Saturday, August 31, 2013

Palin Mocks Obama On Syria : Who's the Idiot Now?

I wonder how this Syrian situation would have transpired if Sara Palin was our president? Oh wait, she's too stupid to be president, not wise and so intelligent like the one we have now. Who voted for Mr Obama anyway?

"So we're bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria? And I'm the idiot?" - Sarah Palin
* President Obama wants America involved in Syria's civil war pitting the antagonistic Assad regime against equally antagonistic Al Qaeda affiliated rebels. But he's not quite sure which side is doing what, what the ultimate end game is, or even whose side we should be on. Haven't we learned? WAGs don't work in war.
* We didn't intervene when over 100,000 Syrians were tragically slaughtered by various means, but we'll now intervene to avenge the tragic deaths of over 1,000 Syrians killed by chemical weapons, though according to the White House we're not actually planning to take out the chemical weapons because doing so would require "too much of a commitment."
* President Obama wants to do what, exactly? Punish evil acts in the form of a telegraphed air strike on Syria to serve as a deterrent? If our invasion of Iraq wasn't enough of a deterrent to stop evil men from using chemical weapons on their own people, why do we think this will be?
* The world sympathizes with the plight of civilians tragically caught in the crossfire of this internal conflict. But President Obama's advertised war plan (which has given Assad enough of a heads-up that he's reportedly already placing human shields at targeted sites) isn't about protecting civilians, and it's not been explained how lobbing U.S. missiles at Syria will help Syrian civilians. Do we really think our actions help either side or stop them from hurting more civilians?
* We have no clear mission in Syria. There's no explanation of what vital American interests are at stake there today amidst yet another centuries-old internal struggle between violent radical Islamists and a murderous dictatorial regime, and we have no business getting involved anywhere without one. And where's the legal consent of the people's representatives? Our allies in Britain have already spoken. They just said no. The American people overwhelmingly agree, and the wisdom of the people must be heeded.
* Our Nobel Peace Prize winning President needs to seek Congressional approval before taking us to war. It's nonsense to argue that, "Well, Bush did it." Bull. President Bush received support from both Congress and a coalition of our allies for "his wars," ironically the same wars Obama says he vehemently opposed because of lack of proof of America's vital interests being at stake.
* Bottom line is that this is about President Obama saving political face because of his "red line" promise regarding chemical weapons.
* As I said before, if we are dangerously uncertain of the outcome and are led into war by a Commander-in-chief who can't recognize that this conflict is pitting Islamic extremists against an authoritarian regime with both sides shouting "Allah Akbar" at each other, then let Allah sort it out.
- Sarah Palin

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Doctors ARE Human Beings : Who Knew?

As this article points out, doctors might have a tendency to require more tests then are needed, but given the state of law suits that are driving up insurance rates for doctors, it isn't a stretch to understand why the physicians are ordering more tests, they are covering all the bases.

At the same time, like another career, doctors are just a susceptible to increasing their personal wealth as anyone else. Just because they are doctors doesn't mean they have a sense of moral integrity that is any more profound then you or I.

Whether we like it or not, we have to understand doctors are not saints or magical beings, they are just humans like the rest of us.

How Your Doctor Is Driving Up Health Care Costs
Source: Sita Slavov, "How Your Doctor Is Driving Up Health Care Costs," U.S. News & World Report, August 22, 2013.
August 30, 2013

Most of us have had the experience of taking our car to the mechanic for routine maintenance, only to have the mechanic recommend thousands of dollars' worth of repairs. For those of us without expertise in auto repair, this can be frazzling: it's not clear whether we can trust the mechanic because we know it's in his financial interest to perform unnecessary repairs. And indeed, there are some mechanics who take advantage of uninformed consumers to boost their own incomes. The same story applies to doctors, says Sita Slavov, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

When a doctor tells us that we need a particular test or procedure, most of us are at an informational disadvantage. Not being medical experts, we can't be sure if the test or procedure is really necessary, or if the doctor is merely looking to enhance her own bottom line. In the latter case, we have what is known as "physician-induced demand," a documented phenomenon that results in overtreatment and contributes to high health care costs.

That's exactly what Erin M. Johnson and M. Marit Rehavi, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of British Columbia, respectively, have done in a recent study entitled "Physicians Treating Physicians: Information and Incentives in Childbirth."
  • These two researchers used data on first births that took place in California between 1996 and 2005, and they showed that mothers who are doctors were 9 percent less likely to have unscheduled C-sections (i.e., C-sections that occur after attempting labor) compared to non-physician mothers with similar characteristics.
  • That's consistent with the physician-induced demand hypothesis because, from the provider's perspective, C-sections are typically more profitable than vaginal deliveries.
But not all doctors have a financial incentive to over treat patients. In particular, some hospitals are owned and operated by health maintenance organization (HMO) insurance companies. At these hospitals, doctors are salaried employees who receive no financial rewards for performing unnecessary C-sections. In fact, HMO-owned hospitals may actually have an incentive to undertreat less-informed patients, as the hospitals themselves bear the full cost of the treatments that they provide.

In coming decades, policymakers will have to take serious steps to bring health care costs under control. As they do, it is important that they not ignore the financial incentives facing both doctors and patients.

Alinsky Mobs Protest Genetically Modified Foods : More Insanity

Identifying foods that have been genetically modified seems to assure their demise. Even given that our government has tested them all, and given who this government represents in all things crazy, they have found these modified foods to be safe. And yet, the howling continues by the ignorant mobs of progressive socialist liberals as to why we must not consume foods that aren't all natural. What hogwash, shear stupidity and agenda driven ideology. Identify, isolate and destroy. Saul Alinsky.

Hey, these simpletons are being fed ideology crap by the ton and they consume them without any resistance or protest as to where they came from or who is jamming them down their collective throats. Should the lunatic left have a label on their foreheads identifying them as urban terrorists? Why no, of course not, this is all for the people. Yikes!

Go Figure!!!

Labels for Genetically Modified Foods Are a Bad Idea
Source: "Labels for GMO Foods Are a Bad Idea," Scientific American, August 2013.
August 30, 2013

This past June, Connecticut and Maine became the first states to pass bills requiring labels on all foods made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In November 2012 California voters rejected the similar Proposition 37 by a narrow majority of 51.4 percent. "All we want is a simple label/For the food that's on our table," chanted marchers before the elections. The issue, however, is in no way simple, says Scientific American.

We have been tinkering with our food's DNA since the dawn of agriculture.
  • By selectively breeding plants and animals with the most desirable traits, our predecessors transformed organisms' genomes, turning a scraggly grass into plump-kerneled corn, for example.
  • For the past 20 years Americans have been eating plants in which scientists have used modern tools to insert a gene here or tweak a gene there, helping the crops tolerate drought and resist herbicides.
  • Around 70 percent of processed foods in the United States contain genetically modified ingredients.
Instead of providing people with useful information, mandatory GMO labels would only intensify the misconception that so-called Frankenfoods endanger people's health. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization and the exceptionally vigilant European Union agree that GMOs are just as safe as other foods. Compared with conventional breeding techniques (which swap giant chunks of DNA between one plant and another) genetic engineering is far more precise and, in most cases, is less likely to produce an unexpected result. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tested all the GMOs on the market to determine whether they are toxic or allergenic. They are not.

