Publix Supermarkets Offering Free Prescriptions

Ed. (Banescu) Capitalism and competition are helping reduce medical costs.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel | Jacob Langston | Aug. 6, 2007

CAPE CORAL – Publix supermarket chain said today it will make seven common prescription antibiotics available for free, joining other major retailers in trying to lure customers to their stores with cheap medications.

The oral antibiotics, representing the most commonly filled at the chain’s pharmacies, will be available at no cost to anyone with a prescription as often as they need them, Publix CEO Charlie Jenkins Jr. said. Fourteen-day supplies of the seven drugs will be available at all 684 of the chain’s pharmacies in five Southern states.

The prescription antibiotics available under the program are amoxicillin, cephalexin, penicillin VK, erythromycin, ampicillin, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, and ciprofoxacin.

Gov. Charlie Crist went to a suburban Fort Myers store to help the company make the announcement and to praise the Lakeland-based employee-owned company, one of the dominant retailers in the region.

“It can’t be any more affordable than free,” Crist said.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kmart and other retailers already offer discounted drug programs. But Publix Super Markets Inc. officials say the company is the first large regional chain to offer certain drugs at no cost. In addition to Florida, the company operates stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.

With health care costs one of the biggest challenges facing many Americans, Crist said that the private sector’s involvement in the solution was “a great trend.”

. . . more


29 thoughts on “Publix Supermarkets Offering Free Prescriptions”

  1. Gimmicks and band-aid approaches aren’t going to change the fundamental problems with America’s health care system, however they do serve as metaphors for the conservative approach to governing.

    The Minnesota Bridge collapse is a demonstration of your government on conservatism. A Democratic majority legislature in Minnesota passed legislation funding badly needed and long overdue repairs to the state’s roads and bridges, which the Republican Governor, constrained by his “no new taxes” pledge promptly vetoed. So one of Minnesota’s most heavily traveled bridges got a new coat of paint and fresh asphalt instead of the badly needed retrofit of the welds, joins and joints actually holding it up.

    This week we are watching a frightening meltdown in the financial markets because a laisez-faire conservative administration allowed the mortgage and securities industries to run wild with little supervision. Mortgage companies made no down payment loans, negative amortization loans, loans for people without credit histories or documentatiom for people whose incomes could barely support the debt they were taking on. I even heard about NINJA mortgages, for people with No Income, No Job, No Assets. The securities industry packaged the subprime loans into different types of mortgage-backed investment vehicles which were sold to banks, hedge funds and pension plans.

    Now over one million Americans are in foreclosure or delinquent and the value of those securities has plummetted because no one can say what they are worth anymore. One thing we know if that credit is going to be very tight and home prices will be under great pressure. The home-equity financed economic recovery of the last 7 years is officially over. So yesterday, President Bush was asked what the government could do to help struggling homeowners and with a perfect “let them eat cake” tone of voice replied “nothing”.

  2. Dean, in your world view personal accountability and free choice do not exist. Let me guess, the reason one gains weight is because the gov’t failed to regulate McDonalds, the reason someone drowned is because the gov’t did not pass enough laws regulating pool builders, the reason a drunk crashes his car is because the bartender did not drive him home or because Budweiser advertises on TV, the reason people lose money in a casino is because the gov’t did not regulate the industry enough, the reason one slips and falls on a sidewalk is because the gov’t did not line them up with pillows. This idealized and completely unreal view of reality exists in fictional stories and the minds of academia and politicians.

  3. I’m a retired prostate cancer patient My wife is currently employed with Publix. publix has denied payment for IMRT radiation treatment. The treatment is FDA approved and covered by medicare but BCBS of South Carolina, the administrators of the Publix self insured plan, insist that it is experimental and will not authorize payment. Letters to the CEO and others were passed on to various departments with no positive results. Don’t be fooled by the latest PR ploy. These are their true colors!!!

