Thursday, February 27, 2014

This Woman Invented a Way to Run 30 Lab Tests on Only One Drop of Blood



Mathew Scott; Hair and makeup by Raina Antle

Phlebotomy. Even the word sounds archaic—and that’s nothing compared to the slow, expensive, and inefficient reality of drawing blood and having it tested. As a college sophomore, Elizabeth Holmes envisioned a way to reinvent old-fashioned phlebotomy and, in the process, usher in an era of comprehensive superfast diagnosis and preventive medicine. That was a decade ago. Holmes, now 30, dropped out of Stanford and founded a company called Theranos with her tuition money. Last fall it finally introduced its radical blood-testing service in a Walgreens pharmacy near the company headquarters in Palo Alto, California. (The plan is to roll out testing centers nationwide.) Instead of vials of blood—one for every test needed—Theranos requires only a pinprick and a drop of blood. With that they can perform hundreds of tests, from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated genetic analyses. The results are faster, more accurate, and far cheaper than conventional methods. The implications are mind-blowing. With inexpensive and easy access to the information running through their veins, people will have an unprecedented window on their own health. And a new generation of diagnostic tests could allow them to head off serious afflictions from cancer to diabetes to heart disease. None of this would work if Theranos hadn’t figured out how to make testing transparent and inexpensive. The company plans to charge less than 50 percent of the standard Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates. And unlike the rest of the testing industry, Theranos lists its prices on its website: blood typing, $2.05; cholesterol, $2.99; iron, $4.45. If all tests in the US were performed at those kinds of prices, the company says, it could save Medicare $98 billion and Medicaid $104 billion over the next decade.

What was your goal in starting a lab-testing company?


About your "right" to my service...

Renew America ^ | 2-26-14 | Dan Popp

Posted on ‎2014‎-‎02‎-‎26‎ ‎10‎:‎22‎:‎13‎ ‎PM by ReformationFan

Today the conservative talkers are jawing about the supposed "balance" between a person's right not to be discriminated against, and a business owner's rights of conscience. But the problem, you see, is that the first thing is not a right. I don't have a right to force people to like me. Or to hire me. Or to sell something to me.

Someone will say that I do indeed have those rights, as created by the Courts or the Congress or Eric Holder (Fleas Be Upon Him). But the government cannot create rights. Only God can grant rights. And a government that does not protect God-given rights (including and especially the right to property) is not a legitimate government.

Further, a government that does not follow the rules we set for it has no authority to make rules for us. The current regime will not even obey its own laws, much less the laws of God or the Constitution.

There is no "balance" between a "right to be served" and a right to do as I please with what is mine. As a boy I saw signs in diners and other establishments reading, "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone." I'm not sure what they were pre-empting. This was in the middle of farm country; there were no black people to exclude. I always assumed that the owners were giving notice to patrons who might disturb other customers with rowdy behavior. Or perhaps their in-laws. It was none of my business, so I never asked.

Would you say that obnoxious patrons have a "right" to be served? Or does the owner have the right to kick them out? What about drunks – must they be served more alcohol? After all, they have a "disease;" and we surely may not discriminate against sick people?!?

Even today I see signs reading, "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service." Doesn't this discriminate against the poor? And the overheated? Must my "right" to a reasonably sanitary dining environment be "balanced" against someone else's "right" to be served naked if he so demands? What if the would-be customer cannot pay? May the owner discriminate against him because he is "underprivileged?"

This is all nonsense.

Of course I have the right – even if I don't have permission from the lawless lawmakers – to discriminate against anyone for any reason, or no reason. Now that's usually a bad idea. I'm against it. But if a business owner does not have the right to hire and to serve whom he wishes, his enterprise is not really his. He has lost his freedom of association as well as his right of conscience and his property rights. Why? How did he lose those rights? Did he commit a crime?

Yes, he opened a business.

The issue is not your rights against his. The issue is one of imaginary, man-made, feel-good rights versus real rights. People who insist that one person has a right to compel another to serve him are properly called slavers. And slavers have always felt morally superior. The Civil War and the 13th Amendment didn't stop them; they're going to force you to work for them.

