Economic Update: Capitalism's Craziness

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On this week's episode of Economic Update, Prof. Wolff provides updates on universities, politicians, and grad student unions, Bill Gates obscene wealth, Harley-Davidson' illegal pollution and more. Analyses of capitalism's craziness: insufficient demand, unemployment's wastes, state subsidies for all systems.


Showing 5 comments

  • commented 2016-09-01 21:21:44 -0400
    Some of the answers to the health insurance business is that they make money off of investing the premiums more than paying for treatments; and the providers maker more money by treating sick people rather than curing any body. When payment is more linked to being effective healers, or better yet, everyone gets a fair wage and the pleasure of doing good work is a valued benefit, then we will see a change in the whole approach to healing. The movie Sicko gave some examples, also seen in Where to Invade Next. We can do what works in other places, with the motive being maximum health and knowledge for every person on the planet. It is all connected and cannot be solved separately. Greed itself is a symptom of a psychopathy, and the sociopaths in power need to be disabled, then treated and perhaps even cured. Any one who can do that gets a great bonus of fame points.
  • commented 2016-08-30 19:26:53 -0400
    Profit is the simple reason health care is not working.
  • commented 2016-08-28 09:18:32 -0400
    Sorry John you believe I’m making this up, but as I said before I got my info from 2 medical providers themselves. The quote you used from my post was one from one of those providers, not me. After hearing what they told me how this rigged game works, there’s no way for me to label any of this fiction. Just because the corporate media hasn’t reported it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. That’s just naive.

    As far as why insurance companies are bolting ACA, indeed it’s because of the high cost of insuring those with pre-existing conditions, which include cancer, emphysema, etc. Not just obesity as your post endlessly hammers on. Not all thin people are healthy (many smoke, binge drink, abuse drugs, eat bad food as well), and not all those who are moderately overweight are unhealthy (many actually exercise more and eat better foods than many thin people). Your contempt for fat people, which your post clearly illustrates, is detestable. Punishing those who are overweight, which is precisely your plan, is equally repulsive. Why not just put all fat people on boxcars and send them to gas chambers? I’m sorry you’re that way.
  • commented 2016-08-27 21:59:44 -0400
    Professor Wolff, I am a 57 year old RN, I have followed you for years now, both you and your wife’s work has meant more to my family and myself than I can express. Just let me say thank-you for being so brave as to be an honest voice of reason as you faithfully report this “craziness”.
    However, as I have followed you for years now, I have noticed that just knowing all these negative facts is never enough ,as it tends to make one feel victimized ,frustrated and powerless unless there is some understanding of the detailed steps one can take to implement a plan, that can be reassessed for progress toward a goal.
    That is how nurses do it, the MD comes in and reports to the patient some terrible diagnosis, walks out the door and goes on to the next patient, that’s his job,but, as the patient then becomes distraught ,frustrated and feels powerless to face the facts, the nurse’s step in with our tried and trusted system of ADPIE, which is Assessment, Diagnosis,Plan, Implement, Evaluate, and repeat…We the people need more detailed guidance…you have our attention…If you could elaborate a little more on the actions we can take to overcome this King Kong sized craziness that we are to face, then we could make some progress towards this goal. If left to our own devices I fear the people’s anger, confusion, and frustration will only lead to violence, suffering and tremendous loss to this great nation…Please we cannot stand by and watch this go on this way much longer, the hour is late, and correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not a history scholar but, of all the events that led up to the horribly violent French Revolution what stood out to me the most, was that the injustices, known to the people, were never acknowledged, validated or brought to justice, and most of all , this lack of validation of the injustices coupled with no spoken plan or guidance that the people could participate in , led to the event that history calls the French Revolution, a terrible loss for all the French people.
    I grew up in Boston,Ma. ,and I know we can do better than this!
  • commented 2016-08-27 10:55:43 -0400
    I enjoyed especially the discussions in the EpiPen and insurance segments, but there are some nuances specific to the health insurance industry, no small bane to patients, that I think are worth exploring.

    It’s becoming clearer to me that the very existence of health insurance companies is what’s jacking up the costs of healthcare. We know that insurance companies are loaded with money and pay a significant portion of a patient’s healthcare costs to the doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc. Many have become white-collar bandits thanks to the ACA. By comparison only, we patients pay a ‘small’ amount. Thus doctors, hospitals, pharmacies et al have a secondary but much larger revenue source to tap into, and therefore exploit that for their own profitable ends by upping their fees in what’s really a money grab. If an insurance company agrees to pay more than a provider would otherwise charge, the provider increases his prices. And while the insurance companies are more than capable of paying their share, the fact is that healthcare costs are so obscene that even the relatively “small” amount a patient pays is unaffordable. Anyone who’s had a sudden and major health crisis knows this. The resulting bills to the patient are increasingly staggering.

    The main reason this phenomenon has become clearer to me isn’t because of wild theory on my part; I’ve had an ENT and a chiropractor tell me this. My chiropractor even told me flatly, “if BlueCross BlueShield or whoever agrees to pay me more than I’d normally charge, you bet I’m charging more.” So I don’t espouse to this belief carelessly. Would the theoretical elimination of insurance companies drive down healthcare costs? If this phenomenon is true, and I’ve had two providers confirm that it is, then it stands to reason the costs would eventually drop. But you’d also have to fight doctors/hospitals/pharmacies because they’re incredibly complicit in this. It’s not like they, unlike patients, are getting shafted in this.

    IMO this phenomenon also explains the outrageous costs of college and university education. Institutions, like medical providers, have a secondary but much larger revenue source to tap into other than the student/parent; the student loan corporations. University administrators know that these loan corps have far more money at their disposal than the student/parent and exploit that to their ends, which largely end up in bloated salaries and incomes for university brass, nice-looking buildings for the sole purpose of courting corporate donors with little to no academic purpose, extravagant landscaping, etc. No university president is worth eight figures. The teaching professors (not the research ones who are averse to interacting with students, unless it’s an attractive coed of course) are still stiffed with lack of quality pay and teaching materials, teacher assistants even more so, and students/parents are stiffed with a massive monthly bill soon after graduating. Same phenomenon, different industry.
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