Some Links

by Don Boudreaux on September 19, 2011

in Myths and Fallacies, Scientism, Seen and Unseen, State of Macro, The Hollow Middle, Trade, Video

Arnold Kling explains that “applying macroeconomic models to questions of fiscal policy is the equivalent of using pre-Copernican astronomy to launch a satellite.“  Yep.  A model’s Rococo complexity ought not be mistaken for that model’s usefulness.

Also in The American, Steve Conover explains that “In the seven years from 2001-2007 (inclusive), not only did the middle class get at least its fair share of overall income growth, the income gap between the rich and the middle class actually got smaller.”

Steve Landsburg offers his thoughts on the assertion that people lack compassion if they oppose using government to force A to care for B.

In this short video, produced by the Mercatus Center’s Rob Raffety, some GMU folk celebrate Bastiat.  And this follow-up.

Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady explains how American labor unions greedily pose as friends of foreigners.

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{ 86 comments }

Slappy McFee September 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Whenever I read the comments following a post by Mr Landsburg, its pretty clear to me that very few understand what he means. I haven’t figured out which party to blame it on tho.

Ben Hughes September 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Absolutely, which is all the more surprising since Prof. Landsburg writes with outstanding clarity. Most people just get carried away with sloppy thinking once an emotional “tug” tells them “this doesn’t feel right”.

Don Boudreaux September 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Yep. As Bryan Caplan and Geoff Brennan and Loren Lomasky point out, people have a positive demand to stew in their own emotional juices. That demand, I believe, very often is stronger than their demand actually to understand reality with more clarity.

Ken September 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm

“In other words, they too are perfectly fine with a policy of “let him die”, as long as he dies far enough away. At this point, we’re not arguing about principle; we’re arguing about where to draw an arbitrary line.”

This sums up many “compassionate” people very well.

Regards,
Ken

Greg Webb September 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Yes, because if no one can see you being compassionate, then it does not really count.

Ken September 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Ha!!

Invisible Backhand September 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm
Greg Webb September 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm

And, what does that picture has to do with African warlords stealing all the food that the United States and Bono send to feed the poor of their countries?

Ken September 19, 2011 at 6:42 pm

IB,

Exactly. Many Americans, particularly on the left, fret about “poor” Americans, yet completely ignore the real suffering of non-Americans. Just how compassionate are these people who claim to care so much about the poor want to give money to people so they can afford a cell phone, a car, health insurance, etc. all the while completely ignoring those in desperate need of clean drinking water and enough to eat?

Regards,
Ken

Methinks1776 September 19, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Before you start “generously” handing out other people’s wealth at the point of your compassion gun, how much of your own have you given freely?

Invisible Backhand September 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm

This is my rifle, this is my compassion gun, one is for fighting…

So, you left atheist Russia with a government you despised to come here and be an atheist and despise the government?

Ken September 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm

IB,

As governments exist everywhere at all times, you’d be stupid not to despise government, any government. However, there’s a difference between despising your government and fearing for your life due to a despicable government. Or do you think that the US government, as bad as it is, is somehow as bad as the Soviet Union’s government? I have a hard time believing that even you are that stupid.

Regards,
Ken

Patriarch Kiril September 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Russia is Orthodox Christian. Now, go give your money to the poor (not Al Gore), and leave this good woman alone. BTW, I despise your government too.

Methinks1776 September 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm

No. I was unwilling to worship the state and subjugate myself to it in the USSR so that I could come worship the state and subjugate myself to it in the USA. Duh!!

muirgeo September 20, 2011 at 12:17 am

We all pay the same taxes DA. Really it’s not just you paying everyones way. Ad before you ever arrived here or before I ever arrived here people paid lots of taxes to help set up this great society you DA.

Ken September 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

“we all pay the same taxes”

Uh… except for the 45% that don’t pay taxes.

Regards,
Ken

muirgeo September 20, 2011 at 1:06 am

They pay social security, medicare, unemployment, state, local , property and sales taxes…dude.

