To Accompany the February 23, 2011 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
Archive of Tidbits Quotations --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Socialism is GREAT - UNTIL you run out of other
From the Scout Report on February 14, 2011
The Economist: The World in 2011 --- http://www.economist.com/node/21015461
The Economist has been doing a special issue at the conclusion of each calendar year for sometime, and it is full of interesting and provocative materials about various political, economic, and technological trends around the world. The site includes a brief introduction to the 2011 edition, and a link to their "Cassandra" blog, which includes a series of predictions and the like. The other sections on the site include "Leaders", "United States", "Europe", "Britain", and "The Americas". Topical areas of note include "Business" and "Finance", which features articles like "China's balancing hand" and "What China and Israel will teach the world". The site also includes a calendar of important world events in 2011 and links to past "World" issues. Finally, the site is rounded out by the "World in Figures" area, which includes a list of key economic indicators broken down by country and industry.
Video: History of Global Debt (from the IMF) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeIanMdkUj0
Wal-Mart does not suit the clientele we have in the city
of Boston,” Menino said. “I don’t need employers like that in our city.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino who's fighting another bid by Wal-Mart to build a Boston store after defeating Wal-Mart effort in 2005. Boston just does not want these types of jobs and low prices for the City of Boston ---
This makes me wonder if the bordering states of Maine and New Hampshire spent thousands for Menino's election campaign. Boston's exclusive "clientele" spends tens of millions in nearby New Hampshire for lower prices and no sales taxes in NH. Three cheers for Mayor Menino. In reality Menino is in the pocket of big labor unhappy with its lack of success in unionizing Wal-Mart. Here in New Hampshire we gotta love Big Labor and Menino for giving us Boston's customers and the NH permanent jobs they help create for NH residents.
While the Reverend Jeremiah Wright screams "God Damn America!"
"Castro Political Prisoner Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, but Mainstream Media Is Mum," by Humberto Fontovam, Townhall, February 21, 2011 ---
When a smitten Jesse Jackson yelled “Viva Che!-- Viva Fidel!” alongside the latter at the University of Havana in 1984 with Jeremiah Wright ( among Jackson’s entourage) clapping wildly from the sidelines, the world’s longest suffering black political prisoner languished in a torture-chamber within walking distance of the celebration.
"N*gger!" taunted his Castroite jailers between tortures. "We pulled you down from the trees and cut off your tail!" Shortly before his death in 2006, this prisoner, the heroic Eusebio Penalver, granted this writer an interview. "For months I was naked in a 6 x 4 foot cell," Eusebio recalled. "That's 4 feet high, so you couldn't stand. But I felt a great freedom inside myself. I refused to commit spiritual suicide." Eusebio Penalver suffered longer in Castro’s prisons than Nelson Mandela in apartheid South Africa’s.
Shortly after a smitten Congressional Black Caucus visited with Raul Castro in Dec. 2009 and returned hailing him as “one of the most amazing human beings we’ve ever met! Castro is a very engaging, down-to-earth and kind man, someone who I would favor as a neighbor!” the Black human-rights activist Orlando Zapata-Tamayo, was beaten comatose by his Castroite jailers and left with a life-threatening fractured skull and Subdural Hematoma. A year later Zapata-Tamayo was dead after a lengthy hunger-strike. Samizdats smuggled out of Cuba by eye-witnesses’ report that while gleefully kicking and bludgeoning Tamayo, his Castroite jailers yelled: “Worthless N*gger!--Worthless Peasant!”
Shortly before a smitten Charlie Rangel engulfed Fidel Castro in a mighty bear hug in Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist church as the smitten audience shook the rafters with bellows of “VIVA-FIDEL!—VIVA FIDEL!” Black human-rights activist, Dr. Oscar Biscet was grabbed by Castro’s KGB-trained police, thrown in a dungeon kicked, spat upon, and burned with cigarettes. Cuban doctor, Oscar Elias Biscet suffers a sentence of 25 years in Castro’s torture chambers as I write. Essentially his “crime” involves reciting the works of Martin Luther King and the UN Declaration of Human Rights in a Cuban public square. This “crime” was greatly compounded by Dr. Biscet’s specifically denouncing the Castro regime’s policy of forced abortions.
