Daily Digest

Image by udithawix, Flickr Creative Commons

Daily Digest 1/8 - Good News Friday: From Chaos To Life, A Record Year for Birds

Friday, January 8, 2016, 11:23 AM

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to [email protected] with subject header "Good News Friday." We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


U.S. Added 292,000 Jobs in December, Capping Year of Steady Growth (jdargis)

The jobless rate, which has declined since topping the 10 percent mark in October 2009, continues to hover just above what economists consider full employment — the point where further declines could start to push up inflation.

5 Reasons to Bank Offshore (Tiffany D.)

Foreign banks are almost universally sounder than U.S. banks. The U.S. banking system is a house of cards. The major U.S. banks are leveraged to the hilt and enmeshed in a system of counter-parties, derivatives and hedging that is only sustainable so long as the U.S. government is committed to bailing them out. The best foreign banks are almost always based on old-fashioned principles of sufficient reserves and a strict separation of banking from proprietary trading.

New York to Appoint Civilian to Monitor Police’s Counterterrorism Activity (jdargis)

“These safeguards will be a strong check against the discriminatory surveillance of Muslim communities that we challenged in our lawsuit,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, who represents the plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits. “We hope the settlement shows that effective policing isn’t at odds with constitutional policing.”

Why Cheap Gas Isn’t Bad News for Electric Cars (jdargis)

To be sure, that growth and rising proliferation has something to do with gasoline’s high prices in recent years. If you use more electricity stored in batteries rather than gasoline stored in your tank, you can save some money. But the sustained growth of more efficient automobiles has much more to do with changes in regulation, in the external environment, in the competitive arena, and in the zeitgeist.

Wearable energy generator uses urine to power wireless transmitter (richcabot)

“This work opens up possibilities of using waste for powering portable and wearable electronics. For example, recent research shows it should be possible to develop a system based on wearable MFC technology to transmit a person's coordinates in an emergency situation. At the same time this would indicate proof of life since the device will only work if the operator's urine fuels the MFCs.”

Nuclear Power Plants Appear Safe From Flooding In Midwest And South (Tom K.)

The Mississippi River is expected to crest on January 15 in Mississippi, but the Grand Gulf Station in the state shouldn’t be affected. Louisiana’s River Bend and Waterford Stations should also be in the clear. All three of these plants are operated by Entergy.

From Chaos To Life (gallantfarms)

It’s a beautiful story. And a reminder that organic regenerative farms not only restore biodiversity, rebuild soil organic matter, restore local economies and provide healthy food—they also play a key role in carbon sequestration and cooling the planet.

A World Record Big Year for Birds (jdargis)

Strycker got hooked on birding by a fifth-grade teacher. After he graduated college, he became, in his own words, a “full-time bird man.” He spent a field season in Antarctica and wrote about his experience in Among Penguins. Over the past several years he has traveled to Australia, Hawaii, and Costa Rica, hiked the Pacific Coast Trail from Mexico to Canada, and published another book, The Thing With Feathers. But his biggest adventure was still to come.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 1/7/16

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


thc0655's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1714
Philly cop shot in cold blood by man acting in name of Islam


Does it seem like this evil is spreading?

Authorities say a Philadelphia police officer is recovering after he was shot several times during an ambush late Thursday night in West Philadelphia.

Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross says the officer was sitting in his patrol car around 11:30 p.m. at 60th and Spruce Streets when a gunman fired 13 shots through the driver’s side of the car.

(DISCLAIMER: Graphic photo below) 

(credit: Real Time Crime Police Camera)

Photo released of suspect aiming at officer at point blank range. (credit: Real Time Crime Police Camera)

The officer — 33-year-old Jesse Hartnett — was struck three times in his arm, authorities say.

“Shots fired! I’m shot! I’m bleeding heavily!” Hartnett can be heard yelling on police radio.

Sources tell Eyewitness News the suspect has given a full confession, saying he did it in the name of Islam.

Well at least he had the balls to shoot a police officer, instead of women and children, and young people at a concert. Let's see how he likes spending 20-40 years in the Gray Bar Hotel with some of his fellow Muslims.

And, somehow, statistics indicating that being a police officer is not as dangerous as being a commercial fisherman or migrant farm worker just doesn't capture the whole picture, does it?

