Category Archives: Debt

Pandemic Preparedness And America’s Mañana Mentality

COVID-19, Debt, Economy, Free Markets, Healthcare, Political Economy, The State

The dynamics of state regulation and ownership aside, there is no ignoring our American mañana mentality. Consume in the present; worry not at all about tomorrow’s supplies.

Doesn’t that epitomize the state of America’s coronavirus pandemic reserves?

Via the LA Times: “A disaster foretold: Shortages of ventilators and other medical supplies have long been warned about.”

The nation needed larger caches of standby medical supplies and hospitals that were better prepared to handle a surge of infected patients.

A decade later, the coronavirus crisis is exposing many of the same gaps. Inadequate supplies of protective masks, ventilators, intensive care beds and other medical resources are forcing mass closures of schools and businesses and restrictions on everyday activities as public officials rush to slow the virus so America’s medical system isn’t overwhelmed.

the Government Accountability Office … the federal government’s leading internal watchdog, has issued a steady stream of reports about poor pandemic planning. …

The GAO, public health experts and others issued a steady drumbeat of warnings that America would sooner or later face a widespread infectious disease outbreak or a major bioterrorism attack and was woefully unprepared. …

… In both 2018 and 2019, U.S. intelligence agencies issued insistent warnings in their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment.

“We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support,” the 2019 report noted.

AND, Making the case for investments in material and hospital planning has long been challenging as most people have difficulty envisioning a major disaster, acknowledged Dr. Eric Toner of Johns Hopkins University, an authority on pandemic preparedness.”

Hospitals also are under pressure to keep margins thin and eliminate spending on staff and supplies that aren’t used all the time.

And, in government-regulated hospitals, which are the majority in the US,

The budget crunch represents a particular challenge for so-called safety-net hospitals, institutions that serve many uninsured patients and those covered by Medicaid, and consequently collect less revenue. These same hospitals are now expecting a large surge in coronavirus patients but have limited resources to ramp up staffing and add intensive care beds if needed.

“Cash is very limited,” said Charlie Shields, chief executive of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City. Shields said the finances are under even more stress since the hospital canceled elective procedures and shut down its dental services to prepare for the pandemic, moves that reduce hospital revenue.

In case you imagine the US has a free-market in medicine, here are a few statistics that’ll shock you, via The Economist:

The country has over 6,000 hospitals. Only 1,300 or so are private for-profit institutions; the rest are non-profit or government-run. The lack of an overt profit motive has done little to rein in prices …

In any event, the defining characteristic of the Unites States is debt—public and private, macro and micro. America is a debtor nation. A natural shift must take place in the economy from a credit-fueled, consumption-based economy, to one founded on savings, investment and production.

Thanks To Private Enterprise Ingenuity, Not Government Frugality, The US Is Not Venezuela

America, Business, Debt, Economy, Government

Venezuela’s inflation is 46,000 percent a year, “which in turn is largely caused by the printing of money to finance the government’s deficit of 30 percent of GDP.” (“Venezuelan cash is almost worthless, but also scarce,” Economist, July 12th, 2018.)

“In FY 2017, the federal deficit was 3.4 percent of GDP. This year, FY 2018, the federal government in its latest budget has estimated that the deficit will be 4.2 percent of GDP.” (https://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/federal_deficit_percent_gdp.)

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the United States was worth about 19 trillion US dollars.

Thanks to private enterprise ingenuity, not government frugality (see US Debt Clock), the US is not Venezuela.

Harley-Davidson Had Been Looking To Move Production Off Shore For A While

Capitalism, Debt, Donald Trump, Economy, Free Markets, Trade

Conservatism once had the genius of James Burnham, Russell Kirk, Frank Chodorov, and Felix Morley; now the brand boasts Rich Lowry, Meghan McCain and S. E. Cupp.

The last has learned nothing from the 2016 election. S. E. Cupp, a Never Trumper who hosts a CNN show, is betting against Donald Trump. She says, “Trump Supporters Soon Will Learn That No One Wins A Trade War.”

Where’s the learning curve? I would not bet on Trump losing a trade war.

This is not to advocate tariffs. I am for free trade. But here’s the clincher. We don’t have free-market capitalism. Never have; at least not in recent memory.

Thus, “trade deficits must be seen in the context of state-managed trade and systemic debt.” That’s what Trump is negotiating; he’s not messing with the divine order in which we true free-marketers believe. For it doesn’t exist.

As for Harley-Davidson’s decision to move some of its production outside of the U.S.: Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Kennedy of Fox Business disclosed that the company had been looking to move production off shore for a while and were searching for an excuse to do so.

 

UPDATED (6/6/018): Guaranteed Taxpayer-Financed Income For EVERY Americans: If Degenerate Dems Take Over, Economy Will Tank

Debt, Democrats, Economy, Free Markets, Government, Labor, The State

When Democrats are not plotting on giving houses to the homeless, paying drug addicts to shoot up, and inviting the world to immigrate to the US—they’re scheming on the ultimate decadent, immoral and unworkable government plan: “guaranteeing every American a taxpayer-financed job”:

Senator Bernie Sanders recently promised to introduce a bill guaranteeing every American a taxpayer-financed job, should they want it. His colleague, Senator Cory Booker, has already written a bill which would test such a policy in 15 places with high joblessness. Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, three other potential presidential contenders, are co-sponsors. Ms Gillibrand will reportedly soon pen her own plan, too.

In addition to the cost of the program, the giveaway will expand the government payroll by 50 percent. Presumably to administer.

“In April 2018, about 127.34m people were employed on a full-time basis” in the US. (The Statistics Portal)

The Economist’s says America has 148m workers.

Of this, “Government at all levels employs 22.3m Americans.”

This, of course, is not free-market capitalism.

MORE: “Make work can’t work: A jobs guarantee is a flawed idea.”

UPDATE (6/6/018):