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If the gov't is so concerned about the FP shortage...

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Why don't they bump up their pay?

 

As it stands, FP isn't very popular. Less and less grads are going into it.

 

Clearly it is primarily because of the lack of prestige and relatively low pay this field offers .

 

Sure, FPs are crucial to the healthcare system. Sure, FPs are scarce and depleting yearly. Sure, thousands are living without access to a primary care physician who knows them. But really, none of this can be very important in the grand scheme of things, since FPs are still paid pittance for their efforts.

 

This is precisely why I didn't choose FP. It can't be as important as everyone says it is, since very little is being done to effectively recruit new ones.

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The money is needed in other areas. The average FP makes like 60-80K a year after overhead and taxes, more then enough to pay back the student loans and go on to live a life of luxury. Sure we can bump up FPs' pay till its as ridiculous as many other specialties..and then when other areas that badly need money aren't getting any, we can sit around and whine about the government not putting enough money into the system(not enough med school seats, etc). I wonder where all the money is going??

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Why don't they bump up their pay?

 

As it stands, FP isn't very popular. Less and less grads are going into it.

 

Clearly it is primarily because of the lack of prestige and relatively low pay this field offers .

 

Sure, FPs are crucial to the healthcare system. Sure, FPs are scarce and depleting yearly. Sure, thousands are living without access to a primary care physician who knows them. But really, none of this can be very important in the grand scheme of things, since FPs are still paid pittance for their efforts.

 

This is precisely why I didn't choose FP. It can't be as important as everyone says it is, since very little is being done to effectively recruit new ones.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the government is HAPPY with the doctor shortage. That's why they don't care about FM and they don't hire all the thousands of doctors who are sitting around driving taxis. More doctors means more salaries to pay out in an already bankrupt health care system.

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And family docs make a pretty decent salary. Lower pay isn't necessarily a bad thing though, because all of the docs who are in medicine for the money end up picking other specialties, and thus we don't have to be subject to their horrible patient care. Well, except for the physicians who got into medicine for the money but weren't able to get into any specialties. :P

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And family docs make a pretty decent salary. Lower pay isn't necessarily a bad thing though, because all of the docs who are in medicine for the money end up picking other specialties, and thus we don't have to be subject to their horrible patient care. Well, except for the physicians who got into medicine for the money but weren't able to get into any specialties. :P

 

Your attitude is kind of blindingly optimistic.

 

The responsibilities of a doctor are great: health and wellness of individuals is not a task that can be doled out to just anyone. It should be given to our best and brightest.

 

In the past, doctors were highly respected members of society. Their knowledge of the human body was immense, and special, and therefore they were paid handsomely and rightfully so. Due to this mix of prestige and income, the medical field attracted the best and brightest of society.

 

Now, doctors are little more than pawns in a political football game. Their pay is going down while society still expects them to sacrifice their 20s to learn medicine and apply it. Residents are paid next to nothing. The best and brightest know this and thus avoid medicine, instead opting for law and business- fields where their aptitudes will be rightfully rewarded.

 

What you say about doctors who are in it for the money giving horrible patient care and selecting other specialties besides FP is false(on a personal note, the worst care I've received has been from FPs. I have more than one permanent injury due to the incompetence of FPs I've encountered). Everyone who works is in it for the money to an extent. Doctors should be paid well for their efforts and the importance of their jobs. The medical student who is factoring in reimbursement when he chooses a field during the match is a smart student.

One who doesn't is foolish.

 

 

 

You did make a good point above, stating that the government doesn't really mind not having to pay as many physicians during this shortage. The most powerful, rich members of society will all receive medical care, so who cares about everyone else?; they're not influential enough, even in large numbers, to have any substantial effect on the political system. So why accommodate for their needs?

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The responsibilities of a doctor are great: health and wellness of individuals is not a task that can be doled out to just anyone. It should be given to our best and brightest.

