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Comey's New Book Topped By Children's Story About A Rabbit

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Submitted by James Miller of the Political Insider

It’s close to Easter time, and that means the Easter bunny will soon be stopping off at your house to drop off a basket of goodies.

But it looks like one bunny is going to give someone a headache this Easter season.

Former FBI Director James Comey is looking to bank on his firing by President Trump last year, and is releasing a tell-all book – “A Higher Loyalty” – that is rumored to contain damning details about Trump’s presidency.

The Washington DC-New York City news nexus is thrilled about the book, as they think it’ll contain ammunition to finally tank the Trump presidency. CNN’s Brian Stelter, a rabid liberal partisan, wrote enthusiastically about the book, touting it’s best-seller ranking on From his obsequious write-up:

With an assist from President Trump, James Comey’s book is surging on the best sellers list. The book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” won’t be released until April 17. But on Sunday it was No.1 on Amazon’s constantly updated list of best sellers. The ranking reflects a sudden spike in pre-orders. On Saturday morning, it was No. 15. What caused the spike in the former FBI director’s book sales? Well it seems to be related to the president’s rhetoric.

At the time of Stelter’s writing, Comey’s book may have been at #1, but it’s already been surpassed by something unexpected: Comey’s tell-all memoir just got beat by a children’s book. And not just any children’s book, but one written about a pet of the Second Family!

Marlon Bundo is a bunny rabbit owned by the Pence family that has garnered quite the social media presence in the past few months. Already, his Instagram account has 18k followers.

You can learn more about Mr. Bundo below:

Bundo’s owner, Charlotte Pence, just wrote a book about the bunny’s life that skyrocketed to the top of the Amazon charts. Aimed at young readers and children, “Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President” gives a vivid portrayal of the life of a rabbit inside the office of the Vice President.

Bundo’s story is already such a big success that it has topped Comey’s book as Amazon’s #1 best-seller at the time of writing:

How’s that for an Easter surprise!

Here are some good shots of Bundo in action:

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3 days ago
reply's easy, and fun, to second-class your political opponents' works! Just add money and stir!
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What Economic Recovery? Half Of U.S. Companies Are Losing Money

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Authored by Baruch Lev via Knowledge Leaders Capital blog,

Baruch Lev is the Philip Bardes Professor of Accounting and Finance at the Stern School of Business, NYU. This article first appeared on the Lev End Of Accounting Blog and is shared here with his permission.

We are inundated with great economic news: The stock market is at all-time high (despite wide fluctuations), unemployment is the lowest in two decades, consumer confidence is the highest in many years, and corporate profits are surging from quarter to quarter. A real economic recovery to be sure.

So, you will be shocked to see the following figure (developed with my colleague Feng Gu), which I haven’t seen anywhere else, nor mentioned by economists and pundits. The figure shows the percentage of U.S. public companies reporting an annual loss, from 1960 through 2016. The two curves portray the percent “losers” from all public companies (lower curve), and the percent “losers” from all technology and science-based companies (computers, software, pharma, biotech, etc.), presented by the upper curve.

The main finding: Both curves are fast increasing.

The percent losers from all companies increased from 18% in 1980 to 46% in 2016.

For high tech and science-based companies the losers reached 69%! In 2016.

The loss reporting epidemic rivals now the flu. High tech and science-based enterprises seem to be perennial losers rather than growth drivers.

So, where is the economic recovery if half the companies are reporting losses? Shouldn’t a recovery be reflected by an increasing number of profitable companies? I felt that there is something fishy in those GAAP-based earnings numbers, leading me to look deeper into the data.

The effect of one-time (transitory) items: Since the FASB switched in the 1980s to a “balance sheet model,” emphasizing the valuation at fair (current) values of assets and liabilities, corporate income statements increasingly included the consequences of these valuations: one-time items, such as gains/losses from adjustments of assets and liabilities to fair values, impairments of assets and goodwill, restructuring costs, etc. Most of these items reflect past events and are irrelevant for forecasting future firm performance―the focus of investors. Indeed, analysts routinely disregard some of these items in their “Street Earnings,” and managers delete them from their non-GAAP earnings.

So, I computed the percentage of loss firms due to one-time items (“special and extraordinary items” and restructuring charges) during 2010-2016. Namely, firms that would have reported a profit if the one-time charges were eliminated. These percentages ranged between 8-10% for all loss reporters, and 5-8% for high tech and science based companies. So, one-time items are one reason for loss reporting, though not the major one. I kept digging into the data.

