January 14, 2018

Around 2015, Putin ordered the destruction of all food originating from countries that had imposed economic sanctions on Russia. At the time, there were already food shortages in Russia.  For Putin, destroying food was a show of national pride to sanctioning countries...

January 2, 2018

On this New Year's Day, it makes perfect sense to me that I reflect on the book I started in 2017 and will finish in 2018:

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

In middle school I was taught that an Austrian Archduke was murdered in Serbia and everyone went to...

August 13, 2017

Ideological labels are misleading.  Republican, Democrat, Neo-Liberal, Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, Alt-Right, Socialist.  The boundaries are not as clear cut as people have been led to believe.  For instance, Kennedy advocated for free trade (a traditionally Re...

August 10, 2017

Before Obamacare,  there was Nixoncare and Romneycare.  All three proposed insurance market exchanges, mandatory participation and subsidies for lower income individuals.  

Interestingly, in its Romneycare iteration, it was actually propose...

August 7, 2017

The mortgage interest deduction is a political sacred cow.  Mention of abolishing it is the political equivalent of touching the electrified third rail.  Even Reagan, who opposed the deduction, caved to political pressure.  That's because homeowners have long relied on...

August 3, 2017

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously stated that "stuff happens" when asked about the death and destruction that followed the invasion of Iraq.  Rumsfeld's point was to dismiss criticism of his decisions as 20/20 hindsight.

But there is am...

July 27, 2017

When Medicare was first established in 1965, the payment terms established by Congress were overly generous to the medical industry, making Medicare unnecessarily costly. Congressional representatives agreed to unreasonable payment terms as a trade-off in exchange for...

July 24, 2017

The origin of televised combative political commentary dates back to the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries of 1968.  The motivation, not surprisingly, had to do with ratings.  At the time the ABC network was struggling financially and desperate to improv...

July 22, 2017

At the beginning of the 1970s, Canada and the U.S. were both spending 7.5% of GDP on health care costs. By the end of the 1970s, Canada was still at 7.5% but U.S. spending on health care had gone up to 9% of GDP.  During that period Canada instituted a comprehensive na...

July 21, 2017

The term "Public-Private Partnership" (or its catchy acronym "P3") is very much in vogue in political circles.  While the term may be relatively new, the concept is nothing new.  It is just a fancy way of refering to government outsourcing.   The conversation about pub...

July 20, 2017

Nixon 1969: "We face a massive crisis in [medical care]".

Business Week 1970: "[Healthcare is] the $60 Billion Crisis".

Fortune 1970: "[medical care is] on the brink of chaos".

Yes, we've been trying to solve healthcare for over 40 years, ever since the 1960s when the cos...

July 13, 2017

In an earlier post I talked about the myth surrounding what we commonly call "public-private partnerships".  In this post, however, I describe a true public-private partnership, one that is creative, collaborative and impactful: The Energy Star program.

The idea wa...

July 9, 2017

The tax code is convoluted, inconsistent, incoherent and inequitable.  Nobody would argue with that.  The question is how do we fix it.  The answer may require us to understand how we got here in the first place. 

As an example, lets look at how...