Kristof offers that Costa Rica ranks highest among the happiest countries in the world. The beautiful coasts may have something to do with this. Also, Costa Rica in 1949 disbanded their army and started devoting money to education.
Costa Ricans rank high on any of the methods employed to measure such variables as happiness. See Kristof’s editorial here.
Honestly, if I had to choose between spending next week in Kansas or Costa Rica, I don’t believe the decision would be at all difficult for me.
18 responses to “Costa Rica: The Land of Contented Citizens…”
With the temp sitting at 2 degrees in Wichita this morning, Costa Rica sounds pretty good right now.
Oprah did a show yesterday on all the “happiest people in the world”. One thing they all shared was universal, single payer health care. From Denmark to Dubai to Rio, they all asked Oprah “how can your country not want to take care of the sick, the unemployed, the old?”
Damn good question, no?
The other thing Demark’s folks said was that their country was happy because they had the narrowest gap between rich and poor.
And Demark, the happiest country in the world, is also the world’s least religious.
You know I have to say it.
WHY cant Amerians get a clue?
Americans, for the most part, are very arrogant people. And, perhaps alot of hypocrits running around?
How many times have we heard that we are a Christian nation – when it is quite clear in the Constitution that freedom of religion is guaranteed.
To me, freedom of religion also means freedom from religion – if that is what one chooses.
Alot of Americans cannot wrap their heads around that concept either.
Well, isn’t that a nice coincidence? I just took my parents to the airport yesterday. They were taking a plane to Costa Rica. At least I know now that they’re probably happier.
Plus, it’s probably not infinity-below-zero down there. That probably helps.
“One thing they all shared was universal, single payer health care.”
Our healthcare system came about right after WWII. How we ever decided that employeers should provide healthcare insurance is just beyond me. Something that cons refuse to discuss is the impact this has on global competition. Wouldn’t American business be a lot more competitive if they didn’t have this expense? How do we expect GM to compete with Hundai when healthcare costs add $1500-$2000 to the cost of a GM auto?
Some people cannot see the big picture.
And, perhaps, because if it is employer provided then more companies will get those lovely subsidies from that ‘evil’ government?
Republicans don’t like welfare and/or socialism but they have absolutely no problem with their business buddies taking taxpayer money for anything and everything they whine about.
It all depends on who is receiving that taxpayer money. Republican = good. Democrat = bad.
Although I agree with everything you’ve said, I wonder if you’ve forgotten that cons (who seem to be afraid of everything nowadays!) fear that someone / anyone will get something they don’t deserve! At least if health-care insurance comes from employers they still feel in control of who is and isn’t ‘deserving.’
And, ya know, they know who is deserving!
Fnord, you need to take a look at the anti-discrimination rules in the current ERISA and tax law; their ability to “choose” is not unlimited, if there is a desire to maximize the income tax deduction for such payments. Yes, there may be classification; but there are restrictions on highly-compensated individuals’ benefits, etc. Too complex a subject to develop fully here.
The whole employer provided health insurance system came about during WWII, as memory serves. There were salary caps in place, and it was determined that under the various laws that existed then, the provision of medical insurance to certain officer-employees provided an additional benefit that did not violate the freeze. Subsequent to WWII, the benefit slowly expanded to what it is now, due to union contract negotiations, tax law provisions, etc.
The negative impact of the current U.S. system on international competitiveness of American businesses and its products cannot be denied. However, as it has been woven into our social fabric so tightly, there are many forces in opposition to any changes suggested or proposed.
I’ve always felt that to provide an exclusion from income for tax purposes as to the amount of premiums paid on behalf of the employee by the employer as is the current law is wrong. That’s not going to change any time soon, either. For those who are in a partnership, an S Corporation, or an LLC taxed as a partnership, I am aware of the non-deductibility at the entity level of medical insurance premiums paid on behalf of those owning 5% or more of the entity in arriving at net income paqssed through to the owners, noting that in such situations, the premiums paid for such owners’ coverage may be taken as an itemized deduction (medical expense) on the individual’s personal 1040. This disparate treatment, when compared to the treatment given a C corporation, is another reason to reexamine the whole thing.
I love you to pieces, but I like you more when you speak English! 🙂 OK, I’ll read it again and try harder.
That’s as close to English as I can get! 🙂
I’ve gotten you further from your ‘native language’ than that in the past! But I did reread it and understand most of it.
Can self-employed deduct all health insurance premiums? It’s on the 1040, but when I looked it up in the not-so-nifty booklet, there was so much gobbledy-gook about S Corps and the like that it made no sense.
Only 6176 can make heads or tails of it, I’m sure. Does even the IRS know?
Wicked, yes but;
The deduction for the self-employed individual for health-insurance premiums paid for the individual and spouse (as memory serves) is taken as an adjustment to income on the front page of the form 1040. It (the deduction) has certain conditions attached to it. So long as (1) the individual has a profit from self-employment activities and (2) the amount paid for the coverage doesn’t exceed the profit otherwise reported (see the worksheet in the instructions) then the amount is fully deductible. This is a bit simplistic, and a generalization.
Since AFAIK you are not involved in a S Corporation, ignore that stuff. HTH.
Thanks, 6176! When the time comes, I’ll have the answer. 🙂 And I can pass it along to my friend in wacky Waco who can use it. Her tax guy in the past was totally useless.
Two running themes jumps out from the article – environmentally sustainable and emphasis on education.
Hmmm….we have Americans who actually think Global warming is a myth because it is cold during the winter (this was actually said on Fox News by a pretty little blonde woman).
We have Americans who scoff at ‘going green’.
We have Americans who cannot see that getting off foreign oil could actually be a part of our national security. If we are not dependent on their oil – then we can tell them to shove it.
We have Americans who don’t want to pay for their kids’ education but they have no problem spending thousands of dollars yearly for some sports team tickets and all the necessary accessories.
Our priorities are screwed up.
Speaking of health care, I was going to post this a couple of weeks ago, but… Okay, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in stuff.
FRONTLINE: Sick Around the World
I haven’t had a chance to watch it all, but what I did was interesting and pitifully sad (for us) at the same time.
According to Wikipedia —
“Blue Cross is a name used by an association of health insurance plans throughout the United States. Its predecessor was developed in 1929, by Justin Ford Kimball, at Baylor University in Dallas, Texas. The first plan guaranteed teachers 21 days of hospital care for $6 a year, and was later extended to other employee groups in Dallas, and then nationally. The American Hospital Association (AHA) adopted the Blue Cross symbol in 1939 as the emblem for plans meeting certain standards. In 1960 the AHA commission was superseded by the Blue Cross Association. Affiliation with the AHA was severed in 1972.
The Blue Shield concept was developed at the beginning of the 20th century by employers in lumber and mining camps of the Pacific Northwest to provide medical care by paying monthly fees to medical service bureaus composed of groups of physicians. The first official Blue Shield Plan was founded in California in 1939.”