Saturday Links

  • Indispensable post from Ezra Klein on guns and mass shootings in the United States. There’s a lot to say about gun control and violence in the United States, but I don’t know that I’m qualified enough to say it.
  • If you pay much attention to American health care costs and policy, it’s not difficult to conclude that one route to reducing costs is to pay physicians less – they’re paid twice the OECD median, after all. As the author notes, this is far easier said than done, thanks (in part) to the lobbying muscle of the American Medical Association. One solution – which the author touches on but doesn’t dive into – is to allow Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants to practice independent of MDs (kind of a pet cause of mine). As you can imagine, the AMA fights this, too, but over time it’ll happen – the set of issues a MD can do that an NP or PA can’t is getting smaller each year
  • A great Foreign Affairs primer on inequality of opportunity in the United States, with a discussion of causes and potential solutions. You’ll notice that a lot of his solutions require significant funding – which is, of course, why they’re not currently in practice. Most are relatively uncontroversial, though – they only need advocacy and political will
  • Inequality of opportunity, writ small – fantastic piece on one girl trying to find her way out of poverty and make a better life than what she started with
  • Continuing today’s American labor policy focus, a great piece on technological change and “creative destructive” often leave many worse off; this issue doesn’t lend itself to simple solutions, but understanding it is the first step towards figuring out the right questions to ask
  • As you decide what organizations to donate to this holiday season, this is the best place to start – it’ll help you think through who you’re giving to and why. It highlights GiveWell, Charity Navigator, and other organizations designed to evaluate “effectiveness,” (one of GiveWell’s favorites this year is GiveDirectly – an unconditional cash transfer program for poor Kenyans via M-PESA… it’ll be interesting to see if this type of giving catches on in America)

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