The new CEA report on socialism is better than critics are claiming

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:

More to the point, by far the longest section in the report covers a specific health-care bill, introduced in both the Senate and House and supported by 141 members of Congress, that has become a centerpiece of debate in the Democratic Party. It is hardly irrelevant.

The legislation would eliminate cost sharing, prevent private insurance plans from competing, and prevent private markets from supplementing government coverage (outside of, say, cosmetic surgery). The House version would even prohibit health-care providers from earning profits. These provisions are far more extreme than what is found in most Western European health-care systems. The analogies with traditional socialism are indeed apt — the bill is much worse than anything the Trump administration has proposed to date.

Many of the criticisms of the report have been directed at the section on health-care economics. The critics tend to proclaim their own moderate views and favorably compare some of the Western European health-care systems to that of the U.S. The goal is apparently to smash the report for associating those well-functioning health-care systems with Lenin and Mao. Yet I haven’t seen any of the report’s critics acknowledge the extreme nature of the current Democratic proposal, or that it might need rebuttal, and that such a rebuttal is inevitably going to sound somewhat over the top.


The report also commits the now-unpardonable and immediately punished sin of supporting a doctrine of “false equivalence” — namely, that these days many Democratic ideas are as unacceptable as those associated with Trump.

There are further points at the link, controversial throughout.  Here is the report itself.


Tyler goes full dotard? Seriously boring trollbait exerpts in no way tempt me to click through. Gone are the days of bending the cost curve and market forces and wait times vs need and new research costs. In are the dark times of DOA legislation and unpardonable sins. Sad!

I refuse to even consider the substance of your argument because I am on a different political team!

The Right wants nationalism. The Left wants socialism. Put the two together and you get ........

Honest social scientists pointing out the steps necessary to create a much better world?

How does preventing private markets from supplementing government coverage make the world a better place?

Every Democratic discussion of socialism: "Adopt our proposals, which have nothing to do with socialism, because socialism works great."

Both nationalism and socialism are continuums.

The two sides are just in different places

I think Pan is pointing out that they are more likely a breakdown in what was a continuum, more a barbell distribution.

Speaking of continuums, while I like Tyler's article, the distribution of praise and criticism is somewhat amusing.

I wonder what he chooses to put for people who only read the beginning and those who read all the way to the end of his own articles.

"I wonder what he chooses to put for people who only read the beginning and those who read all the way to the end of his own articles."

I'm at all sure that I see that. It does start off with his broad hypothesis which is in support of the document, and then brings us some smaller issues he has with it.

But that seems like a pretty normal approach

The story arc was "Republicans are right," and then a slow pivot to "actually they are wrong too, everyone is wrong."

Because no one is doing serious policy.

Providing you redefine nationalism to something offensive. If love of country and the desire to improve it are nationalism (as Trump has said) then nationalism is a good thing. But if the lefties can convince the low IQ voters that nationalism equals fascism then they have won through lies and deceit.

"....then they have won through lies and deceit."

So, beaten Trump at his own game.

you say
The Right wants nationalism. The Left wants socialism. Put the two together and you get ..

Pelosi saying "don't worry about collateral damage"

"The House version would even prohibit health-care providers from earning profits. These provisions are far more extreme than what is found in most Western European health-care systems."

This is, however, the system as it currently exists in Japan, a country reknowned for its universal healthcare system. It has had the effect of drastically reducing the cost of healthcare across the entire country. You may call it "extreme", but from the perspective of the rest of the world, America is the country with the most absurd and untenable healthcare system.

Your comment is in fact false. The proposal would be much more of an outlier than the U.S. system is.

You mean the Japanese health care system is not as described?

Or are you objecting the fact that Japan is in fact not part of Western Europe?

And considering just how extreme the U.S. is an outlier, it would take considering more changes to the U.S. system to make it even more of an outlier. Just for the sake of discussion, such a proposal might make the U.S. system look likes Cuba's. Admittedly, Cuba's system is a bit of outlier in a regional comparison - it is considerably superior to the other health care systems in its region.

By some metrics the US is not much of an outlier, for example by measure of portion of each healthcare dollar spent by the state.

> Tax-funded expenditures accounted for 64.3 percent of U.S. health spending – about $1.9 trillion – in 2013

> Germany's health care system was 77% government-funded and 23% privately funded as of 2004.[8]

It's actually also worth questioning whether (or maybe by what measures) our system is even worse, as is popularly asserted.

