The National Health Service isn’t what it used to be despite its Constant Veneration

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

Obamacare is unpopular and divisive.  Democrats passed it on purely party lines when they controlled both the House and the Senate.  Something they felt was more important doing than trying to help the economy recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.  And now we see nothing but new taxes and costly regulations for business.  Causing a hiring freeze.  And a move to push full-time people to part-time because of the onerous cost of compliance.

Obamacare may prove to be the most damaging piece of legislation to ever come from Washington.  And on top of everything else the quality of health care will decline.  As we have learned from our friends in Britain.  Where in their National Health Service it is not uncommon to see long wait-times, rationing and denials of service.  They even have a de facto death panel.   The Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient.  Basically pulling the plug on those too old and too costly to keep alive.  But yet every time you turn around someone is heaping praise on the NHS.  Despite the train wreck it’s become (see For crying out loud, Archbishop, do we have to drag the NHS into everything? by Damian Thompson posted 3/21/2013 on The Telegraph).

From Archbishop Justin Welby’s sermon: “Slaves were freed, factory acts passed and the NHS and social care established through Christ-liberated courage.”

Sorry if this is out of place, Your Grace, but I can’t help asking: it is now against the law to hold any grand public occasion in Britain without venerating the NHS?

It’s a system of delivering healthcare. There are many worse and, increasingly, many better around the world. Its foundation was a huge achievement, but it is currently so badly administered and employs so many dodgy staff that many people do not feel safe in its hands.

This is the future of Obamacare.  It will be badly administered.  As all national health care programs typically are.  Because it’s the government running it.  And they just don’t have a good track record of running anything.  With this bad administration you will get political appointments to run crucial parts of it.  Instead of qualified health care professionals.  And as the political cronyism grows the staff will become dodgy.  Until one day people won’t feel safe in its hands.

But despite this those in the government will venerate it.  For it is the Holy Grail of government.  Controlling one-sixth of the economy.  Giving it enormous power over the economy.  And enormous power over life itself.  For Obamacare will have its own Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient.  A board of government bureaucrats making death panel decisions.  To try and stretch those health care dollars to cover as many people as they can.  After, of course, first taking care of those at the top badly administering it.


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Charlie Rangel makes up Statistics in his Argument for an Assault Rifle Ban

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

The Left sure hates guns.  And gun owners.  Pretty much saying anything to advance their gun control agenda.  And when the facts don’t support their case they just make up their own facts (see Rangel: ‘Millions of kids’ being shot down by assault rifles by Jessica Chasmar posted 3/21/2013 on The Washington Times).

New York Rep. Charlie Rangel appeared on MSNBC this morning to opine about the assault weapons ban getting dropped from the Senate gun-control bill…

“We’re talking about millions of kids dying — being shot down by assault weapons,” he continued. “Were talking about handguns easier in the inner cities, to get these guns in the inner cities, than to get computers. This is not just a political issue, it’s a moral issue…”

The FBI’s 2011 data says only 323 people were killed by rifles, compared to 728 people who were killed by hands, fists, feet etc. Handguns are much more likely to be used in a homicide with 6,220 killed nationwide in 2011.

I told you a million times not to exaggerate.

When they are distorting the facts like this you can’t help but see the politics in the gun control debate.  For 323 is not 1 million with a decimal point error.  These numbers are far, far apart.  It’s as if the Congressman has no idea what the actual number is.  For knowing the actual number apparently is not important to him.  Just banning assault rifles that kill less than half of the people killed by people with no weapons.  Why?  Probably because it will be easier to ban handguns once they ban assault rifles.  Then it’s just a matter of time before they get around to banning hands, fists and feet.

According to the CDC there were approximately 15,529 AIDS deaths in 2010.  And 16,694 adults and adolescent men contracted AIDS in 2011 from male-to-male sexual contact.  Does Rep. Charlie Rangel want to ban male-to-male sexual contact?  For male-to-male sexual contact kills 48 times the number of people assault rifles kill.  If he wants to ban the one that kills less you would assume he would favor banning the one that kills more.  But he’s probably not for banning the more dangerous than assault rifle male-to-male sexual contact.  For political reasons.  Because the gay community generally supports Democrats.  While gun owners generally support Republicans.

