I'll throw in the usual disclaimer here about apples and oranges, due to
different countries measuring infant mortality in different ways. Many
countries, even ones with the medical technology available, do NOT take
extraordinary measures to save infants born with major problems, and
they may end up not counted as a live birth. China's numbers are also
likely skewed by their heavy emphasis on abortion for population
control. If a couple knows the baby has severe problems, they may decide
not to use up their allotment, and terminate the pregnancy.
Too bad there is no way to get good numbers by country showing what
percentage of pregnant ladies avail themselves of what medical care IS
available, and/or follow guidelines for how to have a successful
pregnancy. I realize it is anecdotal, but I keep seeing stories in the
paper about children born in clinics where the mother had few or any
prenatal checks, here in USA. And if the mother kept
smoking/drinking/eating junk food while pregnant, that of course makes
it even harder for the newborn to thrive.
And as an added monkey wrench in the numbers, has anyone sliced and
diced them as to average age of the mother while pregnant? All else
being equal, a 20 YO mother has better odds of a healthy kid than one in
her late 30s.
Well, most other countries don't give out "crack checks" each month to unwed
mothers in the volume that we do. )-: I read some horrible statistic
somewhere that said crack dealers synchronize their shipments to coincide
with issuance of welfare and other monthly social payouts.
I agree wholeheartedly that the numbers I quoted have an incredible amount
of slop in them, but other countries really are a hell of a lot more
proactive in making sure all women get good prenatal care. I expect they're
discovered that the government ends up supporting babies with birth defects
in the long run so it's in everyone's interest to make sure they're born
healthy. We'll figure it out, eventually.
I have never got around to officially running the numbers, but at least
among the developed countries there is a pretty good eyeball corelation
between rank in teenage pregnancies and infant mortality (with the US
first in the former and last in the latter).
You also see non-medical societal influences making a large impact
on other medical relationships. For example, a 16 y/o killed by drugs or
in a drive by does more damage to the life expectancy than keeping an 76
y/o geezer alive a couple extra years. If anything, the medical system
is probably doing a great job in seeing the differeneces aren't worse by
saving a good number of high-risk babies. A study a few years ago
corelated the rise of trauma centers and the lowering of the murder rate
because the TCs were turning what formerly would have been murders into
attempted murders or assault.
"Even I realized that money was to politicians what the ecalyptus tree is to
koala bears: food, water, shelter and something to crap on."
This is very impressive.
American companies wrap so much "process" around every project these
days that most budgets for product or software development, for
example, go only to completing the required process paperwork. Long
before one gets to solder the first wire or write the first line of
code. Then the business screams at how much it cost and "why are the
programmers just starting now?" 3 weeks before promised delivery?
What usually happens is a crappy shoddy product is developed because
all the money for the project was eaten up by the legal and CYA
Somehow I wish American companis just went out like this and did
things again. Believe me I'm in corporate america working in
manufacturing, we dont do shit any more but paperwork. Then
commoditize the most important part, the build, out to India or China
where they dont think, they just follow the specs, which are usually
crappy because the Americans had to spend no time on that either,
because of all the CYA paperwork since Sarbanes Oxley laws came in.
Believe me, Amaerica is up shit's creek. We've thrown out the baby
with the bathwater. The new leaders of the world in actually doing
things that dont involve a lawer, will be China and India. The next
generation is having it's future stolen as we speak. Govt cant help
anyone because they are in hock to the govt pensions and unions, so
there simply is little money left to do govt projects without printing
up more cash.
China and India are dumbfounded by how much we give away, they would
never do that.
And printing more cash is exactly what we are doing now:
"Quantitative easing (QE) is a monetary policy used by some central
banks to increase the supply of money by increasing the excess
reserves of the banking system, generally through buying of the
central government's own bonds to stabilize or raise their prices and
thereby lower long-term interest rates. This policy is usually invoked
when the normal methods to control the money supply have failed, i.e
the bank interest rate, discount rate and/or interbank interest rate
are either at, or close to, zero. It has been termed the electronic
equivalent of simply printing legal tender."
Remember Jimmy Carter's inflation? You ain't seen nothing yet.
It's not. Back then, we were hit by a demographic bulge, increased
social programs (Medicare, welfare), the oil shock, and, most of all,
Nixon's wage-price controls, the latter which worsened inflation and
was probably the biggest factor and took a decade to fix. But today
there's no inflationary threats becausw we have too much idle
industrial capacity and labor is powerless. Deflation is the far
bigger danger in this economy.
Here's what I've asked everybody who's criticized government economic
policy: What's your realistic alternative, emphasis on "realistic"?
Here's something that may help, but it doesn't explain the
consequences of any choices:
Also we have only one problem in the short-intermediate term, and
that's unemployment, which cuts $200B from government revenue for
every 1% point increase in unemployment. And in the long term, our
only problem is Medicare, which could be helped a lot if we didn't
have so much inefficient private health insurance (i.e. adopt
universal Medicare). The graphs on page 4 of this CBO report shows
Direct link to graph:
BTW, we're 5 years away from the date when our national debt was
estimated to be paid off completely if Clinton economic policies had
been perpetuated. What a difference a two terms with dunce in charge
can make (wars are no excuse -- Johnson balanced the budget in 1968
when the much costlier Vietnam War was at its peak). Notice that half
our deficits have been due to the GW Bush tax cuts:
On 11/16/2010 2:11 PM, larry moe 'n curly wrote:
Notice that half
mugger handing back half the contents of your wallet would be. The
deficits are due to ONE thing- Congress spending too damn much money.
Cut out the duplication, un-neccessary programs, and turf warfare
between agencies and military services, and you could probably cut the
federal non-entitlement budget by 1/3. My favorite example is DoD vs.
the Rest of Fed Gov. Almost every program and function on civilian side
has a mirror image within DoD, even when they could easily be combined.
DoD truly does not regard themselves as part of the Federal Government.
The government needs to learn that It Isn't Their Damn Money, and they
aren't Santa Claus by taking less of it from us subjects, er, citizens.
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