Monthly Archives: September 2009

Unemployment Suffers Under Big Government: Reagan Had The Answer

The chief of the Atlanta Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that the unemployment rate is actually 16%, “If one considers the people who would like a job but have stopped looking…”. Discouraged workers are one of the dirty little secrets of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It’s a secret the Obama administration is happy to let continue on.

It is to be expected that people would eventually give up on looking for a job after spending months and months competing for fewer and fewer jobs. The longer a jobless period lasts, the more people drop off of the unemployment rolls. So the longer this lasts, the more the rate will appear to slow-down or even deceptively improve. The signs of improvement are not so and there’s more.

Unemployment line

Unemployment line

President Obama stated that the stimulus would create or save 2.5 Million jobs. According to the BLS, all we’ve seen is job losses since the start of this recession and that picture has not improved at all since the enactment of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (The Stimulus Bill). We were shown the fact the the unemployment rate stabilized in July to somehow back this up as jobs saved. Unfortunately, by reviewing the BLS statistics we see a different picture.

To get the real picture, we didn’t look at the deceptive unemployment numbers the government chooses to use.  Instead, we analyzed the employment statistics.  Basically, we looked at who had jobs in recent reports, and who has a job now then we broke-out the calculator.

For all 50 states (yes Obama, fifty), there were 134,300 fewer working people in August than in July. Where are the created jobs? We actually have the answer, and it has nothing to do with government stimulus.

We plotted the numbers state-by-state, then added in personal and corporate taxation as a factor. A not-so-surprising result appeared. States with less-than-median corporate tax rates, gained jobs – 13,600 of them. Wait, tax-incentives improve an economy faster than bottom-up government spending? Who would have thought, besides Reagan. It gets better.

States that had no personal income tax, gained 35,700 jobs. This can’t be. Obamanomics, Stimulus and bottom-up big-government, were supposed to stave off job losses, not Reaganomics. Evil, entrepreneurial, trickle-down only serves the greedy CEOs (and the 49,000 people that apparently got jobs in states that bothered to practice it).

It’s obvious that President Obama did not start the recession, but like Roosevelt, he is using big-government solutions to intervene and may have made it longer and more detrimental than it would have been if market forces had been allowed to work. This is another failure of bottom-up economics by the likes of Hoover, Roosevelt, Carter, now Obama – not great company if you want to be the savior of the economy. Due to the stimulus act and a monstrous influx of government money in to the private economy, this is now Obama’s economy – good or bad.

Just last month Vice President Biden told us that the Stimulus had performed better than his, “wildest dreams”. This is a continuation of the sales pitch to get America to buy a lemon. I’m betting more lemons are coming. Keep an eye out for extensions of unemployment benefits, an extension of the first-time home-buyers credit, and… heaven forebid… ARRA 2: The Mother of All Stimulus Bills.

Baucus’ Health Future Bill: Updated

Max Baucus Chairman Senate Finance Committee

Max Baucus Chairman Senate Finance Committee

Max Baucus (D-MT), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and member of the bi-partisan “group-of-six”, explained to the press his Chairman’s mark of his health care bill.  This 220-page version has not been accepted by the Finance Committee nor the gang-of-six members and there are positive and negative sentiments being expressed from both sides of the isle.

This bill pushes for much faster action.  Unlike H.R. 3200, which does not do much of anything until after the Presidential elections in 2012, this bill proposes to do a few things almost-immediately.  The plan will insure those with pre-existing conditions “within a year of enactment”.  Those individuals would have access to a high-risk pool where those individuals’ premiums will be subsidized by $5 billion in government funding.  The bill also requires the establishment of State Exchanges in 2010 through which consumers could purchase health plans.

