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Ukraine Shows the Strength of a Free People

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Comparing the post-Soviet political trajectories of Russia and Ukraine, Frederick W. Kagan concludes that Ukraine's embrace of democracy and civil society in recent decades, coupled with Russia's descent into greater corruption and autocracy, has made it a more resilient nation. "Many of the things that had made Ukraine so hard to govern in relative peace," he argues, "made it so hard to defeat in war." In this regard, Ukraine offers an important lesson for all Western nations: "The self-loathing that has become an American and European specialty over the past decades has eroded our own people's belief that freedom is good and valuable. . . . This war should lay that thought, at least, to rest."


According to Dalibor Rohac, Vladimir Putin's grandest designs and most aggressive rhetoric were mostly absent from his speech at the annual Victory Day celebrations on May 9. But Rohac says this is no reason for Western complacency: Russia's strategic designs for Eastern Europe remain as dangerous as ever, with NATO's southeastern flank in potential jeopardy.



Beth Akers writes that Joe Biden's proposed student loan cancellation is not possible without additional educational financing reforms. This politically motivated step can have devastating consequences for students and society alike, she argues.


In the Wall Street Journal, Naomi Schaefer Riley argues that the US Department of Education's proposed regulations on charter schools, influenced by teachers unions, may deny quality education to children with autism. She says the unions are ignoring these students' needs to prevent change in the racial makeup of other schools.


Finally, Yuval Levin remembers Midge Decter, who passed away earlier this week. "Her essays could see right to the core of the failures of the modern left," Levin writes, "often long before those failures become apparent as a practical matter to everyone with eyes to see."



Retirement Preparation: Differences by Race and Ethnicity

In a new report for the Retirement Income Institute, AEI's Andrew Biggs analyzes racial differences in retirement preparation across White, Black, and Hispanic retirees. While he finds that White retirees have significantly higher incomes than Black and Hispanic retirees do, the rates of Black and Hispanic retirees who can maintain their prior standard of living are not much lower than that of White retirees. Substantial majorities of all three major demographic groups are able to meet retirement planning targets, Biggs says, setting them up to adequately replace their income from active employment with other income streams for retirees. However, many of these Black and Hispanic retirees are retiring into the same low standard of living that they had while working for low wages. Biggs believes that racial parity for retirees' income should remain the primary goal of corresponding reform efforts but that solutions should largely focus on boosting the retirement prospects and protection from poverty of all retirees, which will especially benefit minorities.



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It is heartening to see Congress investing in its own institutional capacity, and there are plenty of hard-working young staffers who are long overdue for a raise.