  4. Stimate Doman Banescu,
    Personal accountability and free choice are rampant in the loan industry; if you design a loan for your short term profit and the long term disfuncton in your industry, that is your free choice. If you hedge these loans that is your free choice. When capital liquidity dries up, that was your choice also. When builders build as if there was no tomorrow, who puts the bill; the governments.
    Having once been a loan officer in California when interest ran at 10% I know the desire to cut corners.
    Free choice can be a two edged sword, it is an existential truth.
    Sincerely, J R Dittbrenner

  5. These excerpts from Thomas Sowell’s article point to some of the root causes and the government’s role in contributing to the skyrocketing home prices and eventually to the current crisis:

    But why were housing prices going up so fast, in the first place? A number of studies of communities across the United States and in countries overseas turned up the same conclusion: Government restrictions on building.

    While many other factors can be involved — rising incomes, population growth, construction costs — a scrutiny of the times and places where housing prices doubled, tripled, or quadrupled within a decade shows that restrictions on building have been the key.

    Another huge factor in the crisis is the Federal Reserve’s relentless push to raise interest rates 17 times in a row in just 2 years (a quarter-point each time, from June 2004 to June 2006) without giving the economy, investors, and individuals enough time to absorb and adjust. Once again, gov’t actions bears the lion’s share of responsibility in causing the very problems we see. In trying to “protect us”, gov’t often makes the problems worse. This does not mean that unethical and irresponsible lenders and consumers are not out there and contributed to the size and breadth of the problems, just points to the significant reasons for the overall crisis.

    We saw this with the S&L crisis in the 1980s when Congress changed tax law “reforms” that eliminated many of the tax shelter options in real estate investment trusts and overnight destroyed an entire industry. This rush to regulate and industry contributed to the eventual collapse of the S&Ls. Idiotically enough, Congress then turned around and used tax dollars to bail them out. Insane!

  6. Chris – Once again you have things upside and backwards. The Savings and Loan crisis did not result from too much regulation, but followed a long period of deregulation.

    The Garn-St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 was a United States federal law enacted in 1982 that deregulated the Savings and Loan industry. This Act turned out to be one of many contributing factors that lead to the Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s. The S&Ls were allowed to pay higher market rates for deposits, borrow money from the Federal Reserve, make commercial loans, and issue credit cards. They were also allowed to take an ownership position in the real estate and other projects to which they made loans and they began to rely on brokered funds to a considerable extent. This was a departure from their original mission of providing savings and mortgages

    The early 1980s saw Savings and Loans facing new competition from non-bank financial companies that were offering money market funds and other investment vehicles. The S&L responded with high interest rate cerificates of deposit but to pay the high interest on those vehicles they had to make loans that carried an even higher interest rate – and this led to lending on increasingly risky ventures.

    FSLIC (Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation) regulations even allowed S&Ls to carry good will on their books as a monetary asset. therefore if an S&L had liabilities that exceeded their assets they could put in any amount they wanted for “good will” and. presto, they were once again in the black. It was completely fraudulent and completely legal.

    Where governemnt is to blame in the Savings and Loan crisis is not treating Deposit Insurance, as insurance in the traditional sense where premiums are related to risk. In other words, the premiums S&Ls paid for deposit insurance was not related to the riskiness or credit-worthiness of the loans they made. The governemt was “guaranteeing” the S&L customer’s deposits, bot “insuring” them. The S&Ls were allowed to make high-stakes gambles on high-risk loans without any exposure to downside risk because Uncle Sam was there to bail out the depositers.

    That doesn;’t sound like governemt being too restrictive to e. if anything governemt was irresponsibly accomodating.

  7. Sowell’s condemnation of the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates reveals an appalling ignorance of banking and economics. Once again it is an intepretation of events that is completely upside down and backward.

    The role of the Federal Reserve is to use monetray policy to stimulate the economy during periods of inflation and cool it off when excesssive economic activity threatens to reignite inflation. When inflation increases there are two effects. First investors demand a higher rate of return for lending money to compensate them for the loss of the values of their money because of inflation. If your investment grows by four percent by the cost of living rises by five percent, in real terms what you are receiving is a one percent loss.

