Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Palin on Alaska vs Exxon Valdez

I just finished watching a clip of Sarah Palin talking about the Supreme Court verdict in Alaska v Exxon from June. In it she appear quite knowledgeable, well spoken, compassionate. However in just 5 months she completely forgot about it? Other things that happened in June, the start of summer classes, the resolution of the Michigan and Florida primaries, the end of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Maybe its a little harder to remember what happened in June, but I know that if a $2.5 billion dollar judgment for my state was cut to $500 million I'd remember that.

You'll hear 2 common reasons for her oversight, she couldn't remember or she was stunned by the camera (I hope she never has to meet another world leader with a camera around). I doubt she couldn't remember or was stunned. It wouldn't suprise me if she was told not to bring it up, it certainly gets in the way of those who, you know, what to drill baby drill.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Universal Health Care?

Should we have universal health care? Well in an ideal world everyone would pay for their own. But what tends to happen in that case is that every rational individual would only buy health insurance when the expected to gain more from it than what they put in. Of course, companies are much better at being rational (i.e. profit maximizing) than individuals. Insurance companies aren't going to sell to those who would benefit so they raise their price on these people which causes another set to stop getting insurance and the cycle continues the only people that have it are those that are paying to much for it. This is wasteful. How group health plans work is by pooling the risk of payouts among all those in the group. Some will over pay and some will benefit. But doesn't it tend to lower the cost overall? Isn't the cost of an individual policy in a group plan better than an individual policy without a group plan? Wouldn't average fixed costs be lower for group plans as well as the marginal cost of care when the service receiver comes from a group plan due to increased negotiating power? And wouldn't the largest group plan possible come from a "universal program"? I'm not even mandating that the government run it, just pay for it, but from where.

People say they are for lower taxes, but that's really just a proxy for either wanting higher net income or lower government waste. The average health care plan for an individual costs $4479, with the vast majority coming from a firm's contribution ($3785). Essentially this is additional compensation. Are those that are against their tax dollars contributing to a universal program worried about their taxes being raised 6% ($4000 on an average gross income of 60k)?

We'd still have to tackle the government waste aspects but how could a pooled version be any better than one a market could propose?

BTW. Here's an analysis of McCain's health care plan (a plan under which he wouldn't even be covered due to pre-existing conditions).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

McCain and "Entitlement"

So Senator McCain isn't opposed to a continuation of the war in Iraq. But he's also against entitlement programs that "Wasington let get out of control." I guess that means we've done a really good job keeping control of the little government program to stay in Iraq.

Maybe the keyword was "entitlement".

Federal Money in Health Care Plan From McCain

An Open Letter to Senator John Cornyn

Senator Cornyn:

As a finance and business student I am disappointed of with your narrow view of free markets. In my economics classes we learn of two concepts that seem to be lacking in our current "free market" enterprises. The laws of supply and demand seem to be holding as gas prices rise to $4. I'm sure you're aware that the number of passenger miles driven this May have fallen by 4% over last years amount. Further public transportation system ridership have increased across the country. Though as unfortunate as the high gas prices are to some, people across Texas and across this country are making life changing decisions on what they drive and where they live that lowers their demand for oil and gas. And as they teach you in any first year economics course lower demand leads to lower prices. Increasing the supply of oil does nothing to change our behavior, it simply postpones the problem causing us to be further behind in our alternative infrastructure when we can no long domestically increase our supply of oil.

The current price of gas we're paying is the price we've incurred from being wasteful over the last several decades. Your response to these problems mortgage our future for a very small amount of reprieve.

Secondly, in economics classes they teach of the costs of externalities. We know that cars pollute. And though in your "update" from June 6, you don't discuss a connection between CO2 emissions and global warming, you rise in opposition against a funding package to counteract the externalities of the very actions the taxes are being earmarked to counteract. Taxes work when, first, they help curb demand (which I've already discussed) and second, when they pay for things that parties directly cause but don't pay for. I'm firmly opposed to your stance and urge you to consider who is really paying for gas guzzlers and the maintenance of our wasteful way of life.

I am pleased with your support for solar energy projects, I urge you to continue this support as well as support for alternative types of transportation both throughout our metropolitan areas and between them.