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economics

Sanders’ Socialism

 Everybody gets a free ride!

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (March 16, 2020)

Recent polls show that a large plurality of Americans prefer socialism over capitalism. On its surface, such a preference is shocking. Digging beneath the surface, however, we find a somewhat less alarming reality. So, let’s dig a little.

The first question is, what do most of those Americans think “socialism” means? To many of our fellow Americans, “socialism” has been defined by Bernie Sanders, the socialist Senator from Vermont. He describes socialism in terms of an expansion of “human rights” into services, notably health care, higher education, and income parity, if not equality. He advocates free delivery of these services to every American. He also believes that the USA should have open borders, inviting anyone who wishes to become an American citizen to come at will.

Then there is the other side of his views. He also believes that Americans’ access to gun ownership should be severely restricted. He says that climate change is “an existential threat” to the world and adopts the “green agenda”. That agenda includes the elimination of fossil fuels, and the substitution of renewable forms of energy (even though no such energy sources exist) and the re-entry of America into the Paris Accord, which obligates the USA to pay the bill for converting the major polluters of the world (China and India) to renewables. These are samples of the price we would pay under a Sanders idealized world-view for all the “free” services. Keep Reading

Democratic Capitalism: The American way

The Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (March 10,2020)

Before Capitalism

Through most of human history, there have been two ways by which humans have organized themselves: tribal and totalitarian. Tribes were based on families which came together to form clans, which combined to create tribes. In the end, what united the various clans into a tribe was the culture they all shared – language, values, customs and religion.

The primary driving factor in this move toward greater numbers was the greater power -and defense – afforded by greater numbers and the greater accumulation of wealth made possible by a greater variety of skills and a heightened group ability to take on ever larger projects, such as cities, roads, dwellings, and monuments. These factors eventually resulted in cities and nations. And empires. It was called “civilization”.

Nevertheless, the original loyalties to families and tribes have remained forceful elements in all societies.

As the more advanced “civilizations” grew in power and wealth, they grew also in territory, mostly by conquest of other countries. The management of the conquered territories was solved by the creation of a hierarchy of different classes of inhabitants: the ruler, his direct followers (usually military), the wealthy who provided financial resources, and the poor who were the vast majority of the population, whether slaves, peasants, serfs or servants, who supplied the labor on which the entire nation depended.

The average life span of mankind was about 35 years. This pattern, with a few exceptions, endured for most of human history. Until the 18th century. Then human life began a radical series of changes. Between 1700 and 2020 human life span grew from 35 years to over 70. The average annual income grew from a few dollars a year to $10,000 a year. (Gallup 2012) And world population grew from an average 1% annual increase for 1000’s of years to about 610 million in 1700 and nearly 8 billion in 2020 (Source: Worldometer). Keep Reading

Dr. Howell’s best books on reforming the USA’s health industry

Health care reform is already under way in the private sector

By Terry Howell, Ed.D. (February 18, 2020)

Did you realize healthcare costs went up 250% over the last 20 years while everything else went up only 50% on average? Do you know why?  What can be done? Plenty!  For anyone who is interested, and all of us should be, here are some excellent resources detailing what is going on in healthcare and why it needs to be disrupted (i.e. reformed) in a big way.

I especially like Dave Chase’s book and Ted Talk about how it is being disrupted by self-insured employers (see below). And then, of course, there is always our book, Healthcare is Killing US: The Power of Disruptive Innovation to Create a System that Cares More and Costs Less (Aaron Fausz, PhD and Terry Howell, EdD)  https://www.healthcareiskillingus.com/ 

The Good News – there are already MANY industry insiders who have figured out how to play The New Game, and they’re all willing to collaborate with you to help you win.  If you read or scan one book on how The Game is being played by the current players, make it this one:  Unaccountable:  What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Healthcare.  By Dr. Marty Makary, MD.

Other very useful resources include:

Overtreated:  Why too much medicine is making us Sicker and Poorer.  By Shannon Brownlee.  Ms. Brownlee, a founder of The Right Care Alliance, dismantles the myths surrounding our current model that result in us spending far too much and getting way too little.  She also offers practical ways to reduce overtreatment and redirect those resources to better health.

Is Healthcare is already fixed?  It is!  Check it out at The Health Rosetta by Dave Chase.  Includes a good summary TEDx Talk and the eBook The CEO’s Guide to Restoring the American Dream:  How to Deliver World-Class Healthcare to Your Employees at Half the Cost.  There Dave demonstrates how self-insured employers can change the fundamental economics to the benefit of their employees’ quality of life and pocketbooks.

This one was distilled into the longest article ever published in Newsweek.  For good reason.  America’s Bitter Pill:  Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix our Broken Healthcare System.  By Steven Brill.   It highlights the rampant abuses and profiteering in America’s largest and most dysfunctional sector of the economy.

Think drug prices are high because they’re investing so much to research miraculous new cures?  Ah, no.  Think again.  The Truth about Drug Companies:  How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It.  By Dr. Marcia Angell, MD.  Dr. Angell has unique insights after ~20yrs at the New England Journal of Medicine and had a ringside seat as drug companies gained nearly limitless influence over medical research, education and how doctors prescribe.  Hint – their behaviors were not primarily driven by what’s best for patients.