    Second, inflation causes the value of the dollar to decline. If overseas investors perceive that their dollar denominated assts will have less buying power next year, compared to this year because of US inflation, they are more likely to move their money into another country’s currency. Considering that the United States, with it low savings rate is almost totally dependent on foreign investors to finance it’s budget deficit, allowing the dollar to plummt precipitously would be a foolish thing to do.

    If we look at the the period between 2003 and 2006 the economy was clearly in an upsurge, even if the benefits of the recovery were unevenly distributed. the Federal Reserve responded appropriately by gradually increasing rates. Once again the propblem is not one of being too restrictive, but too accomodating. Fed Chairman Greenspan (a.k.a. “Mr. Bubble”) is at fault for not cracking down on the mortgage industry more for making high-risk loans to borrowers of dubious credit-worthiness, just as he failed to cool down the high-tech investment boom of the late nineties.

  8. #8 Mr. Scourtes

    If we look at the the period between 2003 and 2006 the economy was clearly in an upsurge…

    Ah Ha! So you admit that the Bush economy was strong! After hundreds of posts to the contrary.

  9. Tom – If you had not truncated my comment you would have found the answer to your question. There’s no doubt that corporations were profitable between 2003 and 2006. As I said the problem was that the benefits of that upsurge were not evenly distributed, nor were they invested with the goal of producing any long-term public benefit. Census figures reveal that the percentage of national wealth held by the very wealthy is greater now that any time since the Gilded Age of the early nineteen-twenties. The lowering of the capital gains tax on investment income, the principal source of income for the very rich, meant that the very rich often paid a lower tax rate than middle-income workers.

    Between 2003 and 2006 wages barely kept pace with inflation while employers moved workers into health insurance products that shifted greater financial risk on to workers. Employers also continued shifting workers from defined-benefit pension plans into defined-contribution retirement investment plans, also shifting more financial risk on to middle-income workers.

    In California, tuition at public universities have nearly doubled since 2003 putting education out of reach of greater numbers of students. Global political instability, slowly declining world oil production, and tight and evidentlly artificailaly manipulated refinery capacity have put gasoline prices on a steadily upward course.

    What helped insulated middle-income workers from the effects of wage-stagnation and increased financial risk was the run-up in housing prices that led to an artificial sense of increased economic security and a home-equity fueled surge in consumer spending. Clearly that’s over now. With national savings rates at all time lows and millions of homeowners facing increases on their adjustable rate mortages Wall Street has become become increasingly pessimistic.

    The economy can be expected to rebound in January 2009 following the election of Democratic President and Congress with a different set of priorities. Badly needed nvestment in infastructure, education, alternative energy technologies and universal health care will take precedence over tax cuts for billionaires.

  10. There is an unfortuante tendency in some to see Christianity and Capitalism one in the same.

    Recently a Christian college orofessor, Andrew Paquin, who is also founder of a humanatarian aid organization, was fired from his teaching position at Colorado Christian University for giving an article by Jim Wallis to his students as a reading assignment.

    The dispute at the usually tranquil Lakewood campus pits Andrew Paquin, head of a religious charity that aids poor people in Africa, against former U.S. Sen. William Armstrong, R-Colo., president of Colorado Christian and a pillar of the religious right.

    Armstrong fired Paquin from a position teaching global studies at the end of the spring semester amid concerns that his lessons were too radical and undermined the school’s commitment to the free enterprise system.

    “I don’t think there is another system that is more consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ,” Armstrong said.,1299,DRMN_957_5670848,00.html

    Paquin has responded eloquently on his blog:

    My stance on capitalism is this… it is obviously a very efficient and pragmatic economic system that has produced the largest and wealthiest country the world has ever seen. It also can be exploitative, lead to human greed, and leave vast populations behind in its wake. It can turn citizens into consumers. Adam Smith writes that the common good is served by the individual pursuit of self-interest. Excuse me if I believe that the pursuit of my own self-interest might be in contrast to the life of Christ that exemplifies the pursuit of the interest of others. ..If and when capitalism works – I’m all for it. But the tenets of my faith are bigger than the political economy of the West.

