Saturday, April 30, 2011

Green Energy Costs in Germany Crushing

It really doesn't matter that 'green energy' imposes increased costs across the board for everyone. What matters is that we feel good about ourselves when we are forced to live lives that are subservient to others that know what's best.

Impact of Renewable Energy Policies in Germany
Source: Kenneth P. Green, "Green Energy: Don't Envy Germany," The American, April 23, 2011

In a study of the impacts of Germany's aggressive promotion of wind and solar power, Manuel Frondel and colleagues noted that the German feed-in law required utilities buy solar power at 62 cents per kilowatt-hour, far above the normal cost of conventional electricity, which was between 3 and 10 cents.

Feed-in subsidies for wind power, they observed, were 300 percent higher than conventional electricity costs. But rather than bringing economic benefits in terms of lower cost energy and a proliferation of green energy jobs, implementing wind and solar power raised household energy rates by 7.5 percent, says Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

German renewable energy policy, and in particular the adopted feed-in tariff scheme, has failed to harness the market incentives needed to ensure a viable and cost-effective introduction of renewable energies into the country's energy portfolio.

In the case of photovoltaics, Germany's subsidization regime has reached a level that by far exceeds average wages, with per-worker subsidies as high as €175,000 ($254,000).

To the contrary, Germany's principal mechanism of supporting renewable technologies through feed-in tariffs imposes high costs without any of the alleged positive impacts on emissions reductions, employment, energy security or technological innovation.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Debt Crisis : A Matter of Public Trust of Government

If you ever wondered just what will happen when the tipping point comes on the national debt, wonder no longer. The end for our country will be when we, as the stock holders of the debt, decide that our leaders cannot be trusted to do the right thing no matter who we elect.

When the trust in our leaders fails, the nation will implode on itself, leaving the states to fend for themselves or worse, every individual having to look to their own skills to just survive.

So the battle to stop the debt from getting worse and turning the old agenda of tax and spend around is a top priority for the new congress. This is extremely important, and will determine our immediate and long term future. I really hope they know how important this is for all of us.

Deficit Spending
Source: Lawrence H. White, "From Pleasant Deficit Spending To Unpleasant Sovereign Debt Crises," Mercatus Center, April 2011.

The federal government ran record peacetime budget deficits in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, 10 percent and 9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), respectively, and anticipated another deficit of 10 percent in 2011. The federal government's borrowing in 2009 and 2010 took up amounts equal to 60 percent and 49 percent of the economy's gross private savings, respectively.

The dollar volume of federal debt held by the public doubled between the end of September 2007 and the end of December 2010. The ratio of debt to GDP reached 62 percent, the first time the federal-debt-to-GDP ratio had exceeded 50 percent since just after World War II, says Lawrence H. White, a professor of economics at George Mason University.

A large share of the federal debt growth in 2007-2010 was cyclical, due to a deep recession that reduced federal revenues and automatically triggered some additional spending. But a sizable part of the debt growth was non-cyclical or structural, as indicated by the federal budget having been in deficit for 36 out the most recent 40 years.

By 2020, debt would equal nearly 90 percent of GDP; after that, the growing imbalance between revenues and noninterest spending, combined with the spiraling cost of interest payments, would swiftly push federal debt to unsustainable levels.

Debt held by the public would exceed its historical peak of about 110 percent of GDP by 2025 and would reach about 180 percent of GDP in 2035.

A growing level of federal debt would also increase the probability of a sudden fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose confidence in the government's ability to manage its budget, and the government would thereby lose its ability to borrow at affordable rates, says White.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oil Drilling Moratorium Revenue Loss : Billions

Just when we need the money the most, the Obama administration steps in and kicks the door shut. Why?

The Fiscal Impact of the Offshore Drilling Moratorium
Source: Rob Bluey, "The Fiscal Impact of the Offshore Drilling Moratorium," National Center for Policy Analysis, April 27, 2011.

Due to declining production at existing wells and bureaucratic delays on new wells in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout in 2010, the federal government is forfeiting revenues of more than $4.7 million per day. The losses will grow significantly if the federal government does not sell new drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico this year, says Rob Bluey, director of the Center for Media and Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation and an adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis' E-Team.

The lack of new leases ultimately means the government will collect less rent. The number grows even larger when royalty payments are coupled with a lack of Gulf lease sales and fewer rental payments. Those three components -- royalties, leases and rent -- make up a sizable amount of revenue each year.

For example:
In 2008, the offshore industry paid $237 million in rent, $8.3 billion in royalties and $9.4 billion for bids on new leases. By comparison, last year those numbers dropped to $245 million in rent, $4 billion in royalties and just $979 million in lease bids.

The Obama administration has dismissed the financial impact of less production, but the economic forecasting firm IHS Global Insight estimates that royalties, lease bids and rent payments amounted to more than $6 billion in 2009. Federal, state and local taxes related to the offshore oil and gas operations in the Gulf totaled $13 billion. That $19 billion pot of money could go a long way toward deficit reduction, says Bluey.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Green Energy Production in China : Only 1% in Use!

If you ever wondered why so many liberals hail the wonders of the Chinese and their 'green' industry, this article will explain how this has come about. Also, to no ones wonder, most of the liberals that tout China's style of productions and government are Marxists themselves if not outright communists.

When the old Soviet Union imploded, the fleeing communists needed a place to lite and they found a perfect landing in the environmental movement. This is not fantasy, but established facts. Little wonder then why the 'new progressives' are so infected with establishing a foot hold with the unions, liberal Democrats and why now the fight against public sector unions have come to a boiling point. They are seeing their new home being dismantled before their very eyes.

Fact : Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and 11 other states so far taking up the fight against public sector unions.

Hold the Accolades on China's "Green Leap Forward"
Source: Bjørn Lomborg, "Hold the Accolades on China's 'Green Leap Forward'," Washington Post, April 20, 2011.

Many have trumpeted China as an emerging "green giant" for its noncarbon-based energy production and its aggressive promises to cut carbon emissions. However, the facts do not support this "green" success story, says Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

China indeed invests more than any other nation in environmentally friendly energy production: $34 billion in 2009, or twice as much as the United States. Almost all of its investment, however, is spent producing green energy for Western nations that pay heavy subsidies for consumers to use solar panels and wind turbines.

China was responsible for half of the world's production of solar panels in 2010, but only 1 percent was installed there.

