Tag Archives: politics

Iron Rice Bowls and the Impact of Government Funding

  There was an interesting editorial item in The Economist that unintentionally says a lot about the impact of government intervention on industry. In the last generation, the average number of working hours needed to purchase an automobile, clothing or other … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Trends, John's Opinions, Politics and Regulation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

11 Responses to Iron Rice Bowls and the Impact of Government Funding

  1. craig eastman says:

    We must never let our guard down.

  2. David Basri says:

    While I completely concur with the article with respect to education and housing, healthcare is a different beast entirely. The United States has by far the least efficient healthcare system of any developed country because of a deficiency of government involvement, not an over-abundance of it.

    By depending on a vastly greater level of market-based forces, instead of control, the U.S. has created a monster. This is because healthcare by definition does not work on market principles. When any individual’s health is at stake they do not care what it costs, they just want to be treated. That means the suppliers have total coercive control over the “market”.

    Can anything realistically be called a market when it a) is difficult or impossible to even determine what a product costs before it is purchased; and b) there is not really choice about whether it should be purchased? Do you operate that way in any other aspect of your life?

    U.S. healthcare has evolved to a level of insanity beyond what even a pure market system might produce. The stakeholders: people, providers, insurers, employers, state government and the federal government all have competing interests. The result is that if you are lucky in terms of employment, insurance, income and location, you might get absolutely world class healthcare. If not, you might get none at all. Meanwhile the entire system thrashes against itself creating unbelievable inefficiency and overhead, resulting in costs 3 to 4 times higher than necessary. Small example: our local hospital system has 12 executives making over a million a year.

    ANY other business operating this way would have been bankrupt a very long time ago. Some things should not be market driven. I submit access to roads, clean water and healthcare for starters.

    I would say, “Don’t get me started. . . .” but too late for that.

    • John F. Dini says:

      Well stated, David, although I don’t entirely agree. Correcting healthcare won’t come from further government intervention. The competing special interests you mentioned hold too much sway over Congress. They will never address the twisted incentives that drive the system, where unnecessary work (both direct care and regulatory) makes everyone more money.

  3. Jeff Shapiro says:

    To take the average working hours concept a step further: (1) the average working hours to purchase an automobile has decreased, yet vehicles haven’t remained static — they’re loaded with many more safety, comfort, and entertainment features today than ever before; (2) a student leaves school with about the same amount of basic knowledge today compared to say the ’70s or ’80s and pays considerably more.

    • Jeff Garvens says:

      Don’t forget (3) healthcare: The amount we SPEND on healthcare is up considerably, but the value we receive is up considerably too. I agree healthcare isn’t a normal marketplace, but 40 years ago we did not have the choice to have life saving and life improving MRIs, Cat scans, organ transplants and many prescription drugs. All of those innovations come with a cost.

      As the slice of our income pie needed for basic needs shrinks, the rest of the pie necessarily grows. If not to healthcare, housing and education, then to where? Smaller homes with larger flat screen TV’s?

      • David Basri says:

        My issue is not with MRIs, medical technology, research or even prescription drugs (though that is also an outrageous “market”), or anything else that directly relates to delivering healthcare. I get riled up over the incredibly high overhead, inefficiency and waste. These are the direct result of competing interests and multiple layers of profit motivated entities exploiting a distorted system.

        For example, billions of dollars are spent annually on prescription drug advertising. That is entirely a function of profit motive, not any objective to improve health. If everyone had access to preventive care on a regular basis, decisions about prescription drugs would be made by doctors and patients discussing someone’s health, not a TV or magazine ad.

        Add to that the fact that a significant portion of the population has limited or no access to healthcare, and the overall situation is just plain dumb.

  4. David Basri says:

    Sadly, your response is entirely correct.

  5. Thanks for introducing me to the Iron Rice Bowl concept. You guys in the beltway and Washington DC area, it is time to listen up!

    When will we bring back an objective money standard, i.e., gold or silver?

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We Can’t Legislate Job Skills

“Why can’t we find enough good people to hire?” As a consultant to business leaders, I hear this complaint with increasing frequency. From  tradesmen to programmers, and from executives to scientists, we seem to be lacking a workforce with the … Continue reading

Posted in Business Perspectives, Economic Trends, John's Opinions, Managing Employees, Politics and Regulation, Strategy and Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

5 Responses to We Can’t Legislate Job Skills

  1. Great article. I agree that the numbers have to be skewed that government is reporting. And I believe our Govt. is the biggest problem. Our Unemployment laws need to be seriously revised. If someone works and then gets seriously sick or injured, it makes sense to help them with unemployment for a longer period of time, because they earned it. We need to address the younger people. We have two MAJOR issues:
    1. Is the fault of our society and their parents — this younger working age generation are spoiled rotten and suffering from a severe case of ENTITLEMENT. I see it every day. Why should they work hard, or even show up to work, when Daddy just bought them a new car, and pays for everything.
    2. It is way too easy to file and collect unemployment, and it lasts too long. I post an ad on Craigslist at least once a month. The amount of responses is usually pretty good. However, I’m lucky if 1 in 6 scheduled interviews even show up. And even then, they usually don’t ever show for the job I hired them for. And I know what their doing — they’re checking off the box that they’re “looking, but can’t find anything” so they can continue receiving unemployment. I can vouch that there are more jobs than people, but it sure doesn’t seem that way.

  2. Nor can we legislate respect, work ethic, self-motivation and personal responsibility. Recently read an article stating we are who we are by the age of 12. Parents are the key to improving the workforce, not the school, government or the day care provider. Children are not possessions like cares or houses. They are a lifetime commitment and one’s enduring legacy of their contribution to society.

  3. Great Article. A subject that is close to my heart, and as a matter of fact, is what made this country so great..in the first place..” The Middle Class”. Where is the middle class, did they just disapear, and the jobs that went with them disapear as well. Is the new generation so spoiled, that they refuse to work? Does it make more finacial sense to go on longterm unemployment, wellfare or disability, than to get a JOB?

    The wriing in already on the wall, just look at the numbers. Who’s fault is it…you might ask….An even better question is how do we FIX it.

    • John F. Dini says:

      The fix is complex and long-term. I see no signs that the entitled class will go away, since their parents are leaving them something like 15 trillion dollars. For many, that points to another generation to follow of kids who never had to scratch to make it. They may look up one day and find that they’ve been passed over. Those who wake up and follow market needs (STEM, trades, non-legal mid-market professionals) will be the new middle class regardless of their socioeconomic background.

  4. Lou Thomas says:

    Great article. Being self-employed, myself as a contractor for 40 years I have to keep up on all of the changes in construction. Many times it is online courses from manufactures. It has to be a personal thing if you want to keep up. People need to be self motivated to get a head in this world.

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“Tis an Ill Wind…

…that blows nobody good.” That old sailor’s proverb, first recorded in 1543 and further popularized by Shakespeare in “Henry VI” in 1623, is as plain today in its meaning as it was almost 500 years ago. Anything that is bad … Continue reading

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Who’s Picking Up the Tab?

When a small business is sold, the total price of the business includes not only the cash paid, but any obligations assumed by the buyer on behalf of the seller. Transfer of a loan balance, accrued vacation pay for employees or … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Trends, Exit Planning, John's Opinions, Politics and Regulation, Selling a business, Strategy and Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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Employee “Rights” in the Workplace

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the “Due Process” amendment, is one of the most-litigated sections of that document. It is also the only one that specifically abrogates rights, broadly removing the right to vote or hold … Continue reading

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