    Let me say it this way. In Christ, you and I are set free, not for the individual pursuit of happiness, but set free for the collective pursuit of holiness. We are called by God not for ourselves, but for the glory of His Kingdom, and for the service of others. We, the fortunate ones of this great country have somehow forgotten that it is impossible to serve others while at the same time believing we are better than the others we are called to serve. Selfishness, greed, gluttony – these are epidemic in our culture. These might be the real threats to our way of life, but because they stare at us in the mirror, we are reluctant to say so. Instead, we write off the prophets among us as “liberal”, “radical”, or even “anti-American.” I can hear Amos. Can you?

  11. Dean, I agree that to equate capitalism with Christianity is wrong. It is equally wrong to go to the other end of the spectrum and equate state economic control and re-distribution of income with Christianity.

    We cannot any longer afford to buy into the bifurcation of man that is endemic to western thought (either “this or that” all of the false dichotomies with which this world presents us). Man is a whole body/soul. We have to arrive at human solutions based upon Christian reality and not turn Christianity into an ideology any where on the political spectrum.

    Government is simply not an agent for advancing Christianity, it wil reflect Christianity when we live our faith and allow the sacramental prayer

    “Oh heavanly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who art every where present and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of life: come and dwell in us and cleans us from every stain, and save our souls, O Gracious Lord.”

    To become a reality in our lifes so that we can server other, not from our own store, but from God’s store.

    Secularism, legalism, Christianity as ideology (left or right), all posit a God removed from His Creation and create a dualism of thought. Most of the moral confusion into which we fall is a result of the same false idea. Living dualistically is schizophrenic. It is the western heritage. Many seek to escape the insanity with various monisms (ideological, material, or spiritual). They are all false.

    Durning the Nativity celebration we sing: “Submit yourselves all ye nations for God is with us”, but we don’t live that way for the most part. The only way that I know to allow the presence of God to be with us in all things is through prayer and then acting “knowing all things are sent by Him” acepting His providence.

  12. Re:

    If and when capitalism works – I’m all for it.

    “IF” capitalism works? I have seen this type of mental gymnastics and moral posturing mostly in academia for years. This “hypothetical” nonsense is completely divorced from reality and ignores the only ethical and voluntary system of value exchange between individuals = capitalism.

    When this “Paquin” deposits his money in a bank and demands interest payments, he is practicing capitalism!

    When he buys food, clothing, furniture, medicine, etc.. from someone who produced it, he is practicing capitalism!

    When he expects to be paid a fair salary for the work that he’s doing, he is practicing capitalism!

    When he is the beneficiary of any retirement or pension fund, he is practicing capitalism!

    When he buys property and hopes value will increase, he is practicing capitalism!

    When he lends money to someone else and demands interest in return, he is practicing capitalism!

    When he invents something new and unique and wants to sell it to someone else for a profit, he is practicing capitalism!

    When he is the beneficiary of any government program providing social assistance, he directly benefits from others who practiced capitalism and created the profits the gov’t can now use and distribute to those in need!

    Even communists and socialists rely on CAPITALISM to actually produce anything of value and generate the PROFITS that fund and fuel their governments.

    Time for Paquin and Dean to actually come down from their ideological clouds and get a hard dose of reality. Since they already practice and benefit from capitalism it’s grossly unethical and downright hypocritical of them to keep preaching these lies while floating on fumes of delusion.

  13. Note 13, Banescu, “capitalism” is a Marxist term, the correct term is “free markets.”

    “Capitalism” is a Marxist term. Any anti-Marxist who adopts the terms skews the debate against himself from the beginning. “Free markets” is the correct term, free markets describes what people do when the are left alone to buy and sell voluntarily.

    The United States has a mixed economy, not a pure free market. About 40% of GNP is consumed by government. As a measure of the vitality of the remaining free market economy, out society is the richest in the world.