Just as China produces everything from trinkets to supertankers, it is exporting green technology -- which makes it a giant of manufacturing, not of environmental friendliness.
A 2008 Citigroup analysis found that about one-third of China's wind power assets were not in use; many turbines are not connected to the transmission grid.

Consider the bigger picture: 87 percent of the energy produced in China comes from fossil fuels, the vast majority of it from coal, the International Energy Agency found in 2010.
The reason China does not use more wind and solar power is simple: Even when mass produced with cheap labor, solar panels and wind turbines are not cost-effective replacements for fossil fuels. They appear so in the West only where politicians create generous subsidies for their implementation, says Lomborg.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poverty As A Way of Life : Government Directed

Poverty can be directly linked to the knowledge that if one does nothing to survive, someone will help - and if the help continues, it becomes a 'right' for survival.

Explaining Poverty

Source: Walter Williams, "Poverty Is Easy To Explain," Freeman Online, May 2011.

We do not know fully what makes some societies richer than others. However it is clear that those countries with greater economic liberty tend also to have stronger protections of human rights. And their people are wealthier, says Walter Williams, the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University.

One way to gauge human-rights protection is to ask to what extent the State protects voluntary exchange and private property. Private property produces systemically different incentives and results from collective property. When property rights are held privately the costs and benefits of decisions are concentrated in the individual decision maker; with collectively held property rights they are dispersed across society.

For example, private property forces homeowners to take into account the effect of their current decisions on the future value of their homes, because that value depends, among other things, on how long the property will provide housing services. Thus privately owned property holds one's personal wealth hostage to doing the socially responsible thing -- economizing scarce resources.

When the government owns the house, the individual has less incentive to take care of it simply because he does not capture the full benefit of his efforts. It is dispersed across society instead.
The costs of neglecting the house are similarly spread.

This argument applies to all activities, including work and investment. Whatever lowers the return from or raises the cost of an investment reduces incentives to make that investment in the first place.

Proper identification of the causes of poverty is critical. If it is seen, as is too often the case, as a result of exploitation, the policy recommendation that naturally emerges is income redistribution -- that is, government confiscation of some people's "ill-gotten" gains and "restoration" to their "rightful" owners. If poverty is correctly seen because of the unwise government intervention and lack of productive capacity, more effective policy recommendations emerge, says Williams.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mortage Market Fix : Institutional Investment

More rocket science? Nah - just get rid of the government intrusion in our lives and most everything else will fall into place. Does this mean we fall asleep at the wheel, I don't think so, but given the mess that Fannie and Freddie are in due to government having their collective thumbs on the scales, how can we go wrong on the private sector taking a shot at fixing this nightmare.

The math and historical facts says this will work. Really, anything that eliminates the government in our lives has to be a viable solution.

Private Mortgage Finance System Is the Answer
Source: Peter J. Wallison, "Government Mortgage Guarantees Are Unnecessary," The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2011.

As Congress prepares to debate how to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, those in politics and real estate who support a government-backed housing finance system are predicting calamity. Institutional investors, they say, will not buy U.S. mortgages or mortgage-backed securities unless they are guaranteed by the government.

The numbers tell a different story, says Peter J. Wallison, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

According to the Federal Reserve's flow of funds data, nonbank institutional investors had assets of $28 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010. About $13 trillion of this amount was invested in fixed-income or debt securities -- but only $1.8 trillion was invested in U.S. government-backed securities issued by government agencies or the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie and Freddie.

Thus, less than one-seventh of the funds invested in debt securities by institutional investors were invested in government-backed mortgage securities.

By contrast, at the end of 2010, nonbank institutional investors had assets consisting of $2.6 trillion in both residential and commercial whole mortgages. Whole mortgages are not guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie or the Federal Housing Administration.
This means that even after the financial crisis, institutional investors held a larger dollar amount of mortgages that are not backed by the government than the mortgages that are perceived as government-guaranteed.

What all this shows is that institutional investors are not particularly interested in government-guaranteed assets.

Thus, if we want U.S. and foreign institutional investors to invest in our mortgage market, we should be looking to a private system of mortgage finance, and not one run or backed by the government, says Wallison.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Boomers Are Coming! The Boomers Are Coming! Run for Cover

Have you seen the movie "The Perfect Storm"? Well, the sequel is the baby boomers retiring, but the result is a lot worse than one small boat going into 'Davies Locker', were talking about the entire ship of state heading into the deepest trench there is around, a total financial meltdown.

And how are we attacking the problem, Obama wants to raise taxes and spend more money on green energy and high speed trains. Oh wait, he wants, is, giving money to other countries to drill for oil so we can buy it from them. We're broke, running out of energy that powers our industry and he is giving money to others so they prosper so we can spend more money we don't have buying energy from them!?

What does this mean for our country, it means we all slip back to the 19th century. Remember how much fun that was? Are you old enough to remember the news reels in the movie theaters? No? Well, don't worry about not knowing what happened back then, you will have a front row seat to find out first hand.

Watch Your Wallets: the Baby Boomers Are Beginning to Retire
Source: "Too Much, Too Young," The Economist, April 7, 2011.

The demographic picture has changed now that the baby boomers are starting to retire. In 1950, there were 7.2 people aged 20-64 for every person age 65 and older in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. By 1980, the ratio had dropped to 5.1. Now it is around 4.1, and by 2050, it will be just 2.1. In short, every couple will be supporting a pensioner, says The Economist.

Europe and Japan are facing the biggest problems: The average dependency ratio in the European Union is already down to 3.5, and is heading for 1.8 by 2050. In Italy it is forecast to be nearly 1.5 and in Germany nearly 1.6. Japan is on track for a startling 1.2 by 2050.

Since the average pensioner currently draws a total of about 60 percent of median earnings, from government and private sources, the system is likely to become unaffordable. In a sense, it does not matter how the benefits are paid for. If they are unfunded, they come from workers' taxes; if funded, they come from investment income. But the income has to be generated by someone, says The Economist. There are ways of reducing the burden.

The current generation of workers could save more now. If they put more money into funded pension schemes, the extra saving might encourage more investment and thus boost economic growth. A wealthier society would find it easier to afford paying pensions.

In addition, countries with PAYGO schemes could raise taxes now, reducing the deficit and thus the debt burden on the younger generations.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Global Financial Collapse : Crisis Opportunity Again

Total global collapse of the financial system will be just what the experts in the White House want - Obama will use the crisis to install total government control over the entire population.

Welcome to the new world order.

