Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Importance of the Supreme Court

People think that when they drive by a sign that says “littering $1,000” that it was a law passed by some legislative body, city, state, or Federal. And they are wrong.

 Here's how laws get created.  The city, state, or the Congress create departments and gives them directives to regulate.  That gives them the ability to write regulations and restrictions that relate to their governing function.  So, some bureaucrat determines the fines and penalties for violating whatever the department monitors. The regulations have the full backing of law enforcement.  With traffic, these bureaucrats set the fines for speeding, littering, parking fine rates and etc. There is no overriding commission to rule on its fairness or impropriety.

 A while back, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) after 100 years of doing nothing, decided to charge farmers for grazing their cattle on government land. They added a new list of regulations and laws from a previously created government directive.  This ended up with a standoff with guns drawn on both sides and the Feds blinked.  The BLM, had government backing to enforce the new laws, but they decided not to enforce it at that time.  They decided that when the violator to the “illegal” tax died, they would seize the estate and get their pound of flesh with interest.

 President Donald Trump has gotten rid of a lot of government regulations/directives.  It is these regulations that create situations like the one above.  I am not sure if the regulations written to limit grazing on government land has changed, but I hope that they have.  Many, many directives restrict how land may be used. Everyone is familiar with “environmental studies” that turn land useless because of an endangered species.

 The American public doesn’t really understand how our government works.  The legal system understands how laws are generated. It’s not too hard for a lawyer to tear one apart.  In most cases, that costs money, and usually the fine is a lot less than getting a lawyer.  This is what keeps the system functional, you don’t have the dollars or the time, to chase this in the courts. Until someone does, it is law.  The most damming regulation was that for hotels with a pool, to have a lift for paraplegics to use the pool.  Where does the business owner come up with the money to finance the purchase? The device costed about $10,000. Why would you want someone in your pool with no control over bodily functions?  

 When the government creates a department, that department gets to create government regulations or “laws.”  If a bureaucrat in charge, decides that every school must have a unisex bathroom, it has the force of law, the school must conform.  The school can then appeal to the courts for a ruling. It cost time and dollars to fight these regulations. It may be a couple of years before a court ruling decides the issue.

 Both the Republicans and the Democrats have used Presidential Directives. Also, the bureau heads of government departments often write new directives to circumvent Congress when they don’t have the votes to make it law. This is the real war going on for the Supreme Court.   Do we allow the President and the Bureau heads to write the laws and have the Supreme court agree with the ruling party, or do we have a Supreme court that holds everyone to the principles written in our Constitution?

 If a liberal court ruled that guns could not be owned by citizens, then they would be confiscated.  The odd thing about this confiscation, is that the people this would be enforced upon, would be home owners.  These people can be fined and if they don’t pay, their home is confiscated.  If you are homeless, a felon, or a renter, there isn’t much that can be done to you, so you get to keep your guns.  So, if you get a liberal Supreme Court that sides with the President, home owners become an extremely vulnerable group.  Just imagine if some bureaucrat decides that every home should have solar panels -- get out your wallet.  The people that will enforce the new regulations are already in place. They will just be doing their job, it’s not their fault. Net effect, you will own the solar panels before it gets to the Supreme court.

 Think about what the Democrats want to do to the Supreme Court.  Some bureaucrat may be making all of your decisions for you in the future.  The neat thing about that, is if you become a failure, it’s not your fault.  The real question; is it the bureaucrat or the Constitution that determines the final outcome? Nine justices on the Supreme Court will decide the issue.

I don't normally talk politics, but President Trump is fighting for for what this country was founded on.  Go out and vote.  I'm not sure of who will win, but he embodies the spirit that has made this country great.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The True Perspective of the Corona Virus Stats.

 There are 331 million inhabitants in the United States. In a normal year (citing 2018 stats), there are 2.8 million deaths. 

This year so far, we have had about 200,000 deaths from corona virus. If we calculate the normal deaths per unit of population, by dividing 331 million people by the actual deaths, 2.8 million, (before Covid). You get 1 out of every 118 people will die in a given year. That number is not high if you intuitively figure that the 331 million people alive today, all will be dead in 80 years.

