"Beloved" by the Survivors II

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If our Amazon Product du Jour looks familiar to you, it's the same one we used just last month. Its full title is The National Health Service: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the NHS and it was officially released just last week! Amazon's description calls it a "photographic celebration of the United Kingdom's most beloved institution" and (in case you haven't got the message yet) calls the NHS a "vital institution that has long been the envy of all nations."

Recently, James Freeman looked at the current state of play: Annals of Government-Run Medicine.

One of the world’s most celebrated socialized medical systems is doing what socialized medical systems do: limiting patient care. Pending work stoppages could mean that the worst is yet to come for patients of England’s National Health Service.

For obvious reasons, American politicians seeking an even greater federal role in U.S. health care avoid discussing the staggering privations under Marxist regimes in places like Cuba and Venezuela. Instead, pols like Sen. Bernie Sanders (socialist, Vt.) point to government-run health systems within largely free, developed economies. But the U.K. is another example they’ll want to avoid.

Josephine Franks reports for Sky News that senior doctors, called consultants in Britain, will be joining their less experienced colleagues in withholding treatment:

Consultants and junior doctors are set to strike for several more days this week and early next month, bringing more chaos to the NHS after several months of walkouts and delayed appointments...
A health chief said the NHS is in “uncharted territory” due to the strikes, with thousands of patient appointments expected to be cancelled.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said this week’s strike action “can’t become the status quo”.

Sadly it can. If there’s one brutal lesson of government-run health care it’s that things can always get worse. Turning doctors into unionized government bureaucrats brings a host of problems, including the fact that politicians, not patients, decide what doctors are paid. This is of course a problem in the U.S. as well. England is a sort of preview of just how badly government management can mangle the incentives to provide medical services—and the duty to provide care.

Hey, there, "all nations". Still envious?

Also of note:

  • Look out below! Cato reports on the New Economic Freedom Report: Hong Kong Falls from Top Spot.

    Hong Kong is no longer number one, according to the Economic Freedom of the World: 2023 Annual Report, released today by the Fraser Institute and co‐published in the United States by the Cato Institute. As Hong Kong’s ratings declined, Singapore increased its score and edged the Chinese territory out for the top spot.

    The report finds that the Chinese government imposed “new and significant barriers to entry” in Hong Kong and otherwise increased the costs of doing business there. The rule of law also saw a deterioration, contributing to the city’s decline.

    Other countries ranked as follows: United States (5), Canada (10), Taiwan (11), Japan (20), Chile (30), France (47), Mexico (68), India (87), Turkey (101), Russia (104), China (111), Egypt (144), Argentina (158), Zimbabwe (164), Venezuela (165).

    "The rule of law also saw a deterioration" translated: Commies (eventually) gotta commie.

    The other countries outscoring the US were Switzerland and New Zealand.

    Hey, maybe if Hong Kong continues to fall, we can move up to #4!

    Or we could do worse.

  • George Will says The UAW can strike, but it’s running out of gas.

    Henry Ford, according to corporate legend, said that if he had asked potential customers what they wanted when he founded his company in 1903, they would have said faster horses. The infant automobile industry began by giving people what they did not know they wanted. Twelve decades later, this industry is being discombobulated by government pressure to manufacture products — electric vehicles — that the public does not much want, least of all in the quantities that Washington’s central planners deem proper.

    Fun fact, as reported by Kevin D. Williamson:

    As of late 2022, none of the largest U.S. car factories were producing Fords, any of the General Motors marques, or any of the Chrysler-Dodge-Ram-Jeep brands. The most productive car factory in the United States last year, as Bloomberg ran the numbers, was Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, producing 8,550 cars a week. No. 2 was Toyota’s plant in Kentucky, followed by BMW’s operation in South Carolina. Next was another Toyota plant, the one in Princeton, Indiana. None of the formerly Big Three made the list until—this will not surprise you—Ford’s truck factory in Kentucky in fifth place. 

    His question about the UAW strike: "Will anybody notice?"

  • They're just after the shekels, anyway. David Bernstein notes people who just can't resist revealing their bigotry: Despite What Those Shadowy, Elite, Rich Jews Say, We're Not Antisemites.

    The "Palestine Writes Literary Festival" is being held at the University of Pennsylvania later this week. This has attracted severe criticism from Jewish groups and individuals within and without Penn because some of the speakers have a history of engaging in antisemitic rhetoric.

    The Penn administration acknowledges that people have raised concerns about several speakers who "have a documented and troubling history of engaging in antisemitism by speaking and acting in ways that denigrate Jewish people." Penn nevertheless defends hosting the conference on academic freedom grounds, but adds that the conference was not organized by the university.

    Bernstein further notes:

    Well, if you want to know how NOT to start a letter defending yourself from accusations  of antisemitism, you can use this letter as a model. After noting that the festival has been harshly criticized by "the Jewish Federation and the ADL," the organizers have this to say:

    unlike our detractors, we do not operate in the shadows nor among elite decision makers and funders. Rather, we value transparency and public access, accountability, and scrutiny. We are also acutely aware of the power disparity between these highly funded, connected and organized Zionist organizations versus our small cultural institution run by volunteers and student organizations, most of them Penn students.

    Talk about self-owns… The organizers are so clueless about antisemitism that they engage in classic anti-Jewish tropes while defending themselves from charges of antisemitism. Which kinda undermines anything else they have said or will say in their defense.

    Antisemitism: it's not just for knuckle-dragging Nazis any more!

Last Modified 2024-01-11 4:48 AM EDT