So far I'm not seeing this on national media.  Hmmm.

saxplayer00o1's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4239
Currency Wars

Charting the U.S. markets’ worst start to a year on record

China Finds $3 Trillion Just Doesn't Pack the Punch It Used To

Bloomberg-6 hours ago
The U.S. measure of China's holdings of Treasuries, the benchmark liquid investment in dollars, stood at $1.25 trillion in October, according to the U.S. Treasury ...

China's Woes Are Growing, Along With A Debate: Is It 2008 Again?

NPR-18 hours ago
Part I involved U.S. financial markets and real estate; Part II involved sovereign debt troubles in Europe and Part III involves China's economic slowdown and ...

Is China sparking a global currency war?

CNNMoney - ‎21 hours ago‎
Chinese officials may not be starting a currency war, some experts argue. After all, they're allowing market forces to have greater influence over the yuan now. But the snowball effect of a sinking currency is picking up momentum. The yuan is down 6 ...

Mexico warns of China triggering 'perverse' currency wars

Financial Times-19 hours ago
Chinese market turmoil and the renminbi's fall to a four-year low against the US dollar risks the prospect of “perverse” currency wars, Mexico has warned.

China currency war fears wipe $2.6 trillion off global markets in four ...

Telegraph.co.uk-20 hours ago
Global stocks markets have seen $2.5 trillion wiped off their value in just four trading days, the worst start to a calendar year since the aftermath of the dotcom ...

Deficit Woes Deny Rajan Room to Cushion India From China Turmoil

Bloomberg-6 hours ago
... that primarily induce capital outflows and competitive currency devaluations," .... a currency war and exacerbate deflationary pressures in developed nations.

SNB Suffers Record 23 Billion-Franc Loss on Strong Currency

Bloomberg-7 hours ago
The decision to give up the currency cap won SNB President Thomas Jordan .... Meanwhile, war in Yemen -- still largely under the control of the Shiite rebels the ...

Taxpayers' cost for police, fire pension plan will increase by $16 ...

Florida Times-Union-4 hours ago
The city's debt to pay for unfunded pension payments that will be paid over the next 30 .... A $66 trillion debt bubble, a $300 trillion derivative bubble, and a huge ...

Wall Street Is Pummeling The Nation's Largest Student Loan Company

Huffington Post-14 hours ago
"The student debt crisis requires immediate relief," Anne Johnson and Maggie ... With more than 90 percent of the nation's $1.3 trillion student loan tab either ...

Infinite growth in a finite world? Hopium economics has given us ...

Times of India (blog)-22 hours ago
Global debt now stands at around $200 trillion (over 280% of the world annual produce), an increase of $57 trillion since 2008 when high debt levels brought the ...

US Treasury to Auction $112 Billion of Debt

Wall Street Journal-22 hours ago
The Treasury Department will auction $112 billion in securities next week, comprising $50 billion in new debt and $62 billion in previously auctioned debt.

Bond insurers sue Puerto Rico over debt default, clawbacks

Reuters - ‎2 hours ago‎
SAN JUAN Insurers of Puerto Rican bonds sued the U.S. commonwealth late on Thursday over its recent debt default, the first lawsuit against the island since its governor called its $70 billion debt load "unpayable" last June. The lawsuit by Assured ...

Yuan swings prompt companies to cut dollar debt

Jakarta Post-12 hours ago
China Eastern Airlines Co Ltd, one of the major carriers in China, said on Tuesday that it was repaying debts worth $1 billion as part of its ongoing efforts to cut ...

Chinese firms step up dollar debt redemptions as yuan weakens

Reuters-7 hours ago
HK) said on Monday it had recently repaid $1 billion worth of dollar debt to reduce its exposure to currency volatility. It would adopt various measures in the short ...

Emanuel seeks OK for $3 billion in new borrowing

Chicago Sun-Times - ‎17 hours ago‎
Seven months ago, aldermen reluctantly agreed to authorize a $1.1 billion borrowing after being told the city's junk bond rating demanded it. The money was used to continue Emanuel's debt restructuring plan and move away from risky financial practices ...

Morning Spin: Budget impasse leads three dozen community ...

Chicago Tribune-4 hours ago
*Illinois debt: A key ratings agency says that despite Illinois' ongoing budget ... the state will face a $25 billion bill backlog and a $5 billion deficit come 2020, ...