To increase competition, the framework proposes two changes to the existing insurance model.   First, it will allow (not force), states to form inter-state “health care choice compacts” to allow an insurer to sell insurance in other states, but how many of these will form is questionable.   Any policies sold under a compact would be subject to only the laws of the state in which the policy is written.  That would mean that compacts would most-likely emerge only between states with similar regulations and laws.  Even though the laws of the insurer’s state is enforced, the regulatory responsibility appears to be split among the insurer’s state and the insured’s state.  Secondly, national plans, which contain uniform benefits, could be offered across state lines.  The insurer offering such national plans must be licensed in every state in which they intend to sell the plan.  Although the benefits must be uniform, the premiums may not be.  The rating rules of each state will be considered and individually enforced for the calculation of premiums.

The bill does not appear entirely partisan as major concessions appear to have been made from both perspectives.  The most-notable being that tort reform has been left out which will appeal to the trial-lawyer lobby on the liberal side.  Instead, there is soft language in the back of the bill that states, “Congress should consider establishing a state demonstration program to evaluate alternatives to the current civil litigation system.”.  The left may also appreciate that The bill does require that all Americans have health insurance by 2013.  The penalties will range from $750/yr for individuals on the low-end of the pay-scale to $3800.00/yr for families on the high-side.  $750.00 a year isn’t much of a penalty and will certainly be attractive to those that are currently uninsured.  If the cheapest premium exceeds 10% of a person’s adjusted gross income, no excise tax will be levied (progressive tax).  Until 2013, anyone under 100% of FPL will be exempt from excise tax.  In 2013 anyone that makes less than 133% of FPL.

For conservatives, this framework does not include the hot-button issue of a public option and the bill does require that proof of citizenship or lawful residence be obtained prior to issuing a a policy to an individual.  The verification must be done against the Social Security Administration data for citizens and Department of Homeland Security data for legal aliens.  The plan also does not require nor does it prevent payments for abortions.  Current State laws will continue to regulate those activities.

To supplant the public option, the bill does provide for private, non-profit co-ops.  As they are non-profit they would conceivably be forced to use any profits to control costs, improve benefits and keep premiums low.   The co-ops cannot be sponsored by any level of government and must be governed by a vote of its members.

Alot of costs will be shifted to the states.  “Childless adults” otherwise ineligible for medicaid, that are at or below 133% of FPL will be required to be covered by Medicaid – a taxpayer funded, state-run health care plan.  States are already drowning in red ink and Medicaid is one of the major causes for state-level deficit spending.  Beginning in 2014 more federal money will be used to subsidize state medicaid programs to alleviate the burden of covering these newly-eligible beneficiaries.

Several initiatives are in the bill that are intended to improve the efficiency and efficacy of Medicare.   Medicare payments to hospitals and physicians will be based on actual performance.  2012 would be a base-line year to collect statistics and 2013 the first year where Medicare reimbursement is based on meeting or beating the standards created from those base-lines.   There is a section to institute a pilot to find alternative pay methods to create incentives for providers to coordinate patient care across the continuum of care, re-categorizes Physician’s Assistants as Attending Physicians for Medicare-covered hospice services and establishes a Medicare Commission to examine and make recommendation to congress to solve the Medicare insolvency problem.  One change that is does not seem to actually improve Medicare is that $22.29 billion is being eliminated from Medicare for the Medicare Improvement Fund which was intended to make improvements to parts A and B of Medicare.

A few new bureaucracies are also created within Baucus’ plan.   The bill establishes Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.  The institute is intended to make recommendations to congress in hopes of curing the Medicare insolvency issue.  A ” Workforce Advisory Committee”, that includes union leadership, will also be created to look into increasing the availability of trained medical professionals.

Some changes to existing insurance programs also appear in the bill.  The pairing of a health savings account with a high-deductible health plan is often used by consumers to keep their health care costs low.  Baucus has implemented a change that will eliminate the use of HSA funds for non-physician prescribed (over-the-counter) medicines.  Currently HSA disbursements could be used tax-free for those kinds of medicines.

There are new mechanisms to fund the Medicare trust fund in Baucus’ plan.  A little more than $13 billion comes from a combination of drug companies ( $2.3 billion), medical device manufacturers ($4 billion), $6 billion from providers, and $750 million from clinical laboratories,  in fees to be paid on an annual basis.  This is in addition to the 2.9% tax currently levied on all income-earners in America.

