Thursday, April 10, 2014


Another mild day coming with a chance of rain--though not much of one.  The soil in my containers is thawing quickly but still has frozen areas.  I saw more lettuce sprouting and everything up there appears to be doing nicely.  Two more kale and several more lettuce sprouting.  Debating on whether to put the peppers and shiso into bigger pots.

I found this item first off and it hit my irritation button hard.  Somehow Americans are expected to save for their kids' college expenses which might easily hit the $100k mark for a 4-year program (per child), save for their own retirement (with no notion of what costs at that future time might be or how long it might last), save for down payments for a house, pay for mandated insurance (health and auto right now).  The woman in the story was trying to put $200/month toward her daughter's college fund and $500/month toward her own retirement.  Some might think that is reasonable but I look at it as a rent payment plus a utility bill each month.  On a yearly basis, that is $8400/year.  Ouch!!  Mom has a serious talk with our auto insurance rep every six months when the bill goes up $5 (or more).  We wonder every time we see a series of commercials for whatever insurance is being hawked what people are going to have left to pay for food, gas, rent or mortgage, and other necessities.  But middle class incomes (adjusted for inflation) have stagnated (or fallen) for the last 30 years.

The makers of Tamiflu are not happy and, of course, claim that the analysis that lead the researchers to critical assessments was flawed.  The story raises my skeptical antennae on several points.  The story says the new review drew upon previously unpublished data from the company itself and notes that companies rarely publish all the data from their studies of their drugs.  I wonder how much of that data had been available to government agencies charged with approving the drugs.  I also think the usual criteria for judging medical treatments (generally safe and more effective than placebos) should be expanded.  Drugs should also be judged on whether they are safer and as effective of currently available drugs and on how much the cost compared to alternatives.  How many new drugs would have been approved if they had been judged by those metrics?  My guess--not many.

1 comment:

Florence said...

I think retirement savings should be given priority. There are ways to keep college costs down, community college, in-state schools, scholarships, working while in college, etc. But when you hit 65, you may not be able to keep working and that's about the only way to supplement SS if you have no or little retirement savings. IMHO.