Thursday, May 19, 2005


Okay, it seems like Blogger doesn't want me talking about an odd mathematical coincidence I've happened upon.

I've tried thrice to write about how there is a funky connection between the Number of the Beast and the Golden Mean, but each time I seem to accidentally hit a key wrong and my entry is erased...

Perhaps someone is unhappy with my insight, or I just need to save more often when I'm writing late at night and prone to mis-striking the keyboard, which seems more likely.

In the meantime, there are a few things I'm angry and unhappy about, all of which seem to include things which are situation normal for our society, but which are to my mind making things worse due to inherent contradictions.

For-profit hospitals:

Is there not an inherent contradiction in the Hippocratic oath and running a for-profit, publicly-traded, hospital or care facility?

Seems like the laws of publicly-held corporations are pretty clear: one must do anything which maximizes shareholder value, and if you don't you can be sued and replaced by boardmembers who will, and you might be liable for imaginary profits lost because you weren't profit-maximizing in the meantime.

In a care facility, oaths require one to do as much as possible to care for the patient, being reasonable and respectful for the patient's wishes. So you must maximize the care given within reason.

In a for-profit corporation, one must maximize profit, which means in a medical situation charging more for care and/or providing less care. Charging more quickly leads to less business or greater insurance cost, so providing less care becomes the easiest option when that balance tips.

I see a contradiction, and propose that for-profit medical care is contradictory to the fundamental goals of, well, medical care.

Related, churches.

Any church which posts a profit in excess of 50% of donations should lose not-for-profit status. Or perhaps, NFP status should only be for organizations which lose money, and there be a separate, but generous, progressive scale of taxation for profiters to net those shady churches and charities which seem to be raping the current system.

Secondly, education and why the best teachers aren't in the schools which need the best teachers...

In education, the kids who need the best teachers are in the poorest districts.

In education, the districts which pay their teachers the most are the richest discricts.

In education, the best districts, which are the easiest to teach in, are the most affluent. Rich kids know they need to do well and pay better attention. Rich kids are easier to teach, to sum up, and provide the most rewarding experience for educators. (for the most part, because one gets the most positive response for the least effort)

This is why private schools get away with paying less but advertising better teachers. And this is a strong signal to public schools: better experience is worth more to teachers than better pay.

In education, the best teachers gravitate towards either the most rewarding experience or the experience which pays the most. The teachers with the least experience go to the positions which are most demanding and most in need of experience.

Having the easiest and most rewarding teaching experiences be the same is a guarantee that the best teachers will almost always go to the richest districts. And, that the least capable and least experienced teachers will go to those districts which are most difficult and pay the least.

There are *R*A*R*E* teachers who seem to get the most reward by spending the most effort. These teachers are rare enough that documentaries tend to get made about them. And all of them talk about how they turn down rich job offers from rich districts for the sake of their teaching vision. And all of them seem to work other jobs to pay for the teaching aids they need but can't get funding for.

How about a law whereby teacher salary is *inversely* proportional to school achievement? And a strong enough inverse that working in the worst schools is *very* profitable?

Teachers in the least achieving districts get the most money?

A teacher can choose easy or profitable, with a strong weight towards difficult and profitable. Perhaps this might get more talented teachers where they seem to be needed most.

Inflation and interest rates:

The current model which drives interest rates seems geared towards the people who make the most money.

When inflation rises, the Fed raises interest rates, making money more scarce. This seems like a fine, fine, thing if you're a person rich enough to care about basic lending rates.

The Fed's model seems to assume that the econonmy is rich people, or people who's economy is most tied to fundamental interest rates: again, rich folks.

Poor people need *more* access to money and loans when times are tough and inflation is bad!

When inflation is large, making low-interest loans to ordinary folks makes it easier to pay off loans, makes it easier to start business, and makes it easier to buy goods. In a recession, poor people need more governmental help. It follows that the amount of social help necessarily follows inversely with the strength of the economy.

In a poor economy, providing more money to education and health care seems to make more educated and healthier workers, who work more and pay greater taxes for their more educated jobs, which makes for a stronger economy.

However, in the same situation, you certainly *Don't* want to make easy money available to rich folks, who will just hoard the money in investment shelters. Access to money in a healthy economy seems to be inversely proportional to your status in the economy which is inversely proportional to the rate of inflation in that economy.

The current situation assumes a strict inverse relationship, while I propose a two-valued relationship, needing a balance.

How to create a lever which one swings between rich and poor to drive the economy, instead of just goosing the rich?

Fun questions!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just surprised that you haven't received a ton of comments especially concerning your comments about churches. I agree with you, but I would like to see even more oversight in their spending practices. There's just something wrong about people who claim to lead a religeon that professes to dedicate all their alms to the needy,(I refer here to Christian TV chanels) and they flash their diamond rings as they beg folks for money, then dive their Caddy to big amusement parks built with that money. NS

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a law whereby teacher salary is *inversely* proportional to school achievement? And a strong enough inverse that working in the worst schools is *very* profitable?

but then wouldn't there be a disincentive to actually make the school better? JMG

11:05 PM  
Blogger fatoudust said...


I'm not pissing folks off because no one reads this except for friends and family!

And, I wasn't really speaking towards the obvious religious crooks like the TV preachers, but more to the local fundie mega-churches and to groups which strongly lobby and market their adgenda. These are very common churches and organizations which post multi-million dollar surpluses, and send a decent portion of that tax-free revenue to Christian-right lobbying groups.

Anyone who is participating in politics needs to pay taxes for the privlege. I don't care who you are or whether I agree with you or not!

The more you lobby, the higher your tax rate should be as a "non-profit" organization.

Lobbying is certainly an important right of U.S. citizens, and when you send a letter to your congresscritter that's what you're doing: lobbying them. Letting them know what you think about an issue and what you'd like them to do about it.

I have no problem with this, except that many groups lobbying the government don't seem to be paying their fair share.

Like with individuals, not-for-profits who really are poor should not pay much, if any, taxes. But those, like with individuals, organizations swimmingly rich should have their loopholes closed!

11:46 PM  
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4:54 AM  
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10:47 AM  

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