The effect of intangible investmentsInternally-generated intangible investments―R&D, brands, IT, human resources, organizational capital―are immediately expensed, following GAAP rules, despite the obvious fact that in modern economies these investments are the most important and consequential long-term value-drivers of business enterprises. This massive expensing in the income statements of U.S. companies―total corporate investment in intangibles during 2016 exceeds $2.1 trillion (yes, trillion!)―turns the profits of many successful and promising companies into losses. Tesla’s massive losses are mainly due to the expensing of R&D ($834 million in 2016).

So, how many loss reporting companies would have reported a profit if their R&D was capitalized? The data show that 9-10% of all “losers” and 20-26% of the loss reporting high tech and science-based companies would have reported profits if R&D were not expensed. Think about it: a quarter of all high tech and science-based firms report losses just because they invest in future growth. And you call this accounting?

But R&D is just one, and not even the largest, intangible expenditure. Other intangible investments, such as on IT, brands, human resources, designs, consulting engagements, etc., are not reported separately in the income statement by firms, and generally “buried” in SG&A (sales, general and administrative) expenses. So, what is the percentage of loss reporting firms who would have reported profits if SG&A expenses were added back to earnings (SG&A includes R&D in my data source―Compustat)? This is a big number: 43-51% of all losers and 50-56% of science-based and high tech losers during 2010-2016 would have reported profits before SG&A.

So, if I add the two major reasons for loss reporting - intangible investments and one-time items - I account for 50-60% of all the loss reporting. The fast increase in loss reporting portrayed by the figure above is thus mainly due to the increasing proliferation of new-age firms (high tech, science-based, telecom, media, etc.) whose investments are mostly intangible, and their reported earnings seriously misstated by GAAP-based financial reports.

So, while the above figure seems to contradict the economic recovery, it really doesn’t. If the archaic, detached from reality accounting rules will not be changed, we will continue to witness more and more “losing companies,” by GAAP misleading yardstick, while the economy continues to prosper. The real losers are investors who rely on GAAP-based financial reports.

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15 days ago
This on surface sounds like BS. Investments mentioned (R&D, human resources capital, brands) SHOULD be tagged as they are; the results of those investments should stand in contrast to them. Seem like a blusterous attempt to make GAAP rules seem unfair, which they might be, but not for these reasons.
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Career Advice To 20-Somethings: Create Value As A Mobile Creative

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Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Finding work that fits who you are is rarely easy, especially if you don't fit into the mainstream, and usually it requires a lot of compromises, hard work and dead-ends. But that’s the process.

Establishing a satisfying career is difficult in today's economy, doubly so for those who find life within hierarchical institutions (corporate America and government) unrewarding, and triply so for those burdened with student loan debt and college educations/diplomas of uncertain market value or those re-entering the job market with skills that have been marginalized.

Given that I wrote a book entitled Get a Job, Build a Real Career, and Defy a Bewildering Economy, it's unsurprising that I get emails from young people asking for career advice.

I've also written essays of friendly advice such as A Teachable Moment: to the Young Person Who Complained About Her Job/Pay at Yelp and Was Promptly Fired.

Here is my response to a recent email from a 20-something in a familiar place: burdened with student loan debt, aware that the self-serving institutional shuck-and-jive is false (get a college degree and your future is secure), and uncertain how to proceed.

Here is my correspondent's email:

I wish my faith in our conventional institutions had faded sooner, but I borrowed a lot of money in my early 20s only to find out that most of what I was learning was utterly useless.

But I can't go back. Only forward. So with thousands of dollars in debt aside, and limited experience in the professional world (food service, retail, and industrial construction), where in the hell can I start? I get a lot of the concepts you are proposing. I get the need to create value for people. I've just never really seen it done in a "professional" environment. I've scrubbed floors, calibrated thermometers, bent tubing and made coffee. But intellectually this is obviously not satisfying.

I want to create value, I want to solve problems. Not just for altruistic reasons, but because it is the only thing that seems challenging.

So what would you tell a late 20 something, who's not used to wearing a suit and tie, starting from the bottom, with the intellectual capacity to do more than scrub floors? Because I guarantee you... there are plenty of us waiting in the shadows to exercise our inalienable human right to achievement, collaboration, and freedom.

A lot of us just resent the monstrosity that centralized thinking has created. But we need to put that bitterness aside and come out of the shadows to contribute.

Extremely well said. Here is my response:

You’re right--there’s often very little value created in “professional” environments, which is partly why so many people are dissatisfied/frustrated with their jobs/ work life.

My book Get a Job, Build a Real Career has some suggestions, which I will summarize here.