Dan J September 20, 2011 at 1:19 am

Not true! Do you pay a city income tax? Those who work in Detroit do. Then Feds reimburse on federal tax. Soooooooo….. Rest of country helps to subsidize Detroit fiscal recklessness. As much as 45%-50% don’t pay federal income taxes. Now, I am pretty sure that more than half of country is employed.
And, I left that hell hole to stop getting mugged by the govt there, for sake of the huge welfare class.
Can’t wait till huge swath of cities leave the county that is Wayne County and form their own. Detroit will not be able to drain the suburbs anymore.

Methinks1776 September 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

Muirdiot, you are truly the dumbest thing that ever crawled on the planet.

We have a progressive tax system where we all pay sales tax, employment tax, etc. but where only 49% of the population pays income tax. We sure as hell don’t all pay at the same rate since half receive more from government than they pay.

Gordon Richens September 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm

“That’s why it’s so very disappointing to see Paul Krugman, yet again, using his platform in the New York Times to bray with the yahoos instead of calling attention to deep and difficult trade-offs”

Trade-offs are for little people – and those who cover the tab.

muirgeo September 19, 2011 at 7:34 pm

My compassionate reply to Steve Landsberg post on compassion…

We are a country who’s top 400 wealthiest people are worth $1.7 trillion dollars.

There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT providing universal health care to all our citizens for the same reason we provide for their physical defense against enemies foreign and domestic.

If you believe as Julian Simon did (albeit for the wrong reason) human capital is the most valuable resource there would be NO question on this issue. In fact there is NO question here.

Your scenario involves some one who declined to buy health insurance. The bigger question is for those far more numerous that can not afford health care or are themselves children. Replace the man in your scenario with a set of premature twins or a 4 year old. Does your answer change?? Does it?? The economics doesn’t change. Does your answer change?

But yes, ask those billionaires and multi-millionaires to pay back a little more into the society they prospered in and watch and see if the economist who replies a scathing NO is answering based on a sound economic argument or out of his presumed compassion for billionaires rights.

I am a physician and I am on call now covering for the emergency room. If you are looking for a physician or a nurse or a hospital that is going to say no to a person in need you have no fricking idea what you are asking for. NO doctor worth his salt will turn away a patient in need.

WE DON’T WORK JUST for your GD profits. Everything is NOT based on a balance sheet . And if you think you can set up a medical system with doctors who think like sociopathic economist heaven help you when you show up to their emergency department with or with out health insurance.

Methinks1776 September 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Have another drink.

Invisible Backhand September 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Ayn Rand was Russian too…the piece are falling into place about you.

Methinks1776 September 19, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Yes. Ted Bundy was American. The pieces are falling into place about you.

If you string non sequiturs together, it all becomes so obvious!

Patriarch Kiril September 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm

LOL!

brotio September 21, 2011 at 2:05 am

:D

Dan J September 21, 2011 at 2:12 am

I wanna play!

And Obama is Kenyan.

muirgeo September 20, 2011 at 12:22 am

Fuck you methinks you POS clueless lowlife.

YOU SAVED THE PREGNANT WOMEN AND HER TWINS … remember! Even despicable YOU couldn’t be a libertarian when life and money came into balance… you dumb ass.

brotio September 20, 2011 at 2:03 am

Ooh! I’ll bet you’ve spent the evening praying to Mother Gaia to bring on that tidal wave of crude!

You’re so cute when you’re mad!

Methinks1776 September 20, 2011 at 7:54 am

LOL!

He is, isn’t he? Especially when he breaks out the caps lock and starts yelling about hypotheticals he doesn’t understand.

John Galt September 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm

The problem is the scarcity of health care.

Why isn’t a farmer required to undergo 11 years of schooling that costs $100,000? What if these agricultural colleges were also provided legal protection from new colleges being built?

Isn’t our food supply even more critical than our medical supply?

Our systems our impoverishing Americans and they are killing and starving foreigners everywhere.

Ken September 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm

muirgeo,

“There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT providing universal health care to all our citizens”

The economic argument: by taking from the most productive members of society, wealth is reduced or produced slower. Poor people suffer the most from both of these situations. If you don’t believe me, ask an Indian or Chinese. “Poor” Americans are richer than most Indians and Chinese.

