Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Poll

Why did Sarah Palin resign?

Personal scandal
 5 (17.2%)
Probable indictment
 7 (24.1%)
Just plain craziness
 3 (10.3%)
Looooong lead up to 2012
 4 (13.8%)
Something else
 2 (6.9%)
Some combination of the above
 8 (27.6%)

Total Members Voted: 29

Author Topic: The Thread on Politics  (Read 416302 times)

A.

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 15712
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2007, 07:11:53 PM »
What happens when the government runs healthcare:

 Army secretary resigns in scandal's wake

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer 12 minutes ago

Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey abruptly stepped down Friday as the Bush administration struggled to cope with the fallout from a scandal over substandard conditions for war-wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Harvey's departure, announced on short notice by a visibly agitated Defense Secretary Robert Gates, was the most dramatic move in an escalating removal of officials with responsibilities over one of the military's highest-profile and busiest medical facilities.

Hours earlier, President Bush ordered a comprehensive review of conditions at the nation's network of military and veteran hospitals, which has been overwhelmed by injured troops from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gates said Harvey had resigned, but senior defense officials speaking on condition of anonymity said Gates had privately demanded that Harvey leave. Gates was displeased that the officer Harvey had chosen as interim commander of Walter Reed — Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, the current Army surgeon general and a former commander of Walter Reed — has been accused by critics of long knowing about the problems there and not improving outpatient care.

"I am disappointed that some in the Army have not adequately appreciated the seriousness of the situation pertaining to outpatient care at Walter Reed," Gates said in the Pentagon briefing room. He took no questions from reporters.

Harvey was at Fort Benning, Ga., on Friday morning when he cut short his visit to return to Washington to meet with Gates.

On Thursday, Harvey fired the medical center's previous commander, Maj. Gen. George Weightman, for failures linked to the outpatient treatment controversy. Many had speculated that Weightman would be relieved of command, but Harvey's departure was a surprise. His last day in the job will be March 9.

Peter Geren, the undersecretary of the Army, will serve as Harvey's temporary replacement until Bush nominates a new secretary.

As Army secretary, Harvey is the service's top civilian official. He commands no troops. Along with the four-star general who is Army chief of staff, the secretary has statutory responsibility for training and equipping the Army. That includes responsibility for budgeting, recruiting and other personnel and resource policies.

The Army announced Friday that Maj. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, 58, will be the new commander of Walter Reed, which is located in Washington.

"From what I have learned, the problems at Walter Reed appear to be problems of leadership," Gates said. "The Walter Reed doctors, nurses and other staff are among the best and most caring in the world. They deserve our continued deepest thanks and strongest support."

The revelations about shoddy facilities and wounded soldiers enduring long waits for treatment have embarrassed the Army and the Bush administration at a time when the White House is scrambling to shore up eroding support for the Iraq war. It has prompted numerous calls in Congress for more information, and sullied the reputation of what is supposed to be one of the military's foremost medical facilities.

Rep. Ike Skelton (news, bio, voting record), D-Mo., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, applauded Harvey's departure.

"I commend him for taking responsibility for the problems at Walter Reed," Skelton said.

The defense secretary indicated he was unhappy with the way Army leaders had responded to the Walter Reed disclosures.

"Some have shown too much defensiveness and have not shown enough focus on digging into and addressing the problems," Gates said. "Also I am concerned that some do not properly understand the need to communicate to the wounded and their families that we have no higher priority than their care and that addressing their concerns about the quality of their outpatient experience is critically important. Our wounded soldiers and their families have sacrificed much and they deserve the best we can offer."

The White House said the president would name a bipartisan commission to assess whether the problems at Walter Reed exist at other facilities. Last week, Gates created an outside panel to review the situation at Walter Reed and the other major military hospital in the Washington area, the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md.

The actions come after The Washington Post documented squalid living conditions for some outpatient soldiers at Walter Reed and bureaucratic problems that prevented many troops from getting adequate care.

Harvey has been Army secretary since November 2004.