Winter comes to China shipyards facing near-record maturing debt


... stoking speculation debt failures will spread as the economy slows. The companies must repay 50.3

US high-yield bond market stumbles out of the gate

Reuters-18 hours ago
... two-thirds of the US$90bn pipeline, which includes multi-billion dollar deals for ... The total also includes a US$5.6bn debt package backing Carlyle Group's ...

DPS Emergency Manager Criticizes Teachers Over 'Sickouts'

CBS Local-17 hours ago
Rick Snyder wants to pay off the debt and spin off a new district, but he lacks support so far in the Legislature. ... We get it.” DPS has a reported $3.1 billion deficit.

Early pension pot grab sees Brits clear £2.7bn under new rules as ...

Mirror.co.uk-18 hours ago
Money Advice Trust's Joanna Elson said: “No one wants to see retirees run out of cash and be in debt in later life, but these figures show many could face this ...

Struggling to raise inflation, Sweden edges towards ...

Reuters-8 hours ago
"Several members ... noted that if the exchange rate appreciated too rapidly, currency interventions could be necessary," said the minutes of the rate-setting ...

China State Funds Said to Buy More Shares After Market Rout

Bloomberg - ‎8 hours ago‎
In the foreign-exchange market, at least two large Chinese banks were seen by traders selling dollars for yuan around the level of 6.589. The central bank ended an eight-day run of reductions to the yuan's reference rate on Friday, helping send the ...

Japan's Aso: China may find it difficult to continue buying yuan

Reuters-16 hours ago
Aso also expressed concern about the disparity between the onshore and offshore rates of the yuan caused by China's frequent currency intervention. Chinese ...

Kazakhstan's $64 Billion Question: Will Oil Fund Run Out?

Wall Street Journal-5 hours ago
Kazakh politicians and the central bank need to cut spending, boost tax collection and invest the fund in higher-yielding assets such as private equity, according ...

The End of the Monetary Illusion Magnifies Shocks for Markets

Bloomberg-5 hours ago
“With central banks becoming increasingly restricted in their stimulus policies, 2016 is likely to be the year when the markets awaken to economic reality.”.

Fed leans on big balance sheet to soften rate hike impact

Reuters-16 hours ago
... the central bank will hold on to its $4.5-trillion portfolio at least until next year, ... not fully appreciate that the central bank was willing to hang on to the bonds ...

Brazil Inflation Unexpectedly Slows as Recession Bites

Bloomberg - ‎5 hours ago‎
While a deepening recession and higher borrowing costs have chipped away at Brazilians' purchasing power, inflation is still forecast to remain above the ceiling of a central bank target this year, leading economists to predict a new round of monetary ...

Brazil Inflation Reaches Highest Level in 13 Years

Wall Street Journal - ‎6 hours ago‎
This marked the fourth time that consumer prices surpassed the tolerance band set by the central bank under its inflation target regime, which has been in place since 1999. Previously, consumer prices in Brazil surpassed the tolerance band in 2001 ...

Financial Health Team digs deeper into city's issues

Lansing State Journal-5 hours ago
The city faces a projected $600 million in unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities. Hollister chairs the FHT and said the group will pay more attention ...

Obamacare's Legacy: US Now Leads World in Healthcare Spending

Gilmer Mirror - ‎17 hours ago‎
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- a group of 34 developed countries -- recently ranked member countries by per-capita healthcare spending. The United States took first place by spending $8,713 per person -- more than double ...
saxplayer00o1's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4239
Capital flight pushes China to the brink of devaluation


Capital flight pushes China to the brink of devaluation

Telegraph.co.uk-21 hours ago
The freeze on sales is an admission that the government is now trapped, ... Our new base case is that the Chinese government will simply let the debt party go ...

Jefferies Sees `Substantial' Liquidity Void Growing in Markets

Bloomberg - ‎13 hours ago‎
Market makers have pulled back on “everything from high-yield bonds, European sovereign debt, bank loans, distressed securities and equities,” they wrote. “Incredibly low inventories are being taxed with extreme volatility and the challenges of a ...

Mining's $1.4 Trillion Plunge Like Losing Apple, Google, Exxon

Bloomberg-15 hours ago
Saudi credit-default swaps spiked this week to the highest since the global slump of 2009, and riyal futures have weakened on speculation about the dollar peg.


