Posted in Bailouts, Dependency, Economic Issues, Entrepreneurs, Free Society, Free-Market, government incompetence, Government Regulations, Government Spending, Government Stimulus, Job loss, Keynesian Economics, Liberty, Organizational structure, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Uncategorized, Unemployment

Focus on People During Economic Crises, Not Macro-Statistics – Foundation for Economic Education

By Mark Hornshaw

“Economics studies human choice under scarcity. Humans must act in the present to provide for the future. Informed choice relies on market data in the form of prices—specific prices for specific things, as we assess various different means to satisfy our ends—that is what economics is about.

Macro-statistics such as GDP and CPI, whether they are rising or falling in the aggregate, do not help much with this vital task. These statistics are compilations of vast amounts of data to come up with averages across entire countries and time-periods. It’s a dilution of the data, not an enhancement.

“What a country wants to make it richer, is never consumption, but production. Where there is the latter, we may be sure that there is no want of the former,” said John Stuart Mill, citing Say’s law.

In a tune of rapid change and disruption, we need prices to do their job more than ever so the entrepreneurial process can work. High prices show which industries to move more resources into, and low prices show which ones to move resources out of to free them up for more urgent uses. From the point of view of consumers, high prices show us what we should cut back on, and low prices show where we can pick up bargains.

This process takes time. Interfering with this process just locks in shortages and surpluses.
So-called “stimulus,” just thrown at “the economy” to increase “aggregate demand” in the abstract, cannot work, when there are supply constraints in some industries and prohibitions in others.

Government policy should be on mending holes in the social safety net, compensating those it has forced out of business and jobs, and reducing the tax and regulatory burden it places on businesses, workers and consumers as they try to adjust.

These are all microeconomic responses to relieve suffering and remove impediments.”

https://fee.org/articles/focus-on-people-during-economic-crises-not-macro-statistics/

Posted in Access to healthcare, CDC, Disease Prevention, Education, Evidence-based Medicine, FDA, News From Washington, outcomes, outcomes measurement, Patient Choice, Patient Safety, Uncategorized, Unsettled Science

FDA to Study Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 | MedPage Today

The drug is currently approved for malaria and also for rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, which is its main use in the U.S. It’s therefore available to be prescribed off-label, and some clinicians have already said they’re using it on COVID-19 patients. But neither Hahn nor other task force members addressed whether enough hydroxychloroquine is on hand to treat large numbers of coronavirus cases. Convalescent plasma is another treatment the FDA is considering for COVID-19, said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD.

Convalescent plasma and the immune globulin that it contains is another possible treatment the agency is considering, Hahn added. “FDA’s been working for some time on this,” he said. “If you’ve been exposed to coronavirus and you’re better — you don’t have the virus in your blood — we could collect the blood, concentrate that and have the ability, once it’s pathogen-free, to give that to other patients, and the immune response could potentially provide a benefit to patients. That’s another thing we’re looking at; over the next couple of weeks, we’ll have information and we’re really pushing hard to try to accelerate that.” Such treatments have been effective in Ebola, for example.

Source: FDA to Study Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 | MedPage Today

Posted in American Exceptionalism, American Independence, American Presidents, big government, Economic Issues, Free Society, government incompetence, Government Spending, Government Stimulus, Job loss, Leadership, Liberty, Patient Safety, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Rule of Law, Uncategorized, Unemployment

Panic Has Led to Government “Cures” That Are Worse than the Disease, History Shows – Foundation for Economic Education

Smoot-Hawley and the New Deal are hardly the only examples of government actions making a panic worse.

Thomas Sowell recounts several instances in which governments turned small problems into major ones by using blunt force—often price controls—to respond to public panic about rising costs of a given commodity.

One of the more famous examples of this is the gasoline crisis of the 1970s, which started when the federal government took a small problem (temporary high costs of gasoline) and turned it into a big one (a national shortage).

As Sowell explains, however, there was not an actual scarcity of gasoline. There was nearly as much gas sold in 1972 as the previous year (95 percent, to be precise).

Similar examples kind be found throughout history, from the grain shortages in Ancient Rome brought about by Diocletian’s “Edict on Maximum Prices” to the mortgage crisis in 2007.

It is no coincidence that crises—foreign wars, terrorist attacks, and economic depressions—have often resulted in vast encroachments of freedom and even given rise to tyrants (from Napoleon to Lenin and beyond). In his book Crisis and Leviathan, the historian and economist Robert Higgs explains how throughout history, crises have been used to expand the administrative state, often by allowing “temporary” measures to be left in place after a crisis has abated (think federal tax withholding during World War II).

