Thursday, September 13, 2007
As always, lots to talk about. The hot topics today have to do with firstly, the resignation of Japanese Leader, Shinzo Abe, and my opinions on the appeals to the constitutional court about inequality in social security. I’ll also comment on a couple other random things I’ve read.
The first issue, with respect to
With respect to the equality of pensions w.r.t. social security I think there are numerous problematic issues. In terms of a moral/equality issue, it is ‘right’ for the SA government to adjust the laws and to ensure that the money is disbursed to all people over 60 (rather than the cynical approach of increasing the pensionable age to 65 across the board). The only problem is that, empirically, it has been shown that there aren’t any statistically significant poverty or welfare consequences in households where there is a male pension eligible individual, or a male individual receiving a pension (sometimes actual pension receipt is under-reported in surveys because the households worry about what the surveyors will do with the information). However, when females receive the social grant (the pension is a social grant even if you mightn’t think it is), there are benefits that are directly transferred to the welfare of grandchildren and most significantly to granddaughters. There is no empirical evidence to support such an effect for male receivers of the pension. In terms of this evidence I don’t think it is worthwhile to increase the access of the grants to older men – there just isn’t evidence to show that it will do what Chaskalson and co. say it will. I also don’t think that the argument about it discriminating against gay men is particularly important, but I would like to see evidence on the matter. The problem ultimately depends on what government is attempting to do with the policy – if it is meant as an individual welfare improver or happiness helper then by all means provide it to these men. If, alternatively, it is meant as a ‘social security net’ for entire households (which is what I suspect it is intended for), then maybe this should be stated outright and maybe the system should be altered as a consequence. It’s a difficult one.
Otherwise, I was intrigued to read Thom Friedman’s article about a recent visit to
His unit was on a patrol in a Sunni neighborhood when it got hit by an I.E.D. Fortunately, the bomb exploded too soon and no one was hurt. His men jumped out and followed the detonation wire, which led 1,500 feet into the neighborhood. A
I love that image – the
Other cool article: Energy and
Last thing – is Fred Thompson a valid candidate for the
Comment on Energy:
Comment on Equality of Pension Laws
Shinzo Abe and Ensuing Leadership