02 February 2007

Kevin Drum on Iraq & economics

Kevin Drum is a must-see today, both for his post on Iraq:
THE BATTLE OF BAGHDAD....If Tom Lasseter is to be believed -- and I think he is -- the junior officers leading our troops are not sanguine about our prospects in Baghdad. They think that Muqtada al-Sadr's militia has so thoroughly infiltrated the Iraqi army and police force that they're the ones who mostly benefit from our training:

"Half of them are JAM. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division, using the initials of the militia's Arabic name, Jaish al Mahdi. "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."
And then for his post, with a graph, on U.S. income volatility. Things have worsened for individual families as the safety net has been dismantled, even though unemployment has stayed about the same over the past half century. Drum writes that "if you do lose your job the odds of a catastrophically long period without work are much greater than in the past. It's one thing to be afraid of losing your job for a few months; it's quite another to (justifiably) be afraid of losing your job for six months or more. Healthcare is part of it too."

1 comment:

SadButTrue said...

Another little-discussed economic factor that ties into the issue of health care is the trend towards outsourcing jobs. One of the things that started hitting the news in Canada after NAFTA was signed was that a number of US industries started lawsuits that tried to declare Canada's health care system to be an unfair subsidy to industry because it cost so little comparatively. Unfortunately I can't recall where I saw it, but one statistic was that the average cost of a US manufactured automobile included thousands of dollars that GM, Ford or Chrysler had to pay to provide their workers with benefits that they would have had automatically in Canada.

Ironically the very businesses that complain about these circumstances also demand that the US not adopt a Canadian type system because of the tax burden that it would entail.