Following the Tragedy at Lac-Mégantic shipping Crude Oil by Train in Canada will be more Costly

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 27th, 2014

Week in Review

On July 6, 2013, a 4,701 ft-long train weighing 10,287 tons carrying crude oil stopped for the night at Nantes, Quebec.  She stopped on the mainline as the siding was occupied.  The crew of one parked the train, set the manual handbrakes on all 5 locomotives and 10 of the 72 freight cars and shut down 4 of the 5 locomotives.  Leaving one on to supply air pressure for the air brakes.  Then caught a taxi and headed for a motel.

The running locomotive had a broken piston.  Causing the engine to puff out black smoke and sparks as it sat there idling.  Later that night someone called 911 and reported that there was a fire on that locomotive.  The fire department arrived and per their protocol shut down the running locomotive before putting out the fire.  Otherwise the running locomotive would only continue to feed the fire by pumping more fuel into it.  After they put out the fire they called the railroad who sent some personnel out to make sure the train was okay.  After they did they left, too.  But ever since the fire department had shut down that locomotive air pressure had been dropping in the train line.  Eventually this loss of air pressure released the air brakes.  Leaving only the manual handbrakes to hold the train.  Which they couldn’t.  The train started to coast downhill.  Picking up speed.  Reaching about 60 mph as it hit a slow curve with a speed limit of 10 mph in Lac-Mégantic and jumped the track.  Derailing 63 of the 72 tank cars.  Subsequent tank car punctures, oil spills and explosions killed some 47 people and destroyed over 30 buildings.

This is the danger of shipping crude oil in rail cars.  There’s a lot of potential and kinetic energy to control.  Especially at these weights.  For that puts a lot of mass in motion that can become impossible to stop.  Of course, adding safety features to prevent things like this from happening, such as making these tank cars puncture-proof, can add a lot of non-revenue weight.  Which takes more fuel to move.  And that costs more money.  Which will raise the cost of delivering this crude oil to refineries.  And increase the cost of the refined products they make from it.  Unless the railroads find other ways to cut costs.  Say by shortening delivery times by traveling faster.  Allowing them an extra revenue-producing delivery or two per year to make up for the additional costs.  But thanks to the tragedy at Lac-Mégantic, though, not only will they be adding additional non-revenue weight they will be slowing their trains down, too (see Rail safety improvements announced by Lisa Raitt in wake of Lac-Mégantic posted 4/23/2014 on CBC News).

Changes to improve rail safety were announced Wednesday by federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt in response to recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board in the aftermath of the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Que.

The federal government wants a three-year phase-out or retrofit of older tank cars that are used to transport crude oil or ethanol by rail, but will not implement a key TSB recommendation that rail companies conduct route planning when transporting dangerous goods…

There are 65,000 of the more robust Dot-111 cars in North America that must be phased out or retrofitted within three years if used in Canada, Raitt said, adding, “Officials have advised us three years is doable.”  She said she couldn’t calculate the cost of the retrofits, but told reporters, “industry will be footing the bill…”

The transport minister also announced that mandatory emergency response plans will be required for all crude oil shipments in Canada…

Raitt also said railway companies will be required to reduce the speed of trains carrying dangerous goods. The speed limit will be 80 kilometres an hour [about 49 mph] for key trains, she said. She added that risk assessments will be conducted in certain areas of the country about further speed restrictions, a request that came from the Canadian Federation of Municipalities…

Brian Stevens head of UNIFOR, which represents thousands of unionized rail car inspectors at CN, CP and other Canadian rail companies, called today’s announcement a disappointment.

“This announcement really falls short, and lets Canadians down,” he told CBC News.

“These DOT-11 cars, they should be banned from carrying crude oil immediately. They can still be used to carry vegetable oil, or diesel fuel, but for carrying this dangerous crude there should be an immediate moratorium and that should have been easy enough for the minister to do and she failed to do that.

“There’s a lot of other tank cars in the system that can carry crude,” Stevens explained. “There doesn’t need to be this reliance on these antiquated cars that are prone to puncture.”

Industry will not be footing the bill.  That industry’s customers will be footing the bill.  As all businesses pass on their costs to their customers.  As it is the only way a business can stay in business.  Because they need to make money to pay all of their employees as well as all of their bills.  So if their costs increase they will have to raise their prices to ensure they can pay all of their employees and all of their bills.

