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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Healthcare meltdown

John McDonough (Globe, December 27th, 2005. page A 15) does not really offer any alternatives to the current system except to say that people favor a "shared solution involving government, individuals and employers."

Why should employers be involved? Why shouldn't decent health care be an entitlement for every person in Massachusetts (and even America)?

The solution should lie with government and with individuals through the tax system. The income tax should be increased from 5.3% of income to 20.3% of income with the extra 15% being used to buy health insurance for every resident of Massachusetts, employed and unemployed, income tax payer and those too poor to pay income tax. That should be revenue neutral because current insurance fees, as Mr McDonough correctly pointed out, cover the costs of providing health care for the uninsured as well as for the insured.

The burden of health insurance will be taken away from the responsible employers and they will enjoy a level playing field with their less responsible competitors. And that has to be good for the Massachusetts economy

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Impeach the President

December 20th. 2005
Sent to but not published in the Boston Herald

The President has violated the law. The President has made a large number of disastrous decisions. The only way to prevent future problems is to impeach the President.

Do it now.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Rationale for War

December 19th. 2005
Sent to but not published in the New York Times

The President in his recent speech claimed that Iraq was a threat to America prior to the invasion even if there were no weapons of mass destruction and even if there was no link between Iraq and the terrorists..

I don't understand. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no link to the terrorists. So where was the threat? Will someone please explain.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Testing Voting Machines

December 16th. 2005
Sent to but not published in the Boston Globe

You report (Voting system said to fail test, Globe, December 16th., page A44) that the Diebold company suggested that testing a voting machine to see whether it could be hacked was "a very foolish and irresponsible act." Why is it irresponsible to check whether a supplier's product works as advertised? It would be irresponsible not to do so.

Does that mean that Diebold's manufacturing plants do not test or inspect the inputs they receive from their suppliers? I hope not!, test, unp

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Decision Making

Date: December 14th., 2005
Sent to but not published in the New York Times

To: The Editor, New York Times

I was horrified to read in Maureen Dowd's column (Times, December 14th 2005, A35) that according to Jack Murtha "when they were planning the invasion [of Iraq], the administration wouldn't let one of the primary three star generals in the room."

When I was teaching MBA's in 1973 (the year George W. Bush entered the Harvard Business School) my colleagues and I taught, among other things, that in complex situations and if managed properly, group decision making was superior to individual decision making because the variety of points of view expressed by group members would result in a decision that better reflected the facts of the situation. We also taught that having the people who were going to execute the subsequent actions participate in decision making had two useful consequences: as already mentioned  increasing the relevant knowledge brought to bear; and  increasing peoples' commitment to the decision.

Excluding a key group member violated both those recommendations.

George W. Bush must have skipped classes at the Harvard Business School on those days.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Q&A The ethicist, New York Times Magazine

Reading for the Blind

Politically Blind

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Universal Health Care

Date: December 8th., 2005
Sent to but not published in the Boston Globe

One of the major reasons given for not adopting a universal coverage health care system such as that currently enjoyed by Canada, the UK and many other western democracies is that the cost of a universal system is that patients have long waiting times to see the doctor of their choice.

Your story "Long waits for Doctors targeted" (December 12th 2005, page A1) suggests that we already have the long waits --- so we might as well adopt the benefits of tax payer supported universal health care. Why not let Massachusetts experiment by giving it a state-wide try out?

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Date: December 6th., 2005
 Sent to but not published in the Boston Globe

I was heartened to read your headline "House Republicans quietly pushing for new leadership" (Globe, November 7th., page A 4). I thought this meant that the right wing were now pushing for regime change in Washington with a focus on President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and Secretary Rumsfeld.

It was only when I read deeper in the article that I found you were referring to the leadership of the House, not the leadership of the country.


Thursday, December 1, 2005

Why did we go to war?

Date: December 1st., 2005 Sent to but not published in the New York Times

Despite President Bush's upbeat assessment yesterday, every step we take in Iraq is a mis-step.

The latest to come to light is the possibility that the Army has been "placing" positive stories in the Iraq press. These showcase the good things that America is doing in Iraq.

The problem is of course twofold. First, that is the kind of thing Saddam used to do, so our protestations of a higher morality, like the case of Abu Ghraib ring hollow in the ears of the Iraqis. We need to demonstrate and act out that higher morality not just talk about it. Second, those are probably the stories that President Bush and his inept intelligence suppliers used to provide the underpinnings of yesterday's speech. We have come to belive our own propaganda!

Everything we touch in Iraq turns to dust. It is time to withdraw.