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November Links: Healthcare Machinations, Becoming a Writer, Why Your High School Probably “Sucked” Statistically, Demography, Government Pulls in Three Directions (again), the Native American CDFI Assistance Program, and More!

November 16th, 2010 · by Jake Seliger · 1 Comment

* What makes our healthcare so expensive? Hint: the answer is not simple or obvious. If you hear people say, “It’s x, and chiefly x,” where x might be greedy insurance companies, clueless consumers, the market, regulation, government, greedy doctors, or any noun preceded by the word “greedy,”

* The dangers of Groupon and of discounts in general: “We’ve also learned that the customers you attract only with a discount will disregard what you love about your own business, and won’t treat you with respect; both sides usually regret the transaction.”

* Statistically speaking, my high school sucked. Yours probably did too—you just don’t know it. You should pay attention to this if you write education proposals. See also Your Child Left Behind.

* Global aging: the problem the world faces, it turns out, is not overpopulation, but underpopulation.

* Why New Novelists Are Kinda Old, or, Hey, Publishing is Slow.

* People in polls are lunatics on the budget; they consistently oppose tax increases, oppose spending cuts, and strongly support balancing the budget.

* That’s what life’s about: improving the world around you.

* Your government at work!: When sales of Domino’s Pizza were lagging, a government agency stepped in with advice: more cheese. This is the same government that, for health reasons, is advising less cheese.

* Americans look like Americans wherever we are.

* Guess who is lobbying against marijuana legalization? Yup, beer distributors and the police. Call this another example of people whose job involve fighting a social problem fighting to maintain that social “problem.”

* Why NPR matters.

* This “obscure provision” in the health care bill is completely vital to our business and yet isn’t particularly well-known among people in general. It should be. See this story on the coming 1099 mess.

* The world is richer and healthier than it used to be.

* Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project for gay teenagers already has 200,000 hits for a very good reason: it’s quite moving because it’s unexpectedly earnest, which feels unexpected honest in a media age filled with bullshit. Consider it recommended; see the impetus for it in this column.

See Megan McArdle’s take here.

* One of the funniest sentences I’ve read in a while: “Sarah Palin on the Federal Reserve is one of those immortal phrases, like Lindsay Lohan stars in Anna Karenina, or La Boheme featuring Justin Bieber, a magical, irresistible blend of high and low that might just make mainstream Americans care about monetary policy.”

* Why the U.S. needs a new visa for foreigners who want to start businesses here.

* The Native American CDFI Assistance Program is out, with $12M and a deadline of Dec. 22.

* Scary thoughts that I think are right, from Tyler Cowen.

* Marriage in crisis, or what the recession is doing to marriage, with data stratified by education.

* Dear 22 Year Old: Concerning your Future. And there’s probably no way to stop it, save voting en masse for a political party that doesn’t exist and can’t exist given electoral realities.

* James Fallows, who, if you’re not reading his blog, you should be:

Among the many things wrong with talking-head gab shows, which have proliferated/ metastasized in the past generation — they’re cheap to produce, they fill air time, they make journalists into celebrities, they suit the increasing political niche-ization of cable networks — is that they reward an affect of breezy confidence on all topics and penalize admissions of complexity, of ignorance on a specific topic, or of the need for time to think.

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