Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Throwing Stones

So the Vatican has released a new "encyclical" - a document written in Latin meant for instruction - about finances and the economic order. It makes sweeping calls for changes in how the world economy is run. The best take I can get on it is that it is somewhat muddled. It bemoans systems that put "profits over people," but seems to call for ethical self-regulation rather than, um, actual change. It also takes a lot of pot shots at the finance/credit system that collapsed last Fall. The question I have is not answered: how does the Vatican invest its money, and was it engaged in the financial drama of the last few years? Is your money doing something different? We don't really know. (Estimates of Vatican finances are very hard to come up with. The Vatican financial statements now published regularly show investments of about $500m, but this appears to be just the balance sheets of Vatican city itself, not the whole enterprise.).

I get tired of anyone who says that our economic problem is that we all need to act more ethically. That's undoubtedly true, but it's not a solution. If you want to improve economic behavior, the correct mechanisms are regulation and realignment of incentives, not exhortation.


Anonymous said...

Saw the other day that the Pope was going to investigate the American nums. Wondered why? Then I see the Vatican lost money.

I worked for a group of 8 radiologists who practiced at a new 1000 bed Sister's hospital.

The CO of the hospital called me in and explained that the hospital expected a $100000 donation to the "Building Fund" each year.

I explained that under the Medicare regulations this was considered a "kickback" and would wind up with neither my doctors or his hospital legally able to bill Medicare.

He said something like "well this is just a little quiet arrangement." I pulled a small recorder out of my pocket and told him that I recorded everything. He told me that was illegal, I told him to sue me, that the federal DA for Pennsylvania and I had already had a chat about Medicaid fraud at two private clinics and another hospital that I consulted at and that I thought I had a little more drag than he did.

The doctors pissed me off. Last I knew they were paying the kickback.

Want to know why the cost of health care is so high, Google catholic hospitals US.

Raised By Republicans said...

Interesting story Anonymous 10:32. This kind of story is why I'm so distrustful of religious charities.