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What Stories Aren't Being Told?

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http://alephblog.com/2009/09/10/what-stori...ent-being-told/

I did not start blogging in order to start a media career, but sometimes the media finds its way to my door. I received a call today from a reporter for one of the major television networks, and after talking a while, she asked me, “What big stories aren’t being told? Some of my best stories some from asking this question.†I told her I needed to think, and would e-mail her back on the topic. I decided I would review my last month of posts to look for out-of-consensus ideas, and I came up with these:

China is overstimulating businesses through loans and they are buying up commodities that they don’t need now, leading to a possible correction in commodity prices.

Western European banks are in trouble because of loans to Eastern European nations denominated in Euros. With the rise in the Euro, defaults are likely.

Water shortages in China and India.

Most entities that the US Government has bailed out will have stocks that are zero eventually — GM, Chrysler, AIG, and maybe Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For an opposing opinion on the GSEs, read the intelligent John Hempton at Bronte Capital.

With dud residential mortgage loans, modifications don’t work well unless there is a forgiveness of some of the principal.

The foreign funding base of the US is getting shorter in maturity — could this be a sign of trouble? Is there a lack of confidence?

If we marked the value of commercial real estate loans to market for banks, using data from the CMBS market, some banks would be insolvent.

That’s all for me, or now. Now, I don’t watch television, listen to radio much, and I don’t subscribe to anything aside from the WSJ. I don’t see everything. That is why I am asking my clever readers to answer the question that the reporter asked me — what significant economic stories aren’t being told? These can be small issues as well as big issues. Please let me know in the comments below. Thanks.

Can we match this gentleman's readers and come up with what else is important yet largely unreported?

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the massive protests going off in washington DC today

http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&...=5&t=926388

fox news also are reporitng it but thats about it

http://interactive.foxnews.com/livestream/live.html?chanId=3

come on America

theres no chance the Brits will rise up against the banksters/politicians

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some people are reporting that there are over a million people present in the mall. The Americans are really angry wonder when it will happen in the UK, although it will probably not as most people in the UK do not want freedom.

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some people are reporting that there are over a million people present in the mall. The Americans are really angry wonder when it will happen in the UK, although it will probably not as most people in the UK do not want freedom.

It sounds like a lot of them are most upset about poor people getting free healthcare... what a country :rolleyes:

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It sounds like a lot of them are most upset about poor people getting free healthcare... what a country :rolleyes:

:lol::lol:

im 100% sure it will happen in the UK aswell, once things get bad enough, might take a couple of years to get to that point but get there it will, the civil uunrest has already shown signs of starting in the uk and things are still relatively paradise compared to where its gotta go

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Yeah not sure I agree with them on the health care issues, but in generally they just want smaller governement that stays out of their lives which I have to say I cannot disagree with that. It is going to be interesting to see where all this ends last month 1 million more firearms were purchased, and people are talking about picking a side.......

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There are whole number of reasons why a new civil war could develop in the USA at the moment

Ironic that the biggest security threat is from within, discrediting its whole foreign policy

Guess who going to fill the void.

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Guest happy?
government involvement means higher cost

like tractor production and banking

Because private healthcare in America works...

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Because private healthcare in America works...

its not private

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A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

Mises Daily by Hans-Hermann Hoppe | Posted on 8/14/2009 12:00:00 AM

It's true that the US health-care system is a mess, but this demonstrates not market but government failure. To cure the problem requires not different or more government regulations and bureaucracies, as self-serving politicians want us to believe, but the elimination of all existing government controls.

It's time to get serious about health-care reform. Tax credits, vouchers, and privatization will go a long way toward decentralizing the system and removing unnecessary burdens from business. But four additional steps must also be taken:

1.

Eliminate all licensing requirements for medical schools, hospitals, pharmacies, and medical doctors and other health-care personnel. Their supply would almost instantly increase, prices would fall, and a greater variety of health-care services would appear on the market.

Competing voluntary accreditation agencies would take the place of compulsory government licensing — if health-care providers believe that such accreditation would enhance their own reputation, and that their consumers care about reputation, and are willing to pay for it.

Because consumers would no longer be duped into believing that there is such a thing as a "national standard" of health care, they would increase their search costs and make more discriminating health-care choices.

2.

Eliminate all government restrictions on the production and sale of pharmaceutical products and medical devices. This means no more Food and Drug Administration, which presently hinders innovation and increases costs.

Costs and prices would fall, and a wider variety of better products would reach the market sooner. The market would force consumers to act in accordance with their own — rather than the government's — risk assessment. And competing drug and device manufacturers and sellers, to safeguard against product liability suits as much as to attract customers, would provide increasingly better product descriptions and guarantees.