What will the cost of this retrofit be?  To make these 65,000 tank cars puncture-proof?  Well, adding weight to these cars will take labor and material.  That additional weight may require modifications to the springs, brakes and bearings.  Perhaps even requiring another axel or two per car.  Let’s assume that it will take a crew of 6 three days to complete this retrofit per tank car (disassemble, reinforce and reassemble as well as completing other modifications required because of the additional weight).  Assuming a union labor cost (including taxes and benefits) of $125/hour and non-labor costs equaling labor costs would bring the retrofit for these 65,000 tanks cars to approximately $2.34 billion.  Which they will, of course, pass on to their customers.  Who will pass it on all the way to the gas station where we fill up our cars.  They will also pass down the additional fuel costs to pull all that additional nonrevenue weight.

Making these trains safer will be costly.  Of course, it begs this burning question: Why not just build pipelines?  Like the Keystone XL pipeline?  Which can deliver more crude oil faster and safer than any train can deliver it.  And with a smaller environmental impact.  As pipelines don’t crash or puncture.  So why not be safer and build the Keystone XL pipeline in lieu of using a more dangerous mode of transportation that results in tragedies like that at Lac-Mégantic?  Why?  Because of politics.  To shore up the Democrat base President Obama would rather risk Lac-Mégantic tragedies.  Instead of doing what’s best for the American economy.  And the American people.  Namely, building the Keystone XL pipeline.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some in Canada consider a Parallel Private Health Care System to reduce Wait Times

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 29th, 2014

Week in Review

People don’t want Obamacare.  And they are getting angry.  Making the Democrats very nervous.  Especially those up for election this fall.  Which is why there is yet another delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act.  To make voters less angry this fall.

This law was never popular.  The American people never wanted it.  The only reason why we have it is because the Democrats pushed it through when they had control of the House, Senate and White House.  And bought off a few recalcitrant Democrat senators (the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback, Gator Aid, etc.) to garner the 60 votes necessary to force this unpopular law onto the American people.  So the Democrats could put us on a path towards single-payer.  Which President Obama is on the record preferring.  Single-payer.  But accepted the Affordable Care Act as a means to that end.  So we can one day have a health care system like they have in Canada.  Because things are so much better in Canada (see Waiting times cost B.C. patients $155.5 million last year: Fraser Institute study by Bethany Lindsay posted 3/25/2014 on The Vancouver Sun).

Waiting for medically necessary surgeries cost British Columbian patients about $155.5 million in lost time last year, a Fraser Institute economist claims in a new study.

It estimates that the total cost to Canadian patients of waiting for treatment after seeing a specialist was $1.1 billion in 2013, up from $982 million in 2012. Quebec had the highest cost at $267.7 million.

Author Nadeem Esmail said the report explores a consequence of waiting for care that Canadians don’t often consider…

Esmail said that in order to address the problem of long waiting times, he’d like to see Canada allow more private sector participation in the provision of health care, including the development of a parallel private system…

Overall, British Columbians waited a median 10.4 weeks for treatment after their first appointment with a specialist last year, compared to 9.6 weeks across Canada, according to the study.

Imagine that.  The Republicans were right.  A single-payer health care system leads to rationing of health care resources.  And sick people waiting for their turn for fewer, rationed health care resources leads to, of course, longer wait times.  This is what the Democrats want to force on the American people.  Even when some in Canada are suggesting a parallel private health care system to reduce wait times down from 10 weeks or so.  Which is why the Democrats had to be as devious as possible to pass Obamacare into law.  With shady backroom deals like the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback and Gator Aid.  And then lying through their teeth about being able to keep the health insurance and doctors you liked and wanted to keep.  A lie so bold it earned President Obama the Lie of the Year from PolitiFact.

Will this anger boil over this November at the 2014 midterm elections?  Will voters remember how the Democrats lied and made backroom deals to change a health care system we liked and wanted to keep?  Apparently President Obama thinks so.  Which is why he violated the law once again and extended the enrollment period for Obamacare.  Without having Congress rewrite the law.  To make this latest change in the Affordable Care Act (and the 30 or so that preceded it) legal.  But then again, when the media keeps giving the president a pass on his law-breaking activities what incentive does the administration have to act lawful?  It’s kind of like Vladimir Putin taking Crimea.  The way Putin sees it no one is going to do anything when he breaks the law so what incentive does he have to abide by international law?  If anything he’s probably puzzled why President Obama is saying anything at all.  For what’s a little law-breaking between two law breakers?