    Every single Marxist based economy has led society into abject poverty. Heavily socialized societies are poorer then free market societies. Remember “universal health care” is nothing more than a system in which citizens with serious illness that require high-end health care, MRI’s for example, are forced to wait in long lines for DIAGNOSIS and TREATMENT. The actual European standard of living is actually about 2/3’s of that in the United States, the gap between Europe and America is actually growing not declining. As time passes, the essentially Marxist, anti-democratic and anti-free market nature of the growing EU is becoming apparent.

    Free markets are the most powerful engine devised by man to produce material wealth. Material wealth is neutral. It can be used for good or ill.
    Material wealth is needed to build schools, hospitals, roads, parks all the social amenities that support life.

    The only program Dean has ever advanced is one in which productive people are taxed by a secular government for the benefit of government officials and non-productive people.

  14. When economics replaces Christian principals or when economic ideology is identified with Christianity that is wrong. When the the sacredness of the phenomenal world especially human beings is ignored or sacrificed for economic gain, there is a problem. I don’t care if the economics being applied are free markets, socialism, voo doo, or whatever.

    Free markets are better than controlled markets everything else being equal. As Missourian points out, socialism ignores humanity to a greater extent that does any free market system. There will be abuses in any human endeavor. Government has a role as abriter of the market–making sure that it stays free and open, regulating abuses.

    However, the idea of a totally free and open market, especially in labor has a lot of problems.

    Just because something has the “free market” tag attached to it does not mean that Christians should support it.

  15. #10 Mr. Scourtes

    You said

    The economy can be expected to rebound in January 2009 following the election of Democratic President and Congress with a different set of priorities.

    What does this mean? Rebound from what? Low inflation, low unemployment, low interest rates, GDP growth that still outperforms most of the world? You want to elect dems and rebound from all this?

    You are also confusing tax rates with tax revenues. After the Bush tax rate reductions, tax revenues increased substantially and the rich paid a higher percentage of total revenues than before the reductions. Look up the numbers yourself if you don’t believe it.

    You also said

    Sowell’s condemnation of the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates reveals an appalling ignorance of banking and economics.

    I read the entire article and could not find one mention of the Federal Reserve. What were you talking about? FYI, Sowell is a highly distinguished economist and a very erudite guy.

    Sigh…another day, another dose of Dean.

  16. Tom – You are right, I confused Sowell with Chris B. My mistake and I apologize. Sowell never mentioned the Federal Reserve. His chief complaint was with restrictive land development policies aimed at curbing urban sprawl, which he claimed artificially inflated real estate prices. There is some merit to that argument, although the issues are a lot more complicated than Sowell presents them.

    There is no doubt that the policies of the last 7 years have had an adverse economic effect. The reckless, irresponsible 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are the principal cause for the budget deficits that reappeared after 2001 and the accumulated debt and reliance of foreign creditors have put our economy in a much weaker and riskier condition. Numerous studies have now concluded that supply side economic doesn’t work and that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts could never have generated enough new revenue to offset that which was lost. Massive tax loopholes have allowed the rich to escape payment of literaly hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes each year.

    Fiscal policy has not been used to invest in new infrastructure or the R&D for the industries that will produce the jobs of the future. Any comparison of the sleek, sophisticated high speed rail systems of France or Japan, for example, with our own antiquated, neglected, lumbering Amtrack system reflects very embarassingly on the United States. Additionally the nation has been allowed to remain dangerously dependent on foreign oil with little attempt at conservation or investment in the development of alternative energy sources.

    Greater financial risk is being shifted on to middle-class consumers whose spending is so important to the future, while government policy has done little to promote their economic security. Instead of encouraging families to use their homes as ATM’s government should have been enacting programs to encourage savings, the pursuit of continuing edcuation and job training, abnd greater protection against the cost of catastrophic medical events. In the wake of the latest bad news about housing, we see Walmart, Home Dept and general Motors all revising their sales and earnings projections downward, reflecting the increasingly precarious position of the US consumer.

    Lastly over the past seven years, the United States has been a nation whose military ambitions have outstripped the economic resources required to pay for them. Every dollar to pay for the war in Iraq has been borrowed while at home industryhas been unable to keep up with demand for body armor, bomb-resistant vehicles or even basic ammuntion. It will take years for the US milittary to recover from the demands of the Iraq war.

