Archive for February, 2008

“American Medicine” Not “Socialized Medicine” (February 25, 2008)

Posted in Health Care, Market Solutions on February 25, 2008 by

The only thing almost as bad as not having health insurance is having health insurance.  Get injured and try to compel an insurance company to cover a valid claim.  Insurance company representatives are drilled to deny or at most pay in part a claim as standard operating procedure.  Most people accept the answer and go home.  Only those who persist stand a chance of obtaining more complete coverage.

“Sir, you do have a $10,000 deductible policy and then 100% co-pay for expenses after that.  Why are you calling your health insurance company about this medical bill?  And there will not be a premium increase for another three months.”

“Sir, you do not have coverage for an injured rider.  You should have purchased a rider policy to cover a rider.  In fact, you should consider purchasing a riders rider to cover all riders in the vehicle, except those excluded or exempted for other reasons.”

“Sir, you do have ‘theft and fire insurance,” but the theft did not occur while your house was on fire, did it?  No it didn’t.  You should have purchased our ‘theft or fire insurance’ policy.”

“Sir, why didn’t you have a friend use a straight razor and a bottle of whiskey to save on the cost of the surgeon and anesthesiologist?”

“Sir, your secretary noted that you are a member of Congress.  Your spa treatments in Tahiti are fully covered under your plan.”

The insurance market is not working and is impacting American competitiveness.  [See the e-ssay dated October 23, 2006 entitled “Efficient Health Care:  Making American Business More Competitive”].  The solution is simple.  Adopt the “American Medicine” plan not some loathsome “Socialized Medicine” plan.  Health care may be a fundamental right under the Constitution (“life” and “liberty”).  One universal insurance program modeled on the program that currently protects our United States Senators and Representatives in Washington should suffice.  The citizens do not get any greater coverage than our elected officials.  In addition, the citizens should not be provided any less coverage.  The “American Medicine Plan.”

Bumper sticker of the week:

“American Medicine” Not “Socialized Medicine”

Brown Is The New Black (February 18, 2008)

Posted in Immigration, Race, Society on February 18, 2008 by

Almost all societies despise or at least resent one or two domestic groups and one or more foreign groups.  In America, the groups to hate and resent included Blacks and also the most recent immigrants to depart the ship (Germans, Irish, Scots, Poles, Italians, Jews, Tongans, etc.).  Look at the celebrated boxers across time (John L. Sullivan, Rocky Marciano, Mohammed Ali, Oscar de la Hoya).  They tend to be drawn from the group that was feared, despised, resented and oppressed at the time.

Polite society is careful about using the “n-word” today, although derivative and derisive words such as “denigrate” (defame; belittle) and “niggardly” (stingy) are still used without reflection.  The quiet unrelenting campaign to imprison Blacks continues with one percent of the population in the pokey.  There are still “Jena 6s” and the resurgence of the Noose as a tool of domestic terrorism.  Today’s KKK members dangle the Noose Knot (not a Sheet Bend Knot or a Carrick Bend Knot) and then assert that they don’t know what it means.  Their admission that they are ignorant is not disputed, yet they knew and know exactly what they are doing.  The calls for “hate crimes” legislation to address the matter collide with First Amendment considerations.  The solution is easy; those who claim that they do not know what the Noose means should be afforded an opportunity to make the statement under oath to someone with a badge; they will hang themselves; prosecuting them for and proving perjury and obstruction of justice is so easy it can be delegated to a summer legal intern.  The Confederate flag has become America’s swastika.  The current scene is not all pretty.  Nonetheless, there is less overt prejudice against Blacks today than in the past.  An African-Saxon is running for President.  America has made and is making progress.

However, Brown has become the new Black.  Many otherwise decent Whites are threatened by Browns far beyond any plausible threat posed by them.  A few well-educated White boys agree to frequent a company that directs callers to touch “1” on the telephone dial to hear the message in English rather than the competing company that directs callers to touch “2” to hear the message in English.  “We are number 1.”  Fear and insecurity are ugly and ever-present and timeless.

