Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

30 November 2013

Did You Know that We Need Big Government to Protect Us from Walmart?

Walmart is the biggest retailer in the world, with $443.85 billion in sales in 2012.  It has 2.2 million employees.  It offers low prices to bring in customers for the goods it efficiently supplies.

The U.S. federal government can only tell us how many employees it had in 2011.  It had 4.403 million employees.  The state governments had 3.779 million full-time employees and 1.534 million part-time employees.  The local governments had 10.786 million full-time employees and 3.202 million part-time employees.  Each of these governments inefficiently supply services for which their customers are forced to pay.  They also produce copious mandates that the People are forced to obey. They command forced labor from employers and businesses for the convenience of government.  Federal, state, and local governments all produce mandates that Walmart must obey.  Federal, state, and local governments spent a mere $6.5 trillion out of the national GDP of $15.0 trillion (43.3%) in 2011. 

Now which of these would a rational person fear, Walmart or Government?  I fear Government, but Progressive Elitists fear Walmart!  Yes, they offer Walmart as a primary reason why we must have Big Government.

Why?  Well the story is that Walmart moves into a town or small city and offers goods at such low prices that they drive all other businesses that used to be in the town out of business.  Walmart pays its employees so poorly that they are in danger of starvation and poverty overtakes the town.  A minimum wage increase mandated by government is required to make Walmart pay a "living wage."  In addition, Walmart is killing American jobs because it brings many of its goods in from other countries.  Walmart is a monster, a very unethical killing machine!  Progressive Elitist after Progressive Elitist will use this story to justify Big Government, including MBAs from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia Business School.

OK, let us ask a few questions about this story. 

When Walmart moves into a town, how does it find the manpower to open its store before it has driven all of the other businesses out of business and taken their employees away?  Does it not have to pay prevailing wages to induce those initial employees to work for them?  It is common for new stores to have tens of applicants for each person they can hire.  Yes, according to studies for every 100 jobs created at the Walmart store, in time about 50 retail jobs in other stores are commonly lost.  Yet this is a sizable net creation of jobs.

It is said that Walmart is evil for putting many other retail businesses out of business.  But all Walmart does is to offer products for sale at good prices.  It is up to the people who used to go to the pre-existing retail stores to actually choose to go to Walmart.  They are the ones who do not go to Joe's Grocery Store and Madeline's Clothing Store.  They have the option to choose to pay higher prices in those stores and support those who have long been in their community.  If anyone made unethical choices, would it not be these customers who had no loyalty for the original shop owners of their towns?

Of course, it is not always the case that these smaller stores were even doing their best to provide the lowest prices they could.  A few of them may have taken advantage of having little competition in the town for the kind of goods they sold.  Some of them morally deserved to go out of business in many cases.  No doubt others did work hard to provide the best service they could, but so surely did many a buggy maker, a stabler, a blacksmith, a wagoner, and a saddler when they were mostly put out of business by the advent of cars and trucks.  Logically, the Progressive Elitist claim would be that all car and truck makers and trucking companies were unethical in putting these older companies out of business.

On Black Friday, there were labor union organized protests at many Walmart stores.  They claimed that 825,000 Walmart employees make less than $25,000 a year.  This may be true, but many of them are likely part-time employees.  The majority of Walmart employees are full-time, which is actually unusual for retail stores.  The average full-time associate earns $12.81/hr. and the average employee (full and part-time) earns $11.83 per hour.  Walmart says that 99% of its employees make more than the minimum wage in their areas, which is highly at variance with the usual story told casually by the usual Progressive Elitist.

Walmart, in a McKinsey & Company study that George Will referred to in 2006, found that Walmart contributed 13% of all of the national productivity increase in the late 1990s, which held down inflation greatly and made Bill Clinton look good as President.  It accounted for $200 billion in savings on the cost of goods each year, which is surely a larger savings now that Walmart is even bigger.  George Will pointed out that the average Walmart shopping household makes less than the national average, so these cost savings go to these poorer households, doing them much more good than food stamps and earned income tax credits did for them then.  But as usual, one can count on the Progressive Elitist, who claims to champion the poor, to actually abhor anything that really helps the poor outside of a government dependency program.  They hate Walmart.

But, Walmart's business model depends upon these less affluent customers and those customers respond in droves by going to Walmart for its convenience and low prices.




24 States Expand Medicaid Under ObamaCare

The CBO predicts that 9 million more people will go on Medicaid in the next year.  Most of this increase will be in the 26 states that expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare.  These states are shown in gold in the map below:


The states not expanding Medicaid coverage under ObamaCare have the number of additional people they would cover with coverage to 133% of the poverty level shown on them.  This represents a huge future savings for these states after 2022 for their state budgets when the federal government stops paying 90% of the bill for the added state dependents.  Those living in the states in gold had best have piles of gold to pay the tax bills after 2022 for all of the people on Medicaid.

