Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the September 28, 2016 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.

Babe Ruth, Historic Home Run Hitter
What's sad is to witness what Syria has become because nobody will give up.

And "because they're nonstate actors, it's hard for us to get the satisfaction of [Gen.] MacArthur and the [Japanese] Emperor [Hirohito] meeting and the war officially being over," Obama observed, referencing the end of World War II.
President Barack Obama when asked if the USA of the future will be perpetually engaged in war.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T.S. Eliot

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
George S. Patton

If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.
Yogi Berra

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau

It’s Time for Conservatives to Boycott the NFL ---
Jensen Comment
No it's not time to boycott the NFL or belittle players who refuse to stand for our National Anthem. Our previous USA wars were fought over the freedom to not standup for our National Anthem. Wars were fought so our free media could write about and show pictures of our citizens not standing up for the National Anthem.  I have a little more difficulty with classroom teachers who refuse to stand up for the National Anthem.  The reason is that many parents do not realistically have a choice of putting their young children at the mercy of a protesting teacher. There's no law requiring watching of football. But children are required by law to attend schools. Schools should give parents choices to steer their young children away from protesting teachers. Teachers should have to warn parents in advance that they (the teachers) will will be visibly protesting some things that parents and students may be emotional about for young and impressionable children. Parents should be given a choice to avoid protesting teachers just like they should be given a choice of not making students read or listen to passages from the Bible.. By college age I'm not so concerned about protesting teachers, although I think course content should stick to a curriculum plan and that universities should encourage freedom of speech that we, as a nation, fought for over the years.

Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Powered Early Space Exploration ---
Bob Jensen's history of women at work ---

Obama: African-American museum tells 'story of all of us' ---

In Norway you can view anybody's tax return ---
Jensen Comment
When I grew up among Scandinavian immigrants in Iowa the Swedes would say making tax returns available in Norway is of no consequence since Norwegians can't read. Did you know that the Swedes invented the wheelbarrow to help Norwegians walk on their hind legs
Seriously I wish tax returns were fully transparent in the USA. This would help to prevent a whole lot of cheating and other crimes as long as the IRS listens to whistleblowers and prosecutes tax crimes.

A Harvard professor studied 10 major media outlets and found a harsh reality about election coverage ---

No doubt, the presidential debates will help focus the public’s attention on the differences in the Trump and Clinton platforms. However, press coverage of past campaigns would suggest that news stories will take voters’ minds in a different direction. There’s a distinct possibility that voters will go to the polls in November with “the wall” and “emails” uppermost in their thoughts.

One of the more misleading campaign promises is that Hillary Clinton supports gun ownership and the Second Amendment. This is probably true. But she will nominate a Supreme Court judge or two that will tip the USA Supreme Court against the Second Amendment. That's getting somebody else to do your secret bidding.
Bob Jensen

Five Myths About Economic Inequality In America ---

Visualizing Climate Change
Thank you Scott Bonacker for the heads up

PBS Produces Lesson Plan for K-12 Teachers Claiming Open Borders are the Only Politically Correct Stance on Immigration and That Donald Trump is Dangerous ---
Jensen Question
Was PBS (think Bill Moyers) ever bipartisan since the 1970s series by Milton Firedman called "Free to Choose"? (times have changed for PBS)

Backlash? Merkel's Party Loses Big Because of Her Open Immigration Policies ---

Britain's One Party State:  The Implosion of the Labour Party Leaves Britain With a One-Party State ---
The Economist
Jensen Comment
That was the Obama-Clinton hope for the Republican Party Implosion when Donald Trump became its candidate for the President of the USA. The polls are now saying otherwise, but there's till time left for a Clinton recovery (maybe). (as(

How Late Night TV (and the media in general) Turned on Donald Trump ---
Jensen Comment
These late night TV programmers, like the biased media and biased colleges in general, are unwittingly (unWITtingly) helping to lift Trump's chances of winning in November. Millions of voters across the USA despise unfairness, profanity, and political correctness by whatever name. If you're a Trump supporter you should probably be thankful for all this unWITing help bias is giving to the Trump candidacy. Sigh! I'm not a Trump supporter there for I'm not grateful to late night TV, the biased media, and the biased colleges in general.
Gallup Poll Shows USA Voter Trust in the Media Plunged to an all-time low ---
Also see

Clinton and Trump on Issues:  The Economy
Jensen Comment
This article does not expand into really big issues that affect the economy like Obamacare and free college.

