Annals of Government Medicine

Britain’s National Health Service is a product of the socialist wave that overtook the U.K. following World War II. It has long been held up as an exemplar by those who seek to impose socialized medicine in other countries, like ours. But today, the state of the NHS is dire. The Wall Street Journal headlines: “The U.K.’s Government-Run Healthcare Service Is in Crisis.”

Now the state-funded service is falling apart. People who suffer heart attacks or strokes wait more than 1½ hours on average for an ambulance. Hospitals are so full they are turning patients away. A record 7.1 million people in England—more than one in 10 people—are stuck on waiting lists for nonemergency hospital treatment like hip replacements.

Horror stories multiply. Many Brits die while waiting for ambulances.

Just before 5 p.m. on Nov. 18, the family of Martin Clark called 999, the U.K. equivalent of 911, after the 68-year-old father of five began having chest pains. After waiting half an hour, the family said, they called again and pleaded for an ambulance, saying Mr. Clark’s condition was getting worse. In another call 15 minutes later, they told the dispatcher they were going to drive him to hospital themselves, according to the family, even though the dispatcher encouraged them to wait for the paramedics.

Twenty minutes after the family had left for the hospital, the dispatcher left a voice mail to say the service still didn’t have an ambulance to send. Mr. Clark died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Malpractice can happen anywhere, but inept treatment has become routine at the NHS:

About a week later, 5-year-old Yusuf Mahmud Nazir died from what began as a throat infection. His family said they had taken the boy, who was having trouble breathing, to the emergency room at their local hospital in Rotherham, which gave him some antibiotic pills after a six-hour wait and sent him home. The family said it pleaded with the hospital a few days later to let Yusuf be admitted and given further tests, but were told the hospital was full.

By the time the family got Yusuf by ambulance to another hospital, he had severe pneumonia. He died days later from organ failure and cardiac arrest.

Interestingly, Britain has more doctors per capita than the U.S., although its overall health care expenditure is considerably lower. This is remarkable: “The NHS is Europe’s biggest employer, with around 1.2 million staffers.”

With the NHS crumbling, one-eighth of British adults paid for private health care last year. The rest waited in line, sometimes with fatal results. One can only wonder why anyone would want to impose the British system here, notwithstanding the obvious flaws, largely government-caused, in our own health care system.

There is much more at the link, which I have made publicly accessible.

The Disaster of Covid Shutdowns

Governments’ responses to the covid epidemic represent the worst public policy disaster of our time. They were an economic, social, health and educational fiasco. It may have been possible to devise worse policies than the shutdowns that upended America, but it wouldn’t have been easy.

Now, researchers at USC have tried to put a price tag on covid shutdowns:

U.S. GDP fell during the pandemic due to COVID-19 lockdowns and resulted in trillions of dollars in losses in these past years, a consequence mainly driven by mandatory business closure policies, according to a study by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC).

By the end of 2022, the pandemic had cut $12.2 trillion from U.S. GDP, the study published in Economic Modelling journal estimates. Researchers expect total losses to hit $14 trillion by the end of 2023. The study blamed involuntary business closures as the “leading cause” for the massive decline in America’s GDP during this period.

“I’m still amazed at how powerful a negative impact COVID is projected to have on the U.S. economy compared to previous man-made and natural disasters,” said study co-author Adam Rose, a research professor at the USC Price School and senior research fellow at the USC Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Threats and Emergencies (CREATE)…

“COVID’s impact on GDP is estimated to be nearly 100 times more than the previous largest disaster of the 21st century—the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks.”

That sounds about right. What we did to ourselves, mostly at the behest of the Democratic Party, was vastly worse than what any terrorists could do. This is key:

The study blamed three factors for America’s economic decline during the pandemic: deaths and illnesses, mandatory business closures, and voluntary avoidance of activities that stimulate the economy but prevent infection.

Of these three, the study found mandatory business closures had the “greatest impact” on the U.S. economy.

There is much more at the link. My organization produced two papers on the impact of covid shutdowns in Minnesota. This one documented an economic cost in the form of lost GDP from government shutdowns that averaged around $7,500 per family of four through the first quarter of 2021, for a total of approximately $12 billion through that date.

This one shows how government-ordered school closures devastated young people’s academic progress. In my opinion, as terrible as the economic costs of irrational government policies have been, the long-term consequences of the social and educational devastation of our children will prove to be even worse. Let’s hope some lessons have been learned.

Operation ‘Dump Kamala’ Is Officially On

I like to say that I read the New York Times so that you don’t have to (plus I can claim an online subscription as a tax deduction, which helps), but today is one of those days you wish you had a subscription for the amazing “news” feature on the dismal future prospects of Kamala Harris. Here’s the hed:

This “news story” was reported by three Times journalists, but what is the actual “news” that would prompt such an article? Did she collapse while being bundled into a van on a campaign swing? Did she seem to suffer a stroke mid-sentence, like her boss? No: this story has all the hallmarks of agenda journalism untethered to any actual news event.

