American Society

How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society

The scary consequences of the grayest generation.

We are having kids later than ever. We have no idea what we're getting into.

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Lost Highway

America’s bridges, roads, and mass-transit systems are not exactly in stellar shape. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure—which gave the country an overall grade of “D” in its most recent report—estimates that, in the next five years, the nation’s funding shortfall for rail alone will approach $12 billion. Unfortunately, things may be about to get even worse. The last congressional bill authorizing funding for so-called “surface transportation” expired in 2009; since then, lawmakers have plugged the gap by passing a series of temporary extensions.

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On this day, we can all give thanks to Willis Carrier, inventor of air conditioning: In 1906, Carrier discovered that "constant dew-point depression provided practically constant relative humidity," which later became known among air conditioning engineers as the "law of constant dew-point depression." On this discovery he based the design of an automatic control system, for which he filed a patent claim on May 17, 1907. The patent, No.

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I disagree with most tenets of conservative thought, but even those I consider demonstrably false or even morally bankrupt I feel I understand. Conservatives oppose subsidizing health insurance because they consider health care a matter of personal responsibility, or just deem covering the uninsured a very low fiscal priority. They think climate change is overblown, or completely fake, or possibly real but not worth the cost of addressing. Etc. But there's one aspect of conservatism I simply don't understand, which is its approach to many forms of government spending.

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Yesterday, I highlighted a Wall Street Journal story about doctors overusing a costly yet often ineffective spinal fusion surgery, while hiding their ties to spine device companies. It turns out this isn't the first time spine specialists came together to shield spinal fusions from more oversight.

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Of course, driving isn't much fun without functional, safe roads and bridges. America's infrastructure is in bad shape--the American Society of Civil Engineers gives it a grade of "D" and says we need to invest $2.2 trillion over the next 5 years to bring it up to snuff. Doing so might be good policy on its own merits, but with our economy still struggling, the case becomes even stronger. Every dollar spent on infrastructure generates between...   $1 and $2.50 of economic activity   By comparison, one dollar of tax cuts for high-earners generates between $0.20 and $0.60, reports the CBO.

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Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Special Correspondent for The Treatment. More in sorrow than in anger, Washington Times editorialists are concerned that President Obama doesn't do enough to control costs. The Times particularly chides the President for delaying the proposed "Cadillac tax" on costly insurance plans. One original cost-control measure was to impose a tax on high-quality insurance, dubbed Cadillac plans….

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Not in Our Name!

As health-care reform inches closer to the finish line, at least a few opponents of the Senate bill are stepping back from all-out war.

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Going Under

In December 2003, Brent Cambron gave himself his first injection of morphine. Save for the fact that he was sticking the needle into his own skin, the motion was familiar--almost rote. Over the course of the previous 17 months, as an anesthesia resident at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cambron had given hundreds of injections. He would stick a syringe into a glass ampule of fentanyl or morphine or Dilaudid, pulling up the plunger to draw his dose. Then he'd inject the dose into his patient.

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Within fourteen days of each other, two rush-hour calamities: a bridge collapse and a steam-pipe explosion. In Minneapolis, a forty-year-old bridge along highway I-35W suddenly dropped sixty feet into the Mississippi River, killing at least five people and injuring approximately one hundred more. The federal government had deemed the bridge structurally deficient in 1990, which the Minnesota Department of Transportation acknowledged in separate reports issued in 2005, 2006, and 2007, after inspecting the bridge.

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