Influence people

Monday, October 30, 2017

This Land


It is difficult for the common good to prevail against
the intense concentration of those who have a special interest.

— Jimmy Carter

Healthcare, housing and education—while increasing in cost, but declining in value—have a stranglehold on the US economy that will eventually plunge most Americans into near-poverty, says a recent report from Gallup.

Now accounting for almost 40 cents of every US dollar spent, the inflationary price tags on healthcare, housing and education mean most Americans will never, as previous generations liked to say, "get ahead."

Ironically, white Americans are sicker than they were 40 years ago; live in older, smaller homes farther from their workplaces; and don't know what the Constitution is, or that the earth orbits the sun.

Other things are amiss in this land, too, according to the report. 

High healthcare costs are not only hammering businesses' profit margins, but dampening entrepreneurship and full-time hiring. And in industries where hiring is brisk, employers can't find Americans who are well enough, or smart enough, to perform the new jobs. Employers are forced to favor foreign-educated workers.

What's behind our downward spiral? Special interest groups, Gallup says.
    • In healthcare, paperwork, "defensive" medicine, and doctors' excessive salaries are driving up healthcare costs. Patients spend more for less, as a result. Trade groups like the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians are to blame.
    • In housing, zoning is distorting housing markets. Localities in demand allow only a fraction of their land to be used for high-density housing, which drives builders to start single-family homes in faraway places, at a pace that lags demand. The resulting undersupply drives up prices. Groups like neighborhood associations and The Sierra Club are to blame.

    • In education, runaway administrator costs and unaccountable teachers are making education unaffordable and ineffective. From pre-school to grad school, the system rewards foolish initiatives. Unions like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are to blame.


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