Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another hypothetical question

Imagine you live in an apartment complex with a diverse assortment of tenants. There's a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker. A doctor, a lawyer, and an Indian Chief. A truck driver, a dentist, a mortician, a schoolteacher, and a mechanic.

Anything you need, you can get from the residents of your apartment. No one purchases anything from anyone outside the apartment complex. It helps to protect your apartment complex's jobs.

There's a slight problem. The schoolteacher hates kids. The truck driver is an alcoholic. The butcher is a Muslim, and won't handle pork.

Should you be allowed to trade with people who live in other apartment complexes? Even if it endangers the jobs of those in your apartments?

14 comments:

Nick M said...

Yes obviously... Because OK. The alcoholic trucker and teacher who hates kids are useless as they are so ignore them. But let's say you love eating piggy-wigs well you may not put much trade to the halal butcher but there should be no reason why he can't hawk his wares over at the next apartment block which might have a lot of muslims...

That's the thing with protectionism - it's self-perpetuating, a vicous circle.

Anne Cleveland said...

On the hypothetical question- Suppose the Butcher, Baker and Candlestick maker have been so heavily taxed, they go out of business, then those in the neighboring apt. complex also so heavily tax edand burdoned with so many government polices, rules and regulations they too go out of business.

Then the jobs of Butcher, Baker and candlestick maker are shipped over-seas, what then?
Thanks
Anne Cleveland
octogenariansblog.com

Flee said...

The problem is that they shipped the jobs of the steel worker, clothing maker, auto worker, customer service worker (the list goes on and on) overseas to make their businesses more cost effective and profitable. Then they passed the profits on to themselves by increasing their salaries and bonuses. They did this by working on each others boards and deciding what they were worth not by performance but by greed. I guess in your hypothetical question it would be like gaining all the savings and then raising the rent. I like wondering if the CEO's didn't need to make 400 times the average worker and if we had universal health care could we afford to manufacture things in the US? Heavily taxed? Like in the 1950's when the top rate was 90% or the 1960's and 1970's with top rates in the 80-70% range?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Nick,
The vicious circle you're talking about? Look at the circular firing squad we just stepped into with Mexico over the issue of 97 of their trucks being allowed to cross our border.

Anne,
Great to hear from you again. One would hope that somewhere there's another apartment complex with sense enough to lower the tax rates and attack the creative people (and capital).

Flee,
A lot of this goes back to the question of "How much more would you be willing to pay for oranges grown in Detroit?"
I believe that almost all jobs should be done by the people and in the places where they can be done for the least cost. If and when that ever happens, and goods and services are allowed to flow freely, the greedy CEO's wouldn't be able to pay themselves so much. They would be undercut by the competition.

On the tax rates charged in the 50's, 60's, and 70's....one problem with your analogy....almost no one paid those rates ! If and when they ever got that much money, they went elsewhere with it. Or they hid it away. Or they invested it overseas, out of sight. They would've been stupid to do otherwise. (Do some reading on why John Lennon was living in the U.S. - England had a 94% tax bracket for those with his income !)

On universal health care....I've seen the universal health care system in China. Thanks, but no thanks.

Flee said...

The problem is the greedy CEO's run the world and have led us into the currant mess we are in. How's that working for us. Oh that right, it's working for the greedy CEO's and we have to keep them happy so they won't take their capital and go play somewhere else.

Health care in China is not what we are talking about. It works in other countries and their citizens are not going bankrupt trying to keep themselves well or fighting for coverage they thought they paid for every month and they live longer and are healthier than we are.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Flee,
And in a truly free market, the CEO's could take their money and their jobs and their yachts wherever they wanted. BUT they would get absolutely no assistance, bailouts, subsidies, or giveaways from our government. We would all be infinitely better off for it.
Somewhere or another, people have gotten the impression that Free Markets are something that harm consumers. Wrong. People think that Free Markets harm employees. Not Always. But do truly free markets harm CEO's who have their hands out for corporate welfare? You betcha. Do they harm CEO's who want to be protected from Mexican imports? Yep.

And let's forget about China. Let's look at Cuba.

Flee said...

Well Cuba does rate 39th versus our 37th on The World Health
Organization's ranking of the world's health systems but at least they all have health care in Cuba.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Au Contraire, Mon Frere !

http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA557_Cuban_Health_Care.html

Cuba has propaganda about Free Health Care, but very little of the real thing.

Flee said...

I like listening to people say that our health care is the best in the world and we should be happy with what we have, it reminds me of the argument that the blacks should be happy we brought them here as slaves because they have it so much better than if they had been left in Africa.

Flee said...

I guess the real question on health care is why are we paying so much for so little actual care? Why are so many Americans forced to go bankrupt even with health insurance? Why is health, people being alive or dead, a for profit industry? Frontline, PBS, tuesday night, Sick Around America.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

NOPE !
Don't be going there....
I'm not even close to being satisfied with the state of medicine.
It's extremely over-regulated - not just to keep patients safe, but to protect pharmaceutical companies and doctors from competition.
Do you know why healthcare is so expenseive?
Because it is scarce.
Start looking into why the number of doctors entering the field remains so low, when demand is so high. Restricting competitors keeps the fees high.

Dr Ralph said...

Healthcare expensive because it's scarce? Have they legalized marijuana in this country already? Because it sounds like someone (no names) has been smoking it.

Nope, biggest contributor to sky-rocketing healthcare costs is the private, for profit insurance industry. They have added a huge layer of overhead and effectively siphon money out of the system to pay salaries and bonuses of the bean counters and top executives. In 2006, Aetna's CEO was paid $19 million. Their former CEO was paid $25 million that same year. United Health's CEO was paid $124.8 million in 2005.

Despite the warm and fuzzy commercials from the insurance companies, that's money not paying to keep you well.

Couple that with the litigious society we live in that causes malpractice insurance (another huge profit center for the insurance companies) to skyrocket and the fact that doctors often run defensive tests to cover their asses in case they are sued.

As for over-regulated, I don't want a system where every yahoo who can fill out the back of a match book is hanging out their medical shingle. With a less stringently regulated medical profession, malpractice rates will go up for everyone, and a lot of otherwise good doctors will decide they just don't want to screw with the hassle.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Doctor,
We're closer to agreement than you think.
Say I've got the flu. I want some antibiotics.
If it's me and only me at risk, why shouldn't I be available to go to the Yahoo of my choice, in a situation where I've agreed to trust the yahoo (eliminating the lawyer/vultures) and the need for any other 3rd parties that don't have any business in the transaction? (eliminating the insurance/vultures)

You know why the current trend is to lobby for universal health insurance instead of socialized health care, don't you?

If they were to simply socialize medicine (the greater of two lessers, in my opinion), it would effectively eliminate the medical malpractice profession and the health insurance profession.

Flee said...

If you have the flu you would not need an antibiotic, they don't fight viruses.

Under the Majical, Mystical Flee Universal Health Care System we would have Doctors in charge of the system that would not be a for profit, let's make money off sick people system. The people working in the health insurance business would have to find another job, that's what we have been telling the factory workers, auto workers, these last 25+ years, maybe they could become drs or nurses or someother health care worker. Everyone would be covered so we could fund this with what we spend on medicade, medicare, and our own private insurance now. Everyone would be taken care of so we could do something with malpractice costs, you wouldn't have to sue to recover the cost of care if you were injured. There would be no money spent on lobbiest so that would be a great savings there. No the insurance companies and lawyers will not like it but I don't think they are in the majority. With all the money we spend on health care already I think it is time we demand that that money is spent wisely to take care of us when we sick, not prevent us from using it. This is something I think is worthy of my torch and pitch fork!