Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Speed Blogging: On Suicides Among Baby Boomers, On Employed Mothers As the Cause Of All Ills and on The Riots in Turkey

Speed-Blogging, like speed-dating, right?  Short and sweet posts on several topics.

1.  On the increased suicide rates of baby boomers in the USThis WaPo article  asks why the rates have gone up so much, but underplays or omits the most obvious reason for the increased rates:

The collapse of the housing markets and the bad recession of recent years.  If someone in late middle age loses the value in his or her dwelling and then loses a job as well, the stress is much, much higher than for someone who is younger.  There's simply not the time to make up those losses before retirement and getting a new job is harder the older you are.

2.  On Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) stating that women in the labor market is the cause for the US education problems.  I quote:

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Tuesday that America’s educational troubles began when women began working outside the home in large numbers.
Bryant was participating in a Washington Post Live event focused on the importance of ensuring that children read well by the end of third grade. In response to a question about how America became “so mediocre” in regard to educational outcomes, he said:
I think both parents started working. The mom got in the work place.

Bryant immediately recognized how controversial his remark would be and said he knew  he would start to get e-mails. He then expanded on his answer, saying that “both parents are so pressured” in families today. He also noted that America seemed to be losing ground internationally in regards to educational outcomes because other nations began to invest more in their own school systems and make progress.

My bolds.

Now that gave me the first belly laugh of the day!  The reason, of course, is that Finland currently leads the education competitions on this planet,  and employment of women is sorta pretty common and uncontroversial there.  Has been for a long time, actually (Hi mom!  Love you a lot!).

I get why Bryant would say something so inane.  It's because his party doesn't want to spend any money on education at all, so blaming something or someone outside the formal system of education is the obvious alternative.  But at least pick something which international statistics support, please.

Though there IS an odd shadow truth in what he says, in the following sense:  When most jobs were not really available for women in the US, smart women often had to choose to be teachers, one of the handful of socially acceptable jobs for educated women.  So in the past the talent pool for teaching was large and the pay didn't have to be that high to get good teachers.  That changed when opportunities for women in the labor market increased.  Now you have to compensate teachers properly, and Bryant doesn't want to.

3.  On the Turkish Riots:  

This article gives a good  background about the riots.  Turkey has very divided voters, by the way.  Those rioting belong to the more secular middle classes.  Whether their discontents apply more generally is something I don't know.