Reality Czech

The Czech Republic survived four decades of communism. Now it's facing a different kind of centralizing power, the European Union.

Negotiating With The Executioner

Ever since Israel's military incursion into the West Bank to root out those responsible for the recent spate of bombings and to possibly prevent future attacks, the international community has demanded that Israel withdraw its forces and renew peace negotiations with Yasser Arafat.

PAT Answers

The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times foresaw "intolerable deterioration and possible extinction" for the human race as the result of pollution. We were "in an environmental crisis," according to biologist Barry Commoner. "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years" unless we take immediate action, Harvard biologist George Wald predicted.

401(k) Reform: Doing It the Right Way

401(k) retirement savings plans have been popular over the past three decades. However, the Enron debacle and the recent stock market slump are spurring Congress and the Bush administration to propose changes in the law. Wise reform could lead to higher returns and safer portfolios for the vast majority of workers. On the other hand, unwise reforms could induce employers to drop these plans altogether.

The Wage Gap Myth

Tuesday, April 16, 2002, is Equal Pay Day – the day on which many organizations protest wage discrimination between men and women. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for all women is about three-quarters that of men, although the results vary significantly among demographic groups. Feminist organizations and some politicians point to these statistics as evidence of the United States as a patriarchal society that discriminates against women. But a closer examination leads to a different conclusion.

The Taxing Reality of the Modern Woman

The major elements of the tax system, from the personal income tax law to the payroll taxes that are deducted every month, were put into place during an era when most women, certainly most mothers, were not in the workforce. That is no longer the case. Today, 70 percent of all married women, and 60 percent of mothers with children under the age of 6, work for wages. Yet the tax laws are biased toward single-earner households in which only one spouse works.

Colorblindness Is Golden

When America's best symphony orchestras evaluate potential musicians, the candidates audition "blind"; they play their instruments behind a screen so the auditioning committee does not know the musicians' race, sex or appearance but only hears the quality of their performance. Auditions are thus an honest meritocracy, and better symphonies are the result.