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.

1 comment:

shesthesheriff said...

That's a weird way to frame the argument on his part.

1) Obama could have turned the tide against health insurance companies if he had made better arguments. Go back and look at his speeches in 2009-10 and compare them to what real advocates for change like Dean Baker were saying at the time. Watch Sicko! The right things could have been said to sway public opinion, they were not-Obama put forth impotent arguments and didn't gun hard enough for the public option. He railed against practices of the insurance companies, but never questioned the legitimacy of a for profit healthcare system.

2) The 'Death Panel' argument was allowed to be made into something much bigger than it was. The word was made up by Sarah Palin for fucks sakes!! called "death panels" the "Lie of the Year".[5] referred to it as one of their "whoppers" of 2009,[6] and the American Dialect Society said that "death panel" was their "most outrageous" word for 2009.[7]