Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
What happens when they sell "under water." Let's say they purchased for $400,000. They agree to pay 25% of their income for the mortgae. They sell for $300,000.00. They pay $75,000 to the bank, keep $225,000.00, but continue paying the 25% of their income to the bank.
This evens the moral playing field between those who do what might financially best for them, and those who feel a moral obligation to continue paying their mortgage.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Of course, one could argue for more statesmanlike senators. Of course, one could argue against the rule that allows fillibusters to continue until sixty percent vote yes--or you could take my proposal, postulated here in May that fourty per cent of either house is sufficent to put a version of the bill before the American people. Should there be several versions available, the American People would vote by Approval voting.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
NPR had an excellent presentation on how Merck increased the sales of its Fosamax pill which increased bone density and reduced bone fractures from osteoporosis. Bone density diagnosis machines were expensive and there were thus few of them. It worked with and eventually threated the manufacturerers into reducing the cost so that most Doctor's offices had one. The result was that many women were diagnosed with osteopenia, a milder form of loss of bone. However, although fosamax increased bone edesnisty, one study showed that it did not decrease the risk of fracture, and, in fact, there are anecdotal reports that it might even make the bones more brittle increasing fracture risk. A Rome medical meeting looked at different bone density numbers and arbitarily divsiions between the numbers where a women would be diagnosed with osteoporosis, osteopenia and normal bone density. (My mother and myself also found fosamax could cause problems with dental disorders.)
A pharmacoepidemiologist said that often drug manufacturers would take a drug effective in severe cases of a disease, and market it for those with midler forms. It was not clear that the drug was helpful in these situations and whether the risk of side effects, etc. outweighted any benefit it might provide for those with milder forms.
The problem is that we need to reward drug manufacturers for beneficial results for patients after a long term, and not reward drug companies every time a doctor prescribes the drug, that is for sales.
I spoke about this a little in the fouth part of my four-part participatory plan for health care reform.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Yet a sortition based consumption tax would solve the problem. I mentioned this in the first post of this blog. Each item or service sold, whether imported or produced here, would be subject to a tax. It would be applied in a competitive fashion. That is all the car producers would compete as to which is the most environmentally friendly, and takes care of its workers, and produces products that are safe and don't consume much gasoline, or perhaps are not dependent upon gasoline. Similarly, toy producers, computer manufacturers and others would compete to avoid the tax.
The sortition jury would vote to tax them. Those businesses that agree to monitoring would have an advantage. The sortition jury could also allocate up to five percent of the tax collected to both government agencies and non-profits who run monitoring programs. Businesses would be free to decline monitoring programs that it felt were too intrusive. However, they would be at a competitive disadvantage in getting a low tax rate.
The agencies and NGO's would have an incentive to design monitoring programs that are reliable but that companies were willing to accept--otherwise, they would get less of the money available for such purposes.
Seven to one Americans said the Administration should put a higher priority on improving the economy than reducing global warming. Thus, the sortition juries would look at a companies record of providing stable employment to Americans and its environmental record.
Note this is applied to labor standards, providing health care to its workers and above all environmental issues, both conventional and those associated with global warming.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
The obviousl implications that something is wrong with our finance system and the financial stimulus system...
I am intrigued about the Italian jury system, where there are two judges and six members of the public. Would this be a model for deciding technical cases, in malpractice cases, a jury of two doctors and six members of the public. In criminal cases such as the recent murder trial involving an American exchange student, would it not be better to have forensic specialists as well.
Obviously, this brings up the whole issue of the role of expertise and that of sortition juries in various cases, an issue in which I intend to explore fully.
In researching this, I found a New York Times article from 1873 pointing out some peculiar decisions by Italian juries in what would be called jury nullification in the United States Today, but also displaying a prejudice against the Italian people, that would not be acceptable today.
Thursday, December 3, 2009