We want America to be an "inclusive" country, say the talk show hosts and guests. Well, of course. But we don't want it to be a police state, where people are mere puppets of the perverse and powerful.

Why is it that so few are outraged by government discrimination – against the rich, against conservatives, against business owners, against oil companies, against whomever doesn't pay a bribe to play the game – but so many are in a tizzy about private discrimination? Government discrimination is unlawful and evil. Private discrimination may be good (such as hiring your nephew), or bad, or neither. In any case, the coercive "cure" for private discrimination is violation of real rights.

This, and not a "balance" of real versus fake rights, should be the conservative argument.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Third Coldest Winter On Record So Far In The US

Sharply Over The Last 80 Years →


Posted on February 16, 2014 by stevengoddard

If February ended today, this would be the third coldest winter on record in the US, after 1979 and 1899.

ScreenHunter_70 Feb. 16 12.51

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bloomberg's latest stats on school gun violence ignore reality (Fox News)


By John Lott

Published February 17, 2014

Are schools and colleges dangerous places, with lots of gun violence?

Some groups paint a picture of these places being particularly unsafe. Supposedly both murders and firearm suicides are very common at educational institutions. Last Wednesday, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s two groups, Moms Demand Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, jointly released a report that received massive uncritical news coverage.

They claimed that 44 shootings occurred in schools and colleges nationwide since the Newtown, Conn. massacre on Dec. 14, 2012 and Feb. 10 of this year. Out of the 44 shootings, a total of 28 died. To dramatize their numbers, Bloomberg’s groups emphasized that one of these attacks occurred every 10 days.

But their statistics are not what they seem. Included in the numbers are suicides. Also included are late night shootings taking place in school parking lots, on their grounds or even off school property, often involving gangs. As “shootings,” they also include any incident where shots were fired, even when nobody was injured.

Look at some of the cases included in their misleading statistics:

A student at Eastern Florida State College retrieved his gun from his car when two men attacked him. One of the men was striking the student with a pool cue, and the student fired his gun wounding him. The gun was legally stored in the student’s car and the police found that he had acted in self-defense.

A 19-year-old was killed at 9pm in a field near the Hillside Elementary School in San Leandro, California.

A professor at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology committed suicide in an empty classroom.

A 23-year-old man committed suicide late at night on school grounds when no one was around the Algona High/Middle School in Iowa.

A 38-year-old man was shot to death at 2am on the grounds of the Clarksville, Tennessee High School.

A 19-year-old man committed suicide in the parking lot of a Portland, Maine high school. No one at the school was threatened.

The list goes on and on. Overall,

• About 40 percent of the deaths (11 out of 28) were suicides.

• Out of the 28 K-12 school shootings, at least four, possibly as many as eight, were gang shootings. Several of the college cases probably also involved gangs.

Indeed, gangs are a major problem. But they aren’t just a threat off school campuses. And some schools just happen to be located near dangerous areas, so the gang activity spills over to school grounds. Linking such violence to the Newtown tragedy is highly misleading.

Also, some perspective is needed. Contrary to what many people believe, high school shootings have actually been falling over the last two decades. To illustrate this let’s compare the five school years 1992-93 to 1996-97 with the five school years from 2008-09 to 2012-13. During the first period, the number of non-gang, non-suicide shooting deaths averaged 25 a year. During the recent five-year period, it averaged less than half that, 10 per year – and that figure does include the horrific Newtown massacre.

To put these numbers in perspective, there are about 50 million young people between the ages of 6 and 17. Another 21 million people are enrolled in colleges.

One of the motivations behind the report put out by the gun control groups was that the media was ignoring these so-called “mini-Newtowns.” Yet, all of these cases received extensive coverage. A gun at a school (or even near a school) is considered newsworthy. For example, USA Today ran at least one story on 24 of these cases.

