Sally C. Pipes is one of my favorite health care policy analysts. She has written several books on topics like the Canadian health care system, the American health care system, and the Obamacare health care law. She has debated health care with that damnable leftist Paul Krugman, among others. She heads up a think tank based in San Francisco, CA called the Pacific Research Institute.
Thanks to Obamacare, America’s corps of doctors appears to have a case of the blues.
The Physicians Foundation recently asked more than 13,000 doctors about their morale, their career plans, their practices and their views of the Affordable Care Act. The results were grim.
Nearly six in 10 doctors said that they are less positive about the future of health care in America under Obamacare. Almost two-thirds have a negative attitude toward their jobs – nearly twice as many as before the health law was passed in 2010.
As a result, many doctors are cutting back on their workload or shuttering their practices. Worse, their collective frustration is exacerbating our nation’s troubling doctor shortage.
More than three-fifths of doctors say they would retire today if they could, compared with 45 percent before Obamacare. Eighty-four percent say the medical profession is in decline. Fewer doctors say they would enter the profession today if they had it to do over again, and fewer would recommend it to their children.
This decline in doctors’ morale is taking a toll on Americans’ ability to access care. Physicians report working almost 6 percent fewer hours than they did four years ago. That’s about two and a half hours less per week per doctor. Add up all the hours, and it’s the equivalent of losing more than 44,000 full-time physicians.
Doctors also report seeing some 16 percent fewer patients than they did in 2008. That represents tens of millions fewer doctor-patient encounters each year.
More than half those surveyed say they plan to cut back further on the time they devote to patient care, to work part time, to retire or to switch to direct-pay “concierge”-type medical practices, which are beyond the reach of many of Obamacare’s rules and regulations.
Even before the law, America faced a chronic doctor shortage, with a gap of 14,000 physicians in 2010. And the problem will only grow worse.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, Obamacare will push the doctor shortage up to 63,000 by 2015 – and more than 91,000 by 2020. That’s in addition to the full-time-equivalent losses from doctors working fewer hours.
I have been talking to people in my office who voted for Obama all week to see why they did what they did. Surprisingly, not many people I talked to voted for him. But for those that did, a popular reason is that they wanted to tax the rich more. I asked them what would happen if you taxed the rich more. They told me that Obama can tax people who are “rich” more and more and that the “rich” will just keep paying those higher taxes while still continuing to work and work to provide the goods and services that we all use. I asked them about regulations, and they said that Obama can just keep heaping burdensome regulations on these “rich” people more and more, and they won’t mind at all. They’ll just keep working and hiring people and providing goods and services even if they make less money and have to work more to comply with regulations.
One of the Indian contractors who voted for Obama told me that rich people do what they do because they like it, and they will keep doing it no matter how much we tax and regulate them. “They will do it for love of fairness, and because Obama is such a good man – they will be inspired by him to pay the higher taxes and to fill in the extra paperwork”, he told me. For him, people just do whatever they like. The reason why some people work is because they like working, and the reason why some people don’t work is because they like not working. Another Obama-voter told me that people should be able to do whatever they like and everyone should end up equal in the end. Some people will work because they like to, and others won’t. Taxes don’t affect what a person does. Nor does the difficulty of the work. Nor does the exposure to malpractice lawsuits. Nor does the higher medical insurance premiums. Doctors do what they do because they like it, and the conditions and profit margins don’t matter. Rich people like doctors will keep working at whatever they do even if they are taxed so much that they earn the same amount of money as people who work at McDonald’s.
That’s the worldview of the people who voted for Obama. They don’t understand incentives at all. They don’t understand the profit motive. They think that people who go to medical school until they are 35, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in debt in the process, will be happy to work 80 hour weeks and to pay 50% of their income in taxes so that other people can have free contraceptives. That is the worldview of the left – they have no idea what the consequences are of raising taxes on “the rich”. They don’t think that there are any consequences.
If you would like to see Sally Pipes talk a bit more about Obamacare, you can watch her explain it here:
GenOn Energy said it would shutter seven coal plants and one oil-fired plant in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois with a total generating capacity of 3,140 megawatts. Midwest Generation followed suit with an advisory that it would close two coal plants serving Chicago.
The shutdowns represent a victory for President Obama, who in a 2008 interview as a candidate signaled his intention to run the coal industry into the ground: “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s emitted.”
The president has made good on his promise. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has squeezed coal producers in its campaign to halt carbon dioxide, the same “greenhouse gas” all animals produce when exhaling. In December, the agency announced new regulations limiting mercury emissions that will force many power plants out of business within four years.
The EPA estimates utilities across the country will need to shell out at least $9.4 billion in 2015 to meet its new mandate, but House Republicans put the true cost at $84 billion. Companies that stay in business will have to install expensive equipment that will drive up consumers’ monthly electric bills. The average retail price of electricity in America already has climbed 46 percent since 1997, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Cleaner-burning natural gas is touted as a viable substitute for coal but the transition can’t be completed overnight. In the meantime, the nation’s net electricity generation is falling, down 7.1 percent from 2010 to 2011, says the EIA. Demand for electricity is projected to rise by 35 percent by 2035.
