Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Sanity Gap

From Gallup:

Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to rate their mental health as excellent, according to data from the last four November Gallup Health and Healthcare polls. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans report having excellent mental health, compared to 43% of independents and 38% of Democrats. This relationship between party identification and reports of excellent mental health persists even within categories of income, age, gender, church attendance, and education.


One could be quick to assume that these differences are based on the underlying demographic and socioeconomic patterns related to party identification in America today...

But an analysis of the relationship between party identification and self-reported excellent mental health within various categories of age, gender, church attendance, income, education, and other variables shows that the basic pattern persists regardless of these characteristics. In other words, party identification appears to have an independent effect on mental health even when each of these is controlled for.

...income, education, gender, church attendance, and being a Republican are significantly related to self-reported mental health -- each such relationship occurring even when the impact of the other variables is taken into account.


The reason the relationship exists between being a Republican and more positive mental health is unknown, and one cannot say whether something about being a Republican causes a person to be more mentally healthy, or whether something about being mentally healthy causes a person to choose to become a Republican (or whether some third variable is responsible for causing both to be parallel).

...the key finding of the analyses presented here is that being a Republican appears to have an independent relationship on positive mental health above and beyond what can be explained by these types of demographic and lifestyle variables.

Perhaps Michael Savage was right.

Click here for graphs and more details.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


John Stossel writes:

The market has solved environmental problems many times in the past. Before the automobile, America's cities suffered from a terrible pollutant. It bred disease and emitted noxious odors.

It was horse manure.

As economist Nobel laureate Robert Fogel said, "There were 200,000 horses in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century defecating everywhere. ... When you walked around ... you were breathing pulverized horse manure". From such air and water pollution, people contracted cholera, typhoid and other deadly diseases.

When the internal-combustion engine came along, the air and ground became much cleaner. Environmentalists romanticize the days before the car, but who wants to go back to that filth and disease?

The answer is clear: those who are ignorant of history, possibly intentionally.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mark Steyn on the "Uninsured"

Mark Steyn reminds us why reality and math guarantee that most politician-annointed crises aren't crises at all:
...out of 45 million uninsured Americans, 9 million aren't American, 9 million are insured, 18 million are young and healthy. And the rest of these poor helpless waifs trapped in Uninsured Hell waiting for Hillary to rescue them are, in fact, wealthier than the general population.
Read it all here.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Not Everything Revolves Around New York

From a New York Times article on September 11th commemorations (a shoddy bit of work that makes no reference to geography):
What might happen on Sept. 11 a hundred years from now? "It's conceivable that it could be virtually forgotten," said [Dr. John Bodnar, a professor of history at Indiana University]. "Does anyone go out on the streets of New York and commemorate the firing on Fort Sumter?"
No, they go to Fort Sumter.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

On Health "Insurance"

From a fairly comprehensive article in Commentary Magazine:

It is, indeed, a very odd thing that more than 180 million Americans should be covered by insurance purchased for them by their employers. The companies we work for do not buy our food and clothing, or our car and home insurance. They pay us for our labor, and we use that money to buy what we want.

No less odd is the character of what we call health insurance. Insurance usually means coverage for extreme emergencies or losses. We expect auto insurance to kick in when our car is badly damaged in an accident, not when we need a routine oil change; homeowner’s insurance covers us after a fire, flood, or break-in, not when we need to repair the deck or unclog the gutters. But when it comes to health, we expect some element of virtually every expense to be covered, including routine doctor checkups and regular care.

America’s insurance system is largely a historical accident. During World War II, the federal government imposed wage controls on American employers. No longer able to raise salaries to compete for employees, companies turned instead to offering the lure of fringe benefits, and the era of employer-based health care was born. Thanks to a 1943 IRS ruling allowing an exemption for money spent by employers on health insurance, an enormous tax incentive was created as well. Rather than giving a portion of every dollar to the government, employees could get a full dollar’s worth of insurance through their company.

Of course, wage controls are long gone, but the system they inadvertently created, including the tax exemption, remains in place.

The article also reviews Medicaid and Medicare, but the excerpt above is most educational.