The CBO is predicting that ObamaCare expansion of Medicaid will add 9 million people on Medicaid by the end of 2014 and 13 million by the end of 2020.  These additions and the future large increases in state budget costs will occur in the states in the above map in gold.  Of course, Progressive Elitists will complain that the added 5 million people who might have been added in the blue-gray states have been sadly neglected in this redistribution of wealth.  In fact, they like to complain that even more of those in poverty live in many of these blue-gray states.  See the map below from one of their websites:


So the states not expanding Medicaid have an average 9.1% of their populations qualifying as below 133% of the poverty level, while the national average is 8.0% of the population.  But one thing that is overlooked is that there is one single poverty level for the 48 contiguous states and higher levels for Alaska and Hawaii.  So, this map of those below 133% of the poverty level has to be compared to one for the cost of living.  Clearly, some people at 133% of the poverty level are much better off in low cost of living areas than are others at that level in high cost of living areas.  The cost of living map:


Now we see that the states that refused to raise their Medicaid dependency levels to 133% of the poverty level are mostly states with most of their population below or at the national average in the cost of living.  Most of the states that raised the Medicaid eligibility level to 133% have most of their populations living in high or average cost of living areas.  Of the 24 states not raising the Medicaid eligibility level to 133%, Wyoming, Montana, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Maine are the only ones mostly at the average or higher in cost of living.

There is a reason that Republican-dominated states tend to have lower than average costs of living.  The governments in those states mostly extract less from the private sector to use in unproductive ways in the government-sector.  Their present choice not to increase the eligibility for Medicaid in their states is a move to continue having a lower cost of living.  That means that people in those states above 133% of the poverty level will continue to be better off than will people in the expensive government states that mostly raised their Medicaid eligibility levels under ObamaCare.

After 2022, when those mostly above average cost of living states have to pick up the cost of the 13 million people added to Medicaid, their cost of living will shoot up even higher.  Their taxes will increase further and some of them will go bankrupt.  More and more people will migrate out of those states and move to the states that did not raise their Medicaid eligibility levels.  There will be a further easily seen lesson on the perils of redistribution and socialism.  Socialist transformation and change will have seriously damaged the middle class who will have to pay the bills in the mostly Democrat states that made this bad choice to expand Medicaid.

Government Continues to Lower Expectations for Pre-paid Health Care Exchanges

The federal government pre-paid medical care exchanges are supposed to be working better today.  They are supposed to handle up to 50,000 people on-line at one time now.  Since the federal exchanges are claiming you can sign-up for plans beginning on 1 January 2014 until 23 December, this means that counting today, there are 23 days to sign-up.  So far in two months, it is thought that about 150,000 have chosen plans.  At 50,000 sign-ups per day henceforth a grand upper limit total of another 1,150,000 sign-ups may occur before time has run out.  Some people will not sign-up for anything until they have been on-line over the course of several days examining the offerings and then looking into the provider networks elsewhere.  The enthusiastically socialist state of Maryland, which operates its own exchange, has a much earlier sign-up deadline of 10 December and a very confusing website.

It is not at all clear that even if one signs up by 23 December on the federally operated exchanges, that one will have an actual plan by 1 January 2014.  This is because you do not have a plan until you have paid the company offering the mandated ObamaCare pre-paid medical care plans.  The federal exchanges do not yet have a means to enable such payments.  Given their track record to-date and the methods they are using to manage the exchanges still, it seems unlikely they will have a working mechanism for making payments to the plan providers before Christmas.  So, it seems very certain that fewer than 1,300,000 plans will actually exist on 1 January 2015.

Recall that ObamaCare was passed so that 47 million Americans without health insurance would have pre-paid medical care once it was implemented.  Nothing was said about many millions of people who had insurance losing that insurance.  As it happens, to-date more than 5.55 million insurance plans have been cancelled and the federal government wants to declare success for ObamaCare if 1.3 million new plans are issued under it.  But, this is a net loss of 4.25 million insurance plans, while the supposed 47 million Americans uninsured before will all remain uninsured.  Yes, of course some of them will get ObamaCare insurance and more than 4.25 million of the newly cancelled plans will have no replacement.  The few state-run exchanges which work better than the federal government exchanges will manage to sign-up a few more of the 4.25 million lost plans, but will not sign up most of them either.

Meanwhile, throughout 2015, tens of millions more health insurance plans offered by small businesses and big businesses will be cancelled or replaced by more expensive plans with much increased employee contributions.

On 1 January 2014, many more Americans will have no health insurance and no pre-paid ObamaCare medical care than the original 47 million claimed uninsured who were the very justification for the wrenching changes to our medical care system including the loss of our doctors and hospitals, especially the better ones, the cost of much increased premiums for most of us, the increase in deductibles for most of us, the need to travel much greater distances to the health care providers for many of us, long waits to see doctors or nurse and pharmacist substitutes, a decrease in medical innovation, a decrease in covered medical procedures, more trips to medical facilities to get through a given medical procedure, decreased medical and financial privacy and security, and the many aggravations of having to choose and learn new health networks and how to do their increased paperwork.

25 November 2013

ObamaVaporCare Website is Not All That is Vapor

So we have learned that the ability to cruise the ObamaCare federal website anonymously was yanked with false claims that it caused problems for the website in testimony to Congress.  Of course it was yanked so that people could not so easily discover that most people were going to face higher premiums and higher deductibles.  I noted with some anger that the need to give all of your personal information including Social Security number up front was to prevent you from assessing how ObamaCare was financially going to affect your family members and your neighbors and fellow countrymen.