Few Tools Left to Jumpstart Economy
Source: John H. Makin, "Uncertainty Mounts," American Enterprise Institute, April 2011.

Hope that the global economy has shaken off the dust of the 2007-2008 financial crisis is giving way to uncertainty as the Arab Spring and disaster in Japan threaten to reverse recovery momentum. Market behavior is signaling a slowdown in U.S. growth, but there are few options left for policymakers as fiscal and monetary stimulus fade. Budget pressures will make further stimulus unlikely, leading to mounting uncertainty about the way forward, says John H. Makin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

In his study, Makin makes the following key points:

Instability in North Africa and the Middle East, tragedy in Japan and rising energy prices make for a highly uncertain global economic outlook. Major segments of the global economy are withdrawing fiscal and monetary stimulus, and higher pressure on oil supplies will likely cut overall demand growth.

The global economic recovery is still dependent on U.S. consumption and investment, but first quarter U.S. growth estimates have been revised down from 4 percent to 2.5 percent.
U.S. policymakers have few tools left to jumpstart the economy if it stalls midyear after the second round of quantitative easing and second stimulus fade.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Environmentalists Howel Over Plastic Bag Dump : A Fraud

Plastic bag dump the size of Texas? In the ocean - 'out of sigh'? Well, of course, it would be out of sight, how could the eco-fascists loons demand we spend millions on their project clean this up if it were 'in sight' for all to see to authentic their claim of calamity. Woha!

The progressive left Marxist eco-fascist has to claim the high ground on their personal integrity alone. To have to prove their claim of disaster, if nothing is done, is out of the question.

As we all can recall, when Democrats are in power, the word of the Marxist loon
fanatic environmentalist was good enough. Remember screams for 'No more nuclear power plants, no more drilling off shore or ANWAR, no more coal fired power plants, no more oil refineries', and now they hate natural gas as well.

As the last November election proved, the citizens have had enough of this nonsense. It's time for common sense to rule the day.

"Great Garbage Patch" not so Great
Source: David Godow, "Restricting Plastic Bag Use May Bring Little Oceanic Payoff," Reason Foundation, April 20, 2011.

The push by state and local governments to either tax or ban conventional plastic bags revolves around the assumption that plastic bag use degrades the environment. One of the biggest weapons in tax advocates' intellectual arsenal is the so-called "Great Garbage Patch," a collection of various man-made debris (including plastic) blighting the North Pacific Ocean.

The garbage patch, often said to be the size of Texas, is luridly described as "the largest landfill in the world," a vortex of plastic that poisons oceanic wildlife, says David Godow, a research assistant at the Reason Foundation. It turns out the true story might be a little less exciting.

According to researchers at Oregon State University, the "great garbage patch" is neither especially great, nor even really a "patch." Instead, it's a zone of ocean where debris particulates -- often invisible from the surface -- exist at a higher concentration than the rest of the ocean.
There's no great mass of plastic bags the size of Texas; research has established that the reality is closer to 1 percent of the state's size.

As assistant professor of oceanography Angel White puts it: "If we were to filter the surface area of the ocean equivalent to a football field in waters having the highest concentration (of plastic) ever recorded, the amount of plastic recovered would not even extend to the 1-inch line."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Food Prices Soar : More Government Control

WOW - What we really need now, as proposed by our government, is an increase in the Ethanol blend - what we need is to cause poor countries to completely collapse under the weight of starvation. America will start using more and more corn for fuel than exporting it overseas.

In America, of course, we will just have more people on unemployment and food stamps, as they will not be able to afford to buy food and heat their homes in the winter.

What a great idea by our current administration - the more people that are brought under the government umbrella of subsides and forced to depend on others for their existence, the more they can be controlled to do the bidding of others. The more people depend on others, the more they will demand it.

Welcome to the new world of liberalism.

Rising Food Prices Hurt the Poor
Source: Gary S. Becker, "How to (and not to) Help Poor Families in Developing Countries Cope with Rising Food Prices," Becker-Posner Blog, April 17, 2011.

Higher prices of foods mainly hurt the poor since poor countries and poorer families within a given country spend a much larger fraction of their incomes on foods than do the rich, says Gary S. Becker, a professor at the University of Chicago.

For example, the share of national income spent on food is over 40 percent in India, compared to less than 15 percent in the United States. If families were spending 40 percent of their income on food, a 30 percent increase in food prices would raise by 12 percent the income needed to maintain the same level of consumption of all goods. By contrast, a family spending 15 percent of its income on food would only need a 4.5 percent increase in their income to maintain the same consumption. This explains why the current rapid price increase in food and other commodities is causing great distress among poor families.

Governments often respond in ways that lower the cost of food to consumers, but usually at the expense of inducing inefficient behavior by farmers and consumers.

For example, during the current sharp run up in food prices, several food-exporting countries, have banned, or greatly restricted, the ability of farmers to export their produce. This lowers the price of food to urban consumers in these countries, and thereby helps the urban poor; however, such bans reduce the prices received by poor farmers of these countries.

Many countries have also imposed retail price controls on foods that figure most prominently in the diets of lower income families; this reduces the incentives of farmers to grow more food since they cannot benefit from what would be higher prices, and thus increases the demand for food.
Higher demand for food means that price controls cause food rationing at both the retail and wholesale levels. Another common policy is to subsidize staple products, such as bread and rice.

Direct income subsidies are probably the best way to reduce the suffering by poor families due to big increases in food prices. An income subsidy approach has the advantage of allowing prices to be determined by the forces of supply and demand, says Becker.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taxing More Means Less Prosperity - Not More

No matter how hard one tries to hide the fact that less taxes will produce more revenue, this fact remains, past history has proven that it works. Our country was built on this fact if the individual is not held down by the boot of high taxes, they will prosper and grow, which means more income to the US treasury.

The Economic Cost of Paying Taxes
Source: Arthur B. Laffer, "The 30-Cent Tax Premium," Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2011. Arthur B. Laffer, Wayne H. Winegarden and John Childs, "The Economic Burden Cause by Tax Code Complexity," Laffer Center, April 14, 2011.

There is a lot more to taxes than simply paying the bill. Taxpayers must spend significantly more than $1 in order to provide $1 of income tax revenue to the federal government, says Arthur B. Laffer, the chairman of Laffer Associates.

To start with, individuals and businesses must pay the government the $1 in revenue plus the costs of their own time spent filing and complying with the tax code; plus the tax collection costs of the IRS; plus the tax compliance outlays that individuals and businesses pay to help them file their taxes. In a new study, Laffer and his colleagues estimate that these costs alone are a staggering $431 billion annually.