 Now let's calculate the same factor for the Covid virus and let’s assume that the total deaths for this year will reach 250,000 with a population of 331 million. And you get 1 out of every 1,324 people will die from the virus.

 When we divide the normal death rate group 118 into the Covid death group of 1,324. We get 11 people will die normally for every Covid death. So, it can be concluded that a person is 11 times more likely to die of natural causes than from the Corona virus.

 The overall death rate from natural causes overwhelms the deaths from the Virus 11 to 1. The death rate from the virus  does not warrant the drastic measures taken by governments all over the world. This is a panic that may be justified for people over 70; but this group of people already has one foot on a banana peel.  The shutdown destroys the economy for the young people who must somehow survive without the means to earn a living. Government solutions to control the virus are destroying our economies.  This quarantine in the US, will probably end after the election no matter who wins.

One million people dead out of 8 billion worldwide, from the Corona virus, sounds like a lot of people (if you concentrate on the one million dead). But if we calculate the expected normal death rate for the world with the present population (assuming everyone lives to be 80) expect to see 100 million deaths a year from natural causes.

If I were to die from Corona virus, the press would report, "See, he didn't believe how dangerous the virus was."  The real motive of the press in hyping the virus is to get viewers.  How do you do that? Feed on their fear. Now you understand why only one kid in the kingdom said "The emperor has no clothes."  Reality is a matter of the viewer's  perspective.  Chicken Little was very certain that the sky was falling.

Friday, July 24, 2020

The Corona Virus Flatulence

Let figure it out, flatting the curve doesn’t fix anything, it just spreads it out. What would happen in 6 months probably will now happen in 12 months. Wearing a mask might slow down the virus. To flatten the curve, look at the area under the curve. This represents everyone that could be infected. The area under the original curve is still the same in the flattened curve. The outcome is not changed, it is only delayed.

People think that if they wear the mask, it prevents them from getting the virus. Ok suppose that it does, the virus still wants you. If you hide from it, it will find you. It just takes a little longer. The time it takes to get to you is what “flattening the curve” is all about. Not everyone is in the hospital at the same time.

The Corona virus has been hyped to panic mode for political reasons and it is no more lethal than the common cold for most people under the age of 70. Above that age it is a very serious deadly virus. Plus, there can be more than one cause of death when a person dies over the age of 70. The real odd thing is that old age is not considered as a cause of death.

When people see 145,000 deaths in the USA, their reaction lacks real perspective. About 2.7 million people die every year, that’s 1,700 a day. It has been reported that the total deaths for the current period matches pretty close to the deaths from last year. These deaths this year would have been attributed to other causes given the absence of the virus.

The anti-Trump newspapers could turn measles into the plague. Their coverage of the Corona virus deliberately squashes any glimmer of hope or optimism with the intent to panic the masses. The news rooms are not reporting the decrease in deaths each day, only the number of new cases and the total dead.

Most people when you mention the word "Rest Home” imagine some nice hacienda like setting with a bunch of seniors setting around playing cards drinking wine (don't confuse it with "Assisted Living"). A more realistic view is elderly who are senile, stroke disabled, incontinent, and bed ridden, with the room laced with lots of air freshener. Sad to say, many of these deaths can be a relief to relatives, footing the bill for rest home care, which range between $60,00 to $100,000 a year. Usually the infirmed end up in rest homes because they are a danger to themselves or others. Some of the elderly are lucky enough to avoid that, and they are the few.

If we project out about 45 days, the deaths from the virus should dwindle down to an acceptable level of about 200 a day. That is my best guess. And of course, the whole pandemic will be over the day after the election. At that point chicken little can come out and review the economic carnage. You don't have to social distance at places that will never reopen. The real suffering will start then.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

News Services panic the Nation on the Kung Flu virus

Since more testing is being done on the Corona 19 virus, the number of cases are highlighted in each news report. You have to google “Deaths Today [pick a State]" to find out that the number dying per day; the number of deaths is decreasing. This is very misleading reporting. The news services will always report total deaths and point out that the number is increasing.

