Immigration and Assimilation

By Mike Koetting

February 5, 2018

The last two posts have raised questions about the American vision.  Then government was shut down because the Republicans were so opposed to letting the Dreamers stay in America.  (Or, if you prefer, because Democrats were so committed to insuring the Dreamers get to stay.)  All of which got me wondering:  how should a country think about immigration?  Obviously, this is a more complicated topic than a single post.  This post will explore just one facet of the issue—assimilation., which I think is at the ideological core of the discussion. Continue reading “Immigration and Assimilation”

The Threat to Our Democracy

By Mike Koetting

January 25, 2018

My last post raised the issue of achieving the proper balance between individual and collective welfare.  I do think that’s the fundamental problem for any democracy.  But, before that question becomes relevant, there has to be a functioning democracy.  We in America tend to take that for granted.  But right now, I am a bit concerned about how our country is faring. Continue reading “The Threat to Our Democracy”

The Republican Tax Bill: How Do They Think About This

By Mike Koetting

January 16, 2018

In my first blog after the fall hiatus, I want to address the Tax Bill and some related issues.  Then I’ll take a quick pass at health care before I return to-my series on what I think are the most fundamental issues facing society.  Unsurprisingly, they didn’t resolve themselves while I was busy with other things.


Tax Bill 2Chicago Tribune

I don’t intend to use this post to analyze how the Tax Bill passed by Republicans was so awful.  There are plenty of analyses of that, and most of them better than I could do.  What has fascinated me is why Republicans made the choices they did. Continue reading “The Republican Tax Bill: How Do They Think About This”

Reconceptualizing Work

By Mike Koetting                   September 8, 2017      

This post addresses the third of my top three priorities for humanity—rethinking work.  Today’s post lays out some general thoughts and will be followed by posts elaborating some of the assertions made here.  Of all my posts so far, this has been the most difficult to write and the one where I feel most uncertain about what I have to say.  I think it’s important, but I am not sure I have gotten exactly where I want to go.  Why don’t any of you who might be inclined send me some thoughts?


The main problem with our conception of work, particularly in America, is that it is seen entirely through the old lenses of capitalism, which are too blurred for our current reality.  I think we need progressive lenses. Continue reading “Reconceptualizing Work”

Consumption, GDP and the Environment

By Mike Koetting         August 22, 2017

This is the third post on the environment.  While it does follow from the first two, I also need to acknowledge that I was nudged into this post by a very thoughtful note from Jim Kent, a long-time friend and policy guru.  I have freely incorporated some of his ideas in the below.  I hope he doesn’t mind.


Almost everyone, everywhere wants stuff to consume.  But the U.S. seems to be particularly vulnerable.  Consumption in the U.S. measures about 50 percent higher than in the European Union.  Americans consume more even than countries having higher per-capita GDPs.  American houses are bigger, they have more appliances in these houses, they drive more cars more miles, and they consume more food. Continue reading “Consumption, GDP and the Environment”

The Environment: Saving Ourselves Will Not Be Easy

By Mike Koetting                August 13, 2017

This is the second post of what I now realize is three posts on the environment. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the entire future of humanity is at least somewhat complicated. Environmental issues are one of what I believe are the three biggest issues facing society, inequality and the meaning of work being the other two.
My last post argued that even if you don’t believe the case for imminent environmental disaster is absolutely watertight, there can really be no argument that the risks are increasing at a more than linear rate and that any responses will take time to have material impact. Given the magnitude of the consequences of guessing wrong on the dangers, the only sensible course of action is to change course now instead of waiting for absolute proof of looming disaster, by which time it may well be too late. Continue reading “The Environment: Saving Ourselves Will Not Be Easy”

Environmental Risk—Squaring the Globe

By Mike Koetting         July 30, 2017 

Today’s post is on the environment, the middle of my trinity of critical issues—inequality, the environment, and the meaning of work.  This is the first of two on this topic.


My thoughts about the environment are not to convince you that environmental degradation poses a serious threat to humanity.  It assumes you believe that.  If you don’t, you might as well stop reading here.

What I do want to convince you is:

  • Current policy is exponentially more foolish than you already believe
  • This interacts with issues around inequality in a bunch of messy ways

Today’s post concentrates on the first one.  I’ll address the second in the next post. Continue reading “Environmental Risk—Squaring the Globe”