I think our system is clearly not optimal, for simple reasons: premium price discrimination is prohibited, prices are nontransparent, etc. etc.

I think the solution is clearly to treat healthcare like the private good it is, but eliminating socialized insurance like medicare is pretty much a political non-starter. For practical purposes, it's really hard to see an obvious solution that isn't comprised of marginal steps towards an unattainable ideal.

The problem with those marginal steps, though, is that we may well be in somewhat of a local maxima, and while each of those steps might take us closer to the global maximum they might in and of themselves still diminish the functioning of our healthcare system.

I'm sorry, you're right. The bill as described also includes coverage of dental, mental health, and vision care, which are not generally covered under the Japanese universal healthcare system. Thank you for pointing out my error, and showing that the mecicare-for-all bill would create a superior healthcare system.

The bill does nothing of the sort. It's a vile example of the administrative state that sets forth goals that the bureaucrats are supposed to figure out how to implement (the bill is ridiculously brief) and vague, woefully inadequate funding sources (unspecified "modest" increases in various taxes along with savings from "vastly reducing paperwork"). In short, it's not a serious proposal just like the rest of the old-time socialist religion of Sanders and his ilk.

'it's not a serious proposal'

Which might just explain why Prof. Cowen apparently thinks it is worth his readers' time to read a column about it.

Besides, most people know that Megan McCardle is the go to source for the current thinking about why America's health care system does not need any changes that in any way, shape, or form resemble any of the other health care systems that are less expensive and which deliver comparable results.

Socialists have a very bad habit of trying to implement half-baked plans that end up blowing up in their and everyone else's faces.

And we're still waiting for you to avail yourself of Germany's health care system for some psych meds for your Cowen Derangement Syndrome.

'Socialists have a very bad habit of trying to implement half-baked plans that end up blowing up in their and everyone else's faces.'

Certainly seems to describe Bismarck, that big old socialist dreamer.

There is a claim that the weak emperor leadership caused WW1, under Bismark's strong leadership, no such thing would have happened.

Anyway, there is no way Bismark's socialism was even near the magnitude of Medicaid + Medicare + SS + SS disability + Government salaries + government benefits + government pensions + indirect government employees.

"Socialists have a very bad habit of trying to implement half-baked plans that end up blowing up in their and everyone else's faces."

Noteable socialists:

Donald J Trump. He promised tax cuts, more government spending, and budget surpluses.

HW Bush. He promised smaller government, balance budgets, and tax cuts, and higher economic growth, then delivered 6-10 tax cuts to create jobs and boost GDP growth (depending on how you count tax cut laws) and expanded government more than any Democrat since LBJ (Medicare, NCLB, spying on Americans, disappearing persons in violation of the Constitution), not to mention hundreds of billions in off budget spending to hide growing budget deficits.

Ronald Reagan who promised free lunches for everyone, lower labor costs and higher wages and higher profits. Not to mention his "fix for immigration" which ensured migrant workers needed by American capitalists would become permanent residents of the US instead of Mexico.

What can you say? In at least two of the western countries with national healthcare that I am familiar with first hand even they, nominally more “socialist” than the USA, don’t prohibit people from supplementing government care with private care. If you are willing to pay more for a nicer hospital room or your personal choice of specialist you pay premium prices.

To believe any word of any proposal is absurd, just as it's absurd to believe anything Trump says as he explicitly States the GOP policy for the past 25 years.

For example, Trump stated the Republican budget promise: tax cuts, increased government spending, a budget surplus, and bsolutely zero Republicans worse off, especially the very loyal Republicans dependent on Social Security and Medicare.

Which leads to Trump stating the GOP health care promise of more health care for everyone, and that means absolutely everyone, much lower health care costs, and much higher profits to the businesses delivering health care, and no government spending.

Conservatives have proven promising extreme policies that are impossible gets them elected so they can compromise, just like Bush did by hiking taxes to get Democrats to fund his jobs programs of war and building roads. Or the other Bush compromising with Ted Kennedy to deliver his promise of cheap drugs, and getting the government out of education with No Child Let Behind, another compromise.

Maybe it would be a good idea to try a socialist approach to some other section of the economy first and then move on to health care. How about food? But isn't there already SNAP and ag subsidies? OK, there must be something that operates entirely in the private sector. What could it be?