“Here in this dark box where they make me live, I will be resisting until freedom for my people is gained,” declared Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, in the vain hope any of the “news” agencies bestowed “press” bureaus by his torturer would report the plight of Cuba’s political prisoners.
“My dad explained to me he is in prison for a cause, the cause is human rights, rights for Cubans. Also for the right of that child which hasn’t even been born yet.” (Dr. Biscet’s daughter Winnie.)
This latter "crime" goes a long way towards explaining why you've probably never heard of Dr Oscar Biscet in the MSM. Yet in November 2007 President Bush awarded Dr Biscet the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award was presented to Dr. Biscet’s son and daughter, who reside in freedom in the U.S. The ceremony was virtually blacked out by the MSM.
“I would like to thank President Bush for his great generosity in granting this medal and in helping us call attention to the plight of my husband and all other Cuban political prisoners and in trying to help their release.” (Elsa Morejon, Dr. Biscet’s wife, Nov. 2007 during Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony for her husband Dr. Oscar Biscet.)
. . .
But I’ll make a wild guess here: you’re familiar with the injustices against Nelson Mandela but have probably never heard the names of the Cuban political prisoners, much less details of their suffering. Am I right? Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (been-there, done that, with Stalinist myself!) recently nominated Dr. Oscar Biscet for the Nobel Peace Prize. "Dr. Biscet is a man of courage and dignity,” he wrote, “waging a relentless and self-sacrificing struggle for universal human rights and freedom."
CBO’s Latest Budget Projections: A Deteriorating Fiscal Outlook ---
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its latest Budget and Economic Outlook last week. According to CBO, the fiscal condition of the United States has deteriorated since its last report issued in August. Highlights of the new ten-year budget “baseline” include projections of:
- A slower economic recovery;
- An unprecedented deficit of $1.5 trillion for this fiscal year (FY), which, at 9.8 percent of the economy or gross domestic product (GDP), is only slightly below the post-World War II record of 10 percent recorded in FY 2009;
- Compared to August, an increase in cumulative deficits over the 2011-2020 period of more than $1.4 trillion, assuming current laws are maintained. When likely changes to current law (extension of the tax cuts, maintenance of Medicare’s physician payment rates, and a phase-out of war spending) are assumed, cumulative deficits are projected to be more than $3 trillion higher;
- Permanent cash flow deficits for Social Security;
- A doubling of spending for health care programs over the decade; and
- Interest costs that will equal non-defense discretionary spending in 2019.
Does It? Really? Common Cause's "condemnation" is even more damning than its
supporters' monstrous behavior," by James Taranto, The Wall Street
Journal, February 4, 2011 ---
As we noted yesterday, over the weekend Common Cause held a rally in California at which numerous supporters of the self-styled "grassroots organization" were caught on video advocating violence against Supreme Court justices and media executives--including calls to lynch the high court's only black member.
"Common Cause's 40 year history of holding power accountable has been marked by a commitment to decency and civility--in public and private," begins a press release from the organization yesterday. Yet in contrast with SarahPAC, which removed from its website its famous map of targeted districts after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, CommonCause.org's homepage still prominently features a photo and denunciation of Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, who were among the objects of the Common Cause supporters' violent--and, in Thomas's case, racist--fantasies.
The press release is framed as a condemnation of the Common Cause supporters--or, in the group's unwieldy description of them, "a few of those attending the events around a gathering Common Cause helped to organize Sunday near Palm Springs." The statement goes on:Anyone who has attended a public event has encountered people whose ideas or acts misrepresented, even embarrassed, the gathering. Every sporting event has its share of "fans" whose boorish behavior on the sidelines makes a mockery of good sportsmanship; every political gathering has a crude sign-painter or epithet-spewing heckler.
