Tues Blogcast: A nat'l health care prescription; Body abmormalities

Just One Thing: Work Requirements

The most important domestic policy issue in the United States is federal spending and, by extension, our debt and deficit. There’s over $350 billion of unspent COVID relief money and Democrats are complaining that Republicans want to take back 8% of it to reduce our deficit. It should be 100%, but Republicans know they’re not in charge. As Phil Gramm noted in a Wall St journal op-ed on Sunday, "Since 1967, average inflation-adjusted transfer payments to low-income households—the bottom 20%—have grown from $9,677 to $45,389. During that same period, the percentage of prime working-age adults in the bottom 20% of income earners who actually worked collapsed from 68% to 36%." This is as close to a political and economic sin as I can imagine. It MUST stop. And the only thing standing in the way is nearly every Democrat.

The Real Stakes of the Debt-Ceiling Fight - WSJ

Meanwhile, per Axios: "Nearly two-thirds of Americans — including half of Democrats — back work requirements for Medicaid and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits, as House Republicans want in a debt limit deal, according to the latest Axios-Ipsos American Health Index."

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans back work requirements for federal aid


Today's Guest

Dr. John Abramson teaches Health Care Policy (and used to teach Primary Care Medicine) at Harvard Medical School. I've asked him to join the show to discuss his great recent speech which is now published as an article for Hillsdale College's Imprimis, entitled "America’s Broken Health Care: Diagnosis and Prescription

One interest fact: America's life expectancy is declining compared to that of other industrialized countries even when you only compare upper- and upper-middle income white people. (In other words correcting for the fact that some other developed nations have much more homogeneous populations, usually white, than we do. Think, for example, of Finland and Sweden.) Why is this happening, especially given how much money we spend, as a nation, on health care?

John David Abramson | Health Care Policy (harvard.edu)

Dr. John Abramson book 'Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It'


Other Stuff

Perils of the AI age: Fake image of Pentagon explosion briefly sends jitters through stock market | AP News

And this isn't exactly a peril but one wonders how to balance the pros and cons of AI when it comes to art: Author uses AI generators, including ChatGPT, to write nearly 100 books in less than a year (nypost.com)


It's a small part of an important story for Colorado, but I sure do hate the new name of the oil & gas regulatory commission, as noted here: Chevron, PDC merger creates largest oil company in Colorado (coloradosun.com)


This line helps you understand what the "environmentalists" REALLY want. In a discussion about the (ridiculous) idea of "neutralizing an environmental footprint", JPMorgan Chase is incinerating shareholder money to appease the radicals by throwing money at "carbon removal." That's bad enough but this is what really struck me: "Critics say carbon removal could allow fossil-fuel producers to continue with business as usual." (That's another story about a big oil company doing the same thing.)

JPMorgan Makes One of the Biggest Bets Ever on Carbon Removal - WSJ


Separate from whatever you think about the issue of transgender young people, school districts must not be in the business of keeping secrets from parents as a matter of policy: School Counselor Fired for Objecting to Secretive Gender-Transition Policy Sues District | National Review


What did you expect? Shareholder Activists Drag Companies Into U.S. Culture Wars - WSJ


Just because this is a lot of money doesn't make it a less terrible story. These troubled young man was murdered by law enforcement: Parents of Colorado man killed by deputy while having mental health crisis getting $19 million settlement - CBS News


What do you think? Did they owe him the money? Man sued 24 colleagues who cut him out of $50million lottery win as he was on holiday - Mirror Online


I kinda want one of these: When will you be able to buy Colorado's Jurassic-themed license plate? | FOX31 Denver (kdvr.com)


It's important for Producer Dragon to know that at this time of year miller moths are all around him. I mean EVERYWHERE. Where do miller moths hide during the day in Colorado? | FOX31 Denver (kdvr.com)


Wow: Double amputee Gurkha veteran reaches summit of Mount Everest | Mount Everest | The Guardian


I love this story.

$2.70 Supermarket Wine Wins Gold Medal at International Wine Contest (odditycentral.com)

Belgian Wine Wins Gold in France | Wine-Searcher News & Features

Château Colombier Cuvée Prestige 2022 - Gilbert & Gaillard (gilbertgaillard.com)

(Translation of the description of the wine, which apparently was simply given to the competition by the man who submitted the wine to them: “Bright garnet red colour. Shy nose combining stone fruits, currant, discreet oak. Suave, nervous and rich palate with clean young scents that promise a nice complexity. Evolution on fine spices and a touch of soot. very interesting”


Today's Videos

The host is sort of a dillweed, maybe trying to do something like "Between Two Ferns" but not doing it nearly as well as Zach Galifianakis. Still, I have a new respect for Neil deGrasse Tyson after watching this interview. (Not that I didn't respect him before, of course.)

(I have the video set to start a little before the 9-minute mark so you don't waste your time with irrelevant stuff.

BUT, be warned, the host is such a tool that you may find this just too ridiculous to watch. I won't fault you if you do.

Wow, there are some crazy people out there who are pretending to understand science

Just because it's been complained about for a long time doesn't mean that it wasn't true at any given point in the past, relative to prior work habits, and the data make clear that the inclination to work is far less today than it has been, probably at any point in American history. So this video isn't as clever as the guy probably thinks he is.

I note again something I mentioned yesterday, from Phil Gramm's co-authored op-ed for the WSJ: "Since 1967, average inflation-adjusted transfer payments to low-income households—the bottom 20%—have grown from $9,677 to $45,389. During that same period, the percentage of prime working-age adults in the bottom 20% of income earners who actually worked collapsed from 68% to 36%."

That said, official data do show that the employment participation rate has been lower (in the 1970s) than it is now although there has been a consistent downtrend for the last 20 years. The chart below comes with this comment from the St Louis Federal Reserve Bank: "Note that long-run changes in labor force participation may reflect secular economic trends that are unrelated to the overall health of the economy. For instance, demographic changes such as the aging of population can lead to a secular increase of exits from the labor force, shrinking the labor force and decreasing the labor force participation rate."
Labor Force Participation Rate (CIVPART) | FRED | St. Louis Fed (stlouisfed.org)

In particular, as this article from the Philly Fed explains, labor force participation rose dramatically from roughly 1970 to roughly 1990 because women entered the work force in large numbers over that time. It is also true that there are now a lot of Baby Boomers retiring. But even back in 2017, the Philly Fed said this: "Trends among workers in their prime earning years are also unfavorable. After peaking at 98 percent in 1954, the participation of American men 25 to 54 years old began slipping in the late 1960s and has fallen steadily to 88 percent (Figure 4). This is one of the lowest participation rates for prime-age men among developed countries, and only Italy has experienced a greater decline." Clearly, based on Gramm's data, those numbers are now much worse, although they're not precisely the same data set. (Gramm's is also filtered by income, not just by age.)

eiq4_where-is-everybody.pdf (philadelphiafed.org)

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