Day by Day

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Public Option - We're Going There When England is Coming Back

My recurring healthcare theme has been that our demographics are lagging Europe's, and that we can learn from their mistakes and not mess things up.

One of the liberal's guiding lights to lead us all to the public option has been the British National Health Service (NHS). It gives universal coverage for free, so the liberals say, and is a model of what our healthcare should be.

I've begged to differ, since I observed the NHS on a first-hand basis for five years living in England (1970-1975). A bloke who worked for me then was one of my best friends, the late Arthur Sharman. Arthur suffered under the NHS for a decade until he died waiting vainly for a hip replacement. Each year he would be scheduled for the operation, and each year higher priorities and budget crunches would cause his hip replacement to be rescheduled for the following year.

For several years before his death, it became obvious that the damage done by not having the hip replacement earlier had gone too far for the operation to restore his quality of life.

The new British government, the conservative party named Tories, have now made clear what has been known for decades: the NHS will have to severely reduce and ration healthcare, and in particular such procedures as hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, services for the terminally ill, and long-term care. (click here for the article on the massive cuts proposed for the NHS)

The slang name for the English healthcare screening units could easily be "Death" panels. That's obviously what must be part of a publically funded universal healthcare system. The "free" systems, like the NHS, depend on government taxing half or more of income away from its citizens, and healthcare has to compete for a share against education, transportation, welfare, and all the other government programs.

Also, to an extent greater than the other government programs, healthcare must serve a rapidly aging population and at the same time intergrate inceasingly expensive improvements in medical detection and treatment of illness.

We're lucky in the United States. We can watch Europe go blindly where we're headed, and learn from their mistakes.

Unless our leaders persist in following Europe blindly.

Experience is a great teacher, and teaches best when we can learn from the mistakes of others rather than our own.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Democrats Bail Out on Cap and Tax

A farmer once told me he had a donkey that would do anything he said. When I asked for a demonstration, he walked up to the donkey and hit its head a hard blow with an ax handle.

"I thought you said the donkey would do whatever, you asked," I said. "If so, why did you hit it with the ax handle?"

"Well," said the farmer, "first you have to get his attention."

Just like the farmer's donkey, the first thing you have to do with Democrats is get their attention. Unfortunately, that means you have to wait for an election year to roll around before they will listen. The Democrats passed their so-called health care reform even though roughly sixty percent of American voters oppose it, because the Democrats thought the voters would forget about it by election time.

However, while they were trying for a radical makeover of health care, and then settling for a mishmash that no one liked, their ominous Cap and Trade legislation passed by the House just sat there mouldering in the Senate while the bloom was coming off the Obama rose.

Now Democrats are blaming Republicans for the death of Cap and Trade, but truth be known, many Democrats vainly praying for re-election want nothing to do with passing it in the face of high unemployment and persistent recession. Obama is looking ahead to 2012 and wants Congressional Democrats to "win one for the Capper," but those Democrats know a vote for Cap and Trade is their sure ticket out of Congress.

With a Congressional approval rating of 11 percent, many of them are on the way out anyway. Their only hope is a sudden economic turnaround, and that is sure not to happen if they mess up energy and make it more expensive. The recent modest economic improvements we see are rooted in the markets' certainty that Cap and Trade won't happen.

Democrats know that public attention is focused on jobs, jobs, jobs, and that messing up the economy now will prove that they have been ignoring the voters.

Time to get out the ax handle.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Left's Census, Post Office, and Healthcare Follies

The Left here in northern California has an incredible faith in government, quite unlike the Left of thirty or thereabouts years ago. For example, they want a single payer system for healthcare, the total abolishment of private insurance companies; in other words, a government monopoly.

Not long ago Alice and one of our leading leftists were comparing notes about another government program, the Census. Every ten years the Census lays an egg in our area, since the Post Office will not do home delivery in our rural area, and the Census will not allow post office box delivery of the mailed Census forms. Therefore, all the Census forms mailed to our area are returned to the Census office as undeliverable, since they are addressed to our property addresses instead of our Post Office boxes.

Knowing this to be the case, we do a variety of things to comply with Census requirements, such as getting forms from a local non-government social services office and mailing them in.

However, even after we do that the Census hires and sends in an army of Census workers hired outside of our area and therefore paid wages plus transportation, lodging, and meals expenses to come here and go house to house to complete the census. The landlady of one of the downtown inns said June was her best month in years because she was full of Census workers. At the same time, we had an abnormally high rate of unemployed in our area who, if hired by the Census, could have worked from their homes and saved the government the expenses of the out-of-towners, plus cut down on unemployment and welfare benefits paid to locals.

After I filled out and sent in our census form ahead of the deadline, Alice and I went on an African safari vacation. When we came back we found notices from three different census workers, two pinned on our front door and one on a side gate we rarely use. They had made their calls over two weeks after we sent in the completed form.

(The Census chief says that their shaky computer system won't be a problem in getting an accurate census. For more about this, click here.)

We called one of the numbers and answered the same questions that we had previously provided via mail almost a month before.

When Alice and the prominent local lefty discussed this, Alice asked: "Is there anything the government runs well?" and the Lefty replied: "The Post Office."

At this point, we need to recap that the root of our Census problem every ten years is that the Post Office will not deliver mail to our home addresses, and will not put mail addressed to our homes into our post office boxes - even though the Post Office employees know our names and our box numbers from memory.