    Economist Harmid Varzi writes that repairing the US economy

    requires radical measures, including: the elimination of corporate tax loopholes, a reversal of tax breaks for the ultra-rich, a bipartisan campaign to eliminate budget “pork,” imposition of stringent limits on corporate debt and speculative lending, a vast reduction in military expenditure and, finally, an additional 50 cent per gallon gasoline tax that would slash the federal deficit, curtail energy waste and spur technological breakthroughs.

    Let us hope America heeds the warnings, dispenses with junk-food economics and embraces a crucial diet of fiscal discipline. It remains to be seen, however, whether America’s political leaders have the courage to instigate such reforms, and whether Congress is finally willing to do something for the future of ordinary, hard-working Americans.

    A debt culture gone awry, International Herald Tribune

    My hope is that a Democratic President is going to be more likely to make these changes.

  17. Dean once again blatantly misrepresents the truth about Tax Cuts “causing” the worsening Budget Deficits in the US. Time, yet again, for some objective facts and a much needed reality check to balance out the falsehoods and propaganda being heaped on us.

    Here we go…

    Growth in Federal Tax Revenues From 2003 to 2006
    Total federal revenues grew by about $625 billion, or 35 percent, between fiscal year 2003 and fiscal year 2006. CBO’s analysis of that increase in revenues since 2003 is necessarily preliminary because relevant data are not yet fully available. CBO examined the available data using the commonly employed method of analyzing the sources of revenue growth as a percentage of GDP. Had revenues grown at the same rate as the overall economy between 2003 and 2006, federal receipts would have increased by only $373 billion. The other $252 billion of the actual increase in revenues represents growth in excess of GDP growth. As a result, receipts as a share of GDP rose from 16.5 percent in 2003 to 18.4 percent in 2006, an increase of 1.9 percentage points (see Table 1).

    Chart Showing Rapid Increase in Federal Tax Revenues since 2003

    Federal Spending INCREASE Fastest Rate in 30 Years Since 2001
    Since 2001, even with record low inflation, U.S. federal spending has increased by a massive 28.8% (19.7% in real dollars)—with non-defense discretionary growth of 35.7% (25.3% in real dollars)—the highest rate of federal government growth since the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. This increase has resulted in the largest budget deficits in U.S. history, an estimated $520 billion in fiscal year 2004 alone. Furthermore, the projected spending for 2005 is a conservative estimate, since it doesn’t include at least $50 billion for the 2005 cost of the Iraq occupation.

    Total Federal Spending Growth = 19.7%
    Non-Defense Discretionary Spending Growth = 25.3%

    So let’s recap. Since 2003 Federal Tax Revenues have INCREASED by 35%, while Federal Spending has OUTPACED them, hence the Deficit Spending… It’s the Federal out-of-control SPENDING that’s the primary reason for the worsening deficit situation, NOT the tax cuts..

  18. Note 17. Dean writes:

    My hope is that a Democratic President is going to be more likely to make these changes.

    Dean, do you really believe a Democratic president is going to reduce spending? The Dem’s (if they hold on) will increase taxes while they increase spending.

    Not too sure if a Democrat will get elected either. Seems to me the Dem’s are squandering their opportunity. They can’t seem to deliver in Congress.

  19. Dear Missourian #14
    Your health care paragraph was less than ispiring, it had all the aspects of a fixated rant without objective verification,i.e. derived from just reading or from actual or investigated experience and over how many advanced countries studied?

    Fr. Jacobse #19
    It is not so much spending as it is in borrowing, i.e. all the dollars and Treasury Notes held by China and other foreign National Banks. The world would go off axis if they were all called in at once. These are the charges of bad fiscal policy and war debt.

  20. Note 20. Well, yes. The bad fiscal policy is deficit spending. The money has to be borrowed from somewhere, in this case foreign banks. My point was that the Democrats won’t change course even in the face of the Republican collapse which in large part was due this uncontrolled spending. They can, however, be expected to raise taxes thereby slowing growth and reducing federal revenue.

