Saturday, July 9, 2011

A drunken economist solves the world's problems


While waiting at a bar for some friends, I started chatting with a man next to me, who turned out to be a high-ranking economist at a Federal agency. He was sloshed, and the bartender knew him by sight and kept his drinks coming.

"The world is in a bad way," he told me. "Things are going to get worse before they get better." He said there was basically no way out of the trap created when the ever-rising cost of health care butts up against our moral revulsion around people making financial decisions about when to end medical care (i.e. "Death Panels). He was pro-Death Panels, he told me, because there simply was no other way.

Now we were both bummed. But he cheered me up by telling me two ingenious plans he had to solve major social and political problems. I told one of these to a work friend, who turned into a "Negative Nelly" and started telling me why it was a stupid idea. Whatevs. I'll write about both in upcoming posts.