Archive for May 21st, 2011

I’m on the Crimean Peninsula for a meeting of the European Resource Bank. It’s my first trip to Ukraine, and the conference is being held at a hotel on the Black Sea, so I can’t complain about the scenery.

But the news from the various European think tanks is generally not favorable.

Marcin Nowacki of Project Lodz in Poland spoke about how the government is confiscating most of the money that workers contribute to personal retirement accounts.

Pierre Garello of France’s Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal Issue gave a less-than-hopeful analysis of regional developments.

And I was given a rather depressing analysis of Portugal from Orlando Samoes of the Instituto de Estudos Politicos.

Last but not least, from an American perspective, I added to the misery by looking at the fiscal mess in the developed world, but I’ll provide the gory details tomorrow.

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I’m a glass-half-full guy, so I’m always looking for the silver lining to any dark cloud. For example, the unfortunate people of the United Kingdom are saddled with a government-run healthcare system that is deficient in some important categories yet still costs a lot of money. But the good news is that this system at least serves as an example of what not to do.

And even left-wing newspapers in the United Kingdom feel compelled to acknowledge the shortcoming of the system. Here are some newly-released grim details from the Guardian.

New NHS performance data reveal that the number of people in England who are being forced to wait more than 18 weeks has risen by 26% in the last year, while the number who had to wait longer than six months has shot up by 43%. …Despite rising demand for healthcare caused by the increasingly elderly population and growing numbers of people with long-term conditions, the NHS treated 16,201 fewer people as inpatients in March 2011 compared to March 2010, the latest Referral To Treatment data disclose. …

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