the wave of refugees.

Now, European leaders must prepare for its worst-case scenario: a Russia-friendly, isolationist US willing to accept that Europe, to some extent, falls under the Kremlin’s sphere of influence.

Continue reading at EUobserver.