Like an economic panic, pandemics incite mass fear, which can lead to flawed and irrational decision making.

https://fee.org/articles/panic-has-led-to-government-cures-that-are-worse-than-the-disease-history-shows/

Posted in Bailouts, Currency Manipulation, Dependency, Economic Issues, Federal Reserve, Government Regulations, Government Spending, Interest on the Debt, Keynesian Economics, Policy Issues, Tax Policy, Uncategorized

Economic Lessons from Coronavirus: Government-Subsidized Private Debt Creates Macro Vulnerability | International Liberty

Little more than a decade after consumers binged on inexpensive mortgages that helped bring on a global financial crisis, a new debt surge — this time by major corporations — threatens to unleash fresh turmoil.

The root cause of the debt boom is the decision by the Federal Reserve and other key central banks to cut interest rates to zero in the wake of the financial crisis and to hold them at historic lows for years.

https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/economic-lessons-from-coronavirus-government-subsidized-private-debt-creates-macro-vulnerability/

Posted in Access to healthcare, advance-pricing, Economic Issues, Health Insurance, Healthcare financing, Medicaid, Medical Costs, medical inflation, Medical Practice Models, Medicare, out-of-pocket costs, Patient Choice, Price Tansparency, Quality, Uncategorized

G. Keith Smith, M.D. — Health “Coverage” as a Distraction


I think it is good to be alert to any discussions that are “downstream of a flawed premise.” Let me explain.

When I hear, for instance, that the “flat tax” is preferable to the current income tax, I think to myself that this is a discussion of the knife versus the axe, a conversation far downstream of one addressing government spending or the very legitimacy of denying someone their earnings. After all, victims don’t generally care what the mugger does with their money. They just resent being mugged and no discussion about whether the mugger used a knife or a gun will likely provide any solace.

Similarly, I would argue that arguing for everyone to have health “coverage” is far downstream of the more original problem: the cost of healthcare. To provide “coverage” for everyone in the current climate of gross overcharging primarily serves the interests of those who employ the “what can I get away with” method of medical pricing.

The fierce push back against true price transparency by the cronies in the medical industry makes more sense in this context, as price honesty denies them access to everyone’s blank checkbook as the health cronies are well aware.

Supporters of government-guaranteed “coverage” object with the following arguments.

First, coverage is equated with healthcare. While millions of Canadians streaming across the border to secure their health needs could be used to refute the idea that coverage is synonymous with care, this disconnect has become more apparent in this country. Each passing day reveals Medicaid and Medicare “coverage” to be a “black mark,” an actual obstacle to obtaining care, as these government programs and their associated rationing through price controls and hassles are creating the lines the central planners intended. Physicians are either dropping out of these programs altogether or they are limiting their exposure to patients with this “coverage.”

Another objection points to the relief from financial devastation that having “coverage” represents. Keep in mind that not only are well over half of the bankruptcies in this country medically related, but almost three quarters of those filing for medical bankruptcy have insurance. This points powerfully to cost as the root cause of medical economic ills.

Acknowledging this is a slippery slope for the objector, however, for no economic system better provides for resource allocation than the market and the cronies and their government pals know this as well as anyone.

The market is the only source of price deflation with simultaneous improvement in quality. This powerful competitive mechanism has brought affordability to countless products and services in all industries and has begun to bring rationality to health care pricing as more physicians and facilities honestly post their prices for all to see.

Rather than focus on “coverage,” which allows the cronies to continue their financial feeding frenzy, we should remain unalterably focused on cost. The competition unleashed will result in a medical price deflation the likes of which will cause even the most skeptical objector to re-evaluate the role of “coverage” in the provision of payment for health care.

This is no prediction. This is exactly what is happening here in Oklahoma where so many health professionals have embraced the same market discipline every other industry must endure. The reasonable prices and high quality of care, have had such a wide appeal that Oklahoma City has evolved into a medical tourist destination for many patients far from here, while simultaneously bringing savings in the millions of dollars to those who actually pay for healthcare, locally.

This is my answer to another objection from those who claim the inapplicability of market competition to health care.  Whether the focus on “coverage” is a deliberate distraction by the crony propaganda machine or a well-meaning but misguided attempt to provide better access to care, we must keep our eyes on the “price transparency ball.” The Oklahoma market is already harshly judging those attempting to avoid this gaze and I believe this trend will continue as long as we identify, challenge and reject conclusions downstream of their flawed premises.