Reading the reports, 20 million people are estimated to have had the Corona 19 virus in the USA. States are re-closing down because of the increase in cases reported. The way the press is handling this, is that if you test positive, you are going to die. And that is a farce. The other thing that is grossly misunderstood is the fact that if we all social distance and wear masks, this virus is going to go away and next year we will be Okay. Wrong! We are only slowing it down. We gain “herd immunity” when 80 percent of the population has had the disease; that’s about 260 million people. Most people think that if they stay at home and hunker down this will all blow over after a while. The trouble is, the time concept of how long, is missing; 6 months? 12 months? 2 years? As far as the virus is concerned 20 million served, 240 million to go. A face mask or social distancing may save you today, but the virus wants you and will wait patiently.

The other thing not mentioned, is that the less virulent strains of the virus may pass through the population at a faster rate. If it kills you, it goes no further, so we would expect it to be less deadly over time.

So, stay at home and run out of money or go back to work? This virus is not killing very many people under the age of 60.

If you are a Democrat, “We have to stay home until it is safe.” And while you’re at it, riot and tear down a monument or two.

If you are a Republican, accept the risk and open up. This disease could kill 130,000 (mostly over the age of 65). Heart disease and cancer kill 4 times more a year.

And look at the positive side, if we kill off all of the old farts (like me), Social Security won’t go bankrupt.

From an economic point of view, this shut down could ruin the country. The government has has screwed over the retirement income for those 65 and older by reducing the interest rates to zero. Compound interest is no longer the 8th wonder of the world. So if you're ready to retire, you have two nemesis; an under performing nest egg and the virus. So, go get a seat belt for your rocking chair and tour the world from your living room. Maybe you'll get to babysit the grandkids over the weekend ;>). If you stop listening to the news, you might just enjoy retirement. Influenza kills 60,000 every year in this country and no one bats an eyelash, go figure.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Rest Home Problem

Retirement, Ahhh the land of fulfillment. Everyone is wondering why New York sent Corona virus patients back to rest homes.

Let’s figure it out. You retire and later on when you get really old you have a stroke or get Alzheimer’s; you have a problem. Nursing homes cost $50.000 to $140,000 a year for complete care. Now if you are married, the other spouse may be in good shape, not needing the services. Paying for the service could deplete you family’s retirement savings very fast. In most states you don’t have to sell the house to get Medicare benefits for your spouse.

Usually the first step is the rest home, and then it progresses to the nursing home. Most of these places have to make a profit. So, if you have run out of funds, they try to unload you onto a Medicare home. The wait times to get in are ridiculous. If at any time you come down with an emergency health issue; heart attack, stroke, influenza or Corona virus, the hospital will accept you for treatment.

Once their situation has been addressed by the hospital, they try to ship them back to the rest home they came from. If the person is indigent, the rest home doesn’t want them back. And in some states like New York, the governor made a point that the people had to go back to the rest home they came from, otherwise they became wards of the state. The real issue was who had to pay for the person’s expenses. Gov. Cuomo did not want to fund it. And by State government decree, he inadvertently killed about 4,000 rest home patients by returning recovering corona case patients back to their rest home.

The other problem here is one that escapes most people. 50 years ago, interest rates ranged between 6 to 13 percent. And most people who saved for retirement were getting about 8 percent on their savings and their nest egg doubled every 9 years. So, today, it isn’t surprising to see retired people with savings of one million dollars. The catch is, the money no longer returns 8% interest or 80K per year, maybe about 10K. This is where seniors are getting ripped off, very low artificial interest rates.

The real question that needs to be asked, did risk leave the market? Increased risk implies higher interest rates. 1 to 2 percent return on your savings has to be a joke. The market has no risk? Is this even possible?

