Friday, June 12, 2015

Why medical reasons should be the only exemptions from vaccinations

I don't always agree with the AMA but I do on this one -- even though it grinds my gears as a libertarian. The plain fact is that you do harm others by not using important vaccinations.  "Herd immunity" is the only protection newborns have in many instances and for me there is no higher priority than protection of the newborn. To think otherwise is very near to being less than human, as far as I can tell.  We were all newborns once and survived thanks to others so we need to pass that on

As the debate around vaccinations continues to rage in the public, outbreaks of dangerous preventable diseases have continued to increase. For public health experts, the question has become, “Should individuals be given exemptions from required immunizations for non-medical reasons?” Physicians provided some answers with policy passed at the 2015 AMA Annual Meeting.

Immunization programs in the Unites States are credited with having controlled or eliminated the spread of epidemic diseases, including smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and polio. Immunization requirements vary from state to state, but only two states bar non-medical exemptions based on personal beliefs.

“When people are immunized they also help prevent the spread of disease to others," AMA Board of Trustees Member Patrice A. Harris, MD, said in a news release. “As evident from the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland, protecting community health in today’s mobile society requires that policymakers not permit individuals from opting out of immunization solely as a matter of personal preference or convenience.”

Policies adopted at the meeting call for immunization of the population—absent a medical reason for not being vaccinated—because disease exposure, importation, infections and outbreaks can occur without warning in communities, particularly those that do not have high rates of immunization. That begins with health care professionals involved in direct patient care, who have an obligation to accept vaccinations to prevent the spread of infectious disease and ensure the availability of the medical workforce.

Other policies include:

* Supporting the development and evaluation of educational efforts, based on scientific evidence and in collaboration with health care providers, that support parents who want to help educate and encourage their peers who are reluctant to vaccinate their children

* Disseminating materials about the effectiveness of vaccines to states

* Encouraging states to eliminate philosophical and religious exemptions from state immunization requirements

* Recommending that states have an established decision mechanism that involves qualified public health physicians to determine which vaccines will be mandatory for admission to school and other identified public venues

These policies aim to minimize the risk of outbreaks and protect vulnerable individuals from acquiring preventable but serious diseases.



The Left’s Central Delusion

by Thomas Sowell

Its devotion to central planning has endured from the French Revolution to Obamacare

The fundamental problem of the political Left seems to be that the real world does not fit their preconceptions. Therefore they see the real world as what is wrong, and what needs to be changed, since apparently their preconceptions cannot be wrong.

A never-ending source of grievances for the Left is the fact that some groups are “over-represented” in desirable occupations, institutions, and income brackets, while other groups are “under-represented.” From all the indignation and outrage about this expressed on the left, you might think that it was impossible that different groups are simply better at different things.

Yet runners from Kenya continue to win a disproportionate share of marathons in the United States, and children whose parents or grandparents came from India have won most of the American spelling bees in the past 15 years.

And has anyone failed to notice that the leading professional basketball players have for years been black, in a country where most of the population is white? Most of the leading photographic lenses in the world have — for generations — been designed by people who were either Japanese or German.

Most of the leading diamond-cutters in the world have been either India’s Jains or Jews from Israel or elsewhere.

Not only people but things have been grossly unequal. More than two-thirds of all the tornadoes in the entire world occur in the middle of the United States. Asia has more than 70 mountain peaks that are higher than 20,000 feet and Africa has none. Is it news that a disproportionate share of all the oil in the world is in the Middle East?

Whole books could be filled with the unequal behavior or performances of people, or the unequal geographic settings in which whole races, nations, and civilizations have developed. Yet the preconceptions of the political Left march on undaunted, loudly proclaiming sinister reasons why outcomes are not equal within nations or between nations.

All this moral melodrama has served as a background for the political agenda of the Left, which has claimed to be able to lift the poor out of poverty, and in general make the world a better place. This claim has been made for centuries and in countries around the world. And it has failed for centuries in countries around the world.

Some of the most sweeping and spectacular rhetoric of the Left occurred in 18th-century France, where the very concept of the Left originated in the fact that people with certain views sat on the left side of the National Assembly.

The French Revolution was their chance to show what they could do when they got the power they sought. In contrast to what they promised — “liberty, equality, fraternity” — what they actually produced were food shortages, mob violence, and dictatorial powers that included arbitrary executions, extending even to their own leaders, such as Robespierre, who died under the guillotine.

In the 20th century, the most sweeping vision of the Left — Communism — spread over vast regions of the world and encompassed well over a billion human beings. Of these, millions died of starvation in the Soviet Union under Stalin and tens of millions in China under Mao.

Milder versions of socialism, with central planning of national economies, took root in India and in various European democracies. If the preconceptions of the Left were correct, central planning by educated elites who had vast amounts of statistical data at their fingertips and expertise readily available, and were backed by the power of government, should have been more successful than market economies where millions of individuals pursued their own individual interests willy-nilly.

But, by the end of the 20th century, even socialist and communist governments began abandoning central planning and allowing more market competition.