He is the second consecutive Army secretary to be removed abruptly from office. In April 2003, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld fired Thomas White, who had engaged in public disputes with Rumsfeld.

A former businessman trained as an engineer, Harvey counted as one of his proudest achievements a turnaround of the Army's recent recruiting slump. The Army missed its recruiting goal 2005 for the first time since 1999, and that same year Harvey instituted a series of changes that led to a recovery in recruiting.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070302/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/walter_reed

One Step Ahead

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6465
  • you say you want a revolution
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2007, 02:23:40 AM »
and what happens when they don't?  a kid dies from a cavity

A.

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 15712
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2007, 09:00:21 AM »
and what happens when they don't?  a kid dies from a cavity

Nah, that still would have happened.  How many months/years do the British have to wait for dental care, especially if it requires surgery?

A.

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 15712
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2007, 09:02:46 AM »
That sounds nice ostensibly...who doesn't want an environment full of well-paying jobs?  But I'm not convinced such an environment can be created so that there is a net benefit to our economy.  Higher wages --> higher prices --> more consumer spending --> higher wages to maintain standard of living.  Seems like a big circle to me, although the analysis is obviously simplistic.

Your model is missing productivity gains which, after all, are the only means by which economic growth is achieved. Absent that it isn't surprising that you have a purely inflationary spiral.


And you contend that the productivity gains will keep prices low enough to counterbalance the increased cost of wages?

A.

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 15712
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2007, 09:34:42 AM »
Hm.  I could possibly buy that.  Although the entrenched interests (e.g., in the automobile industry) are my major concern.  How do you foster collective bargaining without crippling a company's ability to shed weight when it is necessary for it to do so?  What sorts of disciplining mechanisms do you have in mind?

One Step Ahead

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6465
  • you say you want a revolution
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2007, 10:23:11 AM »
and what happens when they don't?  a kid dies from a cavity

Nah, that still would have happened.  How many months/years do the British have to wait for dental care, especially if it requires surgery?

umm no--spoken as someone who has never lived in a system with socialized medicine.  are there longer wait times? sure, but months/years not quite.  If I were poor I'd rather wait two weeks than never see someone.  The beauty of routine care verses USA don't-call-unless-someone-is-gushing-blood is that the problem would have been spotted and addressed much earlier.

A.

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 15712
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2007, 10:27:07 AM »
Oh?:

In a Dentist Shortage, British (Ouch) Do It Themselves
By SARAH LYALL

ROCHDALE, England, May 2 — "I snapped it out myself," said William Kelly, 43, describing his most recent dental procedure, the autoextraction of one of his upper teeth.

Now it is a jagged black stump, and the pain gnawing at Mr. Kelly's mouth has transferred itself to a different tooth, mottled and rickety, on the other side of his mouth. "I'm in the middle of pulling that one out, too," he said.

It is easy to be mean about British teeth. Mike Myers's mouth is a joke in itself in the "Austin Powers" movies. In a "Simpsons" episode, dentalphobic children are shown "The Big Book of British Smiles," cautionary photographs of hideously snaggletoothed Britons. In Mexico, protruding, discolored and generally unfortunate teeth are known as "dientes de ingles."

But the problem is serious. Mr. Kelly's predicament is not just a result of cigarettes and possibly indifferent oral hygiene; he is careful to brush once a day, he said. Instead, it is due in large part to the deficiencies in Britain's state-financed dental service, which, stretched beyond its limit, no longer serves everyone and no longer even pretends to try.

Mr. Kelly, interviewed in a health clinic here as he waited for his son to see a doctor, last visited a dentist six years ago, in Sussex.

Since moving to Rochdale, a working-class suburb of Manchester, he has been unable to find a National Health Service dentist willing to take him on.

Every time he has tried to sign up, lining up with hundreds of others from the ranks of the desperate and the hurting — "I've seen people with bleeding gums where they've ripped their teeth out," he said grimly — he has arrived too late and missed the cutoff.