If the government wanted to tax someone with money how can they do it? One, by taxing the total amount saved or by printing more dollars that makes the saved dollars’ worth less. By reducing the interest rates to 1% the government is taxing savers about 7% on their money in the bank. Notice how clean this is, you don’t have to ask anyone how much money they have in the bank, the saver just get less interest.

So, if you are a senior in retirement, you get hit twice, no real interest on your savings and inflation on your savings of about 8 to 12 percent a year. And of course, you’re too old to do anything about it. And if you did, your lawsuit would outlive you. You don’t buy green bananas when your 85.

We have a new group of people in the mix, the young adults. To them cigarettes have always been $8.00 a pack. They are not about to save any money; the miracle of compound interest is dead. They will go out and buy a home, and the government loves that, more taxes and the taxes increase with the homes “value.” The old people (like me) can warn them about cigarettes costing 25 cents a pack way back when-- and that has a name “inflation.” “But grandpa that was a long time ago, times have changed.”

So, we the seniors can see that there are no future incentives to save with these very low interest rates, and now we know why our plans for retirement no longer deliver the interest rates we anticipated 40 years ago. If we live to be 85, we have a very good chance to run out of our savings if we have to go into a rest home. The governments artificially set low interest rate is stealing from those who have saved money, the people who saved for retirement. Congress knows that they can’t tax people that are broke.

If all the banks want to pay is 1 percent, convert your holdings to gold silver and platinum. Nobody on the internet can steal your savings if it is in a deposit box. It is invisible nobody knows you have it. There is absolutely no reason to have a bank account for savings, the present inflation rate of 12 percent will eat you alive (mostly in the medical field). The Government is counting on everyone to contribute to an IRA or 401 K to save on income taxes. Forget that, cigarettes will be $140 a pack when the young retire. Congress cannot print gold and silver. People need to realize that there is no risk buying precious metals. There is a risk on holding on to savings long term, the return is not there.

Friday, May 01, 2020

The Corona Virus, the Terror Fear Creates

This Corona-19 virus is killing people, but not at the rate implied by the statistics. This article in USA Today April 24th shows that:
"Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it's a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they're Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000. But if it's COVID-19 pneumonia, then it's $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000."

If the deceased patient had no health insurance normally there would be no reimbursement to the hospital. But if they can attribute it to Corona virus, they get paid. Notice you get more for Corona than Influenza. As a hospital administrator you can increase your bottom line by selecting how the person died.

New York and New Jersey are way out of specs on confirmed cases. Most states have a death rate of about 42 per million of population. New York claims 1,200 deaths per million and New Jersey claims 744 per million people at this time due to Corona Virus. 89 percent of all Corona-19 deaths are over the age of 65. We knew in December of last year that New York City had a storage problem at the morgues, they had run out of space. So, the additional refrigeration units needed for bodies was no surprise. Notice any exaggeration of the number of deaths due to the virus, tends to add to the panic and the need for public officials to do more now. And this is an election year, God help us! Here is a link to the mischief being done: NYC Funeral Homes

We have contained the virus outbreak to where it did not overwhelm the health care system. The people dying were the elderly especially in rest homes. These people were the prime consumers of health care. But now we have inadvertently shut down the regular health care system for heart attacks, strokes, cancer surgery, chemo therapy, and blood testing. People are scared to death to see a doctor especially if retired. Now we have people dying from causes other than corona virus. And the funny thing, the doctors and nurses that support these operations are being laid off.

We have a problem for the world. No work, no food. Translated: no money and you starve to death. This could kill billions. And the bad thing about starving people is, they are the Petri dish for new diseases.

Where to from here? Let’s assume that the virus has done its damage and has moved on. We need to get back to work. We could lose more elderly people to the virus, but they are the ones that we need to be more protective with. Otherwise the cure is worse than the disease. BTW I’m 73.

As a post script.

My grandmother was put in a rest home when she was 90. At the age of 96 the rest home called me and said she was dying. I went to her bedside and called emergency and they informed me that if it wasn’t a heart attack, stroke or something that they could treat, they would not be able to help her and she would not be admitted to the hospital for care. I took her off all 30 of her medications. She recovered and lived another 3 years. At that rest home, there were many people in very bad shape that had no idea of who they were or why they were there.

People do not realize that rest homes charge from $50,000 to $90,000 a year for taking care of a loved one. Usually the person makes it to the home when they can no longer take care of themselves because of dementia, lack of mobility from physical problems, or whatever. They need around the clock care. Just tripping on a rug and falling to the ground can break a hip or an arm.

On my grandmother’s 99th birthday I went to visit her at the rest home and commented with a smile, that in one more year, she would be 100. This woman, had all of her wits about her, she looked straight at me and said tersely “How would you like to be a 19 year old woman trapped in a 100 year old body.” I didn’t have an answer.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Corona Virus Media Hype

I guess the first symptoms of the Corona Virus are the urge to buy toilet paper, drinking water and hand sanitizer.

Several pieces of information are not forthcoming, but can be gotten if you know where to look. Is there an increase in hospital bed occupancy? If you are going to be tested for the virus, can the test detect that you all ready had it and are no longer infected or does it just test if the virus nailed you. The big difference here is a guilt trip on a positive test after you have had it and want to return to work. Can you return to work? Imagine getting a phone call saying you are infected. What is the health worker going to tell you? “If you hurry home you might have enough time to say goodbye to the wife.”

With any disease, there is a term called “herd immunity” With measles the herd immunity rate for immunization has to be 90 to 95%; at that point it doesn’t spread. That means you either had the disease or got a shot for it. The herd immunity rate for Corona could be a lot lower, we do not know the communicability rate on it yet. It could be low and not high like measles. Any way you look at it, herd immunity is at zero. So, until there is a vaccine, we are at the mercy of the virus.

I believe that the first indications of problem in China was the increase in hospital beds occupied. That would have alerted the government to the problem. From there, we have been accusing China of covering up the problem. I don’t think that they knew what hit them. It probably took them 8 weeks to figure out what was happening. It appears to have started in the city of Wuhan China in November of 2019. The city has a population of 11 million. I don’t think that test kits for the virus were available in any form at that time. What we can probably deduce is that they now have some measuring system to evaluate the virus.

We don’t know how virulent the virus is. Without knowing the TOTAL number of people infected, we have no idea how deadly it is. So far, we know the number dead. We don’t know the total number infected. Testing will give us that number, but you have to realize, that testing does not cure the disease. It just tells everyone else that this person has\had the disease. From a personal point of view, that isn’t a good thing for the person who tested positive. Right now, there are people that tested positive and are still quarantined because they still test positive after 38 days.

Most people for the next 3 weeks, are avoiding all contact with sports, rallies etc. The virus will wait, and attack again. Admittedly it will lessen the numbers hitting the ER—we have lengthened the time for the virus to act.

The question does arise, are we running amok with fear without reason? Influenza kills 20,000 people in the US every year and we do not have even 80 deaths for Corona Virus in the US this year. As mentioned in my last article, we have 7,700 people dying in this country every day normally. Just like we have 9,000 births a day. 80 people over how many days have died from corona virus?

We have a problem here, but it is not from the virus, it is from the perspective of what people consider normal. They are panicking needlessly. This virus is attacking the elderly. The vector that spreads it is the young. We need to isolate the old from the general population.

I am in the at risk group most likely to die from it. I can see how the vector (infected person) could infect me. It distresses me but the overall panic is very disturbing. The stores are running out of drinking water and toilet paper for no real reason. I can only come to one conclusion; the media has turned the majority of people in this country into mindless idiots. The perceived threat is, that some horrendous disease that is going to kill everyone. The Boogeyman that was under my bed as a child was very real to me. This group fear complex is getting out of hand. People will die, but it is not every 10th person in line. 320 million people in this country and they figure it might contribute 30,000 deaths in a year. Remember 7,700 people in the US die every DAY.