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You just can’t Replace a Coal-Fired Power Plant with a Solar Farm

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 23rd, 2014

Week in Review

What’s unique about Windsor, Ontario?  The city across the river from Detroit?  It’s the only place you can drive south from the United States to get to Canada.  So it’s about as far south you can get in Canada.  But it’s no Florida.  No.  They have cold winters in Windsor.  They also have snow.  And clouds.  So it’s probably not the best place to build a solar farm.  Any rational person would see this.  So guess what the government in southern Ontario is doing?  Building a solar farm (see Airport land leased for Samsung solar farm by Chris Vander Doelen posted 3/19/2014 on The Windsor Star).

A “major” developer of solar power will lease hundreds of acres at Windsor Airport for a green energy farm, city council has agreed after years of negotiations with the company…

He said the company picked Windsor as the site for its investment because “we have more sun days than any other jurisdiction in Ontario.” That clearly suggests a solar farm, but Francis wouldn’t confirm that…

The agreement approved Wednesday – the meeting was closed to the public for legal reasons, Francis said – is believed to be the final, long-delayed piece of a massive deal the Province of Ontario and Samsung announced in January 2010.

That’s when former premier Dalton McGuinty announced that the province had signed a $7-billion agreement to produce renewable power with the Korean industrial giant – a contract that became so controversial parts of it were later renegotiated…

But the deal also became controversial as the costs starting driving up residential and industrial power bills, all of which will be affected by the renewable energy plan.

The controversy eventually led to reductions in some of the feed-in tariffs paid to producers of solar and wind power, which likely added to the delays of the solar farm not announced until this week. It also led to the renegotiation of additional incentives for Samsung, which were reduced to $110 million over 20 years…

Installation of the panels would generate many years of employment for an undetermined number of labourers and IBEW electricians. But once built there wouldn’t be much employment generated by the static field of passive solar collectors.

The solar farms were to be part of something called the Ontario Alternative Energy Cluster, claimed by Samsung to be “the largest of its kind in the world” at 1,369 megawatts of output.

They may have more sun days in Windsor than any place else in Canada.  But Canada is a northern country.  Even Windsor is in a northern clime.  And they just don’t get as much sun as they do in more southern climes (see The Climate and Weather of Windsor, Ontario).  In the sunniest month they have 9.5 average hours of sun per day.  Which means they have 14.5 (24-9.5) average hours of no sun per day.  And during these hours of ‘no sun’ a solar farm will not produce electric power.  Which means on average this solar farm will produce no electric power for half of the day.

And it gets worse.  The average hours of sun per day declines going into winter.  October (5.5 hours of sun and 18.5 hours of no sun).  November (4.1 hours of sun and 19.9 hours of no sun).  December (2.6 hours of sun and 21.4 hours of no sun).  January (3.4 hours of sun and 20.6 hours of no sun).  February (4.4 hours of sun and 19.6 hours of no sun).  March (5.4 hours of sun and 18.6 hours of no sun).  So, on average, there are 5 hours of no sun for every hour of sun for half of the year.  So you can install solar panels that could produce 1,369 megawatts of output.  But they seldom will.  So you will need another power source to provide electric power when the solar panels don’t.  Which means a solar farm can’t replace something like a coal-fired power plant.  For that coal-fired power plant will have to on average provide power 82% of the time.  Which is why building a solar farm is a real bad idea.

And it gets even worse.  December has 10 days of snowfall on average.  January has 12.  And February has 9.  Just under half the days in the winter months will have snow which will have to melt off when the sun comes out from behind the clouds.  If it comes out.  Or someone will have to clear the snow from the solar panels by hand.

Windsor also has some other climate statistics (see National Climate Data and Information Archive).  They have the most thunderstorm days.  So they have more high winds, hail and tornados to damage delicate solar panels pointed skyward than any other part of Canada.  And more black overcast days to block out the sun.  They have the most smoke and haze days to filter out some of the sun from hitting the solar panels.  They have the most humid summer which will coat the solar panels with early morning dew that will run down and drain off in blackened streaks.  Reducing the efficiency of the solar panels.