I hope you’re deliberately being disingenuous, because sincerely thinking that agricultural subsidies = socialism... hoo boy.

Plus the argument contains a huge blind spot when it ignores the massive health care subsidies the US has had for decades.

The first health care law was passed by the first Congress, specifically to serve persons who were generally not considered Americans (sick seamen who arrived and were too sick to continue working on their outgoing ship).

We do; it's the public school system. No greedy profit motive there, so it must be a model of efficiency and quality.

Doesn't work either. There are all those private schools that are ruining the results for the public schools by stealing all the good teachers and students and all the money -- the rich will cheat on their taxes and pay for the private education....

Wreckers! Saboteurs!

Are you talking about TrumpU, ITT technical colleges, Corinthian Colleges ???

How about schooling?

“the idea that, all things considered, consolidated government control is cheaper than a market-based system does in fact come from socialist and communist thinkers” Uh, it’s not just an idea, it’s an empirical fact; a wide variety of government controlled healthcare systems around the world are dramatically cheaper than America's. The grip on reality here seems tenuous.

Certainly not an empirical fact even for healthcare. The U.S. government already spends more on healthcare than nearly all other countries as a % of GDP, so clearly a government-run system in the U.S. would still be far more expensive than any other country. Compare to other countries with much less government control (e.g. Singapore) and lower prices

Or Germany, which was originally saddled with its public (government is completely the wrong term, just as health insurance would be) health care system by that noted hard left ideologue Bismarck.

This is the thing I never see folks who say how cheap single payer would be in the USA grapple with.

Government spending on healthcare in the US is 9% of GDP, the highest in the OECD

And those government programs only cover old and poor people. How is a single payer that covers everyone going to be so much cheaper? And if you say efficiency why not start by proving it by cutting cost in Medicare/Medicaid?

Also worth noting that we also spend more than any other country per student in our largely public education system.

Why would anyone think a single payer would be run cheaply?

"And those government programs only cover old and poor people. How is a single payer that covers everyone going to be so much cheaper? And if you say efficiency why not start by proving it by cutting cost in Medicare/Medicaid?"

Single payer healthcare would only be cost effective if legislators had balls, meaning they could play a game of chicken and win, even when their phones (and twitter nowadays) are ringing off the hooks with angry calls. Given how congress folded to Obama with respect to government shutdown, we know that their balls are as large as Jeff Flake's.

A single payer can choose the price, and the current government, that spends at least half of all US health care dollars could also decide the price if they had the guts.

So, the reason the GOP wont be able to cut health care costs will be the same as in the past fewer decades when the GOP members of Congress who came from health care as doctors and hospital owners who didnt have the balls to slash their own incomes, profits, and wealth, and also earn the hatred of their peers and donors likewise impoverished?

Trump abandoned his father's real estate business that served working class people because he did not want to depend on government policies that ensured the working class have money to pay rent. Trump knows that cutting costs means workers can't afford to pay the rents his father built his real estate empire on.

After all, if Trump "had balls", he would seek only US citizen workers as customers, employ only US citizen workers, and every month cut the prices of using his resorts by another 10% to cut costs to grow his empire faster.

My claim is that US government has enough price setting ability to drive down health care prices, by simply one day deciding: "We will pay no more than France for these services, our way or the highway"!

You are saying something about how Trump doesn't care for the poor, and is hypocritical, and GOP is corrupt? These can and probably are true, but do not address my point.

You should cherish this reply. This is the one and only time I will address you this year.

Singapore has a massive public hospital system providing care to everyone who can't or won't pay for private care.

Wikipedia summary:

"Since the 1990s, all public hospitals, polyclinics, and specialty centres have been restructured as government-owned corporations, and operate under three healthcare groups or "clusters":

National Healthcare Group
National University Health System
The 8 public hospitals comprise 6 acute general hospitals (SGH, NUH, CGH, TTSH, KTPH & NTFGH), a women's and children's hospital (KKH) and a psychiatry hospital (IMH).[7] In addition, there are 8 national specialty centres for cancer (NCCS), cardiac (NHCS), eye (SNEC), skin (NSC), neuroscience (NNI), dental care (NDCS) and a medical centre for multiple disciplines (NCIS and NHCS).[7]

As of 2012, Singapore had a total of 10,225 doctors in its healthcare system, giving a doctor to population ratio of 1:520. The nurse (including midwives) to population ratio was 1:150, with a total of 34,507 nurses. There were 1,645 dentists, giving a ratio of 1 dentist to 3,230 people.[8][9]

Approximately 70–80% of Singaporeans obtain their medical care within the public health system. ..."

