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Jane Smiley on English majors vs economists

September 8th, 2009 No comments

An English major rants about the ludicrous disparity between common sense and economic theory in Other Economists in the Room:

…if I come to your country with my enormously expensive army and I steal, or attempt to steal, your oil, in order to make it into gasoline and blow ever more pollution of all kinds into the air, then the cost of the war (in lives, money, social, and environmental damage), the moral cost of the theft of someone else’s resource, and the ultimate cost to the planet and its living beings of global warming will not, according to economics, be factored into the cost of the oil, because those things are “externals” and are considered to be free. Well, they are free, to the shareholders of Exxon, but they are not free to the planet. You would think that economists, as human beings, would look around once in a while and say, “Gosh, something ‘external’ is going on.” But they don’t seem to.

Categories: politics

CIGNA exec on why the health insurance industry is so scared of the “public option.”

July 11th, 2009 No comments

Bill Moyers Journal interview of former CIGNA public relations executive:

BILL MOYERS: Why is public insurance, a public option, so fiercely opposed by the industry?

WENDELL POTTER: The industry doesn’t want to have any competitor. In fact, over the course of the last few years, has been shrinking the number of competitors through a lot of acquisitions and mergers. So first of all, they don’t want any more competition period. They certainly don’t want it from a government plan that might be operating more efficiently than they are, that they operate. The Medicare program that we have here is a government-run program that has administrative expenses that are like three percent or so.

BILL MOYERS: Compared to the industry’s–

WENDELL POTTER: They spend about 20 cents of every premium dollar on overhead, which is administrative expense or profit. So they don’t want to compete against a more efficient competitor.

Even Howard Dean doesn’t believe a single payer system like the successful ones in Canada, Great Britain and here in Japan is politically feasible, but we should at the very least insist congress legislates a public option. Contact your congress-critter, write a letter to your local paper, etc. as a counter to the insurance industry’s massive lobbying effort.

Categories: health, politics

Al Franken recovers Wellstone’s senate seat

July 2nd, 2009 No comments

After a very close race and extended legal battle, Al Franken is finally going to be seated as the junior Senator from Minnesota, joining Amy Klobuchar in the fight to return a beautiful midwestern state to its progressive roots:

So now the GOP feels like the floor fell out from beneath them. In a way I sympathize, but then I remember the bumper stickers after Wellstone’s death that said “he’s dead, get over it.”

voyageurs_national_park

Categories: politics

Obama photos

November 27th, 2008 No comments
Categories: politics