The moral argument: it is morally wrong to take from others by force against their will. There’s a word for that. It’s “theft”. It also encourages covetousness by codifying jealousy and envy against those who produce the most.

Regards,
Ken

Ken September 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I hate when muirgeo suckers me into replying to him. It’s hard to believe he’s so stupid. When I do it feels like he’s won.

Regards,
Ken

Invisible Backhand September 19, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Economic argument: You lose, universal healthcare is cheaper, thus taking less from the most productive members of society, creating more wealth.

The moral argument: Your 7 year old finds a loaded .45 handgun. You take it from him by force. Germany has Western Europe, we take it by force. Your neighbor is trying to stab his wife with a knife. You take it by force.

Face it, your a simplet–simple minded person.

I like replying to you, even though it is:

http://i.imgur.com/77yvH.gif

Ken September 19, 2011 at 10:38 pm

IB,

“universal healthcare is cheaper”

False. Whenever a product is provided for free, it is over consumed. Those who would have otherwise shopped for a better deal have no incentive to do so. Since medical consumers aren’t shopping for the best bargain, producers have no reason to find more efficient ways to provide the same level of care. The drive to find efficiencies results in enormous savings over time. Thus universal health care is VERY expensive.

“Your 7 year old finds a loaded .45 handgun. You take it from him by force.”

An adult who lives within his means, works hard, saves, and invests is akin to a 7 year old with a loaded .45? Hardworking responsible adults are like 7 year olds and politicians are like parents? Is this really the argument you are making?

“Germany has Western Europe, we take it by force.”

An adult who lives within his means, works hard, saves, and invests is akin is akin to a dictator ruling through terror? Hardworking responsible adults are like Nazis and politicians are like the Allies? Is this really the argument you are making?

“Your neighbor is trying to stab his wife with a knife.”

An adult who lives within his means, works hard, saves, and invests is akin to a man stabbing his wife? Hardworking responsible adults are like violent criminals and politicians are like your brave neighbor intervening? Is this really the argument you are making?

Regards,
Ken

Patriarch Kiril September 19, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Ken, excellent response!

Invisible Backhand September 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Suddenly you don’t like simplistic absolutes? Holes in your argument aren’t “akin” to what you meant?

Universal health care is cheaper, it’s a fact measured in something called “cash”.

Ken September 19, 2011 at 11:49 pm

IB,

“Suddenly you don’t like simplistic absolutes?”

When they’re completely wrong, no.

“Holes in your argument aren’t “akin” to what you meant?”

There weren’t “holes” in your arguments. Your had no argument in which to find holes. You simply listed scenarios that bore no relationship to the moral and economic views of universal health care being foisted upon citizens.

“Universal health care is cheaper, it’s a fact measured in something called “cash”.”

Universal health care is cheaper than what? It certainly isn’t cheaper than a health care system provided exclusively by the private sector, purchased exclusively by individuals using their own money. This has been measured in “cash”.

When everyone bears everyone else’s costs equally, without regard to who personally consumed what, there is NO incentive at all to conserve or shop for a better deal; hence the phrase “tragedy of the commons”. There isn’t any accounting that’s been done, that doesn’t involve accounting practices that would have made Ken Lay and Andrew Fastow blush, showing universal health care saves money. No matter how much you want to insist and stomp your feet.

Regards,
Ken

Methinks1776 September 20, 2011 at 8:02 am

Irritable Bowelmovement,

Universal health care is “cheaper” because they cap how much is spent. You can get the same cheap, outdated, crummy care on your own right here in the USA.

All you have to do is wait 8 months to see a specialist (to give yourself time to save up for it), refuse cutting edge pharmaceuticals, modern diagnostic techniques and any expensive therapies that work better but cost more. Pull your teeth instead of doing root canals and have the surgeon use a traditional scalpel instead of modern surgical technology.

See? You too can achieve the cost savings of European universal healthcare which is finally offering healthcare common in this country in 1990. In ten years, they’ll be up to 2000 technology. Very exciting. You’ll still be waiting in long queues for it, but you don’t mind that if you want to save a few pennies.

