Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has broke with his party, and Obama, to support spending cuts, a balanced budget amendment, and a limit of spending to 20.6% of GDP. This move is no doubt meant to stiffen Manchin’s fiscal conservative bonafides.
But is he? The spending limit does not have full effect until 10 years from passage. Also, we could make an argument 20% of GDP is still way too high. But there is one other big problem: Manchin supports a form of national health service. That sort of deflates any fiscal posturing he might make. In other words, Manchin is saying he wants to cut spending while supporting an idea/program that would be the largest increase in spending in America’s history.
William Tucker at the WSJ writes that he still believes in nuclear power despite the events at Fukushima. Although the article is not one that is a defense of nuclear at the expense of coal, the reader cannot but draw the conclusion that coal is a far more dangerous and time consuming energy than its cleaner counterpart.
Shouldn’t W. Va. lift the ban on nuclear?
Imagine walking in beautiful and historic Hyde Park near the Shore, and then stumbling upon the above structure–mettle and glass hung on steel frame building. The building was surrounded by more traditional brick buildings (for the most part). I was arrested by the contrast. I stopped to look at this building and one person who was behind me walked past but looked at me strangely. I said, “I am looking at the architecture.” This person replied, “it is ugly isn’t it?”
That about sums up not only failure to fit, but the the modern unconcern with beauty.
The Leo Strauss Center’s conference on “Leo Strauss as Teacher” concluded on Saturday evening. I was held on the beautiful University of Chicago campus. The event was a success that there were not enough spaces for all who wanted to attend. A job well done goes to Nathan Tarcov, Stephen Gregory, as well as the students who assisted.
For those who do not know, Strauss is likely one of the most important teachers of the 20th century. His career spanned from the New School, to Chicago, to Claremont, to St. John’s. Strauss’s legacy is reflected in the scholarship of his students, but also in the changed political science discipline. Strauss was one of the only professors in America who resurrected a serious consideration of the Ancients. The Ancients represent the most serious challenge to moderns. Speaking only of Strauss as a teacher, his method of a close study of the text was perhaps novel, but there is no doubt as to the wisdom in doing such.
I will be heading to the University of Chicago this week. Recently, someone, who knew I was heading to Chicago, asked if I was familiar with an independent student political magazine on that campus. It is call Counterpoint. Regardless if the ideas are approved or agreed with by the reader, it is nice to see students write so well, and be so thoughtful. Peruse past issues here.
Theodore Dalrymple looks at the NHS in the UK:
It turned out, however, that the costs of prevention were decidedly real, while the savings were inclined to be imaginary. This was for more than one reason. The bureaucratic costs of setting and monitoring health-improvement targets—which were often highly arbitrary—were far greater than anticipated, bureaucracies having an inherent tendency to increase in size and spending power. Many doctors started to be paid for procedures that they were already doing for no charge, like taking their patients’ blood pressure. Screening procedures turned out to be highly equivocal in their efficacy. Thus the overall benefit was much less than anticipated. Some of the more common ills that had been targeted, such as strokes and heart attacks, were in marked decline anyway.
Worse, much of the expenditure on the treatment of disease proved intractable. Technology inexorably increased costs; and even if the health of the population improved rapidly, so that 70 was the new 60, 60 the new 50 and so forth, the proportion of old people in the population meant that the proportion of people ill with expensive chronic diseases increased. In the U.S., there were 37 million people over 65 in 2006, just over 12% of the population. That figure is projected to rise to 71 million, or 20%, by 2030.
In my professional lifetime, procedures such as hip replacement have gone from being relatively new-fangled and exotic to being routine, precisely at a time when there are more people than ever who can benefit from them. Osteoarthritis is no doubt hastened by obesity, but no medical means has yet been found for the prevention of that particular condition.
The key to cost control? Pay more out of pocket.