"You could argue that Britain has not seen lines like this since World War II," said Mark Pritchard, a member of Parliament who represents part of Shropshire, where the situation is just as grim. "Churchill once said that the British are great queuers, but I don't think he meant that in connection to dental care."

Britain has too few public dentists for too many people. At the beginning of the year, just 49 percent of the adults and 63 percent of the children in England and Wales were registered with public dentists.

And now, discouraged by what they say is the assembly-line nature of the job and by a new contract that pays them to perform a set number of "units of dental activity" per year, even more dentists are abandoning the health service and going into private practice — some 2,000 in April alone, the British Dental Association says.

How does this affect the teeth of the nation?

"People are not registered with dentists, they can't afford to go private and therefore their teeth are going rotten," said Paul Rowen, the member of Parliament for Rochdale. Rotting teeth and no one to treat them are among his constituents' biggest complaints, up there with gas prices and shrinking pensions. Just 33 percent of the Rochdale population is signed up with a state dentist, down from 58 percent in 1997.

Nor is the level of care what it might be. The system, critics say, encourages state dentists to see too many patients in too short a time and to cut corners by, for instance, extracting teeth rather than performing root canals.

Claire Dacey, a nurse for a private dentist, said that when she worked in the National Health Service one dentist in the practice performed cleanings in five minutes flat.

Moreover, she said, by the time patients got in to see a dentist, many were in terrible shape.

"I had a lady who was in so much pain and had to wait so long that she got herself drunk and had her friend take out her tooth with a pair of pliers," Ms. Dacey said.

Some people simply seek treatment abroad.

"I saw it on the Internet," said Josie Johnson, 42, of London, describing how she heard about a company called Vital Europe, which offers dental-and-vacation packages to Hungary. "It's a quite small country, and I thought, they specialize in dentistry — so that's what I might do."

The dentists she consulted in London told her the four implants she needs would cost 8,000 to 10,000 pounds ($14,900 to $18,600); similar treatment in Budapest costs 3,200 to 4,400 pounds ($5,900 to $8,200), according to VitalEurope.

Beyond that, she said, "I can make a holiday of it."

In Rochdale, people who have no dentist but who are in dire straits can visit an emergency clinic that very day — provided they can get an appointment. The phones open at 8 a.m.; the books are closed by about 8:10.

"We see toothaches through trauma, toothaches through neglect, dental caries, dental abscesses, gum disease," said Dr. Khalid Anis, the clinical leader for the emergency facility, the Dental Access Center. "What we see is shocking."

Dr. Anis enumerated some positive dental developments in Rochdale: a second, soon-to-be-opened clinic; an aggressive community-health program; a political push, finally, to fluoridate the water. But, he said, "sometimes I feel as if I'm hitting my head against a brick wall."

The waiting room at the center was a testament to his concerns. Sitting by the window was George Glasper, 81. One of Mr. Glasper's teeth had broken off a week earlier, but when he called his dentist, he was told the practice had become a private one. Efforts to sign up with four other dentists failed, he said.

Nearby sat Shahana Begum, 27, a Bangladeshi immigrant with a bad toothache and no dentist. Her stepdaughter, Sanya Karim, 16, said her family had been trying to find a health service dentist for six years, since moving to Rochdale from Birmingham.

Occasionally, Miss Karim says, she feels a twinge or an ache, but she tries to ignore it. "It normally goes away in a couple of days," she said.

In extremis, Britons can always buy dental emergency supplies made by a company called Passion for Health DenTek. These include materials that allow people to replace lost fillings, treat gum pain or reattach cracked crowns "until they can actually get in and see a dentist," said Jennifer Stone, the company's sales and marketing director. Sales in Britain have increased by 40 percent in the last year, Ms. Stone said.

A recent Guardian newspaper article about the company titled "D.I.Y. Dentistry" (meaning Do It Yourself) said that the previous week British drugstores had sold 6,000 jars of the filling replacement, and 6,000 of the crown-and-cap replacement.

