doctors get paid too darn much, whitman versus poe

Massimo Campigli - Seamstresses

 Seamstresses. Oil on canvas, 1925. By Massimo Campigli (1885-1971).


Seriously—The Evidence is Overwhelming That Americans Pay Too Much To Go See The Doctor

Amidst many hundreds of words of discussion of the subject he totally buries the lede:

Standard economic theory suggests that over all, American doctors are overpaid, although perhaps not the primary-care specialties. This position leans on the fact that at existing incomes there is still considerable excess demand for places in medical schools among bright American youngsters – not to mention a huge pool of highly qualified foreign applicants. This suggests that the lamented doctor shortage in the United States is the result of an artificially constrained supply of medical school places and residency slots, which serves to inflate physician incomes above what they would be in a better functioning market without supply constraints.

That’s really what you need to know about the subject. At current wages, the supply of qualified doctors could easily be increased. Alternatively, if doctors’ wages were reduced there would be no decline in the supply of qualified doctors. That’s because the supply of qualified doctors is being doubly restricted, first by regulations that make it exceedingly difficult to import qualified doctors from abroad and second by cartelization that prevents medical schools from training more doctors.

Towards he end of last year a survey of doctor income showed that general practitioners with a few years experience were averaging $200k. Specialists – heart and brain mostly – with a few years experiencing were averaging $300k. That does seem a little high. I think I more or less accepted it at the time because CEO salaries ( Mr 47% Romney) was on my mind. Campbell CEO had a total compensation package of $9.6 million in 2007. I bet we could find someone with a near genius IQ who could manage the company as well or better for a $125k a year. Throw in a $25k bonus if she meets certain standards – a living wage for employees, good environmental record, fair profit and so forth. CEOs just don’t have that kind of value. Most of them are not where they are because they have remarkable skill sets, they’re there just because. They navigated the in and outs of the business world, talked a good game. The real numbers people, the analysis, who are usually well paid, work at a lower level. The first thing any CEO does before they make a decision is consult the number crunchers. They do not provide enough value to society to justify making more than overpaid doctors.

Edgar Poe's Significance

Edgar Poe’s Significance by Walt Whitman.

Edgar Poe’s Significance , last page. These are the hand written manuscript pages from Walt Whitman’s (1819–1892) essay on Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849). Pages three and five respectively, which contain the bulk of his argument against Poe. I’m just going to post what I consider the major portion of his analysis of Poe, you can read the rest here.

By common consent there is nothing better for man or woman than a perfect and noble life, morally without flaw, happily balanced in activity, physically sound and pure, giving its due proportion, and no more, to the sympathetic, the human emotional element—a life, in all these, unhasting, unresting, untiring to the end. And yet there is another shape of personality dearer far to the artist-sense, (which likes the play of strongest lights and shades,) where the perfect character, the good, the heroic, although never attain’d, is never lost sight of, but through failures, sorrows, temporary downfalls, is return’d to again and again, and while often violated, is passionately adhered to as long as mind, muscles, voice, obey the power we call volition. This sort of personality we see more or less in Burns, Byron, Schiller, and George Sand. But we do not see it in Edgar Poe. (All this is the result of reading at intervals the last three days a new volume of his poems—I took it on my rambles down by the pond, and by degrees read it all through there.) While to the character first outlined the service Poe renders is certainly that entire contrast and contradiction which is next best to fully exemplifying it.

[  ]… Almost without the first sign of moral principle, or of the concrete or its heroisms, or the simpler affections of the heart, Poe’s verses illustrate an intense faculty for technical and abstract beauty, with the rhyming art to excess, an incorrigible propensity toward nocturnal themes, a demoniac undertone behind every page—and, by final judgment, probably belong among the electric lights of imaginative literature, brilliant and dazzling, but with no heat.