Friday, November 28, 2014

Numbnuts Our Emperor

Six years ago the President had full control of the Congress and passed Obamacare and never got around to the immigration issue.

We got affordable healthcare for everyone, so I am told. You go down and sign up and pay your premiums and you have health care for you and your family. How’s it work? Not sure. Would you stand in line for a free hotdog and a coke or would you stand in line to pay $10 for the same hot dog and coke? We can deduce that there are two lines, and the free line is the long one.

The passing of Obamacare, was done in Congress with the idea that Obama did not need Republican support to get it passed. It was done in a manner that was like sticking a branch into a wasps nest. He knew before the fact, that there would be harsh consequences. Afterwards, nothing constructive has come out of Congress. Then Obama got reelected and things deteriorated even further. Now as the chief executive in charge of enforcing the laws, he has chosen how to enforce them and I might add rather selectively

The newest executive order is his attempt to fix the illegal alien problem in the US. He wants to help these hard working people that snuck into our country with the right to stay here legally. Our hospitals and schools are flooded with illegals and their kids. Their kids get a better life at the expense of our kids who learn how to be tough enough to keep what’s theirs. There is no additional money allocated by Congress to support this influx of refugees.

Our institutions have fixed budgets that cannot accommodate the extra people. It’s a little like the VA hospitals. The budget was drawn up during peace time and was expected to keep up with a war time casualty rate with no additional funding. The indignation of the Congress and the President over the treatment of our veterans by the VA was laughable. It reminds me of Claude Rains in the movie Casablanca, the cop was given his winnings when he walks into the casino, and remarks “I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” The average citizen has no concept of how the VA or any organization gets their funding. Each organization submits a budget a year or two in advance and it either gets approved or sliced down a bit. The average time to get a street light installed on a heavily traveled intersection takes about 5 years; and 4 of that are to get the funds to pay for it.

Numbnuts has poisoned the well with his latest executive order, weeks before the newly elected Congress has been installed in office. My only question is why? The Republicans are not hard asses, I believe they were ready to formulate an immigration bill that wouldn’t have given away the store. Even if they weren’t, this sets the tone that their vote one way or the other wouldn’t matter. This, “My way or the highway” looks like the country may be facing another government shutdown.

Will this executive order on immigration be received with great celebration? Step up, sign in and be deported when the next president gets elected. Survival has more to do with being invisible with the forces at hand. Why bother to register? They already get free medical, schooling for their kids and don’t have to pay taxes. Who's supposed to to deport them if Obama won't?

What needs to be understood, is that usually a law has a penalty to punish violators. The penalty is the deterrent. We have removed the penalty for illegal immigration. I wonder, do you get bus fare to anywhere in the USA after crossing the border now; “I have a wife and kids in Bangor Maine.” If you're a border guard, what are your new duties?-- voter registration, border-greeter and maybe bus ticket agent? If there is no penalty for violating a law, what justifies its existence? HMMMMM

IMHO the President needs some comeuppance. We are not ready for his arrogant way to selectively enforce the laws of the land. Congress has not been offered a real choice of what to do unless they agree with his plan. Somebody said it well, the other day, “How can he expect to have an agreement on nuclear arms with Iran when he can’t even get an immigration bill out of the Congress?” His arrogance has turned many in Congress against him. His condescending lectures of what is wrong with America sets the wrong tone. No amount of his jawboning will push the economy into prosperity. Congress still holds the purse strings. Come January, he’s going to know what it’s like to be in line, in Wal-Mart with a full cart and a food stamp card, with zero dollars on it. And we know damn well, there is no Humble Pie in his shopping cart. Could be the fight of the Century--the economy country will be the sure loser.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Government Subsidized Health Care Costs Vs Health Insurance

Many people interviewed on TV talk about the fact that they cannot afford their health insurance. What needs to be realized, is that these people are beyond health insurance, they can’t afford to pay for treatments they already need. Insurance is a concept of paying in small amounts for services you will need later and be able to pay for them fully over time.

Obamacare works if everyone is taxed for health care and pays into the system. The trouble is, that is not the way it is functioning. If you make no money as far as the Federal government is concerned, you avoid the tax all together. If your income changes, your health insurance costs change. Most people between the ages of 18 and 40 really don’t need health insurance (i.e. the most they would normally pay for health care treatment, is probably half of what their health insurance premiums would be). Figure average premium at about $300 per month extended out for about $3,600. Women look at this a tad different with child delivery. Why should a baby delivery cost 10K? -- ask a lawyer.

With Obamacare, many people presently cannot pay their medical bills and maintain their accustomed standard of living. These people want the program. Then there are those that have a pretty good idea that they need insurance, those over the age of 50 to the age of 65. Then we have those covered by an employer work sponsored program, where the employee pays part the employer pays the rest. In reality, the employee pays it all. What we have in the middle are a lot of people in the 18 to 50 age group that have no insurance at all or are employer insured. They really won't consume health care services, they are healthy.

Most people don’t buy car insurance because they need it, they buy it as a condition of the bank loan that they have made with their lender. Many buy it to comply with the law, but in some areas of Los Angles, half the people are driving without insurance. I’ve driven 30 years without an accident until last year and it was only a $1,500 fender bender that wasn’t even my fault. Over that same time, I spent probably close to $25,000 in auto insurance. On the other hand, I knew a person who had no auto insurance that had her car stolen, $12,000 went poof. If that’s all that happens to her in 30 years, she’ll be $13,000 ahead of me in the amount paid out.