This is a cost markup of 30 cents on every dollar paid in taxes.

A tax reform to a simple flat-rate tax with no deductions would significantly reduce the current complexity inherent in our progressive tax system. If a static, revenue-neutral flat-tax reform were to reduce the tax complexity in half, the long-term growth in our economy would increase by around one-half of 1 percent per year. Small increases in our annual economic growth rate make a big difference over time, says Laffer.

Consider a family that made $40,000 in the year 2000. If their income grew by 3.2 percent per year, the average long-term gross domestic product growth rate, their income by 2010 would be $53,110.

Now imagine that the growth in the family's income was not 3.2 percent but 3.72 percent (the impact from halving the costs of our current complex tax system). Under this higher growth scenario, the family's annual income would have been $55,568 in 2010. The slight increase in the economic growth rate raises this family's purchasing power by 4.6 percent.

Regardless of the reform approach taken, the U.S. economy will be enhanced greatly by significantly reducing the complexity of the current tax code.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wisconsin Unions Denying Free Speech With Violence

It was apparent this Saturday when I attended a Tea Party event in Madison Wisconsin - the keynote speaker was Sarah Palin. As one might expect, the hate mongers pulled out all the stops to attack her every word. They succeeded to a great degree. Denying her right to be heard.

Their tactics were the ones they have used for the last two decades or more and this is to drown out what she and other speakers had to say with horns, drums and noise makers of all kinds including shouting profanity. I saw these tactics being used for the last forty years by the left - when I was at school and here in Madison when students and others rioted in the 60's, blowing up a building and killing a man in the process.

It's also prophetic that one of the main members of Students for A Democratic Society, SDS, responsibly for that death, is now the mayor of Madison, for a second time.

I'm sure, if you watched FOX NEWS, you would have seen just how ugly it was. I was there and saw it first hand. Of course if you watched the lettered channels, you wouldn't have seen the worst parts of this demonstration of hate for the freedom of speech. And I believe this is the overall agenda of the left Marxist progressive liberal Democrats, stop the opposition from debate with violence.

This is called the tyranny of the minority, make no mistake about this - they are the minority in America, but one would never know it by the over whelming attacks they foster on everything and everyone that they disagree with. And one has to ask the question of why is it the Marxist progressive left uses this tactic to stop debate? Why do they have to use violence to stem others from their pursuit of freedom of speech?

Did you ever wonder why when the union demonstrators occupied the capital in Madison for weeks on end, and held huge rallies with nationally known media stars giving fiery speech, that they were not drowned out by a mob of horn blowing, drum beating Conservatives shouting obscenities? They always had a free hand to say what ever they wanted to without interruption.

Why is it that Conservatives don't get that same right under the law for free speech? Just who are the unions representing and what is their objectives for America? Who are these people and where do they come from?

Social Security : Shared Debt Option

This really an interesting concept - well worth the time to read and contemplate. Given the mess Social Security is in now, future generations could be shown that their future would be better if they take responsibility for that financial security now. Well worth the debate.

Settling Social Security's Debt
Source: Alex J. Pollock, "Would You Settle Your Claims on Social Security for 83 Cents on the Dollar? (I Would)," The American, April 7, 2011.
Could Social Security's debt be settled at a discount by voluntary transactions with its creditors, namely American citizens? Alex J. Pollock, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, proposes that it could.
Large numbers of people, especially young people, do not believe that they will ever fully collect on Social Security's promises, that is, its debt at par. So Pollock believes significant numbers of people would be interested. These might well include the 68 percent of respondents aged 19 to 29 who were "not confident at all," or "not so confident," that they would get their full benefits.
The present value of all future income of the Social Security trust fund dealing with the pensions program is $34.5 trillion, according to the Social Security Trustees 2010 Report.
Against the $34.5 trillion in assets, there are liabilities of $41.4 trillion -- this is the present value of all the future cash outflows promised by Social Security. The liabilities are $6.9 trillion greater than the assets.
Putting these numbers together, the $34.5 trillion in assets of Social Security available to pay promised pensions are only about 83 percent of the promises of $41.4 trillion. Since the assets are equal to about 83 percent of the liabilities, this gives us a reasonable estimate of the fair way to settle the debt of Social Security to its creditors (namely, us): 83 cents on the dollar.
So would you rather have 83 cents of your own, which you could invest to earn interest you would own, or would you prefer 100 cents of future claims on an admittedly insolvent government pension program?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Social Security Under the Miroscope

Who would have believed just a decade ago that a welfare society could be built around one program, social security. ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc It begs the question how did this happen and why so many people believe it is better not to have the will power to succeed on their own, believing taking from others to sustain them, rather then to build a life based on hard work and self respect? Where did this welfare state begin and how do we stop it is the question now that needs to be answered? ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccI believe Paul Ryan's new budget is a good start. cccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc Disability Benefits Act as Shadow Safety Net Source: Motoko Rich, "Disabled, but Looking for Work," New York Times, April 6, 2011. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx For the last five years, Social Security has paid out more in benefits to disabled workers than it has taken in from payroll taxes. About 8.2 million people collected disabled worker benefits totaling $115 billion last year, up from 5 million a decade earlier. But given the difficult job market, some economists say they believe that an increasing number of people rely on disability benefits as a kind of shadow safety net, says the New York Times. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The program was designed to help workers who are "permanently and totally disabled." But Social Security officials can take into consideration a claimant's age, skills and ability to retrain when determining eligibility. So one question is: How many of these beneficiaries could work, given the right services and workplace accommodations. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Even if claimants have more ambiguous medical cases, once they are granted disability benefits, they generally continue to collect. Of the 567,395 medical reviews conducted on beneficiaries in 2009, Social Security expects less than 1 percent to leave because of improved health. The benefits have no expiration date, like the current 99-week limit for collecting unemployment.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Muslim Culture Breeds In Servitude

