Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for January 17th, 2010

Honduras Coup, Act VI, Day 48

Posted by Charles II on January 17, 2010

More light posting.

Brother John has the Jesuit statement on Honduras. Short version: they are against bad things and in favor of good things. But you might want to examine the details.

The Globo server is down.

All eyes are on Haiti at Channel 36. A woman says that God is tired of so much stuff and reflects that the same thing could happen in Honduras. A man says that everything that’s happening was described in the Bible.

The Cuban press claims that the OAS has given up on trying to bring justice to Honduras:

The decrepit Organization of American States, unable to reverse the coup because it suited the interests of their leaders in Washington, is already advocating for the normalizing of the relations with Honduras after Porfirio Lobo´s takeover. Thus, it joins the laundering operation of a crime which consequences will remain for long time in the country, and threaten the entire region.

Insulza denies this:

He ruled out the possibility that the OAS might do more to reverse the Honduran crisis – “we have already done everything we were going to do” – but he denied that this means “abandoning” Zelaya.

“Zelaya, unlike Micheletti, is the only president who is being prevented from holding the position and is still recognized by all countries in the world. Having the recognition of 192 countries is no small matter. And Micheletti (has the recognition) of none. I do not think that is abandoning,” Insulza said.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Why Can’t Americans Save Money? Because It’s All Going To Health Insurance Companies.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 17, 2010

The Left Business Observer points out that Americans would have been able to save more money over the past few decades if they hadn’t had to hand over their wallets to Aetna, UnitedHealth and Blue Cross Blue Shield:

Everyone knows that American consumers have been on a binge for the last ten or twenty years. Data connoisseurs could even tell you that the consumption share of GDP rose from an average of 64% in the 1980s to 70% in 2007–8. But while the numbers are accurate, they’re not really telling the story of a binge. Much of the rise has come from spending on health care, not flat-screen TVs.


But there’s also another point here. While the consumption spike may look like the result of an accounting convention, it’s also reflecting a sad reality: an enormous, and ever-increasing share of our national income is going to health care. Of course, some unquantifiable share of that spending makes people healthier, happier, and more productive. But much of it doesn’t. In economic jargon, it’s a deadweight loss. As the graph above shows, the U.S. devotes a far larger share of its national income to health care than any other country: 37% more than the second-biggest spender, France; 49% more than Canada; 68% more than Sweden; 87% more than the UK. Yet U.S. health indicators are consistently among the worst in the OECD, with terrible ratings on life expectancy, infant mortality, obesity, and mental health. U.S. readings on all these are worse than countries spending far less on health care.

So the rise in the consumption share of GDP and the long slide in our savings rate is telling us something. American consumers aren’t the profligates of legend, but that our health care system certainly is.

Yup. And much of that expense comes from the different players passing the cost buck back and forth, as Krugman pointed out back in 2005.

Posted in economy, health care | 2 Comments »

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