Finally, the Baucus bill levies a 35% excise tax on insurance companies for premium plans which includes any plan with benefits worth more than $8,000 for individuals or $21,000 for families.  Corporate taxes are always passed on to consumers which will inevitably result in either premium plans being eliminated by the insurance companies or taxes being passed on to consumers as higher premiums.  As the co-ops are non-profits, they would be exempt from federal taxes giving them an unfair advantage in the premium insurance market.

Of major concern to both conservatives and liberals, is that middle-class households could be hit by premiums that are up-to and including 13% of their gross income.  The issue is that if premiums are going to be such a large percentage of American’s income, where are the savings?

UPDATE: 10-2-09:

As the Chairman’s mark went through committee, it got modified.  The new draft is available online (kudos) and we went looking for the changes.

  • Most of the law will now not go into effect until July of 2013 instead of January
  • The non-profit health care exchange will be exempt from all taxes… but competing insurance companies will not.  This will kill any competition
  • Gift to unions: $15 Billion from 2013-2015 to cover retiree health insurance
  • States can opt-out of the national plan – of course we can’t opt out of paying for it
  • Any plan with lifetime limits will not be allowed to be offered in the exchange
  • eliminates the ability of other entities to create competing exchanges – what happened to increased competition being the biggest impact on costs?
  • Congress and its employees will be required to purchase insurance on the exchange instead of through the Federal Employee’s Program
  • An additional statement about having a study on the use of electronic health records
  • HHS secretary will be required to conduct a review of allowed benefits at least once-a-year
  • Penalty for not carrying insurance changed from 1500-3800 down to $750.00 per adult in the household
  • Specifically spells out that not carrying insurance will have “no criminal penalty”
  • Medicaid Improvement Fund eliminated in 2014 ($700 million per year in cuts to medicaid)
  • A Single form will be available to apply for the exchange, medicaid and CHIP programs at once
  • Mandatory coverage of prescription drugs removed from the bill
  • CMS (Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services) gets a new buerocracy – CHCO: to integrate Medicare and Medicaid…
  • Creates a demonstration project for up to eight states to test changing from fee-for-service payment model to a global provider payment model
  • Continues the HIPAA wellness regulations: If you do certain healthy things, you can get a discount on premiums and such
  • Reduced the bonus to physicians for participating in the quality reporting initiative to .5% from 2%
  • Increase the penalty to physicians who do not participate in the quality reporting initiative to 1.5% from 1%
  • Establishes another bureaucracy in the CMS: The Innovation Center
  • Changes in how residency slots are used – hard to understand
  • Takes $230 million from medicare trust fund to pay develop new physicians and nurses
  • Changes to Medicare Part D (drugs) that I could not understand after 5 readings…. any help appreciated
  • Nurse midwives will be reimbursed the same as physicians for covered procedures
  • I have no idea what the heck this change means: “The Secretary shall begin the rulemaking process to implement the Commission‘s proposal upon
    delivery of such proposals to Congress on January 1.  The Secretary may use interim final
    rulemaking to implement the changes proposed by the Commission.”
  • Adds a provision that the GAO should conduct an audit in 2015 to make sure the bill did what it said it would
  • Establishes background checks for long-term care employees
  • Some extensions of the Medicare RAC program that I didn’t quite comprehend
  • An Increase in the excise tax against insurers from 35% to 40% for individual health insurance valued over $8,000 – that’s most of them.  Remember, these changes also made the government exchange “tax-exempt” – anti-competitive amendment – not a level playing field
  • If you spend your own money on medical expenses, you will not be able to deduct them until you spend 10% of your gross income (base bill was 7.5 gross income
  • A change seems to say that in the case that the bill is not deficit-neutral, they will notify Congress, and adjust the subsidies to the the exchanges: wait… what subsidies, I thought the exchanges were self-funded… something fuzzy this way comes

Liberals Hate Entrepreneurs – They Just Aren’t Sure Why

Capitalism posterCapitalism is the new “ism”. It is the thing we are all being told to hate, abhor, avoid, and destroy. It’s the “c-word”.  The centrist, elitist mobs are trying to show that capitalism has failed by singling-out CEOs?  What about the hundreds of thousands of small-to-medium sized business owners that are true entrepreneurs.  The liberals just don’t get it, but they will.

