Category Archives: Government Issues

the root of the problem

We need more immigrants from Norway

We need more immigrants from Norway

Some of the info in this posting is taken from the link below:
In the January meeting in which President Trump complained about “having all these people from shithole countries come here” — and singled out Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as examples — he also added that, “we should have more people from Norway.”
In fact, there was a time when we did!

From 1870 to 1910 a quarter of Norway’s working-age population emigrated, mostly to the United States. You read that right — one-fourth of its workers left the country.

Back then Norway was quite poor. Wages were less than a third of what they were in the United States. And the wave of emigration out of the country quickly benefited those who remained. That’s because it reduced the supply of workers in Norway, so those left behind could demand higher wages. And this helped narrow Norway’s wage gap with the U.S. by 25 percent over that same 40-year period, putting Norway on the path toward its status today as one of world’s most prosperous nations.

Those are the findings of a paper published in European Review of Economic History back in 1997 by two economists. It’s considered a seminal work because the authors — Alan Taylor of the University of California Davis and Jeffrey Williamson — then of Harvard University, now professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison — combed through paper archives to piece together the first truly comprehensive picture of wage differentials across European countries and the United States during that time.

“They were the pioneers really — the first to do that,” says Michael Clemens, an economist at the Center for Global Development, a D.C. thinktank, who specializes on the role of migration in reducing poverty.

What is keeping Norwegians from applying for the American dream today?

Well, the following chart may at least be a partial explanation:

HDI rank Country Human Development Index (HDI) Value Life expectancy at birth (years) 2014 Expected years of schooling (years) 2014 Gross national income (GNI) per capital (2011 PPP $) 2014
1 Norway 0.944 81.6 17.5 64,992
2 Australia 0.935 82.4 20.2 42,261
3 Switzerland 0.93 83 15.8 56,431
4 Denmark 0.923 80.2 18.7 44,025
5 Netherlands 0.922 81.6 17.9 45,435
6 Germany 0.916 80.9 16.5 43,919
7 Ireland 0.916 80.9 18.6 39,568
8 United States 0.915 79.1 16.5 52,947
9 Canada 0.913 82 15.9 42,155
10 New Zealand 0.913 81.8 19.2 32,689

Upstream vs. Downstream – Healthcare

Upstream vs. DownstreamHealthcare

One other glaring example of attempting to solve a problem by focusing downstream is healthcare. Within this issue are two significant factors: 1. The occurrence of ailments requiring treatment and 2. The cost of treatment.

Occurrence: Looking at the reasons that people seek treatment for ailments one significant factor is the condition of a person’s immune system. There is considerable evidence that folks with strong immune systems require far less treatment than those persons that have impaired systems. In general, obese & overweight and individuals who smoke have much weaker immune systems than the rest of the population. Currently, in the U.S., 34% of the population are obese and 2/3rds are overweight. These rates are 3 to 4 times that of most European countries. The solution to this issue is relatively simple; regular rigorous exercise, a sensible diet and smoking cessation. There is no magic here and billions are spent every year to educate folks on this. Despite this spending the obesity and overweight rates continue to rise. (fortunately, progress has been made on the % that smoke). One suggestion that would reverse this trend is to initiate a process whereby the users of the healthcare system bear costs in relation to usage. Currently tax payers with healthy immune systems pay a heavy tax subsidy to support the remainder of the population.

Cost of treatment: In the past I have posted numerous reviews on this issue and I would encourage readers to look back at these if you missed them. In summary: The per capita costs to our tax payers for healthcare runs 3 – 10 times that of most European countries. The areas that contribute to this massive burden on the tax payer are: a) The frequency of occurrence as explained above b) the excessive per day cost of a hospital stay c) Cost in US of RX drugs d) Physician charges e) Insurance overhead & profits f) legal costs associated with ineffective RX & malpractice.

The solution to the cost issue is again very simple, but change will require efforts that are contrary to the interests of very powerful industries that control legislative decisions. When you think about this situation we are being “taxed” at a very high rate by our elected representatives. The industries that control our healthcare system are achieving excessively high revenues and profits at the expense of the tax paying consumer. In my view this represents massive corruption at the very highest levels.

Upstream vs. Downstream – Example Illegals

Upstream vs. Downstream

When we attempt to mitigate “problems” it seems that proposed solutions too often focus on the outcome of the issue in question and not on the cause. In other terms, we focus our efforts downstream rather than upstream.

An example:

Consider the problem of illegal immigration. Regardless of political affiliation the vast majority of our citizens do not support illegals. Most of the proposed solutions focus from the midpoint and downstream. To focus on the causes of the problem it requires us to examine the why people from other country want to enter our country and further why they avoid the process of legal entry? The main draw for illegals is work and pay levels for work vs. their local options. One reason is that gets thrown around is that illegals come to take advantage of benefits through our Medicaid system. While there are very specific conditions where illegals are able to access Medicaid, they are infrequent and amount to less than 1% of the Medicaid budget.

Working a bit upstream, why are there so many jobs available for illegals? Good question. One significant (and legal) method of entry is through the seasonal visa process. Once an alien secures a visa (whether a work or travel visa) it is fairly easy to “get lost” in America. While Big Agriculture is a significant employer of work visa aliens, the construction industry is a significant employer of “lost” workers. Regrettably the primary reasons for this support of illegals is their willingness to perform hard manual labor for relatively low wages, but with a superior work ethic. If there was not income available in the form of jobs most temporary visa holders would not stay on as illegals.

How much will it cost to build a wall and how effective will it be in stopping the demand for low paid workers? How much are we spending to enforce the laws in place to prevent employers from hiring & paying illegals? You do the math.

stay tuned for another example next week