3.

Deregulate the health-insurance industry. Private enterprise can offer insurance against events over whose outcome the insured possesses no control. One cannot insure oneself against suicide or bankruptcy, for example, because it is in one's own hands to bring these events about.

Because a person's health, or lack of it, lies increasingly within his own control, many, if not most health risks, are actually uninsurable. "Insurance" against risks whose likelihood an individual can systematically influence falls within that person's own responsibility.

All insurance, moreover, involves the pooling of individual risks. It implies that insurers pay more to some and less to others. But no one knows in advance, and with certainty, who the "winners" and "losers" will be. "Winners" and "losers" are distributed randomly, and the resulting income redistribution is unsystematic. If "winners" or "losers" could be systematically predicted, "losers" would not want to pool their risk with "winners," but with other "losers," because this would lower their insurance costs. I would not want to pool my personal accident risks with those of professional football players, for instance, but exclusively with those of people in circumstances similar to my own, at lower costs.

Because of legal restrictions on the health insurers' right of refusal — to exclude any individual risk as uninsurable — the present health-insurance system is only partly concerned with insurance. The industry cannot discriminate freely among different groups' risks.

As a result, health insurers cover a multitude of uninsurable risks, alongside, and pooled with, genuine insurance risks. They do not discriminate among various groups of people which pose significantly different insurance risks. The industry thus runs a system of income redistribution — benefiting irresponsible actors and high-risk groups at the expense of responsible individuals and low-risk groups. Accordingly, the industry's prices are high and ballooning.

To deregulate the industry means to restore it to unrestricted freedom of contract: to allow a health insurer to offer any contract whatsoever, to include or exclude any risk, and to discriminate among any groups of individuals. Uninsurable risks would lose coverage, the variety of insurance policies for the remaining coverage would increase, and price differentials would reflect genuine insurance risks. On average, prices would drastically fall. And the reform would restore individual responsibility in health care.

4.

Eliminate all subsidies to the sick or unhealthy. Subsidies create more of whatever is being subsidized. Subsidies for the ill and diseased promote carelessness, indigence, and dependency. If we eliminate such subsidies, we would strengthen the will to live healthy lives and to work for a living. In the first instance, that means abolishing Medicare and Medicaid.

Only these four steps, although drastic, will restore a fully free market in medical provision. Until they are adopted, the industry will have serious problems, and so will we, its consumers.

link

What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us

Mises Daily by Yuri N. Maltsev | Posted on 8/21/2009 12:00:00 AM

In 1918, the Soviet Union became the first country to promise universal "cradle-to-grave" healthcare coverage, to be accomplished through the complete socialization of medicine. The "right to health" became a "constitutional right" of Soviet citizens.

The proclaimed advantages of this system were that it would "reduce costs" and eliminate the "waste" that stemmed from "unnecessary duplication and parallelism" — i.e., competition.

These goals were similar to the ones declared by Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi — attractive and humane goals of universal coverage and low costs. What's not to like?

The system had many decades to work, but widespread apathy and low quality of work paralyzed the healthcare system. In the depths of the socialist experiment, healthcare institutions in Russia were at least a hundred years behind the average US level. Moreover, the filth, odors, cats roaming the halls, drunken medical personnel, and absence of soap and cleaning supplies added to an overall impression of hopelessness and frustration that paralyzed the system. According to official Russian estimates, 78 percent of all AIDS victims in Russia contracted the virus through dirty needles or HIV-tainted blood in the state-run hospitals.

Irresponsibility, expressed by the popular Russian saying "They pretend they are paying us and we pretend we are working," resulted in appalling quality of service, widespread corruption, and extensive loss of life. My friend, a famous neurosurgeon in today's Russia, received a monthly salary of 150 rubles — one third of the average bus driver's salary.

In order to receive minimal attention by doctors and nursing personnel, patients had to pay bribes. I even witnessed a case of a "nonpaying" patient who died trying to reach a lavatory at the end of the long corridor after brain surgery. Anesthesia was usually "not available" for abortions or minor ear, nose, throat, and skin surgeries. This was used as a means of extortion by unscrupulous medical bureaucrats.

"Slavery certainly 'reduced costs' of labor, 'eliminated the waste' of bargaining for wages, and avoided 'unnecessary duplication and parallelism'."

To improve the statistics concerning the numbers of people dying within the system, patients were routinely shoved out the door before taking their last breath.

