Archive for November, 2008

Why Airline Executives are not Rocket Scientists, Part One

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 by Al Lewis (alewis)

How hard is it to load an airplane?  Far easier than a frequent flier would assume, as it turns out.   But do the people who run these airlines ever fly them?  Or are they always in the front cabin and never venture back to coach to see what happens with the rest of us?  Well, [...]

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Measuring the Innovation Economy: A New Yardstick

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008 by Al Lewis (alewis)

to encourage innovation and invention to fuel a long-term economic recovery, we need to measure its impact. No one has created an “innovation index.” We are proposing the first measurement to go into that index. Once an index is created, comparing countries and states and cities to one another, we guarantee that governments at all levels are going to increase their focus on new business formation and improve their ability to determine whether their programs are working.

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Manage Care-Seeking Propensities to save $5 billion a year

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008 by FredNavarro

Medical costs are not just driven by disease and ill health, but by care seeking propensity.
Ask the question in any commercial health plan population (diseased or not) and you will find similar trends. People with a lower trigger point of when to seek care generate about double the claims compared to those who only seek [...]

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Don’t outlaw scalping. Obsolete It. Teams should scalp their own tickets.

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 by Al Lewis (alewis)

The title says it all. It is legal in most states to resell tickets, but why is it even necessary? Why don’t venues (teams, concerts etc.) do it themselves, like the airlines do? The extra money that they would make by selling tickets above face value for those who don’t want to buy way in advance or stand in line (”convenience pricing”) could go to charities if the teams don’t want bad PR. Better to charity than to a bunch of middlepeople and scalpers.

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The Green Dividend: How to End Our Fossil Fuel Addiction Without Pain

Friday, November 21st, 2008 by Al Lewis (alewis)

No one talks seriously about reducing our dependence on carbon-based fuels by taxing them, which would be the obvious way to reduce consumption.  The conventional wisdom is that such a tax would be expensive and unpopular, politically dead on arrival. And if the tax [...]

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Reduce the foreclosure rate by democratizing real estate brokerage

Thursday, November 20th, 2008 by Al Lewis (alewis)

Almost every house sold includes a real estate commission of 5% or more. Eliminate that real estate commission – or vastly reduce it – and the value of every house theoretically rises 5% with no change in price. This would facilitate selling by the owner and/or create more equity in the owner’s house if they don’t sell. While 5% more equity will not solve the housing crisis, it would put a noticeable dent in it…and that 5% might otherwise have been taken out of the government bailout fund. This posting shows how to do exactly that

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Assuming The Feds Are Going to Bail Out General Motors…or Even If They Aren’t

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 by Al Lewis (alewis)

The author points out that an enormous chunk of the bailout money, covering >65 retiree health expense, could be saved simply by having retirees go into Medicare HMOs. They eliminate most of the need for “gap” coverage now paid by the automakers. These HMOs are so popular that a million more seniors join voluntarily every year. If someone wants unfettered Medicare instead, that’s their choice which they can pay for, not a taxpayer obligation.

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How to Solve the Housing Crisis and Jumpstart the Economy

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 by Al Lewis (alewis)

The solution to the housing crisis –and part of the solution to our economic downturn — is right at America’s doorstep. Let a million more well-to-do immigrants into the country, to buy and rent the unused units, and to start spending money.
There is no other choice.  The solution certainly won’t come from within the US [...]

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Raising the price of gasoline without raising the cost of driving

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 by Al Lewis (alewis)

In energy policy, ThinkOOB always starts with two assumptions:
(1)   People use too much gasoline because it is priced far lower than it should be.  Even if one does not accept the hypothesis of global warming as a basis for believing that gasoline is underpriced, one cannot dispute the fact that half of our defense budget [...]

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