Yet this quiet capitulation to inescapable realities did not end the noisy claims of the Left. In the United States, those claims and policies have reached new heights, epitomized by government takeovers of whole sectors of the economy and unprecedented intrusions into the lives of Americans, of which Obamacare has been only the most obvious example.



The Myth of the Idle Rich

President Obama recently acknowledged what every sane person knows to be true: The best anti-poverty program is a job. Mr. Obama said this at a recent conference on poverty.

But he continues to repeat a falsehood over and over. This is the claim that the poor work just as hard as the rich do. Well, yes, many people in poor households heroically work very hard at low wages to take care of their families. No doubt about that. Yet the average poor family doesn’t work nearly as much as the rich families do. And that’s a key reason why these households are poor.

The most recent Census Bureau data on household incomes document the importance of work. Census sorts the households by income quintile, and we will label those in the highest quintile as “rich,” and those in the lowest quintile as “poor.” The average household in the top 20 percent of income have an average of almost exactly two full-time workers. The average poor family (bottom 20 percent) has just 0.4 workers (see chart). This means on average, roughly for every hour worked by those in a poor household, those in a rich household work five hours. The idea that the rich are idle bondholders who play golf or go to the spa every day while the poor toil isn’t accurate.

The finding that six out 10 poor households have no one working at all is disturbing. Since they have no income from work, is it a surprise they are poor?

As for rich households, 75 percent have two or more workers. For the poor households, that percent is less than 5 percent.

Of course, hours worked doesn’t account for all or even most of the gap between rich and poor. But it does account for some of it. One of the more pernicious concepts is the notion of “dead-end jobs.” No, the surefire economic dead end is no job at all. There’s no climbing the economic ladder if you’re not even on the first rung.

Marriage is also a very good anti-poverty program. Married couples are almost five times more likely to be in the highest income quintile (33 percent) than in the lowest quintile (7 percent).

Without a father in the home, there is usually at most one full-time worker. Married couples are more economically successful for many reasons, not least of which is that they can and often do have two people working and bringing in a paycheck. So divorce and out-of-wedlock births have a lot to do with the income inequality. Budget expert Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institute found that if marriage rates were as high today as they were in 1970, about 20 percent of child poverty would be gone. What is worrisome is that a record 47 percent of Americans aged 25 to 34 have never married.

What is to be learned from all of this income data? First, one of the best ways to reduce poverty is to get people in low-income households working — and hopefully 40 hours a week. By the way, one reason raising the minimum wage won’t help lower poverty much is that it will help far fewer than half of the poor who have no job at all. And if it destroys jobs at the bottom of the skills ladder, it may lead to fewer people working and exacerbate poverty.

This data also reinforce the case for strict work requirements for all welfare benefit programs. When welfare takes the place of work it actually contributes to long-term poverty. It isn’t cold-hearted to be in favor of work programs. It is providing a GPS system to help the poor find a way out of poverty.

Finally, getting married before having kids is a great way to avoid falling into the poverty trap.

Yes, there are way too many working poor in America, and that problem needs to be addressed by programs like the earned income tax credit that supplement low-income wages. But there are way too many non-working poor in America. That’s a problem liberals seem to want to do nothing about.



Main Street Overlooked by Elites

We still are a country of everymen (and women), but disruptive economic change and bipolar politics have shifted us away from doers and toward intellectuals at an alarming clip in the past two decades. That shift escalated to a frenzy in the past eight years.

The "us and them" gap has escalated general mistrust; it has isolated our society's doers and makers from those who hold wealth and power.

This isn't just about politics anymore; it is about values. Our nation is at odds with the intellectual elite in wealthy, urban and academic enclaves, who now control the engines of industry. To the rest of us, those engines are not robust machines; they're like little red tricycles.

The evidence could not have been clearer than when the Labor Department reported Friday that our unemployment rate went up and our hourly wages rose only 0.3 percent in the private sector.

It was a blunt reminder to Wall Street and the White House that their message of brisk national economic momentum rings hollow to the rest of us.

We've all known for a long time that this economy - built on apps (which might employ three people), "green" jobs (they don't exist, people), social sustainability (still don't know what that does), and trying to build a middle class by forcing companies to pay $15 an hour - is a house of cards.

We used to make stuff in this country, too. But that has been driven overseas by union and corporate greed or by the environmental elites.

There's a reason that, last week, much of America was transfixed by a 60-year-old woman, glammed up to look like a 35-year-old woman, who once was a man and the world's greatest athlete. It's the same reason we are obsessed with loving or hating the entire Kardashian family: We want a distraction from how bad things are - the economic uncertainty in our lives and communities, the terrifying instability seen not only in the Middle East but in many of our own black communities.

Not one person currently running for president is addressing the majority of Americans who want to know just who is going to lead all of us forward, the haves as well as the have-nots.

We don't want another president who divides us even further. We want someone who will take us - together - to a better place in order to tap into our country's greatest resource, which has always been our people.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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