Being a People's Deputy in the Moscow region from 1987 to 1989, I received many complaints about criminal negligence, bribes taken by medical apparatchiks, drunken ambulance crews, and food poisoning in hospitals and child-care facilities. I recall the case of a fourteen-year-old girl from my district who died of acute nephritis in a Moscow hospital. She died because a doctor decided that it was better to save "precious" X-ray film (imported by the Soviets for hard currency) instead of double-checking his diagnosis. These X-rays would have disproven his diagnosis of neuropathic pain.

Instead, the doctor treated the teenager with a heat compress, which killed her almost instantly. There was no legal remedy for the girl's parents and grandparents. By definition, a single-payer system cannot allow any such remedy. The girl's grandparents could not cope with this loss and they both died within six months. The doctor received no official reprimand.

Not surprisingly, government bureaucrats and Communist Party officials, as early as 1921 (three years after Lenin's socialization of medicine), realized that the egalitarian system of healthcare was good only for their personal interest as providers, managers, and rationers — but not as private users of the system.

So, as in all countries with socialized medicine, a two-tier system was created: one for the "gray masses" and the other, with a completely different level of service, for the bureaucrats and their intellectual servants. In the USSR, it was often the case that while workers and peasants were dying in the state hospitals, the medicine and equipment that could save their lives was sitting unused in the nomenklatura system.

At the end of the socialist experiment, the official infant-mortality rate in Russia was more than 2.5 times as high as in the United States and more than five times that of Japan. The rate of 24.5 deaths per 1,000 live births was questioned recently by several deputies to the Russian Parliament, who claim that it is seven times higher than in the United States. This would make the Russian death rate 55 compared to the US rate of 8.1 per 1,000 live births.

Having said that, I should make it clear that the United States has one of the highest rates of the industrialized world only because it counts all dead infants, including premature babies, which is where most of the fatalities occur.

Most countries do not count premature-infant deaths. Some don't count any deaths that occur in the first 72 hours. Some countries don't even count any deaths from the first two weeks of life. In Cuba, which boasts a very low infant-mortality rate, infants are only registered when they are several months old, thereby leaving out of the official statistics all infant deaths that take place within the first several months of life.

In the rural regions of Karakalpakia, Sakha, Chechnya, Kalmykia, and Ingushetia, the infant mortality rate is close to 100 per 1,000 births, putting these regions in the same category as Angola, Chad, and Bangladesh. Tens of thousands of infants fall victim to influenza every year, and the proportion of children dying from pneumonia and tuberculosis is on the increase. Rickets, caused by a lack of vitamin D, and unknown in the rest of the modern world, is killing many young people.

Uterine damage is widespread, thanks to the 7.3 abortions the average Russian woman undergoes during childbearing years. Keeping in mind that many women avoid abortions altogether, the 7.3 average means that many women have a dozen or more abortions in their lifetime.

Even today, according to the State Statistics Committee, the average life expectancy for Russian men is less than 59 years — 58 years and 11 months — while that for Russian women is 72 years. The combined figure is 65 years and three months.[1] By comparison, the average life span for men in the United States is 73 years and for women 79 years. In the United States, life expectancy at birth for the total population has reached an all-time American high of 77.5 years, up from 49.2 years just a century ago. The Russian life expectancy at birth is 12 years lower.[2]

After seventy years of socialism, 57 percent of all Russian hospitals did not have running hot water, and 36 percent of hospitals located in rural areas of Russia did not have water or sewage at all. Isn't it amazing that socialist government, while developing space exploration and sophisticated weapons, would completely ignore the basic human needs of its citizens?

"The filth, odors, cats roaming the halls, drunken medical personnel, and absence of soap and cleaning supplies added to an overall impression of hopelessness and frustration that paralyzed the system."

The appalling quality of service is not simply characteristic of "barbarous" Russia and other Eastern European nations: it is a direct result of the government monopoly on healthcare and it can happen in any country. In "civilized" England, for example, the waiting list for surgeries is nearly 800,000 out of a population of 55 million. State-of-the-art equipment is nonexistent in most British hospitals. In England, only 10 percent of the healthcare spending is derived from private sources.

Britain pioneered in developing kidney-dialysis technology, and yet the country has one of the lowest dialysis rates in the world. The Brookings Institution (hardly a supporter of free markets) found that every year 7,000 Britons in need of hip replacements, between 4,000 and 20,000 in need of coronary bypass surgery, and some 10,000 to 15,000 in need of cancer chemotherapy are denied medical attention in Britain.

