Smart Picks -- Steyn's Bullseye, Canada's Runaway Budget, Becoming Excellent in Brazil, Iceland, Pakistan, UK and USA
Mark Steyn of Maclean's shines a very harsh light on Canadian political correctness. With the federal budget coming soon thoughts on the difficulty of cutting, health care, and the high cost of aging. The only way to cut spending is to identify and cut programmes not touchy feely 2% across the board nostrums. Health care costs are best contained in the current system by prevention and health education.
Interesting articles on trying to be excellent elsewhere, the challenges of Brazil's wealth gap, Ireland's fiscal noose, Pakistan's gender inequality, US health care reform, and raising primary and high school education outcomes in the UK.
Steyn sticks his sharp knife into a couple of deserved targets, Canadian Aboriginal guilt and being prosecuted for being politically incorrect. Lenny Bruce is rolling in his grave. Thanks to David of London for sending in this one.
Judging by emails from readers in America, Britain, India, Australia, Europe, Africa and beyond, Vancouver’s Olympic ceremony was a gold medal snoozeroo of politically correct braggadocio impressive even by Canadian standards. http://www2.macleans.ca/category/opinion/mark-steyn-opinion/
On the subject of discrimination, the Wall Street Journal reports on a Congressional bill "to create a sovereign tribal entity made up of some 400,000 Hawaiians". Hasn't worked for native Americans why would it work for Hawaiians.
As farewell presents go, few lawmakers get to redistribute an entire state's wealth based on race. That was the send-off for Representative Neil Abercrombie, who is retiring this week to run for Governor of Hawaii. For his campaign literature, he'll take the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, which was whooped through the House on Tuesday 245-164. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704188104575083843429621442.html?mod=rss_opinion_main
The worst way to rein in government spending is across the board cuts because it weakens useful programmes and camouflages useless programmes.
The first time they get to Parliament, MPs take one look at the massive amount of money the federal government spends every year and decide it ought to be an easy thing to find the fat to trim. http://www.kelowna.com/2010/02/27/cutting-federal-spending-is-a-lot-harder-than-it-sounds-trimming-across-the-board-the-cowards-approach-economist/
One of best ways is to identify programmes that are not inclusive, not affordable and not measureable that are not directly targeted in improving education, health, community and economic outcomes. The other is to think radically about how programmes are delivered. Thoughts on a guaranteed income, anyone?
This on health care.
With an increasing array of new drugs, technologies and specialization, and Canada's seemingly insatiable appetite for services, the cost of delivering health
carehas increased relentlessly. From 1975 to 2009, it rose from $12.2-billion to $183.1-billion. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/budget/the-five-point-health-fix/article1483406/?cid=art-rail-budget
This on aging.
Canada's aging population is already having an impact on Ottawa's bottom line as new figures show the cost of elderly benefits is up more than $1-billion this year. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/budget/aging-populace-puts-a-dent-in-ottawas-bottom-line/article1483582/
This on too many laws (and the cost of policing them).
Until quite recently, most Canadians lived their entire lives without a brush with the law. Our grandparents were mortified at the thought of being detained by police or forced to pay a fine. http://www.timescolonist.com/news/many+laws+hurt+society/2621806/story.html
Unfortunately, not a lot of leading edge thinking happening in the Prime Minister's Cabinet. Thanks to Patricia of Victoria for sending this in.
Oh, Wesley Wark. You are a silly fellow. I liked what you wrote in these pages a few days ago ("Repatriation Games," Feb. 22), but really, professor, what do you think you will accomplish? http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/What+think+thinkers/2604926/story.html
So Canada's challenges to an excellent future are a function of an ageing population, how political correctness stifles debate -- particularly in health care reform and improving Aboriginal education, health, community and economic outcomes -- and the inability of political leaders to think for the long term.
Try the issues faced by Brazil, Iceland, Pakistan, the UK, and the US in making their futures excellent.
In Brazil a large gap between rich and poor.
One per cent of the population has half the national income, 25 per cent of Brazilians live in poverty. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/great-assets-so-why-hasnt-brazil-done-better/article1481624/
In Iceland an entire country held hostage by the fallout from the financial panic of 2007-2008.
Sympathisers would hail it as an admirable display of people power against economic injustice. To critics, it would be a shameful dereliction of international obligations. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e61db8be-230d-11df-a25f-00144feab49a.html
In Pakistan religious political parties that believe that women should not work outside of the home and the power to impose this belief.
It was passed by the National Assembly in January. While this is a positive step, the flood of women-related legislation — a major achievement of women parliamentarians — in the two houses of parliament can leave one in a state of puzzlement. No doubt there has been some progress for women. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/protecting-women-720-ha-03
In the UK a top-down education policy that forgot that what matters most is good teachers.
Labour's 13-year drive to push the teaching of the 3Rs has stalled, says Ofsted, despite an endless stream of initiatives and the spending of billions of pounds. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/7313042/Education-why-are-we-bottom-of-the-class.html
And why it's hard to talk about.
On the conduct of wars the political parties can disagree, on the economy they can pretend to, but on a key subject for Britain’s future — selection in education — a conspiracy of silence reigns, which as the election approaches will become deafening. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article7038320.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=2270657
In the United States Obama's health care cul-de-sac.
IT IS tempting to dismiss the bipartisan health-reform summit convened by Barack Obama on Thursday February 25th as a colossal waste of time. After all, the gabfest involving senior Congressional leaders from both parties lasted well over six hours, with no tangible results. Neither side moved one jot on any issue of substance and not one vote is likely to have changed on either side as a result of the summit. http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15584740&fsrc=nwl
A fight for another day.
Going in, I was as cynical as everybody else about the Blair House health care forum. I was planning to watch for a half-hour and then write about something else. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/26/opinion/26brooks.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a27
And in case you in the neighbourhood on 7 April.
The Sir Winston Churchill Society of Vancouver Island
Uplands Golf Club, 3300 Cadboro Bay Rd. (The Oak Bay Room)
6:00 pm (registration and appetizers)
7:15 pm (AGM)
7:30 pm Guest speaker Paul Summerville, 'Social Justice in Winston Churchill's World View: Lessons for the 21st Century'
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