What’s the point of an ethics course?

…The value of regular – and even repetitive – ethics training is to steer clear of just this type of “inadvertent” error. It can help individuals look beyond their own partisan biases and more clearly see how actions taken in the political sphere are likely to be perceived by outsiders.

Fewer Americans identifying as Irish | Pew Research Center


The ranks of Americans who trace their ancestry back to Ireland – long one of the most prominent subgroups in American society – are slowly declining.

The Truth About the WikiLeaks C.I.A. Cache – The New York Times


What had gone wrong? There were two culprits: an honest (if careless) misunderstanding about technology on the part of the press; and yet another shrewd misinformation campaign orchestrated by WikiLeaks.

The Clumsy War Against the ‘Administrative State’ – Management Matters – Management – GovExec.com


From Don Kettl:

The twin ideals of competence and responsiveness have faded, because of neglect from the left and assault from the right. Liberals have developed a disconcerting habit of launching big ideas without paying much attention to how to make them work. Nothing captures this better than the failed launch of the Obamacare website in October 2013, when the administration took its eye off the ball in rolling out its signature program.

But conservatives have been complicit as well. Instead of repealing policies they disagreed with, they savaged the bureaucracies charged with administering them. Through hiring freezes, political attack, and ultimately “starving the beast,” they undermined the agencies with the responsibility for administering the law—and, in the process, weakened confidence in government itself.

Can the government save money by privatizing prisons, Medicare and other functions?


How should we evaluate proposals to privatize government functions?

First, we shouldn’t assume that lower costs means more efficiency. It will be easy to develop a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that is cheaper. Just provide fewer benefits or make the insured pay more out of pocket or in premiums. That is not more efficient, but just a less comprehensive program. The government would save money, but patients get less while paying more.

Second, not everything can be reduced to a price. We often hear that cuts in military spending might result in less security. We should realize that cheaper prisons can be more dangerous. Less spending on education could yield less educated students.

Finally, we need to recognize that people who have spent their careers working in the private sector, where the single measure of success is the rate of profit, might not be capable of running an organization that measures success in terms of human well-being, public health or the beauty and sustainability of our enviro