Assorted Links (9/3/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Economics

New York Times: “Slim and sleek as it is, the iPhone is really the Hummer of cellphones… Owners of the iPhone 3GS, the newest model, ‘have probably increased their usage by about 100 percent… It’s faster so they are using it more on a daily basis.’”  The iPhone certainly provides an interesting case study concerning the adverse consequences of limited network capacity bandwidth combined with the use of a flat-rate (as opposed to metered) pricing scheme.

Health Care Reform

Dr. Marron asks the following questions: “What are the ‘specific, feasible steps’ that policymakers could use to reduce the growth of health spending? In short, how can we bend the curve?” His answer (based upon references to a recently published Brookings study, contributions by Andrew Samwick and Keith Hennessey, and his own analysis) is “…a private insurance market in which essentially everyone is covered and insurance companies compete on cost and quality, but not selection.

The Economist argues against a so-called “public option” and in favor of tort reform and altering regulation and the tax code as strategies for lowering health care costs.  I recently made similar points in my own blog entry entitled “My preferred approach for reforming health care”.

The American (Journal of the American Enterprise Institute): The argument that we spend too much on healthcare makes little sense, and the current ‘spend too much’ panic will prompt us to cut costs at the expense of the future.

Miscellaneous

The “Numbers Guy” at the Wall Street Journal “…examines the way numbers are used, and abused.”  Today’s column reveals a very interesting voting theory conundrum related to a decision made recently by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to double the number of best-picture nominees from 5 to 10.