December 26, 2008Lots of people have been oohing and ahhing over President-elect Barack Obama's surprisingly centrist nominees to the Cabinet. But there's one major exception: Rep. Hilda Solis, slated to become Labor Secretary. Her agenda is clear: reward Big Labor for its steadfast political support for the Democratic Party and the president-elect.
The biggest priority of organized labor is so-called Card Check, which would eliminate elections that are now required before unions can win workplace recognition. Union officials and supporters, like Rep. Solis, have wrapped themselves into pretzels to justify eliminating elections for workers in this case while backing elections before a union can be decertified, for instance, or in their own leadership races, as with Rep. Solis. Card Check is a Christmas present we should not give to the labor lobby. ...
December 19, 2008The National Health Service loves to save money. Too bad that means denying essential medical care and killing patients. But what's a bureaucracy for?
The United Kingdom has become renowned for scrimping on life-saving drugs. After all, got to keep those budgets down! In the latest case a woman with two months to live has been told that the government will get back to her within 25 days. Can't be rushed, now can we!? Reports the Daily Mail:
A cancer patient given less than two months to live has been refused a life-prolonging drug until an NHS trust finishes a month-long investigation.
Margaret Jones hopes to be treated with Revlimid for myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow.
Her consultant says the drug, which costs around...
December 12, 2008Let's see ... weren't the government "investments" in failing firms supposed to pay off for the taxpayers? Alas, it's not looking good so far. Writes Stephen Gandel in Time:
Two months in, and already $16 billion in the hole. That's how much the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was approved by Congress in early October, has already lost on its investments, according to a TIME analysis. (Read the top 10 financial collapses of 2008.)
The investment losses are sure to rankle lawmakers already unhappy with the way the Treasury has handled the first stage of the...
December 12, 2008Why do advocates of socialized medicine prefer pets over people? It's hard not to conclude that's the way they think. After all, in Canada you can get a CT scan or MRI sooner for your "companion animal" than for your child. And health insurance is a thriving business in Great Britain, which only recently decided to allow people to spend extra to get better drugs than those offered by the National Health System.
Reported Reuters earlier this year:
Forget worming pills and a flea collar -- a trip to the vet in Britain these days could be about heart surgery, joint replacement, chemotherapy or a host of other cutting-edge procedures.
Britain is one of the few countries in Europe to offer many of these complex treatments: devoted British pet-owners have fuelled a fast-growing insurance...
December 11, 2008The candidates in the recent presidential election argued about whether one of them was advocating socialism. Actually, it looks like we're already there. An ever-growing share of economic activity is ending up under government control. Reports USA Today:
The government's spending surge to ease the financial crisis and a worsening recession is increasing the federal share of the nation's economic activity close to $1 out of every $4, the highest level since World War II, an analysis of current and projected payments shows.
Emergency rescue plans for financial institutions and increased benefits for needy individuals are mounting, as Congress considers President-elect Barack Obama's call for a massive public...
December 10, 2008With the Obama administration preparing to address the problem of health care, they should remember that the most effective form of cost containment is to encourage patients to treat themselves. Britain's National System has perfected this technique. As the Guardian reported last year:
Large numbers of people are going without dental treatment and some even report extracting their own teeth because they cannot find an NHS dentist in their area, a survey reveals today.
The Dentistry Watch survey of more than 5,000 people, from the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, found widespread unhappiness among both patients and dentists despite government reforms to increase the availability of NHS dentistry. More than three-quarters of those who have a private dentist...
December 10, 2008It must be nice to be so certain of one's moral purity and political correctness to believe that anything, including, well, lying, is fine and appropriate to advance the cause.
Consider physicist Richard A. Muller's recent interview with Grist:
What's your take on NASA climate scientist James Hansen?
Hansen I've known for many years. He's a very good climate scientist, but he's...
December 9, 2008The global cooling scare of a few decades ago is written off as a product of bad science, without much peer-reviewed support. But Maurizio Morabito went back and tracked down information on the 1961 meeting of the American Meteorological Association, which lamented ... yes, the prospect of a cooling temperature.
Timely but alas flawed contribution by Thomas Peterson of NOAA, William Connolley of the British Antarctic survey and science reporter John Fleck, reporting on the “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society” about the apparent lack of peer-reviewed papers predicting global cooling, between...
December 8, 2008You've got to love the European Union. It took the federal government decades to become so extraordinarily bureaucratic, wasteful, and out of touch. The EU has done it in record time. For instance, imagine the horror if European Commissioners had to--gasp!--stand in line for coffee! To avoid that catastrophe, the EU has spent $130,000 or so on ... coffee machines.
Reports the International Herald Tribune:
The European Commission on Wednesday defended its decision to spend about €100,000 on coffee machines found to have high concentrations of heavy metals in the water they used. But the commission said more tests were needed to determine whether the espresso makers were safe.
Last month, the commission, the executive arm of the European Union, removed from service 20 deluxe "superautomatic"...
December 7, 2008The Daily Mail reminds us how government health care is compassionate and efficient;
So imagine my shock when I saw how some nurses recently treated my elderly aunt.
Annie was a stoical Yorkshire woman, and a devout Christian; she'd dedicated her life to helping others, training as a nurse and midwife before moving to Africa, where she set up several hospitals and nursing schools.
She was so committed to helping the poor that she undertook a postgraduate study on kwashiorkor - a muscle-wasting tropical disease caused by malnutrition.
Yet, with appalling irony, 50 years later my aunt spent her twilight months wasting away in an NHS hospital - as a result of malnutrition. Only this time the cause was a very British...