If people want to fight corruption, they should. If they want to fight injustice, please do.  Fighting against capitalism does neither and promotes both.  The problem with capitalism isn’t greed, it’s the government.

Two entirely-flawed arguments against a free-market system are in-play.  The failure of the free-market system to keep health care costs down, and the recession in which we currently find ourselves.

First, our health care sector does not function as a free-market system.  When was the last time that you as a consumer tried to figure out whether one doctor’s office charges were less than another (not the co-pay, the actual charge).  When a doctor recommends a certain procedure, we will most-likely just have the work done, or at-best ask for a second opinion.  No one is going to go shopping for the best “value” for that procedure.  The actual costs in health care are hidden from the average consumer so we don’t evaluate them [link]That is why costs are spiraling.  Not greed, not some intrinsic free-market cruelty, it’s simply that if we don’t know what it costs, no one has to care.  Oddly-enough this insulation mechanism also puts many people into debt with credit cards… it’s not real money so it doesn’t really hurt to spend it.

Secondly, the financial collapse last year was not due to the greed of CEOs as the left-wing media would have us believe.  It was actually the power-gobbling, money sucking, worthless crowd in Congress.  By pushing the banks and institutions to loan money to people that did not have the ability to repay it, the government put banks in jeopardy.  To try and deal with the risk that they were forced at gunpoint to take (Community Re-investment Act anyone?), they tried re-packaging the loans into mortgage-backed securities.  Unfortunately, when the loans started going into default, now unwitting investors were in as deep as the banks.  Thanks Barney Frank, brilliant job.  What’s worse is that Frank perpetrated the biggest scam of them all, he pushed off his greed and ineptitude onto “greedy CEOs”.  That’s the only smart thing he did and it benefited no one but Barney.

Liberals are now taking up the call of Pelosi, Dodd, and Frank.  Down with capitalism, down with CEOs, down with entrepreneurs!  I say, it’s time to fight back.  Small-to-medium-sized businesses account for more than 42% of all jobs in the U.S. – almost half.  Maybe that 42% doesn’t need to be open to anti-capitalists.  Heck, maybe they can get a union job somewhere, because of course there’s no top-end greed in the union shop.  Where do those idiots think the rest of us real people are going to find jobs if there is no free-market system?  In the government?  Wait, the government doesn’t make anything, it’s only method of bringing in money is taxes, but without the market… who will they tax?

When they’re bashing capitalism, they are bashing small business owners.  They are bashing success.  They are bashing well-rewarded hard work.  They are bashing everything this country was founded upon.  I submit to you that they do these things, because they don’t understand business, work, or rewards.  they think that everyone deserves a piece of the pie, no matter how little they contribute to the making of it.

In Europe, the tide is turning.  One-after-another, the socialist candidates are being thrown out of office and replaced by free-market leaders.  Even England’s Brown is seeing his poll numbers drop into the chasm.  The era of big government is ending and being replaced by the era of big entrepreneurship.

Vote out liberalism in 2010: Take Back America!

Left-Wing Columnist Calls Conservative Hosts Racist

Joe Conason, author and columnist for the New York Observer, plants the “R” word on Glenn Beck and  Rush Limbaugh in a recently published article entitled, “The Racist Truth About Beck and Limbaugh”.  His assertions are obviously incorrect.  Considering the recent realization by the New York Times that their content may be “left-of-center” it’s understandable that his rant contains all the balanced journalistic integrity one can expect from a New York rag.

Liberals use racism to quiet opposition

Liberals use racism to quiet opposition

Joe continually makes the assertion that Beck and Limbaugh believe that Obama called them racists.  Conason goes on to explain how that is a lie.  In actuality, Beck said of Obama, “so you unleash the hounds and point the fingers, and everybody is a racist.”.  That much may well be true.

