Doctors die differently: This was perhaps one of the most thought-provoking articles I’ve read in the last year. A significant portion of health care spending is geared towards prolonging life for someone on the decline. In many cases a patient’s quality of life suffers greatly as a result. Think of someone undergoing chemotherapy and still succumbing to cancer. It seems many doctors would elect to pass on the chemo if the survival rates are low. They don’t want to be resuscitated, put on ventilators, or suffer through huge expenses just to survive a couple of months longer in possibly great pain. In other words, they aren’t dying the same way many of us will. We don’t think about how we want to die and so loved ones usually default to life preservation at all costs. Is that the right way? To be honest I haven’t thought about it either, but I’m starting to.
How much student loan debt to people really have? NY Times Economix takes a look at who the 1% are with student loan debt. Most people aren’t suffering under a huge debt burden. But a vocal minority can be loudly heard. Still, debt or not, we’re still suffering from an imbalance of jobs to pay for the debts out there. For my thoughts on student loans and the suggested reforms so far see here.
Dylan Ratigan’s take on the mortgage settlement: Essentially, it’s not going to help the housing market. Only one thing will.
For the last three years, the policy has been to impose a political solution to a math problem. It hasn’t worked. America simply has too much mortgage debt to pay back. Serious economic thinkers across the spectrum, from Democrat Alan Blinder to Republican Martin Feldstein to New York Fed President William Dudley, believe that there is only one solution — writing down the enormous creaking mound of debt. This solution is currently off the table, because writing down these unsustainable debts could cost our fragile banks enormous sums of money and possibly lead to a restructuring of one or more of our major banks
Ratigan also notes that 50% of homeowners with mortgages are underwater. Thankfully that is an incorrect statistic and it’s less than 25%. Beyond that, a worthwhile read.
How good are football expert at predicting the playoffs? If they were good, this wouldn’t be an interesting article. There’s always next year guys.
When we’re losing we do better: If your team is down by 1 at half-time you should be in good spirits. They win 8% more often than the team with a 1 point lead. Eventually though this goes away, every two points of lead increases the odds of winning but about 7%. But what makes sports so interesting to many people is the thrill of a comeback and witnessing odds-defying performances.
Audits of rich people increasing: This was a widely reported story a month ago but it didn’t get that much traction beyond initial coverage. I’d like to see a chart showing audit trends of different income classes breaking out which party has the most power.
“What I found then was another example of a very complex, interacting system. It [meteorology] had a big advantage over economics because the fundamental theory was very well understood.”
Why swearing helps with pain: Like any drug, just don’t use it too much or the effects might stop working.
Tornadoes only work on business days: Tornadoes are much more common during the week and research shows a connection with pollution.
Beeronomics: The study of all things beer and brewing. From price differences all over the world to how production is integral to a society. The argument for this emerging field is simple, they’ve already been doing it with wine and more people drink beer.
Carnival of Personal Finance #347, The Giants Edition: To better spread the good word of how great Weakonomics I’m participating in a Carnival of Personal Finance. Check it out for the best personal finance artciles in the blogosphere. Naturally of course, I was editor’s choice.
Image: The National Guard