This article will shed some light on the future of the Muslim world - this is only a portion of the informative article - please read the entire article as it explains some, but not all, of the violent action in the Islamic world. ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc The Keystone of the Islamic Milieu: Inbreeding By Ann Barnhardt Ann Barnhardt is a livestock and grain commodity broker and marketing consultant, American patriot, traditional Catholic, and unwitting counter-revolutionary blogger. She can be reached through her business at Page Printed from: at April 13, 2011 - 08:43:03 AM CDT ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc The darkest hour is just before dawn. A huge swath of this planet, from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Philippine Sea, has been held in a synthetic, forced nightfall for nearly fourteen centuries. But the sunrise is coming, it is coming sooner rather than later, and this light will be the life of men. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Everywhere in the western world, people look at the savage violence that is a daily occurrence in the Muslim world and shake their heads in stunned disbelief. A pastor of a very small Christian flock in Florida burns a Koran. Weeks later at literally the global antipode, Muslim imams drive through neighborhoods in a vehicle with loudspeakers attached, calling the townsfolk to riot. The townsfolk respond, and before it is all over, at least 22 innocent people are dead at the hands of these townsfolk, with at least two of them beheaded. How is this possible? How can this be? How can human behavior and culture be so monstrously different? Is this difference attributable to nothing more than environmental nurture theory? xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx No. There is something else. There is a catalyst -- absent in every other culture on earth -- that has poisoned the cultural soil, thus yielding the fruit of bad harvest for nearly 1,400 years. That catalyst is inbreeding. As a direct result, the Muslim population is mentally developmentally disabled on a mass scale.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Goodness gracious, what have the Dutch wrought? As this article states, the Dutch have decided that wind mills are a scam. Of course, a lot of us in this country have known this for years but given the control that the left has had in this country, we are now being crushed in the weight of huge unfunded mandates, subsides, to build more wind mills. Is there no end? Sure - vote out the liberal Democrats to the last member! ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc Dutch Losing Faith in Wind Power? Source: Kenneth P. Green, "On Green Energy: A Dutch (Re)Treat," The American, April 10, 2011. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Green is the new black, in both the United States as well as Europe. Virtually everyone on the left has thrown on the green pants, green shirts and green cloak of what, they assure us, is the future of life on Earth as we know it, says Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Green recently studied whether or not the "green energy leads to green jobs" paradigm has any merit, by examining how things have worked out in Europe, where it has been tested extensively. Here, he focuses on the Netherlands. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The Netherlands is the world's third-largest producer of offshore wind power. And while there are no data available about green jobs in the Netherlands, there is evidence that its green power plants will not produce many. Indeed, according to the journal Energy Debate, the new Dutch government has lost its faith in windmills. The government has taken exception to the massive subsidies required to build and operate wind farms, and to the expected export of €4.5 billion (about $6.5 billion) in subsidies to a German company (Bard Engineering) that would have built, owned and operated the wind farms. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx On November 30, 2010, the government unveiled its new renewables plan, slashing annual subsidies from €4 billion ($5.8 billion) to €1.5 billion ($2.2 billion). And not only are the subsidies cut back, what remains will be redirected well away from wind power. Another change in the Dutch attitude toward renewables is how to pay for the subsidies. In the past, subsidies were paid out of the general budget. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Moving forward, consumers will see a surcharge on their energy bills. The irony here is rich. The Dutch, who have been enamored of wind power for hundreds of years, may have finally had enough tilting at windmills. If even they can't make it work, one has to wonder if anyone can, says Green.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wisconsin Socialists Prove It Works

This is the face of Marxist socialism as it appeared in the Wisconsin capital. As the police stand by and were seen participating, in uniform, in the demonstrations in support of the unions.

Firemen, in uniform, were also out in force during the violence at the capital.

There is a huge rally at the capital tomorrow with Sarah Palin in attendance for the main event. We have been granted two hours.

I fully expect riot police in full riot gear ready to fire tear gas and rubber bullets if we are not off the capital grounds at the end of our allotted time. We'll see.

Tax Code Most Progressive : Majority Pay Nothing!

This is just common sense. If you never have to pay for anything that you want, life will be perfect. But when all of sudden someone says that will stop and you will have to start paying for not only your own life style but that of your neighbor as well, suddenly the 'good life' isn't so good anymore. The reaction to this sudden change in circumstances is predictable - witness the violence of the unions in Wisconsin and the other states that have decided state employees will not only have to pay for part of their own retirement and health care, but have to decide whether or not to pay the union dues. With the newest data on working members of the population showing only 48% have jobs while 52% do not or don't care to have jobs, we need to take a long hard look at what we are doing wrong and fix it - Hello Scott Walker!! ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc U.S. Tax Code Is One of World's Most Progressive Source: Richard W. Rahn, "Tax Inequity," Washington Times, April 11, 2011. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The United States has one of the most progressive tax systems in the world, and has become much more progressive in the past 30 years, says Richard Rahn, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The top 1 percent of taxpayers pay 38 percent of all the income taxes despite having just 20 percent of the income. The top 10 percent of taxpayers pay 70 percent of the income tax while having just 46 percent of the income. At the other end, the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers pay just 2.7 percent of the income tax while having 13 percent of the income. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx This has resulted in a situation in which a relatively small minority of taxpayers pay the bulk of the taxes, while most American pay little or no income tax. This is causing an increasing disconnect between benefits from government and what most citizens pay for. One result is a greater polarization in the political realm where a majority of citizens increasingly demand more government benefits for which they want others to pay. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The Swedes were on this same destructive path, but they reversed course over the last couple of decades and made their tax system far less progressive, even though their tax rates at all levels are above most of those in the United States. The result has been a tempering of demand for new government services as people at all income levels realize they will be the ones paying for those services and not some mythical "rich" person. The side benefit is that Sweden, as a result of tax and other reforms, now has one of the highest economic growth rates in the world, says Rahn.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Political Correctness : Violence Against the Innocent

What this is for all of us is a wake-up call - open our eyes and ears to what is happening around us. And not just in our government, but in our own neighborhoods.

