Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Economist Christmas issue

The Economist is the only non-medical periodical besides Ultrarunning I subscribe too. Each year I look forward to the year-ending double Christmas issue (which seems no longer to be the Christmas issue, alas), which in addition to the usual news contains a variety of longer feature articles, which I have time to enjoy over the holidays. These are mostly available for free here.

One of the most interesting this year is comparing the poor in the US with the rich in poor countries, specifically, an Appalachin man drawing disability and a doctor in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who make about the same amount of money. One might think it would go a lot farther in Africa, but not really:
A typical poor household in America has two televisions, cable or satellite reception and a VCR or a DVD player.
And living in the US is a lot safer and more conveinent with than in any African countries.

Read the whole thing as they say, but it is facts like this, and that this guy on "disability" hasn't worked in 25 years, despite still not being 65, that makes me think the welfare system in this country is a bit too generous.


At 4:19 PM, Anonymous DML said...

Well, I'd much rather risk some people abusing the system than being so stingy that people that truly need help can't get it. One case here is statistically insignificant. How about the increase in people living in poverty in the US over the past five years or so? In 2004 alone, 1.1 million new people joined the ranks of "living in poverty" in the US, and the total number went up to 37 million that year.

And, I'd sure as hell rather pay for this guy, whether he's scamming or not, than pay to blow up and occupy a foreign country for no good reason at all.

When you and I are old, if we make it that far, and our kids don't want to pay our social security because of the other debts we've left them to pay, I won't blame them one little bit.

At 6:00 PM, Blogger ollie said...

Yeah Andy; also check out my blog to see what can happen to people, even those who get a college education, serve in the military and get appropriate certifications.

Yeah, some people abuse public aid; no system is perfect. Then again, some doctors don't pay back their student loans either, and some do unnecessary medical proceedures to make money.
But those examples are hardly representative.

You might also check out the Scientific American article which points out that living in poverty is itself a risk factor to one's health, besides the usual risk factors due to poor medical care, nutrition, living in a polluted enviroment and the like.

See what happens when you give liberals your blog address? ;-)

At 2:09 PM, Blogger Tom Watson said...

A typical poor household in America has two televisions, cable or satellite reception and a VCR or a DVD player.

Heck, I'm below the poverty line with my one TV. Ollie, send me some tax money. I'm poor.


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