This is why no one is building solar farms without taxpayer subsidies.  Which raises the cost of electric utility bills to pay for the subsidies.  Eating into household budgets forcing families to get by on less.  And for what?  You can’t shut down a coal-fired power plant during the day and turn it back on at night.  It takes time to make high pressure steam.  That’s why they use these plants for baseload power.  They’re on all the time.  And when demand picks up they add a natural gas-fired turbine ‘peaker plant’ to provide that peak demand.  Or some other source that they can bring on line quickly.  Like another turbine at a hydroelectric dam.  So the good people of Ontario will pay more for their electric power without getting anything in return.  Not even a cleaner environment.  Because you just can’t replace a coal-fired power plant with a solar farm.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chrysler turns down Government Loan for Guarantee to keep Minivans in Windsor

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 8th, 2014

Week in Review

Cities and governments have long loved big industry.  Unions, too.  Because they’re big.  And are difficult to move. Such as an automobile assembly plant.  They take a lot of real estate.  Require a lot of specialized production and assembly equipment.  And a lot of infrastructure to support them.  Making them very difficult to move.  But not impossible (see Chrysler spurns government money, Windsor to build minivans posted 3/4/2014 on CBC News Windsor).

Chrysler will continue to build its popular minivan in Windsor, Ont., and has withdrawn all requests for government financial assistance in relation to the redevelopment of its assembly plants in Windsor and Brampton…

At the Detroit auto show seven weeks ago, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that changes at the Windsor plant alone would cost at least $2 billion, and that Chrysler needed government help to finance the project.

Chrysler said in a media release Tuesday it will now “fund out of its own resources whatever capital requirements the Canadian operations require.”

Industry Minister James Moore said the government’s commitment to the auto industry is strong and he was surprised by Chrysler’s decision.

Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson, whose riding is just south of Windsor, said he believed talks were going well.

“We were prepared to invest in exchange for guarantees for Canadian production and a Canadian supply chain,” Watson said.

Money from the government doesn’t come without strings.  And the string here was a guarantee that Chrysler wouldn’t leave.  No matter how costly the government or union contracts made it to stay in Windsor.  Costs that Chrysler has to recover in the sales price of their cars.  Which can’t be so high as to price them out of the market.  So Chrysler chose to spend their own money.  So they didn’t get stuck in an adverse economic situation when trying to compete in a global market.

“It is clear to us that our projects are now being used as a political football, a process that, in our view, apart from being unnecessary and ill-advised, will ultimately not be to the benefit of Chrysler,” the company said in a news release.

“As a result, Chrysler will deal in an unfettered fashion with its strategic alternatives regarding product development and allocation, and will fund out of its own resources whatever capital requirements the Canadian operations require.”

The government wanted what was best for them.  Economic activity they could tax.  While Chrysler wanted what was best for them.  Being able to sell cars at market prices.  And leaving their options open in the future.  Should it become too costly to continue to build cars in Canada.  Due to the cost of labor.  Or new regulatory policies.  Or higher taxes to fund a welfare state struggling under the costs of an aging population.  Governments are desperate for new tax revenue.  And will make almost any promise to get it.  Making long-term deals with governments risky.

According to the Ontario government, the auto sector employs 94,000 Ontarians, and supports as many as 500,000 families through indirect jobs…

Unifor Local 444 president Dino Chiodo, who represents hourly employees in Windsor, said he wasn’t completely surprised by Marchionne’s announcement…

Chiodo said Tuesday’s announcement is short of the $2-billion retooling and flexible manufacturing line employees were looking for in Windsor…

Chiodo said a $2.3-billion investment would secure three generations of minivans, which could secure jobs for decades…

Marchionne also wants union concessions.

Yes, they love the jobs these corporations create.  And all that economic activity those jobs create.  Economic activity they can’t create.  But they still hate corporations.  That’s why they tax them.  Regulate them.  Call them greedy.  Exploiters of labor.  And that the only way they can get them to do something decent is by making deals with them that favor them and not these evil corporations.  But sometimes these evil corporations don’t enter agreements that may harm them in the long run.  And when they do governments and unions panic.  As they fear they may have let a cash piñata slip through their fingers.  Which is a problem for them.  For they can’t create a single job those evil corporations can.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Anchor/Passport Babies proof that People wished Britain/America had conquered the World

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 8th, 2014

Week in Review

The problem with a generous welfare state and porous borders is that they attract a lot of foreign-born people to your country to cash in on those generous welfare benefits.  Some even make the journey while pregnant so their child is born in the country with the generous welfare benefits.  And not the cruel, cold-hearted benefit-free country they are escaping.  Giving them an ‘anchor’ in the country they’d much rather live in than the country they don’t want to live in.  Their native country.

The United States has a porous border with Mexico.  And many Mexicans give birth in the United States while in the country illegally just so their child doesn’t have to grow up in Mexico.  Which when you think about is a statement on how these Mexicans feel about the ‘imperial’ United States.  They must really hate them for not taking the rest of Mexico when they won the Mexican War.  Had the Americans done so there would be no need for anchor babies.  For they would already be enjoying American citizenship south of the Rio Grande.  Based on the number of Mexicans entering America illegally, at least.

