Crony Capitalism in the Philippines

I grew up in South Louisiana, where the legacy of Huey Long populism still casts a shadow.  So perhaps I’m not as surprised at the connections between corruption and a certain type  of populism.  Reform is always possible but it never seems to happen in these situations.  The promise to take down the corrupt establishment seems to usually just result in a replacement of the old corrupt with the new corrupt.  A good article from Nikkei Asian Review on the state of things in Duterte’s Philippines.

Crony capital: How Duterte embraced the oligarchs

President Rodrigo Duterte promised to destroy the Philippines’ elite. Instead, he chose his own


US Life Expectancy

Another economist I like reading.  I am forever grateful for Paul Krugmans writings before, during and after the 2008 financial crisis.  While he is an unapologetic leftie, he is also very data oriented, which maybe makes you a liberal these days.  His recent article takes on falling life expectancy in the US, as a red state / blue state phenomenon.

Ok, clearly just voting one way or another shouldn’t change a regions (or an individuals) life expectancy, but there is something going on here.  To his credit Krugman doesn’t dive into the whys and wherefores.  It could be something as simple as lack of hospitals in rural America.  Or just the idea that poverty in America is bad for your health.  I would like to see this correlated maybe to wealth / income rather that chunked into states.

Healthcare Costs in America

An article in Washington Post from Paul, — sorry, Robert Samuelson.  Lots of good facts, but published under “Opinion”, as it probably should be.  I like Samuelson’s articles but I’m not so sure about some of his conclusions.  For instance, expensive healthcare is great for the people that work in that field.  He also doesn’t say much about the causes or possible solutions. I have to add, I used to confuse Robert Samuelson with Nobel prize winning economist Paul Samuelson. I guess I still do sometimes.  Anyway, the upshot is that Americans are spending more and more on healthcare, and that isn’t counted in lots of economic stats.  It would seem to be a very large chunk of middle class decline in the last few decades.  Not then only cause, though.

Yes, Americans are feeling the squeeze. It’s coming from health care.

The Duck Side


Starting to use DuckDuckGo as my search engine.  It doesn’t track you and provides lots of privacy safeguards other search engines do not.  I suspect sometimes there won’t be a substitute for (ok, I’ll call them out by name) Google, but for now my default search is DuckDuckGo.