Video:  The Twilight of the Clintons. A very funny parody of the Ring cycle ---

Bill Clinton as “still dicking bimbos at home,”
Colin Powell, former head of the U.S. military and former Secretary of State

Stop Arresting Prostitutes ---
Jensen Comment
These arrests are tarnishing the image of Bill Clinton

CBS News:  Other Colin Powell eMails Slamming Clinton and Trump ---
ABC News censored out the Powell's criticisms of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton

Nation's largest police union endorses Trump ---

The OK Conference, representing 50 schools in Michigan, has announced a crackdown on fans chanting, “USA” at football games --- after a predominantly black high school objected to the chant.

Jensen Comment
Wonder how officials can punish fans who say "USA." Isn't that a constitutional right?

Rankings of USA Presidents --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States
What the rankings tell me is that that in the last half 20th Century voters in the USA are not much concerned whether their presidents commit adultery over and over and over while in office.
Exhibits A, B, and C are the popularity rankings of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Clinton
This may not have been true before 1900

Bill Clinton as “still dicking bimbos at home,”
Colin Powell, former head of the U.S. military and former Secretary of State

Goal of Hillary Clinton Administration is to Pack the Supreme Court With Progressive Judges
NY Senator Chuck Schumer

Record U.S. military aid deal for Israel to be signed on Wednesday ---
Jensen Question
I wonder if the strong support for Donald Trump in Israel affected this generosity.

State Department Finally Admits: Nuke Deal Might Be Making Iran's Behavior Worse ---

Salon: The Iran Deal Is A Disaster–And Obama Is To Blame ---
Jensen Comment
What makes this significant is that Salon is one of the most liberal, anti-capitalist Websites in the world.

Iran is the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, with government officials directly responsible for numerous terrorist attacks ---

A small business in Canada is offering a job and land to those willing to relocate to Nova Scotia, but only to those who are legally allowed to work in Canada.---
Jensen Comment
This is restricted to individuals who are legally able to work in Canada.
When push comes to shove there may be other restrictions to keep people with lousy work records out. What about disabled workers?

NY Times: Tax Lawyers — The Big Winners In Hillary Clinton’s 'Fiendishly Complicated' Tax Plan ---

Inside the Secretive World of Tax Avoidance Experts (who protect the 1%) ---

The State of Michigan's 21st Century Investment Fund (CIF) has spent nearly $100 million on various types of subsidies and other forms of involvement in businesses since 2006, yet only 1,052 jobs have been created or retained because of it,
Jensen Comment
I think this Website is politically biased. But the CIF report does once again show the road to Hell is paved with good intentions --- another illustration how economic development scammers take state and local governments intent on spending to do good deeds. Some might argue that $100 million would be better spent having the unemployed fill pot holes in Michigan roads. The problem with that argument is that all you've trained the workers to do is fill pot holes. The economic development scammers promise to make rocket scientists out of the unemployed. The problem with that is that none become rocket scientists in these scams.

Animated map shows the most dangerous countries in the world for tourists ---

Well, the rifleman’s stalking the sick and the lame
Preacherman seeks the same, who’ll get there first is uncertain
Nightsticks and water cannons, tear gas, padlocks
Molotov cocktails and rocks behind every curtain
False-hearted judges dying in the webs that they spin
Only a matter of time ’til night comes steppin’ in

Bob Dylan

Political Correctness --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies2.htm#PoliticalCorrectness

Political correctness is the "Closing of the American Minds"

Allan Bloom's 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind ---



"The Coddling of the American Mind:  In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health," by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic, September 2015 ---


U Chicago to Freshmen: Don't Expect (Politically Correct) Safe Spaces ---

Those tasked with writing letters to incoming freshmen frequently wonder if anyone reads them.

John Ellison, dean of students at the University of Chicago, need not worry. His letter to new students has been read and scrutinized not only by Chicago students but by professors and pundits nationwide. "Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial and we do not condone the creation of intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own," he wrote.

To those who regularly campaign against what they see as political correctness, and to plenty of others, the letter was the message they have been waiting for -- and that they think students need.