Doug's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3200

This headline and the linked article are really misleading.  It is true that healthcare spending in the US leads the developed world by a considerable margin, but that was true before the ACA (Affordable Care Act) was enacted and before Obama was elected.  In fact, the annual increases in spending have slowed and continue to slow more since the ACA took effect.


The truth is that we lead the developed world in healthcare costs because we are still at the tender mercies of the capitalist system.  The insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital industries rake us over the coals with little effective regulation.  It is an uncomfortable fact that virtually all of those developed countries with lower cost and generally more effective healthcare systems are socialized to much greater extents than the US.

Unfortunately, the only presidential candidate who will admit these uncomfortable facts in Bernie Sanders.  The rest, all of whom are dependent on super-pacs for campaign money, will do nothing to change to a "single payer" or more socialized system.  Even Sanders, if elected, will probably not succeed in changing the system significantly due to the combined power of the Democratic and Republican parties and the industries mentioned above.

So, suck it up all of you committed free market types, you get what you pay for.  Or rather, you pay more for what you get.



Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
She's Peachy Mate.

The Reserve Bank of Australia ruminates. Growth only mentioned 3 times. (In this paragraph.)

International Economic Conditions
Members commenced their discussion of the global economy with the observation that growth in Australia's major trading partners had picked up in the September quarter, driven by an increase in growth in some Asian economies following weakness in the previous quarter. Overall, however, conditions across the Asian region, including in China and Japan, had been weaker than expected this year. Growth in the United States and the recovery in the euro area had continued. Core inflation had generally edged higher in both the advanced and emerging economies, but remained below most central banks' targets. Globally, monetary conditions remained very accommodative.


Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
The Origins of Spite
If I were one of the 1% I would be fascinated by this Psyorg study.
There is plenty there. I pull out what I think would most interest yourselves. 
Our study provides the first evidence of a non-human primate choosing to punish others simply because they have more," said Leimgruber, first author of the paper. "This sort of 'if I can't have it, no one can' response is consistent with psychological spite, a behavior previously believed unique to humans."
"Our findings suggest that the psychological roots of human-like punishment motivations may extend deeper into our evolutionary history than previously thought." Santos said.


KugsCheese's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 2 2010
Posts: 1469
A crony system whereby new

A crony system whereby new competition is almost impossible is hardly a capitalist system.  It is at the very least mercantilism but is morphing into Fascism.  As my medical doctor/research friend calls it we have Sickcare.

Doug's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3200

I've heard that argument from every type of ism in the 50 years or so I've been paying attention.  In a pluralistic society like ours, there will never be a pure anything.  Our system is still predominately capitalist.  The institutions of our healthcare system are motivated by capitalist incentives.  And, in fact, our government is largely controlled by capitalist institutions.  So, like it or not, when compared to socialist systems, the latter wins when it comes to healthcare.  That said, I agree ours is a sick care system.  Universal healthcare systems have much more incentive to practice preventative care and cost cutting that actually seem to work, at least much better than ours.

saxplayer00o1's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4239
Worst Ever

U.S. stocks see worst opening week ever





badScooter's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 20 2011
Posts: 152
"single payer"

Hi Doug,

I'd like to say that we could agree to disagree, but under the current system, and any future single payer system (boy, I never saw that one coming), I have to agree to pay to do that.  Totally fed up with funding Government stuff that is anathema to me, be it goofy endless warfare or more socialism.  "Regulate" and "Take over and administer" are (or should be) very different animals.  So, I disagree and will not just leave it at that.


cmartenson's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5972
I confess...
saxplayer00o1 wrote:

The commentator on that one made me LOL.


Well played, sir, well played.

Sometimes I feel like I need a hug too.

TechGuy's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 453
Re: Overseas Banking

"Foreign banks are almost universally sounder than U.S. banks. The U.S. banking system is a house of cards. The major U.S. banks are leveraged to the hilt and enmeshed in a system of counter-parties, derivatives and hedging"

Not ever remotely close to the truth. Foreign banks are grossly more leveraged than US banks. EU banks have less then 3% reserves, where US banks have at least 10% (mandated by law). Many foriegn banks also lend money abroad to very shaky regions like south america, socialist EU nation, Africa, etc. The EU force greece into a crisis, and just about all of the bailout/loans to Greece by the ECB when to service the debt owned by EU banks. Ditto for Cyrpus. 

It appears the EU banks will be moving to bail-ins soon as bad loans and bad bets by the EU banks are close to pushing them over the edge. It would not be wise to have any deposits in EU banks since you too will take a hit.

