Okay, I do hate rich people

or at least rich New York City parents.  Man, this article about rich NYC parents who are already sending their kids to $40K/year private schools spending tens of thousands more a year on private tutors– to make sure their kids can go to Harvard and Princeton instead of Cornell or Georgetown– is just too much.  A snippet:

Siddharth Iyer spent eight Mays cramming for finals, first at Stuyvesant High School and then at Columbia University.

Nine years later, it is still crunch time for Mr. Iyer, a top tutor at Ivy Consulting Group, as his clients face a deluge of end-of-year exams. “He’s been prepping my son all week,” said the mother of one, a senior atRiverdale Country School in the Bronx, speaking on the condition that she not be named because Riverdale discourages both tutoring and talking to reporters.

“Prepping” — in this case for an oral exam in Riverdale’s notorious Integrated Liberal Studies, an interdisciplinary class laden with primary sources instead of standard textbooks — did not start the week before the exams, the mother pointed out. She said she had paid Mr. Iyer’s company $750 to $1,500 each week this school year for 100-minute sessions on Liberal Studies, a total of about $35,000 — just shy of Riverdale’s $38,800 tuition.

Last year, she said, her tutoring bills hit six figures, including year-round SAT preparation from Advantage Testing at $425 per 50 minutes; Spanish and math help from current and former private school teachers at $150 an hour; and sessions with Mr. Iyer for Riverdale’s equally notorious interdisciplinary course Constructing America, at $375 per 50 minutes.

And how about those prices for tutoring?!  I’m in the wrong line of work.  This is really just disgustingly profligate.

 

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Chart of the day: government-run health care

Via Ezra:

I’m sure I’ve made the point before, but it is one that definitely bears repeating.  Every modern democracy has coverage for all their citizens at considerably less a percentage of GDP than the US covers 85% of its citizens and every one of them does it by more government spending on health care.  

Why do I hate rich people? (and unicorns)

I don’t, actually.  Heck, by some metrics (wealth vs income) I’m a rich person (though, I’m not a big fan of a deceased parent as a route to wealth).  I’m even friends with some rich people.  I do want to tax them more, but not because I hate them, but because I think that’s good for our economy (i.e., so that we, as a society, can actually pay for everything we want government to do for us).  Anyway, Kevin Drum asks an absolutely fabulous question:

Reading Tim Pawlenty’s paean to double plus supply-side-ism yesterday made me wonder, once again, why conservatives think we liberals are opposed to it. I mean, if it actually worked, why would we be? It’s politically popular, and by their accounts it would generate trillions of dollars in extra revenue that we could use to finance our beloved lefty social programs. What’s not to like?

The only answer I can come up with is that conservatives are now completely invested in their theory that we liberals loathe rich people so much that we don’t care. We all want to screw the wealthy so badly that we’re willing to forego the elections we’d win and the mountains of revenue we’d gain if we lowered their taxes. We hate them that much.

Exactly.  If lowering taxes on rich people actually did lead to greater economic growth that benefited all Americans, of course liberals would support it.  Heck, if cutting the tax rates for millionaires to 10% meant that we had enough economic growth that it brought in additional government revenue to improve infrastructure, get better medical care for poor kids, more job training programs, etc., I’d be 100% for it.  And so would every liberal. The problem with tax cuts for the rich is that they starve the government of the revenue to accomplish goals that liberals (and most conservatives when you push them on it) think are worthwhile.  And, of course, the empirical data on this is pretty close to overwhelming.   Republican supply sider-ism is basically just magical promises to fool voters– “we’ll cut your taxes and the economy will grow at 5% a year!”  It’s the all gain, no pain path to politics.  Please– if only it were true.  Might as well just promise every little kid a unicorn.

The Florida gun nuts

I already wrote a little before about the new law in Florida that forbids pediatricians from asking parents if they have a gun in the home, but this Dahlia Lithwick column on the issue is so damn good I need to quote extensively (though, you really ought to read the whole thing– it’s a brilliant evisceration of the logic behind the law):

Patient privacy is already protected by law, and the right to bear arms is also already protected by law. So the new bill mainly just protects patients from feeling bad or judged at their doctor’s office. Now if Florida doctors make their patients feel bad about their guns—or if patients only think their doctors are trying to make them feel bad about their guns—the doctors are on the hook for disciplinary proceedings, possible revocation of their medical license, and administrative fines up to $10,000 per count…

According to a suit filed this week by the Brady Center, 65 children and teenagers are shot every day in America, and eight of them die; one-third of American homes with children under 18 have a firearms in them; and more than 40 percent of those households store their guns unlocked and a quarter of those homes store them loaded. What was it that mother said again? Oh, right, guns have nothing to do with the health of our children.

If the possibility of accidental death, grievous injury, or suicide has nothing to do with children’s health, one has to wonder what does. Surely it involves broccoli.

Pediatricians are trained—indeed, they are explicitly advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics—to inquire about the presence of open containers of bleach, swimming pools, balloons, and toilet locks in the homes of their patients. It’s part of their job to educate parents about potentially lethal dangers around the home. (Pediatricians have also been known to ask about menstruation, painful sex after childbirth, birth control, and the travails of potty training, all in the interest of patient well-being, by the way). So one might wonder why an inquiry about guns is the place to draw the line in the sand, the ultimate threat to personal privacy. For an answer to that question, you need to depart the world of what actually is for a ramble through the rocky shoals of what could be. What could be if you were, say, Paul Revere and the British were coming to, um, take your personal guns away and stuff.

I was also interested to learn this little tidbit:

That’s right. The NRA-sponsored law, which in its original incarnation attempted to punish doctors with prison time or fines up to $5 million for merely asking a patient about gun ownership, is predicated on the lie that keeps on giving: that President Obama is coming for yer guns.

Wow– I knew the NRA was evil, but man, that’s really something else.  I honestly wonder what its like to be in the mind of somebody who thinks it is remotely rational to but a doctor in prison for asking if a patient owns a gun.

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