But to many others, the letter distorted programs on which many students rely, ignored the hostility many students feel on campus, and belittled the sincerity of faculty members who work to make higher education more inclusive. Many also said that the letter, by criticizing specific academic practices, could be seen as limiting academic freedom by discouraging the use of those practices.

In a twist first reported by The Chicago Tribune, Chicago may not be as pure on safe spaces as the letter suggested. It turns out that the University of Chicago website features references to efforts to create safe spaces for students -- and even a Safe Space Ally Network for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. One of the safe space allies is none other than the same John Ellison who wrote to freshmen criticizing the safe space concept. Ellison did not respond to messages, and his email has an "out of office" response.

While Ellison hasn't been talking, Chicago officials are promoting his ideas. Chicago's president, Robert J. Zimmer, published an essay in The Wall Street Journal Friday reiterating the points Ellison made, and saying that "free speech is at risk" in academe.

"Universities cannot be viewed as a sanctuary for comfort but rather as a crucible for confronting ideas and thereby learning to make informed judgments in complex environments," he wrote. "Having one’s assumptions challenged and experiencing the discomfort that sometimes accompanies this process are intrinsic parts of an excellent education. Only then will students develop the skills necessary to build their own futures and contribute to society."

Continued in article


"The Chicago School of Free Speech," The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2016 ---


For a change, we come not to bury a college president but to praise him. His name is Robert Zimmer, and nearby the University of Chicago president defends the educational and societal virtues of free speech on college campuses. Let’s hope he wears body armor to the next faculty meeting.

Mr. Zimmer’s public coming out is all the more notable because it appears to be part of a university-wide message. The school’s dean of students, Jay Ellison, has written a letter to incoming freshmen noting that the desire for “safe spaces” from discomfiting speech or ideas will not override the academic community’s interest in rigorous debate.

“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship,” Mr. Ellison wrote for tender millennial ears. “You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.”

This is so refreshing we want to keep going. Mr. Ellison’s letter adds that Chicago’s “commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

The letter comes with a monograph by dean John Boyer discussing the university’s “history of debate, and even scandal, resulting from our commitment to academic freedom.” Maybe Chicago’s example will inspire spinal infusions at the likes of Rutgers, the University of Missouri, and even the timorous souls at Yale.


University of Chicago Politically Correctness Professors Fire Back ---

More than 150 faculty members at the University of Chicago on Tuesday published an open letter to freshmen in which they take a strikingly different approach from the official communication sent by a Chicago dean. Safe spaces and trigger warnings, the letter said, are legitimate topics for discussion and reflect the real needs of many students.

The earlier letter -- much debated in recent weeks -- was from John Ellison, dean of students. He told incoming students not to expect what many of their peers elsewhere may have. "Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial and we do not condone the creation of intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own," wrote Ellison. He has since been hailed as a hero for free expression and denounced as out of touch and insensitive -- with his letter becoming a Rorschach test for how one views higher education.

The faculty letter was published in the student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon. The letter doesn't say that trigger warnings or safe spaces are inherently good or bad. But it says that students have every right to request these things -- and that discouraging students from doing so represents a squelching of freedom of expression.

"Those of us who have signed this letter have a variety of opinions about requests for trigger warnings and safe spaces," the letter says. "We may also disagree as to whether free speech is ever legitimately interrupted by concrete pressures of the political. That is as it should be. But let there be no mistake: such requests often touch on substantive, ongoing issues of bias, intolerance and trauma that affect our intellectual exchanges. To start a conversation by declaring that such requests are not worth making is an affront to the basic principles of liberal education and participatory democracy.

  • Illustrations of Political Correctness

    A Syracuse University professor withdrew an invitation to a New York University professor, who is Israeli, to present his film at an academic conference, saying that his nationality would upset colleagues who favor a boycott of Israeli academe.
    Jensen Comment
    How does the phrase read about "race, creed, or national origin?"