Scaring Americans may be Bloomberg’s only tool for drumming up support for gun control laws. But it ultimately shows how little faith that gun control advocates have in their case.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dependency, Not Poverty ^ | February 12, 2014 | Walter E. Williams

Posted on ‎2014‎-‎02‎-‎12‎ ‎8‎:‎07‎:‎46‎ ‎AM by Kaslin

There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study "Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor" (, report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent, and among whites it's 30 percent. A statistic that one doesn't hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8 percent. For married white families, it's 5 percent. Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data "going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery ... showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940"? Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault. If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married couple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000. The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four, it's $23,000. By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the "need" to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, "you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what's left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you're still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation" ( Today's total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

There's very little guts in the political arena to address the basic causes of poverty. To do so risks being labeled as racist, sexist, uncaring and insensitive. That means today's dependency is likely to become permanent.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What Happened The Last Time The Unemployment Rate Dropped This Much


Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/08/2014 16:08 -0500

One of the biggest accomplishments of the president, in his own words, is managing to push the official (U-3) unemployment rate, from its post-Lehman high of 10% hit in October 2009 to only 6.6% as of January 2014 as Friday's jobs report revealed. This rapid drop in unemployment - call it the "Obama Recovery" - caught none other than the Fed completely unaware, whose 6.5% unemployment rate tightening threshold is now in tatters, as it the credibility of the Fed's forward guidance as the Fed will have no choice but to scrap all unemployment QE ending, rate hiking "thresholds" at its next FOMC meeting.

So what happened to the unemployment rate that it dropped so fast it surprised and embarrassed even the "venerable" Federal Reserve, which had initially expected a 6.5% unemployment rate some time in 2015. To get the answer we go back in time to the last (and only previous) time when the US unemployment rate dropped from roughly 10%, which was in June 1983, to 6.6%, which took place three and half years later, in December 1986 - let's call it the "Reagan Recovery" in short.

Here is how the old normal compares to the "New Normal."

  • US unemployment dropped from 10.1% to 6.6% between June 1983 and December 1986: an interval of 43 months.
  • US unemployment dropped from 10.0% to 6.6% between October 2009 and January 2014: an interval of 52 months.

So far so good: one can expect the "Obama Recovery" from the Great Financial Crisis to take a little bit longer than "Reagan's."

But what about the internals. This is where things start getting weird.

First, we look at the number of actual jobs added (according to the Establishment survey) from the 10% point at the peak to the 6.6% at the bottom. What we find is that despite the US workforce being over 30% larger today than it was 28 years ago, it took far less actual jobs created to drop the unemployment rate by 3.4%. Specifically, while the "Reagan Recovery" resulted in the creation of 10.5 million jobs, the "Obama Recovery" achieved the same low unemployment rate with only 7.5 million jobs added.

The difference between the Old and New Normal is even more acute when one looks at the change in average monthly job gains over the "recovery" period: as noted, in 1986 the duration of the rate drop period was 43 months, where currently it has taken 52 months. This means that the Obama recovery has resulted in just 145K job additions on average per month while the unemployment rate has dipped from 10.0% to 6.6%, compared to the far more impressive 244K - and indicative of a real recovery - that marked the 1983-1986 period.

However, nowhere is the distinction more acute when comparing the two "recoveries", then when one looks at the underlying population and labor force trends.

First, here is what a normal recovery looks like: during the Reagan Years, the Civilian, Non-institutional population - or the total number of Americans eligible for work whether they are part of the labor force or not - increased by 7.4 million, while the labor force increased by 6.7 million - as close to a linear relationship as possible, and also a correlation which any rational person would expect.

So how about the Obama recovery: well, we find that between October 2009 and January 2014, the civilian, non-institutional population rose by 10.4 million, to be expected considering the far greater general population of the US - it is also a number which, on average, increases by about 230K or so every month. So what about the labor force? It is here that things get zany (as we predicted they would many years ago), because it is here that the Obama Recovery has somehow only managed to add a paltry 1.7 million people to the workforce: from 153.8 million to 155.5 million!

Of course, the above unleashes the avalanche of "demographic" excuses which we have all grown to know and laugh at, because when economists can't explain something, they promptly fall back to patently false "justifications" - recall that as we explained the collapse in the labor force has very little to do with demographics, something which the BLS itself thought as recently as 2004 when it projected a rising labor force participation into the coming years only to readjust it lower in the coming years.

