Failed Keynesian Policies cause Jump in Suicide Rates

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 4th, 2013

Week in Review

Those people who can afford to pay a little more?  Those 50-year olds in established careers?  Those people President Obama has been relentlessly attacking as being greedy and selfish?  They appear to be killing themselves in record numbers (see Suicide rate rose sharply among middle-aged Americans, CDC finds by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian posted 5/2/2013 on Reuters).

The suicide rate among Americans aged 35 to 64 rose sharply between 1999 and 2010, a trend that could reflect the stresses of a sharp economic downturn as well as other traditionally overlooked challenges of middle age, according to a federal report released on Thursday.

The annual rate of suicide rose 28 percent among Americans aged 35 to 64 during the study period, but changed little for older and younger people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The number of suicides among people in their 50s doubled in that time frame…

The increase in the U.S. over the past two decades may also reflect the influence of the weak economy – suicides generally rise during downturns – and an increase in the use of prescription opioid painkiller drugs, the CDC said.

The U.S. economy twice went into recession during the study period, briefly in 2001 and sharply during the so-called Great Recession of December 2007-June 2009 that sent the unemployment rate as high as 10 percent…

In 2010, there were 33,687 U.S. deaths from motor vehicle crashes, compared to 38,364 suicides, according to the CDC.

Suicides kill more than cars.  And cars kill more than guns.  Yet the Obama administration is putting all of their efforts behind new gun control legislation.  Instead of trying to stop something that kills more Americans then guns or cars.  A bad economy.

This is an indictment of Keynesian economics.  Alan Greenspan kept interest rates artificially low during the Nineties.  Keynesian-style.  People were borrowing that cheap money and making a lot of bad investments with it.  Greenspan called it irrational exuberance when testifying before Congress.  And later admitted that he waited too long to start raising interest rates.  Which is why the early 2000s recession was such a painful one.  After the dot-com bubble burst.  All those dot-coms that had no profits or even a product to sell went belly up.  After irrational investors had poured billions into them.  Raising the market value of publicly traded Internet companies to over a trillion dollars.  Most of which disappeared after the bubble burst.

Bud did the Keynesians in Washington learn?  No.  They went back to keeping interest rates artificially low.  Creating a housing bubble.  An even more insidious one.  Going beyond irrational exuberance.  Thanks to Bill Clinton’s Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending.  Using the full weight of the federal government to force lenders to qualify the unqualified.   Creating a housing bubble full of toxic subprime loans.  And when this bubble burst the recession was so bad we had to put the word ‘Great’ in front of it.

A terrible one-two punch for those in the workforce building their families and their retirement portfolios.  Thanks to Keynesian economics and those artificially low interest rates.  Which only lead to great big bubbles.  That burst into great big recessions.  Can you imagine someone losing big in the early 2000s recession?  Working hard to recover their losses?  And just get back on track only to see their mortgage go underwater in the Great Recession?  Forcing them to dip into what little there was remaining in their retirement accounts.  While they are taking care of their kids.  Their aging parents.  And hearing their doctors say for the first time in their life, “Your blood pressure is a little high.”

Perhaps the government should spend less time trying to outlaw guns and more time on the economy.  And by more time I mean less.  They need to pull the government out of the private sector economy.  And let market forces take over.  Including those interest rates.  Perhaps then they can stop one of the greatest killers in our lives.  Keynesian economics.  That take us from exuberant highs.  To crushing lows.  Wiping out our finances in the process.  Leaving us filled with despair.  Which is probably why suicide rates have soared in the past decade.  Because of the Keynesian policies of our government.  Those failed policies of the past that they refuse to let go of.

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The NHS is having People talk to an Adviser on the Telephone instead of Seeing a Doctor

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 4th, 2013

Week in Review

Britain’s aging population is taxing the National Health Service (NHS).  To relieve this pressure they began a non-emergency telephone service to keep people from filling their emergency rooms.  A cost savings measure to help stretch their limited resources to cover more patients.  Which they can’t do if people are needlessly filling their emergency rooms for non-emergency conditions.