In reality, the user has to spend much more time entering such information and then the website goes to numerous federal databases at numerous federal agencies to verify the input information.  This process puts great strains on the website and it is clearly unable to handle those strains.  In addition, when one gets all of one's information in and picks a plan, one may really only be picking it for further evaluation of the doctor and hospital network it has.  In other words, it need not be a final pick, but ObamaCare does not care.  It thinks you are committed.  Of course, the coercive planners behind ObamaCare are the ones who should be committed, though I understand we have a shortage of the needed mental health institutions since Democrats believe the mentally ill should be out on the streets voting and running ObamaCare.

Late last week, the breakdown on so-called sign-ups on the California state exchange, which works better than the federal exchange does, were announced.  Only about 16% of the 30,830 "enrollees" in October were eligible for subsidies or cost-sharing.  56% of them were of the ages from 45 to 64, though only 25% of the California population is in that age range.  So older and sicker people are 2.24 times more likely than their population to sign up for ObamaCare.  Those desirable low cost healthy people 34 or younger only signed up at a 28% rate, though they are 49% of the California population.  So, just as expected by the many rational critics, ObamaCare assumptions that many young and healthy Americans are going to happily subsidize the health care of older and less healthy Americans is already proving wrong.

Some have tried to explain this as being simply because the federally run website does not work.  They say that when it works, then the young will sign up in droves.  But the California website works better now than the federal website is likely work by the end of the year when people must sign up to have health insurance in 2014.  Yes, we shall see soon what will happen.  But, my money is on this is continuing to be a total disaster.  Health premiums for ObamaCare health insurance will be much higher for 2015 insurance.  As though it is not too high now!

In 2014, participating insurance companies are going to take a bath in cold water and many are going to drown.  Making money was posited by them on the assumption that many more people would have insurance and many of the new insurance holders would be young and healthy.  They assumed the websites would work and send them correct personal information.  Instead they are having to put much more manpower into checking that information than they expected.  This is raising their operational costs and ObamaCare put a very low upper limit on what they can spend on administrative costs.  Those insurance companies that trusted ObamaCare to deliver are going to be big losers.

We also learned late last week that there is as yet no means in the federal website for the insurance companies to be paid for policies that people might think they had signed up for.  No policy actually exists until the insurance company is paid.  The Obama Regime claims they will have this part of the software working by the end of the year.  Of course, the rational observer must have his doubts about this claim.  What is more, even if the claim comes true, can you imagine the chaos on the site as millions of such payment transactions occur within days of the start of policies beginning on 1 January.  Can you imagine the chaos at the insurance companies if they receive a flood of such payments within a few days?

It is not just the federal website that is ObamaVaporCare.  No, it is all of ObamaCare that is VaporCare.  It is exploding and releasing nothing but noxious gasses.  Unfortunately, the medical care industry will suffer, the health insurance industry will suffer, the tens of millions of Americans who are losing their health insurance will suffer, and everyone will suffer with fewer choices and lower quality medical care.

Such is the whirlwind the American People created in selecting a heavily socialist House of Representatives and Senate and President in 2008 and their failure to oust them from the Presidency and Senate in 2012.  Irrational choices have very bad consequences.

Recalling the Vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act - A History Lesson

It is now largely forgotten that a larger fraction of Republicans in both the House and the Senate voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act than did Democrats.  This is a reminder or a history lesson.

In the original bill in the House of Representatives the vote by party was:

Democrats for 152, out of 248 Democrats voting, 61.3% of them voted Yea

Republicans for 138, out of 172 Republicans voting, 80.2% of them voted Yea

In the Senate:

Democrats for 46, out of 67 Democrats voting, 68.7% of them voted Yea

Republicans for 27 out of 33 Republicans voting, 81.8% of them voted Yea

Yet today most Americans think that this civil rights law was opposed by Republicans, when the real opposition was always within the Democratic Party, just as the support for Jim Crow laws and for slavery itself had always been in the Democratic Party.

22 November 2013

Maryland Health Connection Website Down

Maryland enthusiastically embraced ObamaVaporCare and set up its own health insurance exchange and website.  While some of the state-sponsored ObamaVaporCare websites work better than the federally-run websites, Maryland's website is not one of them.  It is down every day from 11 PM to 5 AM for repairs and fixes.  Except, tonight it was down at 10:05 PM already.

It is a good thing that no one in Maryland has a job and children to care for, because if they did, they sure would not have a chance to go on-line after putting the children to bed and sign up for a federally mandated health insurance plan.

Maryland Congressman Sarbanes' Vapid Energy Ideas


Having written a note to the Congressman who rules my incredibly highly gerrymandered Congressional District in the Socialist State of Maryland that I support a free oil and gas industry, I received this pablum reply:


November 21, 2013
Dear Friend:
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for the oil and gas industry. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

It is my hope that our energy sector will innovate and adapt to the needs and opportunities of a clean energy future. I believe that if we rise up to meet the challenge of climate change, we can solve so many complicated problems that our country is facing. By developing a long-term and sustainable energy strategy, we can address economic, national security, and environmental policy priorities in one fell swoop. We can diversify our energy portfolio and end our dependence on energy sources from volatile parts of the world. By revolutionizing our energy industry and becoming an exporter of clean energy technologies, we will be able to maintain our competitive advantage as a nation and ensure a prosperous future for our children. Just as growth in information technology served as the driving force behind the economic boom of the 1990's, the development of clean energy technology and green jobs will spur tremendous growth and offer long-term relief to the American economy.