 

I know what you're trying to say, but I just want to clarify something. "Best and brightest" is not synonymous with responsibility. There are many smart people who are not responsible and there are many people of average intelligence who are very responsible.

 

What you say about doctors who are in it for the money giving horrible patient care and selecting other specialties besides FP is false(on a personal note, the worst care I've received has been from FPs. I have more than one permanent injury due to the incompetence of FPs I've encountered).

 

While what happened to you is unfortunate, I don't think it is fair to automatically label those FPs as incompetent based on a few visits.

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Our class had 40% going into FP this yr, it's becoming more popular and they can make a pretty nice living with the new contract.

 

I think the 40% FP rate also indicates a bigger class having less specialty spots to choose from too. I guess it's gonna climb again now with the bigger classes at UBC.

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And family docs make a pretty decent salary. Lower pay isn't necessarily a bad thing though, because all of the docs who are in medicine for the money end up picking other specialties, and thus we don't have to be subject to their horrible patient care. Well, except for the physicians who got into medicine for the money but weren't able to get into any specialties. :P

 

 

 

I don't know what drugs you take but I want some. Of course every doctor who specializes are in it for the money and don't care about their patients. Oncologists aren't phased by the fact that some of their patients die, no not at all. Doctors specializing in pediatrician really do hate their patients, and trauma surgeons would really rather not save any lives.

 

The fact is that people specialize for many reasons. I think that a prominant reasons for why someone would specialize is a certain type of surgeon would be the fact that they view the body the same way a mechanic views a car engine (and a good mechanic treats a car as if it were a person), and they are proficient in that area of surgery. I am sure money comes into play but only in the fact that they don't want to specialize in a field where there is no job demand.

 

 

Anyways back to the main theme of the topic. The government would raise salaries because the government hates giving away money. As for all those who think this would do nothing, well it would probably have an effect, but if you just raise salaries you still have an overall shortage of doctors, you just have more workaholic or oldschool doctors.

 

The government has also been cutting costs too. When Canada first started having free medicine, the federal government footed 50% of the cost and the provincial governments footed the other 50. Over the years this has decreased and now the federal government hands out about 7% of the total costs for each province's health care.

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Why don't they bump up their pay?

 

As it stands, FP isn't very popular. Less and less grads are going into it.

 

Clearly it is primarily because of the lack of prestige and relatively low pay this field offers .

 

Sure, FPs are crucial to the healthcare system. Sure, FPs are scarce and depleting yearly. Sure, thousands are living without access to a primary care physician who knows them. But really, none of this can be very important in the grand scheme of things, since FPs are still paid pittance for their efforts.

 

This is precisely why I didn't choose FP. It can't be as important as everyone says it is, since very little is being done to effectively recruit new ones.

 

To give to one you have to take away from another. While the amount of money going into health care is not fixed, clearly neither the Liberal nor Conservatives are overly enthused about pumping more money into the system. Where would you like the money to pay family doctors more to come from? There's no politically palatable answer to this. However, unless you're living under a rock, you know that reimbursment for family doctors has in fact been improving, particularly for rural and underserviced areas. Is it on par with specialists? No. Will/should it ever be? I guess the answer to that depends on your perspective and mine is that I'll be spending 5 years in residency instead of 2, and then doing 1 or 2 years of fellowships so I should be paid more (per unit effort/time/whatever).

 

On another note, family doctors are not exactly paid a "pittance". Someone else "quotes" the absurd figure that the average family doctor takes home 60-80k after overhead. Not quite. All the family physicians I have worked with or spoken to do very well for themselves with excellent schedules. It's a question of choosing where you practice and understanding what you can get paid for. Practice managment also plays a role, and doctors are traditionally very poor at this. If you decide to rent office space in Toronto and have a solo practice, well, good luck. I was heading towards family practice until I found my calling in clerkship and was very confident that money would not be an issue. "Average" figures for family doctors are also drastically skewed by the large proportion who choose to work part-time (ie while raising a family). Finally, I would challenge someone to come up with a reliable source for "average" FP overhead; I'm not going to look because I betchya it isn't out there (and I don't really care).