Many people argue for GMO labels in the name of increased consumer choice. On the contrary, such labels have limited people's options. In 1997, a time of growing opposition to GMOs in Europe, the EU began to require them. By 1999, to avoid labels that might drive customers away, most major European retailers had removed genetically modified ingredients from products bearing their brand. Major food producers such as Nestlé followed suit. Today it is virtually impossible to find GMOs in European supermarkets.

Americans who oppose genetically modified foods would celebrate a similar exclusion. Everyone else would pay a price. Because conventional crops often require more water and pesticides than GMOs do, the former are usually more expensive. Consequently, we would all have to pay a premium on non-GMO foods, and for a questionable return.

Street Crime by Black Teen Gangs Goes Unreported

What is really going on here? Is it possible that too many of those in power to make a difference in local communities are not doing so because of the fear of the press coming after them for being racists when they attempt to target the people that are responsible for crime on the streets and they happen to be mostly black?

It's also reasonable to assume that when the main stream press across the country that attacks anyone that has the gall to criticize the first black president for his inability to lead our nation on any front, they will attack ordinary citizens as well if they make an effort to identify who exactly is responsible for street crime in their cities. Little wonder then local press has decided to not to become a player in identifying the people involved and stopping the escalation of crime perpetrated by black gangs for fear the violence and media will in turn find them.

This is the technique used by Islamist terrorists when anyone says anything that criticizes Allah. 'If you know what's good for you, you will say nothing in the face of evil or suffer violence or death.'

It seems the black mobs are using the same game plan to stiffly any effort to stop the violence. And why not, history shows it works. I wonder how much tolerance will be excepted until the back-lash to  this crime in our streets is catastrophic.

Shhh! Teen mob that raped 2 women ... was black
Colin Flaherty

The original news story from local sources and linked on the Drudge Report said 12 teens raped two women, aged 32 and 24, Thursday evening in Wilmington, Del., and police were looking for help in finding the suspects.

The local Wilmington paper dutifully said the police were searching for “teens” of unspecified race.
Only later was it reported the teens – all believed by police to be between age 12 and 17 – were also black. Local readers noticed the omission.

“Maybe they could get some help finding these youths if they would give a description,” said Michael Harmon in the News Journal web site. “They already know the ages somehow. Whenever they got the ages of these idiots, maybe someone could give them the race.”
Another commenter, representative of the many people who used to live in the city but now live in the suburbs, said, “The once great city of Wilmington has become just another urban jungle … overrun and in many ways taken over by savages.”

The local CBS affiliate in nearby Philadelphia made more than one jaw drop by finally listing details from the police report that were omitted from local stories: The alleged perps were black.
“They didn’t (list the race) at first,” said one reader of the CBS coverage. “They got called out in the comments and about 400 posts later, they silently updated without saying ‘update.’”

As horrific as the crime was, few are surprised it could happen in that neighborhood or that city. Last year, Parenting magazine named Wilmington the most dangerous city in America: “Wilmington managed to snag the number one spot on our list for highest rate of violent crimes per 100,000 people. And while the overall state of Delaware ranked moderately well in the peace index (which looked at factors such as police per capita, percentage of population behind bars and access to small arms), Wilmington came in the top spot for sex offenders per capita.”

The park where the assault took place is located in the Hedgeville neighborhood of Wilmington. This used to be the center of the city’s Polish community in the 1960s, but today it is largely a black neighborhood, with a smattering of Hispanics and white urban pioneers.
Violent crime is an everyday fact of life in and around that neighborhood. Local political officials are often found at crime scenes, promising to end the violence that regularly racks this city of 70,000.
Despite the periodic outbursts to the contrary, city leaders are surprisingly tolerant of violent crime.

At a recent meeting, the Wilmington City Council voted unanimously to remove the box that convicted felons have to check on city employment forms. In the two-hour discussion of repatriating violent felons back to Wilmington after they serve their sentences, not one council member mentioned in any way the thousands of victims of violent crime in the city.
Neither did one councilperson refer to the 80-percent rate of recidivism that local felons experience after they are released from state prison.

Loretta Walsh, a longtime member of the city council who only recently gave up her committee chairmanship overseeing the police department, recently said she was “furious” at a local police officer for telling a victim of crime she lived in a dangerous neighborhood.
Several cases of black mob violence in Wilmington were documented in “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.”
Last year, shooting broke out at a soccer game a mile from this rape. One person died, and police found shell casings from 14 guns at the scene.
Earlier in August, Wilmington police responded to a crime scene where 100 black people had been fighting in the streets. Four people were shot. None died.

Black mobs routinely terrorize cities across the country, but the media and government are silent. Read the detailed account of rampant racial crime in “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Race Riots to America”


Friday, August 30, 2013

Reeducation When Gov. Control Ends

A beginner class for reeducation of progressive socialist
Democrats into a life without government control..
 What we have here is a Conservative trying to explain to progressive liberal Democrats the basic issues involved in free markets and individual freedom that are laid out in our Constitution. This is a class of people that had lost their way when other peoples money ran out.  
They had to be started at the very beginning of basic thought processes.  But many could not grasp some of these new ideas in which case they had to be turned away as hopelessly wasted individuals with no ability to learn new concepts or have any redeeming aptitudes that would change their lives.
They apparently had lost all hope for the future. If someone wasn’t there to decide what they should do next, how could they get or do the things they needed to enrich their lives?
It’s sad that life could be reduced to waiting for others to tell you how your life will turn out.

Crackdown on City Transport Innovation : For Me, Not for Thee

What this sounds like is just more bureaucrats protecting themselves and their friends to maintain the status quo.

Cities Crackdown on Private Transport
Source: Robert Wilonsky, "Dallas to Rewrite Limo Regulations In Effort to Calm Cabbies Unhappy with App-Summoned Uber," Dallas Morning News, August 25, 2013.
August 29, 2013

Uber pulled into Dallas one year ago, offering residents a ride with a few taps of an app. Uber, which uses your smartphone's GPS to track you down, sends you the flat rate for getting from Here to There, and dispatches a nearby car-service driver, whose progress can be followed all the way to the pick-up point. Sounds like quite the ride, but Uber has always maintained: "Uber is not a transportation provider." It maintains it's a tech company that just makes it easier for drivers and passengers to connect, which is how, much to the chagrin of cab companies, it has skirted cities' rules and regulations that steer the car-for-hire business, says Robert Wilonsky, writing with the Dallas Morning News.

Dallas City Hall aims to change that.
  • The Dallas City Council was scheduled to vote on a substantial city code rewrite that will redefine everything from who can dispatch a car to who can drive a limo to the cost of a limousine's off-the-lot sticker price (has to be more than $45,000).
  • And the city doesn't want people to be able to order up a limo whenever they want: The rewrite, says the addendum, will "require limousine service to be prearranged at least 30 minutes before the service is provided."
The addendum item doesn't come out and say it's aimed directly at Uber, only that "the use of computer applications and other technologies by some providers of limousine service has distorted certain distinctions between limousines and taxicabs," and that it's high time the city "establish those distinctions to help the public understand the differences between those types of passenger transportation services." City Hall also wants to be able to regulate drivers being dispatched via app.

In September Yellow Cab President and CEO Jack Bewley said Uber is using the app "to skirt the regulations." Cab owners in the United States and Europe have been trying for months to crackdown on these app-driver start-ups.

