EdgeWise 20.1.2004


Schadenfreude: Offshoring Lawyers

Ah yes, the circle is nearly complete. They've begun offshoring lawyers, who make 5 times what their Indian counterparts do, rather than just reaping the paltry 20% savings on US Software engineers. This might force an honest discussion about the practice. I hope CEOs are next.

I'm not sure offshoring requires a protectionist response (although it might if global labor supply will always exceed industrialized countries' demand). I just think that we need some kind of response. Free education and job retraining to displaced workers would be nice. After all, few of us could prove ourselves even 20% more deserving of a job than our foreign counterparts (and especially not 500%). There's got to be a solution acceptable to everyone.
posted at 16:47:44    #    comment []    trackback []

Health Insurance

"Health insurance is a pretty simple concept--individuals pooling their resources so that when one of their number falls ill, he or she can afford to pay for treatment. That's really all it boils down to." [via This Modern World]

Regular medical procedures (e.g. dental cleaning) are expected costs of obtaining the average quality of life in our society. There is no risk to be spread, so they're badly served by an insurance system.

If you don't floss, you can reduce your life expectancy by one year. If the average person avoids all the regular, expected medical treatments (dentist, eye doctor, gynecologist [the average person is a woman], etc.) life expectancy declines precipitously. How much would you pay to not die? A lot, right? How can a free market rate for essential, regular medical treatments avoid the temptation of price gouging?

Either strict regulation of a private system, or a public service is required. We currently have neither, and we use an insurance system to deal with expected costs. Is it any wonder we have the most expensive system in the world, and one of the crappiest qualities of life in the industrialized world? Sheesh.
posted at 15:33:04    #    comment []    trackback []

Well, That Was Unexpected

Big surprise in Iowa primary. 1. Kerry, 2. Edwards, 3. Dean. Gephardt dropped out after his poor showing. Kucinich has wonderful proposals, but seems doomed to failure. So who to support?

Healthcare - All the democrats have healthcare plans that call for universal coverage for (all or most) kids up to 18. Some go up to 21, some to 25. Some cover low income adults, some have subsidized COBRA for changing jobs or unemployed for some period of time. Of course, Kucinich goes farthest with universally free healthcare for all, but no clearly craptacular plans.

Taxes - Bush has shifted the tax burden to the middle class by cutting federal income taxes (which automatically cuts state income taxes) for the wealthiest, and not increasing state aid during a recession. States have responded by increasing regressive taxes (e.g. sales), fees, fines, etc. Some of the candidates want to fix this, some want to go farther and make things much better. Clark (eliminate income tax for those earning less than $50K) and Dean (reform regressive payroll tax) seem the best.

The other issues I need to research the candidates more on are Education (Clark gives two years free), Instant Run-off Voting (Kucinich and Dean support), Intellectual Property (Kerry is a little too chummy with the RIAA and MPAA, Edwards is progressive and well thought out).

Hell, I don't know at this point.
posted at 14:24:48    #    comment []    trackback []
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