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The House of Representatives voted during our show to approve the Senate version of the health-care reform bill. I tried to read the bill so that I could have something intelligent to say about it, but the full version of HR 4872 is 2,310 pages long. That's a bit more than I was capable of reading in short order. It was only published on March 17th, so even if I'd been speed-reading, it would have been hard to have gotten through the whole thing. And I suspect that few, if any, of the members of the House have read the entirety of the bill, either. That's one of my basic steps I expect public officials to take on every matter they oversee: Read the proposal and understand it completely. If I entered a contract in business without having read it in full, my attorney would probably end up laughing all the way to the bank with charges incurred trying to get me out of trouble. We should expect the same sort of responsibility from our public servants.
Some elected officials appear not to believe in any such thing as personal responsibility: A New York state legislator wants to ban the use of salt in restaurant cooking. Really, comrade?
Capitalism does some great things, like giving a voice to a cancer patient who lost his vocal cords to cancer. That patient happens to be well-known film critic Roger Ebert. And though his television experience has left him with vastly more recorded samples of his voice than most people will ever have, the technology can only get better. Voices are challenging to synthesize well, but it's a relatively magical application of technology like this that makes life better all the time.
The Minnesota Twins have decided that a good catcher is worth $23,000,000 a year. Without passing judgment, I'll simply report these comparative figures: The CEO at the Iowa Health System is valued by his employers at about $1.1 million a year. The President of the United States is valued by the taxpayers here at $0.4 million a year. The governor of California is valued by the taxpayers there at $0.2 million a year. And here in Iowa, we apparently value our average teacher at about $0.045 million a year.
We have to get serious about knowing the difference between income and wealth. Some of those teachers end up retiring with vastly more wealth than sports stars. A teacher who makes $45,000 a year and saves 10% of that amount, placed in some smart investments, could easily retire a millionaire. Meanwhile, one estimate says the majority of football and basketball players end up broke within five years of retirement. We need to be a nation that celebrates the Century Farm, which can only be preserved through decades (and generations) of patient and difficult work -- not a nation that celebrates revolting displays of thriftless spending.
By the way, this past week's snow puts us within 3" of the record snowfall ever.