Night Time Reading: 2009-10-05
I am going to double up on links today as I have a lot that I have found with more sill to come tomorrow morning. Enjoy this lot.
The Swiss health care system has several important properties that I (and many others) have been advocating should be incorporated into any reform of the US health care system.
If true, this will make Robert Gordon look prescient. "Has the US recession already ended? This column says that it very likely has, based on evidence from the last fourteen recessions. It predicts that the NBER will declare that the recession ended in May 2009. But that doesn’t rule out the dangers of a double dip or jobless recovery."
"Back from another trip to Europe, this time Germany, where the same dismay as in France prevails over the U.S. health care debate. Europeans don’t get why Americans don’t agree that universal health coverage is a fundamental contract to which the citizens of any developed society have a right."
Frightening statistics that show consumption increasing as a percentage of total demand.
It now appears that during the first half of 2008, when the recession was getting under way, job losses averaged 146,000 per month. That is nearly three times the average of 49,000 jobs shown in the initial estimates. How did the government get it so wrong?
I had planned on writing about this phenomenon. John beat me to it. Expect something from em nonetheless.
"Britons are saving more than their Japanese counterparts for the first time in more than 30 years"
"Does anyone remember all the lies that they were told by President Bush and the “mainstream media” about the grave threat to America from weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? These lies were repeated endlessly in the print and TV media despite the reports from the weapons inspectors, who had been sent to Iraq, that no such weapons existed. The weapons inspectors did an honest job in Iraq and told the truth, but the mainstream media did not emphasize their findings. Instead, the media served as a Ministry of Propaganda, beating the war drums for the US government. Now the whole process is repeating itself. This time the target is Iran."
"When choosing which line will be the fastest, it might surprise you to learn that the "express" lane may not always be the best choice. Meyer took a scientific look at supermarket checkout times and came to the conclusion that the number of people in line adds more to the wait time than the number of items each person has in their cart."
Zoellick echoes comments by Volcker. The call by BRIC for more IMF votes shows it.
"The leading emerging BRIC nations maintain their demand for a 7 percent shift in voting power to developing countries at the International Monetary Fund, Brazil’s Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Saturday. He was speaking a week after the G20 meeting of leading world economies in Pittsburgh where the BRICs had agreed the shift to developing countries should be 5 percent."
"Shoichi Nakagawa, Japan’s former finance minister who was forced to resign in February after appearing drunk at a G7 news conference, was found dead at his home in Tokyo on Sunday morning, according to Japanese media reports."
"Barack Obama has reached the moment of truth for answering the persistent question about his core beliefs and political priorities. The coming votes in the House and Senate on his signature health-care reform effort will tell us more about the president than anything so far in his White House tenure."
"You think a bonus is a reward for doing a good job. In fact, it is a prize you get for playing a game that is complicated, skilful and highly political. The boss controls the money and information, and the players lobby to get the biggest slice."
"None of the steps the West is considering to stop the Iranian nuclear program is likely to work. Not talks. Not sanctions, even of the "crippling" variety the Obama administration has spoken of. Not military strikes. And probably not support for regime change through the still-vibrant opposition."
"Toyota is far more contrite than its rivals. Public apologies are traditional in Japan when a business loses its way, and for Toyota, losing billions in the Detroit tradition is a dramatic comedown. Besides, Toyota is very likely to get its act together, return to profitability, and continue its ascent."
In "Through the Looking Glass," Alice says that she is unable to believe the White Queen’s claim to be 101 years old. The Queen responds, "Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes." Alice: "There’s no use trying, one can’t believe impossible things." Queen: "Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Regarding Afghanistan, President Obama might believe he can effect a Houdini-like escape, uninjured, from the box his words have built.
How is this guy head of state? This German piece points out that Berlusconi’s Fininvest has been bribing people.