People with urgent but not life threatening symptoms dial ‘111’ instead of the emergency ‘999’ number.  And when they do they will talk to a trained adviser.  Who will listen to the caller.  Make a triage assessment.  Sending the serious cases to the nearest emergency room.  While sending the less serious cases to an after-hours urgent care clinic.  And telling those they assess to have no need for urgent or emergency medical care that they should take two aspirins and go to bed, that they should feel right as rain come morning.  Or something like this.  And how has the new telephone service been working?  Not good (see NHS 111 advice line ‘still fragile’ by Nick Triggle posted 5/1/2013 on BBC News Health).

The new NHS non-emergency 111 telephone service in England is in a fragile state in a number of areas ahead of bank holiday weekend, NHS bosses admit.

Reports have been emerging for weeks of calls going unanswered and poor advice being given, leading to hospitals being inundated with patients…

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs committee, said: “We are still receiving reports that patients are facing unacceptably long waits to get through to an NHS 111 operator and suffering from further delays when waiting for calls back with medical advice should they manage to have their call answered.

“The quality of some of the information being given out appears, from anecdotal sources, to be questionable in some instances.”

People without health insurance in America go to the emergency room when they have the sniffles.  Because they can’t afford to see a doctor.  Which leaves the emergency room.  As they cannot turn people away.  This was something Obamacare was going to fix.  By giving everyone affordable health insurance they won’t be filling the nation’s emergency rooms anymore.  Or so they thought.  But it’s not working in Britain.  And they have national health care.

So national health care won’t provide what the proponents of Obamacare say it will provide.  Instead as they roll out Obamacare further we’ll end up with a telephone service to relieve the 911 system.  Where some adviser will assess your condition over the telephone.  And direct you to the nearest emergency room, walk-in urgent care clinic or your medicine cabinet.  Thus cutting the high cost of health care.  By having people talk to an advisor over the telephone instead of seeing an expensive doctor.

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Bangladesh has about 4,500 Garment Factories because they have no Unions

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 4th, 2013

Week in Review

The union workforce in the private sector has shrunk from its peak in the Fifties.  Falling from about 30% of all workers belonging to a union down to about 11%.  Why?  Well, consider the industries they once dominated.  Textiles.  Steel.  Automotive.  Ship building.  Industries that went from world dominance to being a shell of their former selves.  This is why union workforce has fallen so greatly in the private sector.  Because the high cost of union labor destroyed these industries.

Those on the left want to bring these jobs back.  Despite hating these jobs.  Which is why they unionized them.  They were dirty, dangerous, monotonous and inhuman.  Right out of a Dickens novel.  Or the worst of capitalism Karl Marx could rail against.  Now that we don’t have them they call these good manufacturing jobs.  Not those same jobs they went on strike from in order to get better pay and more humane working conditions.  And say it is a crime that someone else is now exploiting their workers doing these jobs Americans should be doing.  Only the labor costs and working conditions in these countries are such that they will never come back to America.  For as bad as they may be at times they have no problem staffing these factories.  As American workers would have done had it not been for the unions forcing these jobs offshore.  And the American factories no doubt would have been safer (see Shoppers face tough choices over Bangladesh by Emily Jane Fox posted 5/1/2013 on CNNMoney).

It is hard for American shoppers to avoid buying clothes made in unsafe factories abroad.

That’s because just about all, or 98%, of clothes sold in the U.S. are made overseas, according to the Apparel and Footwear Association. Also, companies don’t tell consumers if any of their suppliers violate safety standards.

The recent spate of deadly accidents in garment factories in Bangladesh has caught international attention. Last week, more than 400 workers were killed when a garment factory building collapsed. The tragedy follows two more factory fires in November that killed and injured more than 100 workers.

A very large portion of U.S. apparel imports comes from Bangladesh. Many companies have been shifting orders there, because labor costs in the country are so low. Bangladesh is on track to surpass China within the next seven years as the largest apparel manufacturer in the world…

Bangladesh has about 4,500 garment factories that make clothes for global retailers…

“Companies don’t want consumers to understand the reality of what’s going on — the labor abuses, the low wages — that make products for the U.S. market,” Nova said. “Customers do care, but they don’t have enough information about where and how products are made to react.”