1. Lower your cost basis (cost of living) so you can live a satisfying life while earning comparatively little money. This starts with the usual drill: cook all your own food, waste nothing, etc. The first bit of advice a successful artist tells people is “get accustomed to poverty.” But low income doesn’t have to mean unhappiness/destitution.

Focus on the highest expenses where you have the most leverage, which is often housing. How can you create value? Lots of small apartment owners can’t find anyone responsible to maintain their building, so becoming that person could drop your rent a lot. Another possibility is rent a house and then rent rooms to responsible people at rates that lower your share of the rent to very low rates. You’re in charge, you keep the place tidy, you select nice, responsible people to share the house and that’s why people will pay to rent rooms in your house. You’re creating value by taking care of all the stuff most people won’t do or can’t do.

2. Find ways to get satisfaction/meaning /purpose in life regardless of the income generated. This could be a community garden, volunteering at a church or school, or pursuing some project of your own that doesn’t rely on others’ approval or money for its success. If “work” isn’t satisfying, at least you have multiple sources of satisfaction/purpose outside of work.

3. As for work, the cliché is, find an endeavor that you would do for fun or after hours regardless of the pay. This “work” will align with your character, aptitudes, interests, strengths and subconscious/unconscious drives. As Carl Jung observed, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

And as Jerry Garcia said, "You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only one who does what you do.”

Finding work that fits who you are is rarely easy, especially if you don't fit into the mainstream, and usually it requires a lot of compromises, hard work and dead-ends. But that’s the process.

4. Trust your network. I’m not good at networking, far from it, but the more people who know you’re a responsible hard-working person who will do what you say you’ll do, and the more people who know your interests, the greater the chances that somebody will offer you some apparently tiny opportunity that might turn into something larger with time.

5. As Drew Sample points out in our recent podcast, sometimes the best way to create value is to work on ourselves, i.e. develop the eight soft skills I list in my book that are applicable to every field of endeavor and are thus always in demand. They require dedication, self-awareness, humility and hard work to acquire. They create value in every field because all fields are now collaborative, networked, global and fast-changing.

6. Set a goal of creating multiple income streams/ways of creating value for others. In terms of living an anti-fragile, fulfilling and relatively resilient life, the ideal arrangement is multiple income streams/value creation in disparate (unrelated) fields, so if one field of endeavor is disrupted then others will still continue since they're not connected to the sector that's been overturned by technological innovation, globalization, etc.

This is what I call the Mobile Creative class--not necessarily mobile in terms of physical movement between locales but mobile between sectors and ways of generating value.

The New Class: Mobile Creatives (May 1, 2014)
The Mobile Creative credo: trust the network, not the corporation or the state.

The Changing World of Work 3: "Full-Stack" Skills (April 15, 2015)

To be honest, I’ve struggled for decades to reach this understanding. I didn’t have any mentors, so I had to mentor myself, which given my lack of experience, was difficult. Sometimes we have to mentor ourselves from the perspective that we’re going to become successful at being ourselves and adding value, regardless of our income. As our own mentor, we seek to advise and encourage ourselves just as we would advise and encourage a close friend.

This advice is not age-specific. The Mobile Creative approach to creating value applies equally to people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and yes 70s.

Drew and I discuss the process of creating value from the perspective of those working outside "professional" institutional environments: The Sample Hour 184: Creating Value.

*  *  *

My new book Money and Work Unchained is $9.95 for the Kindle ebook and $20 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via

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23 days ago
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Americans' Comfort Soared To 17-Year High As Stocks Crashed

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The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index surged in the week-ending Feb 9th (matching its biggest weekly jump in 9 years) to its highest since 2001... as the US equity market crashed...

As Bloomberg notes, consumers remain upbeat about the economy, their finances and the buying climate, representing a disconnect from volatility in the stock market that culminated in a 5.2 percent slump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average last week.

Comfort among married Americans reached its highest since January 2001, which at 64.8, is far higher than for singles.

Sentiment among political independents reached its strongest reading since February 2001.

Confidence among Republicans, while falling last week, remained higher than that of Democrats.

Comfort levels increased the most among Americans in the South and West.

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36 days ago
Or perhaps they should be checking their population samples?
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If America Wasn't America, The United States Would Be Bombing It

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Authored by Darius Shahtahmasebi via The Anti Media,

On January 8, 2018, former government advisor Edward Luttwak wrote an opinion piece for Foreign Policy titled “It’s Time to Bomb North Korea.”

Luttwak’s thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.

However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.

In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan’s most densely populated areas.

Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it. As the Nation explained:

“Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that ‘the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan…’ Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that ‘the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment…. It was a mistake to ever drop it…. [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it…” [emphasis added]

A few months’ prior, this rogue country’s invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa also claimed at least one quarter of Okinawa’s population. The Okinawan people have been protesting this country’s military presence ever since. The most recent ongoing protest has lasted well over 5,000 days in a row.

This nation’s bloodlust continued well after the end of World War II. Barely half a decade later, this country bombed North Korea into complete oblivion, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes, and eventually killing off as much as 20 percent of the country’s population. As the Asia Pacific Journal has noted, the assaulting country dropped so many bombs that they eventually ran out of targets to hit, turning to bomb the irrigation systems, instead:

“By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.” [emphasis added]

This was just the beginning. Having successfully destroyed the future North Korean state, this country moved on to the rest of East Asia and Indo-China, too. As Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has explained:

“We [this loose cannon of a nation] dumped 20 million gallons of toxic herbicide on Vietnam from the air, just to make the shooting easier without all those trees, an insane plan to win ‘hearts and minds’ that has left about a million still disabled from defects and disease – including about 100,000 children, even decades later, little kids with misshapen heads, webbed hands and fused eyelids writhing on cots, our real American legacy, well out of view, of course.”

This mass murder led to the deaths of between 1.5 million and 3.8 million people, according to the Washington Post. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than were unleashed during the entire conflict in World War II. While this was going on, this same country was also secretly bombing Laos and Cambodia, too, where there are over 80 million unexploded bombs still killing people to this day.

This country also decided to bomb YugoslaviaPanama, and Grenada before invading Iraq in the early 1990s. Having successfully bombed Iraqi infrastructure, this country then punished Iraq’s entire civilian population with brutal sanctions. At the time, the U.N. estimated that approximately 1.7 million Iraqis had died as a result, including 500,000 to 600,000 children. Some years later, a prominent medical journal attempted to absolve the cause of this infamous history by refuting the statistics involved despite the fact that, when interviewed during the sanctions-era, Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, intimated that to this rogue government, the deaths of half a million children were “worth it” as the “price” Iraq needed to pay. In other words, whether half a million children died or not was irrelevant to this bloodthirsty nation, which barely blinked while carrying out this murderous policy.

This almighty superpower then invaded Iraq again in 2003 and plunged the entire region into chaos. At the end of May 2017, the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from this violent nation’s 2003 invasion of Iraq had led to over one million deaths and that at least one-third of them were caused directly by the invading force.

Not to mention this country also invaded Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Iraq (even though the militants plaguing Afghanistan were originally trained and financed by this warmongering nation). It then went on to bomb Yemen, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Philippines.

Libya famously had one of the highest standards of living in the region. It had state-assisted healthcare, education, transport, and affordable housing. It is now a lawless war-zone rife with extremism where slaves are openly traded like commodities amid the power vacuum created as a direct result of the 2011 invasion.

In 2017, the commander-in-chief of this violent nation took the monumental death and destruction to a new a level by removing the restrictions on delivering airstrikes, which resulted in thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths. Before that, in the first six months of 2017, this country dropped over 20,650 bombs, a monumental increase from the year that preceded it.

Despite these statistics, all of the above conquests are mere child’s play to this nation. The real prize lies in some of the more defiant and more powerful states, which this country has already unleashed a containment strategy upon. This country has deployed its own troops all across the border with Russia even though it promised in the early 1990s it would do no such thing. It also has a specific policy of containing Russia’s close ally, China, all the while threatening China’s borders with talks of direct strikes on North Korea (again, remember it already did so in the 1950s).

This country also elected a president who not only believes it is okay to embrace this rampantly violent militarism but who openly calls other countries “shitholes” – the very same term that aptly describes the way this country has treated the rest of the world for decades on end. This same president also reportedly once asked three times in a meeting, “If we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them?” and shortly after proposed a policy to remove the constraints protecting the world from his dangerous supply of advanced nuclear weaponry.

When it isn’t directly bombing a country, it is also arming radical insurgent groups, creating instability, and directly overthrowing governments through its covert operatives on the ground.

If we have any empathy for humanity, it is clear that this country must be stopped. It cannot continue to act like this to the detriment of the rest of the planet and the safety and security of the rest of us. This country openly talks about using its nuclear weapons, has used them before, and has continued to use all manner of weapons unabated in the years since while threatening to expand the use of these weapons to other countries.

Seriously, if North Korea seems like a threat, imagine how the rest of the world feels while watching one country violently take on the rest of the planet single-handedly, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake and promising nothing less than a nuclear holocaust in the years to come.