Everybody does it? Think it through and you will see that this is a stunning indictment of the American left.
Continued in article
Multicultural Wake-Up Call The growth of Islamist extremism in the West is
something even the politically correct can no longer ignore," by Douglas
Murray, The Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2011 ---
'Multiculturalism has failed," said British Prime Minister David Cameron last weekend in Munich. If anybody thought they had read those words before, it is because they have. Many times. Last October German Chancellor Angela Merkel (sitting onstage with Mr. Cameron when he gave his speech on Saturday) said the same. Finally, Europe's mainstream party leaders seem to be realizing what others have long noticed: Multiculturalism has been the most pernicious and divisive policy pursued by Western governments since World War II.
Multiculturalism is a deeply misunderstood idea. That was one of the reasons for its political success. People were led to believe that "multiculturalism" meant multiracialism, or pluralism. It did not. Nevertheless, for years anybody who criticized multiculturalism was immediately decried as a "racist."
But the true character and effects of the policy could not be permanently hidden. State-sponsored multiculturalism treated European countries like hostelries. It judged that the state should not "impose" rules and values on newcomers. Rather, it should bend over backwards to accommodate the demands of immigrants. The resultant policy was that states treated and judged people by the criteria of whatever "community" they found themselves born into.
In Britain, for instance, this meant that if you were a white English girl born into a white English family and your family decided to marry you against your will to a randy old pervert, the state would intervene. But if you had the misfortune to be born into an "Asian-background" family and the same happened, then the state would look the other way.
In 1984, a British school principal named Ray Honeyford politely suggested in an article in the Salisbury Review that it might be a good idea if students at his state-funded school were able to speak English and did not disappear to Pakistan for months at a time. The result was a siren of accusations of "racism," which willfully ignored his arguments and precipitated the end of his career.
The multicultural model may have continued a lot longer if it hadn't been for radical Islam. The terrorist assaults and plots across Britain and Europe—often from home-grown extremists—provided a breaking point that few sentient people could ignore. The question now is what can be done.
In his speech in Munich, Mr. Cameron rightly focused on the problem of home-grown Islamic extremism. He stressed several preliminary steps—among them that groups whose values are opposed to those of the state will no longer be bestowed with taxpayer money. It is a symptom of how low we have sunk that ceasing to fund our societies' opponents would constitute an improvement.
But this is a first, not a final, policy. The fact is that Britain, Germany, Holland and many other European countries have nurtured more than one generation of citizens who seem to feel no loyalty toward their country and who, on the contrary, often seem to despise it.
The first step forward is that from school-age upward our societies must reassert a shared national narrative—including a common national culture. Some years ago the German Muslim writer Bassam Tibi coined the term "Leitkultur"—core culture—to describe this. It is the most decent and properly liberal antidote to multiculturalism. It concedes that in societies that have had high immigration there are all sorts of different cultures—which will only work together if they are united by a common theme.
The Muslim communities that Mr. Cameron focused on will not reform themselves. So the British government will have to shut down and prosecute terrorist and extremist organizations, including some "charities." There are groups that are banned in the U.S. but can and do still operate with charitable status in the U.K. Clerics and other individuals who come from abroad to preach hate and division should be deported.
Will Mr. Cameron manage to do any of this? There is reason to be skeptical. In the wake of the 2005 subway and bus bombings in London—attacks carried out by British-born Muslims—Tony Blair announced that "the rules of the game are changing." They then stayed the same.
It is possible that Mr. Cameron will show more political courage. If he does, he will undoubtedly be lambasted by the defenders of multiculturalism. He will also become a leader of significance. If he doesn't, then future generations may well associate him with Munich. But it will not be for Saturday's speech. It will be with a previous prime minister who also went to that city and who returned with an honor that proved deeply temporary.
Mr. Murray is director of the Center for Social Cohesion in London.