That hasn't hurt Uber's ability to raise money: At week's end, the company said it raised $258 million during its latest round of cash-collecting, and that Google's senior vice president of development now has a spot on its board. It is said to be valued around $3 billion. Some of that money has gone toward fending off legal challenges aimed at keeping Uber off the road, like the case in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- which Uber won in June.

Veteran's Claims NOT Better : Veterans Affairs Dept Lied

This can not come as a surprise to anyone - the Obama administration has lied about everything else they are doing, why not about something they couldn't care less about, veterans.

Progress on Veteran Affairs Backlog Is an Illusion
Source: Mark Flatten, "VA Progress on Claims Backlog Is a Statistical Illusion, Vets Groups Say," Washington Examiner, August 20, 2013.
August 29, 2013

President Obama's claim that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is "turning the tide" on backlogged disability claims is premature because the costly push to bring the numbers down is unsustainable and could doom those seeking benefits to years-long waits in appeals, according to veterans' advocates, says the Washington Examiner.

Drops in both the number and percentage of disability claims considered backlogged because they are more than 125 days old are real. But they have come at a high price in mandatory overtime and accuracy, representatives of veterans groups say.
  • There also are worries that the VA is using statistical or administrative tricks to bring down the numbers by changing what is counted and shifting staff from other critical areas such as appeals.
  • The backlog was defined by VA Secretary Eric Shinseki shortly after he took office in 2009. He vowed that all claims tied to military service would be processed within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy by 2015.
  • In August 2010, Obama called it a "moral obligation" to ensure disabled veterans got a quick resolution to their claims in a speech to the Disabled American Veterans.
  • Since then the backlog has ballooned. It peaked in March 2013, when there were more than 600,000 backlogged claims, about 70 percent of the total inventory.
By then, VA was under intense pressure from Congress, veterans groups, the media and the public to bring those numbers down. It launched a series of initiatives, including prioritizing older cases and mandating overtime for claims processors. Now the numbers are dropping. The most recent report shows there are 479,926 backlogged claims, about 62.6 percent of the total.
  • One quick fix announced in May was to require about 10,000 claims processors to work at least 20 hours of overtime per month. That is expected to cost about $44 million through Sept. 30, when the requirement ends, according to the VA.
  • That raises questions about whether the overtime was a temporary fix to respond to political pressure, says Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
Agency officials say about 70 percent of the claims were approved, which is comparable to approval rates on standard claims. But that number is misleading, according to veterans' representatives. If a veteran has multiple medical conditions, and the VA grants benefits for only one, the agency considers the claim to be approved and closed.

Tax Expenditures ARE Tax Breaks : Taxes Going Away From DC

Interesting view on 'loop holes' or tax breaks that all Americans view as a necessity for survival - here they are called "Tax Expenditures' in that they, the government, by allowing the deductions, views the tax revenues to flow away from their grasping hands as expenditures, not income to the federal coffers.

Little wonder the bureaucrats spend a lot of sleepless nights trying to figure out how to get these expenditures coming back to Washington without the public knowing so they can steal as much of these monies as they can from the start, and then waste the rest on boondoggle projects in their respective state, all the while getting more money in the form of 'kick backs' from constituents.

This may be a little outside the envelope of reality, but given how our leaders have lied to us about everything else they do, why not about how our tax dollars are wasted? Who wouldn't believe they are stealing everything that isn't nailed down in Washington?

A Brief History of Tax Expenditures
Source: William McBride, "A Brief History of Tax Expenditures," Tax Foundation, August 22, 2013.
August 29, 2013

The concept of "tax expenditures" began in the 1960s when Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Stanley Surrey noted that many tax preferences resemble spending. Congress mandated in 1974 that these tax expenditures be recorded annually as part of the federal budget. Since the birth of the concept, tax expenditures have been defined as the deductions, credits, exclusions, exemptions and other tax preferences that represent departures from a "normal" tax code, says William McBride, chief economist at the Tax Foundation.

Attempts to reduce tax expenditures have not been met with great success.
  • The Tax Reform Act of 1986 did not significantly reduce the number of tax expenditures, though it did reduce their real dollar value by about one-third.
  • However, beginning in the mid- to late-1990s, numerous tax expenditures were added, expanded, or otherwise allowed to grow.
  • Today, the tax expenditure budget is $1.2 trillion, which represents real dollar growth of 44 percent since 1986 and 96 percent growth since 1991 when tax expenditures were at their lowest.
All of the growth has been in the individual tax code, with about two-thirds of real dollar growth coming from just three provisions: the earned income tax credit, the child credit and the exclusion for employer-provided health care. Corporate tax expenditures have actually declined since 1986 in real dollar terms such that their share of the tax expenditure budget is now about 9 percent, half of what it was in 1986.

As noted, tax expenditures represent departures from a "normal" tax code. Of course, therein lies the rub, since people disagree on what is normal. According to Treasury and the Joint Committee on Taxation, which are tasked with tracking tax expenditures each year, "normal" means the Haig-Simons comprehensive income tax, which taxes consumption plus changes in net wealth in a given time period.

In effect, the "normal" tax code is largely the tax code that existed in 1974, when the tax expenditure estimates were first mandated by Congress, but with an inconsistently broader tax base. While this is hardly a principled basis, these tax expenditure estimates have become the most widely accepted catalogue of "loopholes," mainly because the methodology has remained roughly the same since 1974 and it does capture many questionable items.

ObamaCare Seeks 'Single Payer' Care : ObamaCare Chaos Frist Step

Again, what will save our health care system will be the free market if it is allowed to work. As long as  the federal government has a hand in deciding who will get coverage, who will not and who will have to buy coverage, the system will implode where all the interested actors will seek high the ground of self interest where they can protect themselves from a regulation crazy and over reaching government bureaucracy. Can the health care survive this battle remains to be seen.

What this comes down to is the insurance companies viewing the market that is controlled by uniformed individuals that have an agenda that is not like that of the insurance industry, and therefore will play their hand in the game by raising rates and limiting value and services.

The insurance industry is not without power. They may look like they nodding their collective heads in acquiescence to being controlled by others, but behind those eyes of agreement they are calculating how to save company from ruin at the hands of the agenda driven lunatics in Washington. Can the insurance companies survive a battle with Washington also remains to be seen.

In the end, the government will decide that ObamaCare in unworkable, dump the mandates and force the entire nation into a 'single payer' system where the elites in Washington will make all the decisions, which, according to Mr Obama, himself, wanted in the first place when told union members back in 2007 that it will take time. Well here we go.  Problem solved.

Accountable Care Organizations Don't Help ObamaCare
Source: James C. Capretta, "Reforming Medicare Integrated Care: An Alternative to the Obama Administration's Accountable Care Organizations," American Enterprise Institute, August 21, 2013.
August 29, 2013

Proponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) have advocated for Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) (groups of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers that form new organizations to serve Medicare patients) as a way to supposedly transform how hospitals and physicians care for their patients and thus slow the rate of health spending while also improving the quality of care.

But more than three years after enactment, it is clear that PPACA ACOs are fundamentally flawed because they prevent genuine consumer choice, says James C. Capretta, a visiting fellow with the American Enterprise Institute.