Green-energy enthusiasts look to windmills, solar panels and vegetable oil to save the day, but these trendy energy sources combined generate less than 5 percent of the nation’s energy – despite billions in subsidies. The net result of this policy could be electricity shortfalls when usage peaks in the summer. The energy brain trust has a remedy: Millions of homes across the country have been equipped with “smart meters” that can be instructed to hold back the juice. Brownouts might dim the future as Americans in the Age of Obama learn to get by with less.
The troublesome thing is that it is always the poorest families that have to pay the price for Obama’s Peter Pan energy policy. The rich Hollywood celebrities and wealthy Wall Street bankers who backed Obama in 2008 don’t mind paying a few more dollars.
This month, one year since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, the Noble Clyde Boudreaux—an ultra-deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig—will start operations off the coast of Brazil. Until a few weeks ago it was stationed in the Gulf.
The two events are not unrelated. Moving the Noble out of U.S. waters is one of the adverse consequences of the Obama administration’s overreaction to last year’s Gulf spill.
Despite the president’s repeated claims that he’s been “encouraging” domestic oil production, administration policies have been driving drilling rigs out of the Gulf (six deepwater rigs in addition to the Noble have left the Gulf, with two more possibly on the way out). The overall result has been lower domestic oil production, slower economic growth, job losses and higher energy prices.
In the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, President Obama announced a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling. According to the administration’s estimates, this cost nearly 19,000 jobs in the Gulf states alone—even though federal researchers then cut the figure by an ad hoc factor of 40%-60% to make the results more palatable.
In the months after lifting the ban, the administration slowed drilling permits to a crawl, effectively creating what some have called a “permatorium.” Dismayed by the delays, in February U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman tried to force the administration to act on seven pending permits, calling the inaction on permits “increasingly inexcusable.” Permitting has picked up recently, thanks in part to increasing political pressure, but remains far below pre-spill levels.
In December, the White House reversed course on its own five-year plan to open portions of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Mid-Atlantic and the South Atlantic to offshore exploration. This effectively locks up an estimated 7.6 billion barrels of oil and 36.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Do you know what happens when the supply of a commodity goes down? Prices go up! And when gas prices go up, the price of every consumer good that is shipped using trucks and planes and boats also goes up.
There are three important reasons voluntary exchange is good not only for the contracting parties but the world as a whole:
(1) Trade improves global efficiency in resource allocation. A glass of water may be of little value to someone living near the river but is priceless to a person crossing the Sahara. Trade delivers goods and services to those who value them most.
(2) Trade allows partners to gain from specializing in the producing those goods and services they do best. Economists call that the law of comparative advantage. When producers create goods they are comparatively skilled at, such as Germans producing beer and the French producing wine, those goods increase in abundance and quality.
(3) Trade allows consumers to benefit from more efficient production methods. For example, without large markets for goods and services, large production runs would not be economical. Large production runs, in turn, are instrumental to reducing product costs. Lower production costs lead to cheaper goods and services, which raises real living standards.
Evidence supports the idea nations more open to trade tend to be richer than those that are less open. Columbia University economist Arvind Panagariya wrote in a paper “Miracles and Debacles: Do Free-Trade Skeptics Have a Case?”: “On the poverty front, there is overwhelming evidence that trade openness is a more trustworthy friend of the poor than protectionism. Few countries have grown rapidly without a simultaneous rapid expansion of trade. In turn, rapid growth has almost always led to reduction in poverty.”
According to the Cato Institute’s 2004 report on Economic Freedom of the World, which measures economic freedom in 123 countries, the per capita gross domestic product in the quintile of countries with the most restricted trading was only $1,883 in 2002. That year’s per capita GDP in the quintile of countries with the freest trading regimes was $23,938.
Harper holds the B.A. and the M.A. in economics from the University of Calgary. He knows this stuff cold.
Here’s an article from The Heritage Foundation, another think tank. This article outlines five reasons why free trade is the best economic policy.
Here is an excerpt from one reason from the list of five:
REASON #1: Higher Standard of Living
The most compelling reason to support free trade is that society as a whole benefits from it. Free trade improves people’s living standards because it allows them to consume higher quality goods at less expensive prices. In the 19th century, British economist David Ricardo showed that any nation that focuses on producing goods in which it has a comparative advantage will be able to get cheaper and better goods from other countries in return. As a result of the exchange, both trading parties gain from producing more efficiently and consuming higher quality goods and services at lower prices.
Trade between nations is the same as trade between people. Consider what the quality of life would be if each person had to produce absolutely everything that he or she consumed, such as food, clothing, cars, or home repairs. Compare that picture with life as it is now as individuals dedicate themselves to working on just one thing–for example, insurance sales–to earn a salary with which they can freely purchase food, a car, a home, clothing, and anything else they wish at higher quality and lower prices than if they had done it themselves.
