October 16, 2008
The Election and Healthcare
US Pharm D posted a fairly objective overview of the candidates’ positions on healthcare. It is worth reading for those who want to know some details.

This is also a good time to print an email I received when Hillary Clinton was discussing similar programs to what Obama is now advocating.

This was sent out by a career Marine who just happens to be a Canadian. I believe his thoughts on the recent health care proposal might be of interest to some. Subject: Health Care

Hey Guys; I saw on the news up here in Canada where Hillary Clinton introduced her new health care plan. Something similar to what we have in Canada. I also heard that Michael Moore was raving about the health care up here in Canada in his latest movie. As your friend and someone who lives with the Canada health care plan I thought I would give you some facts about this great medical plan that we have in Canada.

First of all:

1) The health care plan in Canada is not free. We pay a premium every month of $96. for Shirley and I to be covered. Sounds great eh. What they don't tell you is how much we pay in taxes to keep the health care system afloat. I am personally in the 55% tax bracket. Yes 55% of my earnings go to taxes. A large portion of that and I am not sure of the exact amount goes directly to health care our #1 expense.

2) I would not classify what we have as health care plan, it is more like a health diagnosis system. You can get into to see a doctor quick enough so he can te ll you "yes indeed you are sick or you need an operation" but now the challenge becomes getting treated or operated on. We have waiting lists out the ying yang some as much as 2 years down the road.

3) Rather than fix what is wrong with you the usual tactic in Canada is to prescribe drugs. Have a pain here is a drug to take- not what is causing the pain and why. No time for checking you out because it is more important to move as many patients thru as possible each hour for Government reimbursement

4) Many Canadians do not have a family Doctor.

5) Don't require emergency treatment as you may wait for hours in the emergency room waiting for treatment.

6) Shirley's dad cut his hand on a power saw a few weeks back and it required that his hand be put in a splint - to our surprise we had to pay $125. for a splint because it is not covered under health care plus we have to pay $60 for each visit for him to check it out each week.

7) Shirley's cousin was diagnosed with a heart blockage. Put on a waiting list. Died before he could get treatment.

8) Government allots so many operations per year. When that is done no more operations, unless you go to your local newspaper and plead your case and embarrass the government then money suddenly appears.

9) The Government takes great pride in telling us how much more they are increasing the funding for health care but waiting lists never get shorter. Government just keeps throwing money at the problem but it never goes away. But they are good at finding new ways to tax us, but they don't call it a tax anymore it is now a user fee.

10) My mother needs an operation for a blockage in her leg but because she is a smoker they will not do it. Despite her and my father paying in to the health care system all these years. My Mom is 80 years of age. Now there is talk that maybe we should not treat fat and obese people either because they are a drain on the health care system. Let me see now, what we want in Canada is a health care system for healthy people only. That should reduce our health care costs.

11) Forget getting a second opinion, what you see is what you get.

12) I can spend what money I have left after taxes on booze, cigarettes, junk food and anything else that could kill me but I am not allowed by law to spend my money on getting an operation I need because that would be jumping the queue. I must wait my turn except if I am a hockey player or athlete then I can get looked at right away. Go figure Where else in the world can you spend money to kill yourself but not allowed to spend money to get healthy.

13) Oh did I mention that immigrants are covered automatically at tax payer expense having never contributed a dollar to the system and pay no premiums.

14) Oh yeah we now give free needles to drug users to try and keep them healthy. Wouldn't want a sickly druggie breaking into your house and stealing your things. But people with diabetes who pay into the health care system have to pay for their needles because it is not covered but the health care system.

I send this out not looking for sympathy but as the election looms in the states you will be hearing more and more about universal health care down there and the advocates will be pointing to Canada. I just want to make sure that you hear the truth about health care up here and have some food for thought and informed questions to ask when broached with this subject.

Something to keep in mind before we vote.

October 15, 2008
Advertising vs. Entertainment
When I make the time to play games (and I would like to make the time to get involved in gaming again now that my children are getting old enough to play too), I play for entertainment and escapism. I rationalize it by mostly picking games that require some thought (strategy games), but I also enjoy mindless twitch games (I have spent more than a few hours playing Fusion Frenzy on the X-box with the kids) for pure entertainment and escapism.

Now, some video games are ruining the escapism aspect. Massive, an advertising agency owned by Microsoft, approached both Obama and McCain about the opportunity to advertise in gaming. Obama's campaign said yes and will be advertising in the following games:

Burnout Paradise
Madden 09
Nascar 09
NBA Live 08
Need for Speed Carbon
Need for Speed Prostreet
NFL on Tour
NHL 09

McCain said no. Glad to see at least one candidate (or campaign) draws the line somewhere. I can understand advertising on free games, but this is unacceptable on paid games. I will not buy nor play any game that ruins the escapism with advertising. Nor am I likely to buy any product nor vote for any candidate that ruins the experience by advertising in a game.

Click here for more details.

Moral Hazard
Moral hazard is a concept that shows that people who are sheltered from the consequences of foolhardy actions may be more likely to repeat them than people who feel the pain of their actions. In other words, if you spend too much of your money on beer, but your parents pay your other bills anyway, you are not as likely to change your behavior if your parents let you learn on your own.

This is another reason why the bailout bill was and is such a bad idea. Read this story. I really sympathize with this banker. ...in offices around the country, [good, trustworthy] bankers simmered. Peter Fitzgerald, chairman of Chain Bridge Bank in McLean, said he was "much chagrined that we will be punished for behaving prudently by now having to face reckless competitors who all of a sudden are subsidized by the federal government."

This bank did what they were supposed to do, properly managed their bank. In a capitalistic society, they would be rewarded by having opportunities to grow as their foolhardy peers went bankrupt. Instead, taxpayer money (that is even more money that we will have to pay in taxes) is being used to prop up the poorly managed banks so that they can complete with the well run banks. We are rewarding the wrong type of behavior and penalizing those who acted wisely.

Don Quixote | | Windmill Tilts: 0 | TrackBack: 0
Category: Domestic Politics , Category: Economics , Category: Education , Category: Philosophy
October 11, 2008
Watch Out
A friend of mine emailed me this perspective:
1) The current world credit problem is almost entirely due to the US government putting a socialist program in its banking/mortgage industry (redistributing goods and services as loans to those who can't pay them back). You get some feel for the relative size of the US and all other economies by seeing how our problem is everyone else's problem.

2) We are about to elect a determined socialist president who will likely get a majority in both houses of our legislature large enough to put his programs in place.

To quote Al Jolson "You ain't seen nothin' yet!"

I am still predicting that McCain will win, even though this is becoming more and more a minority opinion. But if my friend is right, I agree with his conclusion.