If Sue Lowden becomes Nevada's next senator ...
... then it's time to stop following politics. Her remark that people should barter with doctors for services - which she has repeatedly defended - shows that she not a serious candidate for any national office. (ref 1
UPDATE: The Economist blogs
on this story:
It's not clear how far Ms Lowden wants to take this idea of widening the barter economy, but it could have far-reaching ramifications, not just for health-care reform but for financial-sector reform as well. For example, payment in kind would eliminate many of the risky innovations that led to the financial crisis. It would be virtually impossible to structure a chicken-based CDO; sure, you could find buyers for the breast tranche easily enough, but who would take all those necks and feet? Leverage rules become much less necessary when you can only hedge with items that actually exist; it's hard to imagine the notional value of chicken-based hedges greatly exceeding the number of actual chickens on the planet. And all this could be accomplished without any new taxes.
That said, I don't think this paper can come out in support of a sharp move towards reliance on a barter economy. The consensus weighs firmly in favour of the view that the existence of money has been good for the economy.
With bartering, the chickens can come home to roost with the IRS's tax share of these taxable transactions. Sue Lowden has egg on her face with her scrambling economics. Can we expect the doctors to have a lot of pluck with this?
Sure she's figured that the chicken barter system will work fine; but has she thought of the consequences of us all dying from bird flu? The horror.