    We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change’
    Three professors jointly teaching a science course at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs
    Jensen Comment
    The first thing I would challenge is their asserted scientific "fact" that 98% of the world's  scientists by all aspects of climate change hook, line, and sinker!
    These politically correct professors also ordered that any student who wanted to challenge the science of climate change should stay out of their online course
    Why is closed mindedness taking over our Academy?
    I think we can safely assume these scientists are rotten examples of "scientists"


    But the latest predictable outrage is that DePaul University has banned Shapiro from appearing on campus, under the ludicrous and specious pretense of "security concerns." If there are security concerns, neither Shapiro nor his admirers are causing them. As Shapiro's sponsor, Young America's Foundation said, "Make no mistake, any security concerns we face on campuses are 100 percent incited by the censorious, intolerant left."
    Jensen Comment
    The :intolerant left" includes most of Depaul's faculty as well as students.
    Ben Shapiro is not politically correct for campuses in the USA.


    "Resignation at Yale," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, December 6, 2015 ---


    Smith College Protesters Bar Journalists From Covering Sit-In Unless They Support the Cause ---
    Jensen Comment
    This reminds me of those letters from friends who request that I write letters of recommendation for their tenure and/or promotion candidacy but only if I don't write anything negative. Recently I got a letter from a former colleague requesting that I write a letter in support of his application for a job at another university under the condition that I let him read the letter before it's sent out.

    PBS Produces Lesson Plan for K-12 Teachers Claiming Open Borders are the Only Politically Correct Stance on Immigration and That Donald Trump is Dangerous ---
    Jensen Question
    Was PBS (think Bill Moyers) ever bipartisan since the 1970s series by Milton Firedman called "Free to Choose"? (times have changed for PBS)

    I think political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality.
    Juan William before he was fired after a distinguished career on NPR.

    "Student Diversity at More Than 4,600 Institutions," Chronicle of Higher Education, September 18, 2016 ---

    Jensen Comment
    Some things got my attention like the prestigious Ivy League universities that have nearly 50% minority enrollments. “Total minority” is the percentage of all students who are not categorized as white, race unknown, or nonresident
    Keep in mind that some (most?) prestigious universities invite children of families earning less than USA average income ($54,500) to attend free if they meet admission standards. A high proportion of those children are minority, and the admissions bar may be lower for some or all minorities.

    Insulin --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin

    There's something odd about the way insulin prices change (read that as meaning competition does not restrain price gouging including Medicare and Medicaid gouging) ---

    Insulin prices are rising — increases that mean some people are spending as much on monthly diabetes-related expenses as their mortgage payment.

    But what makes the rise in insulin prices different than many other old drugs that have drawn scrutiny over prices, is that there is competition for insulin.

    In most industries, competition drives down prices. In this case, the competitors appear to increase prices side-by-side — something that's been referred to as "shadow pricing."

    At least three companies — Eli Lilly & Co., Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi Aventis — make and sell insulin.

    Despite this competition, prices have steadily climbed over the past decade, taking single or double-digit list price increases in a year. A 10 milliliter vial of Sanofi's long-acting insulin, Lantus, first hit the US market at $34.81 a vial in 2001, according to data from Truven Health Analytics.

    Since 2014, the last time Sanofi raised the price, it has been $248.51.

    During the period in which Lantus's price rose 600%, a rival product from Novo Nordisk appeared. In 2006, the new drug, called Levemir, hit the market at $66.96 (close to what Sanofi's drug cost at the time). These days Levemir costs about $269.

    In other words, the competition seems to have done nothing to push prices down. In fact, when charted side by side, the price increases seem to be in synch.

    From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on September 13, 2016

    U.K. pension deficits mount
    The gap between reserves set aside by U.K. companies and their obligations to retirees continues to grow, Nina Trentmann reports in today’s Big Number. The combined deficit of defined-benefit pension plans at U.K. public companies rose by £50 billion to £189 billion ($250.8 billion) at the end of August, according to Mercer, a benefits consulting firm. Although the deficit has been building up for over a decade, more recent developments such as the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union and low interest rates have accelerated the downward trend.

    Yale Law Journal:  USA's State Pension Deficits, the Recession, and a Modern View of the Contracts Clause ---

    Making Impossible Campaign Promises That Candidates Know are Impossible

    Politicians historically are notorious for making impossible campaign promises. Trump certainly plays this game very well. Hillary Clinton plays this game very well. One of the latest illustrations is her promise that if elected she will tax wealthy estates 65% (up from her previous promises of 45%) ---

    Jensen Comment
    Clinton is just being restrained by half the billionaires in the USA who are endorsing her and funding her campaign. The plan of only confiscating 65% of wealthy estates is political payoff to these billionaires and millions of millionaires in the Democratic Party. There are over 400+ billionaires and 10+ million millionaires in the USA, I'm not sure how many millionaires are in the Democratic Party, but purportedly close to half the billionaires in the USA are Democrats.
    They just won't let Hillary Clinton take 100% of their savings!