The United States isn’t the only country people want to live in.  Canada, too, is a beautiful country with a generous welfare state.  The winters are a little colder, though.  But that doesn’t stop people from trying to become Canadian citizens with anchor babies.  Only they call them ‘passport babies’ in Canada (see Canadian citizenship bill to be tabled Thursday by Susana Mas posted 2/2/2014 on CBC News).

Alexander said the proposed changes to the Citizenship Act would also aim to reduce the current backlog of applications and change the conditions for eligibility.

The government is also considering changes to tackle the problem of so-called “birth tourism” or “passport babies,” but Alexander told CBC News they would not be included in this bill.

Americans and Canadians aren’t better people.  They just live in countries that allow their people to be better.  Which is the problem in Mexico.  Not the people.  As the Americas were colonized Britain was further along in representative government than Spain.  Free market capitalism replaced mercantilism quicker in British America than it did in Spanish America.  And democratic institutions were more developed in British America than they were in Spanish America.  Such that the foundation for representative government, free market capitalism and democracy was more robust in British American than it was in Spanish America.

Because of this when the Americans gained their independence great peace and prosperity followed.  A first following a civil war.  Allowing America and Canada (later granted their independence from the British Empire) to be lands of opportunity.  With strong human rights.  Ironically, in large part to the School of Salamanca.  One of the greatest gifts Spain gave to the world.  Which is why people want to have their babies born in these countries.  So they can be as great as they want to be.  Because only representative government, free market capitalism and democracy can make this possible.  At least based on history.

But you can’t have people entering your country unchecked.  Especially if they’re coming for the benefits.  And your country has annual deficits and a growing national debt.  For adding more people to the benefits roll when you can’t afford it will transform the country from that land of opportunity people want to come to into the country they are fleeing.  Countries with high spending and devalued currencies that lead to black markets and lawlessness.  The very things people want to get away from by having their babies in the United States and Canada.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some Canadians leave Canada to pay for Better Health Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 25th, 2014

Week in Review

The American left likes to hold up the Canadian health care system as the ideal system.  It’s what they wanted when they reluctantly accepted Obamacare.  A single-payer health care system.  Or national health care.  Because those on the left believe the quality of a national health care system far exceeds anything a for-profit insurance company will pay for.  As they deny whatever they can to force people into a third-world health care system.  Where only the rich who can afford to pay for the best get the best.  Interestingly, it appears that’s happening in Canada, too.  Where those who can afford to are traveling elsewhere for their health care instead of entering their own Canadian system (see Canadians Leave Their Country For Better Health Care posted 1/22/2014 on Investors).

According to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, as many as 41,838 Canadians — out of a population of about 35 million — left the country last year for health care treatment. More than 42,000 left in 2012, while more than 46,000 sought treatment elsewhere the year before.

Destinations, according to a University of Minnesota study that looked at Canadian companies that arrange medical tourism, include Costa Rica, India, Thailand and the U.S. Some companies even send clients to Mexico, Turkey, Poland and the Dominican Republic.

The Fraser Institute of Canada calls the 2013 figure a conservative estimate and, though some will argue otherwise, believes it is a sizable number, one that says something deeply damning about Canadian care…

“One of the unfortunate realities of Canada’s monopolistic health care system is that some people feel they have no choice but to seek the care they need outside the country,” Esmail and Bacchus Barua wrote in an op-ed published last month in a couple of Canadian newspapers. “And who can blame them..?”

Some leave due to Canada’s long and sometimes deadly waiting periods. Others are treated outside the country because there is “a lack of available resources or the fact that some procedures or equipment are not provided in their home jurisdiction,” Esmail and Barua wrote.

If you want to know who has the best health care system just look at the direction of medical tourism.  And people traveling for their health care aren’t going to Canada.  They’re going to Costa Rica, India, Thailand, the United States, Mexico, Turkey, Poland and the Dominican Republic.  But they’re not going to Canada.  Even some Canadians refuse their own health care system.  So do these countries have better health care systems?  Not necessarily.

In an episode of Breaking Bad when Gus went to Mexico to deliver Jesse to the Cartel to cook for them he turned the tables on the cartel.  He poisoned the members of the Cartel with a gift bottle of tequila.  A bottle Gus was the first to drink from.  To prove it was safe to drink.  Of course he took precautions to prevent himself dying from drinking the poisoned tequila.  Including a makeshift emergency room in an abandoned building near the US-Mexican border.  Even stocked with bags of blood matched to the blood types of the three who traveled to Mexico.  They saved Gus from the poison.  And Mike from a near-fatal gunshot wound.