There is only one country that has done that and continues to do the very things North Korea is being accused of doing.

Take as much time as you need for that to resonate.

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37 days ago
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Patients Are "Dying In Corridors" Of Britain's Socialised Health System

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Authored by George Pickering via The Mises Institute,

“Patients dying in hospital corridors.”

So went the headline which appeared on the BBC’s website last week, detailing the newest outrages which have emerged from Britain’s crisis-beset healthcare system. This most recent revelation came as a result of an open letter sent to the prime minister by 68 senior doctors, offering details of the inhuman conditions which have become common in the National Health Service’s hospitals.

The letter, which collected statistics from NHS hospitals in England and Wales, found that in December alone over 300,000 patients were made to wait in emergency rooms for more than four hours before being seen, with thousands more suffering long waits in ambulances before even being allowed into the emergency room. The letter further noted that it had become “routine” for patients to be left on gurneys in corridors for as long as 12 hours before being offered proper beds, with many of them eventually being put into makeshift wards hastily constructed in side-rooms. In addition to this, it was revealed that around 120 patients per day are being attended to in corridors and waiting rooms, with many being made to undergo humiliating treatments in the public areas of hospitals, and some even dying prematurely as a result. One patient reported that, having gone to the emergency room with a gynecological problem which had left her in severe pain and bleeding, a lack of treatment rooms led hospital staff to examine her in a busy corridor, in full view of other patients.

While it’s tempting to believe that these extreme cases must be a rare occurrence, the fact is that such horror stories have become increasingly the norm for a socialised healthcare system that seems to be in a permanent state of crisis. Indeed, as the NHS entered the first week of 2018, over 97% of its trusts in England were reporting levels of overcrowding so severe as to be “unsafe.”

Almost as predictable as the regular emergence of new stories of this kind is the equally unwavering refusal of British commentators to consider that the state-run monopoly structure of the system itself might be to blame. Many, including the prime minister herself, have pointed to the spike in seasonal illnesses such as the flu at this time of year, to distract from the more fundamental flaws of the system. However, officials from Public Health England recently went so far as to openly dismiss this as a major cause of the current healthcare crisis, clarifying that current levels of hospital admissions due to the flu are “certainly not unprecedented.” The aging of the population, and local councils’ failure to provide more non-hospital care have also been blamed.

By far the most commonly suggested remedy, however, is simply to inject more taxpayers’ money into this failing system. Indeed, the belief that Britain’s perpetual healthcare crisis is solely the result of funding cuts by miserly Conservative politicians is so widespread that it is almost never challenged, least of all by the trusted experts within the system itself, many of whom stand to benefit from increased funding.

However, the popular caricature of the NHS as suffering from chronic underfunding is simply a myth. In fact, even when adjusting for inflation, it is clear that government funding to the NHS has been increasing at an extraordinary rate since the turn of the millennium, much more quickly than during the early years which its supporters look back on so fondly.



Indeed, under the Conservative government of 2015–16, almost 30% of Britain’s public services budget was spent on its monopoly healthcare system, compared with around 11% in the NHS’s first decade.

One commonly heard soundbite from supporters of the current system is that the Conservatives have allowed healthcare spending to slump to historically low levels; all it would take to return the NHS to the levels of success it supposedly previously enjoyed would be to increase its funding back to the same level it previously enjoyed, or so they say. However, to believe such a statement one would have to make two separate misinterpretations of the statistics, both so basic that they would strike shame into even the dullest high school math students: firstly, it is not the absolute amount of spending on the NHS which has fallen under the Conservative-led governments of 2010–18, but merely the rate at which spending is continuing to increase, even when adjusting for inflation. Second, the only reason that the rate of increase seems to have fallen is because of how disproportionately high it had been been under the infamously spendthrift Labour governments of 1997–2010.

Not only is the NHS not underfunded, but it suffers from dismally low efficiency in terms of healthcare bang per buck compared with similarly developed countries. This suggests that no matter how much its funding is increased, the current set-up is prone to chronically waste that money away.

To overcome these problems, reforms to the fundamental nature of the system itself are desperately needed, to increase the economic freedom of healthcare providers in the UK as well as the freedom of choice of consumers. In short, as long as British healthcare is organised as a taxpayer-funded state monopoly it will continue to fail, just as the other nationalised monopolies of the 1970s failed. To get to a point where the British public would even consider reforms of that kind, however, would require the breaking of a taboo that has defined the past 70 years of British politics.

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57 days ago
Why this is an issue with Americans, I don't know. It's common in Emergency rooms across this country and has been for years. And we pay many times more for the privilege.
New Hampshire
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