Wednesday, November 26, 2008

DAK's Abbreviated Pundit Round-up - 11/26/08

Robert Samuelson, Newsweek
The scary words "depression" and "deflation" are bandied about because an economic free fall seems possible, even if it is unlikely. With time, economic slumps correct themselves as borrowers repay debts, surplus inventories are sold, industries consolidate and government policies promote recovery. They may now. But the mechanics of this cycle differ sufficiently from any since World War II as to raise doubts. Americans are less upset by hardships they've experienced than by those they imagine.

Tony Blankley, Washington Times
One of the things that Daschle says will have to change is the "technology arms race" he claims hospitals are engaging in "to attract aging baby boomers with the latest diagnostic imaging machines." Imagine that, offering customers the latest technology, which, as Daschle admits on Page 125, "help(s) doctors estimate the spread of cancer or the extent of cardiac disease without surgery."

Of course, for Daschle, the problem with such high-tech diagnostics is that it leads to treatment. On pages 123-124, he cites a study approvingly for the proposition that there are too many angiograms being performed. By too many, he specifically cites a study of 828 angioplasties in which only a third were likely to benefit the patients. Another half might or might not, and 14 percent were not likely. Now I might conclude that if 85 percent of the patients receiving the treatment might benefit (the one-third who definitely would and the 50 percent who might) and if I were one of them, I might want the procedure. But for Daschle, that would be a waste of money, and "the imaging test that shows narrowing of the arteries was to blame (for the
excessive treatment)."

What followed is my favorite line in the book: "When the test revealed a narrowing of the artery, however slight, cardiologists couldn't resist doing something about it." Imagine a doctor trying to cure his patient.

Peter Brookes, RealClearWorld
As for the Latin Americans, they don’t mind having the Chinese and Russians compete for their affection. Intensive courting can result in favorable trade deals, aid, concessionary loans and political support.

Their no-strings-attached ties undermine Washington’s efforts to advance free markets, human rights and democracy in the region—not a high priority for Moscow or Beijing.

Conventional wisdom says our sway is declining in this hemisphere. If true, that’s bad news. Since geography is destiny, maintaining - or regaining - America’s influence in the region will be key for the next US president.

Meddling by Russia and China won’t help.

In response to: Your Abbreviated Pundit Round-up

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