b halps The first article is a collection of scientific data in a respected scientific journal that directly contradicts the claim that "a growing body of research has begun to challenge the idea that extra body fat is by itself unhealthy." And even if people are genetically predisposed to storing fat, that does not mean any less of an effort should be made to avoid excess weight gain. Also, I hope no part of my comment was interpreted as an attack on your writing style or character. Your argument (and the normative policy and personal recommendations which are a consequence of it) is what I disagree with. Also, I'd be interested in the examples you cited of societies that have obesity rates comparable to the US yet have healthier living habits.
b halps This is not alright. There has been a growing movement, that this article (intentionally or not) belongs to, that makes the case that obesity should not just be socially accepted (an argument that certainly has its merits in some respects), but embraced. This is not just silly, but socially detrimental. The vast majority of scientific research has found that obesity is bad, bad, and bad for one's health: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673605674831. Obesity is not just an irrational lifestyle choice, but has negative externalities that affect society. It has been estimated that in 2008 alone $150 billion of health care spending could be blamed on obesity: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/28/5/w822.short.
b halps Cloture and filibuster are different; a cloture vote is what overcomes a filibuster. Thus, a cloture vote can only be taken *if* a senator has filibustered. The number of filibusters must, then, be greater then the number of cloture votes. But yes, while the growth in filibusters might not quite as dramatic as the above numbers would make it seem, the number of filibusters has still exploded massively.
b halps Though I disagree with you, consider that if the filibuster was repealed, it would be easier for those politicians you support - if enough are elected by the American people - to repeal laws that you are opposed to.
b halps While I agree with you Mr. Hafner, your statistics are certainly incorrect. Senate.gov has the statistics on cloture votes here: http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/reference/cloture_motions/clotureCounts.htm
b halps Thanks - just remove the period at the end : http://tinyurl.com/bpl423o or take the direct link: https://img.skitch.com/20110421-nb6f37sr4wep1xxf6xwit6yf44.jpg It's one of the most important graphs in the health care economics debate, yet is strangely mentioned infrequently.
b halps That is a good question to ask, but my point still stands. Take my two examples: information asymmetry and the uneven purchasing power distribution. Would either of these issues be ameliorated if the government did not intervene in the market? Certainly not – they would become worse.
b halps A second market failure in the health care market is the massive lack of purchasing power that most consumers have. Even if it was possible for health care to become price-sensitive as you desire - which it is not - the vast, vast majority of health care "consumers" would not be able to affect price. See this graph: http://tinyurl.com/bpl423o. 20% of Americans are responsible for 80% of spending. 5% of Americans are responsible for 50% of spending!! The other 95% are not going to move prices much, even if their demand dropped dramatically. There are other failures for which I have no room here, including the most important one: the negative externality of refusing to consume health insurance. To summarize, price signals do not work properly in the health care market.
b halps This all would be totally correct, if the health care market were anything like the market for bread, or the market for iPads, or any other kind of practically perfect competitive markets that everyone learns about Econ 101. It is not. The health care is distinguished by a number of significant market failures which require government intervention in order to maximize social welfare. First, as many other commenters have noted, the health care market is highly information asymmetric. Before anyone calls me an "elitist" (as occurs below), know that this not merely documented economic fact, but also should be obvious to anyone who has ever been to the doctor's office: how are we supposed to know if the drug the doctor prescribed is effective and worth the cost? Versus, I know if I need bread
b halps Long-term deficit reduction is a whole nother matter which I intend to address in detail soon. Basically, though I agree with you that it certainly should be a policy goal, Ryan goes about in a way that is terribly economically inefficient.
b halps Your article relies on this unstated assumption: debt reduction is a good thing. "Of course!" you might exclaim, "debt reduction should be a policy goal. What is this first-time poster doing, trying to turn us into Greece?" Allow me to respond by pointing out a second simplification your article makes. You fail to distinguish between short-term deficit reduction (say, the next three to four years) and long-term deficit reduction. Many economists would argue that (as long as the Fed continues to fail its job of maintaining the economy) there should be further federal deficit spending in the short term to boost the economy. The Paul Ryan budget would drastically cut spending in the short term, which would be terrible for the economy.