It’s 2014! How about that “Hope And Change” from Obama and his wonderful team? How is the Affordable Care Act treating you?
Just how amazing is this new law? Forbes is saying that individual premium rates will increase by almost 100%.
In Tennessee the rates appear to be going up even more than that.
In Alabama many residents are receiving notices that their insurance premiums will soon double.
Here’s a descriptive excerpt about how a single mother of 4 is being affected in the Alabama story:
Stay-at-home mother of four, Courtney Long, was shocked when she received a notice from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama stating that come January her family’s individual health insurance policy premium would increase from $352 per month to $796.
“It’s devastating. I started crying,” said Long. “I mean, we have worked so hard to get out of credit card debt, get ahead on the car loan, transfer our mortgage to a 15 from a 30 year mortgage… and for what?”
Long’s story is not unique. Many have received this same letter – alerting them their premiums were set to double (anywhere from $290/mo-$599/mo up to $603/mo-$1060/mo). That’s quite a jump! So, the “Affordable Care Act” is affordable for whom?
I am interested in hearing from people both for and against the Affordable Care Act.
Charles Krauthammer says that Obamacare is a massive transfer of wealth from the Young to the Old in our nation. Here’s why.
Let me know — how is the Affordable Care Act affecting you?
I can only imagine how bad it is in Egypt. I certainly don’t claim to understand the situation on the ground. Widespread unemployment and poverty. What jobs do come up are handed to family members of those in power. People are closed out of their economic society and their economic future. And they are sick of it. Enough that they protest, march, take to the streets, blog, and do everything that they can — risking being shut down, beaten up, tear-gassed, shot, raped, imprisoned, and killed.
I can’t say what I would do if I lived in a similar situation, but I bet I would be protesting too.
I just hope that with all the talk of forcing Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, there are concrete ideas of what will replace the outgoing regime. I have read about groups taking advantage of the unrest to go around to the prisons and break out militants that were imprisoned. Citizens are banding together to protect themselves in the wake of organized police or military control. The National Democratic Party needs to be removed, but is there a plan for what will take its place?
There are many in America that are urging President Obama to seize this chance and oust Mubarak but it’s not that simple. Sometimes the resultant regime is not much better than the one it is replacing. It may buy you a decade or so, but that is not a long term solution.
I would like the US to understand the concrete plans and proposed solutions from groups like the April 6th Youth Movement and Mohammed ElBaradei’s team before we just throw our weight behind Whoever-Is-Next.
Just because this is the “start of a new era that cannot be reversed”, where are the checks and balances that give this new era a greater chance of survival and greater chance of freedoms for the Egyptian people?
From our friends at xtranormal. Definitely one of the best videos I have seen in a long long time.
Please post your thoughts or other links on the topic. After you quit laughing of course.
Sometimes I like to read commentary by foreign press about American issues. We’re at a point where all media has an axe to grind, and it’s sometimes nice to get an outside view.
This is an interesting article by Britain’s Daily Telegraph which says that America’s armed forces are at a breaking point.
The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are going on longer than anyone thought they would, and we are trying to do it with fewer numbers. Our armed forces for the Vietnam war was 3 times what our numbers are today even though our population has increased 60% since that war.
We witnessed second hand that the troop surge in Bush’s final months did wonders for the war in Iraq. For whatever reason, the US is now getting ready for an even greater reduction in Armed Forces than when Clinton was in office in the 1990’s.
Military personnel are being required to take multiple tours of duty.
Military divorces are way up, as are cases of mental illness and disorders for our soldiers.
Soldiers are opting out of renewing at astounding rates, making those that stay in — even the worst performing soldiers — able to be promoted to leadership positions.
Suicides involving military personnel are way up.
National Defense is a serious issue that needs to be part of the next election process. Take a minute to read this article about more poor decisions by the Obama White House on our national security. Why make this a partisan issue? Isn’t this the President that sold America on his ability and willingness to not play party politics? Why is Obama willing to risk our nation’s security over partisan politics?
It’s the ECONOMY, Stupid!
Barack Obama’s White House has decided to back a Keynesian economic policy of “let’s get big government dollars to spend our way out of this economic crisis.”
Is it working? Absolutely Not.
Has Obama effectively lined his supporter’s pocket’s in the process? Absolutely.
When US Automaker General Motors was in financial trouble, the US Government effectively took GM over. As the US Gov’t reworked the company, it ditched the banks and creditors of GM, and transferred huge amounts of the “New GM Ownership” to Unions and other Obama supporters. It’s almost like when a new King started in England, and he decided to take enormous tracts of land from people he didn’t like, and bequeath enormous wealth to his new supporters. Basically it’s robbery, but legalized!
