Friday, October 12, 2007

Misconceptions of the free market and other issues

The late Ronald Reagan went into office touting supply side economics. What that came to mean was government's direct involvement in the market place to protect favored businesses, to oppose regulation and to devise the sort of trade agreements to prevent American businesses from ever having to be competitive with foreign businesses. His supply side economics was to create far reaching damage well beyond his years in office and years after he had died. One of the acts of damage that his political theories about the free market was to commit, regards our dangerous trade with China. Since Ronald Reagan, business interests have opposed unions because organized labor demands fair compensation for the type of work performed, work place safety rules and health insurance. In China however, the business interests don't have to worry about such things. However, because of the anti-reg and anti-union fervor born of Reagan's supply side economics, China has sent dangerous: pet food, your food, toothpaste and toys. GW wishes to walk in the shoes of Reagan even in face of the fact that continuing anti-reg and pro-jobs outsourcing is ultimately not doing the American people and the American economy any good.
Nor does it do the businesses who engage in such practices any good if they have to recall the products.
Next issue involves SCHIP, those in Congress who wished to expand the program to cover far more children and those who voted against it and their local defenders. Suddenly, we must have the "free market" precedent over government running anything mentality. If we allow government to provide health insurance to families with kids who can't afford private insurance, then that becomes socialism. But what is the free market, as such? It sells goods and services. Is health care in the same realm as a the toaster you buy off the shelf in the store? Insurance to cover even some of the costs, equates with the acquisition of real estate? Or is health care a different issue altogether?

Yes, you must buy the medicine that treats the various afflictions you suffer from. Yes, you must pay the doctors and the hospitals for being treated. Yes, if you can afford private insurance then you should proceed to get it. But, not everyone makes 80,000 a year and can afford prohibitively high insurance costs, doctor visits and surgery. Which is why SCHIP was created so that children would be the primary recipients. But, why do we tout "the market place" which exists only to sell you something with health care?

Plenty of ads have come out by drug companies touting their new wares: ask your doctor about______. Instead of the drug companies advertising their wares to hospitals and doctors who can then decide whether to prescribe something that is decidedly dangerous and untested or not. The drug companies spend in the millions of dollars to advertise to the general public drugs (with many a disclaimer, such as ________ that could cause Leukemia, for example). Maybe the drug companies expect the general public to not pay attention to such disclaimers and go ahead and ask their doctors about ________. But is this health care? Or trying to sell you a new generation of toaster that roasts you instead of the bread the first time you plug it in?

When drug companies begin thinking of pills as equatable to the blanket you buy to put on your bed, wouldn't there be an argument here that they are indeed thinking more in terms of profits than providing a service that gets you well and keeps you in good health? If it is a pill (because of the medical disclaimers that come with it) that could conceivably kill you, then by way of demands for health care, tell the drug companies the pill you take is not some cheap crap that doesn't work as advertised; not if it is expected to enhance your chances of living longer. The drug companies have bought into the idea of supply side economics and GW's FDA has green lighted drugs that prove more dangerous for your general health than they do you any good. To put it bluntly, I wouldn't buy the pills given that I don't care to be sicker for taking them.

Silly Bill Sali was first blogged by F-words (found on the blog role of Huckleberries on-line). His latest ridiculous commentary (word for word) as to why he voted against SCHIP found its way the the CDA Press (12 October 2007-- Good old Sali went on record engaging in class warfare. The poor smoke more heavily than the rich and therefore a cigarette tax would be regressive and the poor would be hit that much harder... Not only are cigarettes over $20.00 a carton here in Idaho but someone would have to make more than $10,000 dollars a year to easily fit them into the budget. I also think that Sali forgets that Idaho has a general workplace and restaurant ban on smoking. It encourages people to not light up something as expensive as a Cuban cigar. A single Cuban cigar. In Kootenai County, far fewer people publicly smoke than they had. Especially since smoking is already hazardous to your health. But here Sali excuses those poor smoking parents bad health hazards and says that a tax that would work to force them to quit smoking (as cigarettes become more unaffordable yet) would benefit the rich. IE, the guy making 80,000 dollars a year is labeled "rich." Not so long ago, the multimillionaires were labeled "middle class." Sali isn't representing the rest of the country, he is representing his state. And his published statements put him in the realm of the bizarre and the state that put him in office, in the realm of the ridiculous. One more note, drug runners, terrorists, etc. might benefit from SCHIP. Sali is pointing fingers at a health insurance program for kids. He'd do better pointing fingers at the GW administration and his lax immigration policies.

Kathleen Parker actually wrote something useful about why Barack Obama doesn't want to wear a flag pin in his lapel. Obama doesn't think patriotism is established by wearing a symbol. Parker had actually agreed that symbols lose meaning with overuse. But she still felt that Obama would make a better politician if he wore a flag pin. I'll put it bluntly, Obama's honesty would give me more reason (if I were a Democrat) to vote for him. That point, staring in Parker's face, managed to fully fly over her head.

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