Welcome to TESB, my first attempt at blogging since I left The Democratic Strategist in spring of 2007.  If you're thinking, "I needed another blog to add to my online reading like I need a hole in my head," this post is for you.  Because, all respect, you need another blog. (Whether you need another hole in your head depends on the number of nostrils and ear canals you currently have.  And mouths.)

Here's the thing: there are a lot of numbers out there, and not many reliable resources that help people make sense of them.  The blogosphere is dominated by passionate people with strong ideological bents.  Passion is generally a good thing, and you'll see a lot of it here as well.  But it too often gets in the way.  Soft hearts can make heads mushy too.  And the correlation between hard-heartedness and hard-headedness is, shall we say, less than perfect.

As for ideology, well, there's no escaping it is there?  But what one can do is to try as hard as possible to surmount it.  People who pretty much always argue the same, readily identifiable ideological side of any debate in which they participate ought to be viewed suspiciously.  On the other hand, while no one ever filled up a dating card by being "tough to categorize", people who are willing to argue against both sides or for both sides without regard to how either side perceives them at least have the benefit of being more likely to be trusted as a straight shooter.

I'm not going to always live up to the ideal of the "non-partisan gun-slinger"...because I do have some ideological commitments.  Some of them are matters of values that aren't subject to empirical refutation.  I think Americans collectively should do more than we currently do to expand opportunity for those with fewer opportunities.  Some of my ideological commitments—like those of anyone—are just failings, and hopefully, you will help keep me honest.  But if this blog succeeds, it will be because I have fewer ideological commitments—or am better able to surmount them—than the other blogs buried sadly within the recesses of your feed reader.

This is a blog about domestic policy, social and economic trends, and politics.  I have a day job, so I won't be posting as much as other bloggers.  In fact, I'd like you to think of TESB as a self-published ezine that dribbles out over the course of a week, as I will likely carry on about some obsession for days at a time (lucky you!).  For now, if you want to be emailed on a weekly basis with my posts, drop me a line at tesbATscottwinshipDOTcom.  You may also follow me on Twitter (username swinshi).

About me: I'm a newly-minted Ph.D. in social policy, a resident of D.C.'s hipster neighborhood of ten minutes ago (that is, no longer hipster), a native of small-town Maine, and a two-time body-building champion.  One of those descriptors is a lie.

Mike W
3/21/2011 11:02:29 pm

So Far i am fascinated by your blog. For once someone is actually looking at the numbers and challenging the basis of some of the statements that get thrown around so easily by pundits of all types and sides. I do have a question, since i don't have time to read all that you have written. Have you ever done any research on the effect of the underground economy on these wealth distribution numbers. I have been in the tax world for over 40 years, as preparer, consultant and planner. I know from my experience that the underground economy is massive and untaxed and it has a significant effect on income and lifestyle. In my limited experience, I see this "economy"affecting the poorer end of the population, and it is almost non existant at they extremely high end of the population. At the extremely high end of the economy, they resort to tax incentives and shelters etc. Your thoughts or comments?

3/30/2011 03:33:07 am

Hi, you got a nice blog. According to your picture, I guess the descriptor "two-time body-building champion" is least possible to be true :)

4/7/2011 01:40:42 am

Sorry for the delay in approving comments--Weebly didn't send me alert emails for some reason (or Gmail threw 'em into the spam filter).

Mike, thanks for the kind words. I'd love to hear your thoughts on both the underground economy at the low end and tax avoidance at the high end. I'm no expert on either, but I think they're both important empirically. Drop me a note at (my first name) AT (myfullname) .com if you have the time and/or inclination.

haha, I'm not sure what you're saying. You can't see what I look like from the neck down. It is...awe-inspiring.


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