    What should happen is that all estates in the USA should immediately confiscated Federal Government. This would make all the worthless heirs waiting for inheritances have to go out an work for a living. Only half the taxpayers in the USA currently pay any income tax. If we started confiscating estates the other half of the taxpaying victims could be relieved of the burden. Nobody in the USA should be allowed to accumulate savings to have, to keep, and to hold. Since Washington DC is so honest and prudently spending what little money is available to the Federal Government today we should give DC officials all the assets of the country so that we can adopt the Cuban economic solution --- give everybody an equal ration book for food, health medical care, education, and housing. Share and share alike no matter how hard your work or innovate. Everybody should be equal and not have to work and save if they choose not to do so. Then even those worthless heirs would not have to go out and work for a living or be upset because their inheritances are being confiscated.

    A market-based economy is unjust.
    Let the Federal Government ration everything we have and hold. Castro had the answer all along, and he didn't even go to college. Oops! Casto accidentally and belatedly admitted that when you give such ration books to everybody too many people no longer want to work at all.

    "Report: Castro says Cuban model doesn't work," by Paul Haven. Associated Press, Yahoo News, September 8, 2010 ---

    Fidel Castro told a visiting American journalist that Cuba's communist economic model doesn't work, a rare comment on domestic affairs from a man who has conspicuously steered clear of local issues since stepping down four years ago.

    The fact that things are not working efficiently on this cash-strapped Caribbean island is hardly news. Fidel's brother Raul, the country's president, has said the same thing repeatedly. But the blunt assessment by the father of Cuba's 1959 revolution is sure to raise eyebrows.

    Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked if Cuba's economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and Castro replied: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore" Goldberg wrote Wednesday in a post on his Atlantic blog.

    He said Castro made the comment casually over lunch following a long talk about the Middle East, and did not elaborate. The Cuban government had no immediate comment on Goldberg's account.

    Since stepping down from power in 2006, the ex-president has focused almost entirely on international affairs and said very little about Cuba and its politics, perhaps to limit the perception he is stepping on his brother's toes.

    Goldberg, who traveled to Cuba at Castro's invitation last week to discuss a recent Atlantic article he wrote about Iran's nuclear program, also reported on Tuesday that Castro questioned his own actions during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, including his recommendation to Soviet leaders that they use nuclear weapons against the United States.

    Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba has clung to its communist system.

    The state controls well over 90 percent of the economy, paying workers salaries of about $20 a month in return for free health care and education, and nearly free transportation and housing. At least a portion of every citizen's food needs are sold to them through ration books at heavily subsidized prices.

    President Raul Castro and others have instituted a series of limited economic reforms, and have warned Cubans that they need to start working harder and expecting less from the government. But the president has also made it clear he has no desire to depart from Cuba's socialist system or embrace capitalism.

    Fidel Castro stepped down temporarily in July 2006 due to a serious illness that nearly killed him.

    He resigned permanently two years later, but remains head of the Communist Party. After staying almost entirely out of the spotlight for four years, he re-emerged in July and now speaks frequently about international affairs. He has been warning for weeks of the threat of a nuclear war over Iran.

    Castro's interview with Goldberg is the only one he has given to an American journalist since he left office.


    We cannot call college faculty (on average) middle income in the USA in the 21st Century.
    The U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday that median household incomes in 2015 saw the largest year-over-year growth since the start of the survey in 1968, a 5.2 percent jump to $56,516 ---


    Jensen Comment
    I don't have the latest data on faculty income increases, but I doubt that the 2% increase trend for tenured faculty changed much for tenured faculty ---

    However, for 2015 college faculty averages the $111,053 for full professors and $80,012 for associate professors are well above what the U.S. Census Bureau defines median household incomes at $56,500 in 2015---

    In fact even non-tenured assistant professors $68,370 are doing better than "middle income."
    We cannot call college faculty (on average for nine-month contracts) middle income in the USA in the 21st Century. Averages of course are skewed upward by faculty doing much better than average (e.g., those in professions like medicine, law, business, and engineering) at major universities and skewed downward by faculty in small private colleges having trouble meeting their payrolls without giving any raises. Faculty salary data are also distorted by not including summer income that raise averages considerably on a 12-month basis.

