Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Couple of things

- You'll find few people who are more engaged in the fight against poverty than me, but you'll also find me disagreeing with Patty Freeman-Lynde on this matter. It's easy to urge consumers to shop elsewhere and to pay a little more to support workers who earn a living wage, but it's also a tad ironic too. In the fight against poverty, why are we scolding businesses which sell valuable goods inexpensively? Rather than harm businesses like that - and make no mistake, I've got plenty of issues with Wal-Mart - why not advocate for things which will empower low-income citizens and give them the chance to move up the economic ladder? I don't want them earning $10.50 an hour ... I want them earning $20 an hour and up, and the only way to do that is to provide them ample training and educational opportunities.

- More Augusta drama, with the 10th Congressional Chairman of the Republican Party calling for downtown Augusta to become 'whiter.' Race-baiting in my hometown's politics is nothing new - though the open crassness of this is a tad shocking - but, as dumb as Dave Barbee appears to be - there's a background of stupidity going on here. As I noted in a previous post, Gilbert Manor was slated to be closed with its residents moved to a mixed-income development with good connectivity and the opportunity to eventually own certain housing units. Of course, the African-American commissioners opposed it since it would lessen their voting strength, while white residents near the proposed development opposed it since it meant a large influx of African-Americans heading their way. There's no such thing as a rational solution in Augusta for the time being.

- I offered a link to Jay Bookman's take on the free market approach to health care, made a sensible request and wish to follow it up with this ... I'm a practical, pragmatic guy. I like the free market. It has provided us with a great many wonderful things. I also recognize the spirit of compromise and abhor loving an idea for the sake of adhering to one particular ideology. What was refreshing about Bookman's column wasn't that it offered some tremendous alternative for health care, but rather than it said what I'm saying here. And that's blind allegiance to any one idea is pathetic and terribly short-sighted, and that's my take on the health care debate. For so many conservatives, they have to believe that a free-market approach is the way to go because if they don't, they fear their whole world will come crumbling down. And when you examine the number of successful public health care systems - from overseas or right here at home (PeachCare or Medicare) - you're confronted with the reality of the matter, which is that sometimes the government can do things right. I know this makes the heads of some ideologues explode, but that's the fact of the matter. This isn't to say that there is no place for the free market in this discussion because there must surely is, but rather that making it only about the free market is ridiculous and downright ignorant.

- In response to this inquiry, folks tell me the only place grilling is prohibited is at the parking decks ... which, again, makes perfect sense.

- Justin Gwin echoes the points that Hillary and I made last week.

- This interview with President Bush is, well, kinda terrifying ...

Mr. Bush acknowledged one major failing of the early occupation of Iraq when he said of disbanding the Saddam Hussein-era military, "The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen."

But when Mr. Draper pointed out that Mr. Bush's former Iraq administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, had gone ahead and forced the army's dissolution and then asked Mr. Bush how he reacted to that, Mr. Bush said, "Yeah, I can't remember, I'm sure I said, 'This is the policy, what happened?'" But, he added, "Again, Hadley’s got notes on all of this stuff," referring to Stephen J. Hadley, his national security adviser.

- In other news, Elizabeth Kraft also advocates for eating three square meals a day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll help you with that pragmatic market defense -- it's competitive markets we want. Competitive markets and free markets are an overlapping set, but they are not the same thing.

Free markets produce great outcomes for consumers, and for society, when the markets are competitive. This is most of the time. The government doesn't need to be setting prices or production standards for shoes and wheelbarrows.

Free markets may "fail" to produce desirable outcomes when they are not competitive, when there are externalities (i.e. pollution), when there is assymetric information, and when there is a problem of moral hazard.

Health care is a market where we can do better with regulation. Note carefully the can do better, as opposed to will do better. Health care providers have far better information about what is needed/necessary, they typically have pricing power (how much to stop the bleeding doc? One million, ok!), and there is a strong presence of moral hazard (i.e. the insurance company is footing the bill, not you).


10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally unrelated, but I'm for putting people who offer public input at A-CC Commission meetings in Gitmo.

Or Abu Ghraib.

Shut up already.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

The reason a free (and, yes, competitive) market approach will always work better is that it corrects itself. Government failures just keep on failing.

11:36 AM  

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