Monthly Archives: June 2017

Our currency, does it need a revamp?

Chapter 48

Our currency, does it need a revamp?

Penny’s (one cent coins) make absolutely no sense in today’s economy. The small cent was introduced in 1856, almost 160 years ago. I cannot find reliable inflation stats prior to 1914, but assuming there was zero inflation from 1856 to 1914 a dime would still have had less purchasing power in 1985 than a penny in 1856 (or 1914). Both pennies and nickels are useless and a waste of money. Another glaring deficiency is in our use of paper currency, specifically the dollar. Using the above inflation stats the purchasing power of today’s dollar as compared to the 1914 dollar is just over 8 cents! To further compound the issue for the tax payer is that paper money is more expensive to produce. Yes, the initial cost of production for paper vs. metal is lower, but when the life of the currency is factored (coins last 20 – 40 times as long as paper) the ongoing cost is many times higher with paper. We should have abolished the dollar bill many years ago. Our limited efforts with a dollar coin have been laughable. The way you make it work is to introduce the $1 coin with a deadline on the use of the paper. I might be so bold as to suggest that we take one additional step and replace the $5 bill also with a coin. After all, in terms of 1914 purchasing power the $5 coin would only represent 42 cents.

Overused ad abused expressions that make little or no sense

47. Overused and abused expressions that make little or no sense:

I have always admired the command of the language enjoyed by our founding fathers. They obviously placed immense importance on the value of their words. Just one example are the words of our first President, George Washington: “There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.” How I wish my mind was capable of such eloquent prose. While my literary abilities are substandard by any measure I found the devolution of Americaneze quite disgusting. One rather recent habit is the use of the word “So” to begin a sentence. A couple of items that have been around for decades are the use of the words “you know” and “like”. Example: “I was, like, blown away at the concert last night, you know.” “I’m not sure if what you are telling me is true but I will find out.” We accept the meaning of the words “find out” in this context but……!! In the same vein we often attempt to “figure it out”. How often do we intend to “fix it” or to organize our “stuff”. I “will be there “on the dot”. I think your opinion is “spot on”. That car can “turn on a dime” I am “pretty sure” (or “sure alone as in “Are you sure”?). How about ending sentences in a dangling preposition? Where are you from”. Or the habit of ending a sentence with the word “then”, especially after the word “ok”. You “get” the idea!

Drug companies and the idea of a “free” market

46 g) Drug companies and the idea of a “free” market

U.S. Law Protects Drug Companies from Free Market

U.S. law protects these companies from free-market competition, and Medicare is not allowed to negotiate prices. By law, it has to pay exactly what the drug companies charge for any drug. The same goes for other insurance companies who simply do not negotiate.

In contrast, governments in other countries put caps on the price of drugs and negotiate prices based on what the actual therapeutic benefit is. And Big Pharma still turns a healthy profit in other countries, despite costs being 40 percent lower than they are in the United States.

In the case of almost every other product sold on the free market, the older a product gets the less it costs. In the case of cancer drugs in America, the inverse is actually true. Novartis developed Gleevec, one of the most popular cancer drugs, in 2001 and sold it for $28,000 a year. By 2012, its cost rose to $92,000.

Despite not being a novel treatment, Novartis is allowed to hike up the price every year in the United States.

The bottom line is that the US consumer is getting “soaked” by drug companies and we really do not seem to care.