This was quality health care in the middle of nowhere.  Paid for with private money.  Albeit drug money.  But the health care providers were making more there than they could in the regular health care system.  Providing them incentive.  Which all of these medical tourism destinations offer.  Incentive to health care workers to work outside of the regular health care system.  Because they can earn more in a private health care system.  Which is why the best health care talent migrates to private health care systems.  Because when people pay out of pocket there’s more money to pay for the best health care.  And to pay the best health care salaries and wages.  Everyone wins in the private system.  Patients.  And health care providers.  The only losers are those stuck in their own national health care system while they wait for their ‘free’ health care.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Obamacare on the Path to making People wait 4 Hours to see a Doctor like in Canada

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 25th, 2014

Week in Review

Obamacare so far has been a disaster.  The website is a billion dollar embarrassment for the Obama administration.  The lack of enrollees.  Far more old and sick signing up than young and healthy.  Millions of people losing the health insurance they liked and wanted to keep.  People losing their doctors.  People going to doctors thinking they have health insurance only to find out they don’t.  The health insurers are looking at huge losses unless they get a federal bailout.  Even the credit rating agencies have said the entire health insurance industry is in danger of going belly up because of Obamacare.

Still the Obamacare supporters say everything will be fine.  Just give it time.  Sure, there has been a bump or two during the rollout.  But it’s getting better every day.  While there are some who are saying these problems are all due to the insurance companies.  And that we need to cut them out of the loop.  And go with a single-payer system.  Like they have in Canada.  So we can at last have the same high-quality system they have where everyone has everything they need when they need it regardless of cost.  A health care utopia.  Where if you’re sick it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor.  You’ll get to wait the same 4 hours to see a doctor as everyone else in Canada has to wait (see Would you pay to not wait in your doctor’s waiting room? This company is betting on it by Erin Anderssen posted 1/22/2014 on The Globe and Mail).

In your hand, you hold the number 52. The nurse shepherding patients through the walk-in clinic just called 12, which means you can expect to be waiting hours.

What’s your time worth? A Montreal-based company is betting you’d be willing to pay less than the equivalent of a grande latte for your “freedom” from the coughing, sniffling and tedium of a doctor’s waiting room. Chronometriq has created a text service – $3 in Quebec (and the expected cost of $4 in Ontario) – that will buzz you on your phone as your number approaches. The company expects the technology, now in place in 24 clinics in Quebec, to expand to 50 walk-in clinics by spring, including some Ontario locations, pending approval from the provincial health ministry.

Its next stop is hospital emergency rooms, where Canadians endure longer waits than citizens of 11 other OECD countries, according to a study released last year.

But it’s also controversial: After all, the program introduces a questionable user-pay element to Canada’s health care system. (The program is optional – you can still save your pennies and linger in the waiting room.)

As Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, points out, it won’t do anything to reduce actual wait times in ERs, where according to the international study 31 per cent of Canadian wa[i]ted more than four hours to be seen by a doctor in 2010. (The average among all countries included was 12 per cent.) “It is not improving access to care at all,” Mehra says. “The issue is people waiting too long to get in the door.”

That’s the point, argues Louis Parent, Chronometriq vice-president. “How many years have government said they will tackle wait times. And nothing has changed. We have to face facts.”

Critics of national health care say it will lead to rationing and longer wait times.  As it has in Canada.  Why?  Because government can’t do anything well.  The huge bureaucracy adds costs by adding layers of people between doctors and patients.  To determine what treatment a doctor may provide for his or her patient.  More and more health care dollars pay for the bureaucracy instead of actually treating patients.  While at the same time an aging population is reducing the number of taxpayers while increasing the number of people consuming taxpayer-funded health care services.  Which means health care providers have to do more with less.  They have to carefully ration what they have.  Which leads to longer waiting times as patients wait their turn for those limited health care services.