Meanwhile, every week day United Parcel, Federal Express, and other delivery companies drive throughout our lightly populated rural area delivering to our home addresses. Frequently their service is amazing. I'll buy an item over the internet in the evening, and often the next day it will be delivered to my door, even though I haven't paid extra for expedited delivery.

And concerning healthcare, the very low Medicaid (called MediCal in California) reimbursement rate drains so much money from our small local medical center that evening and weekend services have had to be reduced severely. In Texas many doctors are dropping Medicaid patient service completely because they can't afford to provide it.

Yet the Left wants the government to run more things.

I know what the Left is smoking, because this area is one of the leading sources of marijuana, but its users say that it's supposed to be harmless.

Not if it makes the Democrats think that the government should run everything, it isn't!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Boxer Proud of Jobs Record

Barbara Boxer claims California voters should reelect her because of her record on jobs for Californians (click here for the San Francisco Chronicle report). I think this illustrates Barbara's most outstanding trait: low intelligence. Who else would be proud of California's worst in the nation unemployment of 12.5%?

Californians are catching on. The bad news for Barbara is in the latest Fields poll, which shows her unfavorable rating is higher than her favorable (click here for this news items).

I must admit Barbara didn't do it all herself, although with three terms in the Senate, she deserves some of the credit for the total mess that is California government. If she had been a more effective Senator, she would have accomplished more of her leftist agenda, and then we could give her more credit for the mess.

California has been governed by Democrats for decades, and California's Democrats are a wholly owned subsidiary of California's powerful public employee unions. However, Barbara is on a two-day "jobs for California" tour, seemingly clueless about how this is calling attention to California Democrats' greatest failing. If the Democrats hadn't messed up California business and education so completely for so long, then our vast, intractable budget deficit wouldn't be blocking all attempts to get back on track.

Of course, California's Democrats got a lot of help from Washington Democrats like Barney Frank and Franklin Delano Raines, who badgered Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac into insolvency by forcing them to make mortgage loans to home buyers who had no chance in Hell of making the payments.

Californians are hurting enough now to finally notice that "Dim Bulb" Barbara hasn't accomplished anything of note, and that her loud-mouthed exhortations for government to spend more and be more like Europeans look odd now that the Europeans are trying to put an end to such foolishness.

Barbara's only hope is that the Californian electorate has been dumbed down so much by the destruction Democrats inflicted on California's once great educational system that they won't realize what a useless Senator she has been.

Actually, betting on the stupidity of the California electorate is usually a sure thing.

Barbara might not be so dumb after all.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Germany Shows Us How, Just Like They Showed Argentina

Which of the major industrialized nations has the healthiest economy?

Germany. (for more interesting facts and analyisis of Germany's success story, click here)

Why?

Because Germany is cutting spending, not raising taxes or increasing government spending.

Why does that work to make their economy strong?

Simply, because it increases confidence in their economy. Businesses know they are not going to get hit with ruinous tax increases. Inefficient government and socialized businesses realize that they aren’t going to be bailed out by the German government.

On the one hand businesses can confidently go ahead with improved products and expansion, and government-supported organizations know they must become more effective or fail.

As usual, the Liberals are crying that the poor will suffer.

Why?

Isn’t it better to be able to find work in a growing economy, than to hope for a welfare miracle from a failing one?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Medieval Warm Period in China

The belief system that is Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) has had a rallying cry for years: “Do away with the Medieval Warm Period!” It’s understandable why they would want to – indeed have to – eliminate the Medieval Warm Period. If let stand, the Medieval Warm Period provides two crushing blows to CAGW: first, that current warming is unprecedented, and second, that the rate of warming is unprecedented.

Of course, if increased levels of the trace atmospheric gas, carbon dioxide, must be the driver of warming, the current warming and its rate must be unprecedented. Otherwise, previous periods of rapid warming would have to be due to something other than rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Therefore, there cannot be any previous periods of rapid warming, meaning there cannot be a Medieval Warm Period.

Or a Roman Warming.

Or the even warmer Holocene Climate Optimum.

While we’re at it, there can’t be a Little Ice Age, either.

Why not?

Because a Little Ice Age would just set the stage for the current warming to be properly considered a natural change back to warming from a cold period.

Or another way to look at the Little Ice Age: If increased carbon dioxide causes warming, then reduced carbon dioxide must cause cooling.

That’s absurd?

Why? If the increased carbon dioxide causes warming, then to cool things the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere must go down, right? Or do you think that cooling is caused by something else?

If you do, doesn’t that open the possibility that warming is caused by something else, too?

However, the warmists have a way out. They contend that the Medieval Warm Period was just a local – a European – phenomenon.

Hundreds of studies prove otherwise, but the warmists then contend that the studies are all bought and paid for by Big Oil. BP, for instance.

BP, of course, was spending great piles of money promoting itself as the greenest of green energy companies, and having nothing to do with CAGW skeptics.

However, we’ll let the warmists have their mythologies, because another very important source has recently been heard from, China (for this eye-opening study, click here).

Chinese scientists reconstructed temperatures from a variety of proxies covering the past 2,000 years, and found periods when warming was greater and more rapid than the present.

As previously mentioned, there are hundreds of studies that find the same, it’s just that these Chinese studies are conveniently separated from Europe and from Western culture Big Energy influences.

There are not many places left for the CAGW to find cover. At the moment they are as exposed as Al Gore in Portland.

Let them try to massage this!