Healthcare spending: worst of both worlds

A few years back The Economist had a great chart on health care spending showing the split between public and private spending. What's interesting is the huge proportion of government spending from the supposed land of the free market.

The Wall Street Journal further illustrated this in 2011 with a chart showing the absolute numbers spent per capita (and life expectancy, but I think that's too crude a measure of health outcomes to be particularly useful). What's amazing about this is that the US government spends more per capita on healthcare than the UK, yet the healthcare consumer then have to chip in about the same amount again!

I thought it'd be interesting to include Australia in this to inform the current debate, and to update with the latest OECD numbers. The results are quite interesting and haven't changed especially. Americans are still spending way too much on healthcare, both publicly and privately. Australians are on course to do the same. Thanks guys!

I've shared the Tableau workbook on Tableau Public:

I was duped by a microparty

My first real job after high school was working for a mail order porn video company. It was a great job, management was very professional and I got really great opportunities after showing aptitude in my work.

I was recently approached by my old boss there to help with digital marketing for the Sex Party, where he's running the national campaign. I've been a Greens member for many, many years so helping another party isn't something I'd normally do, but as a favour I agreed to help sort out the party's web analytics.

Now the Senate preference tickets are out, which is the list that determines where your votes go if you vote Above The Line in the Senate. To my dismay, I discover the Sex Party are preferencing One Notion and the gun nuts above the Greens. That's it for me, no more support whatsoever.

What appears to have happened is that serial microparty deal maker Glenn Druery cut a range of deals that resulted in Sex Party and Wikileaks ultimately passing preferences over to One Notion. Pauline Pantsdown has done some fantastic analysis which describes how the game is played.

Polly Morgan also has some interesting insights. Really interestingly is it seems one person was responsible (and failed) for submitting the voting tickets for five parties, which kind of puts the lie to it!

More disappointment comes with news that anti-gambling campaigner Nick Xenophon has preferenced the two major parties, who have worked together to stymie his proposed gambling reforms, ahead of the only other major party that has supports his goals.

The safest approach this election is to vote 1 Greens above the line in the Senate. If you want to have complete control over your vote, try out the Below The Line site, but be sure you don't mess it up and end up making your ballot informal!

The lie at the heart of the gambling "debate"

Cathy Wilcox hits the nail on the head. Any societal good that clubs bring by spending some of the money they make from problem gambling is more than outweighed by the societal damage of problem gambling.

It's much like the very disingenuous astroturf campaign against plain packaging of tobacco products. They claimed it wouldn't work, and spend millions on a campaign to tell people this, which was a good indication they thought it might work. Ditto the gambling industry.

The Official Organ of the NSW Liberal Party

Business leaders demand say in running Sydney

Clover Moore

Businesses are fed up ... Lord Mayor Clover Moore / Pic: Ella Pellegrini. Source: The Daily Telegraph

Limited News abandons all pretense, now it's just the Official Publisher of the Liberal Party of Australia. In this ridiculous piece it quotes three "powerful players in the corporate world" who are fed up with Clover Moore's control of the City of Sydney. They fail to mention the small matter that every one of the three "captains of industry" quoted have served as Liberal Party politicians.

Nick Griener was Liberal Premier of NSW from 1988 to 1992.
Kathryn Greiner is his wife and was a Liberal councilor for the City of Sydney, that is a direct political rival of Clover.
Patricia Forsythe was a Liberal Member of the Legislative Council from 1991-2006.

All disinterested captains of industry with no political axe to grind here. Of course. Vikki Campion, I hope you don't claim your job title is "journalist".

ALP finally ready to turn the guns on News Limited?

Mike Quigley is no more responsible for the corruption at Alcatel than John Hartigan was for the corruption at the Melbourne Storm.

A tip in Crikey pointed out this quote from AM this morning with Conroy specifically mentioning the head of News Limited (the Australian arm of News Corp). Is the ALP finally learning that appeasing these nutjobs is never going to work? It's time for the ALP to treat all News Limited media as the enemy they truly are, bent on hounding Labor out of power by any means available to them.

A good starting point would be to amend all the laws that require governments and companies to advertise in national newspapers and replace the whole system with a well-designed online space. There's really only two national newspapers in this country, and one of them is owned by Limited News. I imagine it makes a lot of its revenue from this kind of automatic printing. I bet there's no discounts for legally-mandated advertising space!

This would actually be better for the people who consume things like tender information, insolvencies, interest rate changes and the like. Instead of having to pay someone to trawl the newspapers and look up any names in the insolvency notices, as most big companies do, they could pull down a regular feed of all insolvencies and automatically data match it against their internal systems, only spitting out the potential matches.

Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s

Weren't we fighting to bring democracy and the rule of law to these places?

Recent reading: gambling politics, nose to tail, non-rail public transport and the Chernobyl death toll

I've been using Instapaper to push longer articles to my Kindle for later reading. The tool isn't without some significant limitations but it works well enough for me.  It's great to no longer skip reading longer pieces of text, but instead read them at leisure.

Here's some of the stuff I've been reading recently.

Grog's Gamut digs through his own experience in the gambling industry and the Productivity Commission's report to demonstrate how evil poker machines really are. Key points are that clubs make 40% of their gambling earnings from problem gamblers, not the people having a fun flutter, and the supposed benefits bestowed by clubs don't really exist.

This event in Germany sounds awesome, though I definitely draw the line at raw pork. Have these guys not heard of trichinosis?

The basic idea here is nothing new. Rail is really expensive, slow to build and inflexible. Other methods like buses can be great. The biggest problem with on-road public transport in Australia is that our politicians are loathe to give up road space and dedicate it to public transport, rather than storage of private vehicles. Just try catching a bus down King Street, Newtown on a weekend when cars are allowed park.

George Monbiot idiotically claims only a few dozen people died from Chernobyl, Helen Caldicot claims a million. The truth is somewhere in between, and can't be boiled down into a simple soundbite.

Blot unveils the new "I'm not racist, but..."

I am very uneasy about laws limiting free speech.

This is the man fighting a court battle about free speech, aiming to protect his right to vilify Aboriginal people who aren't Aboriginal enough by his standards. So of course he doesn't actually say "we should shut this down", but a principled free speech advocate would say "I don't like it but I'll fight for their right to say it".

Principles and Blot. They don't go together.