The dogs were unleashed as a multitude of congressional democrats sprayed the “R” word around as much as possible.  Just because the president says that he does not believe they are racists, does not mean that he believes it.

Obama’s actions speak louder than any of his nuanced, fluffy, difficult to pin-down words.  He has never condemned a single democrat for slinging the racist term at anyone, ever.  Why?  Because he supports the use of the term and the defamation of anyone that disagrees with him and he needs to use this tool to silence the opposition.   The President  just can’t say that so he has everyone else do it for him.  Mr. Conason performs his part of the act beautifully by not only deflecting the racist behavior of the liberals away, but then having it land squarely on those that were defamed.

Joe’s deep-seeded hatred for anything not ultra-liberal is obvious by perusing his other writings on his homepage [link].   He spins his unabashed ultra-liberalism into articles that do things like defend ACORN, Joe Wilson-bashing, saying conservatives are not compassionate,  support for the investigation of CIA members, trashing Churchill, I could go on forever.

Joe can’t help but display his obvious bias as he labels left-leaning publications as “liberal media”, but right-leaning alternatives are the “Republican noise machine”.  He doesn’t support his claims, is incorrect on so many fronts, and writes in a manner that is feeding the liberal media with worthless ammunition.

So does Conason go after Beck and Limbaugh just because he’s part of a minuscule left-wing posse?  No, he and the ultra-left have run out of intellectual ammunition and need to stop the conservative message – at all costs.

I found Mr. Conason’s recent article while perusing the Rasmussen Reports website.  Finding an opinion piece on an opinion-pollster’s site surely seems fitting.  I would love to see a poll that shows how well his idiotic ramblings are received and by which demographic.

GOP Health Care Bill Analyzed H.R. 3400

As recently as last week, congressional liberals have been saying that republicans don’t have any ideas and therefor have not put any health care legislation on the table. Well, before the August recess, a bill was introduced in the house and is certainly a GOP-sponsored health care reform bill.  While far-from-perfect, it is perhaps the best chance at health care reform out of the three major bills circulating in congress.

So while Nancy Pelosi fights to keep this and the other 33+ that have been submitted by conservatives out of the public light by preventing floor or committee votes, we’ll dig-in and see what they have to offer.

As the bill gets amended, I’ll update this post, but to start, here’s a short, to-the-point summary of 3400.

The bill seems to have several key objectives:

  1. Decrease Costs to Consumers
    1. Increase Competition at both the insurance and point-of-care levels
      • HSAs are explicitly listed as acceptable coverage
      • See “Increase Transparency”
    • There are no tax-levying provisions in the bill (no new taxes)
      • Tax credits are given for carrying coverage for those that may need assistance to pay
      • Still allows for the excise tax that has existed since 1986 on employers that offer no coverage
    • Tort reform
      • no limit on economic damages
      • $250,000 limit on non-economic damages
  2. Increase Portability
    • Move ownership of coverage to the individual
    • Creates Individual Membership Associations : I believe this is a way to group individuals together to create a larger risk pool through an association-run exchange
    • Allows deductions for premiums paid to individual plans (similar to group plans through employers)
  3. Increase Acesss
    • Eliminate coverage limits (no lifetime maximum)
    • Provide coverage for pre-existing conditions
  4. Increase Transparency
    • State Transparency Portals that will list quality statistics for hospitals, doctors and facilities as well as their pricing
  5. Increase Quality
    • Institutes performance-based quality measures
    • State transparency portals
    • Targeted fund to support Student loans for medical students
    • Loan forgiveness for primary care providers (family doctors)
    • Tracking banned providers across state-lines (fraud and abuse prevention)
  6. Explicitly eliminate funding for abortions except in cases of danger to the mother or rape/incest
  7. No government intervention into health care benefits
    • No public or government run options of any kind
    • Medicare and Medicaid benefits are not altered
    • No new beuarocracies

Check out the full text of  H.R. 3400 [here] and comment below with what you see (good or bad).

[poll id=”1“]

Is the Dollar Drawing Its Last Breath?