John Galt September 19, 2011 at 11:18 pm

http://imgur.com/gallery/kOYiC

Yes, here’s IB & Muirgeo using their irrefutable logic of GIFs.

muirgeo September 20, 2011 at 12:27 am

“The economic argument: by taking from the most productive members of society, wealth is reduced or produced slower.”

No you re just simply WRONG. Every bit of evidence…. the current state of the USA economy and the global economy say you are RONG> Concentrate too much wealth and you get here. Share the gains of productivity and you have the most prosperous nation EVER in 1950 and 1960 America. You wrong and stupid and the facts do not matter to you. You’ll vomit out any inane BS that serves your preconceived notions regardless of the counterfactual real world out their.

http://img.skitch.com/20080812-85pkqm8as7jr2hm2d9n37nsirk.jpg

There’s reality for you…. as if you care.

Ken September 20, 2011 at 12:58 am

What a shock, muirgeo, you didn’t The American article destroying your little tirade about the concentration of wealth. Oh well, though, you’ve always had problems understanding those things called “numbers”, so I’m really not surprised.

Regards,
Ken

Methinks1776 September 20, 2011 at 8:04 am

Just admit it, Ken. You’re rong rong rong!!

The more I take from you, the harder you’ll work!

rong rong rong, Ken!

muirgeo September 20, 2011 at 9:20 am

I said he was rong> not wrong….

Plenty of famous people are dyslexic and dyslexics are 4 times more likely to be millionaires. Einstain, Picasso, Richard Branson, Charles Schwabb….

When you start refuting my points and not my spelling…. then I’ll be impressed but it’s a clear victory for me that almost ALL your replies are ad homs or concerns with spelling. Relativity and Evolution were great inventions in spite of their creators dyslexia…

Methinks1776 September 20, 2011 at 9:37 am

I see. Dyslexics are more likely to be parasites who concentrate wealth in their hands and don’t share with the real producers of wealth?

So, according to your lodjick, dyslexics are 4 times more likely to be evil bloodsuckers!

? September 20, 2011 at 9:55 am

Muirgeo,

By god we should add a dyslexic tax since they are 4x more likely to be millionaires. That is how we will tax the wealthy people.

brotio September 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Plenty of famous people are dyslexic

Plenty of famous people are stupid, too. The List of Muirpidities is pretty conclusive evidence that dyslexia is the least of your problems.

Economic Freedom September 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm

There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT providing universal health care to all our citizens for the same reason we provide for their physical defense against enemies foreign and domestic.

There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT providing free food and clothing to all our citizens for the same reason we provide for their physical defense against enemies foreign and domestic.

There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT providing free housing to all our citizens for the same reason we provide for their physical defense against enemies foreign and domestic.

There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT providing universal guaranteed incomes to all our citizens for the same reason we provide for their physical defense against enemies foreign and domestic.

There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT providing universal guaranteed retirement plans to all our citizens for the same reason we provide for their physical defense against enemies foreign and domestic.

There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT providing universal free education to all our citizens for the same reason we provide for their physical defense against enemies foreign and domestic.

Ad infinitum, ad nauseam. By the time you’re through providing all this free stuff, you’ll be a police state and you won’t have enough resources adequately to defend your own borders.

Methinks1776 September 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Summary:

There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT using one man for the purposes of another. There just isn’t an argument against slavery, so long as the “right” people are enslaved.

Greg Webb September 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm

That sums up progressivism quite well!

muirgeo September 20, 2011 at 12:29 am

Methinks… the Million Dollar Slave Drama Queen. LOL DOPE!

g-dub September 20, 2011 at 1:07 am

Everything under the sun is a public good. Heck, maybe the sun is a public good.

Got my moonshine hidden real good.

muirgeo September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am

There’s an economic argument for just about all you stated…it’s called The United States of America…. then we went and let loose the free market jack asses on Wall Street and their private creations and the financialization of our economy has destroyed the 21st century.

The government didn’t get us and all the European nations bankrupt coincidentally at the same time…. It was America and are banking jack asses that destroyed the global economy… and it’s gonna get a lot worse before fit gets better…

And the crowds are forming on Wall Street…. and the major media ignores it.

