Open thread March 13, 2014 Dan Crawford | March 13, 2015 9:23 am Tags: open thread Comments (11) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
“When I was graduating from high school in 1978, a number of my friends went to the hometown University of Minnesota. At the time, it was possible to pay tuition and a substantial share of living expenses with the earnings from a full-time job in the summer and a part-time job during the school year. Given the trends in costs of higher education and the path of the minimum wage since then, this is no longer true…..
Just to put this in perspective, say that a full-time student works 40 hours per week for 12 weeks of summer vacation, and then 10 hours per week for 30 weeks during the school year–while taking a break during vacations and finals. That schedule would total 780 hours per year. Back in the late 1970s, even being paid the minimum wage, this work schedule easily covered tuition. By the early 1990s, it no longer covered tuition. According to the OECD, the average annual hours worked by a US worker was 1,788 in 2013. At the minimum wage, that’s now just enough to cover tuition–although it doesn’t leave much space for being a full-time student.”
When I went to school in the 70’s, I could pay my tuition by working a 500 hours a year at minimum wage. Right now, my grand nephew is attending the same school and would need to work over 2000 hours a year at minimum wage to pay his tuition.
We are creating a nation of impoverished serfs with our educational system.
Anybody ever look at the medical industry as the growth industry of the future — the unexportable growth industry?
When it comes to products that come in shiny packages we want growth, growth, growth. But, when it comes to not being sick there isn’t the same natural intuition. Last week I read of a doctor saying medical knowledge doubles every two years.
Here’s an article from yesterday: Alzheimer’s ‘breakthrough:’ noninvasive ultrasound technique restores memory in mice
This readable online professional mag has several new such articles daily: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
Of course most economists are still working age and therefore young enough not to think of the volume of medical care. I took my mom to the cardiologist yesterday — I’m seeing my PCP this afternoon. Which brings up another growth prospect: as medicine keeps patients alive longer it creates an ever larger consumer base for itself (take that John D. Rockefeller). Medical jobs pay better than average too — the new (unexportable, rust-belt proof) factory.
Okay, okay; American (that is American, not medical science-an which latter is universal) cost twice as much as it should. I read Brill. I would not worry about what (most) doctors make; their pre-tax is only 10% of overall costs (dental folks seem to have doubled their prices in real terms over the last 20 years w/o justification — probably watching medicine double and figured nobody would notice if they did too). If Germany wants to pay pilots more than surgeons then Germany has a problem.
Once we get drug and medical device and insurance bureaucracies costs under control then we can welcome growth in the real new high-tech economy.
BTW; nothing like this will ever take place without a German/Danish style labor union take over. May be just around the corner. Once RICO and Hobbs cases begin (if they ever begin) against union busting, all the union busters will cease and desist until they see the outcome of these cases. In the time it will take for these cases to go through the courts we can have the whole country organized.
it seems just the other day we were being told (here) that competition among the noble insurance companies, who only make 3% profit, would save us.
now, you seem to be telling us that the noble providers, who only make 10% profit, will save us.
since i just paid $4000 dollars to have a few stitches taken in my thumb, i have my own ideas about medical costs and doctors’ fees.
i think we’d do a hell of a lot better if the government established “free” clinics and did all the “simple” stuff with barefoot physicians. while the worth of saving my thumb from crippling or infection is essentially infinite, my ability to pay is not. neither is yours. so i think we need to find ways to limit the cost of this infinite need. and the only way i can think of doing it is to pay for it ourselves with a transparent dedicated tax based on ability to pay but limited by a cap to protect the rich (even the rich) from having to pay for all of us. the value of “government” provided, or paid for, medical care is that the government has the ability to monitor costs and keep them reasonable. individuals, especially individuals in immediate need, do not.
the corruption of government that Maggie Mahar warns us against, is something we can manage in a democracy… or should be able to manage. seeing exactly where our taxes go… for our largest expense… might help keep us vigilant.
as far as i know other countries are doing a better job of this than we are. and if it takes paying pilots more than doctors… well, in my experience pilots are more honest than doctors, and may actually save more lives per year.
thanks for sharing this. back in the sixties i could have gotten my education for free if i had been willing to live at home. but my experiences with school did not encourage me to believe that was the best use of my time. what promised to be an opening of the world of possibilities and pleasurable knowledge turned out to be something of a cattle drive if not an actual fraud upon the students.
so i remain a little skeptical that “education education education” is exactly the holy grail it is painted to be. on the other hand it does seem to be the necessary gauntlet one has to run to be even allowed to compete at the lower levels of the american economy. making it unaffordable… or the doorway to debt peonage… is just a return to the old days when only the sons of the rich went to college.
for my part i’d rather see the corporations have to train their own workers. but i understand there are other views on this.
Insurance companies could lose 10% — they would still be a burden because there are twice as many insurance employees as doctors. Doesn’t matter to us what their profit or loss is.
Don’t you have Medicare? Pays 80%. 80% of a much lower price than the hospital chargemaster sets, leaving you to pay (or not — for the first half of my life, in the Bronx, we just went to the ER and threw away the bills) 20% of a lower price.
i was hoping you’d make the point about the insurance 3% better than i was able to make it with Maggie and Run.
I do have Medicare, but when the hospital and “independent” doctors charge 4000 dollars that is still gouging. It is also true that Medicare knocks that down quite a bit. It’s still gouging.
I don’t have the courage to not pay the remaining 20%. I have no confidence I wouldn’t end up in debtors’ prison.
Everything I see (notice) about the government today is that it is entirely in the hands of the predators.
But that doesn’t mean I am ready to trust in “free competition.” They ARE the predators.
Politicans don’t want an educated electorate. They might not believe, or at least will question, what they are told.
I think you are right in substance, but it has been my experience that “educated” just means “taught to believe the fairy tales.” The educated do not seem to me to be “smarter” than the uneducated (within limits).
I think even Jefferson tried to make the point once about a “well informed” electorate likely to be an electorate that is voting “the facts” as opposed to “their experience” which latter is likely to be more reliable both to them and to a government trying to do what is best for them.
Speaking of medical costs, I’ve been going to a GP on three-monthly visits for a couple years now after a sinus infection. My average waiting time in his office has been about 1-1/2 hours. The maximum was a 2 o’clock appointment when I waited until 5:30 before seeing him. This last time I finally got a 9 AM appointment which was the first of the day. I was there at 8:50 AM. The doctor didn’t arrive until after 9:30 AM. On the way out I asked the secretary why she scheduled an appointment for before the doctor arrived. She said, “Well, you asked for an early appointment, and we open at 9, but I can’t control when the doctor arrives.”
Usually when I get there, there are 4-6 people waiting (and I’m always there before my appointment). I’ll guess he sees at least a dozen patients a day. Based on my average waiting time, that’s 18 hours of people’s lives he wastes for every day he works. This is not the way GE or or any other business I have worked at operates, nor should operate.
Doctors have something better (for them) than a union – a guild.
I’ve seen that 10% number (doctor’s income versus health care total cost) before. It comes from some doctor’s association. I’ve also seen an article in Forbes that says what we pay doctors is 1/3 of all health care costs (both numbers could be true, but the implication of the first that reducing doctor’s fees wouldn’t help significantly is false), and twice as much as doctors get paid in Europe.
Europe (at least France) also pays for most of medical school tuition for doctors, the cost of which is a main excuse doctors give for their fees. So I would like to see public funding of specific college majors (say, pre-science, engineering, pre-med, med school, teaching, etc.). People who just want to go there to drink beer and have fun, not so much.
Any doctors I see in Illinois are all on 15 minute a patient schedules. You doctor doesn’t have walk ins does he — the only way we used to do it back in the 1970s Bronx? (I’ve read that in Japan it’s 3 minutes visits — but you go more often ???).
I’ve also read that doctor fees are 20% including office expenses — down to 10% after. You have to include the opportunity costs of four years in med school and four more in resident training — plus extra credit for the enormous density of the school and residential training (24 hour resident shifts). And as my Bronx doctor used to tell a lifetime of training.
I’m all for European free education — but not for paying neurosurgeons one-third what Lufthansa pilots get or something like that.
I believe you are suffering from what i calll percent paresis. or maybe it’s just witch-doctor syndrome.
20% of WHAT?
i hate to think of poor doctors spending all that time and money on an education they hate and only do it for the money. if money is what they want they should have studied accounting.
i’ll ask you about the Lufthansa pilot the next time you are aboard an airplane.