Perhaps a little alarmist, it’s probably a hoax video, but some underlying themes rate contemplation [Story Link].  The SDR as a replacement for the dollar, the huge increase in SDR reserves (1000%) [IMF Link].  I think that link is saying that the SDR will go from 21.4 to 204.1 billion between August 28th and September 9th of this year.  It is possible that they are only saying that it is making that increase since 1969, it’s just not that clear.

Anyone clear on of this is an indicator of more countries going to it as a reserve, or is SDE liquidity being increased for some other reason?

Transparency Needed Into the Federal Reserve

I realize that I would have to wait in a fairly long line to call Ron Paul a paranoid, old-thinking, isolationist psycho, and I’d gladly take the wait just to have the opportunity.  But, Paul has been pushing for a congressional audit of the Federal Reserve for more than two decades and he might just get it now.

Republicans, Libertarians, and Democrats alike are all now calling for a look into the way-too-secret moves of the Federal Reserve Board and Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has now thrown in his support for the idea.

The calls for transparency are coming from every corner considering the undisclosed emergency lending that the Fed has performed during this financial crisis.  Federal Reserve operations have resulted in trillions of dollars of debt placed firmly on the shoulders of American taxpayers and we’re not sure what we got… if anything.

In an article at, the author states that the Federal Reserve has intervened at least 34 times in the financial marketplace for a cost of at least $1.8 trillion.  What we don’t know is who or for what the $700 billion for the Treasury, $300 billion for housing rescues, $200 billion to banks, or $50 billion for “exchange stabilization”.

Ron Paul is certifiable.  But on this one, he may have gotten it right.  “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut some days”.

A good, short read on the truths about capitalism

There has been much capitalism-bashing going on in the media.  Clearly the anti-caps have no idea what they are against and even less of an idea of what they are for.  I don’t have a lot to add to this well-thought, well-written paper by Dr. Ronald Nash.  I just know  I’ll be looking for even more of his writings.  I hope after reading, you will add your comments to start what should be a lively discussion on the pros and cons of capitalism, socialism, and what the left is really hoping to accomplish.

In Defense of Capitalism
by Dr. Ronald Nash

Rebuilding a House of Cards

Many of us have done it.  We’ve gathered a few decks of cards, built it up as high as we could, then watched it fall to the ground.  Of course, we would then re-build just a little higher only to have it also collapse due to its unsupportable architecture.  The only difference being that the second, larger card house, made for a much larger mess when it collapsed.

In 2009, the government is rebuilding the poorly-supported house-of-cards that caused the current recession, and of course, building it bigger.

By over-extending loans to those that could not afford them at housing prices that were unrealistic, the government put the entire economy at-risk.  In order to even come close to servicing the risky loans the government regulators forced upon bank, they had to re-package them into complicated mortgage-backed securities.

These risky loans actually only achieved one thing – creating a bubble in the housing market.  The prices of houses became artificially inflated due to unsupportable demand.  When all those loans defaulted, the financial institutions that held the notes also collapsed.  Then, a correction started to occur.  A naturally-occurring oscillation in the market, but the government could not let that happen.  Bring on… bubble part 2: going for broke.

In a post on Hot Air we see that in August, we watched as sales of existing homes drop by 2.7%.  Experts were expecting an increase.  Due to the fact that 30% of all home sales this year were by first-time home buyers, the National Association of Realtors has begun a campaign designed to influence congress to put more taxpayer subsidies into the housing market.  They correctly believe that once the $8,000-$15,000 tax credit disappears, so will the buyers.  But by stopping it, they are only delaying and magnifying the inevitable – the true correction of the market.  Those subsidies basically inflate the market by the value of the subsidy.  When the subsidy goes, those houses suddenly correct to their actual value – the government creates another wave of people who will be upside-down in their mortgages.

We can already see what happens when the government issues its short-term subsidy/stimulus programs.  Cash for clunkers artificially increased durable goods manufacturing in July.  August tells an entirely different story.  The manufacturing sector is no correcting longer and deeper than it might have if the government had just stayed out.  The 2.4% reduction in durable goods orders is right after the 4.8% increase due to the governments car program.