Marylanders know that preserving and protecting our environment can go hand in hand with economic growth. The Chesapeake Bay, one of our most treasured natural assets, is at the center of our regional economy. As a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, I will continue to support reasonable measures that give Americans more energy choices. I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind when voting on relevant federal legislation.

Again, thank you for your input on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me about any matter of importance to you in the future.

Sincerely,

John P. Sarbanes
Member of Congress
I am sure that John will not keep my thoughts in mind when he votes on issuing orders that will cause oil and gas prices to rise for entirely irrational reasons and force residential and business users of energy to pay these high prices in exchange for unreliable energy.  John is advocating the same use of so-called green energy that is causing Germany and Spain so many problems now.

He talks about a degree of energy independence which alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and biomass have never delivered, but that the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing is substantially delivering with oil and gas today.  Maryland Gov. O'Malley has forced electric utilities to buy future wind and solar energy with the intent to pass the high costs onto Maryland users.  This is how John Sarbanes plans to address our economic problems at the national level also.

Ah, but these black and blue energy projects, called green by John, will produce jobs in Maryland!  Well, so far the only reason jobs are in Maryland is because a large fraction of the federal government employees, who suck in tax revenues from the entire nation, live in Maryland.  In addition, larger businesses in Maryland tend to be heavy government contractors in defense, medicine, and other R&D.  This is what really explains John Sarbanes' wish to have the government strongly take control of the energy sector and of energy use.  He knows that increased energy R&D funded by the government will disproportionately be contracted out to Maryland institutions and businesses.

This is badly needed in Maryland because between 2007 and 2012, there were 24 tax and fee increases in Maryland, which cost the economy $2.4 billion a year.  The Tax Foundation ranked Maryland number 41 for the worst state tax environment for businesses.  Maryland lost 6,500 small businesses with fewer than 100 employees between 2007 and 2012, while losing 40,000 jobs and 31,000 taxpaying households.  Imagine the conditions if Maryland were not so heavily funded by the federal government.

So, it is hardly surprising that a Democrat Representative is eager to damage the People of the USA in order to have Marylanders suck in their productive output through a straw from DC.

By the way John, climate change is one of the primary reasons a rational individual prizes our ability to use oil and gas.  Of course I say that understanding that it is natural forces, not man's emissions of CO2, that produced climate change in the past, does now, and will continue to in the foreseeable future.

With dumb fools like Barbara Mikulski and John Sarbanes and evil fools like Ben Cardin thinking themselves the Progressive Elite and better capable of making my life decisions for me than I am, you can see why I am an enemy of Big Government in a very concrete form.  This trio gets virtually everything wrong.  One would live a better and happier life by doing the opposite of what they want every Marylander to do in every case than one would following their preferences.  Yes, they are that wrongheaded.

15 November 2013

Dictator Obama Strikes Again

Any time the many harms of ObamaCare become apparent to some constituency that might cause a real political problem for Obama, he simply changes the law for a time he hopes will be long enough for the People he thinks stupid to forget the harm.  At first, this was exemptions from the law aimed at labor unions and businesses whose owners supported Democrat candidates for offices.  Then he delayed the larger business mandate that forced them to offer health insurance meeting Obama's gold-plated requirements at great expense.  Then he ruled once again in favor of unions by protecting their health insurance plans, and only theirs, from taxes on the so-called Cadillac plans.  Now, he has declared that individuals can keep their insurance plans that they like for a year, if their insurance company will allow them to do so.

The government does not have the constitutional power to regulate and control our health insurance and our medical care.  But, the strict limits on government power in the Constitution have long been ignored.  However, the only branch of government that has any law-making power at all is Congress, the legislative branch.  It is certainly not the executive branch.  The President of our Republic is supposed to be the Commander-in-Chief and the executor of the laws, not the lawmaker.  The Constitution made this division of function because they knew that a President with the powers of a medieval king was a very dangerous man.  They absolutely would not trust such powers to their President.

But Obama does not believe in the Constitution.  He only believes in socialism and the Constitution is a barrier to socialism.  His ObamaCare law is a great step toward a more complete socialism in America and it will accomplish a huge redistribution of wealth if it survives the many problems of its initial phases.  Obama, the great socialist Leader, desperately wants ObamaCare to endure.  To do so, he has to keep it out of the hands of a Congress no longer completely controlled by committed socialists as it was when the fraudulently name Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was shoved as a fiery coal down our throats.  He is happy to violate the Constitution to protect the PPACA and because he wants badly to establish precedent for the Imperial Presidency.  He wants to be that Great Socialist Dictator the progressive elitists have long wanted and worked for.

Congress, when still under complete control by the Democratic Socialist Party in 2011, endowed the Dept. of Health and Human Services with $1 billion to provide most of the funding to implement ObamaCare.  This was done to make it harder for the incoming Congress with a House under Republican control to defund ObamaCare.  At the end of the 2013 fiscal year that ended on 30 September 2013, HHS had already spent $811 million of this money and presented the website that will not work and about 20,000 pages of new regulations.  The remaining funds of $189 million will not be anywhere near enough to complete the implementation of ObamaCare.  Yet, Obama will not go to the Congress to get the necessary funds appropriated to finish this process.  No, Dictator Obama will simply take money appropriated by Congress for other purposes and use it as he sees fit to ensure that his signature "achievement" plows on, ripping through the lives of most Americans.