In the Federal Reserve minutes from their meeting last month, there were some very important words hidden near the back, in the small print: The Fed doesn’t think that the US Economy will recover for 5 to 6 years.
In other words, far from winding down the Great Recession and talking about the new Economic Gains that Obama has been touting this week, this shows that in the global economic crisis, the US is now becoming the problem.
The new Fed Reserve minutes show a complete change in policy, demonstrating how fast the recovery has lost steam. International Monetary Research says that the US authorities have “botched the policy response.” Oh really?
- New home sales at 300,000 in May, lowest since records began in 1963
- Outbound exports from Long Beach (major SoCal shipping port) dropped from 139,000 in May to 116,000 in June.
- Philadelphia’s new manufacturing orders index plunged to -4.3 in early July
So what will Barack Obama and his team of Economic Advisers do? According to Gabriel Stein of Lombard Street Research, they are “throwing in the towel.” Washington wants to start another round of government spending again — raising the debt level from $2.4 trillion, to a whopping $5 trillion.
Sound HOPEful and CHANGEful to you? Me either.
We need to get government deficit spending to stop before the dollar becomes totally worthless. Out of all the dollars ever created in the 234 years of USA’s history, over half has been created in the last 3 years.
We need to get the US Government out of the business of spending money on stimulus programs and bailouts. We have spent billions of dollars, and it hasn’t brought the economy out of the recession. Now we want to do it again?
The US Government needs to stop the bleeding. Reduce entitlement payments immediately. Reduce the size of the behemoth that has become our Federal Government, creating Czars of This and Czars of That, each with mandatory staff and spending budgets. We need to get out of the business of saving failing banks and businesses. Let the AIG’s of the world fail. Stop the bailout spending spree. And reduce the US Federal Income Tax.
The more money is in the hands of the individual consumers, the better. What, we won’t be able to afford all of the government programs? It’s okay. The individual cities and communities will pick up the slack, feeding the poor, helping them back onto their feet.
It’s what Americans do.
One evidence of a Ruling Class taking over a country is when the rulers go against the wishes of the people who have elected them.
Roughly 90% of Americans rejected the $700,000,000,000.00 ($700B) TARP bailout plan, but the Ruling Class pushed it through anyway.
We rejected the $40B bailout of AIG and trading partner Goldman Sachs – which subsequently grew to a $180B bailout – but the Ruling Class hid what they were doing and illegally used taxpayer monies to perform the bailout anyway. (The guy in charge of this one? Current Treasury Secretary Geithner. Nice.)
We the people also rejected a government take over of GM and Chrysler, but the Ruling Class went ahead and used billions of our dollars to do it anyway, paying preferred creditors pennies on the dollar, and transferred huge proportions of the newly formed companies into the hands of the United Auto Workers union. Yet another Chicago-style cronyism move by the current administration.
If this isn’t going against the will of the people, I don’t know what is. This is government taking power into its own hands and doing what it wants against the will of the people, making huge transfers of wealth and often – like Geithner – feathering his own bed in the process. I don’t know what you call this type of government, but it is not a democratic republic.
Can the US Government actually run a program without bankrupting it?
- Social Security ($17,500,000,000,000.00 underfunded; $17.5 trillion);
- Medicare Part A ($36,700,000,000,000.00 underfunded; $36.7 trillion);
- Medicare Part B ($37,000,000,000,000.00 underfunded; $37 trillion);
- Medicare Part D ($15,600,000,000,000 underfunded; $15.6 trillion),
- Government and military pensions ($2,000,000,000,000 underfunded; $2 trillion)
And we are going to let this same Government run Healthcare? Even the Office of Management and Budget is reporting that the United States government will experience massive, non-stop deficits for the next 70 (SEVENTY) years, requiring the issuance of tens of trillions of dollars of additional debt. The OMB does not project even one year of surplus during the entire seventy year budget period. Link HERE. (And don’t even get me started that these budget numbers are already including $646 Billion in tax revenues from 2012 to 2019 from Cap & Trade, which hasn’t even been passed yet!) Has your elected official talked to you about that? You don’t have to answer.
What is our Government’s response? Print more dollars. The US government has announced that during the fiscal years from 2010 through 2019, it will create an additional $9,000,000,000,000.00 ($9 trillion) in deficits, an amount that is almost certain to be understated by trillions given the country’s current economic trajectory. The government assumes that this vast additional deficit will be funded by others, such as the Chinese, as it is a statistical fact that the United States will be incapable of funding it. Link HERE.