The new health insurance is invisible to the 18 to 50 crowd. There are people in this group that are always cited by Obama as examples of those who need health insurance, like kids and single mom's. Give it a moment of thought, this group of people already know the cost of what they need and it falls outside of the realm of what they can afford or want to pay. Obama’s health insurance goes a long way to cover it by forcing the healthy to contribute to a plan they really do not need. The trouble is, the healthy are not waiting in line to sign up for it especially when the deductible is about $5,000.

The number of new cash paying customers that have opted to enroll in plan is the real issue. Did the numbers go up? I think not. There is still a tremendous number of people not enrolled in Obamacare. Open enrollment is for the people who have gotten really sick after the last open enrollment closed.

If you are young, without insurance, Urgent Care is where you go, show them a credit card and you might wait 15 minutes. Plus you know the total cost right then and there.

I'm sure that after winning a Nobel peace prize Obama believes that only he, knows what's best for our country, kind of makes you wonder who is in charge of those awards. Another Nobel prize winner was the doctor that perfected the ice pick lobotomy---I'd imagine that's the quickest way to turn a Republican into a Democrat, short of taxing them to death, and it's probably a covered procedure under Obamacare. Has anyone asked how much the "free" part of Obamacare is costing? Of course not, the government is paying for it- whoever that is.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Big Squeeze

The government is telling us we are on the road to recovery. Rolls of toilet paper are now one inch narrower, the half-gallon of ice cream is now 56 ounces but the container takes up just as much space. If you have an inside seat on an airline, the people in the other two seats have to get up and out of their seats for you to use the rest room—the concept of personal space is not even considered when calculating the seating capacity of an airline. Forget the bathroom if the drink cart is rolling.

You’d think that the government couldn’t fiddle with a gallon of gas, but they have. They have added alcohol to it and make you pay more for it and you get less miles per gallon. Buy and electric car, electricity is free (or so its implied). Try heating a home with electricity if you want a heating bill you'll never forget.

Out on the West coast here, we are in a drought and the 100 year old water lines are bursting everywhere; replacing them might be a good start in fixing the problem, but no, we need a high speed rail system from LA to San Francisco. The irritating thing, as we consume less water, our rates go up. The utilities have fixed costs. Kind of makes you wonder if everyone got solar panels, do you get a free ride on the infrastructure? It’s a little like paving your driveway to the street and expecting to use the highways for free.

Obama announces a new leaf to be turned over at the VA. He mentioned that they need to hire 28,000 medical people in the next two years to fill the gaps to better serve our veterans. If you understand government funding, their budget for next year is set in stone, the money is there for what was proposed before the discovery of shortcomings. The money may never be there to hire the 28,000. From my own experience 45 years ago, I got out of the Army in 1968 and was told I had a year to go to a dentist and get any dental work I needed done. 10 months later I showed up for a dental appointment and was examined at the VA hospital in Syracuse NY. I was told any work I needed done, wasn’t covered because it happened after I was discharged. I asked for a petition to contest their decision. What makes that incident specifically embedded in my mind, was that they found one form, and it was under the break room coffee pot. I filled it out coffee stain and all. The VA’s return letter advised me to pick a dentist and they would pay the bill.

What the reader does not realize is the 6 percent rule is in play. Out of 100 people only 6 will complain. To show you how it works, take photo processing 20 years ago. It cost $1,000 in chemicals to process 1,000 rolls of film. If instead of throwing the chemicals out and using new chemicals for the next 1,000 rolls, they used the same chemicals for the second thousand, cutting their costs in half. Only about 6 percent of the second thousand demanded reprints because of bad quality (and you thought you took bad pictures).

The President and Congress can get up and investigate and brow beat any part of the government organization. Notice that neither one of them has a wheel barrow full of money ready to address or solve any of the issues. Funding can take from two to five years. And if you need 28,000 people, guess what you get, 5,000. So is the VA problem going away?-- not really, unless you consider downsizing the military considerably, and that is already underway—a short hop for many from Afghanistan to the unemployment line.

Obama points to the fear of deflation, when in fact we have had inflation. Our organization has been told to cut our budget by 20 percent. Just think, if we had had 20 percent deflation, we might not have had to cut our budget and let so many employees go. The choice for a government organization trying to meet a budget, is to reduce employees. The choice for business in the private sector, is to downsize, increase productivity and then do layoffs. If you have a job, you want to keep it at all costs. Good workers are now losing their jobs through no fault of their own. Normally when you quit, you give two weeks’ notice and get a little fare well party that no one wants to go to. Forget the party, you last work day could be sooner than you ever imagined.

America is downsizing and the government has no clue that they caused it. The squeeze is on. Every home in our neighborhood has three cars in the driveway and a three car garage that is packed to the top with whatever. There were so many cars parked along our street this year that they had to put up signs designating Thursday’s as street sweeping day in order to clear it to clean it. And that almost sounds like the start of a Paul Bunyan yarn.

Of course I digress, but examine what you hear from Obama and the government. Their response to our problems is rather distant; it’s kind of like Obama ordering ready-mix concrete in Los Angeles for Washington DC delivery, you’ll get the product—it’s just not in the form you had in mind. If everything is as great as it was in 2006, would it be necessary to remind everyone that things are going just great today?

Yesterday, I went down to PEP Boys to redeem a $15 dollar gift card and decided to buy a case of motor oil. To my surprise, $15 won’t even buy 4 quarts. So I bought 4. I’m spending more and consuming less without a conscious effort to do so. When I was a young one, I could work one hour for two dollars and buy 4 packs of smokes and get a nickel back; a pack of smokes today is almost one hours wages.

Obama and the Democrats are going to save us from deflation, God bless them. My only question, "Is the cure worse than the disease?”