The Browns are doing the work that others do not want to do.  They put the family into family values.  They are learning the English language despite the unfounded accusations of the nativists to the contrary.  A recent e-mail message denigrating Browns was written in what can only be described as “white trash” English syntax; the authors were not even bright enough to recognize the irony of their own incompetence.  Browns serve this Republic in the military in greater percentages than others.  They are the ones admittedly using more social services.  They will also be the ones most likely to pay off some of the massive Debt accumulated by the Whites.  [See the e-ssay dated March 28, 2005 entitled “Black, White, Brown, Red and Green:  An E-ssayer on Immigration.”]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Fear is Debilitating

The Economic Surge: Pushing On A Rope (February 11, 2008)

Posted in China, Debt/Deficits, Economics, Taxation on February 11, 2008 by

The proposed “economic surge” seeks to inject about $150 billion into the economy.  Some note that the $150 billion will be borrowed from China to buy toys and other goods from China.  They give us the dollars and the goods.  They have the goods on us.  And the dollars.  Business as usual.

Some observe that the recent rise in gasoline prices has increased the cost of living for citizens by about $150 billion.  They say that the economic surge will offset that expenditure.  However, the additional payment for gasoline should be seen as a direct payment–foreign aid–to many dangerous political regimes.  The U.S. is directly funding terrorist activities rather than taxing gasoline and both keeping the additional taxes and reducing consumption of oil.  [See the e-ssay dated December 18, 2006 entitled “Pass The ‘Terrorist Tax’”].

Few are saying that the $150 billion dollar economic surge is a tax.  It is a tax.  It is a tax on the kids.  The “Kid Tax” is more important that the “Terrorist Tax.”

The problem with the economic surge is that it is a chimera.  The Federal Reserve action may prevent a panic on Wall Street in the short term, yet it is creating a greater problem on Main Street now and in the intermediate run.  The fundamental problem is not just the number of dollars available for circulation in the economy, it is the individual consumers who are the fuel of the economic engine.  The public, like its government, is spent.  All are in debt up to their tonsils.  More debt, private and public, is not the intermediate run answer.  The lowered interest rates are creating a disincentive for saving when everyone of every political strip states that we should be saving.  The impact of lower interest rates is being felt again by the elderly who are now earning less.  [See the e-ssay dated April 25, 2005 entitled “Our Friend The Fed”].

Bumper sticker of the week:

They matter (Budget Deficits, Personal Deficits, Trade Deficits)

The Microeconomics of Suburban Subsistence: Three Years Later (February 4, 2008)

Posted in Economics, Housing, Society on February 4, 2008 by

40 wasn’t a red letter year for them.  They are deeply in the red this year.  [See the e-ssay dated February 7, 2005 entitled “The Microeconomics of Suburban Subsistence” for background].  He can only find part-time work for a company that does not provide any health care or contribute to a pension fund.  Their $175,000 house is now worth $150,000 even with all of the improvements financed with an equity line of credit and sweat.  The City still appraises it at $200,000 because the polis wants its pound of flesh.  The price of a pound of (bovine) flesh has risen about forty percent (40%); the meat may be tainted.  The Fed’s reduction of the Federal Funds Rate has not been passed on or trickled down to them or to prospective buyers of their home.  Interest rates to consumers are “sticky” and “ratcheted.”

The calls start like clockwork, because the callers start with the clock.  He can set his watch by the first call.  At eight o’clock, they start.  They would start earlier except for . . . federal regulation.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal regulation, sets limits on the amount of harassment that can be inflicted by a creditor on a debtor.  And the wake-up calls continue unabated all day, even after the consumer is wide awake.  From 0800 hours until 2100 hours.  Caller id is now a necessity rather than a luxury.  The credit card companies that cooed and wooed him are now cajoling and whining.  The companies devised a Bankruptcy Code that is expensive and burdensome.  The “Hope Now” program does not offer much hope now.  Try it; call the number yourself.  However, Congress now is considering a variety of legislation including a bill that allows the Bankruptcy Courts to adjust the amount owed on a home loan to reflect the current market value of the property.  That approach has some possibility.

Not only is the value of the house down.  Of note, the note for the car is now greater than the retail Blue Book value of the beast.  Each 25 cent rise in the retail price for gasoline lowers the market value of the gas guzzler by about one thousand dollars.  The rational course of action may be to give their car back to the bank and walk away from the house.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Greed isn’t always really good