Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Krugman is once again shrill

It's a habit with the guy. Apart from noting that it's obvious he's been reading Stayin' Alive or otherwise why would he think the same way I do, let me give you my value added.

The Republicans -- and Krugman singles out Huckabee as a paradigmatic example, which is a good choice -- have done a profound disservice to the country, and especially to our children, in their cynical and dishonest tactics to win the votes of old folks. They positioned themselves as the defenders of Medicare and patients' rights by saying that end of life counseling and comparative effectiveness research are a disguise for "death panels" that will judge the lives of the sick and old not worth preserving; and by labeling policies to promote effective, evidence based and efficient medical care as a "government takeover" that will put "bureaucrats between you and your doctor." They don't actually believe any of this, and what they really want to do is simply to cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits without doing anything to get more benefit from the remaining resources. They are the ones who really want to murder your grandmother.

So what we have is the inversion of reality. Unfortunately, the "journalists" who talk about these issues on teevee don't understand them and do absolutely nothing to sort out the truth. Even worse, as Krugman appropriately tells us, Democratic leaders, including the president, don't even try. They just accept the underlying premises of Republican disinformation but make a half-hearted effort to resist their conclusions.

As Jerome Kassirer writes in this weeks BMJ, in this case discussing the FDA (subscription only, here's the lede:

And here may be the most serious problem of all -- namely, the failure of many to appreciate and understand the rigors of science. Too few people trained in science are serving in state and national legislatures. Too few judges are adequately versed in science. Too many people believe that science is just another belief system. Too many regard evolution as a theory, believe in creationism, and reject the evidence that global warming may [sic] be of human origin.

The assault on FDA practices is falling on the susceptible ears of those who believe that economics should rule major decisions; that what is good for the prescription drug business is good for patients; and that public perceptions and company marketing decisions yield self-correcting errors and so serve to eliminate faulty products. Such notions are a callous deception.

In fact, business is amoral, and when it dominates, people can get hurt.

Indeed. There is a conspiracy behind the assault on science and reason. It is a conspiracy of obscenely wealthy psychopaths whose only purpose in life is greed. They spend a part of their fortune to poison our political discourse with ignorance and lies, and Mike Huckabee is their servant. Huck, there's nothing Christian about that.

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