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  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:12 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Is the future Sustainable? 

    Dan Barber sounds like a guy with the right idea in mind. I guess it makes sense that naturally produced food items would taste better to us, since that’s what we’ve eaten for the majority of our existence. Yeah one farm is a drop in the ocean (literally in this case) but imagine if we got everyone on board with this; less people needed to work would mean more people specializing in other skills, sending into the future faster, with cleaner food and a much longer sustaining environment. I love the idea of this farm. What is crazy is that the farm produces so much of the fish that they can even jump start the ecosystem around it by producing enough for us and the animals that live off of that land. Maybe if we had more people behind this sort of productive efficiency, we wouldn’t have to worry about how to fix our economies, rather we would learn about how we fixed things through a history class..

     
  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:11 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Unit 7 Readings 

    In the introduction reading that goes over what we will be covering in this unit, it mentioned China and India and their rise. I wanted to note what I’ve found in my readings for the book project; that both countries have hit rocky roads on their way to success. In China, when they first created economic zones (places that changed taxes and other costs to attract outside business) they found that the Chinese workers didn’t fully understand how the Western workers expected them to work. For example when managers left the room or the plant, the workers thought they weren’t supposed to keep working, so they would stop production. It took training to get them up to speed with the way the outside world did things.

     
  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:11 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Why Social Security is Not Broken and How the Trust Fund Works 

    This was a great read for me. Since the time i was in grade school, even teachers were telling me that the social security program won’t be around because there won’t be enough money to pay for it. This is the first time i have read any sort of analysis or looked beyond into this system i was told was broken. Naturally I googled Social Security fund, which brought me to their website https://www.ssa.gov/oact/progdata/fundFAQ.html#&a0=7 . If you look under the tab “Can the social security trust funds remain solvent without making changes to the program” you’ll find three small paragraphs that talk about it and they base these predictions off of predicted demographics. One of the three predictions even mentions that it is possible for the funds to remain solvent for another 75 years. The only thing I can’t figure out is where these funds would go if they got rid of them completely, and who would even want that.

     
  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:10 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Why Social Insurance is Necessary part of Capitalism 

    We’ve previously discussed the need for social programs and whether or not they were right. In fact a large part of this class focused on just that, and there were people on both sides. For me this article reiterated the idea that there are people who deserve to have help, and even those opposed to programs such as welfare, have (according to the article) recognised this group of people as well. What really got me thinking about it in a more definable light was the fire insurance analogy, where in we mitigate losses by having everyone pitch in, because eventually it is going to happen. I liked how it showed the uncontrollable part to unemployment, because often times people look at it as something that can be fixed with a lot of effort, which is true in only is some cases. In reality it is near impossible to keep everyone employed 100% of the time. For example during the summer months it would be very foolish for a ski resort in northern michigan to stay open all the time, which leads to seasonal unemployment. It doesn’t mean that those employees are undeserving, because the reality of the matter is that someone has to be there during the winter months. There are people who make the personal decision to sacrifice pay and employment for our society to run smoothly. So it makes sense that those who have the ability to profit (since it is all connected) should help out those who have chosen otherwise. For the record, i don’t believe all cases of unemployment are due to seasonal or frictional unemployment, there are lazy people in every society. I just believe that we have an obligation to those who are really trying to be contributing members.

     
  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:09 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Patient’s Costs Skyrocket, Specialists’ Income Soar 

    I am hesitant to comment on this article, mostly because I have minimal knowledge on the field of healthcare. However, I do have friends that have gone the medical route, and to be honest, yes it does require a lot of studying and a decent percentage of your time is required just to make it through all of the necessary steps to become a doctor or even a nurse. That being said, I believe that it is not proper justification to charge people exorbitant amounts (even life changing) of money to get simple needed procedures done. What is essentially being dictated is that your ability to live happily should be unaffordable because they decided to spend a lot of time studying the field. Yes, it requires a lot of studying and money, but some of the figures thrown out in this article were eye opening. A large amount of these professionals are making ½ million dollars plus annually and they complain that their student loans amounted to one fifth of a year’s salary? Last I saw, most programs will cost a person what amounts to multiple years of salary to pay off coming out of college, not just one or two, and they do not go on to make as much as doctors. Typically hey are stuck near their entry level pay.

     
  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:08 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Doctors Vote with Their Feet and Move to Canada 

    This makes sense from an economic standpoint. Ultimately economic systems tend to migrate toward the most efficient ways of getting things done, granted they have competition. Less money spent negotiating whether or not someone needed a check up is more money in the pockets of the the employed and those who seek out a check up or a procedure. I know we as economists do not make decisions off of one instance (same for statisticians) but i know people who deal with the Canadian health care system as patients, and they think the U.S. system is terrible compared to the U.S. Often times people talk about the long waits in a doctor’s office, but the truth is that they prioritize based on what is wrong. If you were to go in with something that is serious like a gunshot wound you would be admitted immediately, they don’t leave you to die in the waiting room. Likewise, if you are there for a flu vaccine, you will have the longer wait time because they are trying to take care of the patients who need immediate attention.

     
  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:07 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Some facts about the PPACA 

    It’s pretty nice that we have started covering people who need health-care. I looked around on http://obamacarefacts.com/costof-obamacare/ to try and supplement the information, and this is what I found. The cost of “Obamacare” is actually itself declining as well. This is due to the tax breaks employers are getting from the program, as well as market-place subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid and CHIP. I believe the decline was around 7% from April of 2014 to what is now estimated for 2016 until 2025.

     
  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:07 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Health Care and Inter-generational Issues 

    Even though this reading was a somewhat brief introduction to the next couple of units, I wanted to comment on the success of capitalism. In brief, one of the many problems that pre 1980’s China and the Soviet Union had with their economies is that they essentially walled off their country to the world market. That’s not to say that the people didn’t want to work hard, but, for example, the government would dictate how many crops their farmers could grow regardless of the fact that their people were starving and didn’t have food sources, so that they could control the aggregate output and thus sustain their exports of grain. This meant that they were punished for working too much, which showed when they starting allowing businesses to come in and produce goods.

     
  • Stephen Shanahan 4:06 pm on May 6, 2016 Permalink |  

    As far as what I learned this semester, I learned that there is a lot of small details that are often overlooked about economics. Things like flaws in the healthcare system. Or the abuses of social security programs. When you look at large scale economics you don’t always see these details. But this class dove into them. It also explored common misunderstandings which clarified things for me and some friends which I then showed the links.

     
  • Stephen Shanahan 4:02 pm on May 6, 2016 Permalink |  

    As far as the course, I liked the course. It provided a lot of information and had a laid back feel. My biggest critique was the pace. I felt like the schedule was constantly behind the schedule and it was frustrating at times to be ahead in this class and not be able to go on to the next unit.

     
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