So it’s not about saving lives.  It’s about attacking Republicans.  Just yet something else they can use to demonize them.  For Republicans don’t want to ban assault rifles because they hate kids.  Just as everything Republicans do is because they hate someone.  And if they say this enough the Democrats can keep winning elections.  For their failing economic policies sure aren’t helping them.


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European Keynesians recommend Anti-Business Policies to spur New Economic Activity

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

In the U.S. some state governments are lamenting the fuel efficiencies of today’s cars.  They don’t like them.  Because unlike the gas-guzzlers of yesteryear fuel efficient cars don’t burn a lot of fuel.  And you’re probably thinking isn’t that the point of making cars more fuel efficient?  So they burn less fuel?  So this is a good thing, yes?  Well, if you’re thinking like that you’re obviously a selfish person.  For these states have expensive union pay and benefit packages they must for their government workers.  And their retired government workers.

Cars that are buying less gas are paying less state fuel taxes.  Which is forcing these states to spend less on maintaining roads.  As there just isn’t enough cash left over after paying pensions and health care costs.  It’s getting so bad that states want to tax drivers by the mile they drive and not by the gallon of gas they buy.  So these selfish people driving fuel efficient cars will pay the same taxes those driving gas-guzzlers pay.  So whenever anyone talks about the economic benefits of new governmental regulations they’re probably not telling the whole story (see European Car-Efficiency Rule Would Cut Fuel Bill by 25% by Alex Morales posted 3/17/2013 on Bloomberg)

A European Union plan to tighten emissions standards on cars would cut auto-fuel costs by almost a quarter in 2030, according to a report e-mailed by a group promoting policies to reduce carbon emissions in the region.

Fuel bills would fall 57 billion euros ($75 billion) from a projected cost of 245 billion euros in 2030, said the European Climate Foundation, which contributed to the report prepared by Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA. Producing fuel-efficient vehicles would add 22 billion euros of capital costs, it said.

“The effect of reduced spending on fuel more than outweighs the impact of increased spending on vehicle technology to reduce carbon emissions,” according to the e-mailed report. “Most of the money spent on fuel leaves the European economy, while most additional money spent on fuel-saving technology remains in Europe as revenues for the technology suppliers…”

Today’s report for The Hague-based foundation, examines the effects excluding taxes in 2030 of meeting the proposed car and van standards for 2020, plus improved efficiency of less than 1 percent a year for the following decade. The policy would add 356,000 jobs to the EU economy by 2030, even after accounting for lost posts in refining, according to the report’s authors.

Gas prices are higher in Europe because they tax their gas more.  Europe is in the midst of a sovereign debt crisis.  As excessive budget deficits raise borrowing costs.  So Europeans are not going to see any savings with these more fuel efficient cars.  For countries running chronic deficits are just not going to allow a major source of tax revenue wither away.

Only a Keynesian could put together such a report.  For Keynesians don’t know the first thing about business.  All they know is tax, borrow, print and spend.  The very things that got Europe into their sovereign debt crisis.  Spending money they don’t have.  No.  Increasing the cost of business does NOT help a business.  It forces them to make cuts elsewhere.  Directing capital to where the government wants it.  Not the market.  So while the government forces them to spend money on tightening emissions standards they will spend less money on adding things people want in their cars.  If you add a few thousand in new emission systems they may have to eliminate the music system or some other creature comfort.  Unless people can afford to spend a few thousand more on their cars.

They won’t be able to afford these higher priced cars.  So they, instead, will buy less expensive cars.  Either smaller cars.  Or foreign made cars.  Or they will just not buy a car at all.  Leaving them little more than toys for the rich.  Who can afford to pay no matter what the government decrees.  And any savings in fuel costs?  There will be none.  When the governments see all that loss tax revenue they’ll find something else to tax.  They’ll have to.  Because they’re all running chronic deficits.

This is yet another example of why we should never listen when a Keynesian is talking.  Or anyone that says higher taxes and more regulations will create economic activity.  For they are either completely ignorant of business and economics.  Or they’re just lying to help advance an anti-business government agenda.