  21. There is a debate right now within the Democratic party about whether fiscal austerity and balanced budgets should be a priority. Former Labor secretary Robert Reich is among those arguing that Democrats should concentrate on helping economically disadvantaged Americans and not worry about the deficit. Others, such as former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin argue that deficit spending reduces national savings, and therefore investment, and that growing indebtness and dependency on foreign creditors is dangerous to the long-term health of our economy.

    You can make an economic argument that some types of spending have a more beneficial macroeconomic effect than others. Ten billion dollars a month spent in Iraq may do little to stimulate the domestic economy, for example, with the exception of defense contractors. Ten billion dollars spent at home repairing roads and bridges, building hospitals, funding clinics and helping educate students, on the other hand, will create jobs.

    Likewise, while the majority of any new tax cut for the rich is likely to be saved, or sheltered overseas, the same amount in domestic spending directed at the lower- and middle-classes is much more likely to be spent, creating demand and stimulating the economy. Unfortunately for the Democrats, among the many messes they will inherit from George W Bush will be the Alternative Minimum Tax, which not ajusted for inflation, is creeping down into the ranks of middle-income wage earners. Making up the revenue that will be lost fixing the ATM may consume much of the revenue recovered from letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

    At the very least, I hope the Democrats will respect the Pay-as-You-Go rule where there is no new spending without matching cuts or new revenue elsewhere. They were eager to promote PAY-GO when the old Republican majority wanted to pass a corporate subsidies or tax cuts – let’s see if they still support it when new spending programs are introduced.

    Another test for Democrats will be the extent to which they can disengage from the culture of special interest influence and pork-barrel spending, both major source of profligate, irrational spending.

  22. Read an interesting book about taxation recently. Though it is a bit dated (1994) it is still good. America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? by Donald L. Bartlett.

  23. Note 20, Dittbrinner, my rant in Note 14

    Sorry, you didn’t appreciate my writing style in note 14. I have my good and bad days.

    Some background. I have a honors degree in economics and have spent quite a few years studying economics. The only difficulty in supplying proof of my assertions is that there is so much evidence.

    Two easy sources to find. The yearly summary of the world economic status published by the Economist. Now this is a snap-shot summary of the status of about 150 national economies but it is a good start. Additionally, the U.N. did a decent overview study of world economies, fairly superficial but good for general discussions, in 2000 something like the World Millenium Report.

    As to health care systems, I recently posted an article about Canada produced by the Frazier Institute which reported a very well documented study of waiting lines in Canada and the health impact of those waiting lines.
    There are many articles available about the NHS in Britain and its health care rationing system. Canada takes a free ride off the R & D of American drug companies by supressing prices in Canada. They also take a free ride off America in the defense of their Northern border. They are like the worst second generation wealthy children who sit in judgment of others but live off others’ efforts.

    You can look at gross basic indicators such as GNP/capita and % of GNP consumed by all governments. These are gross figures but when the U.S. leads European countries by substantial margins refined figures are not necessary.

    What is it about the poverty of the Communist block (former or current) that you don’t understand? Cuba, North Korea and Viet Nam are not wealthy countries. Cubans are very, very poor and the U.S. didn’t cause that, they have plenty of other trading partners to deal with besides the U.S.

  24. Perhaps US Drug prices could come down too, if pharmeceutical companies stopped spending pehnomenal amounts of money on marketing. Is it a good use of our health care dollars to have Viagra and Cialis promoted 20 times a night on television?

    From Business Week:

    More Frequent Dose of Dollars for Drug Ads
    Drugmakers’ spending on consumer advertising is growing faster than their total spending on marketing, a new study finds. Can efforts to curb such ads keep up?

    It has been a decade since new federal regulations allowed drug companies to start pitching prescription medications on TV. Yet despite the controversy that has arisen from this direct-to-consumer (DTC) promotion, spending on such ads continues to grow faster than spending on drug-industry marketing as a whole. So say the authors of a study set to be published in the Aug. 16 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

    DTC ad spending has grown on average 14% a year since 2002—to $4.2 billion a year—while total promotional spending is up about 9% a year to $30 billion, according to the study, which was a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University.

