Which Nations are the Happiest — and Why

America’s oft-quoted Declaration of Independence, when discussing “unalienable rights,” focused on “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Although “happiness” is rarely referred to by today’s government officials, the general assumption in the United States and elsewhere is that governments are supposed to be fostering the happiness of their citizens.

Against this backdrop, it’s worth taking a look at the 2018 World Happiness read more

Although Two Out of Three Americans Oppose Increasing U.S. Military Spending, the U.S. Government Is Boosting It to Record Levels

Early this February, the Republican-controlled Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed new federal budget legislation that increased U.S. military spending by $165 billion over the next two years.  Remarkably, though, a Gallup public opinion poll, conducted only days before, found that only 33 percent of Americans favored increasing U.S. military spending, while 65 percent opposed it, either backing reductions (34 percent) or maintenance of the status quo (31 percent).

What is even more read more

The Trump Administration’s War on Workers

When Donald Trump was running for the presidency, he promised that, if he was elected, “American worker[s] will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them.”  Today, though, safely ensconced in the White House, President Trump is waging a fierce campaign against American workers.

His appointments to federal positions created to defend workers’ rights provide an indication of his priorities.  For Secretary of Labor, Trump read more

Who Is a Hero?

In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. occupation authorities in Germany, checking on the effectiveness of their “denazification” program, polled Germans on whether they believed a civilian was “less worthy than a soldier.”  One wonders what they would think of the exalted status that many Americans currently accord to anyone serving in the U.S. armed forces, as announcements ring out―from airline flights to sporting events―with calls to applaud “Our Heroes.”

This adulation read more

The “Merchants of Death” Survive and Prosper

During the mid-1930s, a best-selling exposé of the international arms trade, combined with a U.S. Congressional investigation of munitions-makers led by Senator Gerald Nye, had a major impact on American public opinion.  Convinced that military contractors were stirring up weapons sales and war for their own profit, many people grew critical of these “merchants of death.”

Today, some eight decades later, their successors, now more politely called “defense contractors,” are alive and well.  read more

Should We Pay the Staggering Economic and Human Costs of Nuclear Weapons?

This October, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that its estimate of the cost for the planned “modernization” the U.S. nuclear weapons complex over the next three decades has risen to $1,200,000,000,000.00.  For those of you not familiar with such lofty figures, that’s $1.2 trillion.  Furthermore, when adjusted for inflation, the cost of the program―designed read more

Problems of the Super-Rich

Based on recent economic developments, the super-rich don’t have much to complain about.

A study just released by UBS, a major global financial services company, has revealed that, during 2016, the total wealth of the world’s billionaires rose by 17 percent―from $5.1 trillion to $6.0 trillion.  Furthermore, the number of billionaires grew by 10 percent to 1,542, with more than a third of them located in the read more