The real reason for this ongoing collapse in the labor force, is the same that the CBO used to explain why - in politically correct terms - Obamacare will adversely impact the labor force over the next decade: Americans will have to earn less to get full coverage, or said otherwise, they are less incentivized to work more. This is precisely the US welfare state at work, and when one extends the Obamacare "rationale" one sees that the administration's core goal is to make increasingly more people reliant on handouts than on labor, as we explained in "When Work Is Punished: The Tragedy Of America's Welfare State" in which we showed why "for increasingly more in America, it is more lucrative to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work" as can be seen in the "welfare cliff" charts below (source).

Alas, that is the real reason why the labor force collapse continues and will continue even as America enters its next recession. Or depression.

So what happens when one renormalizes the unemployment rate calculation and uses a 30 year average labor force participation rate as a constant instead of a variable to be plugged by the BLS to goalseek a desired result? This happens:

What the chart above shows is that the "real" unemployment rate in October 2009 was 11.2%. Where is it now? 11.1%.

And there is your "Obama Recovery", when stripped of all the fancy veneer and TOTUSed propaganda, right there.



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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Why We Lost The War On Poverty ^ | February 8, 2014 | John C. Goodman

Posted on ‎2‎/‎8‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎36‎:‎44‎ ‎AM by Kaslin

Take a look at the graph below. From the end of World War II until 1964 the poverty rate in this country was cut in half. Further, 94% of the change in the poverty rate over this period can be explained by changes in per capita income alone. Economic growth is clearly the most effective antipoverty weapon ever devised by man.

The dotted line shows what would have happened had this trend continued. Economic growth would have reduced the number in poverty to a mere 1.4% of the population today ? a number so low that private charity could probably have taken care of any unmet needs.

But we didn't continue the trend. In 1965 we launched a War on Poverty. And as the graph shows, in the years that followed the portion of Americans living in poverty barely budged. In 1965, 18% of the population lived in poverty. Today we are at 15%, or 50 million Americans. That's after spending $15 trillion on antipoverty programs and continuing to spend $1 trillion a year.

 photo graph_zps0fa1646a.png

Now here is something you may not know. Early on ? in the first decade of our 50-year experiment with an expanded welfare state ? carefully controlled experiments funded by the federal government established without question that welfare changes behavior. It leads to the very behavioral changes that keep people in a state of poverty and dependency. Think about that. Any serious social science debate about the effects of welfare on the behavior of the recipients was resolved four decades ago!

We now know a lot about how behavior affects poverty. In fact, if you do these four things, it's almost impossible to remain poor:

1. Finish high school,

2. Get a job,

3. Get married, and

4. Don't have children until you get married.

So how does welfare affect behavior? In the late 1960s the federal government sought to find that out in what Charles Murray calls "the most ambitious social science experiment in history."

The experiments were all conducted by social scientists who believed in the welfare state and had no doubt about its capacity to be successful. In other words, they were confident of the answers before the experiments ever began. Their goal was to prove that popular wisdom was all wrong ? that welfare would not cause people to reduce their work effort, to get married less often, divorce more quickly or engage in other dysfunctional behavior.

The experiments were all controlled. Randomly selected people were assigned to a "control group" and an "experimental group." The latter received a guaranteed income, and the program even used Milton Friedman's term for it: a negative income tax. The largest, longest and best-evaluated of these experiments was SIME/DIME (Seattle Income Maintenance Experiment/Denver Income Maintenance Experiment) in Seattle and Denver. And the results were not pretty. To the dismay of the researchers, they largely confirmed what conventional wisdom had thought all along. As I reported in "Privatizing the Welfare State":

· The number of hours worked dropped 9% for husbands and 20% for wives, relative to the control group. For young male adults it dropped 43% more.

· The length of unemployment increased 27% among husbands and 42% for wives, relative to the control group. For single female heads of households it increased 60% more.

· Divorce increased 36% more among whites and 42% more among blacks. (In a New Jersey experiment, the divorce rate was 84% higher among Hispanics.)

BTW, these results have been studied and studied over and over again and there is a large literature on them ? almost all of it written by researchers who detested the outcomes. Good summaries are provided by Charles Murray and Martin Anderson.

Both authors point out that the results are even worse than they at first appear. For one thing, the "control group" had access to conventional welfare available in the 60s and 70s. So this was by no means a pure (welfare free) control group. Also the enrollees were given different instructions about how long they could expect their guaranteed income to last. It turns out that the longer the guarantee, the worse the negative effects.