 

A couple other comments. A later post states that "[t]he medical student who is factoring in reimbursement when he chooses a field during the match is a smart student. One who doesn't is foolish." Ummmm....obviously. At the end of the day, medicine is a job. If you feel you need "x" dollars and specialty "y" doesn't make that much then "y" would probably be a poor choice. Nevertheless, the truly foolish student will be the one who makes cash money the primary determinant of their field. Those are the ones who are bitter in residency and positevely toxic twenty years down the line. We've all met them. This leads into my next point-if lots of smart people want to go into business or.....business to make lots of cash then, who cares, let them. There will still be lots of smart people who want to go into medicine. There are lots of smart people out there. Medicine isn't rocket science. Rocket science probably isn't rocket science. What medicine needs is not the "best and brightest" but rather those who are bright enough, truly love what they do, and care for their patients. That said, lots of bright people will continue to flock to the field becuase it's pretty cool, you still make excellent money, and you can make a difference.

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Everyone who works is in it for the money to an extent. Doctors should be paid well for their efforts and the importance of their jobs. The medical student who is factoring in reimbursement when he chooses a field during the match is a smart student.

One who doesn't is foolish.

You did make a good point above, stating that the government doesn't really mind not having to pay as many physicians during this shortage. The most powerful, rich members of society will all receive medical care, so who cares about everyone else?; they're not influential enough, even in large numbers, to have any substantial effect on the political system. So why accommodate for their needs?

 

Sure, everyones in it for money to some extent, but if your choosing your specialty based on money then you're probably in it for the wrong reason. The fact is that all of the specialties pay more then enough to live a life of excess. You can dress it up however you want in your mind ("lifestyle", "comfort", and in your case you also seem to have convinced yourself that you're sticking up for the poorer members of society) but the point is that in the end your just in it for the money.

Of course many people will argue that its ok to be in it for the money..but its not. You can't be in it for the money and be in it for the patients at the same time.

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you're fooling yourself if you think 60-80k after taxes is "luxury". sure its more than most people make, but its most definitely not luxury. i don't think its unreasonable to expect that if we're going to be in school as long as we do, and work as hard as we do, that we get renumerated a little more than that. people in other jobs can at least hope to move up in the ranks of their companies. doctors don't really have that hope to move up and make more, unless they completely change their practice. people in other jobs can also bank on company pension plans. we cannot. so after socking away your

 

let's see you make it to medical school first and actually understand how the medical system works, before you go off on someone about their motivations. there is nothing wrong with wanting money. it doesn't make you less of a human being. and it doesn't mean you don't care about your patients.

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I know what you're trying to say, but I just want to clarify something. "Best and brightest" is not synonymous with responsibility. There are many smart people who are not responsible and there are many people of average intelligence who are very responsible.

 

Nonetheless, average intelligence isn't something that is valued highly in medicine. The complex nature of disease can only be sufficiently understood by those with high intellectual capacity. The interview process should ideally weed out those who are irresponsible.

 

 

 

While what happened to you is unfortunate, I don't think it is fair to automatically label those FPs as incompetent based on a few visits.

 

I disagree. A doctor who does not adhere to the national standard of care, and could not be bothered enough to practice sensible diagnostic medicine, is incompetent and should have his/her license revoked (but this is another story).

 

you're fooling yourself if you think 60-80k after taxes is "luxury". sure its more than most people make, but its most definitely not luxury. i don't think its unreasonable to expect that if we're going to be in school as long as we do, and work as hard as we do, that we get renumerated a little more than that. people in other jobs can at least hope to move up in the ranks of their companies. doctors don't really have that hope to move up and make more, unless they completely change their practice. people in other jobs can also bank on company pension plans. we cannot. so after socking away your

 

let's see you make it to medical school first and actually understand how the medical system works, before you go off on someone about their motivations. there is nothing wrong with wanting money. it doesn't make you less of a human being. and it doesn't mean you don't care about your patients.

