Saturday, February 26, 2011

Will This Generation Have a Lower Standard of Living Than Its Parents

Will today's kids be better off then their parents?  This question has been buzzed about since polling data shows that today's adults think their kids won't be better off.

Becker and Posner do a nice job spelling out three factors:

1. Per capita income growth. Is the whole society richer?  Well yes, each year increasing productivity combined with infrastructure investments make per capita income grow -- except for recessions, but generally growth happens. See the graph below.

2. Income inequality If the society is wealthier on average, but it is only because there is one super-rich guy and lots of poor people -- then the majority of people are poor.  Income inequality is growing because labor, especially unskilled labor, is less valuable in the US than it used to be.  The richest 1% of the population, makes 35% of the income.

3.  Mobility from poor to rich. A lot of the people who are super-rich today were not born that way, and so there is churn in the ranks. One of the equalizers is education. Education helps people make up for an impoverished childhood. 

In summary, if young people get an education, then they will make more than average, and since the society is getting richer and richer, most of them will be wealthier than their parents when they reach their parents age. Of course, there will be exceptions -- this is statistics.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Poop at Midnight and HELP in the Morning

Hospital Adventures continued from the last posting:

On Sunday I got a new roommate because my alcoholic/drug addicted former roommate checked out, and I thought at least I'd be free of his snoring. The Nurse said the new guy was deaf, so I thought he'd be quiet anyway, and besides I could turn the TV volume up all night if I wanted.

At 11:00 PM on Sunday night my new roommate pooped his pants. OMG. The poor nurse and nurse's aid had to clean him up. I would absolutely hate to clean some 90 year old guys pants up. Oh and the smell. I wheeled my IV pump down the hall, and sat in a darkened waiting room -- with my beloved Kindle. The smell was still bad 90 minutes later when I came back.

In the morning, or near morning at about 4:45, suddenly a woman start yelling, "HELP, HELP." So I am tired, and I hear someone yelling "HELP," but I can't get up as I am attached to devices. My sleepy confused mind could not figure out what to do. Should I do something? What?

Then, for the next two hours, this poor person kept yelling "HELP, HELP" whenever the nursing staff tried to calm her down, and get her back to bed. Once again, I would hate to be a nurse if the patient yells like she is being raped every time someone tries to help her.

Finally Monday came, and I had my procedure, and got to go home.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Greg on Hospital Life

Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte
 Everyone ends up in the hospital sooner or later. This weekend is my turn. I haven't been admitted to the hospital since I was a child, so this is a new experience.

 I am not really concerned about my health. I want to clear this problem and go home.  More than anything else I am really annoyed at wasting a weekend in this hospital room.

Observations on Hospital Life

1. Wild West - The emergency room had people coming and going. All kinds of people some with trains of hanger-on people with them. There were old and young and severely ill, and me too.

The staff seemed like they had seen it all, and let the people be their own weird selves. I expected a doctor's office experience with more structure -- instead it was the Wild West.

2. Hospital food -- I am at Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte. The day before I got here they redid their food service. Instead of regularly bringing identical meals up to each hospital ward, the kitchen waits for the patients to order off the menu. 

I am sure the patients like it better. The kitchen still batches the orders together and sends trays of food upstairs. It is must be more work with a custom system, but the old system probably had tons of special requests anyway.

The hospital menu is pretty fancy. You can get four kinds of eggs for breakfast, seven kinds of cereal, two kinds of yogurt, seven kinds of bread/muffins. For lunch there are four kinds of salad, four kinds of soup, about eighteen entrees and thirteen side-dishes.

I can endorse the Salmon Caesar wrap which left me thinking about how to make this at home -- that is my ultimate complement for restaurant food. Last night's tilapia was excellent too.

The kitchen's ordering department needs help- - maybe it is just opening weekend jitters, but I spent over five minutes on hold trying to get my dinner order placed. What this kitchen needs is a web-page to place the order.

The food in the emergency room was truly bad though: a microwaved hamburger and squished turkey sandwich.

3. TV  -- The free-TV is medical information videos and music channels. To get better TV (and local phone), you need to pay $7 which is charged to your telephone number -- not the hospital bill. Probably to keep the per/day fee down for the insurance company.

I spend the night watching the CARE Channel's nature scenes and sleepy music because of my roommates's ...

4. SNOORING -- My roommate snoores terribly. Eventually I found some earplugs in my bag from my last red-eye flight.  [Ouch he is snooring again.]

5. Hope --  Hope to get out of here soon.

More on hospital living on my next post.