Columnist Arnold Ahlert

"There is no question that Terry Jones [the Florida pastor who burned a Koran] is an opportunist. Yet what would one call those Muslims who both incite and commit violence at the slightest provocation? It is worth remembering that when Newsweek falsely reported a Koran being flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay in 2005, 15 people were killed in rioting.
Former Seattle Weekly cartoonist Molly Norris has been forced into hiding -- in the United States -- after she became the target of a death threat following her 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' satire for that newspaper.
The most compelling argument against what Jones did can be reduced to the idea that you don't swat a hornet's nest. Yet it is precisely that kind of self-censorship which allows the hornets to continue stinging whenever they choose to do so. ...
This is where the West's infatuation with political correctness has taken us. It is an ideological bankruptcy so profound, that we are reduced to a disturbing reality brought on by equal amounts of weak thinking, apologist inanity and reflexive appeasement: It takes a bigot to expose a death cult." --

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Medicaid Reform Waivers Work : ObamaCare Doesn't

Good news - Paul Ryan is right, of course, block grants work and here is proof. But to liberal progressives proof is not what they are after, control is what is most important. Giving waivers has had a positive effect on the medical system and but to the detriment of the liberal agenda. Truly good news!! cccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc Medicaid Reform Working in Rhode Island Source: John R. Graham, "Good News for All States and All Taxpayers: Rhode Island's Medicaid Waiver Survives Scrutiny," The Pacific Research Institute, April 4, 2011. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Federal taxpayers pay about 53 percent of Rhode Island's Medicaid costs. This has created a perverse incentive for state politicians to increase dependency on Medicaid in order to capture more federal funds. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The "stimulus" bill of February 2009 increased Rhode Island's match to about 64 percent. Fortunately, Rhode Island succeeded in crafting a mechanism to restrain out-of-control Medicaid growth, says John R. Graham, director of health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute. In August 2008, Governor Carcieri tasked his Secretary of Health and Human Services, Gary Alexander, to apply for a "Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver" from the federal government. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Rhode Island's waiver is not quite a block grant -- it caps aggregate federal and state spending through 2013 at $12.075 billion. Nevertheless, it appears to have had the results one would expect from a block grant -- spending has plummeted from what was anticipated. Remarkably, through the first six quarters of the waiver (January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010) actual spending was only $2.7 billion versus $3.8 billion budgeted. Rhode Island's reform benefits not only the state but federal taxpayers nationwide. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The state's latest (March 2011) mandated quarterly report, which presents financial performance from July 2009 through December 2010, announced that cumulative total Medicaid savings from the waiver were $1.3 billion, says Graham.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nuclear Power Waste Storage Stopped by Politics

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that follows energy policy in this country or around the world. The eco-fascists, environmental terrorist have a grip on the small minded self centered, ego stricken politicians that can only see as far as their next election and care not a wit about how their personal weaknesses toward making sound, common sense decision will have a profound effect on energy policy. As a result we have this mess of where nuclear wasted should be stored or reused. cccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc What to Do With America's Nuclear Waste Source: H. Sterling Burnett and David T. Stevenson, "Lessons from Japan on Nuclear Waste," Washington Times, April 11, 2011. ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc Unnecessarily, in the United States we currently store spent nuclear fuel rods, in many instances, at power plants in above ground facilities just like the one in Japan now troubling the world, say H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Dave Stevenson, the director of the Center for Energy Competitiveness at the Caesar Rodney Institute in Dover, Delaware. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Indeed, there are currently about 71,000 metric tons of spent fuel and high level radioactive waste stored at 121 nuclear power plants and non-military government sites. While this may seem like a lot, the entire 50 years worth of spent fuel could be stored in a space the size of one football field piled 41 feet high. Waste grows at a rate of 2,000 metric tons a year. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Three storage options have existed for years: Yucca Mountain, Nevada; the Waste Isolation Pilot Plan (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico; and recycling spent fuel. Unfortunately, politics has prevented us from availing ourselves of these options. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Yucca Mountain. After 26 years and more than $13.5 billion spent, the initial Yucca Mountain facility is complete and ready to accept up to 70,000 metric tons of waste and only requires final licensing. However, despite scientific evidence that Yucca Mountain is safe, political wrangling has prevented opening the facility -- in an executive order the Obama administration zeroed out spending on it. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx WIPP. WIPP is already open and more than 100,000 containers of radioactive material have been stored in a massive bedded (layered) salt deposit. The salt in the formation is self-sealing: It flows like sand to fill in, or seal, the disposal chambers completely. WIPP has been extensively monitored for human health and environmental risks for 15 years, showing no evidence of an increase in contaminants in the ground, air or water near WIPP. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The third option is to recycle spent fuel, say Burnett and Stevenson.

Monday, April 11, 2011

EPA : Regulations for Destruction

The EPA is one of the major forces in the administrations plan to bring down America economy to levels that existed two generations ago. According to Obama this is where we should be given how we have consumed so much of the worlds resources getting to the top of the industrial world. Obama believes it is time for us to become just another nation among the world community, letting others take the lead. ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc Texas May Face Electricity Shortages under New EPA Rules Source: Kathleen Hertnett White, "EPA's GHG and Clean Air Act Regulations: A focus on Texas' Economy, Energy Prices, and Jobs," Texas Public Policy Foundation, March 24, 2011. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Texas is now the nation's leading industrial and manufacturing state. Thus, the state will be disproportionately impacted by the recent Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation and the many other major rules to take effect in the next three years. Indeed, the rules on track to go into effect in the next three years could cost more than $1 trillion, result in hundreds of thousands of jobs lost and significantly impair electric reliability, says Kathleen Hertnett White, director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and Environment. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The 10 EPA rules examined by White are: 1) GHG regulation; 2) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for four criteria pollutants; 3) Ozone NAAQS; 4) Particulate Matter NAAQS; 5) Clean Air Transport Rule; 6) Cooling Water Intake; 7) Coal Combustion Residuals; 8) Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards (MACT); 9) Industrial Boiler MACT; and 10) Portland Cement Kiln MACT. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx These regulations involve compliance costs of a magnitude never experienced previously but without rigorous scientific justification or clear health benefits. Many of the rules in question are aimed at electric generation and are particularly threatening to coal-fired generation. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx A National Electric Reliability Council (NERC) study estimated that four EPA rules risk 5,775 megawatts of existing capacity in Texas. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) projects Texas needs 18,000 megawatts of additional capacity to avoid shortfalls in 2020. If NERC's projections for ERCOT are accurate, Texas may face the daunting challenge of adding 23,775 megawatts of electric generation within the ERCOT region by 2020, says White.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