    Added Jensen Comment
    Average incomes (means or medians) don't mean as much when comparing them living costs. Incomes go a lot further in Des Moines, Vermillion, and San Antonio than in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Palo Alto --- especially the cost of real estate. A condo in Palo Alto most likely costs much more than a 100 acre farm near Vermillion.

    The Downside of Student Loan Forgiveness (aside from net cost to taxpayers) ---

    Thanks in large part to Obama policies, only 37% of student borrowers are paying down their student loans ---

    Archival documents reveal how the sugar industry secretly funded heart disease research by Harvard professors
    How the Sugar Lobby Skewed Health Research ---

    Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

    MAPPED: The world's billionaires and how they made their money ---

    Book Review
    Game Over: The Inside Story of the Greek Crisis ---


    Finding and Using Health Statistics --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/usestats/index.htm

    Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics and databases ---

    Medicare Fraud is Rampant ---

    Obamacare and EpiPens are causing an inflation problem ---
    Jensen Comment
    The above article explains the misleading way inflation is measured in the USA

    From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on September 15, 2016

    Health-care costs no joke
    The average cost of health coverage offered by employers pushed above $18,000 for a family plan this year, though the growth was slowed by the accelerating shift into high-deductible plans, according to a major survey. Annual premium cost rose 3% to $18,142 for an employer family plan in 2016, according to the annual poll of employers performed by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation along with the Health Research & Educational Trust

    From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on August 17, 2016

    Health care a sticky wicket
    Many companies are cutting jobs in response to rising health-care costs spurred by the Affordable Care Act, according to a new survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Roughly one-fifth of service sector and manufacturing company executives said they are reducing the number of workers in response to provisions in the health-care law, Vipal Monga reports. The results add to a bevy of bad news related to the Obama administration’s signature health-care law.


    Obamacare:  More and more limited access to doctors and hospitals
    From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on September 1, 2016

    Why put off until January what you can do today? Under intense pressure to curb costs that have led to losses on the Affordable Care Act exchangesinsurers are accelerating their move toward plans that offer limited choices of doctors and hospitals. A new McKinsey & Co. analysis of regulatory filings for 18 states and the District of Columbia found that 75% of the offerings on their exchanges in 2017 will likely be health-maintenance organizations or a similar plan design known as an exclusive provider organization, or EPO. Both typically require consumers to use an often-narrow network of health-care providers – in some cases, just one large hospital system and its affiliated facilities and doctors.

    Only a quarter of the exchange plans next year would still be broader designs such as preferred-provider organizations, or PPOs, which generally offer larger selections of doctors and hospitals and include out-of-network coverage, the McKinsey analysis found. Across the states McKinsey examined, about 15% of exchange-eligible consumers are expected to have no PPOs to choose from. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said that many surveys have shown that exchange enrollees are satisfied with the array of health-care providers in their plans, and insurers are adjusting their offerings based on consumer demand. Offering a smaller selection of health-care providers holds down costs, in part because hospitals and specialists with the highest reimbursement rates can be cut out.

    Jensen Comment
    One of the big selling points for Obamacare legislation was that Obamacare would ease the long-lines at emergency rooms.

    What is happening now is that those lines are getting longer for access to quality MDs ---


    Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm 

    GAO Report on Obamacare Fraud ---

    Our undercover testing for the 2016 coverage year found that the eligibility determination and enrollment processes of the federal and state marketplaces we reviewed remain vulnerable to fraud, as we previously reported for the 2014 and 2015 coverage years. For each of our 15 fictitious applications, the marketplaces approved coverage, including for 6 fictitious applicants who had previously obtained subsidized coverage but did not file the required federal income-tax returns. Although IRS provides information to marketplaces on whether health-care applicants have filed required returns, the federal Marketplace and our selected state marketplace allowed applicants to instead attest that they had filed returns, saying the IRS information was not sufficiently current. The marketplaces we reviewed also relaxed documentation standards or extended deadlines for filing required documentation. After initial approval, all but one of our fictitious enrollees maintained subsidized coverage, even though we sent fictitious documents, or no documents, to resolve application inconsistencies.


