Odds and Ends

-I found this NY Times article on rationing health care to be pretty interesting. How do you value a human life? Does the life of an 18 year old have more value than the life of an 85 year old? Does the life of a disabled person have the same value as the life of a non-disabled person? How much would you pay to extend someone’s life for one year? There are certainly no easy answers to these questions, yet they are central to the future of our health care policy.

-CIT bondholders are considering a debt for equity swap. Good – that’s exactly what’s SUPPOSED to happen. Bondholders taking a haircut or converting their stake to equity is number one on the list of answers for “How would you have done things differently if you were in charge of the financial mess?” While it may not have been feasible to simply let every firm in trouble die like Lehman Brothers, it certainly would have been feasible to require bondholders to contribute, which did NOT happen (note: it DID happen with the auto bailouts – why not with the bank bailouts?). I even asked Barney Frank about this at the Weston High School Town Hall meeting a few months ago, and he acknowledged that there were concerns about what would happen if the bondholders had to take losses.

-Finally, I don’t know how anyone can look at this picture of Barney Frank playing volleyball in a pool and not think of this classic SnL parody ad for Shmitt’s Gay Beer.


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