Saturday, January 10, 2009

not quite so "sobering"

Sheila Seuss Kennedy at American Values repeats a common misperception this morning, citing another post-- and then says some weird things about economics.

She cites the life expectancy numbers of the U.S. vs. the world-- and draws the common inference that the U.S. is a disappointment, especially in light of what we spend on health care. What she fails to note is the significant difference in the way in which the U.S. deals with (pre-born) infant mortality. I first read this from Dr. Bernadine Healy, but can't find the original. (Here's a second-hand reference to the same thing.)

Then, she moves to even more dangerous territory: economics.

In 2008, the US is far poorer as a collective society than we were in 1964 despite our many technological comforts. The harsh reality is that the United States is a clefted nation as a result of the Friedmanistic economic policies pursued by Republican and Democrat alike since 1968...

She's correct that Dems and the GOP are not nearly as far apart as is typically sold to us. But which "Friedmanistic" policies have we had since 1968-- and which of those have caused the damage she asserts? The answer: ZERO.

Kennedy's problem here is in equating the policies of past presidents with Friedman. This simply fails to hold water in all except a few cases.


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