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President Obama’s War on Oil and Gas

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

The economy is still languishing in a recession.  At least if you look at the labor force participation rate.  Which has fallen greatly during the Obama presidency.  And still shows no signs of recovery.  Hundreds of thousands of jobs continue to disappear from the labor force.  While median income falls.  And gas and food prices rise.  In fact the only boom going on during the Obama presidency has nothing to do with President Obama.  The oil and gas boom is all on private lands.  Where he can’t stop it.  Like he has stopped it on public lands.  But if you listen to him talk you wouldn’t know that (see Obama’s Quiet Declaration of War on Oil and Gas Production by Clark S. Judge posted 3/18/2013 on U.S.News & World Report).

Last week, the president traveled to the Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago to deliver what the White House billed as a major speech on energy…

Despite the speech’s “energy” label, the oil and gas boom that is in the process of transforming the United States from a net importer to a net exporter of hydrocarbons rated only one forward-looking sentence. “[W]e’ll keep moving on the all-of-the-above energy strategy that we’ve been working on for the last couple years,” the president said, “where we’re producing more oil and gas here at home but we’re also producing more biofuels, we’re also producing more fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power; more wind power.”

That was it. No mention of allowing drillers onto public lands from which they have been excluded throughout the Obama presidency. No mention of allowing construction of the Keystone pipeline, a major step, if it happens, toward fully freeing the nation from dependence on such problematic petroleum suppliers as Venezuela and the Middle East…

But here’s a thought: Could it be that the president’s brushing aside of the only viable short-term sources of American energy—the oil and gas boom—had to do with a story that broke the day before? As Bloomberg reported, Mr. Obama “is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways.” Bloomberg added, “The result could be significant delays for natural gas-export facilities, ports for coal sales to Asia, and even new forest roads, industry lobbyists warn.”

In other words, it looks as though the entire energy address may have been a smokescreen, covering the start of a White House-driven war on American oil and gas production.

So not only is the president keeping drillers off of public lands he is now directing his administration to hinder the economic activity on private lands.  By putting up roadblocks to hinder the private sector bringing their products to market.  Which won’t do anything to improve the labor force participation rate.  In fact, it will probably cause even more jobs to disappear from the market.

Guess the president doesn’t care about the oil and gas industries.  As long as he has fuel for Air Force One to travel the world on vacation he’s content with the way things are now.  Horrible.


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There are more Cell Phones than Toilets in some Developing Economies

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

It is by far the least dainty thing we do.  Poop.  But we all do it.  From world leaders.  To the prettiest supermodels.  Everyone has to drop trou and evacuate their bowels.  And tidy up afterwards with toilet paper.  The ladies may blush when reading this.  For it has been what they thought a well-guarded secret.  But we know it.  Have known it for a long time.  Ladies poop.  The ladies are probably wishing fervently that we change the subject.  For that is a very private matter they attend to behind closed doors.  Who emerge as pretty as they entered.  With no telltale sign of what they just did.  But as it turns out there a lot of people who don’t have that luxury (see More people have access to cellphones than toilets by Eric Pfeiffer posted 3/22/2013 on Yahoo! News).

A new United Nations study has found that more people around the world have access to a cellphone than to a working toilet.

The study’s numbers claim that of the world’s estimated 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to mobile phones. However, only 4.5 billion have access to a toilet…

Interestingly, the report states that India alone is responsible for 60 percent of the world’s population that does not use a toilet, an estimated 626 million individuals. Yet, at the same time, there are an estimated 1 billion cellphones in India…

Driving the point home, more than 750,000 people die each year from diarrhea and one of its primary causes is from unsanitary conditions created in communities without access to toilets…

“This can also improve the safety of women and girls, who are often targeted when they are alone outdoors,” said Martin Mogwanja, deputy executive director of the U.N. Children’s Fund. “And providing safe and private toilets may also help girls to stay in school, which we know can increase their future earnings and help break the cycle of poverty.”

Interestingly it is the free market that can bring cell phones to anyone in the world.  Even in places the government can’t provide a safe place for women and girls to go to the bathroom.  Because market forces can often function despite dysfunctional government.  But government can’t provide the most basic services even in places where the free market can bring cell phones to the masses.

The moral of this story?  If you want an advanced, safe and sanitary country you need to unleash free market forces.  Which can produce the materials and expertise to install state-of-the-art sanitation systems.  And the tax revenue to pay for it.


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