School Reform Gets New Life From Wisconsin Battle

It's high time that school reform become popular again like it was years ago when unions didn't have so much power. The transformation of the unions in states like Wisconsin and Ohio makes this reborn thinking possible. It's good for the schools and the unions to suffer change while we all have a front row seat to see how each is made better or is crushed completely. cccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc Rethinking School Reform Source: Frederick M. Hess, "From School Choice to Educational Choice," American Enterprise Institute, April 5, 2011. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx In recent decades, many calls for transformative change in American schooling have advocated school choice. Yet these calls themselves have too often accepted the orthodoxies of the 19th century schoolhouse. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Working with the Walton Family Foundation's Bruno Manno, Frederick M. Hess, the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, offers a more promising vision for 21st century, choice-centered reform. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The critical role of data: A successful customized schooling model requires collecting and monitoring data in ways that reflect individual needs and performance, not merely those aggregated across large swaths of students. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Not just choice, but informed choice: Much like the importance of information in structuring a well-functioning policy environment, the parental need for granular, comparable and accessible data on schools must be taken into account when modeling a customized education system. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Technology and the rise of virtual schooling: To rethink the one-teacher-to-25-students classroom that has persisted so stubbornly for centuries, we must learn to strategically exploit the power of new technologies. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Customized education for teachers and administrators: Teachers in need of specialized lesson plans or wishing to import specialized support for a handful of advanced students could use new resources to become more effective. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Tools for customization: Allowing outside providers to augment classroom offerings means that schools can take advantage of their expertise and leverage those skills to provide services at a much lower cost than developing such expertise on their own. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Breaking the whole-school funding assumption: Rather than just paying for students to go to approved school A or B, the state would deposit money in an account in the name of each student and then allow parents to use that money to procure services from an array of state-approved providers.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

ObamaCare Driving Patients Overseas!!

Here is just another disaster that ObamaCare has brought to our medical system and will, in the very near future, destroy our great medical care we all have enjoyed for decades. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Medical Tourism Is Growing Source: Manoj Jain, "Medical Tourism Draws Growing Numbers of Americans to Seek Health Care Abroad," Washington Post, April 4, 2011. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx According to Deloitte consulting services, 875,000 Americans were medical tourists in 2010, traveling outside U.S. borders to receive health care: dental work, elective hip replacements, even bypass surgery, says Manoj Jain, an adjunct assistant professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx According to Devi Shetty, the founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya (NH) Hospitals in Bangalore and a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, bypass surgeries cost his patients $2,000 to $5,000, a tenth of what it would cost in the United States. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx His formula is simple: Focus on the process and on volume. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Just as Wal-Mart capitalizes on the power of bulk purchasing, Shetty has applied process and volume principles to his hospitals, using innovation and well-tested surgical techniques developed in the United States. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Devon Herrick, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, identifies other factors that make foreign hospitals less expensive: lower labor costs certainly, but also fewer third-party payments, price transparency, limited malpractice liability and fewer regulations. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx While fewer than 2 percent of U.S. health care spending can take place abroad (because many conditions require urgent attention), what may be more significant is the potential growth of ordinary medical services, such as radiology and laboratory tests. Ten to 30 percent of medical transcription is sent overseas, according to the American Transcription Association. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx And more than 200 hospitals contract for "nighthawk" radiology reading services in India or Australia, taking advantage of the 12-hour time difference, according to a 2006 New England Journal of Medicine article.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Smoking Bans Work : Maybe Not!

Again, the reasons people get involved in such things as 'smoking bans' is one of control - they believe their idea of what's best for everyone is the "right" one, period! And as everyone can atest, most of the time they are wrong. Do Smoking Bans Reduce Heart Attacks? Source: Jacob Sullum, "Myocardial Infractions: Smoking Bans and Heart Attacks," Reason Magazine, April 2011. Since 2003, when activists began claiming that smoking bans immediately reduce heart attacks by as much as 47 percent, they have faced two serious credibility problems, says Jacob Sullum, a senior editor at Reason Magazine. First, based on what we know about heart disease rates in current and former smokers, such effects are wildly implausible. Second, given the large number of jurisdictions with smoking bans, it is easy to create a misleading impression by focusing on the places where heart attacks happen to fall. Judging from the first nationwide study of the question, that is exactly what ban boosters have done. "In contrast with smaller regional studies," write RAND Corporation researcher Kanaka Shetty and three coauthors, "we find that smoking bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction [heart attack] or other diseases." In fact, "An analysis simulating smaller studies using subsamples reveals that large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a smoking ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature." In other words, although heart attacks do decline in some places with smoking bans, there are just as many places where they rise. On average, the difference between jurisdictions with smoking bans and jurisdictions without smoking bans is essentially zero, says Sullum.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Economic Growth Stalls by Higher Top Tax Rates

WHO KNEW? JUST WHAT DO THE POLITICIANS THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DO WHEN OTHERS COME AFTER THEIR MONEY? THEY WILL "TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN". Higher Top Tax Rate Will Slow Economic Performance Source: Daniel J. Mitchell, "A Victory for the Laffer Curve, a Defeat for England's Economy,", April 4, 2011. A new study from the Adam Smith Institute in the United Kingdom provides overwhelming evidence that class-warfare tax policy is grossly misguided and self-destructive, says Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute. The authors examine the likely impact of the 10-percentage point increase in the top income tax rate, which was imposed as an election-year stunt by former prime minister Gordon Brown and then kept in place by his successor, David Cameron. They find that boosting the top tax rate to 50 percent will slow economic performance. And because of both macroeconomic and microeconomic responses, tax revenues over the next 10 years are likely to drop by the equivalent of more than $550 billion. President Obama wants to impose similar policies in the United States and there is every reason to expect similarly poor results, says Mitchell.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Oil Reserves Double Past Estimates

Mineral Reserves Will Not Disappear Every president since Richard Nixon has asserted that we are sitting ducks for those who brandish the oil weapon. To keep the evildoers at bay, the government must adopt policies that ensure our energy independence. Like his predecessors, President Obama is worshiping at this altar, says Steve Hanke, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Despite their cynicism about politicians, most people actually believe that mineral resources, including oil, are doomed to disappear. But what is obvious is often wrong. We never run out of minerals. At some point it just costs too much to produce them profitably. Consider, in the 19th century, the big energy scare was in Europe. Most thought Europe was running out of coal. That doomsday scenario never materialized. Thanks to a plethora of substitutes, the prices that European coal could fetch today are far below its development and extraction costs. Consequently, Europe sits on top of billions of tons of worthless coal. When thinking about oil reserves, we must also acknowledge another economic reality: Oil is sold in a world market in which every barrel, regardless of its source, competes with every other barrel. In 1971, the world's proven oil reserves were 612 billion barrels. Since then the world has produced approximately 990 billion barrels -- we should have run out of reserves 14 years ago, but we did not. In fact, today's proven reserves are 1,354 billion barrels, or 742 billion barrels more than in 1971. How could this be? Thanks to improved exploration and development techniques, costs have declined, investments have been made and reserves have been created, says Hanke. Source: Steve H. Hanke, "Energy Independence: Obama Embraces the Department of Nutty Ideas,", March 31, 2011.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Public Education : Change or Vanish