The populations the ACOs are supposed to manage are often unaware that they are enrolled in an ACO and therefore have little incentive to stay within the ACO care network. The ACOs are furthermore hamstrung by their reliance on cumbersome fee-for-service payment systems.
  • On the other hand, long-standing integrated care initiatives have shown potential for slowing cost growth and improving the quality of care.
  • Rather than seeking to repair the broken PPACA ACO model, reformers should create a new model that incorporates provider-driven managed care into a larger system of genuine consumer choice and marketplace competition.
There never was any evidence to back up grandiose claims about ACOs. Indeed, in its cost estimates for the legislation, the Congressional Budget Office never assigned anything more than relatively trivial savings to the ACO concept.

Moreover, critics noted during the law's consideration and shortly after its enactment that structural flaws would prevent ACOs (at least as conceived in the PPACA) from ever having a meaningful impact on the delivery system or on cost growth. But that did not stop the relentless hype by the law's advocates.

More than three years after enactment, it is clear that the ACOs of the PPACA variety will be, at best, minor blips in the nation's $2.7 trillion health system. This is not to suggest that the real accountable care organizations -- the many varied integrated care initiatives underway around the country -- are without merit. In fact, these initiatives have the potential to make some real headway toward slowing cost growth and improving quality. But they have absolutely nothing to do with the PPACA, were originated by private actors and very often predate the PPACA's passage (sometimes by decades).

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Anti-War Groups Okay With Democrats Going to War

Just imagine how the media would be treating the situation of the economy in the dumpster, our health care being destroyed, immigration about to kill more jobs, unemployment out of control, entire departments of the federal government attack opponents or Mr Obama in the Republican party and religious organizations and now they decide to go to war to save Mr Obama good name and legacy if a Republican was president?

Hey, where's the anti-war nut jobs that are always ready to attack Republicans? Cindy Sheehan? I guess they aren't needed now as it's a Democrat headed to war without getting the blessings from Congress and the United Nations which they demanded from Bush.

So we can understand it's not really about war, it's really all about the progressive liberal Democrats hate machine that's on vacation while Mr Obama and the Democrats control the government. Then to, one has to wonder why the world is on fire after the liberal Democrats have been in power for the last five years. Wonder no longer.

America Thru German Eyes : Laugh Till You Cry

(Author Unknown)
This is just one float that was part of the annual Carnival Parade in
Germany watched by an estimated three million people in
three German cities including Düsseldorf ..

Student Loan Disaster : Progressives' Screw the Students, Again

WOW - who knew the progressives would make out like bandits, completely screwing the students on loans. Mr Obama doesn't need a gun when he has the full power of the federal government to attack the population in general and the students in particular.

 Remember it was the progressive liberal Democrats that proposed dropping the rate for loans from 6.8% to 3.4% just before the election for one year and then return to that rate, which happened and the students rejoiced at the time. After the election and the progressives won, the one year ran out so the rate went back to 6.8%. The students howled something fierce.

Republicans were said to be responsibility for the rate hike by Mr Obama and the media,  Obama had nothing to do with it, he wants only what's best for the students. That he was the one that brought on the deal to lower the rate in the first place doesn't register with most low information voters, but no one holds him responsibility.

Government Student Loan Profiteering
Source: Matt Taibbi, "Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal," Rolling Stone Magazine, August 15, 2013.
August 28, 2013

In late May President Barack Obama warned that unless Congress took action soon, the relatively low 3.4 percent interest rates on key federal student loans would double, says Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone Magazine.
  • The Republicans and Democrats are snuggled in bed together on student loans, having hatched a quick-fix plan on July 31st to peg interest rates to Treasury rates, ensuring the rate for undergrads would only rise to 3.86 percent for the coming year.
  • The Congressional Budget Office projections predicted interest rates on undergraduate loans under the new plan would still rise as high as 7.25 percent within five years, while graduate loans could reach an even higher 8.8 percent.
While it's not commonly discussed on the Hill, the government actually stands to make an enormous profit on the president's new federal student loan system -- an estimated $184 billion over 10 years, a boondoggle paid for by hyper-inflated tuition costs and fueled by a government-sponsored predatory-lending program that makes even the most ruthless private credit-card company seem like a "Save the Panda" charity. Why is this happening? The answer lies in a marriage of private-sector greed and government force.
  • Tuition costs at public and private colleges were, are and have been rising faster than just about anything in American society -- health care, energy, even housing.
  • Between 1950 and 1970, sending a kid to a public university cost about 4 percent of an American family's annual income.
  • Forty years later, in 2010, it accounted for 11 percent.
  • Moody's released statistics showing tuition and fees rising 300 percent versus the Consumer Price Index between 1990 and 2011.
Not only has Congress almost completely stripped students of their right to disgorge their debts through bankruptcy, it has also restricted the students' ability to refinance loans. Even Truth in Lending Act requirements (which normally require lenders to fully disclose future costs to would-be customers) don't cover certain student loans.

That student lenders can escape from such requirements is especially pernicious, given that their pool of borrowers are typically one step removed from being children, but the law goes further than that and tacitly permits lenders to deceive their teenage clients.

Waste, Fraud & Abuse : A Shockly Lagacy of Liberal Democrats

Want to stop waste and fraud, stop electing and reelecting politicians that believe they are the smartest people in the room, and the rest of us need to be lead to their way of thinking. The peoples job here is to do as they are told and shut up.

Need proof? Just watch the talking head liberal strategists on TV. They have no grasp of reality. They use the 'play book' no matter what the situation is, even when the play book answer they use has no connection to reality. Even when others are astounded at how these people lack even a remote grasp of reality and laughing at this disconnect, these people still believe. Shocking!

In 2014 it will be a good time to turn this nightmare around. Not elect or reelect any Democrats will be a good starter.

To Deal With Waste, Fraud and Abuse, Cut Spending
Source: Veronique De Rugy, "To Deal With Waste, Fraud and Abuse, Cut Spending," Washington Examiner, August 12, 2013.
August 28, 2013

When waste, fraud and abuse in government are exposed, the first response is often that we need more oversight. For instance, when it came to light that millions in farm subsidies were paid to dead farmers, many in Washington, including the Government Accountability Office (GAO), blamed the problem on poor oversight, says Veronique De Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center.

But too often, the problem with these waste-ridden programs isn't that they lack a watchful steward; the problem is that they exist in the first place. Lawmakers in Congress have been captured by private interests and will continue to support programs even in the face of clear evidence that they shouldn't. The latest Republican vote on the farm bill is a good example.
  • The GAO recently found that nearly $37 million was disbursed to deceased recipients, and that the largest portion came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency that issued $22 million in subsidies for people who have been deceased for one to two years.
  • None of this was fixed, yet the portion of the farm bill that included these programs passed with flying colors.
  • Maybe more importantly, according to the GAO report, the solution to this fiasco is more and better oversight.
Regrettably, this problem is neither new nor limited to farm subsidies. It also is not the result of inadequate information or oversight. Countless reports by the GAO, government watchdog groups, inspectors' general, and even members of Congress every year identify myriad instances of overpayment, duplicity and other waste.
  • Nothing much ever comes out of such oversight.
  • As U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro has noted, "Just 12 percent of more than 300 recommendations issued by GAO since 2011 to eliminate, combine or modify duplicative programs have been fully carried out."
  • One reason that oversight and reform are seldom truly improved is that -- even in the face of reform-minded reports, data-driven reviews, and the monitoring of goals and priorities -- appropriators are not bound to make policy changes.
  • In essence, the actions of legislators are less influenced by GAO reports or testimonies (oversight) than the rewards of entertaining competing special-interest groups and lobbyists.

