Joe’s Reading Log

August 17, 2007

Med student struggles to preserve her idealism – CNN.com

Filed under: Economics, Healthcare — Joe Martin @ 4:05 pm

Med student struggles to preserve her idealism – CNN.com

There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t know where to start.

January 31, 2006

Healthcare: No Quick Fix

Filed under: Economics, National Politics — Joe Martin @ 1:24 pm

The problem with easy solutions is that they never are. Healthcare is a problem that has no easy solutions, despite what many politicians on both sides of the aisle will tell you. Take a look at The Fix-It Myth:

Here’s the paradox: A health care system that satisfies most of us
as individuals may hurt us as a society. Let me offer myself as an
example. All my doctors are in small practices. I like it that way. It
seems to make for closer personal connections. But I’m always stunned
by how many people they employ for nonmedical chores — appointments,
recordkeeping, insurance collections. A bigger practice, though more
impersonal, might be more efficient. Because insurance covers most of
my medical bills, though, I don’t have any stake in switching.

On
a grander scale, that’s our predicament. Americans generally want their
health care system to do three things: (1) provide needed care to all
people, regardless of income; (2) maintain our freedom to pick doctors
and their freedom to recommend the best care for us; and (3) control
costs. The trouble is that these laudable goals aren’t compatible. We
can have any two of them, but not all three. Everyone can get care with
complete choice — but costs will explode, because patients and doctors
have no reason to control them. We can control costs but only by
denying care or limiting choices.

January 27, 2006

We’re Richer Than We’ve Ever Been Before

Filed under: Economics, Prosperity — Joe Martin @ 2:07 pm

We’re richer than we’ve ever been before. Don’t believe me? Don Boudreaux takes a walk through a 1975 Sears catalog:

Other than the style differences, the fact most noticeable
from the contents of this catalog’s 1,491 pages is what the catalog doesn’t
contain. The Sears customer in 1975
found no CD players for either home or car; no DVD or VHS players; no cell
phones; no televisions with remote controls or flat-screens; no personal
computers or video games; no food processors; no digital cameras or camcorders;
no spandex clothing; no down comforters (only comforters filled with
polyester).

It seems to me that people were poor back in the ’70’s.

January 24, 2006

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Filed under: Economics, Government, National Politics — Joe Martin @ 2:28 pm

Patrick provides a grim outlook on the future in Triumph of the Redistributionist Left.

Discretionary spending is dwarfed by mandatory spending – spending that cannot be changed without changing the laws. Shifting demographics combined with an inability to change those laws virtually ensures that, through programs such as Social Security and Medicare, America’s workers will be forced to redistribute a larger and larger portion of their income to other Americans in the coming decades.

Certain trends have been favoring the left for the past several decades. In the early 1960s, transfer payments (entitlements and welfare) constituted less than a third of the federal government’s budget. Now they constitute almost 60 percent of the budget, or about $1.4 trillion per year. Measured according to this, the US government’s main function now is redistribution: taking money from one segment of the population and giving it to another segment. In a few decades, transfer payments are expected to make up more than 75 percent of federal government spending.

Currently the federal government consumes about 20 percent of the GDP, which is another way of saying that about 20 percent of Americans’ income, on average, is paid in taxes to the federal government. According to the Government Accountability Office, that is on course to rise to 30 percent by 2040.

By 2040, 30 percent of the national income will be confiscated by the Federal government. 70 percent of that massive amount will then be given to whomever the government feels is most needy — or has the most votes. It’s not a pretty future for my future children.

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