GOP's Healthy Budget Skirmish: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan
wants to cut a lot. Newer members want to cut much more," The Wall Street
Journal, February 11, 2011 ---
Intraparty fights fall into two categories: the healthy and the damaging. The internal GOP scrap over how much to slash from the federal budget is still the former. House Speaker John Boehner's first big test will be whether he can keep it from becoming the latter.
That test was always going to come, and it's fitting that it is over spending. Republicans made shrinking the size of federal government their top campaign theme, and dozens of freshmen were elected on their promise to do just that. The deficit-sized question was always how this new troop of spending hawks would mesh with the older guard.
Among that older guard, it should be noted, is Budget Chairman Paul Ryan—long the most aggressive GOP promoter of spending reform. True to principle, Mr. Ryan released a draft budget for the rest of fiscal year 2011 that cuts a hefty $58 billion from President Obama's spending baseline.
Republican Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers took it from there with a list of specifics, including eliminating funds for more than 60 federal programs—including doozies such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and AmeriCorps—as well as cuts in hundreds of other programs. By any measure, this is change you can believe in.
It was nonetheless met by boos from many new members, who are fixated on the GOP's campaign promise to cut $100 billion from the budget in the first year. The Ryan plan, they complain, is $42 billion short.
Mr. Ryan has responded that this is simply his first pass, and that he will hit the $100 billion mark in the course of upcoming spending bills. This hasn't satisfied many freshmen, who are under pressure from the tea party and in a hurry.
To all of this Americans can sing: Hallelujah. That Republicans are having a debate over how much to cut—a lot, or even more—is a sign of how far the party has come. Not long ago the GOP debate was about how much to spend—a lot, or even more—over, say, a new Medicare drug entitlement. Compared to two years of stimulus, omnibus and ObamaCare drudgery, this is sweetness and light.
The back-and-forth also proves Mr. Boehner's commitment to open up Congress. If this were Tom DeLay's or Nancy Pelosi's House, the budget proposal would have been crafted behind leadership doors, presented as a fait accompli, and pushed through on a party-line vote. The media are currently gloating over GOP "disarray," but that's only because the new members haven't felt obliged to take orders from above, and because Mr. Boehner isn't insisting they do.
The risk is that the debate drags on and robs the GOP of momentum. Republicans won in November on a coherent argument that a ballooning government was hampering economic recovery. This initial stab at budget cuts is the party's opportunity to show it has developed clear priorities, knows what it wants to get rid of, and sees a connection between those cuts and economic prosperity.
The alternative? In a drive to randomly hit a numerical target, the party begins to look like it is cutting for the sake of cutting—with no idea of what it is getting rid of, and no regard for the damage that might ensue. (Who needs FBI agents?)
Continued in article
"Vaccines 1, Lawyers 0: The Supremes win one for science,"
The Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2011 ---
Science and public health got a booster shot yesterday when the Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that vaccine makers can't be sued in state courts for injuries supposedly caused by their vaccines. The decision was an important strike against a scare campaign that has caused too many parents to put their children at risk by refusing to inoculate them.
In Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, the parents of Hannah Bruesewitz sued the drug company claiming that a diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus shot caused seizures that left her disabled. When a special Vaccine Court within the Court of Federal Claims ruled that her injuries couldn't be linked with the vaccine, her parents tried to move the case to Pennsylvania state court. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals eventually ruled that the claim was pre-empted by federal law, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court.
Congress passed the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act to prevent vaccine shortages when companies are driven out of the business by tort claims. To address claims, manufacturers pay into a no-fault government administered fund that doles out compensation.
Trial lawyers hoped a different decision in Bruesewitz would open up a new vein for state lawsuits before sympathetic juries. But in his majority decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that without pre-emption the law is useless. Vaccine companies fund the program for injuries "in exchange for avoiding costly tort litigation and the occasional disproportionate jury verdict. Taxing their product to fund the compensation program, while leaving their liability for design defect virtually unaltered, would hardly coax them back into the market."