So far as I can tell there was no marriage penalty in these experiments ? certainly nothing like we have today ? and little or no penalty for earning a higher income. With the passage of time all these incentives have become increasingly more perverse. For example, over the past 50 years we have added one marriage penalty after another to welfare benefits. There is a very strong marriage penalty in ObamaCare, for example. And even Paul Krugman concedes that the marginal tax rate faced by low-income families is in excess of 80% today. (It actually goes above 100% in many cases.) And ObamaCare will make the penalty for working and earning even higher.

So here is the important public policy question: If it is well established that self-sufficiency is closely related to working and being married why are we "fighting poverty" by doing things that social scientists have known for decades lead to less work and fewer marriages?

And here is a public discourse question: why are New York Times columnists Paul Krugman and Nicholas Kristof declaring the War on Poverty a success when it is so obviously a failure? Both columnists claim that if we count goods-in-kind (Food Stamps, housing, Medicaid, etc.), the actual poverty rate would be lower by one-third. Of course, if we give people enough stuff and count it as income, we could declare victory and claim that there is no more poverty.

Dylan Matthews makes much the same point that Krugman and Kristof make. After citing a Columbia University study on the different ways of measuring poverty, he zeroes in on the key point (how much difference does government make?) and says this:

…[T]he most noticeable trend here is that the gap between before-government and after-government poverty just keeps growing. In fact, without government programs, poverty would have actually increased over the period in question. Government action is literally the only reason we have less poverty in 2012 than we did in 1967.

Reviewing some of the early literature, I find it very difficult to determine what Lyndon Johnson would have called "success" in the war on poverty. But there is no doubt in my mind what the average citizen thinks success is. The goal is to have people earning enough and saving enough to support themselves above a poverty level income without any help from government.

So by that measure, there has been no progress at all ? despite spending $1 trillion a year on the effort.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Press for a ‘Climate Scientist Who Got It Right’ (

Press for a ‘Climate Scientist Who Got It Right’

Posted on February 5, 2014 by Anthony Watts

( – Dr. Don Easterbrook – a climate scientist and glacier expert from Washington State who correctly predicted back in 2000 that the Earth was entering a cooling phase – says to expect colder temperatures for at least the next two decades.

Easterbrook’s predictions were “right on the money” seven years before Al Gore and the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for warning that the Earth was facing catastrophic warming caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide, which Gore called a “planetary emergency.”

“When we check their projections against what actually happened in that time interval, they’re not even close. They’re off by a full degree in one decade, which is huge. That’s more than the entire amount of warming we’ve had in the past century. So their models have failed just miserably, nowhere near close. And maybe it’s luck, who knows, but mine have been right on the button,” Easterbrook told

“For the next 20 years, I predict global cooling of about 3/10ths of a degree Fahrenheit, as opposed to the one-degree warming predicted by the IPCC,” said Easterbrook, professor emeritus of geology at Western Washington University and  author of 150 scientific journal articles and 10 books, including “Evidence Based Climate Science,” which was published in 2011. (See EasterbrookL coming-century-predictions.pdf)

In contrast, Gore and the IPCC’s computer models predicted “a big increase” in global warming by as much as one degree per decade. But the climate models used by the IPCC have proved to be wrong, with many places in Europe and North America now experiencing record-breaking cold.

Easterbrook noted that his 20-year prediction was the “mildest” one of four possible scenarios, all of which involve lower temperatures, and added that only time will tell whether the Earth continues to cool slightly or plunges into another Little Ice Age as it did between 1650 and 1790.

On the PDO:

“What I did was I projected this same pattern forward to see what it would look like. And so in 1999, which was the year after the second warmest year on record, the PDO said we’re due for a climate change, and so I said okay. It looks as though we’re going to be entering a period of about three decades or so of global cooling.

“And so in 2000, I published a paper with the Geological Society of America in which I predicted that we were going to stop warming and begin cooling for about 25 or 30 years, on the basis of taking the temperature records that go back a century or more and simply repeating the pattern of warming and cooling, warming and cooling, and so on.