California Progressives Crushing California : Housing Costs Sky Rocket

Hurray for California that is setting records for driving people out of the state or securing their place in poverty, and breaking even those records every year with even more outrageous spending and new regulations.

Why are they doing this, easy, because they can and because they firmly believe it's for the good of everyone. The fact that the progressives socialist liberal agenda is killing the state as well as the entire country is totally lost to them.

As this travesty takes place in California, and for the most part Illinois, I have come the conclusion the progressive Democrat is mentally incapable of rational thought. It's a mind set that can not be changed or altered, even when faced with the stark reality of total failure. They will always have reasons why their ideas, their agenda of shared sacrifice, didn't materialize as proposed. They firmly believe that the only way to make the failed program a success is to double down on it, they just didn't go far enough to make it work. Taking responsibility never enters their minds.

In the end when all avenues of the true laws of liberalism have been used, take from the productive and give to the unproductive is one, have been exhausted and failure still loom large, this is when the finger pointing begins to make sure, in their minds, their agenda never failed due to their ideas, it those people other there that caused the system to fail.

The progressive socialist liberal Democrat will never, ever take responsibility for their own actions. It's not part of their DNA. The progressive liberal Democrat cannot determine right from wrong. If you have ever had a debate with a progressive liberal, it becomes very clear from the beginning, they haven't the ability to discuss conflicting with ideas that they harbor. They are never open to suggestion that begins with an alternative to their agenda. There aren't any alternatives.

Responsibility is used as a weapon that the progressive can use to force others into making the hard decisions that lead to success but then step forward and take the credit for having lead the way. And there always those in the media that will trumpet claims for the success by losers to the less informed and low information voter, sealing the fate of the those that did the hard pulling to the finish line.

So what is the result of failure after failure of the progressive socialist agenda, California and Illinois are the tip of the disasters to come among other states, and if you can believe it the entire country with electing more Democrats. Sigh -

California Homes Require Real Reach
Source: Joel Kotkin, "California Homes Require Real Reach," New Geography, August 19, 2013.
August 28, 2013

In the 1950s and 1960s, Southern California was ground zero for the "American Dream" of owning a house. From tony Newport Beach and Bel-Air to the more middle-class suburbs of the San Fernando Valley and Garden Grove to working-class Lakewood, the region created a vast geography of opportunity for prospective homeowners.

Today, with house prices again skyrocketing, Southern California is morphing into something that more resembles a geography of inequality, says Joel Kotkin, a distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University.

Now, even the middle class is forced into either being "house poor" or completely shut out of homeownership, or may simply be obliged to leave the area. Even more troubling is that the working class and the poor suffer from the kind of crowded, overpriced housing conditions sadly reminiscent of those experienced during the Depression and World War II.
  • Judged by the "median multiple" (the median income divided by the median house price) California's prices for a generation have soared well above the national averages.
  • Demographer and National Center for Policy Analysis adjunct scholar Wendell Cox notes that, until the early 1970s, California's house prices were similar to those in the rest of the United States.
  • The National Association of Realtors data indicates that the median house price in California at that time was 7 percent above the national average. By 2013, the price differential had risen to 109 percent.
Portland State University economist Gerald Mildner refers to this as "Economics 101," indicating that "as the demand for property in a region grows, the increase in demand translates into some combination of more space and high prices, depending upon the elasticity of supply."
Besides regulatory restraints, California housing prices are driven up by the highest impact fees in the nation.
  • An annual survey by Duncan and Associates shows that the average impact fee in California for a single-family residence in 2012 was $31,100 per unit, nearly 90 percent higher than the next most expensive state and 265 percent higher than the norm among jurisdictions that levy such fees, which typically pay for capital improvements, like water and wastewater facilities, required by a new development.
  • These fees also impact multifamily housing; the state's fees on multifamily units averaged $18,800, 290 percent above the average outside the state.

States Going Broke : Taxpayers Have No Clue

Given that most state have laws against debt increases and exploitive spending, what rational do legislators use to ignore the law? How can every new law maker that replaces the last willful spender continue to spend unlawfully?

At some point in time, before the fiscal roof falls down on everyone's head, shouldn't the taxpayer hold their collective representatives responsible for their actions by not reelecting them or having them recalled? The problem with this tactic is this allows that taxpayers have even the slightest clue what going in their own states.

As previously mention, the only time they will take notice is when the free stuff stops coming, or some program that they like is cancelled, then there will hell to pay. But Whoa - then it's too late. What? What do you mean the state is broke? The government always has more money.

Well hello reality, good by fantasy land!

The Indebted States of America
Source: Steven Malanga, "The Indebted States of America," City Journal, Summer 2013.
August 28, 2013

Most states have restrictions on debt and prohibitions against running deficits. But these rules have been no match for state and local governments, which have exploited loopholes and employed deceptive accounting standards in order to keep running up debt. The jaw-dropping costs of these evasions have already started to weigh on budgets; as the burden grows heavier, taxpayers may decide that it's time for a new fiscal revolt, says Steven Malanga, the senior editor of City Journal and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Most state constitutions and many local government charters regulate public debt precisely because of past abuses.
  • In the early 19th century, after New York built the Erie Canal with borrowed funds, other states rushed to make similar debt-financed investments in toll roads, bridges, and canals -- projects designed to take advantage of an expanding economy.
  • But when the nation's economy fell into a deep recession in 1837, many of the projects failed and tax revenues cratered as well, prompting eight states and territories to default on their debt.
Stung by losses, European markets stopped lending even to solvent American states.
  • The debacle inspired a sharp reevaluation of the role of state governments, with voters looking "more skeptically" on legislative borrowing, wrote political scientist Alasdair Roberts in 2010 in the academic journal Intereconomics.
  • A member of New York's 1846 constitutional convention even warned that "unless some check was placed upon this dangerous power to contract debt, representative government could not long endure."
  • Over a 15-year period, 19 states wrote debt limitations into their constitutions.
State and local debt had hit $15 billion ($260 billion in today's dollars) by the Great Depression's onset. Arkansas was one of the heaviest borrowers, with obligations reaching $160 million ($2.8 billion today). It defaulted in 1933 -- one of more than 4,700 Depression-era defaults by state and local government entities, including nearly 900 by school districts.

Even as governments scramble to find ways of paying their existing obligations, taxpayers should demand fundamental reforms that will make state and local leaders more fiscally responsible going forward. An easy place to start would be a push for honest accounting and greater transparency.

There's no single cure for the debt crisis afflicting state and local governments. But unless taxpayers start pulling harder in that everlasting tug-of-war, they can expect to keep losing ground.

Heart Health : Drink Water!

Good advice - and as a biker for twenty years, I can attest to the validity of this statement, leg cramps and all.
(Author unknown)
Water and Your Heart
Good information to try.
How many folks do you know who say they don't want to drink anything before going to bed because they'll have to get up during the night!!

Heart Attack and Water - I never knew all of this!   Interesting.......

Something else I didn't know ... I asked my Doctor why do people need to urinate so much at night time. Answer from my Cardiac Doctor - Gravity holds water in the lower part of your body when you are upright (legs swell). When you lie down and the lower body (legs and etc.) seeks level with the kidneys, it is then that the kidneys remove the water because it is easier. This then ties in with the last statement!
I knew you need your minimum water to help flush the toxins out of your body, but this was news to me. Correct time to drink water... Very Important. From A Cardiac Specialist!

Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body: 2 glasses of water after waking up - helps activate internal organs, 1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion, 1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps lower blood pressure, 1 glass of water before going to bed - avoids stroke or heart attack

I can also add to this... My Physician told me that water at bed time will also help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp and wake you up with a Charlie Horse.

"Life is a one time gift"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Germany Laughing At Obama's America

This float was in a parade in Germany along with many more making fun of Obama and America.

This is what the Democrats voted for? Is this who they are? Oh wait, it's those nasty Germans. Why are they making fun of our glorious leader, 'The One'?

America Reduced to Laughing Stock

This float was part of the annual Carnival Parade in
Germany watched by an estimated three million people in
three German cities including Düsseldorf ..

Democrat Gets $8700 + $45G Salary in Prison? Say It Aint So?

Is this possible? This has to be a joke, right? But wait, maybe since it's a Democrat this kind of theft of taxpayer dollars is okay. Hey, how bad can this be, Obama hired the IRS with tax dollars to steal the election.

 Jesse Jackson Jr. to Grab $8,700 Per Month in Disability, Plus Pension In Prison

 by Breitbart News

Convicted Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) is scheduled to receive $8,700 per month in government disability pay, as well as a partial federal pension of $45,000. That generous $8,700 in disability comes thanks to Jackson’s sudden development of a “mood disorder” as the federal government began looking to indict him. Jackson, who was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison, had no history of mental illness during his prior 17 years in Congress. Rev. Jesse Jackson has defended his son’s claims of mental illness, stating to the court, “This time a year ago I thought we may have lost him.”

Senator Obama Starts March to High Office : Who IS BO?

What Mr Obama knows for sure, when considering action against Syria, he has to find a way to escape the responsibility for the decision, just he has for everything else that has taken place during the last five and a half years of his term in office.

Short-Term Memory Loss?: Senator Obama Knows His Constitution
August 27, 2013 by

There has been a great deal of Internet chatter in recent months about the massive difference between Senator Barack Obama and President Barack Obama. In light of the National Security Agency Spying revelations and what appears to be a looming military engagement in Syria, a 2007 Boston Globe interview with Senator Obama is a paramount example of how the President has changed— or, perhaps, of how he lied his way into the White House.

Here are a few key Obama statements from the interview:
  • The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.
  • The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
  • As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.
  • Warrantless surveillance of American citizens, in defiance of FISA, is unlawful and unconstitutional.
  • I believe the [Bush] Administration’s use of executive authority to over-classify information is a bad idea. We need to restore the balance between the necessarily secret and the necessity of openness in our democracy – which is why I have called for a National Declassification Center.
  • Any President takes an oath to, “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The American people need to know where we stand on these issues before they entrust us with this responsibility – particularly at a time when our laws, our traditions, and our Constitution have been repeatedly challenged by this [the Bush] Administration.
Read the full interview here.
Little did Obama voters know that what the President really meant to say during his initial campaign was: “I hope no one notices how I change after I sucker them into voting me into office with empty promises about upholding the Constitution.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Education In Flux : Public Attention Rising

I wonder why the general public is taking a closer look at increasing tax dollars to public schools and why they seem to think something isn't right about how they operate and the results of current spending. Common Core requirements from the feds isn't the best idea as each community has different needs and goals for the their students. That each state meet certain guild lines is a good thing but only as guild lines, not tied to funds.

State regulation of schools is and always has been the best solution to finding what works and or doesn't work for best results. The Voucher and Charter school programs as well as the new digital class room innovations have brought new life to education. 

What we have now in the public square is not working as test scores have shown the United States falling behind other systems around the world.

New Findings in 2013 Education Poll
Source: Michael Henderson and Paul E. Peterson, "The 2013 Education Next Survey," Education Next, 2013
August 27, 2013

Although opposition to Common Core education standards is growing, an overwhelming majority of Americans remain supportive of these standards. A majority also backs government funding of preschool education for disadvantaged children. At the same time, Americans are becoming increasingly resistant to demands for greater education spending and higher teacher pay. They give a higher evaluation to private schools than to public ones in their local community, but opposition to market-oriented school-reform proposals such as performance pay for teachers and school vouchers seems to be on the rise, say Michael Henderson, assistant professor of political science at the University of Mississippi, and Paul E. Peterson, director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Support for the Common Core remains very high despite recent political controversy.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans favor adopting these standards in their state, roughly the same share as last year.
  • Adoption of the Common Core is in fact one of the most popular reform proposals about which Henderson and Peterson inquired.
  • Yet opposition to Common Core may be strengthening, as the policy has come under increasing criticism from groups at both ends of the political spectrum.
The public holds the schools in its local community in higher regard than it holds the nation's schools.
  • Nearly half say that their local public schools deserve a grade of either "A" or "B," but only about one-fifth say the same for the nation's public schools.
  • But if the public thinks better of local public schools than it does of those in the nation as a whole, it is definitely more satisfied with local private schools than with public ones.
Declining support for school spending and teacher pay.
  • Among respondents not told actual spending levels, only 53 percent support higher funding, down 10 percentage points from the 63 percent who were supportive a year ago.
  • Information about current spending decreases support for higher levels of spending.
  • Among those told how much local schools currently spend, support for spending increases was 43 percent, the same as a year previously.

Student Loans Rising : Students Risk Ruin

Isn't this interesting, even the better off students are taking out loans knowing they won't have to pay them back even though they could. The only problem here is that Mr Obama is probably lying about forgiving the loans to suck in more potential progressive Democrat voters.

Even though the wealthier student can afford to pay back the loan, they will be frugal enough to resist doing so by trying default like so many others are now because they don't have a job and there is no future of ever having one, for the most part their degrees are worthless, that could pay back their enormous student debt.

Just think who perfect this works, as the Obama administration continues to loan out millions to unsuspecting kids who believe a college education is some kind of panacea for success, in reality Mr Obama is systematically driving thousands into debt they can never repay and at the same time increasing a permanent voter base for Democrats. No jobs, huge loan debt, poverty. The Obama agenda.

Federal Aid Tapped by More -- and Wealthier -- College Students
Source: Caroline Porter, "Federal Aid Tapped by 57 Percent of College Students," Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2013.
August 27, 2013

The share of undergraduates who used federal student aid to help pay for college jumped to 57 percent in 2011-2012 from 47 percent in 2007-2008, according to a recent report released by the Education Department. The increase in federal loans, grants and work-study jobs coincides with the wider trend of climbing tuition costs and underscores the expanding use of federal aid for higher education across all income levels, says the Wall Street Journal.
  • The average federal aid amounts for undergraduates came to about $8,200 per recipient in 2011-2012.
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges rose to about $7,700 in 2011-2012 from about $5,900 in 2007-2008 in current dollars, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, part of the Education Department.
  • While the federal government offered more help to students, the amount of state aid decreased over the four-year period for undergraduate students to 15 percent from 16 percent, an indicator of tightening state budgets, according to the center.
  • In total, about seven in 10 undergraduates received some type of federal, state or institutional aid, such as work-study jobs and veterans' benefits, in 2011-2012, representing a new peak.
The report highlighted an increasing dependence on federal assistance for college across all socioeconomic groups. For instance, the number of full-time students who received Pell grants in families with incomes between $60,000 to $80,000 shot up to 18 percent in 2011-2012 from 2 percent in 2007-2008.