Nathan September 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm

“There is NO economic argument and there is NO moral argument for NOT providing universal health care to all our citizens.”

But this moral imperative stops at imaginary lines on maps, right? If someone from Liberia is dying from an easily treatable disease (as I am sure many are right now) we have no obligation to do anything for him. You might riposte that he is the responsibility of the Liberian government, but I would point out that Liberia is quite poor, and it’s not exactly consistent to say that we can wash our hands of a dying Liberian by saying “he’s Liberia’s problem,” while at the same time condemning those who would wash their hands of 4 year old Susie Jones by saying “she’s Mr. and Mrs. Jones’ problem.”

cmprostreet September 19, 2011 at 9:33 pm

His point was: GIVEN that we want to help poor people, and GIVEN that we are willing to tax the rich to do so, what form of help should we give them?

Responding that we should tax the rich and give to poor people simply reiterates his assumptions and does not at all answer the question.

So, once we tax the rich and take their money, how do we help the poor? Do we give them cash? Do we pay for their food? Provide them with more education or police? Offer them emergency care when they need it?

You claim that we should give them emergency treatment- we don’t even need to take ANYTHING else into consideration in determining how best to help the poor with our newly acquired resources.

Landsburg doubts your ability to understand the wants of the poor better than the poor themselves do, and suggests we ASK them whether they would rather have cash, food, wool scarves, emergency care, free oil changes, or college tuition. Once you’ve decided to give something to someone, is it really immoral to then try to make that gift as effective as possible?

Patriarch Kiril September 19, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Now, Muirgeo, calm down! Only silly communists say things like “there is no argument” and “the debate is over” before a debate began. Oh, that’s right you’re an American progressive.

Buzzy Wuzzy September 19, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Muirgeo, what’s wrong with making money?

Dan J September 19, 2011 at 11:35 pm

40% of the population pay 99.4% of the federal income taxes. 3.8% receive money without paying a dime. 47% pay zero income taxes.

We need to have 90% of the population paying federal income taxes. The other 10% are expected to be unemployed, by choice or seeking work.

nailheadtom September 19, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Federal income taxes are just one point in the taxation bed of nails that the American citizens lies upon. We got lots of other taxes that everybody pays.

Dan J September 20, 2011 at 12:41 am

Everybody needs skin in the game. Whether it be sales tax, income, property, etc.,….. but all who earn should be paying if even one person is being taxed on income.
I would say that property taxes on personal property that is living quarters, at the very least, should not be taxed. In the ideal world, of course. Pay off every dime owed on the purchase of land and now you mist pay govt to be allowed to keep it.

muirgeo September 20, 2011 at 12:36 am

No Dan…. we need to get those not paying much taxes jobs and better paying jobs so they can pay into the system.

Concentrating wealth and income results in less income in going to the huge middle classes. You need to get money into the huge middle class because they spend iyt all and stimulate the demand that makes the rich people invest.

When the rich people have too great a portion of the money their is no one to buy things they might make and sell and then the economy sucks.

It’s really pretty simple. We can have ridiculously wealthy people…. and lot more of them if we just understand there i NO FRICKING reason to have super mega billions and billion and trillions of dollars concentrated at the top. There is NO F’ing good reason for it. NONE except your brain dead ideology.

Dan J September 20, 2011 at 12:59 am

The brain dead ideology is one that supports collectivism. Mandating individuals to behave according to overlords at the federal level or even state level is filth.
Hell, your obama god doesn’t even want people to decide on where their money is donated. I realize that people like buffet set up charities that put themselves on payroll, but, govt simply needs to set a flat rate with no deductions save a few percentage points for charities. Then see if deductions for charities can be dropped.
News for ya, I don’t read your posts anymore. They are a bore. Same twisted attempts at logic. Precisely, the reason why federalism was set up. You and like minded can set up your utopian foolishness, and all who disagree can leave for greener pastures never having to hear from you again. Live the communist life, till it fails…… While others can live how they choose. But, as always, progressives command all to live and behave as they say, so all can live in misery.
Hell, if the place you live wants marxism…. Go ahead, just leave all other folk elsewhere alone. If it is so great, it will prosper at a a local level and expand.
I share no values with your ilk. Go and do, just leave everyone else out. Leave me and incandescent lightbulbs alone. Leave me and the coal energy plant alone. Build your inefficient and costly windmills at 100% of you and your likeminded comrades volunteered money. Rebuild your infrastructure at your own costs. It was a beautiful thing in the past, having the ability to just head west away from those you disagreed with. But, they followed. They followed to the successes of free choice and individualism. And when they got there, they then began saying ‘now give me half of your property. I want… Blah, blah… I need.. Blah, blah….. And you are going to pay for it’.

