Monday, February 8

Better Cheaper Band-Aids as Example for Healthcare Reform

What would it be like if band-aids were too expensive? What if the cost of our band-aid insurance had risen dramatically in the last few years? And that the cost of band-aid insurance was sapping wag increases? How should the government respond?

1. Obama Sheer Style
As in the sheer audacity of government take over. We could push for government band-aids to be sold next to the Johnson and Johnson brand at Wal-Mart. But since government can legislate everything from the cost of the petroleum to the cost of labor put into the band-aids and the advertisement J&J can run the result would most likely turn quickly into a government take over while the full cost of band-aids continued to rise. And don't forget that there would be band-aids for abortion, and a mandate that every American carry at least one band-aid in their wallet or purse or risk being fined.

2. Letting 3M and Sam Walton innovation work
If the comparison is between band-aids and health care/health insurance each band-aid would have to be sold in the state it was made in. No selling over state lines. Worse, the government would already be involved in half of the band-aids sold the poor while only paying the manufacturers 40% what it cost to make them with the difference being made up by every other American. Don't forget that the very stickiness of the bandage would be litigated into million dollar settlements by lawyers adding additional costs to those band-aids. Not that you would actually know the cost of those band-aids before you buy them. Cut your hand and must run to the store to stop the bleeding? Both Wal-Mart, Kmart and your local drugstore would all have the bandaid, but they would be unable/unwilling to tell you how much it cost until they send you a bill in the mail six months after swipe the plastic to wrap your oozing finger in protective sheer. 

Is it clear yet why your health insurance and healthcare are through the roof? If band-aids were sold as healthcare is now sold, I could guarantee you they would be irrationally expensive and complicated. 3M and Sam Walton innovation are left to work and bring down band-aid prices, there is no reason why our healthcare could not be brought some of the same reform.

Dream Car

No comment on the ad, but this car is totally on my dream list. Not because it is "green" but because it drives like a sports car and sips gas like a compact with room enough for your camping trip. If only it would be easier on the wallet. :(

"You want jobs? Pay Farmers."

That was the sentiment at a recent listening session that Sen. Feingold held in Bloomer Wisconsin.

Now, look. I don't have anything against farmers, having grown sweet corn and worked out at a strawberry farm for years, but this sort of entitlement is embarrassing.

You want jobs? Pay website designers. Goodness, let's just pay everyone government money. That's what you call redistributive socialism.  I say, "You want that sort of job? Move to Europe!"

Path to More Jobs: Cut Minimum Wage

Of course cutting the minimum wage might not be popular, but it is very likely good economic policy especially in a recession. Labor like any freely traded commodity is subject to the laws of supply and demand. Right now there is a significantly weak demand for work and a large supply of people wanting it. What should happen? The price of labor (wages) should decrease. At one level we understand this: those multi-millionaire CEO should get a cut we all agree. But what about the rest of the workers? If a company had a choice between cutting a third of its workforce or cutting the wages by a third, would you rather be working for a third as much or not working at all?

Interestingly, during one of the hardest depressions the United States ever faced during the 1920-1921 wages were allowed to fluctuate with the state of the economy. Although wages fell substantially along with the stock market and the rest of the economy, unemployment was quickly (in around a  year!) brought under control, and wages too quickly recovered.

Indeed, probably the best synopsis of this success was written by none other than Ben Bernanke
On how bad it was:

"In one crucial respect, the depression of 1920-21 was actually more severe than the Great Depression itself: there was a rapid decline in the price level of between forty and fifty percent within the course of a single year."

On how employment reacted:

"Employment and output were however not as severely affected as in the Great Depression. Of course precise unemployment data are not available for this period, but one representative estimate (Lebergott, 1957) puts civilian unemployment at 2.3% in 1919, 11.9% in 1921, and back to 3.2% in 1923."

The reason? Wage flexibility:

"As these stylized facts indicate, the second unusual feature of the depression of 1920-21 was the rapid recovery in employment and output, in sync with a swift adjustment of the real wage to its new equilibrium position."

One of the unique differences between the depression of 1920 and 1929 was that wages were not allowed by the government to fluctuate in 1929 like they had in 1920. The result was that the depression of 1920 was over in a year (unemployment was at 3.2% in 1923!). While the 1929 depression lasted for over a decade with unemployment rates of over 10% until the 1940s!

Now, remember those confusing employment numbers from January. How the unemployment rate fell but the job loss continued? The main reason this was possible is because of the increasing number of people who are self-employed according to reports. Self-employed people still respond to the actual market for labor much more closely than labor protected by union and government imposed wage restrictions. The result is that despite the government's attempt to continue to bungle the economy by keeping wages high, there remains enough freedom through avenues like self-employment for wages to fluctuate enough for the economy to recover.

To let the economy (and jobs especially) recover faster we must let wages be flexible.

Tuesday, February 2

Pepsi Responds

So Pepsi responds to my comment on facebook about the religious discrimination:

"We want to help clarify that projects may be carried out in association with religious organizations, so long as project activities do not involve religious advocacy or proselytizing – acts and intentions to advance a religious denomination or expand membership or encourage conversion:;"

Hope Gospel Mission is still a problem. They see a change of heart part of the solution instead of simply putting a band-aid on the physical. Again, I say let the voters--those who drink pepsi--decide if the cause merits the grant rather than getting pepsi mixed up in the middle. I wonder why they don't avoid politics too...

Mark Neumann Rips Obama?

Is it only me or do Mark Neumann's campaign logos look a tad bit like Obama's?

Obama's/Organize for America

Church In Second Life?

In the virtual world of Second Life, there has been some work done to set up churches. Mark Brown (former head of the New Zealand Bible Society) was one of the founders and pastors of this Anglican Church. Nothing can compare with actual real life church, but just as we used to have bible studies by correspondence this is an area that missions should be exploring. Take a look at this video from their Easter Service:

Also of note is the Bible Facebook page that simply posts and discusses portions of the Bible (again started by Mark Brown) It now has over 1.4 million fans. Incredible.

You try thinking of a church

Pepsi Social Media and Religious Discrimination

Pepsi is on top of the new field of advertisement, but with an offensive twist. Bowing out of spending millions of dollars on the Super Bowl, Pepsi instead has decided to launch a social media advertisement campaign based on helping nonprofits while discriminating against any nonprofit that "involve religious advocacy."

The only other substantive qualifications deal with age, operating within the United States and that the project can be done on time. There is not even any of the classic concern about discrimination on the basis of race, origin, etc. That could have been more acceptable but then again, what if I want help Boy Scouts go camping? That would discriminate against girls. But if I want to help out the homeless with biblical principles of honesty and hard work--nope.

No, the best thing for Pepsi to do, is to ax the discrimination completely. They already are asking their customers to vote, why can't they decide as well if they want to support the Salvation Army or World Vision if they want to?

Go to Pepsi refresh now and comment on their wall. If social media works, we can show how this hurts some of our most valuable nonprofits.

Monday, February 1

Landmark Study Shows Abstinence Ed. Works

A study (funded by the gov't no less) found that abstinence education worked better than comprehensive education. 

The scientific evidence:

Over the next two years, about 33 percent of the students who went through the abstinence program started having sex, compared to about 52 percent who were just taught safe sex. About 42 percent of the students who went through the comprehensive program started having sex, and about 47 percent of those who just learned about other ways to be healthy. The abstinence program had no negative effects on condom use, which has been a major criticism of the abstinence approach.

Question: does this mean Obama and the left will now support science or their own agenda?