Shared posts

26 Mar 14:00

The Rich to the Poor: Do What I Say, Not What I Do

by Jay Livingston, PhD

Economic policies often rest on assumptions about human motivation.  Here’s Rep. Ryan (Republican of Wisconsin):

The left is making a big mistake here. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. People don’t just want a life of comfort. They want a life of dignity — of self-determination.

Fox News has been hitting the theme of “Entitlement Nation” lately. This Conservative case against things like Food Stamps, Medicare, welfare, unemployment benefits, etc rests on some easily understood principles of motivation and economics.

1.    Giving money or things to a person creates dependency and saps the desire to work. That’s bad for the person and bad for the country.
2.    A person working for money is good for the person and the country.
3.    We want to encourage work.
4.    We do not want to encourage dependency.
5.    Taxing something discourages it.

Now that you’ve mastered these, here’s the test question:

1. According to Conservatives, which should be taxed more heavily:

a.    money a person earns by working.
b.    money a person receives without working, for example because someone else died and left it in their will.

If you said “b,” you’d better go back to Conservative class. A good Conservative believes that the money a person gets without working for it should not be taxed at all.

Not all such money, of course.  Lottery tickets are bought disproportionately by lower-income people.  If a person gets income by winning the PowerBall or some other lottery, the Federal government taxes the money as income. Conservatives do not object.  But if a person gets income by winning the rich-parent lottery, Conservatives think he or she should not pay any taxes.

What Conservatives are saying to you is this: working for your money is not as good as instead of inheriting it. This message seems to contradict the principles listed above. But, as Jon Stewart recently pointed out, Conservatives apply those principles of economics and motivational psychology only to the poor, not to wealthy individuals or corporations.

Cross-posted at Montclair SocioBlog and the Huffington Post.

Jay Livingston is the chair of the Sociology Department at Montclair State University. You can follow him at Montclair SocioBlog or on Twitter.

(View original at

14 Feb 15:35

Talk: Emma Wolfe, Mayor de Blasio’s Secret Weapon

The mayor’s right-hand woman on grasstops, hoodies and battles of height.

03 Sep 11:45

Raising my gender creative son

While we tried to set boundaries, C.J.’s love of all things pink, purple, sparkly, glittery, and frilly knew no bounds. I realized the gravity of our plight when not only could C.J. name each Disney Princess and her movie of origin, but when his third birthday finally rolled around, he wanted a Disney Princess– themed party.

Where we live, in conservative and competitive Orange County, California, third birthdays are when things start to get out of control. It happens right around the time there are preschool classmates and parents to impress. In Orange County— especially the southernmost portion, where we live, where you can run into a Real Housewife in the grocery store or at the gym— people are constantly trying to one-up and outdo one another. Kids’ birthday parties are a big deal here. There are mobile salons that cater to tweens and mobile video- game trucks that bring every gaming system and every video game to your driveway so that the pint- sized party peeps can get their game on in an air- conditioned fifth wheel. We’ve been to kids’ parties that were fully catered and have left with goody bags that cost more than the gift we brought.

Continue Reading...

06 Jun 20:00

Sofia Vergara Has a Hard Time Wearing Clothes

by Jenna Sauers

Sofia Vergara Has a Hard Time Wearing Clothes

Sofia Vergara sometimes struggles to clothe her beautiful, beautiful body. "I can barely wear an outfit or a dress that I don’t have to alter," the actress said at a red-carpet event. Sometimes, alterations are simple: taking in at a seam here, letting out at a seam there. "But other designers, I have to really, like, reconstruct them inside. At the beginning, I was getting sample sizes, which of course didn’t fit and I would have to transform them. Those were works of art that I had to do with my seamstress. Because to make all this fit in a sample size is insane!" [The Cut]