Wednesday, January 2, 2008

politics without a parachute

There’s a few stories I could not pass up. What kind of story has the headline, “Hillary Clinton reveals human side in Iowa plea”? What does mean, exactly? There must be a “non-human” side that is ordinarily exhibited. How odd.

The story is not good for her, either. Phrases: “her voice hoarse,” “her aides desperately tried,” “included several attempts to portray Mr Obama as an ingénue,” (sorry, but ingénue just tain’t be in my normal lexicon), “Mrs Clinton, 60, argued,” “Mr Obama, 46, is increasingly confident,” “Mrs Clinton's chief strategist lambasted,” and “Mrs Clinton slipped into a soft, modulated voice - never used in public until recent weeks - to outline her human side.”

Sounds desperate. What a shame.

So what if old folks can’t get out because of snow? “Worried that elderly voters may be deterred by the snow, the Clinton campaign has distributed hundreds of green shovels to clear paths.” Dig yourself out, you old bag! Wow. She really does care!

Speaking of self-help, look at the turn socialized medicine is taking in Britain. Remember that 1/7th of the US economy that Hillary tried to take over when her husband was president? NHS patients told to treat themselves. What is meant by “treat themselves”?

~ Monitoring their own heart activity, blood pressure and lung capacity using equipment installed in the home
~ Reporting medical information to doctors remotely by telephone or computer
~ Administering their own drugs and other treatment to "manage pain" and assessing the significance of changes in their condition
~ Using relaxation techniques to relieve stress and avoid "panic" visits to emergency wards.

It doesn’t sound too bad, but the article focuses on those most hit by the reductions in service levels – the elderly with chronic conditions. It’s a good point. The real issue is the budget crisis they have because the government-run system removes any need for competitive pricing.

So, writing of budgets, all I wanted was a number. How much does the NHS spend? Whew! Several screens and I finally find this: NHS Expenditure 2003-2004. Let’s call it $64B pounds. Convert to US$ using the December 31, 2003, conversion rate of 0.5625 yields US$36B. (Here’s a historical currency converter.)

Let’s see … their population is 58,789,194, so that’s about US$612 a person. If we were to do health care are poorly as the Brits, it would be US$184B budget increase. Of course, both our standard and expectations of health care exceed what the Brits have and expect. So, a trillion dollars? My policy runs about US$1,300 a month for four people. Extrapolate that annually to the entire population and you get US$1.17T. Hillary? You got that?

In case you are truly bored, the FBI wants you to help. They finally got around to releasing information 36 years after the fact, and NOW ask you to help find D.B. Cooper. That’s the guy that jumped out of a plane over Washington State after getting parachutes and $200K delivered to the plane. Turns out, the guy didn’t really know what he was doing. The reserve chute was sewn shut and he didn’t check it; he had no coordinate detail on his location; the weather was really bad. He probably did not survive the jump. Some money did turn up years later downstream – bummer there.

Well, can’t wait to hear Hillary’s dance about an other-than-first-place finish in Iowa. Or will she squeak one out and announce that the people have spoken and the race is over? Whatever the results, you know she won’t be able to shut up.

Later …

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