The United States used to have a booming textile industry.  And because of that they had a booming garment industry.  But they don’t have either any more.  Why?  These industries unionized.  Labor costs went up.  Which raised their selling prices.  This, of course, reduced sales volume.  For lower-income people could not afford to buy the same amount of clothes they once did at these higher prices.  Rich people could.  But not lower-income people.  The vast majority of the buying public.  Unable to make clothing average working Americans could afford U.S. garment manufacturers closed down.  Or moved offshore.  Killing the U.S. garment industry.  As well as the U.S. textile industry.

This is why Bangladesh has about 4,500 garment factories.  Because they can make clothing lower-income people can afford.

Customers care?  And if they had enough information they would…what?  Say, “That’s it.  I’m done buying affordable clothing.  For now on I will pay for only the clothing that I cannot afford.”  Yes, of course that’s what they will say.  But they won’t be able to afford to do that.

Buying clothes is a lot like eating meat.  We like it.  We enjoy it.  But we don’t want to think about the slaughterhouse.  And so it is with our affordable clothing.  We like it.  We enjoy being able to send our kids to school in something nice and clean every day.  But we don’t want to think about the working conditions in those factories.  And trust our retailers that they do everything within their power to make those working conditions meet acceptable standards.  When they don’t they will be the first to raise their moral outrage.  While no doubt wearing something from those factories.  Because like those factory workers there just isn’t a better alternative.

If a country can staff 4,500 garment factories these must be the best jobs available.  Or the only ones.  Like in China in those export factories.  Which attract people from the rural interior regions.  Who are trying to escape their chronic hunger.  And occasional famine.  So while organized labor bemoans the loss of the high pay and generous benefit packages of those manufacturing jobs the people working in these factories are probably living better than they ever have.  Despite the occasional collapsed factory.  Or factory fire.

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A Diseased Lung on Cigarette Packaging is OK but Images of STDs or Aborted Fetuses on Birth Control Packaging are Not

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 4th, 2013

Week in Review

A U.S. judge just decreed that girls as young as 15 can buy the morning-after pill without a doctor’s approval.  Or without the girl’s parents knowledge.  Why?  Because kids will be kids.  They will have sex no matter what we say.  And if they are sneaking around and having sex while hiding this from their parents then we should let these young girls secretly buy the morning-after pill?  Because if we don’t they will get pregnant and probably have an abortion later.  So in an effort to reduce the amount of abortions we must let girls use this drug secretly.  Despite it changing a girl’s physiology.  Perhaps causing great harm to them if they overuse this drug.  Which they may very well do.  For what better way to hide an active sex life from your parents than using the morning after pill?

Parents can find birth control pills hidden in her drawer while she’s at school.  Or some other birth control device.  But a pill you buy at a pharmacy after sex?  No parent will ever find that.  So a young 15-year old girl who wants to act like a grownup can without her parents ever being the wiser.  Using the morning-after pill as a secret birth control.  Probably ignoring all the warnings packaged with the drug.  If she even reads the warnings.  More likely she’ll just use the morning-after pill if she has a friend using it.  Feeling it’s safe if others are using it.  Instead of discussing it with a doctor.  Or her parents.

Worse, now that they can simply take a pill afterwards they will probably have even more unprotected sex.  Leading to an explosion in sexually transmitted diseases.  For if these kids are sexually active by the time they’re 15 they’ll be experimenting.  Especially the boys.  Who will be giving their buddies the old high-five when talking about all of their sexual conquests.  Who will be at greater risk of catching an STD.  And spreading it on to their unsuspecting girlfriend.  Who, unlike her parents, may believe she’s in a committed relationship at the age of 15.  And may be in what she believes to be a monogamous relationship.  Right until the day she is diagnosed with an STD she will carry with her for the rest of her life.

The greatest threat to our kids these days is their desire to act like grownups instead of kids.  And our schools and government exasperate this problem by making it easier for them to act like grownups instead of kids.  Providing free birth control.  And access to abortions without parental knowledge.  Virtually telling these kids to be sexually active.  Even though they are not mature enough to understand the dangers of their actions.  Or understanding the long-tem consequences.  But you can’t tell kids anything.  For they think they are grownup enough to make these decisions for themselves.  Which is why they smoke (see Plans for plain cigarette packs scrapped as ‘it’s not a Government priority’ by Jason Beattie posted 5/2/2013 on the Mirror).

David Cameron was accused of caving in to big business today after the Government scrapped plans to bring in plain cigarette packs…

In December, Australia became the first country in the world to put all tobacco products in uniform packs.