Americans generally, and both Congress and the Federal Courts, must stand up to this dictator and stop him.  ObamaCare is a national disaster of incredible proportion.  An even greater catastrophe would be to enshrine the Great Socialist Dictator as our executive branch leader for all of America's foreshortened future.  History tells us that will be worse than a furious civil war.  In fact, such a war is often the only salvation for such a horrific circumstance.

11 November 2013

ObamaCare Numbers Do Not Compute - Emoters Require No Computation

Originally, we were told that 47 million Americans did not have health insurance and ObamaCare was going to provide them with insurance.  I showed that about 10 million Americans had no need for health insurance since they or someone in their family were so wealthy that it was very reasonable for them to be self-insured.  Then there were about 12 million illegal aliens at the time.  So, the number of Americans who actually had some need for insurance and had none were about 25 million.  A short while before the roll-out of the catastrophic ObamaCare website for the federally operated state exchanges for 34 states, the government was claiming that ObamaCare was going to provide 30 million of those who did not have health insurance with it.  That 30 million figure, rather than the 50 million more recently bandied about as the number of uninsured Americans, has now been scaled back to a mere 7 million.

Yes, now ObamaCare will be a great success if it manages to sign up 7 million people by the end of March according to the same folks who originally told us that it was addressing the problem of 47 million uninsured Americans.  So, even if we buy this as the measure of success, ObamaCare must sign up this number between the end of November and the end of March.  The number signed up to date is trivial and will remain so until the problems with the website are fixed.  Some fools are saying that will happen by the end of November.  So, in the course of 121 days, the government says it can declare success if the 7 million are signed up.  To do that modest number it will have to have 57,850 people sign up each day.

But what about the 4.8 million people who have had their health insurance cancelled already by ObamaCare requirements?  Is it really a success if these people and the millions who are about to receive similar cancellation letters do not sign up for ObamaCare insurance on the exchanges?  Apparently the government would have us believe that they do not count.  It is noteworthy that Jay Carney says that fewer than 5% of Americans will have their health insurance cancelled.  Well, that is 15.6 million Americans.

What is more, Jay and the government are hiding the fact that many small group and large group insurance plans will be cancelled in 2014 as the ObamaCare extension of company provided plans starts to run down.  The government extended that deadline in order to delay the overwhelming numbers of cancellation notices that would have been added to those for people in the individual insurance market.  This is what allows them to tell us the lie that fewer than 5% of Americans will lose their health insurance.  Of course, but late 2014 it will be very clear that many times that number will be forced into the ObamaCare exchanges or be without health insurance.

A government study concluded that before the end of 2014, 9.2 to 15.4 million will lose their insurance in the individual market, 16.6 million will lose it in the small group market, and 102.7 million will lose it in the large group market.  This is a total of between 128.5 and 134.7 million who will lose their health insurance by the end of 2014.  So, 25 million originally uninsured and about 132 million newly uninsured Americans (a total of 157 million) will need to purchase insurance meeting ObamaCare mandates by the end of 2014.  This means that about 396,465 Americans will have to sign up for ObamaCare insurance each and every day on average between now and the end of 2014 if they are to be covered with health insurance as per the intent of this mandate.

One of the ObamaCare bureaucrats was recently telling Congress that only about 39,000 needed to sign up each day.  This does not compute.  Even by the end of March 2014 this would not be anywhere near 7 million Americans who had no insurance and offer nothing for those losing their insurance.   The government cannot even perform simple mathematical operations, so how can anyone imagine they can direct the entire critical medical services apparatus of the USA?  These numbers also make it obvious that no one ever supported ObamaCare who gave its claims a few moments of thought.  It was always purely justified on an emotional basis.

Of course my argument only has the power to convince rational people.  The supporters of ObamaCare are not rational.  They are emotional lovers of collectivism and many will support ObamaCare for its collectivist premise no matter how badly ObamaCare abuses Americans.  No matter how many Americans wind up uninsured and unable to seek medical attention thanks to ObamaCare, it will have many supporters.

But, those many supporters will not number so many as it has had to date.  Some people who emoted a different outcome for ObamaCare will fall away from it as it begins to actually hurt them and their families.  Until recently, this duplicitous Obama Regime effectively delayed all of these many harms into his second term and, with the illegal company mandate delay, it is further spreading out the harm to lower the shock to the many Americans who do not give life-threatening matters any thought.

10 November 2013

We Hear So Much Less About Casulties in Afghanistan Under Obama's Command

I was reading a book review of  Betrayed, The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father by Mark Baisley and found this interesting bit of data:

During the seven years of war in the Bush Administration, 630 Americans died in Afghanistan and 2,638 were wounded in action. During the first four years of the Obama Administration, 1,544 Americans have died in Afghanistan and 15,036 have been wounded in action.
Perhaps there are some manpower issues involved in the different numbers and there are surely some differences in the Rules of Engagement, but remember how often and dramatically the count of dead Americans was played up in the media when Bush was the Commander-in-Chief?  Do we hear this drum beat so often and as loudly now?