Or, is the USPS, Amtrak, the Interstate system, the Fed, ..., Freddie and Fannie, completely non-governmental and private?

Was healthcare spending lower in the USA that the other countries before Government got more involved.

Are there examples of more Government involvement lowering total spending?

To talk about cheaper, you'd have to show that equivalent procedures and drugs and care have a lower PPP cost.

Otherwise, the US's high healthcare *spend* (not cost) is probably driven by differences in composition of spending.

Tyler’s my problematic fave in that he’s entirely too smart of a free-marketeer to ignore.

But this? This is just embarrassing.


Probably because it is too controversial, one assumes.

Without clicking on any link, I found the TC OP a bit too vague. Is Tyler concerned with being fired by the Mercatus center? I gather from the comments that TC is defending some socialistic government healthcare plan? OK I clicked on the report "Opportunity Costs of Socialism". I get this on page one: "Whether socialism delivers on its appealing promises is an empirical question. We begin our investigation by looking closely at the most highly socialist cases, which are typically agricultural economies , such as Maoist China, Cuba, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The nondemocratic governments seized control of farming, promising to make food more abundant . The result was substantially less food production and tens of millions of deaths by starvation. "

So I think TC, Krugman, others are claiming this report is hyperbole? I tend to agree only because they lump Cuba with Maoist China and Stalinist USSR, and having visited Cuba several times around 20 years ago, I found nobody starving, though I did see supposedly mentally ill people (in fact political prisoners) toiling in the hot summer sun cutting sugarcane, a form of punishment.

OK from just the titles TC is NOT a socialist, I repeat, NOT a socialist. Got it. But I think the report is sloppy for the reasons I cite above. I'm not a socialist either. NOT. As Borat would say. .... NOT.

its not hyperbole if its history
what if the report is mansplaining that socialism is a continuum
on one hand they did fubar farming and socially engineer probably
the most fatal famine ever while raising the per capita gdp by
400 yr and apparently destroying a lotta perfectly good guitars

there are potential downsides

and that's why pelosi telling us not to worry about
collateral damage is sorta bold/moronic

the sociology dept decided we don't have to worry about collateral damage anymore?
doesn't that smell a little dodgy
are they saying D.D. Eisenhower was wrong?

you can't not count the collateral damage and have a coherent ideology

draper? gladwell?

NPR sez
"An ancient part of the brain long ignored by the scientific world appears to play a critical role in everything from language and emotions to daily planning."

if we had been ignoring the cerebellum as npr alleges
how did we figure out all the cool about the cerebellum?

mebbe u meant to say cool stuff about the cerebellum?
seriously, if anybody besides the scientific world
has a coherent cerebellum narrative
we would love to hear it
draper? gladwell?

now nancy you can't just decide all on your own
not to count collateral damage
right now we think young malcom and donald here
should take you
down to the sociology dept for brain scan

A lot of the pushback doesn't actually rebut any of Tyler's points.

If his chosen excerpts are any indication, there’s not much besides ideological fearmongering to rebut. He even namedrops Lenin and Mao.

He forgot Bismarck though, the man who actually created the first of those 'socialist' European health care systems.

Bismarck being the man who also implemented the first 'socialist' old age pension system, making him undoubtedly one of the most evil socialist figures in history, a man still sapping the purity of essence of American vitality.

And the German people were so thankful for their new programs that they tried to conquer Europe twice and used their superiority as justification for genocide when these programs didn’t bring about prosperity for the “right” people. Heil Bismarck!!

how big was healthcare spending when Bismarck did what he did (German healthcare is not really socialized)?

By way of criticizing the report

'controversial throughout'

Sure it is.

I enjoy colon exams from my doctor


Oh look the troll is back. Hey troll I know you're not very smart, but the readers with half a brain realize that I never post before 8 am Eastern US time.

I think if you step back from Tyler's article, which was good, you see the structural problem in American politics.

First the Republicans, but increasingly the Democrats, propose things that more get people riled rather than actually work.

I mean after a couple years of "the wall, and Mexico will pay for it" what do you expect?

