Friday, January 13, 2012
Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...
Want to get an idea of how socialized medicine in this country could develop? Take a look at what is happening in Greece. If you have been following the unfolding Greek debt crisis, you know that the Greek government is in default on their debt and is attempting to implement austerity measures to rein in spending. One of the areas in which spending has been drastically cut is in the area of health care. The Greek government sets drug prices for an array of medicines, both prescription and non-prescription drugs, which pharmaceutical companies sell to wholesalers, who in turn sell them to hospitals and pharmacies. The government there has cut drug reimbursements to save money, cuts so deep that it is no longer profitable for drug wholesalers to sell the drugs to the pharmacists and hospitals. The result of this action is predictable. Wholesalers have been shipping the drugs to buyers outside of Greece at substantially higher prices than they can get in that country. It makes no economic sense for the wholesalers to purchase drugs only to turn around and sell them locally at a loss, so they are selling them on the international markets. Compounding the problem is that medicines sold in Greece are not paid for in a timely manner, as the Greek government has delayed payments to the wholesalers. At this time, the Greek government owes $422 million for drugs purchased since April. The government involvement in healthcare, as the situation in Greece dramatically shows, leads to inefficiencies and shortages. And the people that are in that healthcare system suffer the most. You have been warned.
My body isn't a temple. It's a maximum security prison for fat cells.
Three years ago, an application was filed with the U.S. Department of Energy to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. What is that? It is a 1,700 mile pipeline form the oil sands of Alberta to U.S. refineries on the gulf coast that has been proposed by TransCanada Corporation. The construction of the pipeline is expected to create 20,000 new jobs. More importantly, the pipeline, when fully operational, is expected to deliver 590,000 barrels of crude oil DAILY to U.S. refineries. Consider that much of the oil that comes to our refineries passes through the Strait of Hormuz, which is becoming more unstable as Iran attempts to go nuclear and assert their military might. A reasonable question is why has this application been delayed for three years? Especially after Congress overwhelmingly voted to to expedite this application so that construction can begin? This delay has been part of the the current administration's policy of not developing the natural resources available to our country in a misguided attempt to "go green" and force Americans to use green energy. While there is nothing wrong with energy conservation, thwarting attempts to develop our own sources of readily available natural resources costs the economy- and you and me- dearly. Think about this the next time you go to gas up your car.
I used to be addicted to soap, but I'm clean now.
Let's engage in a hypothetical scenario for a moment. Say you need to buy widgets for your business. You can purchase them for a supplier that charges you .08 (8 cents) per widget, or you can buy them from a supplier that charges you .21 (21 cents) per widget. Both widgets are exactly the same and perform identically. Which widget would you buy? Unless you have a particular affinity for overpaying for a product, you will buy the cheaper widget. That scenario that I have just given you is exactly what is happening with green energy, specifically electrical power. The cost per kilowatt hour for electricity averages 8 cents from a traditional, coal fired plant; while solar, wind or geo-thermal electricity costs on overage 21 cents per kilowatt hour according to information from the Energy Information Administration. Until the cost of green energy becomes competitive with traditional forms of energy generation, there is no economic reason to "go green". This means that green energy projects are subsidized- heavily- by state and federal governments because they cannot economically compete in the marketplace. And that means that our tax dollars are being used to fund a product that cannot compete on price in the market place.
Age has its advantages. Too bad I can't remember what they are.
I invite you to follow the blog A Day in the Life of a Hockey Wife. Her blog gives you a different perspective on the sport that so many of us love, a perspective from not only the other side of the glass, but from a wife that holds together her family while her husband plays hockey overseas. It is a well written blog that provides insight to what it is like to support someone pursuing their career in hockey. You can find her blog here.
Give a man a job, and you have an employee. Teach a man how to shift blame, and you have a manager.
And that, my friends, is my view.