Ms. Stone, an American, says she is struck by the profound differences in attitudes about dental care in Britain and the United States.

"Prevention and having nice white shiny teeth is a huge priority for us from the moment we're born," she said. "That doesn't seem to be the culture here. You've got a lot of tea drinkers; you've got a lot of staining. In the U.S., we go through a spool of dental floss in six weeks, on average. Here it's a year and a half."

Back in Rochdale clinic, Dr. Anis laughed hollowly when the word came up in connection with his patients, who come from some of the area's most deprived neighborhoods. "Floss?" he said. "That's a good one."


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/07/world/europe/07teeth.html?ex=1304654400&en=a066e60f18907288&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Tony Montana

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 517
  • Strength and honor
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #37 on: March 03, 2007, 11:11:34 AM »
Hm. Maybe. Of course in practice shareholder revolts are as rare as electoral revolts.

In any case, the key idea is the benefit of a carefully calibrated check and balance structure that benefits the health of the individual company, the sector/industry, and the economy as a whole.

How?

1) Unions operating across multiple firms deter employers from seeking to gain advantages purely by slashing wages in a race to the bottom and instead encourages them to compete on innovation.

2) Partly because wages are taken out of competition, multi-firm unions have pioneered cooperation between firms on investments in "public goods" such as worker training and other services that improve productivity at all firms.

3) With a union, workers can gain a voice to improve production without worrying that they are merely contributing to their own loss of a job.

4) Lowering turnover and improving skills. Compare, for example, the total labor costs of Walmart and Costco, two otherwise similar firms. Walmart famously pays very little and Costco famously pays very well, and yet Walmart doesn't have a labor cost advantage because it pays an extraordinary amount due to the employee turnover that their labor practices induce.

4) Higher wages paid to union workers encourages firms to invest in better technology and more capital to make the high wages pay for themselves. And higher productivity, of course, is key to growth across the economy.

5) Raising incomes of workers and thereby raising aggregate demand for goods & services, fueling a virtuous cycle of growth.

There are probably additional advantages, but these alone show* the benefits of counterbalancing the otherwise myopic decision-making of corporate managers and short-term shareholders with the collective bargaining ability of unions.

Too much managerial power is not good for the company/industry/economy; too much labor power is not good for the company/industry/economy. Balance is key, and, in this country at least, balance is best achieved by fairly-matched countervailing forces negotiating the conditions of work.

*these are not speculative benefits: they are well-documented in rigorous panel studies. I can dig up cites, if you'ld like them.

Great discussion--on both sides…  Shows your understanding of economic principles.  And, I agree that productivity is the key to preventing inflation from higher wages.

Additionally, I think that providing or maintaining  "economies of scale” and "economies of scope" in "high-skill specialty production and services” would also benefit productivity, which helps stabilize inflation in the light of higher wages and increase the availability of those high paying, high skill jobs.  Of course this is simplistic--considering the evolving market and evolving global competition.  Nevertheless, the benefits are clear.
Consuetudo pro lege servatur...Corruptisima re publica plurimae leges.

One Step Ahead

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6465
  • you say you want a revolution
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2007, 12:22:57 PM »
ok you got me--the british dental system is terrible.  ;D  Ours is better IF you have the means to pay I(if you don't I'd rather have at least the possibility of being served).  It would be nice to have the pounds to go to Budapest as a holiday trip.  Instead the vast majority of US citizens have never been to the dentist at all.  And I bet a significant portion of those who have gone have only gone once or twice.

BrerAnansi

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1276
  • Thread Killer
    • View Profile
Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2007, 02:19:16 PM »
I don't think you can make a fair projection based on the state of the British dental system, Alci.  Reportage of this kind referencing Canada, or even some of the other European countries, would be more persuasive.
Grrr...

Quote from: 1LCorvo
If there aren't any arguments against my claims, then I'll depart gracefully. Feel free to continue the concordant attack on my character, it's funny.

Quote from: Saxibbles
Hugs,
Look to the f-ing left.