Its nearly impossible for Americans to open foriegn banking account due to the new US banking laws that are eligiblity designed to prevent tax fraud, but are really a stealh version of capital controls. Most Americans living abroad were forced into renouncing their US citizenship just to comply with the US regulations imposed on them, since foriegn banks would not permit americans to hold bank accounts. 


TechGuy's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 453
Doug Wrote: "Unfortunately,

Doug Wrote:

"Unfortunately, the only presidential candidate who will admit these uncomfortable facts in Bernie Sanders. The rest, all of whom are dependent on super-pacs for campaign money, will do nothing to change to a "single payer" or more socialized system"

Doug three major President candidates (Hilary, Trump & Sanders) all support single payer system. Here is Trump:

"Trump Pushes Single Payer Healthcare, Tax Increase on Wealthy"


"Trump Pretty Much Says He Supports Universal Health Care"


Hilary tried to bring in Universal health care back in the early 1990s when Bill Clinton was in Office.  She certainly hasn't changed her mind since then.

That said Single payer healthcare will only increase costs. People with free health care will be more risky, by eating less healthly, be less concerned about injuries (ie skiing), and consume more services (doctor visit for a common sore throat, cosmetic surgery, etc). Overall use, abuse and fraud, will lead to steep tax increases. Consider that medicare, which just covers existing retrees runs a deficit of about $600 Billion a year. A program to cover all americans at the same level of coverage as Medicare would costs in the trillions per year. We would likely see the payroll tax, which currently funds Medicare increase from about 15.4% of income, to over 30% of income. There are no deductions for payroll tax, so even if you make $10K, all of it would be subject to the payroll tax.

To combat abuse, Countries with Single Payer system ration health care. In Canada for instance,even for broken bone injuries there is a waiting list. Fortunately for most Canadians they can easily come to the USA for treatment. For Europeans, most travel to India for surgery unless they are willing to wait years on the waiting list. Most poor people that need treatment for life threating problems end up dying waiting for their number to come up. Of course gov't have an interest in delaying treatment, since either the patient pay for treatment out of pocket, or dies before treatment can be served.

The likely outcome is increase costs via taxation, rationing, and declining quality of services provided (as happened in all nations offer single payer healthcare). It is capitalism, via compitition that leads to lower costs, innovation and better quality. Consumers always seek the best quality at the lost cost for services, thus forcing the businesses to compete and offer consumers better options at a lower cost.Gov't monopolies are the exact opposite, since a monopoly does not need to compete, thus does not need to be conserned bout service quality or innovation to provide better services at a lower cost.

As for the rich paying for it, Well they will continue to do what they been doing for decades. Move operations oversea and outsource labor to avoid taxation and regulation.

Unfortunately, Single payer is certainly guarenteed in the next 4 to 6 years. It does not matter if a DNC or an RNC candidate wins in 2016, since all leading candidates support it. The RNC congress is slowly becoming liberalized, as the Republicans approved everything Obama requested in last months spending bill vote. The RNC has many opportunties to cancel Obamacare, but didn't. RNC incombants tell voters what they want to hear, but when it comes time to vote, the majority of the RNC in congress end up supporting socialism.

We no longer have even a true two party system, We have one party that fully imbraces socialism, central planing, and other that stealthly supports socialism and big gov't. One just promotes it a bit faster than the other. For example, Under Geo. Bush, We saw the expansion of Medicare, and increase gov't spending, as well as more gov't authoritarianism (ie Patriot Act and other bills that strip americans of privacy and liberty),  Income taxes also increase under GWB, with increasing Caps on the payroll tax and changes to income tax (ie the AMT Alternative Minimum Tax).But since it was done stealthly few people noticed.The value of US currency also diminishing considerably under GWB which is also another stealh tax.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
A less lethal round.

Widder's challenge was to find a way of varying the muzzle velocity depending on the distance to the target so that the projectile always hits at the sweet spot of between 77 and 87 meters per second. His final design uses a small .50 caliber weapon firing a hard projectile that uses that gas venting strategy to hit the target at optimal speed. This variable speed makes the Pogojet safe at short range and effective at long range. Widder says it will be effective at a hundred meters, far further than any existing kinetic round.



Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
And more on the EM Drive

Someone got good thrust and then it blew up. 