It simply makes sense for each person to work at what he or she does best and to buy the rest. As a nation, the United States exports in order to purchase imports that other nations produce more skillfully and cheaply. Therefore, the fewer barriers erected against trade with other nations, the more access people will have to the best, least expensive goods and services in the world “supermarket.”
Producers benefit as well. In the absence of trade barriers, producers face greater competition from foreign producers, and this increased competition gives them an incentive to improve the quality of their production while keeping prices low in order to compete. At the same time, free trade allows domestic producers to shop around the world for the least expensive inputs they can use for their production, which in turn allows them to keep their cost of production down without sacrificing quality.
In the end, the results benefit both producers–who remain competitive and profitable–and consumers–who pay less for a good or a service than they would if trade barriers existed.
There is no loser to free trade exchanges, otherwise the participants to the trade would not make the trade at all. Both parties gain – that’s why they choose to make the trade.
The Liberal government had forecast a small surplus earlier in the year, but a worsening North American economy led to a $700 million deficit before Rae took office. In October, the NDP projected a $2.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 1991. Some economists projected soaring deficits for the upcoming years, even if the Rae government implemented austerity measures. Rae himself was critical of the Bank of Canada’s high interest rate policy, arguing that it would lead to increased unemployment throughout the country. He also criticized the 1991 federal budget, arguing the Finance Minister Michael Wilson was shifting the federal debt to the provinces.
The Rae government’s first budget, introduced in 1991, increased social spending to mitigate the economic slowdown and projected a record deficit of $9.1 billion. Finance Minister Floyd Laughren argued that Ontario made a decision to target the effects of the recession rather than the deficit, and said that the budget would create or protect 70,000 jobs. It targeted more money to social assistance, social housing and child benefits, and raised taxes for high-income earners while lowering rates for 700,000 low-income Ontarians.
A few years later, journalist Thomas Walkom described the budget as following a Keynesian orthodoxy, spending money in the public sector to stimulate employment and productivity. Unfortunately, it did not achieve its stated purpose. The recession was still severe. Walkom described the budget as “the worst of both worlds”, angering the business community but not doing enough to provide for public relief.
[…]Rae’s government attempted to introduce a variety of socially progressive measures during its time in office, though its success in this field was mixed. In 1994, the government introduced legislation, Bill 167, which would have provided for same-sex partnership benefits in the province. At the time, this legislation was seen as a revolutionary step forward for same-sex recognition.
[…]The Rae government established an employment equity commission in 1991, and two years later introduced affirmative action to improve the numbers of women, non-whites, aboriginals and disabled persons working in the public sector.
[…]In November 1990, the Rae government announced that it would restrict most rent increases to 4.6% for the present year and 5.4% for 1991. The provisions for 1990 were made retroactive. Tenants’ groups supported these changes, while landlord representatives were generally opposed.
Be careful who you vote for, Canada. We voted for Obama, and now we have a 14.5 trillion dollar debt and a 1.65 trillion deficit – TEN TIMES the last Republican budget deficit of 160 billion under George W. Bush in 2007. TEN TIMES WORSE THAN BUSH.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that a re-elected Conservative Government will continue to implement low-tax measures to improve the quality of life of Canadian families.
“The Conservative Party believes in low taxes for Canadian families, because we know household budgets are tight,” said Mr. Harper. “A re-elected Conservative Government will continue to keep taxes down for families so they can keep more of their hard-earned money to spend on what matters to them.”
Budget 2011, the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, included concrete measures to keep taxes down for Canadian families. These include a new Family Caregiver Tax Credit to help around 500,000 families with the cost of caring for an infirm child or an aging parent, and the elimination of the $10,000 cap on the Medical Expense Tax Credit for any expenses incurred in caring for a financially-dependent relative. Our 2011 Budget — opposed by the Ignatieff Liberals and their Coalition partners, the NDP and Bloc Québécois — would also create a new $500 Children’s Arts Tax Credit to help parents cover the cost of putting their children in artistic, cultural, recreational and developmental activities.
“It is important for a Conservative Government to make Canadian families one of our key priorities,” said Mr. Harper. “That is why we will introduce measures to help caregivers, people who make sacrifices for their families, with concrete, affordable measures.”
Prime Minister Harper also reiterated his commitment to double to $1,000 the amount of the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and to introduce the Family Tax Cut, income-sharing for families with children under the age of 18 years old, once the Government eliminates the deficit in 2014.
Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government cut taxes for Canadian families by more than $3,000 on average.
Prime Minister Harper observed that the Coalition of the Ignatieff Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois has the wrong priorities with their plan to raise taxes on Canadian families and ignore the choices that families make. “The choice is clear,” Mr. Harper said. “Canadians can choose between our low-tax plan for families and their high-tax agenda that will set you and your family back.”