Parents Deserve Voice in Child's Education Source: Jack Klenk, "Who Should Decide How Children are Educated?" Family Research Council, March 2011. Parents are the adults closest to children, and, in almost all cases, know their children better than anyone else. Parents pay for public education through mandatory taxes. Most send their children to public schools, attend parent-teacher meetings and encourage their children to do homework. By and large, parents possess the best information about their children. Thus, the nature of the parental relationship suggests that there is great wisdom in giving parents the role of making major decisions about the education of their children. However, decisions about what schools their children attend and what education programs the schools use are typically made by the system's own professionals, says Jack Klenk, formerly of the U.S. Department of Education. The current educational system, created in the early nineteenth century, is overdue for a modernization that will make it more flexible, less bureaucratic and more family-friendly. To be authentically public, it must serve all parents without discrimination, parents from the whole public, not just those whose children attend one category of schools. For education to serve the public, it must give parents access to a variety of schools, not just government schools.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Robber Slips & Falls Breaking arms/legs After Stabbing Marine

Augusta, GA Orville Smith, a store manager for Best Buy in Augusta, Georgia, told police he observed a male customer, later identified as Tyrone Jackson of Augusta, on surveillance cameras putting a laptop computer under his jacket... When confronted the man became irate, knocked down an employee, drew a knife and ran for the door.Outside on the sidewalk were four Marines collecting toys for the "Toys for Tots" program. Smith said the Marines stopped the man, but he stabbed one of the Marines, Cpl. Phillip Duggan, in the back; the injury did not appear to be severe. After Police and an ambulance arrived at the scene Cpl. Duggan was transported for treatment. The subject was also transported to the local hospital with two broken arms, a broken ankle, a broken leg, several missing teeth, possible broken ribs, multiple contusions, assorted lacerations, a broken nose and a broken jaw...injuries he sustained when he slipped and fell off of the curb after stabbing the Marine. Now that was a well written Police report.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Gov Employment Twice as Big as Private Mfg.: More Taxes!

Please note that Blogger is working on a 'fix' for this problem of no paragraph breaks - thanks. WSJ: More Americans work for govt than manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining, utilities — combined. April 1, 2011 If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government. It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills? Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida’s ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York’s. Most reasonable steps to restrain public-sector employment costs are smothered by the unions. Study after study has shown that states and cities could shave 20% to 40% off the cost of many services—fire fighting, public transportation, garbage collection, administrative functions, even prison operations—through competitive contracting to private providers. But unions have blocked many of those efforts. Public employees maintain that they are underpaid relative to equally qualified private-sector workers, yet they are deathly afraid of competitive bidding for government services. President Obama says we have to retool our economy to “win the future.” The only way to do that is to grow the economy that makes things, not the sector that takes things.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Oil Production In America : Answer to Dependence

Note : The problem still exists as you can see - Blogger, I hope, is working on it. I sent several messages to that effect. The Slickster! Increasing Domestic Oil Production Source: Jon Basil Utley, "The Case for Increasing Domestic Oil Production," Reason Magazine, March 23, 2011. For America, there is a way to greatly minimize, if not fully end, our dependence upon shaky Middle East dictatorships for oil. With dependable Canadian production and using our own shut-in resources, we can vastly reduce our need for imports. This should be a vital, immediate national interest, says Jon Basil Utley, associate publisher of the American Conservative. America imports some 10 million barrels per day (bpd). Of this, Canada sends us two million bpd and Mexico sends about one million bpd. Nigeria, Angola and Venezuela send another 1.5 million bpd, all of which is pretty reliable. That comes to around 4.5 million bpd, which means that there is 5.5 million bpd coming from less-reliable sources, including the Middle East. Here are six things the federal government could do to increase domestic oil production, says Utley. The Alaska pipeline now runs two-thirds empty -- it alone could carry 1.5 million barrels more per day if drilling were allowed. The Gulf of Mexico could be producing another half million barrels per day within five years if permitting were expedited by the Department of the Interior. A crash program to provide abundant LNG (liquid natural gas -- compressed to reduce its volume by a factor of 600) pumps at major interstate truck stops would encourage conversions from using diesel oil, which is imported. Modern oil production allows drilling horizontally miles and miles out in all directions from a single platform;reasonable permissions for drilling off our Atlantic and Pacific coasts could produce billions more barrels of oil. Allowing building of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada's massive tar sands would bring in another half million barrels per day as production ramps up. Congress needs to correct the Environmental Protection Agency's rules to force it to make decisions within 30 days and to use rational measurements instead of a few parts per million as grounds for declaring any product hazardous and illegal.

Muslim Insurgence in Europe : A Video

The fight against Muslim insurgence in Europe is coming to ahead. This video shows how citizens are starting to take notice and some that are fighting back.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Note - Blogger has a problem with their site - please bear with me while this problem exists. The Slickster! Everyone knows this but the ones responsibile have an agenda that requires everyone else to comply. Ethanol Policies Leading to Higher Food Prices Source: Bonner R. Cohen, "Rising Food Prices Spark Renewed Criticism of Ethanol Mandates," Heartland Institute, March 14, 2011. Whether shopping at big-box stores in the United States or haggling with vendors at marketplaces in rural Africa, consumers around the world are confronting noticeably higher prices for the food they need. Agricultural and economics experts report government policies encouraging or mandating ethanol production are largely to blame, says Bonner R. Cohen, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Food prices globally have risen 29 percent during the past year, according to the World Bank Group, pushing tens of millions of people into poverty. Staple food crops show an even steeper rise, according to United Nations figures, with corn prices rising 53 percent and wheat prices rising 47 percent during 2010. Agricultural experts are increasingly identifying government policies aimed at promoting biofuels -- corn-based ethanol in the United States, sugar-based ethanol in Brazil and biodiesel in Europe -- as a factor in the sharp rise of the cost of grains and meat around the world. Figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture underscore how the diversion of farmland from food to fuels has changed land-use patterns in the Midwest's corn belt. In 2001 only 7 percent of U.S. corn went to ethanol, or about 707 million bushels. By 2010, ethanol's share was 39.4 percent, or nearly 5 billion bushels out of total U.S. production of 12.45 billion bushels. Because the United States provides more than half of global corn exports, the diversion from food to fuel inevitably makes its presence felt on global markets, says Cohen.