This panic will end, after the news media finds something better to hype.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Corona Virus, Panic the World With Insignificance

Here is a little something from a CDC report from 2018. Link:

Let’s go a bit further, divided the total deaths in 2017 (2,813,503) by 365 and we get 7,708 people die a day in this country. And here we are, the US and the world is in a panic over the Crona Virus. The newscasters claim it will kill 18,000 people in the US this year. That's an extra 50 people per day.

40,000 die in auto accidents and 60,000 die in drug overdoses in this country every year. I had no idea that 7,700 people died every day in this country.

Let me see, 8 deaths, on a cruise ship from Corona Virus. And they quarantined 3,500 people. Consider the age of the passengers, I would expect a death now and then.

The news services are a joke; trying to panic the populace before an election. Real perspectives here have been grossly distorted. Chicken Little is alive and well.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Money and interest a pipe dream

Once upon a time:---- It used to be that people saved money because they were rewarded with interest. You surrendered your right to immediate gratification for the same right in the future for a fee, called interest. The person that borrowed the money, was charged interest and that rate was determined by the risk that the borrower might not be able to pay the loan back.

The interest that banks pay has dropped to about 1%, while their loans are being offered at 3.2% interest. Right now, the banks of the world are discussing negative interest rates on savings. Have they gone mad? This is an exercise in absurdity. At this point, free money loans will be free until the banks run out of money to loan.
Interest rates are a function of risk. It appears that there is no market risk. Or there is an unlimited amount of money to loan. And of course, everyone will pay back their loans. This is what an opium smoker would call a pipe dream.

"Once upon a time" was a place in time where things were real. We need to realize that today, things are not real, something is severely wrong. There is no penalty for failure. Go Figure.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Coming New Year Boom Economy

Our economy is now taking off. Here is the logic. Remember back to WWII, the rest of the world was destroyed and the US supplied the product that everyone needed. Filling the orders from the rest of the world in 1946, created full employment for the U.S.

This time around, we have told the rest of the world to take a hike, we don’t need them to produce our products. We will produce it ourselves. This demand for product previously produced overseas is stimulating our economy while putting the skids on everyone else’s economy.

It was cheaper to produce products in the third world, but the middlemen costs were beginning to take too big of a slice of the pie. The evaded tax consequences of offshore production were a big loss for our government.

In the past, the American manufacturer went to China and made shirts for a dollar apiece. He then sold them to a wholesaler, who happened to be his wife. The wife sells them to an importer at $15 apiece and the shirts hit the shelves at $35. The only American making money is the “Manufacturer.” $14 a shirt tax free. It is still going to cost about $12 a shirt to make them in the US. Most of it going to labor and production costs. In this case the return for the manufacturer (one person) is a lot less, but the benefits of onshore production stimulate our economy and create jobs.

Notice that this production out of country was considered “Globalism.” It literally wiped out industry in the United States. We could not compete on a labor or regulation basis. Their quality was good as was the price. Right now, heavy industry is returning. We still have a long way to go, much of the consumer goods manufacturing is still offshore.

So, for the coming new year what do we have? Some things will do better, I see unemployment down for the year. Manufacturing should go up. I can’t do much for predicting the stock market, I was never any good at reading chicken entrails. At McDonalds, you may have to push the start button to get your Big Mac. (I wish they would go back to their old coffee instead of trying to copy Starbucks. And while we are at it, give us the old French fries with animal fat—they were so delicious).

I think there will be some blowback on environmentalists. The low flush toilet has to go, as well as the restricted flow shower head. The government needs to get out of our lives. If they want to tell someone what to do, let it be the homeless. Taxpayers have a right to expect better government services than the deadbeats who pay no taxes.

I can stop stockpiling the old incandescent light bulbs, Government regulations have been dropped, so companies can keep making them now. I used one of the new ones over the kitchen table and the food looked absolutely horrible. I think we can expect many more government regulations to fall by the wayside.

Here's hoping everyone had a Merry Christmas (ie the kids got what they wanted for Christmas). Here's hoping that everyone reading has a Happy New Year.