Someone Shrank Rio
Agonies of the Left

Elsewhere (57)

Tim Worstall on high taxes:

You cannot pay for Big Government with a highly progressive tax system. There just aren’t enough rich people and they don’t, collectively, have enough money to pay for everything. It’s worth noting that the countries that do have substantially larger government than we do, the Nordics, have tax systems which are more regressive than our own. That’s the only way you can have both a Big State and also any hope of continued growth.

Heather Mac Donald on theories, reality, crime and punishment:

In 1994 Mayor Giuliani and then-commissioner Bratton made “Broken Windows” a template for the New York policing revolution. The police would no longer ignore allegedly “minor” infractions of the law, such as graffiti, public drinking, and illegal vending, but would intervene to restore a sense of order in troubled neighbourhoods. In so doing, they would only be responding to the previously unacknowledged demand in poor communities for the same sense of lawfulness enjoyed in wealthy areas. Left-wing academics and journalists continue to dismiss that desire with their specious claim that broken-windows policing is an unjust assault on the poor.

And Charles Moore on the shortcomings of the NHS

The NHS arose from a good idea – that people should be able to get good health treatment without financial worry. Unfortunately for Britain, this was acted upon at a time when centralised state socialism was at its height. So the NHS was constructed to carry out Whitehall commands. It was even imagined that these commands could be so efficiently obeyed that the cost of care would actually fall. The thing was a fantasy of the state planner. It is the reality, not the fantasy, which strikes the patient – and the patient’s friends and relations – every day. […] Far from being “organised compassion,” the NHS is, by its nature, a bureaucracy. Bureaucracies, inevitably, are selfish. They are constructed according to the convenience of the producer, not the consumer (although, oddly, they are often unpleasant places for the producers to work in). Not for nothing does the word “patient” mean “one who suffers.” Suffering is guaranteed by the system.

A few years ago, my step-father was in pain and diagnosed with a major blood clot and a very serious risk of stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism. An ambulance was dispatched, though, an hour later, it hadn’t arrived and its whereabouts couldn’t be determined by the people who’d despatched it. Unwilling to rely on the offer of a second ambulance, we drove my step-father to the suggested A&E, which was supposedly expecting us, and registered his details at reception, after which we were pointed to some ingeniously uncomfortable vandal-proof seats. The seats were red, denoting patients with “urgent and life-threatening” conditions. Here, we waited for an hour, despite the calm of the large, rather demoralised A&E department, which had perhaps a dozen people in it. The only red seats occupied remained our own. Two return visits to the reception desk resulted in vague assurances that we would be seen in due course. Thirty minutes later, a third, more anxious, visit to reception revealed that my step-father’s details now couldn’t be found and the registration process would have to be repeated. Another forty-five minutes passed before, finally, his name was called. While he was being treated in one room, another door opened and his name was called again by a second doctor. Apparently his details had been lost then duplicated. I’ve been told by several people that this is not a particularly unusual experience.

Feel free to add your own items of interest.