Open thread March 20, 2018 Dan Crawford | March 20, 2018 7:42 am Comments (12) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Thoughts for March 20
In so far as Republicans are wrong when they oppose the use of government to solve problems they support anarchy.
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Everybody understands that this country needs a new sane health care system. Almost nobody seems to have woken up that this country badly (desperately!) needs a new federal labor law system. Keep the (toothless) NLRB, sure. But, the only way to re-introduce democracy into every workplace — and concomitantly in every political nook and corner of the country is — is for Congress to mandate union certification and de-certification elections in every private workplace; one, three of five years apart, plurality rules on the latter.
The word “mandatory” scary? Every political election is “mandatory” in so far as they are conducted on a regular schedule. And it’s the only way to re-introduce collective bargaining into our WWIII-with-labor-organizing, sick business culture …
… unique in all the first world I believe — even foreign to some of the second and third worlds. We can even find centralized bargaining (sector wide labor agreements) in Argentina and Indonesia.
MY RESPONSE TO A BLOG POST YESTERDAY MORNING:
Higher wages? Forget productivity and automation. The question should be: higher wages for whom?
The bottom 40% only take about 10% of overall income. My “mid-59%” do more like 67.5% — while the top 1% glaums 22.5% (up from 10%, couple of gens ago).
Bobby Kennedy was interested in raising the poor — remember something called model cities — but with half today’s per capita income I don’t know what he might have been thinking. With today’s doubled per capita it’s mostly a matter of how to slosh the wealth around — a lot better!
We could double today’s per capita income and the bottom 40% might not end up any better off. Take away today’s paltry minimum wage(s) and the bottom 40% might be much worse off in spite of. LBJ’s 1968 minimum wage was $11.60/hr ($1.60/hr nominally).
Early 2007 federal minimum wage under-performed Malthus! Prior to the industrial revolution, if a population grew from 200 to 300 million, wages would have to drop by 1/3. Between 1968 and early 2007, the US minimum wage dropped by almost half: from $11.60 to $6.25.
Only one way back: re-establish collective bargaining in most every workplace (think America first world!).
Heard a story today which dives right into the heart of a key problem with US healthcare.
It was about drug ‘coupon’ programs. Some name-brand drugs are super expensive, and have generic competitors, or maybe are just super expensive. The US uses a lot of high out of pocket cost insurance. Deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, etc. These out of pocket costs can stop people choosing, or being able to buy, expensive drugs. So the insurers have started offering ‘coupons’. Essentially the drug company will pay the out of pocket costs for the patient. But that’s ok because they are still getting whatever money the insurer paid, and even better the marginal cost of producing the drug is usually small, so even if the coupon were most of the price of the drug they drug company is still coming out ahead. And the company sets the price, so they can just set it higher if they do need to get more out of the insurer. California, at the urging of insurers, is thinking about banning these coupons.
Every bit of that story is about cost shifting. Thousands of people working on trying to get entity X or Y or Z to pay the bill. None of it is about decreasing a real cost.
This is, uniquely I think, what US healthcare does.
Spends huge amounts of actual money on increasingly bizarre schemes to put the maximum possible bill on whoever is maximally able to pay it and on schemes to avoid being the one on whom the bill ultimately lands.
I wrote on this not to long ago. “After acquiring Vimovo, Horizon Pharma increased the price of it from $138 to $2,979 per 60-pill bottle. This is not the end of the story with Horizon. They will sell to customers at a much lower price and bill insurance at the higher price.”
Recent developments in the global Warming arguments have resulted in lawsuits. This is an official response from skeptical scientist to the Judge’s pre-trial 8 questions issued to the two parties in the CA lawsuit against the oil companies.
“Our overview of climate science is framed through four statements:
1. The climate is always changing; changes like those of the past half
-century are common in the geologic record, driven by powerful natural phenomena
2. Human influences on the climate are a small (1%) perturbation to natural energy flows
3. It is not possible to tell how much of the modest recent warming can be ascribed to human influences
4. There have been no detrimental changes observed in the most salient climate variables and today’s projections of future changes are highly uncertain
We offer supporting evidence for each of these statements drawn almost exclusively from the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) issued by the US government in November, 2017 or from the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) issued in 2013-14 by
the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or from the refereed primary literature.”
For the supporting details go to: http://1ggye33lc4653z56mp34pl6t.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Tutorial-Professor-Presentation.pdf
The Sergeant said, “Sir, are you sure,
This is the best way back to the base?”
“Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
‘Bout a mile above this place.
It’ll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We’ll soon be on dry ground.”
We were, waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.
Just when you think you might be getting closer to the bottom:
“For those of us who were amazed and (ultimately) appalled as the Great Penis Hunt unfolded in the years 1997 and 1998, seeing Joseph diGenova back on the national stage, this time as a mouthpiece supporting a president being dogged by a special prosecutor, is proof enough that, whatever else we may think of Her, God has a deft hand for the plot twist.
Back 20 years ago, diGenova and his wife, a lawyer named Victoria Toensing, were regulars on the then-nascent political gab circuit. (This was when people like Geraldo Rivera and Charles Grodin had shows, and when Chris Matthews was going completely bananas over the wandering presidential priapus, and when Kellyanne Conway was Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, and when you and I were young, mother.) But diGenova was an all-purpose opinion grinder……
He is not, as you can plainly see, a crank.
Meanwhile, diGenova’s wife, the aforementioned Ms. Toensing, is working these days at laying a few more whacks into the dead horse that is Uranium One. In the pairs competition, they earlier promoted the notion that the Obama administration was threatening witnesses in the endless Benghazi investigation. You have to give Republicans credit. They are better than a summer music-shed tour at getting the band back together again.
Fifteen years ago, partly at the urging of people whose public careers should have been ended with their involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal, President George W. Bush launched his invasion of Iraq, which remains at the top of the list of foreign-policy debacles in American history. Now we have the Whitewater Undead staggering out of the ancient crypts of cable news and back abroad in our politics again. Somebody should ring the green rooms with garlic.”
Wow! That CA cities trial I mentioned above didn’t last long. On its 2nd day the the judge ruled against the conspiracy claim, the core of the claim. http://dailycaller.com/2018/03/21/federal-judge-conspiracy-exxon-chevron/
There is still the NY trial, another conspiracy claim against the same oil companies, to complete.
“NOAA Data Tampering Approaching 2.5 Degrees”
NOAA’s US temperature record shows that US was warmest in the 1930’s and has generally cooled as CO2 has increased. This wrecks greenhouse gas theory, so they “adjust” the data to make it look like the US is warming.
“The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.”
I completely agree with EM: “…lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism (and some science). Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.”
One type of these scientific actions is scientific studies which are not replicable due to failure to provide the source data and/or methodology. If science can not be replicated, for any reason, it is at best suspect, and likely not science.
“We need to make sure their data and methodology are published as part of the record,” Pruitt said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Otherwise, it’s not transparent. It’s not objectively measured, and that’s important.”
Pruitt will reverse long-standing EPA policy allowing regulators to rely on non-public scientific data in crafting rules. Such studies have been used to justify tens of billions of dollars worth of regulations.”
If you doubt the importance of this step scan Retraction Watch to see how many studies get retracted for similar flaws. https://retractionwatch.com/
You might also get a feel for which scientific field is the worst????
I am not going to play whackamole with the George and Lennies of the world.