Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Random thoughts on the passing scene

Some of those who think the American health care system needed to be trashed and reformed in the image of the Canadian system might be interested in the opinion of Bacchus Barua, a senior economist with Canada's Fraser Institute.

"Healthcare in Canada is anything but free," he states, noting that the average family of four pays more than $11,000 a year in taxes for hospital and physician care. However, he explains in an article for The American "surely such expenditure is justified if Canadians receive a stellar healthcare system in return for their tax dollars. Unfortunately, that simply isn't the case."

Specifically, he lists some problems with his country’s system:
** Canada has fewer physicians, hospital beds, and diagnostic imaging scanners, and performs fewer medical interventions than its American and European counterparts.
** Canada has one of the lowest physician-to-population ratios in the developed world.
** A recent survey found that Canadians must wait an average of about 4 1/2 months for medically necessary elective procedures after referral from a general practitioner.
** The wait for diagnostic imaging technologies like MRIs is over two months on average.
** Patients in Canada are likely to wait two months or more to see a specialist, six days or more to see a doctor when sick or needing care, and four hours or more in the emergency room.
** Due to the lengthy waits, about 40,000 Canadians leave the country for treatment elsewhere each year [like the U.S.].
** Public drug plans covered only about a quarter of the new drugs approved for sale in Canada between 2004 and 2010.

He concludes: "These realities serve to dismiss the mythical notion that a Canadian-style healthcare system" is highly desirable.

We are headed in that direction.


During the mortgage banking crisis the federal government pressured large banks like JPMorgan Chase to take over the bad mortgage loans sold by failing banks Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns. Now the government is fining JPMorgan $13 billion for helping the feds deal with the crisis. Can you say “shakedown?”


Planned Parenthood involves itself with topics other than planning parenthood on its Facebook page, discussing topics like why some types of sexual activity are painful, transgender issues, and promoting Obamacare. Not exactly family planning.

An article on the Internet site reports that on Planned Parenthood’s Facebook page for teens it answers the question: “Is promiscuity a bad thing?” and that the organization defended doing so with the statement, “there’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners.”

Isn’t this the mentality that has led to 40 percent of our babies being born out of wedlock, and males with multiple children from multiple “baby mamas?”

This “advice,” such as it is, increases the likelihood of HPV and cervical cancer among females, in addition to STDs. “Even the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, considered ‘a person to be at direct risk for STDs if he or she had had two or more partners during the 12 months preceding the interview’ during one of their research studies,” Big Health Report said.

The article notes “a person with low self-esteem has been shown to engage in sexual relations earlier, and engage in riskier, unprotected sex with multiple partners.” Does that sound like “nothing bad or unhealthy” to you?

Seriously? This is what we get for $542 million in federal subsidies?


The “government shut down” really amounted to about 17 percent of the government being “shut down,” and that is somewhat like going to a mall that has 100 stores and finding only 83 that are open for business. So, while things were uncomfortable for some folks, it bore no resemblance whatsoever to the government actually shutting down.

Of course, if the mall management blocked off stores that otherwise would be open, things would be more uncomfortable. No sensible businessperson would do that, but a petty, politics-dominated administration would, and did.


The emotional push to raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour for those working the least skilled jobs in the fast food industry puts the spotlight on a fundamental misunderstanding of basic economics.

Advocates think the wage ought to be based upon concerns totally unrelated to the job and the business the job is a part of. “I flip burgers at Burger King, and can’t support my family on what I make, so raise the minimum wage,” is the mentality behind this ill-advised movement. In their mind, if a PhD. in English, mathematics, biochemistry, or any other field somehow ended up ringing up Happy Meals at MacDonald’s, the wage ought to be based upon his/her training, or some arbitrary “living wage” concept.

A job is worth whatever the employer says it is worth. Anyone who doesn’t like the wage is free to not take the job, or to look for a better one. If the employer can’t find people to work at the selected wage, he or she will have to raise it. Anyone who tries to find a better job, but can’t, needs to pipe down and do the job the employer allowed them to have until they can find a better one.

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