(Top) PDO fluctuations and projections to 2040 based on past PDO history.

- See more at:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Greenfield: You Can't Save the World

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog ^ | Monday, February 03, 2014 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on ‎2‎/‎3‎/‎2014‎ ‎7‎:‎35‎:‎34‎ ‎AM by Louis Foxwell

Monday, February 03, 2014

You Can't Save the World

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

For only ten dollars a day, a week or a month you can feed starving children in Africa. For only the price of a cup of coffee a year, you can make sure that no one in Kansas City ever goes hungry again. For just a third of your paycheck, you can subsidize a vast bureaucracy that will conduct studies on the best way to save the world and then come up with proposals that will only cost you half your paycheck.
This misplaced philanthropic confidence is the idiot stepchild of life in a free enterprise society where anything can be accomplished for the right price. Do you want to build a house on the edge of a cliff so that the waves crash under your window? Do you want to play on every golf course in the world? Do you want to clone a dinosaur so you can hunt it?
It hasn't been done yet, but it's probably doable.
So why can't we end world hunger for only the price of a cup of coffee every six seconds or forty percent of the national debt or some other appealing figure that looks good on an infographic?
Hunger isn't a resource shortage problem. That seems implausible to free worlders who think that hunger is what happens when they can't find a fast food place open late at night or are on a diet.
The Soviet dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich told an American cab driver about meat rationing in the USSR. The cab driver refused to believe him and demanded to know why people didn’t just set up more chicken farms.  Voinovich tried to explain to the incredulous driver that under Socialism, setting up more chicken farms doesn’t produce more chickens.
The USSR had plenty of land, labor and experts. It went from exporting wheat to importing wheat despite throwing everything it had into agriculture because there was a disconnect at every level in the process of planning and production.  Like a sack race with three hundred legs in one sack, the harder the USSR tried to increase yields and production, the worse they became.
Sending the USSR food, as the United States repeatedly did from its early years when Hoover fought famine with an army of aid workers to its waning days when the Evil Empire went deep into debt buying American wheat, didn't solve anything. Soviet attempts at copying American successes in agriculture actually backfired leading to worse disasters. The only solution to the USSR's agriculture problems came with the collapse of Soviet feudalism whose central planning had created the meat shortages and bread shortages.
Most "hungry" countries aren't Communist, but they are dysfunctional. They aren't going to be fixed for the price of a cup of coffee a day or an hour or a second. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been poured into Africa and it's the opinion of African economic experts that the money did more harm than good by crippling developing economies with a weak global social safety net.
Every "free" item sent to another country is one item that isn't going to be sold or manufactured there. An aid economy works a lot like a regular economy except that it can't sustain domestic production or domestic experts. Its doctors are trained by Western countries and stay there instead of going back home. Their place is taken by Western professionals who enjoy the feeling of satisfaction and the philanthropic credentials of helping out in an exotic country for a few weeks a year. The same is often true for teachers and any other role that Western aid tourists cheerfully show up to fill.
An aid economy is planned, instead of responsive, and so it depresses local production without fully satisfying local demand leaving the population in a state of semi-deprivation. And the aid never properly reaches the people who need it because of the monopolies and corruption that caused the deprivation that made the aid necessary. This cycle of corruption feeds an aid economy by knocking out the middle class who might otherwise step into the roles of merchants and professionals and rewards anyone with enough guns to hijack the aid and shake down the charities that distribute it.
Trying to save Africa for the cost of a cup of coffee a day has made it a much worse place. And that's as true of the United States as it is of Africa.