This is where the left wants to take the American health care system to.  Even as countries around the world are having the same problems Canada has.  Many of which are privatizing parts of their national health care.  Even Canada.  Who is now charging some patients for the privilege of receiving a text to tell them when their 4 hours of waiting are nearly up.  Of course the Canadians are having these problems because they are not as smart as the American left.  Who after never doing it before will know how to do national health care right.  Just look at how well they rolled out Obamacare.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canada is enjoying a Booming Oil Industry because they don’t have a President Obama

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 19th, 2014

Week in Review

The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that for every person that entered the workforce in December seven people left the workforce (see The BLS Employment Situation Summary for December 2013 posted 1/13/2014 on PITHOCRATES).  In fact, since President Obama assumed the presidency 11,301,000 people have left the labor force.  Despite his policies to create greener and higher-paying jobs to replace the jobs in the coal and oil industries he destroyed.

For America was going green.  Whether we wanted to or not.  Pity, because we’d have a lot more high-paying jobs in the coal and oil industry had it not been for President Obama.  North Dakota is doing really well thanks to natural gas production on private land. Not much he can do to shut that down.  And just to the north things are going very well in the oil business (see Oil patch salaries rise 5 times as fast as rest of Canada posted 1/13/2014 on CBC News).

The average salary of young men working in Canada’s oil patch increased by 21 per cent between 2001 and 2008, more than five times the pace of gain seen by those workers in other parts of the country.

According to a report published by Statistics Canada Monday, men aged 17 to 24 living in the oil-producing provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador were more likely to have a job than their counterparts in other areas, less likely to still be in school, and more likely to earn more.

Kids graduating college with worthless social science and humanity degrees have a boatload of student loan debt.  And little prospect of a job in a high-tech economy.  Had some of these kids had a chance to get a high-paying job in the oil industry instead of getting those worthless degrees they probably wouldn’t be living in their parent’s basement.  With that huge student loan debt hanging over them like the Sword of Damocles.

It’s a pity that the Americans can’t learn a lesson from the smarter Canadians when it comes to energy.  If we had pursued Canadian energy policies instead of Obama policies 11,301,000 people wouldn’t have left the labor force during his presidency.  For a good number of these people would now be in the oil business.  In the oil pipeline business.  In the oil refining business.  In the refined oil distribution system.  And all of the Mom and Pop stores catering to this influx of economic activity all along the way.  That’s what we could have had if we didn’t have President Obama.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ontario Health Care has Long Wait Times and Rationing despite it being 973% More Costly than Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 21st, 2013

Week in Review

To pass the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) into law the Democrats submitted numbers to the CBO that crunched the cost to less than $1 trillion over 10 years.  No more than the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  So it would be a wash.  As if they never decried the spending for those wars as wasteful.  Or simply unaffordable.  But now that spending was not wasteful or unaffordable.  If it paid for Obamacare.

Of course that original cost of $1 trillion over 10 years was very suspect.  In time that number was revised up.  For it was impossible to provide health insurance to everyone without spending a lot more.  As we can see if we look to our neighbors to the north.  Canada (see Ontario not receiving expected health transfer funds by The Canadian Press posted 12/17/2013 on CBC News).

The federal Conservatives have betrayed Canada’s most populous province by breaking their promise over health-care funding, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews charged Tuesday.

The Harper Tories promised all provinces a six per cent increase in health transfers, but they’re only giving Ontario 3.4 per cent in 2014-15, she said…

The $300 million that Ottawa is shortchanging Ontario is more than the province’s increase in home care and other services for seniors this year, she said.

“It’s less money to reduce wait times, it’s less money to hire nurses, it’s less time to provide Ontario families and particularly Ontario seniors with the care that they need,” Matthews said…

Flaherty was unavailable for comment Tuesday, but a spokeswoman said health transfers are rising…

“In fact, in 2014-15 Ontario will receive over $12 billion in health transfers, almost a 60 per cent increase from under the previous federal Liberal government.”

The province’s share of federal health dollars will increase from $11.9 billion this year to $12.3 billion next year.

Ontario allocates about $49 billion a year on health care, the highest area of spending in its $127.6-billion budget…

Ontario, which is facing a nearly $12-billion deficit, is the only province that will see fewer federal dollars next year, with total transfer payments shrinking by $641 million to $19.1 billion.

Canada’s single-payer system (actually one system per province subsidized by the federal government) has long been an object of affection to those on the American left.  Who kept pointing to it.  Saying, “See?  That’s what we should be doing.”  Rational people said doing so would increase wait time and cause rationing.  “Uh-uh,” they said.  “Providing more health care to more people will NOT lead to increased wait times or rationing.”  Proving their ignorance of the most basic arithmetic.  So let’s use some arithmetic to show why they are so wrong.