Things are happening. EagleWorks has a paper in peer review and I'm restoring my lab into my home and the frustum antennas I fried. I'll say it. I got thrust and yes it was above EagleWorks and rfmwguy's and several others. It was a O. M.G. moment. Honestly, I got so excited I was shaking, it was like a new hot rod car and I regressed turning up the power. I didn't record any of it as it was just a preliminary test to see if everything worked. I got more thrust and as the digital scales were climbing it went pffft. That wasn't good.


Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
No laughing matter.

It looks as though the Memes that my generation imposed on everyone (myself included) are crumbling into dust. And good riddance. 

Slide one. It gets better. http://www.lenrproof.com/slide_01.html

Yoxa's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 21 2011
Posts: 306
Quote: In Canada for

 In Canada for instance,even for broken bone injuries there is a waiting list.

Please clarify where that claim comes from.

It does not match my family's experience.

Neither does it match what the signs say about who gets priority in the emergency room in our regional hospital.


 People with free health care will be more risky, by eating less healthly, be less concerned about injuries (ie skiing), and consume more services (doctor visit for a common sore throat, cosmetic surgery, etc).

This is out of touch with reality. For one thing, our health care isn't free, we all know it, and we take care of ourselves. For another thing, taking care of small problems often prevents larger problems. Another fact check: Cosmetic surgery is not covered unless it's for extreme things like restoration after an accident or illness. I pay for my own wrinkle treatments!

Canada's system isn't perfect, but clearly we're doing something right that the US isn't. The average life expectancy of  Canadians is three years longer than their American counterparts. Specifically, women in Canada live an average of 83 years, compared to 80 in the US; men live more than 78 years on average compared to 75 in the US.

This is so even though our medical costs constitute a significantly smaller percentage of our GDP: 10.9% for Canada in 2013 vs 17.1% in the US. One reason for the difference is that a better percentage of what we pay goes to actual care, not just administrative overhead.

The average Canadian doesn't need to fear being bankrupted by medical bills. A Canadian who loses his/her job doesn't lose medical coverage along with it. The fact that our coverage doesn't depend on our job gives the average Canadian more freedom to look for a different position, go for more schooling, start their own business or bow out of the paid workforce for a while to care for small children, than an American whose medical coverage is tied to their employment status. On the business side of the coin, businesses have fewer administrative costs, and in some cases will feel more flexibility to lay off employees if business requires it. (They know that Joe the pipefitter's daughter's disease will still get care regardless of Joe's job status.)

Those factors all have positive effects for our economy at large ... not to mention the well-being of our people at large.

When I count my blessings, Canada's medical care system is high on my list.



reflector's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 20 2011
Posts: 279
capitalism, would be nice if we had it
Doug wrote:

 Our system is still predominately capitalist.  The institutions of our healthcare system are motivated by capitalist incentives.  

doug, kugscheese is absolutely correct, we don't have a capitalist system, we have cronyism.

if we really had capitalism, there would be low barriers to entry for health care providers, and there would be a lot more  competition for the copious amounts of wealth that america squanders on healthcare, and this competition would drive down the costs. that's just basic supply and demand.

capitalist incentives are all well and good, but when those incentives are funneled to the privileged few (institutional hospitals, big pharma, and connected cronys) through government policies, that's not at all capitalism, that's not at all the free market, it's exactly the opposite.

Doug wrote:

And, in fact, our government is largely controlled by capitalist institutions. 

not at all a correct statement. by definition, capitalist institutions are free market ones, not involved with government at all.

the more it's involved with government, the less accurate it is to say that it's capitalist (free market).

perhaps what you meant to say was, government is largely controlled by cronyist institutions; that i would agree with. cronyism and capitalism are opposites.

John Lemieux's picture
John Lemieux
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 2 2012
Posts: 228
Here we go again

I read here to learn. But when someone says something I know from first hand experience to be false, I feel I should say something. I have lived in Canada all my life and have never heard of anyone having to wait for a long time for surgery to fix a broken leg. And to claim that those without universal health care take better care of themselves is simply false. It's just not as simple as you are making this out to be.  I have also heard members here claim that nursing grads can't get jobs in Canada. Well,  every person I know that has gone through for nursing has a nursing career now. So it seems to be one of the better career options in Canada these days. But it is true that the system in Canada is far from perfect. 

