Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Republi-CON 'We're Against the Redistribution of Income' Myth

"We take billions from high-income blue states like New York and California, and ship them via federal benefits and subsidies for farming and oil to poor red states like Alabama and Oklahoma. We do this even though the recipient states mostly vote Republican and moan endlessly about getting Uncle Sam off their backs.

We give a hefty housing subsidy via the mortgage-interest deduction to Bill Gates — while Gates’s maid, assuming she rents, gets no housing subsidy at all.

Then there’s Medicare’s secret. Few people realize that Medicare spends wildly different amounts per senior depending on where the senior happens to live. The most famous example, from research by John Wennberg, found that Medicare spends 2.5 times more per senior in Miami than in Minneapolis (even after adjusting for regional differences in input costs, such as for office rents). Yet there’s no difference in quality or health outcomes associated with this extra spending.

In other words, Medicare redistributes billions from regions where doctors practice cost effectively to regions where the local Medical Industrial Complex pads its income with excess services and procedures. . .

When Paul O’Neill was Treasury secretary under George W. Bush I asked him about all this. 'If we want to have a conversation about equities, then we ought to have a complete conversation,' O’Neill told me. 'It should not be about health care. It shouldn’t be about education. It should be a broader conversation about how much resources should be provided from those who have something to those who have less or nothing.

'That’s the clean conversation,' he added. 'It’s about purchasing power for the things one needs to lead a decent and civil life. That’s the question.'

That’s my kind of Republican. But I’d bet a million bucks that today’s GOP wouldn’t agree to a Lincoln-Douglas debate on this question. The president ought to challenge them to one and see."

Read the Washington Post, Real Americans redistribute: The payroll tax debate’s dirty secret.

Never Forget to 'Think Outside of the Box'

From an email:

You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.

2. An old friend who once saved your life.

3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

What would you do, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car? Think before you continue reading.

This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was allegedly once actually used as part of a job application. You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first. Or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer.

For his answer, see the comments.