The article quotes almost no one by name, relying on the favorite media source in politics—”Anonymous”—supposedly for fear of offending the Biden White House. Maybe, but more likely this is a premier instance of “ventriloquist journalism,” where you find a source (and “anonymous” courses are best of all, even when they aren’t made up) to ratify a preexisting story line. In other words, the Times editors decided the time had some to put out a more explicit hit piece on Kamala, and assigned their best political reporters to run the usual playbook. A story like this doesn’t just happen without editorial deliberation.

The resulting article is stunning in its negative portrayal of Harris:

But the painful reality for Ms. Harris is that in private conversations over the last few months, dozens of Democrats in the White House, on Capitol Hill and around the nation — including some who helped put her on the party’s 2020 ticket — said she had not risen to the challenge of proving herself as a future leader of the party, much less the country. Even some Democrats whom her own advisers referred reporters to for supportive quotes confided privately that they had lost hope in her.

Through much of the fall, a quiet panic set in among key Democrats about what would happen if President Biden opted not to run for a second term. Most Democrats interviewed, who insisted on anonymity to avoid alienating the White House, said flatly that they did not think Ms. Harris could win the presidency in 2024. Some said the party’s biggest challenge would be finding a way to sideline her without inflaming key Democratic constituencies that would take offense.

Now with Mr. Biden appearing all but certain to run again, the concern over Ms. Harris has shifted to whether she will be a political liability for the ticket.

I imagine Dan Quayle and the ghost of Spiro Agnew are smiling right now.

This passage is especially fun:

No one feels the frustration of being underestimated more acutely than Ms. Harris, but she makes a point of not exhibiting it publicly. In an interview with The New York Times while she was in Japan last fall, she tried to explain her own political identity.

“You got to know what you stand for and, when you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for,” Ms. Harris said.

What that translates to in tangible terms is less clear.

Let that last sentence sink in: “What that translates to in tangible terms is less clear.” This is not news or even “news analysis.” It is the editorial voice of Times tacitly confessing that Harris is an idiot.

Then there is the sheer comedy:

“My bias has always been to speak factually, to speak accurately, to speak precisely about issues and matters that have potentially great consequence,” she said in the interview in Japan. “I find it off-putting to just engage in platitudes. I much prefer to deconstruct an issue and speak of it in a way that hopefully elevates public discourse and educates the public.”

It is hard to imagine that the Times reporters included this outtake from an interview conducted last fall without laughing, and without malice aforethought.

The article ends with an unintended comic note offered by the totally hackish and terminally lightweight historian Douglas Brinkley (who is a perfect fit for Harris actually as he is a bottomless pit of banality):

“President Biden has to give her more leeway to be herself and not make her overly cautious that a mistake, a rhetorical mistake, will cost the party a lot,” Mr. Brinkley said. “It’s better to let Kamala be Kamala.”

It is one thing to say, 40 years ago, “Let Reagan be Reagan,” but “Let Kamala be Kamala” is exactly why she has become a laughing stock.

Let’s get out, as John McLaughlin used to say. Going back to the drive to oust Nixon in 1973-74, it was necessary first to get Spiro Agnew out. Likewise today before you can push out Biden, you have to get rid of Harris. I don’t go in for any of the favorite fan fiction that the Obamas are behind this as a plot to pave the way for Michelle; I see no evidence that she wants to undergo the rigors of a presidential campaign, nor do I think she’d be any good at it.

If anyone is quietly pushing the “dump Biden/Harris” plan behind the scenes, it’s Hillary Clinton, who still pines for the Oval Office with Gollum-like fanaticism. And sure enough, she makes an appearance in the Times story:

Two [unnamed, naturally] Democrats recalled private conversations in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lamented that Ms. Harris could not win because she does not have the political instincts to clear a primary field. Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, said she was strongly supportive of Ms. Harris and often spoke with her about shared experiences of being “a woman in power.” He added: “They have built and maintained a strong bond. Any other characterization is patently false.”

Which means it’s completely true. Pass the popcorn.

Out Today: ‘American Requiem’ on Fox Nation

For those of you who are subscribers to Fox Nation, you may wish to take in a new documentary that dropped today, “American Requiem.” Here’s the one-minute trailer for the film, where you may just see a familiar face (actually several familiar faces):

And if you aren’t a Fox Nation subscriber, here’s a two-minute highlight reel of a certain familiar face from the film:

Thought for the Day: The Gipper vs. the Woke

Today is Ronald Reagan’s 112th birthday, and with the growing controversy about wokeness and the rot inside our conformist East German colleges and universities, it is worth recalling that Reagan, practically alone among prominent politicians at the end of the 1960s, directly took on his generation of woke activists. At one point he said “the university can dispose of the threat [radicals] represent in a week if they will take a stand.”