John Galt September 19, 2011 at 8:03 pm

The first sophism of Bastiat is for society to cooperate to provide prosperity and not scarcity. This also comes up in Landsburgs’ discussion of health care.
In a non-militarized state there would be all kinds of legal healthcare options available instead of the few dwindling ones that remain under monopolies created by the barrel of a gun.

The failure of America for at least 30 years now is to provide increasing abundance.

A Government which creates and enforces artificial scarcities is not a moral Government. Especially a Government that increasingly enforces worldwide scarcities.

afreemarketguy September 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Muirgeo:
I, too, am in medicine. Therefore, most of my friends are physicians. The very best among them are interested in GD profits as you call it, that’s what drives them to be as good as they are. That’s why they give their patients the very best and most compassionate care. It is how they make a profit.

Methinks1776 September 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I think Muirdiot belonged to the half of your class in med school that you wouldn’t trust to provide medical car to a cadaver, let alone a member of your family.

muirgeo September 20, 2011 at 12:44 am

OK then, afreemaketguy…. I’ll put you down as a doctor who would let his patient die if they had no money or insurance. Do you make this fact known to your patients? I’m guessing you do since you practice free market medicine and see only patent that have cash. I’m sure a free market doctor wouldn’t see medicaid, medicare or government subsidized employer private plans…. all cash up front or they go untreated ???

Greg Webb September 20, 2011 at 12:52 am

George, you slander a lot of people to show how much you care, but then you don’t do anything for free. If you have to publicly express how compassionate you are, then you are not compassionate, otherwise you would not feel a need to convince anyone else.

Methinks1776 September 20, 2011 at 8:07 am

touche.

Dan J September 20, 2011 at 1:04 am

Absolutely!! No shirt, no shoes, no money…. No service!! Two doors down is the great philanthropist, George B. He works for freeeeeeeeeeee………….. Use him at your discretion.
The fourth Thursday of every month is no money checkup day. But bring a chicken, lamb, goat, dog, cat, mouse, your sister….. For payment.

Economiser September 20, 2011 at 10:09 am

Muirgeo –

You criticize afreemarketguy for “letting his patient die” if the patient has no money or insurance. You implicitly claim that you would do no such thing. Why limit that argument to HIS patients? There are plenty of people in Africa who are dying right now of illnesses that you, Dr. Muirgeo, could treat. They probably can’t afford to pay you, and I’m sure they don’t have insurance. But that shouldn’t matter, right? Universal health care is a basic human right, and you are one of the gifted few who can provide it. You have the ability and the resources to fly to Africa and start treating these patients. Why aren’t you?

Methinks1776 September 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm

No, Muirdiot has explicitly claimed that he is unwilling to allow a patient to die, provided he is paid to save her life (let’s for a moment just pretend he’s capable for the sake of the hypothetical). As long as the saving is done at anyone’s expense other than his, he will not let a patient die.

Nevada Doctor September 21, 2011 at 2:24 am

Cost pressures on hospitals-

55% of U.S. emergency care now goes uncompensated. When medical bills go unpaid, health care providers must either shift the costs onto those who can pay or go uncompensated. From 1987 to 1996, such cost-shifting amounted to a hidden tax levied by providers. For example, it has been estimated that this cost shifting amounted to $455 per individual or $1,186 per family in California each year.