Again the only path back for us is to support boring candidates in our elections, the kind of people who want what works, rather than what riles.

Otherwise known as “cucks”

No healthcare system is perfect, but which is the most effective? Someone wrote in another place Switzerland.
The problem with the UK's NHS is that patients have little control over the course their treatment takes, and the bureaucracy surrounding the system generates a lot of stress for patients and staff that isn't medically necessary. This causes a longer recovery time, which costs the system money. As far as I know no one has measured exactly how much money this is or what needs to be done to reduce the stress. But if the cost of altering the system results in a satisfactory return for the cost of improving it then clearly there are financial as well as humanitarian reasons to change it.
There are no doubt more important stressors, but easily observed is the arrangement of parking, for staff, patients and their visitors to health facilities. This comes under a lot of criticism in news media. A hospital is constructed with plenty of parking, but then it is expanded at the expense of parking. Adjacent land is sold by government for retail and industrial "parks". The result after a few years is a facility that is stressful for everyone to use.

Health care is an industry, a very large industry, a very important industry to many communities. Where would Cleveland and Pittsburgh and even Nashville be absent the health care industry. I make this obvious point because many view health care as simply a public service. It's not.

What these proposals to reform health care have in common is to treat all health care and health care needs the same. They aren't. What's needed to promote health for someone otherwise healthy isn't the same as what's needed to treat the chronically ill (which is the single most important factor in rising health care costs). Nobody wants to pay for the chronically ill (euphemistically referred to as "preexisting conditions").

What's been happening in health care the past ten years has revolutionized health care. And that's consolidation. The underlying criticism of health care ten years ago was that it is too "fragmented" (many small, independent, and inefficient providers). Today, doctors are more likely to work for a large hospital system or large group practice than a small group. Indeed, today more physicians work for hospital systems than work independently. That presents a whole new set of issues and opportunities. To make the point, many communities are dominated by a single hospital system. If most of the doctors in that community work for that same hospital system, one can begin to see that the economic issues are more local than national. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? It solved the "fragmentation" issue, while raising very different issues.

Byline to his post:

Medicare is SOCIALISM!!

For all you folks over 65,

Burn your Medicare card.

It is. But only the rich and well-connected can afford to opt out. That's how socialism has always operated.

It's better than that. The rich live longer and get more.

Socialism for the rich.

Thank you! I can't believe Vox and others are calling this document "bizarre" - yes it's politically motivated and unusual, but the Democratic party came close to nominating a literal self-described socialist in 2016, and propose policies like this. Can we no longer discuss the political implications of economic thought?

Since 2016, do you think the Democrats have seen anything that tells them they must have rational plans and policy to win elections?

That's a good point. Of course, the US has always been a Republic with elections by humans. The electorate aren't Vulcans. Of course a Vulcan electorate wouldn't have voted for Hillary Clinton, either.

The US had the two worst candidates in modern American history as the two front runners. One of them won.

Hillary Clinton was the logical choice, because she was less irrational.

The same Hilary Clinton discussing a nuclear first strike? rational? Indeed.

A Vulcan electorate would have selected Hillary over Bernie and then Hillary over Trump. I'm not sure who they would have selected in the Republican primary and you might argue other candidates would have made a bigger splash in the Dem primary with a Vulcan electorate, but at that point the though experiment is getting silly. But Trump has more than amply demonstrated how incompetent and corrupt he is personally. People who have a both-sides-do-it are just as blind to reality, and maybe more so, than the true Trump supporters.

"A Vulcan electorate would have selected Hillary over Bernie and then Hillary over Trump."

No a Vulcan electorate would have voted for one of the other candidates. Gary Johnson would probably be President in that case.

In 2009 and 2010, the Democrats, completely owning Congress and the Presidency, unleashed the irrational Obamacare and proceeded to get massacred for the next 6 years in federal and state elections across the country.

As for the CEA report, it is from the genre of the old reliable red scare. Sure, much of its focus is on health care and proposals for single payer (Medicare for all), the report uses red scare rhetoric to defend the status quo. Indeed, the report ignores inequality entirely (except to hand wave it away). What the CEA fears is . . . . Norway. Norway I'm telling you, America will become Norway! Some readers may remember Robin Williams' joke that cocaine is God's way of telling one that he has too much money. Well, financial instability is God's way (the invisible hand) of telling all of us that inequality is too high.