In testimony to the House Committee on Education and Labor in 1969, Reagan attacked what he called the “mythologies” of the student left, which sounded like a mere warm up act for today’s wokesters and their appeasers, such as

the well-meaning apologists for anti-social behavior . . . who seek to make their excuses acceptable through sheer repetition. . .  To rationalize their permissiveness and appeasement, administrators themselves often promote myths which confuse those both on campus and off.  They speak disparagingly of a “generation gap” at a time when too many parents are in awe of, and tend to imitate, their own children.  They speak of a “new breed with wisdom and conscience” at a time when research has clearly indicated a social and emotional immaturity of youth to a degree previously unknown. . .

We have been picked at, sworn at, rioted against and downgraded until we have a built-in guilt complex, and this has been compounded by the accusations of our sons and daughters who pride themselves on “telling it like it is.”  Well, I have news for them—in a thousand social science courses they have been informed “the way it is not” . . .  As for our generation I will make no apology.  No people in all history paid a higher price for freedom.  And no people have done so much to advance the dignity of man. . .  We are called materialistic.  Maybe so. . .  But our materialism has made our children the biggest, tallest, most handsome and intelligent generation of Americans yet.  They will live longer with fewer illnesses, learn more, see more of the world and have more successes and realizing their personal dreams and ambitions than any other people in any other period of our history—because of our “materialism.”

Naturally the media called Reagan “anti-intellectual.” We could use a few more such so-called “anti-intellectual” leaders again.

The Daily Chart: Green Energy Realism

All you need to know about how mindlessly stupid the fanatical green energy crusade is can be seen in this chart:

2024—The Early Line Is Wrong

The announcement late last week that Nikki Haley is likely to announce soon as a candidate for president in 2024, with several other worthy contenders (Pence, Pompeo, Hulk Hogan) lining up to do the same before long, set off the commentariat handicapping the Republican field. It could well be crowded with good candidates, as was the case in 2016, and right now most people seem to think the leading prospect is a slugfest between Trump and Gov. DeSantis—if DeSantis chooses to run. And that could be a bloodbath for Republicans that will damage their chances of beating Biden.

I think there is a strong likelihood that everyone has sized up the scene backwards, and that the real surprise of the 2024 election cycle is a disaster in the Democratic Party. There could well be a rerun of 1968 in some ways, when the year began with the certain Democratic incumbent nominee, Lyndon Johnson, appearing to head to the election in a strong position. “Johnson Popularity on Upswing, Year-End Gallup Polls Discloses,” the New York Times declared on page one on New Year’s Day of 1968. LBJ’s public approval numbers had bounced back from a low of 38 percent in October 1967 to a respectable 46 percent at the end of December.  While the polls showed that LBJ would face a close race in a head-to-head contest against a Republican, he would win handily in the anticipated three-way race that included Alabama Governor George Wallace running as an independent.  A Fortune magazine poll of 400 top corporate executives found 65 percent expected Johnson to win, though they preferred Nixon.

Time magazine named LBJ their “Man of the Year” for 1967.  Despite all of the troubles at home and abroad, Time wrote, “the President’s prospects are not all that gloomy.” “We know who our nominees will be,” the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, John Bailey, said on January 8. “I’m happy to be able to say the Republicans have all their bloody infighting to look forward to.”

Well we know how that all turned out for Democrats, don’t we? Johnson was a goner less than ten weeks later. A critical mass of the restive Democratic Party wanted someone else.

Guess who thinks the same thing about Biden today? Looks like Democrats. That’s one big takeaway from the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll just out, which finds by a 58 to 31 margin (nearly two-to-one, in other words) Democrats favor nominating someone other than Biden in 2024. This finding is muted in the Post‘s write up, which chose instead to say voters aren’t enthusiastic about a Biden-Trump rematch, which, however, the poll finds Trump would win by a 48 to 44 percent margin.

Biden is still underwater generally with an approval rating at 42 percent and disapproval at 53 percent. But on specific key issues he’s deeply under water. On controlling the border, he doesn’t even keep the Democratic base, with only 28 percent approving, and 59 percent disapproving. (That’s down from a 37 percent approval at the end of 2021.) There are also signs that the public is wary of his handling of Ukraine: right now the disapprove/approve breakdown is 48 – 38.

So where do Democrats turn? Kamala Harris is no Hubert Humphrey, but Humphrey had to strong-arm his way to the nomination in 1968—it was still possible to do that back then, but not after the post-Humphrey primary reforms radical Democrats demanded after the 1968 election. And Kamala, remember, has never even entered a single Democratic primary, let alone won one. Who else have they got? Gavin? Gavin??  Who else. Mayor Pete?

Buy your popcorn futures now.