    For each of our 15 fictitious applications, the federal or state-based marketplaces approved coverage at time of application—specifically, 14 applications for qualified health plans, and 1 application for Medicaid.  Each of the 14 applications for qualified health plans was also approved for APTC subsidies. These subsidies totaled about $5,000 on a monthly basis, or about $60,000 annually. These 14 qualified-health-plan applications also each obtained CSR subsidies, putting the applicants in a position to further benefit if they used medical services.

    50% of health and social-care funding is spent on 4% of people . . . About 25% of all hospital inpatient spending during a person’s lifetime occurs in the final three months.
    "The (British) National Health Care Service is a Mess," The Economist, September 10, 2016, pp. 48-49 ---

    . . .

    Like health-care systems around the world, the National Health Service (NHS) is struggling to provide good care at low cost for patients such as Mrs Evans (not her real name). Its business model has not kept up with the changing burden of disease. For as more people enter and live longer in their dotage, demand increases for two costly types of care. The first is looking after the dying. About 25% of all hospital inpatient spending during a person’s lifetime occurs in the final three months. The second is caring for those with more than one chronic condition. About 70% of NHS spending goes on long-term illnesses. More than half of over-70s have at least two and a quarter have at least three. In south Somerset 50% of health and social-care funding is spent on 4% of people.

    . . .

    If one fallacy about the NHS is that it is the envy of the world, as its devotees claim, another is that it is a single organisation. In fact it is a series of interlocking systems. Public health, hospitals, general practitioners (or GPs, the family doctors who provide basic care outside hospitals) and mental-health services all have separate funding and incentives. Social care, which includes old-folks’ homes and the like, is run by local councils, not the NHS

    . . .

    So the NHS must do more with what it already spends. A sign of inefficiency is the 6,000 patients in English hospitals who are ready to go home but not yet discharged, up from 4,000 in 2013. They cost the service hundreds of millions of pounds per year and obstruct others from treatment. The bed-blockers themselves are harmed, too. Elderly patients lose up to 5% of muscle strength for every day they are laid up in hospital. Some delays are the result of council cuts: about 400,000 fewer old people receive social care than in 2010, meaning that hospitals are sometimes used as expensive alternatives to care homes. But most are due to how hospitals are run.

    . . .

    On average, the framework made GPs some of the highest-paid family doctors in the world when it was introduced in 2004. But since then it has become less generous. GPs’ real-terms income has fallen by one-fifth. This, and poor planning, has led to a shortage of them. England needs 5,000 more in the next five years. The NHS is mulling a deal with Apollo, whereby the Indian health-care firm supplies enough doctors to fill the gap.

    . . .

    The move from “volume to value”—that is, from paying providers for the procedures they carry out to paying them for the outcomes they achieve—has helped to stem the cost of Medicare, the American health system for pensioners. The expansion of ACOs as part of Obamacare led to reduced mortality rates and savings for providers of about 1-2%. But Dan Northam Jones, a visiting fellow at Harvard, warns that the potential for savings is greater in systems like Medicare, where there is no cap on spending.

    And yet ACOs reflect a growing belief that if you want radically to improve health care you have to change how you pay for it. They will not solve all the problems of the NHS, some of which are inherent in its taxpayer-funded model. But perhaps its business model may yet catch up with how illness is changing. The NHS should forget being the envy of the world, and instead learn from it.

    How much to buy an ambassadorship? The answer is in the latest hacked messages ---

    . . .

    The latest hack of the DNC—courtesy of WikiLeaks via Guccifer 2.0—shows that Mrs. Clinton wasn’t alone in steering favors to big donors. Among the documents leaked is one that lists the party’s largest fundraisers/donors as of 2008. Of the top 57 cash cows 18 ended up with ambassadorships. The largest fundraiser listed, Matthew Barzun, who drummed up $3.5 million for Mr. Obama’s first campaign, was named ambassador to Sweden and then ambassador to the United Kingdom. The second-largest, Julius Genachowski, was named the head of the Federal Communications Commission. The third largest, Frank Sanchez, was named undersecretary of commerce.

