Friday, July 24, 2009

Hi, all. It is another nice morning. Just a bit cool which has not been at all unusual this year. The weather people this morning noted that in a normal summer we have something like 68 days of 80+ degree weather but have, so far, had only 28. If we keep on this way we will be way short of average. And it has been dry since the very wet spring that put this year on the record books as one of the wettest years.

Let's start off with a little piece I found in my e-mail from Lion Brand yarns. The lady who posted this is a dedicated knitter and a nice sense of humor. Enjoy.

As you may know John Aravosis has had some nasty run-ins with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. He has detailed some of it lately on Americablog. Today he provided a link to a post on the DailyKos concerning a law suit filed by a New Jersey hospital against the New Jersey Blue Cross/Blue Shield affiliate. If even a fraction of the allegations against the company are proven in court, it constitutes a very good argument for some kind of public plan for health insurance. I doubt it will get to court. These companies are very good at settling and then binding everyone's tongues with non-disclosure agreements. Kay mentioned in her comments yesterday that, though something needed to be done, she wasn't sure we should trust the government to do it. Given the recent past I understand her misgivings. Problem is--I don't trust the private insurance industry bureaucrats to do a better job. And they are getting a hell of a lot more money to do it. Health care should not be an industry where the concern for profit at any cost rules all considerations. Right now--it is.

Robert Reich has posted a piece on TPMCafe today that echoes thought that have gone through my mind as I watched the stock markets rocket upward over the last week. The most frequent refrain from the mouths of the talking heads has been how profits have been up providing somewhat better than expected reports from a wide array of companies. A couple have noted that these reports come after draconian cost cutting by those same companies. And fewer yet have noted that the costs cut come overwhelmingly from labor cuts. None have noted as Reich has that such profits are not sustainable. Why? Because the companies are not bringing in any new revenue. The earnings they are reporting are not due to the equation which shows steady or slightly reduced costs off setting increased revenue. They came because revenue has held steady or only slightly decline while costs have declined far more drastically. They only way this surprising increase in profits can continue is if they bring in more revenue (aka--sell more goods) and they won't do that until the purchaser start buying more. Tell me--who is going to increase their buying if they have no job, or if they feel their job is insecure, or if they have to take large cuts in their hours or wages in order to keep their jobs?

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