American Manufacturing Companies are Expanding

According to a survey of 1,209 engineers, purchasing agents, business owners, sales and marketing executives of manufacturers, distributors, and service companies, over half of US manufacturers expanded in 2012 and nearly two-thirds expect to grow in 2013.  42% of manufacturers are increasing the size of their workforce.  Nearly 70% are introducing new products.

Prospects of future growth look good, but for one important problem.  More than 75% of manufacturing employees are 45 years old or older.  75% of the companies surveyed said only 25% or fewer of their employees were under 32 years old.  Almost half of the companies do not expect this percentage to increase over the next two years.

Those under 32 are members of Generation Y.  Most lack the skills that manufacturers need in the high technology world of modern manufacturing.  Automated production and the rapid design of new or improved products are not skills that the young possess.  What is more, the Generation Y has a bad image of manufacturing.  They have many misconceptions about it as dirty and unable to provide satisfying and well-paying careers.

Yes, some dirty manufacturing jobs still exist, but more and more, dirty is known for causing problems with the product and the high-tech equipment that makes the product.  More and more American manufacturing companies see advantages in a clean and safe workplace which enable them to compete worldwide with many companies that take the low cost and dirty route of poor-quality commodity products.  Many consumers do not want those low quality products.

Periodically, Americans see a wave of low-cost products come in from some sector of the world which is rapidly modernizing, but still far behind American companies.  For a few years they buy those products until they get tired of them failing and falling apart.  Their interest in higher quality American goods then increases, at least until the lesson has to be learned again.  In fairness, US manufacturers also periodically have to learn the lesson that they must distinguish themselves by making their product much better than that of the developing countries.

We seem to be in a time when both US companies and US consumers may be ready to contribute to a renewed resurgence of US manufacturing.  Perhaps some of Generation Y will even figure out that they should climb aboard that train.

08 November 2013

4.8 Million Proofs that Obama is a Liar, an Uncaring Liar

"If you like your insurance now, you can keep it.  Period."  This was stated emphatically by Obama and many of his allies in the Democrat Party over and over.  The reality is dramatically different.  That it would be different was known when the disfigured law was fraudulently named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  That heinous law had to deprive most Americans of their health insurance plans so they could be forced to provide the subsidies needed to support those more ill and older.  This is why the law made any change in an insurance plan reason for not allowing the insured to keep that plan.  They were always to be forced to change to a plan that paid much more for many services they did not want.

As of now, 4.8 million Americans have had their insurance plan cancelled.  Others are being given new plans by the same insurer that provides them with many services they do not want at much higher premiums, with higher deductibles and co-pays than they had.  Most of the cancellations so far are in the individual insurance plan market, which is relatively small.  The bigger small business and large company market cancellations will be delayed because of the one-year delay in applying ObamaCare to the business-provided insurance plans.  The number of cancellations and massive cost increases will continue to the end of 2014.  The cancellations to date are just the tip of the iceberg.

By the end of 2014, there will be many times more proofs of Obama's lie than we have even now.  Some of these proofs will be less obvious, since many companies will pick up the added costs and people will not be shocked by cancellation letters.  However, when a company does pay the higher cost, this will mean that this is a part of an employee's remuneration and that employee will have less money to take home.  Other companies will not be willing to pay that cost and will simply drop the offer of company health insurance.  Millions of employees will have to find their replacement insurance under ObamaCare on their own.

The government itself estimated that 85% of the health insurance plans of the individual market would have to be changed under ObamaCare.  They estimated that 60% of small business plans would have to be replaced and that 40% of big business plans would be replaced.  Most insurers will offer a new plan at greater expense to their customers.   The estimate of the number of people thrown on their own to get insurance was estimated to be from 18 to 50 million Americans.  These were government estimates which the chief executive probably knew and surely should have known if he were competent.  Whether due to incompetence or dishonesty, the man is clearly uncaring.

Meanwhile, the ObamaCare claim that it would insure a larger fraction of Americans, is also a massive lie.  It is perfectly clear that many of the people who did not have health insurance before are not signing up for ObamaCare.  It is also clear that many times more individuals who have had their insurance cancelled because of ObamaCare have not signed up for ObamaCare compared to the fraction who have.  ObamaCare is running way, way behind on the claim it will increase the number of insured Americans.  Not only is it behind now, but there is no chance that it will catch up to even the number who only recently were insured.  There is no mechanism for that many sign-ups.  There will also not be any will on the part of many of the insurance losers to do so.  The fraction of uninsured Americans will increase because of ObamaCare.  How caring is that?

04 November 2013

The Critical Factor in American Politics: Who Owns Your Body and Mind?

The critical question whose answer determines the balance of power in American politics today is: Who owns your body and mind?

There are three answers to this question which are given by significant numbers of Americans.  They are:

1) I own my own body and mind.

2) God owns my body and mind.

3) The collective, effectively the government, owns my body and mind.

The idea that an individual owned their own body and mind was essentially a cornerstone idea of the Enlightenment and one which played a critical role in the thinking of the minds of the Founders of the United States of America and the Framers of the Constitution.  The purpose of government was to protect the individual rights of  the people.  Only if an individual owned their own mind and body did such an idea make sense.  Only then could a person have a sovereign right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of his own happiness.

Yes, some of them thought that God also owned their minds and bodies, but that even then an individual had a right to acknowledge that or to deny that ownership.  The individual, in their minds, could either freely give themselves to God or they could sin.  They believed in free will.