© 2020 Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

The author can be reached at:

Terry-howell@sbcglobal.net

https://www.linkedin.com/in/w-terry-howell-ed-d/

 

Three issues the Dems own: Wealth Gap, Health Care, and Climate Change

There are free market solutions for these issues waiting for GOP support

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (February 11, 2020)

On most of the issues highlighting the 2020 campaign, the Republicans have a great story, especially the economy, law enforcement, foreign policy (including trade), national security, energy, and job creation. The Democrats have concentrated on three critical issues, however, which are nearly ignored by most Republicans: the wealth gap, health care, and climate change

These issues are currently owned by the Democrat candidates; they have not even been addressed directly by the Republicans. This silence is a tragic mistake because current polls show that these three issues are of critical importance to significant numbers of the American electorate. If Republican candidates continue to ignore these two issues, they will suffer in the only polls that really count – the votes in November.

Today’s topic is the wealth gap, with discussions of health care and climate change to follow in succeeding columns. I use the term, “wealth gap” in preference to “wage gap” and “income inequality” because “wealth” includes assets which are relatively long range as opposed to “wages” or “income” which may fluctuate from time to time. Keep Reading

State of the Union: A Shakespearean drama

The President answers his white-shirted enemies

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (February 5, 2020)

The 2020 State of the Union address had all the elements of a Shakespearean drama. The setting was filled with tension and made for television. The primary picture showed the hero flanked on his right by his loyal acolyte, Vice President Mike Pence, and on the left by his archenemy, the little old lady of the Left, Nancy Pelosi, as he eloquently, at times even poetically, told America what he had accomplished with the responsibility the voters had given him while his enemies had been trying to destroy his presidency. Keep Reading

Next steps to free market health care

A practical approach to progess

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (September 24, 2019)

One of Washington’s most respected experts on legislative advocacy, Dr. David Rehr, now a  Gorge Mason University professor, has recommended that we present a list of separable items in an integrated proposal to reform health care. The strategy is that we should be able  to get bipartisan support for some of our ideas and thus build a foundation for the larger reform. This is a sort of step-by-step approach to implementation.

Toward that end, we need to fill in some of the blanks in my overview (see www.DrLarryOnline.com) with numbers and data. So, the authors of the heavily researched book, Health Care is Killing Us: The Power of Disruptive Innovation to Create a System that Cares More and Costs Less (2019) (see Amazon Books), Drs. W. Terry Howell and Aaron Fausz, have volunteered to undertake this task.

“The Dr. Larry Show” on this Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 7 pm, will feature their report on the following draft propositions (in increasing order of controversy):  Keep Reading

What a Free Market Health Care System Might Look Like

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 10, 2019)

 

This week’s column is an edited reprint of a piece I wrote a couple of years ago when the backlash against “Obamacare” first inspired Republicans to talk about “repeal and replace”. Since they are still talking and since the Dems are now also talking about health care alternatives – especially a federal takeover of all health care – the topic remains open for new ideas. I have approached this subject from the perspective of a clean sheet of paper. Why try to build a system on the bones of a failed system, a system no one likes? Why not instead build a new system on a foundation of goals which everyone accepts and agrees with? This is  my answer to that question.

The starting point for a discussion of a national health care system should be setting our goals. I believe that American health care should be:

  1. High quality and state-of-the-art
  2. Available to all
  3. Affordable
  4. Abundant
  5. Well-funded

What are the principal obstacles to these goals? Keep Reading

The Age of Monochromatic Late-Night Humor [Reprinted from “PJ Media. March 25,2019”]

Comedian Jay Leno performs a standup routine at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland Fla. on Jan. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay

Late-night comedy has become the sound of left-hand clapping.

Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, and Jay Leno kept you awake by making you laugh. The tiresome political antics of today’s late-night dilettantes make you wish you’d gone to bed early.

It’s not a question so much of left or right as it is of having a bunch of one-track-minds. The punchline is always the same: Orange Man Bad, Orange Man Evil, Orange Man Crazy. Every night, all the time. As predictable as Pravda during the Brezhnev years — and just as amusing.

Jay Leno — who is funny — commented on badgering in the guise of “comedy” this month during an interview with Al Roker of NBC’s Today show.

“It’s different,” Leno said. “I don’t miss it. You know, everything now is, if people don’t like your politics, they — everyone has to know your politics.” Perhaps because today’s late-night hosts insist you know their politics.

Keep Reading

Workers’ rights in the 21st century: Unions and Conscious Capitalism

Do unions still have a place at the table?     

 

by Dr. Larry Fedewa (May 12, 2019)

“Conscious Capitalism” promotes the most expansive view of workers’ rights ever to be advocated by corporate management  in the history of capitalism. At last, workers are accorded the respect due to major stakeholders in the organization, whether a corporate giant or an entrepreneurial start-up. Almost always this means sharing in the profits of the company if not outright  stock ownership.

This view of the business flows from an idealistic definition of the enterprise which includes, among other things, the function of profits as a necessary means to a greater good. The greater good is the mission of the firm as providing a community service through the sale of its goods or services. Conscious Capitalism challenges everyone in the organization to contribute to  the fulfillment of this mission and provides the resources to do so.

Conscious Capitalists also tend to be anti-union. Keep Reading

Me and Joe

How will Mr. Biden rebuild the middle class?

 

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (April 30, 2019)

As our regular listeners and readers know, I have been talking about the “wealth gap” between the 1% of Americans — who control as much as 80% of America’s wealth —  and the rest of us for the past several weeks. In a consumer-dominated economy (68% of GDP), the major consumers are the middle class. If the buying power of the middle Americans continues to be eaten away by inflation, the economy will begin to contract, and recession becomes more likely and more severe than anything seen in America since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. So, my conclusion is that something has to be done to increase the wealth of the middle class.

I’m pleased to note that former Vice President Joe Biden has taken this issue as his campaign theme! He has not yet told us how he intends to rebuild the middle class. We shall have to see about that. Keep Reading