Cigarette packets and other products are all sold in a standardised colour, with only the brand name and graphic warnings visible.

British Government launched a consultation in April on whether it should introduce similar plans.

But Whitehall sources said the plan had now been ditched, sparking anger among health campaigners who said plain packaging would have stopped from children picking up the killer habit…

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, added: “Given the public health minister herself has publicly acknowledged that cigarette packaging encourages young people to start smoking, it is bewildering that the Government are still allowing this by refusing to introduce standardised packaging.

No, they don’t.  Cigarette packaging does not encourage kids to smoke.  If that’s the case then we better start packaging condoms in plain packaging because it must be that attractive packaging that is encouraging these kids to have sex.

Packaging is about differentiating brands.  It is to entice SMOKERS to one brand over another.  It does NOT entice nonsmokers to become smokers.  No.  That honor goes to these kids’ heroes in music, movies and television.  Who look so cool and so grownup smoking.  Kids start smoking so they, too, can look cool and grownup.  Like their heroes.

Putting scary looking pictures on cigarette packages?  Interesting.  Should they put pictures of aborted fetuses on birth control packaging?  Or images of herpes or genital warts?  To show the possible consequence of increased sexual activity?  If they are okay showing a diseased lung to scare a kid they must be okay showing these other things to scare a kid.  To warn them of the consequences of having sex.  Of course, they’ll never do that.  Because the left doesn’t care about kids having sex.  They just don’t want them to smoke.

It is probably impossible for anyone alive today NOT to know smoking will kill you in a horrible death.  Yet these kids still smoke.  Because they want to look cool.  And grownup.  So they’re probably not going to be dissuaded by these gross pictures.  Besides, what’s to stop them from simply transferring these cigarettes to a fancy looking cigarette case?  Or slip the cigarette pack into something that hides the gross pictures?  Out of sight out of mind.

The left just needs to accept the fact that kids are going to smoke no matter what we say.  Just like they’re going to have sex no matter what we say.  Because kids will be kids.  Something the left understands when it comes to sex.  But something they will not accept when it comes to smoking.  Even though too much of either at a young age can destroy a life.

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Cars and Drugs kill more People than Guns

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 4th, 2013

Week in Review

The Obama administration and those on the left are making a full-court press to enact some kind of gun control legislation.  Because of the epidemic of gun violence.  As proven by the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.  The Aurora movie theater massacre.  The Virginia Tech massacre.  Etc.  It’s a killing field out there.  All because of guns.  The deadliest threat people face today.  Or so they would have you believe (see Highway Deaths in U.S. Rise After Six Years of Declines by Angela Greiling Keane posted 5/3/2013 on Bloomberg).

The number of people killed on U.S. highways rose in 2012 to end a run of six consecutive declines, the longest streak in the nation’s history.

Crash fatalities rose 5.3 percent to an estimated 34,080 from a year earlier, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today in a report.

If you do the math that comes to 32,365 deaths in 2011.  According to the CDC this exceeds the number of deaths by firearms in 2011 (the latest numbers available—see Table 2. Deaths, death rates, and age-adjusted death rates for 113 selected causes, Injury by firearms, Drug-induced Injury at work, and Enterocolitis due to Clostridium difficile: United States, final 2010 and preliminary 2011, page 19).  Deaths by firearms in 2011 totaled 32,163.  Cars killed more people than guns in 2011.  Yet all we hear about is restrictions in gun ownership.  Even limiting the capacity of magazines to make guns safer.  But we hear nothing about making cars bigger, heavier and safer to protect their occupants in a car crash.  Why?  Apparently the government doesn’t care about 32,000+ dying a year in car crashes.  Seeing that as a small price to pay to make cars more environmentally friendly.  These people are just collateral damage in the war to save the planet from carbon emissions.

Killing even more people in 2011 were drugs.  Drugs killed 40,239 people in 2011.  And here we are.  Decriminalizing marijuana in a few of our states.  Which may be only a prelude to decriminalizing harder drugs.  For drugs like prostitution is a victimless crime, yes?  If people want to use drugs in the privacy of their own home what business is it of government?  So what if drugs kill more people than cars.  Or guns.  It’s time we stop passing judgment on others.  Unless, that is, they want to own a gun.

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