First of all despite the utopia of Canada’s single-payer system they apparently have long wait times and rationing.  Or else they wouldn’t say that the reduction in health transfers would hurt their ability to reduce those very things.  Ontario has a population of 13,472,400.  Which means they’re spending $3,637.07 per person ($49 million/13,472,400) on health care.  Or about $3,418.84 per person in US dollars.  The US population is about 313,914,040.  So if we spend what Ontario is spending that comes to about $1.07 trillion per year.  About $10.7 trillion over 10 years.  Or about 973% more than the Democrats said it would cost.

Obviously the government is not going to have this kind of money available.  So there will be longer wait times.  And rationing.  Which is why people won’t be able to keep their health insurance, doctors and medicine they liked and wanted to keep.  And why President Obama and his fellow Democrats lied to pass the bill.  Because things are going to get that bad.  They’re just hoping by the time people realize just how bad it will get Obamacare will be so entrenched that it will be impossible to repeal.  Because if it’s not the people will demand we repeal it and replace it with something better.  Like what we had before the Affordable Care Act.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rising Debt and Higher Net Worth portend a Housing Bubble in Canada

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 15th, 2013

Week in Review

The Canadians like to think of themselves as kinder and gentler than their neighbors south of the border.  For they have a generous welfare state.  Including single-payer health care.  Unlike those Americans who put profits before people.  But it comes at a price.  High taxes.  And they do pay a lot.  But they get a lot.  Those high taxes, though, lower take-home pay.  Giving Canadians less disposable income than their neighbors south of the border.  Which means they have to borrow more to make up for that smaller disposable income (see Personal debt ratio hits record high of 163.7% posted 12/13/2013 on CBC News).

Statistics Canada reported Friday that the level of household credit market debt to disposable income increased to 163.7 per cent in the third quarter from 163.1 per cent in the second quarter.

That means Canadians owe nearly $1.64 for every $1 in disposable income they earn in a year.

Policymakers are fixated on the debt ratio in part because it was at above 160 per cent that households in the United States and Britain ran into trouble about five years ago, contributing to defaults and the financial crisis that triggered the 2008-09 recession…

Indeed, while they are borrowing more, Canadians are also worth more as their assets increase by a similar amount. The national net worth increased to $7.5 trillion in the third quarter, up 2.1 per cent from the previous quarter.

On a per capita basis, that works out to $212,700 for every Canadian. The previous quarter, that figure was $208,300.

Rising net worth and rising debt?  Gee, what could that mean?  Well, most people’s wealth is determined by the price of their home.  As the value of their homes rise so does their net worth.  That is, their net worth rises as the price of their home (if they were to sell) rises.  And as their home price rises so do other home prices.  Which increases mortgage amounts.  As people borrow more to buy these more expensive homes.  And the lower the interest rates the more they will borrow and the bigger the house they will buy.  And this creates a what?  That’s right.  A housing bubble (see Is There a Canadian Housing Bubble? by Carrie Rossenfeld posted 11/13/2013 on GlobeSt.com).

GlobeSt.com: What factors lead experts to think there may be a Canadian housing bubble?

Muoio: For us, the biggest sign there is a housing bubble is how far prices have appreciated without a corresponding rise in income. This means housing affordability is falling rapidly and will eventually reach a tipping point. Additionally, if lenders are underwriting against an expectation of rising prices, this could result in loosening standards and too much leverage in the system.

GlobeSt.com: How similar are these factors to what happened to the US housing market before the recession?

C.M.: Very similar. US home prices kept appreciating while incomes saw only modest growth in the final years before the bubble burst. This led to a situation where eventually housing just became entirely unaffordable and the market’s liquidity completely dried up. With people over-levered due to the loose lending standards (which were enabled by the expectation of rising prices), this led to a massive unwind and foreclosure mess we are still working through. Additionally, Canada, just like us at the time, is building an extreme amount of homes that could lead to oversupply issues.

A rising debt level and higher net worth probably is more bad news than good.  For it is likely a sign of a housing bubble.  Just like these very things were a sign of a housing bubble in the U.S. just before the subprime mortgage crisis.  Or is it a sign that Canadians are just taxed too much leaving them with less disposable income?  Forcing them to borrow more as they cannot save enough for a sizeable down payment to reduce the amount they have to finance?   Or is it both?

It appears the Canadians can’t learn from the Americans.  And when the Canadian bubble bursts the Americans won’t learn anything from the Canadians.  For governments today want to keep interest rates low to encourage home ownership.  Which they do.  Taking us from bubble to bubble.  And from recession to recession.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

« Previous Entries