 

I totally agree.

 

The problem is that doctors are seen by society as generally altruistic. Thus, the governing bodies and businessmen take advantage of this image(which in the past was true for most docs) and decrease our reimbursements. It is to the point now that only the most lucrative fields are desired, and the least lucrative, but apparently most important, fail to attract the interest of most medical graduates. Regardless of the bleeding heart attitude that some very vocal pro-primary care people/premeds have, the numbers show that prestige and income are extremely influential in the career decisions of graduating medical students. Ergo, the only truly effective way of recruiting more domestically-trained primary care physicians is to drastically increase the salary.

 

The opportunity cost of learning and practicing medicine is very high. One must fork over six-figures, and sacrifice their twenties, to be able to competently practice medicine by a Canadian standard. If all I were earning post-tax for all this was 80 grand, I'd be a high school teacher instead: more pay-per-hour, less stress, and a sweet two month vacation every year.

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But there is something wrong with wanting money, especially if you are going to be a doctor:

1) for such a person to get into med school in the first place requires that they lie, either to the admissions committee or on their essays or both

2) if money is a person's primary motivation, there will always be conflicts of interest. Do you do whats good for your wallet or do you do whats good for your patient? Take the example of primary care doctors in the US: What do you do when an anxious parent brings in a child with an obviously viral infection but demands antibiotics? Do you give them the antibiotics or do you risk them leaving you for another doctor? Obviously a doctor motivated by money will tend to act differently in these situations than other doctors. Not too hard to think of other examples..

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There is nothing wrong with expecting to be compensated well for an extremely demanding, high-stress job that requires years of intense training and a lot of financial investment. You can care tremendously for your patients while at the same time desire to make yourself and your family financially stable. The idea that you either care about money, or you care about patients is ridiculous.

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But there is something wrong with wanting money, especially if you are going to be a doctor:

1) for such a person to get into med school in the first place requires that they lie, either to the admissions committee or on their essays or both

2) if money is a person's primary motivation, there will always be conflicts of interest. Do you do whats good for your wallet or do you do whats good for your patient? Take the example of primary care doctors in the US: What do you do when an anxious parent brings in a child with an obviously viral infection but demands antibiotics? Do you give them the antibiotics or do you risk them leaving you for another doctor? Obviously a doctor motivated by money will tend to act differently in these situations than other doctors. Not too hard to think of other examples..

 

 

Uh, no, there isn't. You can want to earn a good salary and also want to be able to help people. There's nothing that makes these notions mutually exclusive. Money doesn't have to be your primary motivation, but it sure as hell can be a motivation. Your example is also piss-poor, as no doctor will give antibiotics for a viral infection (and I'm not sure why you pointed to the US, as the same argument could be made for Canada as well).

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I guess it's easy to be naive and altruistic when you're a premed. you don't have 6 figure debt to worry about.

 

look, I don't think anyone here is saying that money is their primary concern in medicine. yeah, there are some medical students and doctors for which it is, but I think you'll find that most are in it for a) patient care and B) because its a cool ****ing job and they couldn't really see themselves in another field. but making some coin will still be up on that list. when you have to blow 4 years of undergrad studying harder than other students, another 4 years of medical school hermitting it up in the library and however many more years of the minimum wage labour that is residency, you'll see for yourself that hey, maybe taking home $60k for all that hard work really sucks. i'm not even in clerkship yet and i can already see how long and hard the road is. there is no god damn way i'm gonna be happy making that kind of money for that kind of work.

 

and there is no reason why anyone would have to lie to admissions people about money. they know that money is important. in fact, it's completely within reason to state that money is an important reason why you're choosing medicine - it shows you're a realist and not some naive premed.