However, because of the recent influence of managed care and other cost control initiatives by insurance companies, hospitals are less able to shift costs, and end up writing off more in uncompensated care. The amount of uncompensated care delivered by nonfederal community hospitals grew from $6.1 billion in 1983 to $40.7 billion in 2004, according to a 2004 report from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

Financial pressures on hospitals from 1987 to 2006 have caused them to consolidate and close facilities, contributing to emergency room overcrowding. According to the Institute of Medicine, between 1993 and 2003, emergency room visits in the U.S. grew by 26 percent, while in the same period, the number of emergency departments declined by 425. Ambulances are frequently diverted from overcrowded emergency departments to other hospitals that may be farther away. In 2003, ambulances were diverted over a half a million times.

Dan J September 21, 2011 at 2:26 am

Those diversions can’t bode well for the recovery of the patient.

vidyohs September 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Re: The video regarding Bastiat. Your videographer needs to back off on his audio a bit, it was overdriven badly, way too hot.

vidyohs September 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Appears to me that Landsburg has been reading vidyohs.

Craig S September 19, 2011 at 11:47 pm

For those that say there are no moral or economic arguments against universal health care. What intelligent argument is there to suggest free markets won’t provide healthcare? Given the record of centralized planning leading to shortages, what is the moral argument for creating a shortage of available healthcare by centrally planning? What is the moral argument for having bureaucrats ration treatment as Paul Krugman and Dr Emanuel have suggested? What is the moral argument for telling people what they can eat if an individuals dietary choices lead to heath concerns requiring medical care? What is the moral argument for demanding others provide you a service free of charge? If there are not enough doctors or nurses, is there a moral argument forcing people to enter these field to cover this demand, since we can not temp them with GD profits?

Dan J September 20, 2011 at 1:10 am

Indeed! And, doctors will be forbidden from leaving regions based on immorality of leaving patients in need.
Bismark, according to govt panel, needs X amount of physicians. Doctor Who decides he wants to live in Phoenix. Leaving will have to be approved by federal panel. It’s not fair that Phoenix has one doctor for every 500 patients, while Bismark is at 1/600 ratio upon his absence and the untimely death of another.
Licensing will only be approved for doctors who accept govt placement into neighborhoods that are ‘in need’. As always, politics will play a role and the party in charge will play favorites for their biggest supporting areas and contributors.

Economiser September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am

I used to feel that way, but now I think differently.

Chuclehead September 20, 2011 at 1:24 am

“Applying macroeconometric models to questions of fiscal policy is the equivalent of using pre-Copernican astronomy to launch a satellite.” A Kling
There are a infinite amount of formulas that will fit a set of data points, therefore there are a infinite number of results that will be predicted by these models.
The economy consists of about 7 billion moving parts, plus random variables. To have a reasonable chance at prediction, so much data would have to be collected, that the economy would consist of little else.

Dan J September 20, 2011 at 1:42 am

By the way, it’s a shame to have such an esteemed Fellow of the American physical society, a Nobel Laureate, Dr. Ivar Giaever resign from the membership due to the corrupted zealots of global warming.

Here is the former member, Hal Lewis, who resigned last year and his scathing letter….http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/science-becoming-religion/2010/oct/9/physics-professor-emeritus

Chuclehead September 20, 2011 at 2:35 am

Bastiat videos need to be redone, because the audio level clips the preamp and give annoying distortions as static.

NotSure September 20, 2011 at 6:03 am

muirgeo is not really that compassionate, as soon as it comes to any country outside the USA then his nationalism kicks in. Here is a very simple measure, would he support the idea of taking the money from the rich and giving it to poor children in Africa, obviously not.

Also can somebody please give me the details of muirgeo, if this guy is really a doctor as he claims, his angry and deranged rants are actually something that I feel needs to be reported. Would anyone want him as a doctor, someone who so easily explodes in anger like he does ?

Gordon Richens September 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

My wife is a primary care physician. She insists that her patients give her feedback on the specialists to whom she refers. She does this because my wife cannot know a colleague as a patient and it’s far easier to project competence when you’re among colleagues at a conference or a social setting for a short period. But the occasional physician will turn out to be bat-shit crazy when left alone with a patient.

Greg Webb September 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Or left alone with a computer to comment on blogs…

Methinks1776 September 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Muirdiot is George Ballela of Vacaville, CA.

Methinks1776 September 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

At least that’s what he has told us at Cafe Hayek.

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