Some who believed that God owned their minds and bodies believed the state must help God assert this ownership.  Many a nation had established a religion and was all too committed to using government power to force others to make value choices these people believed God wanted them to make.  In America, the early Pilgrims were such an example.  Later many Calvinists in New England had similar ideas.  The colony of Virginia had an established religion, The Church of England, which was funded by the colonial government.  In addition to establishing churches, the colonies frequently codified many of their religious beliefs into laws.  By the time of the American Revolution and in the decade that followed, many of the thinking Americans came to the conclusion that government should not play this role of trying to force people to act within the confines of religious beliefs.  The need for a broader freedom of conscience was becoming widely recognized by thinking Americans.

The idea that the collective owned one's mind and body has been around probably as long as people have associated in bands or tribes.  Medieval European city and nation states used this idea to build hierarchical societies in which the serf served the local aristocratic lord and that lord served the King.  The King pretended to serve God, built and protected the state, and pretended to be the caretaker for the poor, dumb serfs.  The serfs were to devote their lives to the nation, the King, and God. 

The socialists extended this ancient idea to the state alone with no particular pretense that they depended upon God's authority to take control of the masses of the people.  As socialists became more and more common, thanks largely to government controlled education, the demands of the state based on collectivist ownership increased.  The Prussian government began such an expansion of the state based on socialist ideas of collective ownership of the people's minds and bodies.  It provided schools, medical care, and retirement benefits to the people in exchange for fairly complete control of their lives.  The Marxists advanced their version of such claims, as did the fascists and the National Socialist German Workers Party.  The Progressives in America borrowed the idea of the socialist government-run state schools, heavy regulation of productive labor, control of medical care and retirement benefits, and have created their own socialist variant.

As I have noted many times, ObamaCare is based on the assertion that the collective owns every individual's body and mind.  There can be no other basis for a governmental demand that each American must care for the maintenance of his or her mind and body in accordance with rules established by the government.  The government is claiming the right to have its property maintained.  It is telling Americans what medical care they must pay for coverage on in their insurance whether any particular individual has any need for that coverage or not.  The government is doing this very explicitly on a collectivist basis.  Someone needs that coverage and therefore every individual will pay for it.  This requirement is so important to the government that ObamaCare will actually cause many millions of individuals to lose the insurance they have and were happy with.  After all, there is nothing so important to the socialist as the principle of collective ownership and its assertion.  This is not actually being done for the sake of the welfare of each American individual.  No, it is being done to create a strengthened mandate that every individual's mind and body belongs to the government.

Of course this idea was asserted already in many other laws.  For instance, Progressive governments have long asserted that almost any activity that earns income or salary comes under its powers of regulation, control, and taxation.  American governments also believe they have the right to dictate minimum wages, which means they assert that they have the right to prevent individuals from earning a living at all.  Progressive governments have long levied taxes on an individual's pay from their own labor.  These are very blatant claims that an individual's labor belongs to the government.  Now what is your labor but one of the most critical ways you use your mind and body to support and maintain your own life.  Yet, these same governments pretend they are not violating anyone's right to life.  Controlling and taxing your labor is effectively a claim of ownership of your mind and body.

The balance of power in America today is the result of a two-party system in which one party, the Democratic Party, is wholly of the belief that every individual's mind and body belongs to the collective, or effectively to the government.  The other party, the Republican party, is more disparate in its parts.  It is composed of three major factions, which either hold that:

1) An individual's body is only self-owned.

2) One nominally owns one's own body and mind, but ought to give them to God of one's free will.

3) God owns everyone's body and mind, but God is too weak or lazy to force everyone Himself to obey his will and acknowledge his ownership, so the government must perform this task of forcing obedience for Him.

As far as the use of government power through its monopoly on the use of force is concerned, there is little friction and little difference between Factions 1 and 2.  The consequences on the use of force by government of Faction 3, however, are profound.  The most critical and common issues affected are government policies with respect to sex and procreation.  The portions of our society most directly affected are women and those who are lesbians, gay, bisexual, or transgender.  Many American women and LGBTs find the use of force by Faction 3 of the Republican Party to be extremely threatening.  More often than not, these groups find this threat more frightening than the broader and more equally applied, by gender and sexuality at least, threats to self-ownership of the Democratic Party.

I am fully in agreement that the use of government by Faction 3 for its purposes is highly immoral and highly irrational.  It is threatening.  But, I see the claim of collective ownership by the Democrat Party as even worse.

First, the collectivist agenda of the Progressives, in full control of the Democratic Party, has been very successful in getting the government to control our daily lives in many ways.  It dictates what values we are free to pursue and it takes many hours of our time and effort from each of us by force.  The amount of our labor it commands has steadily increased, but for secondary fluctuations such as major wars.

Second, more and more Americans, especially younger Americans, find the claims of Faction 3 to be wrongheaded, even as many of them embrace the idea of collective ownership of our minds and bodies.  Faction 3 has poor prospects of controlling the government to do its will on a national level, because many Republicans oppose them, as do all of the Democrats.  Only a very few states are so dominated by Faction 3 that there is a practical likelihood of their enacting their program.  At the national level, even when the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the presidency, this faction was never able to accomplish much of anything toward their agenda.