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But there is something wrong with wanting money, especially if you are going to be a doctor:

1) for such a person to get into med school in the first place requires that they lie, either to the admissions committee or on their essays or both

2) if money is a person's primary motivation, there will always be conflicts of interest. Do you do whats good for your wallet or do you do whats good for your patient? Take the example of primary care doctors in the US: What do you do when an anxious parent brings in a child with an obviously viral infection but demands antibiotics? Do you give them the antibiotics or do you risk them leaving you for another doctor? Obviously a doctor motivated by money will tend to act differently in these situations than other doctors. Not too hard to think of other examples..

 

Your argument is severely flawed.

 

1. There's nothing wrong with being motivated by money. If money is what it takes for people to do an exceptional job(and it usually is) then pay them well, regardless of the field. Granted, money should not be one's only motivation for success - they should actually enjoy the job they're doing.

 

2. This argument is ridiculous. The doctor does not gain money by prescribing an antibiotic for a viral infection.

 

If anything, a doctor who is not paid well will lose motivation to perform medicine to the current standard.

 

It is clear that you are a premed, since you have this naive idealistic view of medicine. If you get into med, then you'll realize the politics of the situation, and the labor required to do a good job. You'll realize that your 20s are worth far more than 80k a year in the future.

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Not sure why numerous people are latching onto ridiculous numbers like 60k take home/yr. Absurd and not reality. Full-time doctors make more than this, period. The exceptions would be those who are very bad at managing their practice.

 

Just for the record, not everyone in medicine is bitter. Some of us are excited about the job we get to do and can think of a lot worse ways to spend our twenties. That said, I'm glad I took a few years off to travel and work abroad, knowing that I was going into medicine and it would be a long-haul. Perhaps I would be a bit more bitter if I hadn't gotten to do alot of things I wanted to.

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In the past, doctors were highly respected members of society. Their knowledge of the human body was immense, and special, and therefore they were paid handsomely and rightfully so. Due to this mix of prestige and income, the medical field attracted the best and brightest of society.

Prestige and income are certainly factors that will come into everyone's "Pros" list when choosing medicine as a career; however, it shouldn't be the ONLY reason. It seems like you don't understand that?

 

Now, doctors are little more than pawns in a political football game. Their pay is going down while society still expects them to sacrifice their 20s to learn medicine and apply it. Residents are paid next to nothing. The best and brightest know this and thus avoid medicine, instead opting for law and business- fields where their aptitudes will be rightfully rewarded.

This is exactly the mentality that I'm talking about. If your backup/alternative to medicine is law or business, then you may have chosen the wrong field and you are probably doing a huge disservice to the public.

 

What you say about doctors who are in it for the money giving horrible patient care and selecting other specialties besides FP is false(on a personal note, the worst care I've received has been from FPs. I have more than one permanent injury due to the incompetence of FPs I've encountered). Everyone who works is in it for the money to an extent.

To an extent...BUT, when you are a rude and apathetic individual with no bedside manner, then you shouldn't be going into medicine. You seem to equate poor patient care to simply one's efficacy at diagnosis and forget everything else. Family doctors make some large mistakes from time to time, owing to their responsibility to know a lot about everything. However, if you look at what matters to the public, research always shows that people want a doctor who is caring and spends time with their patients. A friend of mine in internal med sees people all the time who come to the hospital after their GP made a huge mistake, but they will still defend their doctor and talk about how much they love him/her.

 

 

Doctors should be paid well for their efforts and the importance of their jobs. The medical student who is factoring in reimbursement when he chooses a field during the match is a smart student.

One who doesn't is foolish.

I absolutely agree with you. I don't think family doctors are poorly reimbursed though. I know a lot of family doctors and they are all very far from starving. 60-80k is a far far cry from what FPs make. 160-200k after overhead is closer to reality, which is more enough to pay off your 6 figure debt and have a nice home/car/boat/vacations etc etc.

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I don't know what drugs you take but I want some. Of course every doctor who specializes are in it for the money and don't care about their patients. Oncologists aren't phased by the fact that some of their patients die, no not at all. Doctors specializing in pediatrician really do hate their patients, and trauma surgeons would really rather not save any lives.