Less encouraging was the dissent of Justice Sonia Sotomayor (joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg), who argued that the Court's decision "leaves a regulatory vacuum" in which no one is making sure vaccine makers "take account of scientific and technological advancements." But few regulatory regimes are as clear cut as the one for vaccines. This is the kind of results-first, law-second jurisprudence we feared from Justice Sotomayor.
The trial bar has preyed on parents, especially those of autistic children, by telling them someone is to blame for their child's diagnosis. Study after scientific study has debunked these claims, and the Supreme Court's decision will at least prevent the lawyers from cashing in by exploiting heartache.
Video on How to Increase Marriage and Mortgage Rates:
I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Your's (savings portfolios that is)
"Obama report on Fannie, Freddie plan may boost mortgage rates: Video - The future of Fannie and Freddie The White House is going to propose a range of options to reform Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the mortgage market, which could cause changes to the face of American housing," by Zachary A. Goldfarb and Brady Dennis, Washington Post, February 11, 2011 ---
The Obama administration wants to raise fees for borrowers and require larger down payments for home loans as part of a long-term effort to restructure the nation's housing market. But it warned that these measures could boost mortgage rates and make it harder for home buyers to secure the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, a mainstay of American home buying for decades.
In a long-awaited white paper, the administration said it intends to wind down the federal mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and curtail the Federal Housing Administration to help reduce the government's outsized role in mortgage funding.
The housing finance system, which has ensured that Americans can get home loans, came crashing down in the financial crisis, helping fuel millions of foreclosures and the recession.
"I think it's absolutely the case that the U.S. government provided too much support for housing, too strong incentives for investment in housing," Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said Friday during a speech at the Brookings Institution. He noted that in addition to those fundamental mistakes, the government "allowed a huge amount of basic mortgage business to shift where there was no regulation or oversight."
But in proposing a strategy for the future, administration officials acknowledged they are walking a tightrope. Any steps that dial back government support too dramatically - making mortgages more expensive - could extend the housing decline.
Geithner said that a new housing finance system without Fannie and Freddie could take seven years to put in place, suggesting it might fall in part to future administrations.
"We have to see the process of repair in the housing market completed," Geithner said.
The white paper focuses on a series of short steps to increase fees and down-payment requirements. The administration hopes these measures will allow banks to more effectively compete in offering loans without government guarantees.
The report offers three options for replacing Fannie and Freddie. They include creating a new government agency that would continue to insure mortgages or a new agency that would step in only during times of crisis. Each, however, could put taxpayers at more risk of having to bail out the mortgage market during big declines.
The most drastic option would end government backing for home loans beyond the FHA. But the administration warned that this measure could affect access to credit for many potential homeowners. It could boost mortgage rates the most, the officials said, and it could make it harder for community banks to compete in the housing market.
Continued in article
What Happens to Barney's Rubble? ---
"Pruning Farm Subsidies," by Victor Davis Hanson, Townhall, February
16, 2011 ---
In times of massive deficits, why are we borrowing millions to subsidize profitable agribusiness? Lots of presidents have asked that question. George H.W. Bush tried to cut farm subsidies in the late 1980s. Bill Clinton did, too. George W. Bush wanted them ended as well. All failed.
The so-called 1996 "Freedom to Farm Act" was supposed to stop farm supports for good, by offering the carrot of extending crop payouts to growers, regardless of current commodity prices, in exchange for ending the flow of federal money altogether after a slow weaning-off period of seven years. But when it came time to honor the agreement, suddenly a new rationale appeared -- that of post-9/11 security. So crop subsidies reappeared under the "Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002," on the dubious premise that in a new terrorist climate, Americans needed to ensure the prosperity of agribusiness. "Investment" in today's bureaucratese, remember, translates into the government borrowing more money to distribute to special interests.
When worries about national security gradually died down, and when it was clear that agribusiness would not end subsides as promised over a seven-year period, a new justification arose: providing fuel for an energy-strapped America under the "Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008" -- a $288 billion, five-year agricultural bill. Supposedly farmers now needed massive crop subsidies largely to ensure our independence from foreign oil producers and sky-high gas prices.
