Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 19th, 2010

Some truth leaks into the WSJ editorial pages

Posted by Charles II on March 19, 2010

Imagine my amazement to read the following:

Socialism, or social democracy, or whatever else you want to call it, doesn’t seem to have hurt stockholders overseas too badly. Over the past 10 years, according to MSCI Barra, stock markets across socialized Europe have produced total returns of about 2% a year in U.S. dollar terms, according to MSCI Barra. The figure for France is just over 2% and for left-wing Britain and Holland nearer to 3%. Pinko Denmark has boomed by 10% a year.

Meanwhile, here in the land of the free, investors have made zero….

Socialized medicine may not be so bad for your wealth after all.

Now, of course this is an OpEd, not an editorial– a classic Murdoch scheme to stir up rage among readers and draw attention to his properties with their declining levels of actual journalism. In fact, Europe as a whole does not have socialized medicine. What it does have is a universal, state-paid guarantee of medical care, but the medicine ranges from fully socialized (e.g., the UK) to essentially all private (e.g., the Netherlands). The reasoning is also shallow post hoc ergo propter hoc, e.g. there is garbage and there are flies. So the flies created the garbage. But since Murdoch properties have no editing standards, sloppy writing like this is the norm.

Anyway, basically, the question is this: We spend 16 points of GDP on healthcare, mostly because our insurance system creates perverse incentives. A typical country with state-guaranteed medicine spends 10. The outcomes are approximately equal (although the US scores poorly on most measures of the effectiveness of its medical system, it also has a much higher poverty rate, and that could explain the difference). And most of that excess spending does not cause stronger growth. An operation that extends someone’s life by two days may increase this year’s GDP, but it doesn’t increase the productive capacity of the nation as a whole.

If instead we spent those 6 points of GDP on almost anything else, there would be more money for all sorts of things, including real investment in companies. Not stock purchases, which mostly amount to asset inflation, but R&D. After all, who pays inflated medical costs? Individuals, yes. Governments, yes. But companies, as well– and then they have less money for R&D. Furthermore, when governments pay more, eventually taxes go up. When individuals pay more, consumption droops.

And that’s what we’re seeing. US companies are falling behind. They are desperately substituting cheap labor for technological advantage. It’s a quick road to Third World status.

We absolutely must lower the costs of medicine while maintaining quality, and increasing the number of people who get decent care. The survival of the country depends on it.
Bonus! Via John Cole, Swampland’s Kate Pickert has a hysterical story about what can go wrong when you put a drug-addled demagogue in charge of organizing very stupid people.

After you read the story, try dialing (206) 666-6666. Or just imagine all the right-wing posters you have ever known, after they run into facts and bruise their egos.

Posted in health care, rightwing moral cripples, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, science and medicine | Comments Off on Some truth leaks into the WSJ editorial pages

The face of evil

Posted by Charles II on March 19, 2010

ProgressOhio — March 17, 2010 — SEE THE VIDEO RESPONSES: Interview with Bob The Parkinson’s Hero!

COLUMBUS – In a scene reminiscent of non-violent civil rights confrontations from the 1960s, Ohio Tea Partiers quickly turned ugly when facing off with health care advocates in front of Ohio Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy’s office Tuesday.

In shocking video taken by a Columbus Dispatch reporter Doral Chenowith yesterday, Tea Party protestors mock a seated counter-protestor with a sign indicating he has Parkinson’s disease. They then proceed to hurl wadded up bills at him shouting, “I’ll decide when to give you money!”

On March 17th outside of Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy’s (D-OH15) district office teabaggers mocked and scorned a man who had a sign stating that he had Parkinson’s. They told him “he’s in the wrong end of town to ask for handouts”, called him a communist and threw dollar bills at him to “pay for his health care”.

My comment: As a Christian, it’s fascinating to watch both the video and the responses to it.

Bob is brave just for hanging in against his illness and not succumbing to self-pity. For him to face angry, shouting political opponents is angelic. In gospel terms, he is one of the least of these.

Those who attack him are the face of evil: not horned monsters, but ordinary people who [are] blind to what they are doing. Like Cain, they are filled with anger.

Saddest of all are those who see, yet defend evil.

Added: Digby links to a Forbes article by Bruce Bartlett in which David Frum, of all people, interviews teabaggers and finds their knowledge of what’s going on to be sadly lacking.

Digby titles it, “Willingly Brainwashed.” I would title it, “Nothing in the Laundry Basket.”

Posted in evil, health care, Republicans as cancer | 3 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on March 19, 2010

Posted in Friday Cat Blogging, Lady Lightfoot | 3 Comments »

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