NX – Guantanamo, Health Care, Immigration, Economics, Environment, Energy

On closing Guantanamo:

How to Close Guantanamo

The Best Way to Close Guantanamo – Reader Q&A

Environment: Years ago I read a comment that (fresh) water was going to be the oil of the 21st century. Apparently others think that, too.

Investors Are Mining for Water, the Next Hot Commodity

Energy: What our energy infrastructure looks like – maps!

This Interactive Map of US Energy Infrastructure Has It All – CityLab

Health Care: One reason most people never seem to get a raise that puts them ahead of the financial curve.

Health Insurance Deductibles Outpacing Wage Increases, Study Finds

Drug companies – behavior worth criticizing, and how they respond to criticism.

A defining moment in modern health care – drug prices

Drug Companies Hire New Lobbyist to Answer Critics

Economics: More on Trump’s tax plan, and the question of predatory business practices and regulation.

Sargent – Donald Trump may have just played us all for suckers

Nocera – Is Donald Trump Serious

Krugman – Dewey, Cheatem & Howe

Immigration: The first article has some much-needed historical background, then a look at immigration numbers and a ground-level view.

Gjelten – The unintended consequences of a 50-year-old US immigration bill

Share of Immigrants in US Nears Highs of Early 20th Century, Report Finds

Refugee Crisis in Syria Raises Fears in South Carolina

Finally, Brooks looks at American exceptionalism and today’s GOP (and touches on immigration, too).

Brooks РThe American Idea and Today’s GOP

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NX – What you shold be reading and listening to

Police shootings: An unfortunate topic; the graphic in the first article is quite sobering. Since this was published about two weeks ago there was even a shooting in my town.

Police shot and killed people on all but 12 days of the year so far

Despite Spotlight On Police Shootings, Incidents With Latinos Often Forgotten

Health Care: A solid background article on Medicare and Medicaid

As Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50, Use of Private Health Plans Surges

Energy:

The Global Impact Of Low Oil Prices

U.S. Wind Power On Course To Grow Big

Minimum Wage:

Is Raising The Minimum Wage To $15 A Good Idea?

Two things to keep in mind: First, to figure out what an hourly wage translates to annually, multiply it by 2000 ($15/hr is about $30,000 annually before taxes). 40 hours per week times 50 weeks per year get you the 2000 figure. (Yes, I know there are 52 weeks each year, but for a quick approximation using 2000 is faster than using 2080.) The question then becomes whether or not that wage is adequate.

Second, one of the big problems with free market disciples is the failure to recognize that capitalism is amoral. Not moral good, not moral bad, there simply isn’t a question of morality in its structure. Any morality has to be added by people later – as with the question of a living wage. That question gets to the moral issue of whether people have an inherent value in and of themselves, and what sort of system should be constructed around them to reflect that value.

The following article on policy/political polarization includes the minimum wage question:

Yes, there really are two Americas. Just look at this chart.