Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Few Nudges Might Help

I just finished reading: Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness
It was named one of the best books of the year by the Economist. The basic premise is that classical economic thinking is misguided. In classic economic thinking we all make choices by weighing the benefits and risks of each decision. But most humans do not act like economists.

This book shows that in decisions about health, wealth, and other areas, the maxim of "Give as many choices as possible," does not work. Choices are determined by a lot of subconscious factors that we are unaware of. The liberalistic paternalism the authors speak of is a nonpartisan way of designing choice architecture.

I suggest you read it and think about where you could make simple nudges for you, your family, and your community. Every time you hear a policy maker talk about how great their plan is just because it gives citizens lots of choices (i.e. Medicare Drug Benefit, school choice, retirement savings), tell them to read this book.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Benefits of Health Care Reform Coming to You

I just got a letter from my insurance company informing me that:
1. If I have children, I can now keep them on my policy up to age 26.
I don't have children. But, if I did, this would allow me to keep them insured through graduate school or an early career. Should our kids be insured until they can get a job with benefits? Yes!

2. They will discontinue any lifetime caps on coverage.
This means if you get really sick (think cancer) and need lots of treatment, they won't cut off your coverage. Shouldn't you be covered for the whole course of your cancer treatment, instead of just $400,000 worth? Yes!

These are two of the benefits that Americans will benefit from right away.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Abigail Disney: Taxes Make Our Country Great

In this linked story, the granddaughter of Roy Disney, states why she thinks the estate tax is important.
Showdown Over Bush Cuts Revives Estate Tax Fight : NPR

Taxes are not a penalty for working hard. They are a contribution to building a stronger America. From the Story:

"Disney, a filmmaker and philanthropist, spent a lot of time shooting a film in Liberia. [Abigail Disney] says there, unlike the United States, there are no safe roads or schools and therefore no safe investments. And she says those who make money in a secure society like the U.S. also owe the society a debt.

She joined a group of wealthy individuals called United for a Fair Economy in part, she says, because she felt wealth is fundamentally unfair.

Warren Buffett and Robert Rubin are also members of United for a Fair Economy.