Open thread May 20, 2016 Dan Crawford | May 20, 2016 7:20 am Tags: open thread Comments (8) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
So…Johnson/Weld Libertarian ticket…
I need to see their whitepapers, but I’d vote for Weld over Trump or Clinton every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Of course, he’s not the one running for President on the ticket…
The Nation features a useful critique of the gig economy by Senator Warren here: http://www.thenation.com/article/elizabeth-warren-takes-on-the-gig-economy/
One of her proposals is something I hadn’t thought about much – requiring “independent contractors” to make electronic contributions to SS (presumably along with the contracting agency). On the one hand I am not sure about the wisdom of normalizing these relationships. On the other hand it doesn’t look like they are going away anytime soon…
NPR featured another worrying story about antibiotic shortages this morning: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/05/23/477653310/penicillin-shortage-could-be-a-problem-for-people-with-syphilis
“Generic drugs that come in the form of a shot, like Bicillin L-A, are particularly prone to shortages. They’re cheap and hard to make, so only a few companies produce them. And when it comes to Bicillin L-A, Pfizer is the only supplier.
“The supply chain is really fragile because we really only have just a small number of companies that make these products,” says Fox. “And so when you have a small number of factories and one has a problem, there just isn’t additional capacity to make up that difference.”
Here’s another earlier story from the Independent talking about the end of antibiotic effectiveness: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/antibiotics-will-soon-stop-working-and-make-chemotherapy-too-dangerous-to-be-performed-major-report-a7036776.html
Death by paper cut – is it in your future?
Those stories point (again) to a question I keep asking the free market faithful: How can we have a market based solution to antibiotics and other critically needed medical research? Especially when in the case of antibiotics you’re investing in a solution that is virtually guaranteed to become less effective the more it is used?
To this DFH it looks like capitalism can’t solve this one. Without an alternative approach to funding these critically needed investments you just end up putting the entire species (i.e. homo sapiens) at greater and greater risk of pandemic triggered extinction.
Amateur Socialist, I read the Elizabeth Warren article, and perhaps I missed it, but I could not find a link to the speech the article is talking about. I find it hard to believe that this following is true:
‘But then there’s Warren’s big proposal: portable retirement plans for all workers. “Instead of an employer-sponsored 401(k), this plan could be run by a union or other organization that could contract investment management to the private sector,” she said. “Because of the amazing advances in online investment platforms and electronic payroll systems, individuals could set up automatic contributions. It’s time for all workers to have access to the same low-cost, well-protected retirement products that some employers and unions provide today.’
It’s not that it is a bad idea, it’s that we already have it — the IRA, the Individual Retirement Account. And for the nearly half of Americans who do not pay federal income tax, there is an even better idea — the Roth IRA. The money will NEVER be taxed! If you have direct deposit, and your employer will split it between accounts (some will, some won’t), you can designate a portion to go to your IRA. Otherwise, you can set up automatic payments from your bank.
The only issue right now is that the limits for IRAs are much lower than for 401(k) plans.
Warren, I admit sometimes I can’t tell if you’re being disingenuous or what. I believe Senator Warren is correctly more concerned about gig employees ability to participate in Social Security. You know, the well regarded guaranteed retirement scheme that has remained very popular here despite the recent innovation of which you cite.
Without withholding taxes these workers are being shut out of disability and retirement security that many of them are likely to need. I am personally very grateful for my nearly 40 year participation in Social Security which I expect to provide basic income protection above and beyond the significant 401K balance I have accumulated. (For now, who knows what will be left in it after the next crash).
The Elizabeth Warren speech in question is here: http://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/2016-5-19_Warren_New_America_Remarks.pdf
Found by plugging “this plan could be run by a union or other organization that could contract investment management to the private sector” into a search engine, pulling up Kevin Drum’s Mother Jones article and clicking the first link in it.
Seven pages of delivered text, three pages of references.