Domestic warlords don't have child soldiers who drive around with machine guns on pickup trucks. Instead they wear suits, they coordinate with community organizers and they clamor for more money for broken inner city neighborhoods so they can siphon it off. There are parts of the United States that are just as broken as any Third World country because they run on the same aid economy that rewards political warlords and discourages independence and initiative.
Every year, activists and politicians announce that for only twenty billion or two hundred billion we can end world hunger, educate every child or give every family their own cow. These proposals all apply the free enterprise logic of solving a problem by 'buying' a solution. But you can't buy solutions to human problems the way that you can solve engineering problems by building a house on the edge of a cliff. People have to become their own solutions. Buying a solution for them won't work.
And even if it could work, it wouldn't work on that scale. Helping people isn't like building cars and aid isn't mass production. Throwing more money and people at the problem only makes it that much harder to solve.
Buying a homeless man a sandwich for two dollars is a direct investment of resources. Appropriating twenty billion dollars to feed a sandwich to every homeless man in America will feed sandwiches to a small percentage of the homeless at a cost of four thousand dollars a sandwich.
This is where the comfort zone of a industrial society where everyone is used to the benefits of mass production leads idealists astray. Socialists treated the factory as a metaphor for human society with experts planning everything from health care to leisure entertainments for productive output. But human society isn't a factory. A factory is where people agree to work in order to earn money for the things that they care about. Once work becomes non-consensual, production drops off, as it did in the USSR, and when all of life has the flavor of a factory, the motivation to do anything disappears.
The linear progression of a factory's tasks are at odds with the complex range of motives of the actors in human society and the human variables make every link in the chain of planning less efficient. It's easy to buy a homeless man a sandwich, but once you try to buy sandwiches for millions of homeless men, the sandwich money is eaten up by the expenses of planning how to identify the homeless men, what kind of sandwiches they would like, studies on marketing sandwiches to homeless men over social media, the costs of diversity training for the sandwich makers and a million other things.
Every lofty aid goal begins with a big number and bleeds down to the prosaic reality that the goal will never be met, but that everyone involved will be told to feel good about themselves for trying. The bigger the goal, the bigger the administrative overhead, the corruption and the inefficiency. Instead of scaling up results by scaling up funds, more money and more people lead to fewer individual results.
The aid economy of the underprivileged is the smaller half of the overall aid economy. The biggest piece of the aid economy is in the hands of the aid organizations that profit from an unsolvable problem that, all their fundraising brochures to the contrary, they have no interest in solving because it would remove their reason for existing. Africa's misery is their wealth. The worse Africa becomes, the more incentive the easily empathetic and the guilty of the West will have to pour money into their latest cause to buy everyone in Africa a goat, a laptop or a sandwich.
It's the old Soviet problem. The producers have no interest in producing anything. The aid recipients, distributors and providers have achieved a dysfunctional equilibrium. The system is broken, but everyone has learned their roles within the broken system. If the system changes, they will all have to get jobs. It was that inertia which kept the USSR going long after its leaders stopped caring about the ravings of Marx, Lenin and Stalin. It took the energy of a younger generation that had yet to become invested in the system to topple it and it is the older generation that is most likely to march with portraits of Communist leaders and kiss them for the cameras.
You can buy a homeless man a sandwich, but you can't buy them all sandwiches because once you do that, you are no longer engaging in a personal interaction, but building an organization and the organization perpetuates itself. You don't need a homeless man to exist so that you can buy him a sandwich, but once an agency exists that is tasked with buying homeless men sandwiches, it needs the homeless men to exist as 'clients' so that it can buy them sandwiches and buy itself steak dinners.
In aid economies, the scale of the problem grows slightly faster than the amount of aid and activists hold out the tempting promise that by increasing spending to stay ahead of the problem, it can be solved completely. All it would take is for everyone to become engaged and care. That isn't a plan, it's a pat on the back for the people who do care and an incentive to show their moral superiority by continuing to throw good money after bad into the aid economy.
The West can't fix Africa no matter how much of the price of a cup of coffee it donates. By attempting to fix it,  Africa and the West become entangled in each other's problems, each worsening the problems of the other instead of solving them.
No one can save Africa except Africans. No one can fix Detroit except the majority of the people who live there. Social problems aren't solved by nationalizing them or internationalizing them. They aren't solved by engaging and guilt tripping those who have already solved those problems and live thousands of miles away but by engaging the people who live right there and are part of the problem.
If a man is drowning, you can toss him a rope. But if a man jumps into the water, tossing him a rope doesn't accomplish anything. A physical problem can be solved by applying the right resources, but a human problem can't be solved except when the affected humans change their attitudes or behaviors.
Trying to solve a problem rooted in behavior with monetary rewards only perpetuates that behavior. Instead of saving the world, throwing money at it destroys it instead.