The FDIC is already holding dangerously small reserves and is considering borrowing from taxpayers to survive the bank bailouts that are already occurring.  The new round of defaults that are incoming will force that action.  More liquidity will be needed in the economy, more money will get “created”, and inflation will result.

In short, we have more vulnerable home owners with upside-down mortgages, a declining manufacturing sector, rising unemployment, an FDIC teetering on the brink, and the knowledge that at some point the subsidies must end or hyper-inflation will take hold.

If we put all of this together, it’s easy to see that we are rebuilding the same house of cards that got us here.  This time we’ve decided to build it higher, in the middle of a storm, with flimsy cards.  Prepare to pick-up the mess.

Anti G-20 Mobs Set Sights on Pittsburgh

Anarchists, environmental groups, and other left-wing radical groups led the way for anti-capitalism protests in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Reasons for the march were varied.  Several groups were there to enforce messages of lowering CO2 emissions.  Others were protesting the situation in Burma, the fact that 20 people control the global economy, social justice, pushes for anarchy, ending hunger, stopping war, you name it.

While  nowhere near as numerous as the conservative march on Washington D.C. earlier this month, it did turn violent at times.  Police and protesters traded rocks, tear gas and bean bag shot as the marchers attempted to ignore police orders to discontinue the illegal march.

The news media went out of its way to ignore the more violent sections of the march and the New York Times went so far as to claim that the entire protest was peaceful with no mention of the rock-throwing, dumpster tossing thugs.  UPI at least bothered to mention that some tear gas and rocks were traded.

Fox news interviewed a few protesters that said the protests were largely peaceful.  When asked if they would condemn the destruction of property and attacks on police, they agreed that it was happening, but they would not call the actions wrong.  The question was evaded in typical elite-speak and by turning the question around on the interviewer.   They can’t condemn the illegal actions of their fellow protesters, because they agree with it and hope it continues.

When the 9-12 marchers went to D.C. predictions of violence, perhaps near militant in-nature, were going to break out.  Nothing even close occurred.  Exactly zero people were arrested after having done zero dollars of damage to public or private property.  The conservative marchers were there out of love for their country, its constitution, and everything it represents.  When the left marches, it’s to demonstrate hatred and anger for the country that gives them the right to voice that opinion.  Who do we really need to fear?

Health Care Reform Does Not Increase Competition

For months we have been fed several mis-truths, myths, and outright lies about health care.   It is certainly worthwhile to evaluate all the individual frauds, but we may be missing the forest for the trees.

The major reform that the President and Congress are proposing is to reduce costs by increasing competition.  Unfortunately, nothing they are planning will increase competition at the point of delivery at all.  In-fact it will diminish it as costs will be even further hidden from actual consumers.

Liberals are stating that the free market has failed to keep costs low.  Our health care industry is nothing close to free market.  In a free market system, the consumer (patients) would evaluate how effective a producer (doctors, hospitals, care facilities) is and measure them against competitors.  As most people under standard insurance plans pay their set co-pay regardless of what the provider actually charges, they have no incentive to shop around based on value and hence, the providers have no market-based incentive to control costs.

Imagine a health care system where we had to decide how to spend our own health care dollars.  Doctors would have to compete on service and price.  They would be forced to find efficiencies within their own offices and hospitals to be able to be competitive in the marketplace.  That is not how it works today – at all.

High-deductible health plans paired with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) put many health care consumers in the driver’s seat.  Because they are spending real money out of an account that they manage, these consumers tend to shop for their health care services, abuse the system far less, and consider less-expensive drugs and treatments that are as effective.  This kind of health plan is certainly closer to showing how a free market health care system might work.  Unfortunately, not everyone is responsible enough to manage their own health care costs.

In our current system, insurance companies work as an insulator between the consumer and producers.  The providers might perform tests or treatments that are more-expensive because the insurance will pay for them.  If they had to sell the cost to the consumer, the patient might actually push back and ask for alternatives and evaluate them all based on effectiveness and cost.