Left unexplained (pun avoidable but retained anyway):

how is it that the (undergrad) economics department of Boston University FAILED to disabuse prominent Democratic Party socialist candidate Ocasio-Cortez of her socialist beliefs? What rigorous defense of socialist economic principles was O-C required to produce to earn her (BS?) in economics?

(Or is it the case that O-C's BU profs "converted" her to socialism? Granted, BU is not UMass-Amherst, but still . . . .)

In their battle to expand the Overton Window to include white nationalists and people who think it's cool to take nursing infants away from their mothers in order to send immigrants a message, the Republican party has inadvertantly defined itself right out of the Overton Window ocupied by normal humans. Or really what we have is two non-overlapping Overton Windows. On the right, you have one where supporting Black Lives Matter is verboten, but it's okay to say that black people are genetically inferior, and on the left you have one where advocating single payer healthcare is mandatory and describing that as socialism is beyond the pale.

Overton Window. Never heard of the term before and forced me to look it up. Learn something new every day on MR. Thanks for your comment.

I don't think your summary of left and right wing positions is very enlightening.
"On the right, you have one where supporting Black Lives Matter is verboten"

Is this even true? Who is saying that "black lives don't matter"? What might be "verboten" is taking the view that all problems faced by the black community are caused by forces outside that community.

Why would the left care if someone describes single payer healthcare as socialism?

It wasn't really meant to be a comprehensive summary of what counts as "acceptable" discourse in left and right wing circles.

However, it does seem as if Republicans have some sort of wierd allergic reaction to Black Lives Matter, so if you express support for it, that's going to result in knee-jerk reactions in Republican circles. Like the one you just gave.

And the criticisms of the CEA report seem to be *exactly* along the lines I described. "Oh you crazy Republicans! Always freaking out about socialism!"

Which is precisely my point. The kind of absurd hyperbolic rhetoric that Republicans today routinely engage in, makes it hard to take anything they say seriously. They've put themselves outside the bounds of reasonable discourse by trying to put all sorts of crazy nutjobbery inside the bounds - welcoming all sorts of nutjobs into their ranks. So when they come along with something that technically isn't totally incorrect, nobody is going to take them seriously. So now calling single payer healthcare "socialist" is greeted with scoffing.

This is the opposite of what some Trump supporters ostensibly were trying to accomplish. If you wanted to expand the Overton window by normalizing the extremes, you failed, instead, you marginalized more moderate positions by making everyone espousing anything associated with the Republican party look crazy.

"instead, you marginalized more moderate positions by making everyone espousing anything associated with the Republican party look crazy."

That would be a reasonably accurate description of the Libertarian party, but it remains to be seen what happens with respect to the Republican party.

Hmmm, let's wait to see what happens in 3 weeks. My suspicion is that Republicans will still hold the Senate, and that the Democrats will hold the House by a small margin.

That would be pretty strong evidence that your position of the Republican party being toxic is fundamentally wrong.

I guess toxicity should be defined. As far as I can tell most people voting out there are drinking one flavor or another of toxic koolaid, and suffering the expected neurological effects. Regardless of who controls the house, if everyone's eating lead we're all going to wind up like the last few episodes of 'The Terror'.

"Black Lives Matter" is mostly based on claims that police killings and harsh sentencing are applied disproportionately to Black people in the US for reasons unconnected to their differences in offending profiles.

It has been found statistically false at more or less every step of the way.

Should people support this movement when it has a completely fraudulent basis?

African Americans have a lower group mean IQ than White Americans, and this is reflected in various other cognitive measures as well. When people with equal IQ have children, but one couple is African American and the other is White American, the African American children tend to regression to the mean towards a lower IQ.

The weight of evidence suggests this is a hereditary population difference.

Should people never mention this even when there are massively and widespread libelous accusations of racial discrimination in the school system and employment?

On the BLM front, here's some studies that illustrate its statistically fraudulent base:

"In the case of police shootings, the evidence is clear that fatal shootings are strongly tied to situations in which violent crime is being committed or suspected of being committed. A typical fatal police shooting occurs when there is the potential for imminent death to an officer or other citizen. Almost 85 percent of police fatal shootings involve armed citizens.

Given this, we can ask, "Are blacks shot more than whites given their presence in situations in which police shootings are likely to occur?"

