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17 February 2020


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"The Fed chair failed to point out US obesity rates compared to other western countries and how that affects health care spending. Then he makes his data free analysis worse by failing to indicate how little health care workers earn outside the US"

Fred, fair points. US obesity levels are very high, although Mexico is catching up quick. And you are right that healthcare workers are paid much better in the US than elsewhere. However would these factors really explain healthcare costs being double the level in other countries?

Fed officials have good access to data and analysis. Their staff will read and research their speeches carefully. I have heard poor reviews of J Powell as a go along to get along guy, but i doubt his staff would let him make an intellectually poor argument. Bad for Fed prestige.

Christian J Chuba

Napoleon's retreat from Russia

I find history an interesting diversion from current issues (hmm .. using yesterday's horrors to distract from today's horrors).

I always thought that Napoleon marched to Moscow, found it empty, marched back and his army fell apart because of the winter and raiding Cossacks harassing stragglers. According to this, Napoleon setup supply cities along the way and it was only about a 3 week march to Smolensk and if worse came to worse, Minsk and he planned to winter there. The Russian army was weaker but they knew the route and meticulously gathered their forces at key points to force Napoleon to divert his army at the absolute worst possible times. The Russian army really did a number on the French and her allies, they were lucky to get out with 20,000.

Was Napoleon a psychopath? Not insulting, he's brilliant but I'm struck by how he calculates everything in terms of 'yeah I can do x, y, an z'. He only seems to stop because of lack of resources, hever seems to say, 'gee, I just can't stand the carnage anymore'. The Napoleonic wars were massive.


Favorite TDS comment of the day from Democrat Congressman: Trump can't brag about black unemployment rates being the lowest in history, because during slavery black employment rate was 100%


Peter Hitchens joins the critics of OPCW, and supports inspector Ian Henderson who objected to the official OPCW report.



Actually not true. There were many free Blacks and some of them were unemployed.

blue peacock


I've seen many reports that compare the cost of many medical procedures and pharmaceuticals across OECD countries. One thing that stands out is the US tops the list for cost and in most cases by many multiples.

As this report notes - "A lack of competition appears to be closer to the root of the problem, and hospital mergers are one development that has stifled competition."


I know it is de rigueur to debate socialized vs free market. But there's no discussion about how "socialized" our current "free market" healthcare system is in terms that for instance Medicare is not allowed by law to negotiate drug prices; nor can anyone exploit price arbitrage of the identical pharmaceutical from another country where the same product is priced at a fifth to a tenth of what it is priced here, and the complete lack of pricing transparency prior to the acquisition of a medical product or service. Of course there's also the limits placed by the AMA on the number of medical doctors produced annually by the medical education system. None of this seems "free market" nor more importantly is it a competitive market.

Why aren't the free marketers in Congress or presidential candidates opposed to cartel behavior among the hospital groups and pharma companies? Of course these same guys across both parties were quite happy to "socialize" the speculative losses of Wall St after the GFC.



Japan, Turkey and Mexico are all in the OECD. I think the comparison to the US on health issues and economics between them and the US is a bit like comparing apples and sushi.

blue peacock


If apples to sushi is a bridge too far, then maybe apples to bratwurst or bouillabaisse could be more to your taste. Compare the cost of any medical procedure say hip replacement or stent placement and any pharmaceutical product in the US vs Germany or France, what you'll find is that it costs more here and in most cases significantly more. That is a "tax" on US businesses and citizens that does not generate any additional productivity nor enhance competitiveness. It is not like the additional price paid has any better outcomes for the medical procedure and of course couldn't for a pharmaceutical product since it is identical.


Compare each country's medical malpractice system when looking for answers why US medical care costs are so much higher. Compare numbers of "procedures" for similar conditions in each country too.

Case in point- Elderly Canadian man was "treated" for lower back pain - which is more caused by muscle spasms than any skeletal issue. He was told to touch his toes every day for the count of 100. And he started feeling much better.

Compare how we "treat", let alone use diagnostic procedures, for lower back pain in the US. And now many US doctors first write "touch your toes to the count of 100" on their Rx pads.

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