The reform packages attempt to do this value-based evaluation by setting up 10’s of bureaucracies to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of treatments.  Unfortunately it will work just like insurance.  They will have fee schedules that say that they will pay for those treatments and what they will pay.  The only one making a decision at the point-of-care will be the doctor and if the expensive treatment will get paid for, the doctor could use it.  The patient will pay their co-pay regardless if the most or least expensive treatment is proposed.

If the person making the health care choices (patients) is not making those choices based on cost, there will be no downward pressure on health care costs.  If hospitals and providers knew that patients might choose less-expensive, but effective, institutions, they would be forced to use the most cost-effective solutions, not the solutions they could charge the insurance company the most for.

The health care reforms proposed will hide the costs of care even more.  Smaller co-pays, no maximums, etc.  That money has to come from somewhere.  It will come from the premiums of everyone that is not too poor to pay.  If a government-run plan is added, it will come from taxes as well just like Medicare and Medicaid.  Health care won’t get cheaper this way, it will just be less obvious to us that it’s more expensive.

Other Articles on Health Care Reform:

Health Care Reform Analyzed: The truth about HR3200

Baucus’ Bill Revealed

Fish 1: Farmers 0

The delta smelt has taken on a vicious campaign against California food growers.  The smelt have collectively contacted their representatives and senators to let them know that if more water is not diverted into their rivers, the congresspeople will be voted out. The “Smelts for Obama” Political Action Committee has promised all of its resources to the wishes of the new President in return for more water.  Not just more, but all of it.

There was some concern that congress would not listen to fish, even with the threat of a loss of voter support, but that has proven untrue.  California congress members have acted and the fish are encouraged by the truly representative democracy they swim within.  There is no doubt that farmers have been out-maneuvered by the smelt PAC.  In a democracy, that’s what happens – those with the majority (fish) have power over those that do not (the people).  It is possible that we must get used to this as Cass Sunstein (an Obama administration official) may make it possible for animals to sue us.  A position I support, as long as it becomes legal to hunt lawyers.

Farmers have had to live with infertile lands, dying orchards and farmland, and impossible growing conditions.  The 40% unemployment conditions are just a cost of making sure the aquatic segment of the populace are taken care of.

Some are crying that an ineffective census has left farmers with even more rights than they should have had.  Clearly, there are more fish than farmers and in a representative government… the fish win.

The lessen to farmers… spawn or get out-voted by an animal that lives about a year and has no value to the economy whatsoever.

With Enemies Like These Who Needs Friends

There have been myriad posts recently about how our current leadership is apologizing for us, alienating our allies and endearing our enemies. What these articles have not made clear is how many friends we are ditching and how vehemently we are befriending the violent totalitarians of our day.

Just today, press secretary Robert Gibbs spent his working hours explaining to the media how ok it was that Obama was not having a meeting with the prime minister of…. England while the PM was in the U.S. for the U.N. General Assembly meeting.  It might seem somewhat overblown, but Obama turned down no fewer than FIVE direct requests from the British leadership to meet.  Five.  From an ally.  FIVE!   But he will meet with Amenijad or Chavez or  without pre-conditions.  Obama has actually had no issues with one-on-one meetings with China’s hu Jintao and Russia’s Medvedev .  Why these leaders and not one of America’s closest allies.  Why?

The apologetic attitude that Obama has taken in international speeches is unforgivable at best and possibly treasonous.  He is not defending this country nor its constitution and he took an oath to do both.

Obama has set the Isreali-Palestinian converstion back 30+ years by de-negotitating everything that has been gathered so far and empowering a Palestine government that is nearly-leaderless, certainly lawless, unforgivably murderous, and down-right mean.

With the Mexican violence happening to our south, and the Obama administration cutting border agents along the southern border by almost 400…  don’t be upset when no one supports us when we have to fight back against the onslaught of Mexican violence.

We are walking away from true friends and supporting those that do not want us as friends, they just want us to continue to let them spread death, hate and dispare.

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