Mindful Stew recently had a nice post suggesting that we should pay teachers more – much more, perhaps as much as $100,000 per year. The basic premise is that we lose a lot of talented teachers because we don’t pay them enough and they go into other, more lucrative professions. Perhaps paying teachers more would thus be a good long-term investment in education.
At the same time, I’ve been reading T.R. Reid’s The Healing of America, a book comparing the US medical system to others from around the world. The unsurprising but crystal-clear conclusion is that Americans pay a lot for very bad medical care. And a lot of this a lot is for doctors’ salaries. In many countries with much better medical systems (France or Japan for example) doctors make half or one third of what doctors in the US make, and yet they still attract good doctors.
So I found myself wondering: If I agree so strongly with Mindful Stew (and I do), how can I also agree so strongly with the implicit conclusion of Reid, that doctors should be paid much less in the US? This post is about how these ideas can be reconciled.