Invisible Hand Episode 17: Interview with Rich N Famous of BYBBTY

July 18, 2010

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This episode of The Invisible Hand features my recent interview with Rich N Famous of BYBBTY (Because Your Body Belongs to You), a group that advocates for the right for individuals to profit from the sale of their own organs.

Also, here are some of the news stories included in this edition of the podcast:

  • On Thursday the Senate approved the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. Weighing in at over 1400 pages and 390,000 words, it is being called the most sweeping overhaul of the financial services industry since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It creates ten new regulatory agencies to oversee virtually every conceivable form of financial transaction, from derivatives trading on Wall Street to the fees associated with debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals. There will even be a new agency called the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protections, which will be part of the Federal Reserve.

    For all this, it is amazing to note that there are very few actual new policies in the bill. Rather it is mostly an enormous transfer of power from private industry, local governments, and the elected US Congress to unelected appointees at newly-created bureaucracies which will then be tasked with restructuring the US economy and creating new regulations for everyone to follow. According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House has issued a statement claiming that this will put a stop to bank bailouts, even though it is supported by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the three men who forced Congress to pass the bailouts in the first place.

    The paper quoted Paulson as saying, “The new tools in this legislation will help mitigate and manage the next financial crisis, which is inevitable, probably within the next six to 10 years.” This echoes the statement by Senator Christopher Dodd, reported by the Associated Press, that “It will take the next economic crisis, as certainly it will come, to determine whether or not the provisions of this bill will actually provide this generation or the next generation of regulators with the tools necessary to minimize the effects of that crisis.”

  • If a new financial crisis is to start in 6 years, it may come just as we finally begin to recover from the present crisis. That from the Federal Reserve, whose recently-released meeting minutes, according to the London Telegraph revealed that the central bank predicts the US will not regain its fiscal footing until 2016. The minutes indicate that the Fed will soon be massively inflating the money supply again in another desperate attempt to spark stimulus. News of this immediately sent the dollar plummeting against the pound and the euro. This also comes as a new sovereign debt credit rating agency based in China has downgraded the US rating from AAA to AA.
  • Does your butt look big? The government wants to know. CNS News reports that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has created a new federal regulation stating that the approximate body mass index (BMI) of every American shall be recorded and stored as part of their “electronic health record (EHR), which will be available to healthcare providers on a national exchange by 2014. The EHRs were created by a new law tucked into the economic stimulus bill signed by Barack Obama in 2009. The BMI will be calculated automatically after recording the person’s weight and height, and will be used by government, health industry workers, and insurance companies to determine if a person is overweight, and what diseases he or she might be prone to. The law stipulates that doctors and hospitals must use the new record system by 2014 or lose federal subsidies.
  • The National Guard has announced the creation of eight new “homeland response force units” to be established in 2012. An article from the American Forces Press Service states that this is part of a “restructuring of the nation’s chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive consequence management enterprise.” These units will be assigned to eight different interstate regions, and will be able to “cross state lines when needed” for “locating and extracting victims from a contaminated environment, performing mass patient/casualty decontamination, and providing medical treatment as necessary to stabilize patients for evacuation.”

  • A new article from the Global Post examines India’s policy of providing financial incentives for sterilization operations in an effort to meet the “Millennium Development Goals” set for them by the United Nations, which demands that India reduce its birth rate to 2 children per mother by 2015. Presently, a full 37% of India’s female population has undergone sterilization, and 1% of the male population has undergone vasectomies. Critics warn that the procedures are often done in unsanitary conditions, with many women dying during the operation, and that women who are sterilized early in life are at increased risk for gynecological health problems. Most of those targeted for sterilization are poor villagers, who are deemed too ignorant to use less dangerous temporary birth control solutions. Each operation is worth tens of thousands of rupees for all of the participants involved, including the doctors, the hospitals, and the patients. Advocates say that this policy is consensual and thus more ethical than the Indian government’s policy in the 1970s of forcing vasectomies on men with two or more children.

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