    Keep in mind what an earlier leak revealed: a May 18, 2016, email from an outside lawyer to DNC staffers in which the attorney suggests a call to “go over our process for handling donations from donors who have given us pay to play letters.” Add this to what the Clinton and Abedin emails have shown to be a massive pay-to-play operation at the Clinton Foundation, in which megadonors like the crown prince of Bahrain got special access to the secretary of state.

    And there are also all those Clinton speeches, for which they were paid millions. News comes this week that despite the Clintons’ promises to distance themselves from their foundation, they will first be holding what sounds like one last fire sale on future presidential access: a belated birthday bash for Bill Clinton, with a glitzy party at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan. A donation of $250,000 gets you listed as “chair” of the party, while “co-chair” costs $100,000. Foundation officials are refusing to say who has donated, or how much.

    Continued in article

    Macroeconomics --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroeconomics

    For more than three decades, macroeconomics has gone backward.
    "The state of macroeconomics is not good. by Daniel Drezner, The Washington Post, September 15, 2016 ---

    Yesterday’s post about the stale quality of international relations theory provoked some pushback from international relations scholars. It also probably generated some bemusement by economists.

    This is mostly because economists are close to insufferable when they opine about the other. Indeed, inEconomics Rules,” an otherwise critical book of his discipline, Dani Rodrik offers up numerous asides about how economics is more rigorous than the rest of the social sciences, such as, “economics is by and large the only social science that remains almost entirely impenetrable to those who have not undertaken the requisite apprenticeship in graduate school,” which allows him to conclude that, “because economists share a language and a method, they are prone to disregard, or deprecate, noneconomists’ point of view.” And this is empirically true: Other academic disciplines cite economists frequently, but they do not return the favor nearly as often.

    This has mostly worked out gangbusters for economists. In a 2015 paper that examined how well economists have thrived in the world compared with the other social sciences, sociologist Marion Fourcade and two colleagues conclude:

    Most economists feel quite secure about their value-added. They are comforted in this feeling by the fairly unified disciplinary framework behind them, higher salaries that many of them believe reflect some true fundamental value, and a whole institutional structure — from newspapers to congressional committees to international policy circles — looking up to them for answers, especially in hard times.

    Most economists are perfectly content with this status quo, believing it to be fair and just. And I’d just like to take this opportunity to tell economists that this is a complete and total crock.

    One could argue that the two subfields of economics that have had the largest real-world policy influence have been in finance and macroeconomics. The problem is that this influence has mostly been catastrophic. In the arena of finance, University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales has lambasted his own subfield, acknowledging that “our view of the benefits of finance is inflated.”  Stanford University professor Paul Pfleiderer accuses finance scholars of using models as chameleons, engaging in “theoretical cherry-picking” to advance ideas that are not necessarily grounded in reality. Other economists acknowledge that a narrow focus on financial variables caused them to miss political sources of the crisis and its aftermath.

    If you think that’s bad, though, let’s talk about macroeconomics for a minute. One could argue that the most high-profile contribution by macroeconomists to the post-2008 global economy has been an emphasis on fiscal austerity as a solution to stagnation. That prescription has been, well, pretty much disastrous.

    I bring all of this up because Paul Romer has a lulu of a paper entitled The Trouble with Macroeconomics” that rocketed around the social media of the social sciences. If you think the title implies criticism, read the abstract:

    For more than three decades, macroeconomics has gone backward. The treatment of identification now is no more credible than in the early 1970s but escapes challenge because it is so much more opaque. Macroeconomic theorists dismiss mere facts by feigning an obtuse ignorance about such simple assertions as “tight monetary policy can cause a recession.” Their models attribute fluctuations in aggregate variables to imaginary causal forces that are not influenced by the action that any person takes. A parallel with string theory from physics hints at a general failure mode of science that is triggered when respect for highly regarded leaders evolves into a deference to authority that displaces objective fact from its position as the ultimate determinant of scientific truth.

    It gets more brutal from there, as Romer mocks the logic of real business cycles (a core component behind much of modern macro) and relabels its key explanatory variable as “phlogiston.” In history of science circles, that is a sick burn.

     Continued in article



    Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm 

    Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/