Even presidents cannot stop Congress from passing these unnecessary federal farm bills, because they are brilliantly, if not cynically, conceived. Such federal support always utilizes the current crisis of the day -- whether promises to cut the deficit, protect the country or provide new energy.
Two disparate special interests push massive federal agricultural subsidies. Agribusiness wants lots of government support money; the entitlement industry wants more food stamps and rural entitlement programs. Combine them, and we spend billions more each year to subsidize both constituents. Who can stop a bill pushed through by Kansas conservatives and Chicago community organizers -- especially when multiyear farm legislation always seems to start at or near national election time? What politician wants to go on record against rural "family farmers" or the urban "needy"?
But 2012 is finally the time to end the crop-subsidy business, with the annual budget deficit approaching $1.5 trillion in 2011, farmers receiving record prices on the open market, and the new conservative House of Representatives having been elected on the promise of fiscal responsibility.
Continued in article
Next Repeal Target Kathleen Sebelius has some ObamaCare regrets," The
Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2011 ---
No one should expect much real health-care progress for the next two years, but at least President Obama is now making concessions to the political mood, however minor. The White House is suddenly trying to pacify the critics it used to claim were partisans, or industry shills, or arguing in bad faith.
The latest penitent is Kathleen Sebelius, who has finally admitted that there are severe fiscal problems with a new entitlement for long-term care that was included in ObamaCare. Speaking Tuesday at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Health and Human Services Secretary defended the new government insurance program, known by the acronym Class. But she also said that "The law, while the structure in the statute wasn't perfect, provided ample flexibility to make sure that Class is successful. . . . We at HHS are committed to using that authority to making sure that both the program meets people's needs while remaining fiscally sound."
In other words, Ms. Sebelius plans to use her administrative powers to rewrite the Class program so it doesn't follow Congressional orders and bankrupt itself by design. She even made a promise that her rewrite will be so complete that "no taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for Class benefits," period.
That would certainly be a first in entitlement history, which is why President Obama's own deficit commission recommended the "reform or repeal" of Class. It said the program will "require large general revenue transfers or else collapse under its own weight," while Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad has called Class "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of."
The main reason Democratic liberals insisted on passing Class is because it will crowd out private insurance for long-term care like home health aides or nursing homes. But they also used it to rig the bill's budget math to make it appear to reduce the deficit.
The program will start collecting premiums up front in 2012 but won't pay out any cash benefits until five years later. The $70 billion or so accumulated during that lead time will finance other parts of ObamaCare, and then the Class program is scheduled to go broke sometime between 2020 and 2025 in part because the money can't be spent twice.
Continued in article
Investment—The Hidden Crisis When the stock market values companies that make
cosmetics and beer far above pharmaceutical companies, you know that incentives
are out of whack," by Michael Milken, The Wall Street Journal,
February 8, 2011 ---
Since 1820, world per-capita income has risen more than eightfold, thanks in part to the spread of democracy, open trading markets, and the rule of law. But a less-noted source of growth—improvements to health that have given us longer, more productive lives—has produced as much as half of the increase in the global economy over the past two centuries, as research by the late British economist Angus Maddison suggests. It would be logical to assume that companies whose products make us healthier would be among the most valued enterprises on the planet, but this assumption is wrong.
Consider companies that make consumer products—things like soft drinks, detergent, cosmetics and beer. While their price-earnings ratios will vary, in today's market their average will most likely be in the neighborhood of 20. But the average P/E of the largest American pharmaceutical research companies (Abbott Labs, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer) was recently near 10. Investors must have concluded that pretzels and eyeliner produce faster profit growth than prescription medicines.
Lower pharma P/E ratios are a recent phenomenon. A generation ago, drug firms regularly topped magazine lists of the most-admired companies in America, a reputation usually reflected in their stock prices. But facing the specter of regulated returns, enterprise values dropped sharply during debates about proposed health-reform legislation in 1993. When the proposals failed in Congress, valuations eventually recovered. In the last decade, pharma P/E ratios dropped again.