Wolvenstar,

 

You should really take a course in logic and/or verbal comprehension.

 

I said people who are in it for the money go into specialties. That does not mean the reverse is true, that all people who go into specialties are in it for the money.

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To an extent...BUT, when you are a rude and apathetic individual with no bedside manner, then you shouldn't be going into medicine.... However, if you look at what matters to the public, research always shows that people want a doctor who is caring and spends time with their patients. A friend of mine in internal med sees people all the time who come to the hospital after their GP made a huge mistake, but they will still defend their doctor and talk about how much they love him/her.

 

 

 

I absolutely agree with you. I don't think family doctors are poorly reimbursed though. I know a lot of family doctors and they are all very far from starving. 60-80k is a far far cry from what FPs make. 160-200k after overhead is closer to reality, which is more enough to pay off your 6 figure debt and have a nice home/car/boat/vacations etc etc.

 

 

 

First off Leviathan I apologize if I mistook your meaning, but the point I made then I still felt needed to be made.

 

 

Now I completely agree with your estimate of what FPs make they do grad the 100grand mark, and they are more than completely deserving of this money. I don't believe any area of medicine is overpaid, doctors in all fields provide a vital service. It is sports teams that should not be making the money that they do.

 

Frankly it should be doctors, teachers, police, and firemen that make the most (followed by all other vital services, nursing, military, etc) but that is more off topic.

 

As to what you say about rude and uncaring individuals I agree to some extent. If an individual is rude and uncaring they deffinetely should not do FP but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be doctors. The most serious factor is their knowledge and skill in the field of medicine. Frankly the public is better off with not-so-nice doctors who save lives than with kind and caring doctors who don't save as many lives.

 

Sure the public wants this and that, but just like with politics sometimes it not about what the public wants, IT IS about what is best for the public. Now I am not saying all doctors should be asses either.

 

 

 

As for Valentine you are actually incorrect, Doctors do get payments for prescriptions made, at least in BC they do but I highly doubt BC is alone in this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Blake?

 

Do you think you could pass me some popcorn please? lol

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First off Leviathan I apologize if I mistook your meaning, but the point I made then I still felt needed to be made.

 

Now I completely agree with your estimate of what FPs make they do grad the 100grand mark, and they are more than completely deserving of this money. I don't believe any area of medicine is overpaid, doctors in all fields provide a vital service. It is sports teams that should not be making the money that they do.

I agree and I don't think any doctors in any specialty are overpaid. I also don't think any doctors are really underpaid, either. We all deserve a high salary for the work we put in, but where do you draw the line? Does it really matter if you can only afford an $80,000 Mercedes and not a $200,000 Ferrari? Or if you can only take 3 instead of 5 vacations in a year? You're already in the top 1% of Canadians if you are making an income of $160,000/year as a family physician, which is MORE than possible. You can earn $1000/day after overhead at some family clinics in Vancouver, and even more in rural areas. Maybe my opinion will change when I do have a massive student debt after years and years of blood sweat and tears to finish my MD + residency, but perhaps my opinion right now is actually more correct before I become jaded?

 

Frankly it should be doctors, teachers, police, and firemen that make the most (followed by all other vital services, nursing, military, etc) but that is more off topic.

What about paramedics? ;) Just buggin' ya.

 

As to what you say about rude and uncaring individuals I agree to some extent. If an individual is rude and uncaring they deffinetely should not do FP but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be doctors. The most serious factor is their knowledge and skill in the field of medicine. Frankly the public is better off with not-so-nice doctors who save lives than with kind and caring doctors who don't save as many lives.

I guess I agree with you to some extent. However, what's to say we can't have doctors with BOTH great bedside manners and diagnostic competency? If we had a better way at selecting applicants, we could certainly achieve that, in my opinion.

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It is sports teams that should not be making the money that they do.

 

 

Are you sure about that? They generate a lot more money than they make...

This is healthy for the economy. Wouldn't you say that's important?

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