Sunday, January 09, 2011

200 Years Of Human History In A Thrilling 4 Minutes + Paul Krugman Exposes Boehner And Ryan As Callow Frauds... Again


My old friend Dan Levitin, a professor at McGill and author of This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science Of Human Obsession and The World In Six Songs: How The Musical Brain Created Human Nature, turned me on to this spectacular 4:47 video of Dr. Hans Rosling explaining the past 200 years of world progress using an animated and utterly fascinating graph. It speaks for itself-- and so much more energetically and eloquently than I could possibly hope to explain it-- so do yourself a favor and watch it. Watch it as pure science or as history or as a wonder of technological achievement.

It certainly reminded me of something. While I was in Morocco last month, I kept hearing a distant but persistent drumbeat from across the ocean, one that had the Conservative Consensus insisting that Social Security is now safe to start dismantling because well, because we live so much longer. Dr. Rosling doesn't get into that depth of analysis in the video above. But the relationship between wealth and health in the basis of his entire presentation. Life expectancy is rising, but it's arising among the rich, not among the poor, not in China-- as he does show-- and not in America, which you'll just have to open your eyes wide enough to see for yourself.

I hope Paul Krugman gets a chance to watch the clip as well. Yesterday he approached the Conservative Consensus Fraudulence in regard to health care from another angle: entirely predictable GOP political overreach; Paul Ryan, enemy of mankind, strikes again. "It’s worth actually reading the House Republican attack on the CBO’s health reform estimates," writes Krugman, "just to get a sense of the utter, deliberate fraudulence of the whole thing. Here’s the key picture:

So, let’s look at the pieces of the adjustments that allegedly turn a deficit-reducing policy into a deficit-increasing policy.

1. The doc fix: this is childish stuff, blaming the health reform for costs that will happen whether or not the reform happens.

2. Alleged “double-counting” of Medicare savings; actually, there’s no double-counting involved. Savings are savings. It’s true that some people have spoken loosely as if the gains to the Medicare trust fund and the reduction in the deficit are separate and additive, but the CBO never has, and all of that is irrelevant to the 10-year estimate.

3. “Appropriations”-- that’s administrative costs, of which the great bulk would be incurred even without the bill.

4. Social Security taxes-- I think they mean Medicare, but anyway, additional tax revenue does reduce the deficit, regardless of what trust fund it’s allocated to.

5. CLASS Act: this will reduce the deficit over the next 10 years, but will have some long-run costs. But if you’re going to talk long run, you should do it everywhere-- and health reform gets better, not worse, over time. In fact, the main reason repeal costs more than the original estimate of savings is that moving the window forward a year makes the benefits of reform bigger.

So, of the five claimed “gimmicks”, three are nothing of the kind-- GOP claims are fraud, pure and simple. Of the other two, one (appropriations) is mostly fraud, the other involves tricky play with time horizons.

And all of it is dressed up with out-of-context quotes from various people.

I know I should be accustomed to this sort of thing by now, but it’s still something to behold.

Labels: , ,


At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Robert Dagg Murphy said...

50% of all humanity lives better than the richest monarch did prior to 1900. Our design science revolution has provided us with real wealth (amount of tools and artifacts which allow us to live in luxury for the most days going forward.)

We continually learn to do more with less. Now a 12 pound satellite carries more calls than 2000 miles of transoceanic cable.

These great leaps forward provided by science are barely being reflected in our economic system. We only learn more not less. We no longer need to earn the right to live as it is prepaid by Nature. We have more energy coming from our Star Sun than we can ever spend. There is enough wealth available so that we are 4 billion billionaires (soon to be trillionaires) on planet earth but few of us know and the last to realize it are the politicians.

The video in the article give us a good picture of what is taking place. It is time to take the balls all to the northeast corner of the map and beyond.

What ever needs to done can be done.


Post a Comment

<< Home