Contributing to these lower valuations are patent expirations, regulatory complexity, uncertainty about litigation exposure, and high U.S. taxes on repatriated foreign income. These factors undoubtedly influenced the decision by Procter & Gamble to leave the pharmaceutical business entirely in 2009 and concentrate on consumer products.
Procter & Gamble responded rationally to clear market signals that discouraged development of life-saving drugs. But for people whose health, and perhaps survival, will depend on these medicines—that includes you and me—the implications of the disparity in market valuations are ominous.
We can remove some of the barriers to growth in medical research through several public-policy steps:
• Match the inducements of other countries. Many nations offer generous tax incentives, easier recruitment of clinical-trial subjects, strong government partnerships and far less litigation. We cannot and should not stop American biopharmaceutical and medical-device manufacturers from expanding overseas operations. But we can reduce needless bureaucracy at home, implement tort reform, and restructure taxation of foreign income.
• Recognize the return on investment in federal health research. We clearly need spending restraint in Washington. But smart budgeting will factor in the economic gains that come from longer, healthier life spans and the savings from improved therapies. One 2006 study by Kevin Murphy and Robert Topel of the University of Chicago showed that life-expectancy gains since 1970 added $3.2 trillion per year to America's national wealth. A mere 1% reduction in cancer deaths would be worth $500 billion, they noted, and the present value to future generations of a full cure is a nearly incomprehensible $50 trillion—more than three times today's GDP.
Congress doubled the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) between 1998 and 2003. It was money well-spent, and we're now seeing exciting announcements from the nation's medical research centers, including 39 new cancer drugs that have been approved since 2004. In our view at the Milken Institute's FasterCures, the past year has produced the greatest progress against cancer since I first began working with the research community in the 1970s. Progress is accelerating on a range of other diseases as doctors gain traction by using rapidly evolving technology and by collaborating across disciplines.
But the prospects for continuing this discovery bonanza are threatened. NIH funding has trended down in real terms since 2003. Current budget realities portend severe future cuts that will cause some younger medical scientists to either change careers or take their work to places like Singapore that put out the welcome mat for promising researchers. Whether continuing breakthroughs emerge from U.S. laboratories or somewhere else will profoundly affect America's role among nations in the 21st century.
• Support prevention. There's great concern with rising health-care costs, yet too often we overlook that the single best way to contain them is to keep people from getting sick in the first place. That starts with recognizing that lifestyles, not genes, are the biggest contributors to disease. Public and corporate programs aimed at even slight reductions in obesity, tobacco use and other damaging behaviors pay large social and economic dividends.
• Give the FDA adequate resources. At a recent New York conference hosted by FasterCures, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told me that imports of products subject to FDA inspection have increased to 20 million from six million shipments in a decade. In fact, an estimated 25% of the U.S. economy is affected by FDA oversight. And the new food-safety legislation that Congress passed in December further expands the agency's responsibilities.
Given all this, the FDA soon won't be able to keep up with the pace of innovation in such areas as medical-device development and regenerative medicine—the use of stem cells to repair damage to tissues and organs. That will further slow the movement of effective drugs and devices from laboratory to patient.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
the Tidbits Archives ---
Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---
· With a Rejoinder from the 2010 Senior Editor of The Accounting Review (TAR), Steven J. Kachelmeier
· With Replies in Appendix 4 to Professor Kachemeier by Professors Jagdish Gangolly and Paul Williams
· With Added Conjectures in Appendix 1 as to Why the Profession of Accountancy Ignores TAR
· With Suggestions in Appendix 2 for Incorporating Accounting Research into Undergraduate Accounting Courses
Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---
By Bob Jensen
wrong in accounting/accountics research? ---
The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most
AN ANALYSIS OF THE EVOLUTION OF RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS BY THE ACCOUNTING REVIEW:
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory
Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics
Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox)
that probably will never be solved
Bob Jensen's economic crisis messaging http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm
Bob Jensen's threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/