To answer the question, my colleagues and I analyzed the largest database of fatal police shootings to date, The Guardian's database of police shootings, The Counted. It covers all known shootings from 2015 to 2016. We calculated the odds of being shot for blacks and whites given violent crime rates for each group, which we established by using 16 different measures of crime across four databases. We used these different crime rates as a means of estimating presence in deadly force situations.

One might ask, "Isn't using arrest data to assess crime rates wrong, given that police are more likely to police black communities and arrest black citizens?"

If police are more likely to arrest black citizens than white citizens – without any actual racial differences in criminal behavior – this would inflate crime estimates for blacks and would skew our findings.

To deal with this, we also looked at a different set of data to measure crime – death by assault records from the Centers for Disease Control. These data are derived from death certificates. Whether police are more likely to arrest one race or another for, say, homicide would have no impact on the CDC's counts for how often members of each race die from assault. Thus, the data provide a way to estimate rates of violent crime that is not biased from police arrest decisions (although it is possible that this data could be subject to other kinds of errors).

When we considered the rates at which people from different groups are likely to be present in these contexts, a different picture emerged.

The differences in involvement in criminal situations between black and white citizens fully explains the population-level disparity in fatal police shootings.

This suggests that officer bias – in terms of officers making different shooting decisions for black and white citizens – is not necessarily the cause of black citizens being shot at higher rates. Even if officers were making the same decisions about whether to use deadly force for black and white citizens, population-level disparities would still emerge given these crime rate differences.

What about shootings of unarmed citizens? The results were too uncertain to draw firm conclusions one way or another. This is because the number of fatal shootings in which a citizen is unarmed and not assaulting an officer is small – about 6 percent of all fatal shootings, or 45 people every year."

Note this 85% figure is only for if they have the gun in hand, and we find that the figure who don't even have a firearm close to hand is far lower: -

The study also found that less than 1 percent of victims of police killings were unarmed. Across all racial groups, 65.3 percent of those killed possessed a firearm at the time of their death.

"The gun could be in their car, or on them, but it was there at the time they were killed," says Menifield. "This shouldn't be surprising because of the availability and ease of getting a gun in the United States."

"white officers are no more likely to use lethal force against minorities than nonwhite officers"

There's some stuff in this article about institutional racism affecting arrest relates and that driving death rates, but that's bull, because of what is explained about death rates and vicitmization rates in the first article linked.

Perhaps there are too many guns in American society and perhaps the police are too militarized. Perhaps Americans want to think about whether they value the liberty to bear arms, or lower probabilities of getting shot. But that's not what BLM claims - it claims that unarmed Black Americans are disproportionately the subject of police killings due to racist police or an systematically racist system. That's false.

Allergic reaction noted.

Lack of substance re-confirmed.

I mean, take the opportunity to engage. Do you disagree with these studies? Do you think BLM somehow has a legitimate basis even though it's core belief is incorrect? Do you advance that even if BLM's core beliefs are incorrect, people in society who know this really should act as if they are true because they're some kind of noble lie? Where is your substance as a person and as someone who think about things in more than the very basic terms that you demonstrate on MR?

“What might be "verboten" is taking the view that all problems faced by the black community are caused by forces outside that community.”

Talk to a black person for once in your life. You’ll find that the position you seem to think is forbidden is held only by a small subset of weirdos, even among BLM activists.

“The report also commits the now-unpardonable and immediately punished sin of supporting a doctrine of “false equivalence” — namely, that these days many Democratic ideas are as unacceptable as those associated with Trump.”

How droll.

While it is worthwhile to educate and remind people that socialism is bad, it is imperative to educate the would-be educators that the people generally embracing the term "socialism" today are not actually embracing socialism.

Tyler's column is actually much better than the summary above leads one to believe.

The comments section here is getting much worse. Most are unreadable.

Medicare is certainly influential but the best example of socialized medicine in the US are the VA hospitals. The doctors and nurses are incredibly good. The equipment and records are very good. Facilities are mostly ragged, some deplorable. Front office staff are the worst examples of government employees.

Wait times are horrendous. Clinics are overcrowded. The VA is intended to treat service connected injuries and illnesses, not serve as a lifetime entitlement to health services for all veterans. The poor performance statistics have led to notable scandals aiming to superficially improve those stats. The scandals and cover ups demonstrate a widespread culture of corruption inside the VA.

