Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Birthdays and Delusions

Today is Monday, 5 May 2008.

Happy Birthday to Soren Kierkegaard (1813) and Karl Marx (1818)!

Following is a fascinating AP story about the latest delusions of the Bush-Cheney/Cheney-Bush regime regarding Iraq: gentrifying the International Zone (formerly the Green Zone).


The thought of a Baghdad Marriot raises an interesting question: will the body armour in each room be included in the basic price, or will it be charged per use, as with the minibar?

Given that the overwhelming majority of Baghdad residents have no reliable sanitation, security, electricity, and water services, this grandiose Five Year Plan is nothing short of criminal. Though I’m sure John McBush will assure us that the benefits will trickle down to the huddled masses, courtesy of the magic of supply-side economics.


Anonymous RtR said...

Your Parthian shot at supply side economics triggered an association to a conversation about the disaster that is the U.S. healthcare system that I had yesterday with a couple of mainstream republicans who are beginning to question their party's platform on the issue.

Using Wisconsin as my frame of reference without extrapolating to any other state since I have no direct in depth knowledge of the specific issues driving healthcare costs in those states, I made the following observation.

During the '90s, Gov. Tommy Thompson deregulated hospitals and created a small, little known state agency whose function it is to provide low cost loans to companies wanting to build hospitals. As you might expect, hospital building began and the various for profit healthcare companies began competing with each other for market share. The usual scenario has been that the larger companies have target smaller companies in an effort to reduce the number of providers in the state through cutthroat competition.

A typical example is Oshkosh. Prior to about 8 years ago, Oshkosh had one hospital through the Affinity healthcare group. The hospital provided respectable service and was operating at an optimal capacity. In other words, the hospital was sufficient to meet the needs of the community.

Aurora came in and built a new hospital of comparable size and service to the existing Mercy Medical Center and staffed it with all of the personnel you would expect of a hospital of that size. Both hospitals provide the full range of specialist services that you would expect of a hospital serving a community of 65,000 persons plus the surrounding area.

Demand did not change as the result of building the hospital. It is also true that when it comes to our health, we will pay any amount that we can beg, borrow or steal in order to maintain our health and prolong our lives. Correspondingly, to meet overhead and the demands of the two hospital's shareholders, hospitalization costs necessarily had to rise to make up for the loss of patients.

Without arguing the morality of the concept of a for profit hospital in an egalitarian society, it is clear that an unregulated for profit supply side approach to providing for the constitutional "health and welfare" of the citizenry has contributed to the further transfer of wealth from the have nots and barely had enoughs of our society to the Bushian haves and have mores.

8:45 AM  

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