  25. Dear Missourian #24
    I am glad for your educational success. If you would take note, the Pharmecutical industery is multinational and Global. R&D and raw materials and manufacturing are spread across the globe; the movement of raw materials and finished products cross borders all the time. The drugs arn’t Canada’s; they could be from anywhere. This information comes from 25+ years in the industery, foreign and US domestic markets; that time also includes the clinical as well as regulatory-I have written package inserts with FDA approval. The market charges what the market will bear. You pay the price.
    No, I have not been in any communist country; I was reading Marx in the 40s. I have been in several post communist countries; they have had less than 50 years to equal our 2oo+. I have an intimate and personal involvement in the course, past and presant, of one such country-Romania. You should spend some time on the ‘ground’.
    As to the Marxist, anti-democratic, antfree markets of EU states-25- their GNP, together, is rather respectful. You either count countries or you must count the their aggregate. As to their governmental leanings in the future, who can tell. l have lived and worked in Germany and Sweden and traveled Europe for 20 years and capitalism is quite apparent and democacry is also spread around quite thickly. I will admit that it isn’t like our present administration.
    Anyway good luck with your reading.
    Sincerely, J R Dittbrenner

  26. General:
    Some stats to reason with.
    By ‘’ 22,08,’07:
    GDF USA $11,667,~,000,000.00, USA debt $9 trillion visa the New York, Times Square counter as of 22,08,’07.
    GDP (22 EU countries counted) is Euro 10,994,~, 000,000.00, ECB account on 22,08,’07 surplus of Euro 5.9 billion.
    1 Euro on 23,08,’07 was Euro1=$1.3538.
    Is this the result of pure capitalism? Is this the conservative’s economics? Or, is this some bad joke?
    Sincerely, J R Dittbrenner

  27. #27 Mr. Dittbrenner

    You have chosen very misleading statistics for your comparison since the population of the EU block is much greater than that of the US.

    You should be looking at per capita GDP corrected for purchasing power parity. This is the measure that economists use to determine the overall standard of living in a country. From the Nationmaster web site you provided, you can see that in terms of per capita GDP (PPP), Luxemborg leads the pack at about $66K, next comes the US, Norway, and Ireland, in a virtual tie for second place with about $40K. As Missourian has indicated, the overall EU standard of living is about 70% that of the US and headed down.

    Now stop and think about this for a minute. The US is a 300 million member economic dynamo which attracts legions of immigrants and powers the world economy. Luxemborg is..well a strange little place with a few extremely rich people. Norway and Ireland are very nice places and I would live in either country if given the chance. But, they are both about 5 million people each – together much less than live in New York City. Moreover, Ireland’s economic success is a direct result of a low corporate tax policy that attracted US companies to set up operations there. Norway is a strange place in that they are fortunate to be a well-educated Western European country that happens to have vast oil reserves and is blessed with 100% hydroelectric power. Not exactly a model for most other countries to emulate.

    Bottom line, even in an apples-to-oranges comparison, the US comes out on top.

    Your data on debt was also misleading. US debt is about 65% of GDP, which is about the same as the big European economies of France and Germany. Only difference is that US has robust economic growth while the latter have anemic growth.

    Look, the lines are not clearly defined here. European countries are still fundamentally free market based , and the US economy has large components of socialism. But the trend is clear if you are willing to look at the evidence dispassionately.

  28. To: Tom C # 28
    The numbers are not wrong; published and stated.
    But you either use aggerates or components; 250 mil as opposed to 60+ in Germany is not quite equal. Going with the aggerate, i. g. the EU, you do a fairer comparison.
    You forgot to count the US’s illigal population in the US-they are at US level of living-as I for got to count Europe’s-Malta has more illigals than native population.
    The EU is a government that is being built, less than 50 yrs.- US 200+- they have a lot of work to do. The nation states tend to do it a little at at a time.
    Sincerely, JR Dittbrenner

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