Low marginal costs lead to excessive diagnostic tests. While this is good for the patient, it isn't good for the budget.

Unionization leads to excessive pay and insufficient work and discipline.

Few people who have the means to go elsewhere use the VA. I had a friend who chose to pay for surgery to avoid using the VA.

My friend had both Medicare and VA, he came out of retirement driving a school-bus after a cancer diagnosis, to get better treatment options.

I've seen other commenters already suggest this but the CEA report seems to ignore the fact that we already have a socialist healthcare system (just a somewhat poor one).

The government pays for over half of all healthcare costs. Central planners at CMS constantly tweak these payments and other incentives to carry out their goals.

Scope of practice laws, FDA processes, and hundreds of other regulators restrict what you can do, who you can pay, etc.

You bring a point to mind. Most of the regulation of healthcare in the USA is done at the state level. In AZ and UT healthcare spending is not so high (,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D) and LE is pretty good. As the feds spend more of the healthcare dollars there is less incentive for state politicians to regulate with costs in mind.
Shouldn't the feds push healthcare of to state and local government? Maybe tell the states, here is the medicare money (on a percapita age adjusted basis), you have to provide the over 65 with medical care.

I can't decide if Tyler is selling out here, means what he says, or if he means to damn the CEA report with faint praise. To be honest, it seems the best things Tyler has to say about the CEA report is that it made him aware of something worth arguing against.

Tyler in this piece is really making two arguments, one of which I think he does well enough and the other which he does poorly.

(1) Good argument: Health care is complicated, and there are good reasons to be skeptical of (a) American's misunderstandings of how European systems work, and (b) attempts to "fix" the US health care system, particularly a hopelessly ill thought-out proposal making the rounds among Democrats in congress.

(2) Bad argument: The CEA report makes argument (1) in a sensible way.

Tyler's rhetorical strategy seem to be to try to use (1) to make you believe (2). However, even Tyler's own short piece does a better job of making the argument that he wants you to believe the CEA report is doing! Beyond what Tyler himself says, the report doesn't add much to my knowledge. To mix metaphors, the report's ratio of smoke to fire is so outrageously poor that it amounts to homeopathic levels of intellectual quality.

Even if he means to damn the report with faint praise, in gesturing towards bailing out the CEA for its shoddy (and frankly vitriolic) work Tyler ultimately demeans himself.

All of this debate about private versus single payer or US versus Western European health care....

And not one talk of what countries are setting the global PPF curve in health care....

I’m gonna go out on a limb as non empirical total guess and say the stupid OLD US health care system with its really high prices, rampant inequality, over prescription of non product treatments probably has a BIG HAND in setting that global curve.

So what good is it for the rest of the world as free riders of numerous US health care public goods to have us go single payer??

If you can’t control for that then what is the point of this debate???

Sorry I couldn't comment on this post on Socialism and interference in pricing in medicine as much as I would like,

Because I was watching the President's press conference where he tied foreign negotiated prices in other countries and placed a cap on

Medicare drug prices.

Paul Samuelson, recent Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus and John Kenneth Galbraith, among others, expressed their admiration for the economic growth performance of the Soviet economic system.

Maybe you would like to put dates on this, and ask whether views changed as more accurate data became available.

Or maybe you are just being a hackish ideologue, doing the work of your paymasters.

Help me, I'm trying to interpret. So the report was "gauche"? Didn't get into the weeds of the socialized healthcare we've already got, didn't understand that America is just a bigger, fjordless Norway, and was more like prep material for a school debate (admittedly, the sort of fancy school few of us attended) on the merits of socialism? - and has a Stephen Miller-ish air about it? In that case the charitable explanation might be that it was intended for a very *general* audience, the sort of people [the newly-arrived and prolific from countries with less universal schooling, the young who may be no dumber than previous generations but seem more eloi-like than ever, members of the national media hired for their pleasant features, me] who demonstrated not that long ago (pointedly, to that same Stephen Miller) that they believe the statue in the harbor - that they've often seen destroyed in disaster movies - with its mawkish ladypoem to be the central graven image upon which this country was founded, famously, in 1886?

You "best and brightest" continue to think that you can have everything, up to and including your erudite, granular intellectual discourse. Good God.

Oh, and interesting point, terry richards. Something I've not heard said, though it was perhaps gauche of you to mention.

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