Third, the range of those aspects of human life claimed as the purview of government control by force is much larger on the part of the Progressive collectivist agenda of Democrat Party.  It applies to everyone and to almost anything we do.  It is without any real boundaries at all.

Most Americans say they want smaller government, yet the dominion of government keeps growing.  The Republican Party is clearly the party of at least less massive government, though it is not really the party of smaller government as it ought to be.  Yet most Americans favor the Democratic Party in Generic Congressional Polls.  The reason is primarily due to the fear of many women and almost all LGBTs of the agenda of Faction 3 of the Republican Party.  If this agenda were to be put into effect, that fear would be well-justified, but it has almost no chance of being put into effect.  Yet because so many women and LGBTs vote for the Democratic Party out of this exaggerated fear, the less massive Republican Party is unable to attain enough offices to prevent the Progressive collectivist attack upon our individual rights which has been very successful in many ways.

At this time, the biggest issue of government is the repeal of ObamaCare with its takeover of 16 to 18% of the US economy, its many harmful effects on medical care and its cost to individuals, and its blatant claim of government ownership of our bodies and minds.  Most Americans recognize that ObamaCare is a massively troublesome program, even if most underestimate its harms.  Yet, we have seen anti-ObamaCare candidates for the Senate defeated by Democrat collectivists who favored ObamaCare and the rest of the Progressive collectivist agenda because women, young people, and LGBTs found the ideas of Faction 3 Republicans abhorrent.  And even though Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia, has vowed that he will not try as Governor to implement his previous Faction 3 agenda as required by his support from the Tea Party, he is likely to lose that election to a highly corrupt collectivist, Terry McAuliffe.

There are many who believe that the Tea Party is a movement of Faction 3 Republican types.  It is not so.  It is primarily people more aligned with Factions 1 and 2.  There are also a few Faction 3 types who have agreed that the threat of the Progressive collectivist agenda has become so great in America that they will give up trying to codify their religious beliefs in the law at least until the collectivist threat is defeated.  Ken Cuccinelli is a man who has made this pledge.  He has fought ObamaCare with more determination and effect than almost any politician.  He is strong in his support that we each own our own labor and should be free to cooperate with others to our mutual benefit in the private sector.  He understands that government should be smaller.  It should be dictating fewer of our values to us and less involved in our lives.  He is a strong Tea Party promoter and candidate who has agreed to live by the rules of the Tea Party to leave his religious beliefs in the private sector and not use the force of government to promote them.

It is a serious mistake to allow the Progressive collectivist Terry McAuliffe to become governor of Virginia.  His strong support of ObamaCare and all things collectivist will do serious harm to the people of the state of Virginia.  If you value your rights and you are voting in this election, it is a serious mistake to vote for McAuliffe or even to vote for the Libertarian candidate.  The Democrat will bring nothing but evil accomplices into the state government, while Ken Cuccinelli will bring in many Faction 1 and Faction 2 Republicans instead.  This will be very good for the people of the state of Virginia.



03 November 2013

Are Americans Looney Tunes?

How can people be so unthinking and irrational as to hold this collection of beliefs at one time?  Some of these beliefs are rational, but others are highly irrational and contradictory.

From the most recent Rasmussen poll findings:
64% of Likely U.S. Voters now view the federal government unfavorably, with 34% who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of it.
Voters overwhelmingly want to scrap or change the new health care law, with 43% who want to repeal it entirely and start over and 35% who would prefer Congress go through the law piece by piece to improve it. Just 18% want to leave the law as is.
Just 25% of voters believe the United States is heading in the right direction
Voters are evenly divided at 42% apiece when asked whether they agree more politically with the president or with the average member of the Tea Party.
Democrats hold a six-point lead over Republicans – 43% to 37% - on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot
Most consumers and investors believe the country is still in a recession. 
Only 33% of Americans believe the U.S. economy will be stronger in a year's time, while 41% think it will grow weaker by then. 
Fewer than half (47%) of Americans believe it’s still possible for anyone in this country looking for work to find a job.  
OK, so 64% have no trust in government, yet 35% + 18% = 53% want it to run the entire medical industry and health insurance industry either with the ObamaCare law as it is or after Congress has re-worked this entirely wrongheaded law.  What on earth makes them think Congress can do a rework and make something rational and beneficial out of a government-controlled medical care system?

Only 25% believe the US is headed in the right direction, yet 42% side with Obama and the continued growth of government and the emasculation of the private sector.  They are in opposition to the 42% who want a change in direction, namely those who agree more with the Tea Party movement.

Most consumers and investors believe the US is still in recession, which it clearly is in terms that matter, namely the real per capita private sector GDP.  Only 33% believe it will be stronger in a year, yet 43% believe in the anti-business and anti-jobs notions of the Democrat Socialist Party over the more business and jobs friendly Republicans who can only muster 37% support in the Generic Congressional Ballot.  Note also the disconnect with the 42% who believe more like the Tea Party than with Obama.  Based on that, the Republicans should be equal with the Democrats in the Generic Congressional Ballot.  Based on the economy and jobs prospects and opposition to ObamaCare, the Republicans should be favored.

But no, Americans while right not to trust government, still favor the party of bigger government which has so completely bollixed things up.  Go figure.  They really are Looney Tunes.