Student Loans Rising : Tuition Rising : Debt Rising : Chaos

Oh wait, isn't it Mr Obama that took over the student load business from the banks? I wonder why he did that? Maybe he could us tax dollars to bring millions more into huge debt and in some cases poverty, forcing the student to vote for Democrats to continue the welfare for their very survival. It worked as the student loan debt bill now is more then a trillion dollars and the voter base grows.

And with no jobs available for the graduates, the only thing that remains is more taxpayer dollars to more would-be students and more debt. Chaos?

College Costs Will Keep Rising Under Obama Plan
Source: Richard Vedder, "College Costs Will Keep Rising Under Obama Plan," Bloomberg, August 22, 2013.
August 27, 2013

Colleges' exploitation of young Americans through rapidly rising and increasingly exorbitant fees is a national scandal that can no longer be ignored. In his recent college tour, President Barack Obama spoke at length about what he intends to do about it, after promising "tough love" on higher education for the last two years, says Richard Vedder, distinguished professor of economics emeritus at Ohio University.
Some of what he proposes is good in principle; some is very bad.
  • Obama wants to expand access to information on colleges by having the Department of Education issue a ranking of institutions relating outcomes to costs.
  • The government has the power, via the Internal Revenue Service, to get some interesting data on college graduates' earnings and providing that data to consumers would be useful.
  • Even independent college rankings -- such as those published by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes -- could be improved with more data.
Tying federal funding after 2018 to the new federal ratings, which in turn incorporate performance measures such as graduation rates, may be a step toward giving colleges incentives to take cost reduction seriously. But the potential for unintended and damaging consequences is high: If the key to federal funding is raising graduation rates, colleges may lower already abysmally low standards.
Without any federal aid at all, cheap or free online courses are appearing all over. The accrediting agencies will probably try to stall this innovation, because it isn't controlled by their member universities.

The president's proposal has one very bad idea: a forgiveness boon for those paying off loans right now. The proposal, limiting loan payments to 10 percent of income, potentially relieves millions of students from repaying part of their obligation. So why not major in fields the economy values least -- anthropology or drama instead of engineering or math -- if you don't have to worry about earning enough to pay off your student loans over a certain period?

The idea simply raises incentives for future students to borrow more money if they know their obligation to pay it back is capped. That, in turn, allows colleges to keep raising costs.

Welfare Pays Best : Working Old Fashioned

If the general population in this country stills believes the Obama administration wants what's best for the jobless, then we are headed for third world status. When he eliminated the work requirement for welfare recipients, which was instituted under Clinton and the Republican congress, he willingly decided that by doing so he could increase the number of people on welfare and therefore increase his voter base. It worked. He was elected and reelected. fashioned

Just what does the future hold for the jobless remains a question. Is an ever growing number of people going without a job the new norm, as industry finds ways to be productive without adding employees?

With the innovation of science and technology to eliminate the average worker, the new mandates from government on industry for workers health care cost are huge, forcing a large number of people to sit on the side lines wishing they had a job but voting to keep the benefits coming, will there be enough production in industry to provide for all of the needs of the unemployed? Not likely.

What's next then for America?

Welfare Pays More than Minimum Wage in Most States
Source: "Study: Welfare Pays More than Minimum Wage in Most States," Fox News, August 21, 2013. Michael D. Tanner and Charles Hughes, "The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013," Cato Institute, August 19, 2013.
August 27, 2013

Welfare pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, creating little incentive for Americans to take entry-level work and likely increasing their long-term dependency on government help, according to a new study by the Cato Institute.

The findings come 17 years after the Clinton administration, with bipartisan support from Congress, passed landmark welfare reform legislation that was supposed to move Americans away from entitlements and into the workforce, says Fox News.
  • Among the other findings is that welfare in 13 states pays more than $15 an hour, compared with the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.25.
  • The disparity was even higher in nine states in which welfare pays more than the average first-year teacher's salary; in the six most-generous states, it pays more than the entry-level salary for a computer programmer.
  • The study points out that a full package of welfare benefits often exceeds take-home pay in part because benefits are tax-free.
The study's author argues that if Congress and state legislatures are serious about reducing welfare dependence and rewarding work, they should consider strengthening welfare-to-work requirements, removing exemptions and narrowing the definition of work. This could include reducing benefit levels and tightening eligibility requirements.

The Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues the study has several flaws, including that it "lumps together" a set of safety-net programs, including Medicaid, housing assistance and food stamps, and that "all poor families in which the parents aren't working receive all of these benefits."

High Deductable Insurance Defines Health Market

A high deductible plan only works if the individual who buys it plans ahead, putting aside adequate funds to cover any ordinary illness costs that fall under the deductible, and for a catastrophic illness that will require the full up-front cost of the deductible, which could be as high as $5000.

I believe these high deductibles are great, I use them, in that when one has to spend their own money on the every day health problems they will be more ready to question the provider on just what is being done and how much it will cost. This is called the free market and it works.

High Deductible Plans Creating Health Care Slowdown
Source: Walter Russell Mead, "High Deductible Plans Creating Health Care Slowdown," The American Interest Blog, August 21, 2013.
August 27, 2013

A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that in 2013 health care premiums went up 4 percent for families and 5 percent for individuals. That's down from the 10 percent increases we saw in the early aughts. ObamaCare supporters have been quick to grab it as a political football, arguing that this data proves that premiums aren't spiking in anticipation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), says Walter Russell Mead, the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and editor-at-large of The American Interest magazine.
  • But partisans on both sides agree that a big driver of the relative decrease is the rise of high-deductible health care plans.
  • So, these savings have little to do with ObamaCare either way.
  • Instead, they stem from exactly the kind of high-deductible, catastrophic plans that the ACA seeks to limit.
  • The data simply points to a very intuitive principle: one of the best ways to make overall health care spending go down is for more individuals to spend less on it.
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that these plans cut down on spending by 5 to 14 percent.
Obviously, high-deductible plans aren't good for everyone, and there are a lot of questions surrounding financial security for those who rely on them. But for certain segments of the population, these kinds of plans make a lot of sense, and indeed younger employees have often shown a preference for them when given a choice. For them, and the economy as a whole, high-deductible plans are a good thing.

Sowell On Washington Elites : Intellectual Failures

The man is brilliant! This describes the Washington elites perfectly. They have done nothing of any substance but still believe they are best suited to rule the unwashed and ignorant.