Doug's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3200
Thanks Yoxa and John

Unsolicited testimony from those who actually live under a universal healthcare system is helpful.  But, there is more.  There are lots of studies that confirm the essence of what I wrote above.



The U.S. spends more money on health care compared with other industrialized countries, but Americans still get the least bang for their buck -- and many still don't have access to care -- according to a report just published by the Commonwealth Fund. The report from the private health care research foundation examined data on expenditures, delivery and access to health care services among 11 industrialized countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.




While the U.S. mix of services is disproportionately tilted toward more expensive interventions, the other OECD countries emphasize a “plain vanilla” mix. Compared with the U.S., the average OECD country has 30 percent more physician visits and more than 30 percent more hospital days per capita.


If we turn the question around and ask why healthcare costs so much less in other high-income countries, the answer nearly always points to a larger, stronger role for government. Governments usually eliminate much of the high administrative costs of insurance, obtain lower prices for inputs, and influence the mix of healthcare outputs by arranging for large supplies of primary-care physicians and hospital beds while keeping tight control on the number of specialist physicians and expensive technology. In the United States, the political system creates many “choke points” for diverse interest groups to block or modify government’s role in these areas.



SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Health at a Glance 2015 OECD Indicators, November 2015. Compiled by PGPF.

There are many more that essentially repeat the above results.  Just google American healthcare compare

One note, I didn't know Trump has backed universal healthcare, although it kinda makes sense as he is the only candidate besides Bernie who doesn't depend on superpacs.  Also, I didn't remember that Hillary had proposed a single payer system in the 90s.  I haven't heard her propose universal healthcare this time around.





TechGuy's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 453
American's Health

The primary reason for less than average health of americans is because americans don't take care of themselves. Americans are the most obese in the developed world, which reduces lifespans. This is the primary reason why americans life shorter lives and have increased healthcare costs. 


"One-third of Americans are obese and another third are overweight. The rate of childhood obesity is at 20% and the rate of adolescent obesity is at 18%"

As far as US higher infant mortatily rates:


"Five main causes of mortality play into the statistics for babies under a year old: birth defects, sudden infant death syndrome, maternal health complications, unintentional injuries and preterm-related causes of death. But when scientists, including Wise and MacDorman, have crunched the numbers on infant mortality, they find that one factor is the biggest difference maker between the United States and other industrialized countries: premature births."

Most of these issues are almost certainly attributed to poor health habits of americans: Eating too much junk food, drug abuse, etc. unitentional injuries is likely because the parents don't properly care for their infants. This isn't because of the quality of american healthcare services.

Doug Quoted:

"Governments usually eliminate much of the high administrative costs of insurance, obtain lower prices for inputs, and influence the mix of healthcare outputs by arranging for large supplies of primary-care physicians and hospital beds while keeping tight control on the number of specialist physicians and expensive technology"

Gov't has the highest administrative costs. The US gov't have more bureacrates than any organization in the world. Much of the US gov't information systems is based on IT systems/software developed 20 to 30 years ago and most information is still transfered by paper. Consider that the US gov't ACA website was a boondoogle with about 500 Million lines of code and much of the code didn't work. The gov't simply hired a much of people outsourced coders that created a disfunctional monstrosity to do fraud and waste. Again, back to competition which drives innovation and cost savings over a monopoly.

The second part of that statement, is refering to healthcare rationing. Patients will lose access to specialists. There will be long waiting lists for surgeries and other complex or expensive medical services as in all Single payer nations. 

From the article you quoted:


"The U.S. delivers roughly three times as many mammograms, two-and-a-half times as many MRI scans, and a third more C-sections per capita than the average OECD country."

Yes, Because nations with single payer healthcare "ration" services.Increased mammograms, and scans is better since it increases the chances that cancer will be detected earlier, decreasing treatment costs as will increasing the lifespan/qaulity of life for cancer patients.

From Hilary's 2008 campaign:


"We need a universal health care system where we manage chronic diseases, where we get prices down because we can bargain with the drug companies, where we say to the health insurance companies that they must cover everyone, they have to do it at an affordable rate."

Probably the difference between Sanders and Hilary is that Sanders wasn't a gov't agency to run the entire US healthcare system, and Hilary proposes using gov't contractors (ie health insurace companies). Using multiple contractors is slighty better, but generally gov't contractors collude to fix prices to create a virtual monopoly.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments