Friday, March 23, 2007

The Daily Top Five: March 23, 2007

1. Check out this post by Brett at the DeHaviland Blog where he aks what if we took a real Henry Ford approach to education.
Most people look at what they have, or what they do, and try to figure out where to sell it. Ford figured out what people wanted – in this case, an affordable car – and figured out how to give it to them. Hence, the invention of the assembly line, a means to an end which enabled him to provide that car affordably.

What if we applied this to public education? It seems as if the tremendous legacy system we have limits our vision, forcing us to think in terms of what the current system can do, and preventing us from thinking about what it is our customers need. What if we wiped the slate clean – forgot about all the buildings, the standard course of study, the bus schedules, the textbooks, the lunchroom, and everything else – and started from square one? What if we looked at what the customers of public education (students, parents, other stakeholders) really need, and how we can fill that need?
A very good question.

2. Overlawyered has the story of a Long Island couple who went to a fertility clinic and really, really screwed up:
[T]he clinic botched the procedure by using the wrong sperm (Oops!); the couple figured it out when they noticed that the child was black and they weren't.
Overlawyered talks about the family's "concern for privacy" and "concern for the child" when making some rather hypocritical comments. The post concludes:
Obviously (assuming the allegations are true), one can't even begin to defend the clinic's incompetence; a lawsuit is legally justified. But if one's concern is really about privacy, is really about whether their daughter is going to be subject to ridicule, is really about whether the natural father might try to claim the girl, then I'm not sure litigation is the way to go. On the other hand, if one's primary concern is money...
Look, the parents are concerned that the child will be rediculed. Why would this child be treated differently than anyother child of mixed race or an adopted child. Yes teh clinic screwed up and if true damages are in order, but one has to wonder about the parents motivations.

3. Ha! Ha! Ha!

4. Wal-Mart is not evil, particularly when it comes to drug prices. See this peice by Steve Verdon at Outside the Beltway. First Verdon quotes this comment from a post at Freakonomic blog:
I just wanted to chime in with my two-cents. I am on a birth control that my health insurance does not cover. I always assumed that generic drugs cost the same regardless of where you go. I went to a local CVS and paid about $70. A few months later I had been given a Walmart gift certificate and as much as I hate Walmart I hated the idea of them getting free money… but I digress. When I went to fill a prescription while I was there I found out it was going to cost me $35. That was the first time I had encountered major price differences in my prescriptions because I have never had to fill a drug on a regular basis until now. This was for a common birth control shot that was generic. So you can talk about "extreme" examples but I think that this is a pretty average example where a common prescription costs double at one place to the next.
Verdon follows:
This, I think, demostrates perfectly the nonsensical way in which people view the Wal-Mart is Evil issue. They see the fact that Wal-Mart may not be the most generous employer and see only the bad. They completely ignore the benefits that Wal-Mart may provide by lowering prices. Lower prices are welfare enhancing just as lower wages are welfare reducing. The net effect? Well, there are probably alot more people enjoying the lower prices than who are working for Wal-Mart. Using a utilitarian framework, Wal-Mart and their lower prices are a good thing.
I think Verdon's post also points out something else that is important: Most consumers have no idea how much health care cots until they have to pay for it themselves.

5. Fred Thompson leads Hillary? From Hot Air:
Now don’t get too excited. As the crosstabs show, that’s not so much Fred-love as Hillary-hate at work. Head to head with Obama he trails by 12 points, which I guess answers the theological question of who would win if the Messiah took on God.

Still, for Hillary to be down a point to a guy who isn’t even the race must be … of concern to her team, I’d imagine. She’s seven and eight points behind McCain and Giuliani, respectively, too. Obama fares better against both of them. Fred, meanwhile, already is ahead of Romney in Iowa, although Ryan Sager says he’s drawing more votes away from another guy who’s not in the race (yet) than from Mitt.
I think a lot of Thompson's appeal is that he is not in the race right now. That could change if he gets in.

No comments: