Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spending or Tax Cuts

The REpublicans are like a broken record--they want more tax cuts and not so much spending to solve the recession. Not collecting taxes or government spending are the same thing in regard to impact on the Treasury. There is, however, a big difference in who benefits. The REpublicans gave the rich the largest share of past tax cuts, which apparently they want to enlarge. Spending on the other hand, has the possibility of providing the unemployed with a job.
The old saw about infrastructure investments being too slow should be ditched. State and local governments have lots of maintenance projects that are ready to go and do not require big lead times to design.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Child safety

There are many social problems that I don't have an answer for. But, when solutions are obvious and cry out for implementation, I find it maddening. Take for example, the following numbers: "The overall annual death rate for boys is 19 per 100,000 (youths). For girls, it is just 10 per 100,000. Sex and age combine to produce a death rate of 45 per 100,000 among boys 15 to 19."
I don't have an answer for behaviors rooted in custom and culture. But, experience suggest some policies that would reduce the deaths. Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming have the highest motor vehicle death rates for people younger than 19. Kansas allows 16-year-olds to drive without nighttime or passenger restrictions. A child can get a license with nighttime restrictions at 14 1/2 in South Dakota and at 15 1/2 in MIssissippi."
Daa! How tough is that to figure out?
Until these states learn something from experience, I am not going to drive there.

I think our drug policy is of the same kind. The present policies of penalties for sellers here and producers in foreign countries do not work. What are your examples?

Data for the above from The Washington Post, December 23, 2008, p.F5.

Mistakes or Disappointments?

President Bush in his last press conference said,
"There have been disappointments. Abu Ghraib obviously was a huge disappointment during the presidency. Not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment. I don't know if you want to call those mistakes or not, but they were -- things didn't go according to plan, let's put it that way."
This sound like a child who is disappointed with his Christmas presents. There is a huge difference between admitting a mistake and describing events following a decision as disappointments. He still doesn't get it. People who can't learn are a huge disappointment.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is This Financial Instrument Safe to Use

It is now widely accepted that part of the financial meltdown was due to the invention of financial instruments that few understood, including many who used them. We have a Food and Drug Administration to investigate whether a drug or food additive is safe of use. Maybe we need a new security administration to certify that after some period of testing, that the invention is safe to use.