Inside the bubble

It’s a little disturbing that somebody who has a pretty reasonable chance of being the Republican nominee for President lives inside such a bubble that her facebook page must be scraped free of even the subtlest criticism.  John Dickerson shares a great anecdote.

You can’t really have two charts “of the day” can you?

Let’s call this the chart of the post 2pm portion of the day.  Via Chait:

Heaven forbid that we ever return to those disastrous tax rates we had under Bill Clinton.

Chart of the Day

Via Yglesias:

Yglesias has some interesting commentary on how Repbulicans in Congress don’t care how popular the repeal of DADT is, there are still going full bore against it.  And, of course, Democrats will cave.  One thing that occurred to me, though, is I wonder if most people realize just how popular repealing DADT is.  I bet if you asked Americans what percent of adults supported this policy, you’d get an average estimate much less than 70%.  I think this reflects two things: 1) the complete partisan polarization on the issue at the elite level.  2) Without seeing any data, I’d still suspect that those in favor of keeping the policy feel much more strongly on the matter.  As I know I’ve mentioned before, when it comes to public opinion, intensity is hugely important.

UPDATE: My lovely wife is kind enough to point out that this excerpt of the chart is not properly labelled.  All the percentages are for the percent who favor the repeal of DADT.  I.e., yes, even 60% of Republicans not in Congress favor this.


Well, according to some recent research, the decision to have a 4th child is going to make my three boys happier.  Via Jonah Lehrer, having at least one sister appears to make people happier and less prone to depression.  And the effects persist into adulthood.  Interestingly, this is especially true for children of divorce (and I always thought my easy adjustment was based on my young age at the time and the wonderfully mature way in which both my parents handled things.  I guess I owe Laura some credit).   Here’s Lehrer:

Nevertheless, these results [from a really cool study he describes if you read the whole post] illuminate some possible differences in the ways in which men and women process the social world, and why sisters are a slight buffer against unhappiness. Perhaps one of the benefits of thinking more about our interactions (as women seem to do) is that it provides more material for our conversations. Because we worry more about other people, we share our worries with friends and siblings, and it is these phone calls and dinnertime chats that keep us from drifting off into lonely orbits. Sartre said “Hell is other people”.  Sartre was wrong. In reality, it is the other people in our life that keep us sane, healthy and happy. Perhaps having a sister or two makes it harder to forget this.

Anyway, I guess the impending arrival of “baby Sarah” suggests that David, Alex, and Evan should end up a little bit happier.  Though, I should say, David is quite displeased that his new sibling will be a girl.

Prostate cancer death panel

Really interesting story in the Post yesterday about Medicare considering whether to continue reimbursing for a Prostate Cancer treatment that costs $93,000 to extend life an average of 4 months (from an average of 21 months to 25).  That strikes me (and I would think most people) as a horrible waste of money.   Of course, one might feel different if this was you or a loved one, but the truth is the resources we have to spend on health care are not unlimited (though we certainly act like they are).  One of the reasons Medicare is busting our budget is because it does cover hugely expensive treatments that provide only the most modest increase in life span.   If we ever hope to control medical costs in this country, it means that we need to start taking steps to not reimburse $100,000+ treatments that result in amazingly marginal increases in life span (there’s many that are a lot worse than this).

Despite the protests of the pharmaceuticals, I have a feeling that if Medicare stopped reimbursing, they’d find a way for it to still be profitable for them at dramatically less money.  Here’s the part that resonated with me:

“To charge $90,000 for four months, which comes out to $270,00 for a year of life, I think that’s too expensive,” said Tito Fojo of the National Cancer Institute. “A lot of people will say, ‘It’s my $100,000, and it’s my four months.’ Absolutely: A day is worth $1 million to some people. Unfortunately, we can’t afford it as a society.”

Others agreed, especially given the modest benefit.

“I’d like to think cost doesn’t need to come up when it’s a slam dunk,” said H. Gilbert Welch of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. “But when it’s a close call like this, it certainly has to be a factor. That’s $100,000 Medicare can’t spend elsewhere.”

Either you are going to draw some lines based on price, or your not.  If your not willing to, we are quite simply going to bankrupt this county on health care spending.   And, if we are going to draw some lines, this one seems pretty good to me.



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