Age discrimination is particularly apparent in all government-run or heavily regulated systems of healthcare. In Russia, patients over 60 are considered worthless parasites and those over 70 are often denied even elementary forms of healthcare.

In the United Kingdom, in the treatment of chronic kidney failure, those who are 55 years old are refused treatment at 35 percent of dialysis centers. Forty-five percent of 65-year-old patients at the centers are denied treatment, while patients 75 or older rarely receive any medical attention at these centers.

In Canada, the population is divided into three age groups in terms of their access to healthcare: those below 45, those 45–65, and those over 65. Needless to say, the first group, who could be called the "active taxpayers," enjoys priority treatment.

Advocates of socialized medicine in the United States use Soviet propaganda tactics to achieve their goals. Michael Moore is one of the most prominent and effective socialist propagandists in America. In his movie, Sicko, he unfairly and unfavorably compares health care for older patients in the United States with complex and incurable diseases to healthcare in France and Canada for young women having routine babies. Had he done the reverse — i.e., compared healthcare for young women in the United States having babies to older patients with complex and incurable diseases in socialized healthcare systems — the movie would have been the same, except that the US healthcare system would look ideal, and the UK, Canada, and France would look barbaric.

Now we in the United States are being prepared for discrimination in treatment of the elderly when it comes to healthcare. Ezekiel Emanuel is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the US National Institutes of Health and an architect of Obama's healthcare-reform plan. He is also the brother of Rahm Emanuel, Obama's White House chief of staff. Foster Friess reports that Ezekiel Emanuel has written that health services should not be guaranteed to

individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.[3]

An equally troubling article, coauthored by Emanuel, appeared in the medical journal The Lancet in January 2009. The authors write that

unlike allocation [of healthcare] by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years. Treating 65-year-olds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not.[4]

Socialized medicine will create massive government bureaucracies — similar to our unified school districts — impose costly job-destroying mandates on employers to provide the coverage, and impose price controls that will inevitably lead to shortages and poor quality of service. It will also lead to nonprice rationing (i.e., rationing based on political considerations, corruption, and nepotism) of healthcare by government bureaucrats.

Real "savings" in a socialized healthcare system could be achieved only by squeezing providers and denying care — there is no other way to save. The same arguments were used to defend the cotton farming in the South prior to the Civil War. Slavery certainly "reduced costs" of labor, "eliminated the waste" of bargaining for wages, and avoided "unnecessary duplication and parallelism."

In supporting the call for socialized medicine, American healthcare professionals are like sheep demanding the wolf: they do not understand that the high cost of medical care in the United States is partially based on the fact that American healthcare professionals have the highest level of remuneration in the world. Another source of the high cost of our healthcare is existing government regulations on the industry, regulations that prevent competition from lowering the cost. Existing rules such as "certificates of need," licensing, and other restrictions on the availability of healthcare services prevent competition and, therefore, result in higher prices and fewer services.

Socialized medical systems have not served to raise general health or living standards anywhere. In fact, both analytical reasoning and empirical evidence point to the opposite conclusion. But the dismal failure of socialized medicine to raise people's health and longevity has not affected its appeal for politicians, administrators, and their intellectual servants in search of absolute power and total control.

Most countries enslaved by the Soviet empire moved out of a fully socialized system through privatization and insuring competition in the healthcare system. Others, including many European social democracies, intend to privatize the healthcare system in the long run and decentralize medical control. The private ownership of hospitals and other units is seen as a critical determining factor of the new, more efficient, and humane system.

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government involvement means higher cost

like tractor production and banking

The US presently have the most expensive healthcare system in the world.

"The World Health Organization (WHO), in 2000, ranked the U.S. health care system as the highest in cost, first in responsiveness, 37th in overall, and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study) performance"

"For 2006-2010, the USA's life expectancy will lag 38th in the world, after most rich nations, lagging last of the G5 (Japan, France, Germany, UK, USA) and just after Chile (35th) and Cuba (37th)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_i...e_United_States

You can believe that this is due to government intervention if you like, but they are massively outperformed in the price-performance stakes by many fully nationalised healthcare systems.

I have 2 brothers in the US am able to draw first hand parallels between the treatment received in the US and UK for major 'lifetime' medical events like treatment of prostate cancer and pregnancy. A good example is something like pregnancy/childbirth - the US approach seems to involve a large number of unnecessary scans and consultations, which generates maximum revenue for the hospital in question, but with very little (or in some cases, entirely questionable) benefit to the patient.

The US appear to be spending much more to achieve the same outcome as the NHS, and outcomes actually inferior to countries like France and Italy.

Edited by redalert

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