Native American Tribe Protest Mining in Wis : EPA Site Tribe for Violations

Native Americans are now getting into the victim business along with  minority groups associated with progressive socialist Democrats in Wisconsin. Little wonder then the Bad River Band is being so aggressive in there assault on the mining operation, they are under investigation for breaking their own clean water violations by the EPA on Bad River land.
I'm not sure just what Bad River Band hope to gain by attacking the mining operation, which is completely within the law. But wait, maybe it's not about the law, maybe it's about what feels right and looks good?
This, the violation of the Clear Water Act, apparently isn't a problem, after all the Band is a victim of the mining operation, destroying native waters and historic land marks, and therefore should get special dispensation for it own failures to comply with the law. If you didn't recognize it, this the agenda of the progressive socialist Democrats everywhere in the country. 'Not me but thee'
Tribe Planning to Ignore Property Rights?
As mining protesters continue to claim the proposed Gogebic Taconite mine is trespassing on  public and tribal grounds, a native nation adjacent to the mining property has hired a wetlands expert to do a little trespassing of her own. 
The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has allegedly hired a wetlands delineation expert to go onto private property without the the permission of the landowner.
Not so fast, says the company that owns the mineral rights to the land.
Because the property, which stretches from Hurley to Mellen across the Penoke Hills,  is regulated by the state's managed forest law, the landowners pay reduced property taxes in return for allowing the public to enter the property for five specific public purposes – hunting, fishing, hiking, sight-seeing and cross country skiing. GTac owns the mineral rights to the land and is providing security for the potential mine site. Attorneys for GTac have sent a letter to Bad River Tribal President Mike Wiggins Jr. telling him that sending the wetlands expert unto the land would be a crime. 
"Entry on GTac property for any other purpose (beside those permitted by law) will be deemed trespassing for which GTac will prosecute under both criminal and civil law," wrote Attorney Scott W. Clark of Ashland in a letter to the tribe last Wednesday. 
Wetlands have been a point of contention throughout the mining legislative and permitting process.
The Bad River tribe and other environmentalists contend the proposed mine will adversely affect the Bad River watershed and wash trailings and other mine-related refuse into the river and eventually Lake Superior. 
Bob Seitz, a spokesperson for GTac, said the mining company invited the tribes on a tour of the drilling sites and potential mine this past spring. He added they would gladly show them the bulk sampling sites. 
"We've had the DNR and Army Corps of Engineers out here three times to ensure we are not samping in any wetland areas," Seitz said. 
The Bad River tribe describes the river as essential to their way of life and history. 
Yet, the trespassing controversy comes as the Bad River band is struggling with water quality issues of their own making. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a compliance plan requiring the Bad River Band of Lake Superior and Chippewa Indians to correct Clean Water Act violations at the wastewater treatment facilities located on the Tribe’s northern Wisconsin reservation.
This June, masked eco terrorists stormed the mine site, damaged company equipment and assaulted a GTac worker. One woman has been charged with a felony for the incident and local law enforcement are still looking for others involved in the attack.
Seitz says trespassing concerns are warranted. 

"This (GTac mine site) is private property that they just can't come on," Seitz continued. "We have security out here and we're very concerned that some of the protesters who are in black masks could walk around with sledgehammers and say they are just hiking. The next thing you know, they'd be destroying our equipment." 
The mining company has not involved the Iron County Sheriff's Department in this latest incident. 
The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa could not be reached for comment and have not accepted GTac's invitation to tour the sampling sites. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Consumption Tax Reviewed : Good Idea?

That there is progressive liberal Democrat involved in this venture of trying to find a way to reform our tax system is unsettling. This is like the 'gang of eight' on immigration. What a joke. There is absolutely no reason to believe a satisfactory solution will be found that works to the benefit of the population.

If Democrats are involved, corruption and failure will be the order of the day.

Should the United States Move to a Consumption Tax?
Source: Ramesh Ponnuru, "Raising Kids? Your Taxes Are Far Too High," Bloomberg News, August 19, 2013.
August 26, 2013

Would-be tax reformers on Capitol Hill are taking a "blank slate" approach to the issue. Dave Camp and Max Baucus, the House Republican and Senate Democrat in charge of the tax law committees, say that every tax break is on death row unless a strong case can be made for it. This method rightly recognizes that not all tax breaks are the same: Some of them have better justifications than others. What the blank-slate approach misses, though, is that not all supposed tax breaks are even tax breaks, says Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor for National Review.

The tax-reforming duo counts the deferral of taxation on contributions to 401(k) retirement plans as a tax preference, for example, and thus something that is presumed to be a bad idea until proved otherwise. But plenty of economists would argue that this provision of the tax code isn't a break at all. In their view, we should tax income when it is consumed.
  • Taxing savings instead creates a bias in favor of consumption today over saving for consumption tomorrow, and even more over saving for consumption the day after tomorrow.
  • So the alleged tax preference for 401(k) plans isn't a "break" in the sense of a departure from the ideal tax base. It's a partial corrective for a tax code that doesn't define the base properly to begin with.
Fewer economists would defend the tax credit for children, which reformers also sometimes put on the chopping block. Yet it too should be seen not as a break but as another partial corrective to a bias in federal policy, which is a bias against the investment we call parenting.
  • This bias is a side effect of something that most people consider a blessing of modern life: government programs to take care of the elderly.
  • Before such programs, provisions for the elderly usually took the form of a generational bargain within families, and then parents took care of their children before they grew old enough to work, and they were in turn taken care of when they grew too old to work.
  • Entitlements (in the United States, Social Security and Medicare) socialized this bargain but didn't erase it.
  • We depend on the next generation, collectively, to take care of us in our old age. But we don't all contribute to the same degree in raising the next generation.
Tax reform should move us in the direction of taxing consumption rather than saving and investment. It's important to remember, though, that investments don't just include stocks and bonds and factories. Tax reformers should pay at least as much attention to the most important investments in the future that most people ever make.

Congressional Research Service is Nonpartisan : Really? Why?

Any time that I see the word 'nonpartisan' my suspicions are on full alert. That the Congressional Research Service claim to be nonpartisan is hard to believe when nearly, if not all departments in this government are fully in support of Mr Obama and his allies in the progressive socialist Democrat party.

To quote from that inspiring former leader at the state department, Hillary, " I have to have a suspension of disbelief" concerning a nonpartisan department in our current government. That the CRS , can't remember S**t department, is telling us the truth, is just one more joke from our friends in the Obama administration.

Obama Oversees Expansion of the Regulatory State
Source: Ben Goad and Julian Hattem, "Obama Oversees Expansion of the Regulatory State," The Hill, August 19, 2013.
August 26, 2013

President Obama has overseen a dramatic expansion of the regulatory state that will outlast his time in the White House. The reach of the executive branch has advanced steadily on his watch, further solidifying the power of bureaucrats who churn out regulations that touch nearly every aspect of American life and business, says The Hill.

Experts debate whether federal rulemaking has accelerated under Obama, but few dispute that Washington, for better or worse, is reaching deeper than ever before into the workings of society.
  • Obama famously signaled his intent to use the machinery of government to further his policy goals after the 2010 elections, declaring: "Where Congress won't act, I will."
  • Since then, the administration has pressed ahead unilaterally on several fronts, including immigration, gun control, cyber security and sentencing guidelines for drug offenses.
Meanwhile, new federal rules are accumulating faster than outdated ones are removed, resulting in a steady increase in the number of federal mandates. Data collected by researchers at George Mason University's Mercatus Center shows that the Code of Federal Regulations, where all rules and regulations are detailed, has ballooned from 71,224 pages in 1975 to 174,545 pages last year.
While Republican lawmakers have scored victories in the messaging battle over regulations, they say proponents of a more activist government are winning the war.
  • Taken separately, the public tends to support individual regulations.
  • A Gallup poll earlier this year found that 82 percent of Americans either believe the government is doing the right amount or needs to do more to protect the environment, while two-thirds say they would support stricter standards for food sold in public schools.
Obama has responded to businesses' concerns with a regulatory "look-back" aimed at scrapping old rules on the books. Howard Shelanski, the administration's regulatory chief, told Congress last month that the effort had turned up hundreds of regulatory reform proposals, just a few of which could save up to $10 billion.

To be sure, the explosive growth in federal rule-making did not begin with the Obama White House. The 13,000 rules finalized during the president's first term, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), were slightly fewer than those published during former President George W. Bush's first term.