What does this mean to you and me? That our wealth (if we have any) is being destroyed. Create enough dollars and they won’t be worth anything. It’s a simple truth: too much of something makes it worthless. The more our government creates money to cover their RECORD SPENDING, the less valuable your salary is, the less valuable your savings are, etc. Our government is bankrupting us through this spending policy. I know we sometimes think the United States is a blessed country and more immune to these problems than other nations, but let’s not be naive enough to think that somehow supply and demand doesn’t apply here! And that the value of our dollars won’t be adversely affected by the Government printing trillions and trillions more of them!
What can we do? Make a plan to protect yourself and your family. Don’t hold your assets only in dollars. Diversify into other things (land, gold, etc.) Even the Wall Street Journal is saying it’s a good idea to stockpile food. Link HERE.
And let’s get these big spenders out of Washington. I’m not talking Democrats vs. Republicans. Vote people into the House of Representatives that will work to put an end to this spending. The House is the easiest access we have to the Federal Machine. Find people you can support that will work to stop this spending madness. It won’t be easy to stand up to the current machine that is playing party politics as hard as anyone has in recent memory, but we might as well try while our dollars are still worth something.
Honestly, though, I’m not sure what kind of difference we can make at the Federal level until there is a massive reset (huge depression, market collapse, currency devaluation or failure, etc.) but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. We can, however, make a difference at the local level. When our Federal government’s spending policies finally make it impossible to be the “be-all, end-all” throughout America — which it never should be trying to do — we will still need to make life work where we live. Getting involved at the local level will make a huge difference in how our communities adapt and move forward.
What are your thoughts? What are other ways we can prepare for the inevitable problems facing the dollar due to government monetary policy?
At its most basic level, government is a willing agreement entered into by a group of people to give up some individual liberty for the preservation of the group in general. Cicero called it a “partnership in justice.”
When we, as fellow humans, are in our most natural state, outside of societies and the reach of governments, no one person has rights or power over another. There are natural – or unalienable – rights that people have simply by being human. Some of these are the right to protect oneself, protection of property, right to life, right to liberty (not be enslaved), etc.
William Blackstone, British judge and author from the 1700’s said that the main purpose of human laws – the laws we create – is to maintain and protect these natural born rights. He called them “absolute rights.”
When people create a community or society, they enter into an agreement where certain liberties are willingly given up in exchange for things like safety, security, and order. For example, I have consented to be governed by the laws of my city, state and nation, even though that means I can’t do everything I may want to do whenever I want to. I may not agree with every law, but by not rebelling, it proves my consent to be governed.
The laws that we create to maintain order are secondary to our absolute rights. One of these absolute rights is the right of self-government. No one individual has the right to govern another person unless this person has willingly consented.
The United States of America has a republican form of government, not a democracy. Republican government means that we choose representatives from among ourselves to represent our desires and wishes within the government structure. As James Burgh, a British contemporary of the American founders wrote, we the people are the political body that retains the power to rule. Choosing representatives does not mean we have chosen rulers over us. He states,
“We have not so delegated the power to you, as to make you the governors of us and our estates. You are in truth but our procurators to speak for us in the great council. That of right we ought to have access to those, whom we have thus chosen, and to the house, as there shall be cause to impart our desires to you, and you ought not to refuse us. That by involving our votes in yours, we had no purpose to make you perpetual dictators.”
I am surprised that the United States of America has a constitution without term limits for its congressional representatives. This needs to change. The ability to be a lifetime legislator has led to the creation of a ruling class separate from other citizens. Members of this class have their own elite healthcare system as well as guaranteed salaries for the rest of their lives, paid for by public taxes. Being a legislator term after term opens the door to numerous opportunities to grant political favors in return for financial benefits that have enriched our congressional reps well beyond the norms of society.
Since before the ink was dry on the original Constitution, we have been warned of the necessity of term limits. Why? Keep reading and find out.
The Duke of Buckingham gets credit for this famous quote stating the need for elected representatives to return to private life:
“They do not now think they are an assembly of men, that are to return to their own homes, and become private men again (as by the laws of the land and constitution…they ought to be) but look upon themselves as a standing senate, as men picked out to be legislators for the rest of their lives.”
Thomas Jefferson also spoke out as an advocate for representatives to be involved for a short time in the government, and then to return to private life. Jefferson said it would help representatives sympathize with the people. Without limits on the representatives’ time in government, they would lose this sensibility and their behavior would be quite different owing to their perceived independence. He stated:
“My reason for fixing them in office for a term of years rather than for life, was that they might have in idea that they were at a certain period to return into the mass of the people and become the governed instead of the governors which might still keep alive that regard to the public good that otherwise they might perhaps be induced by their independence to forget.”
Aristotle, who studied many forms of government, warned against perpetual legislators in this manner:
“It is not easy for a person to do any great harm when his tenure of office is short, whereas long possession begets tyranny … for the aspirants to tyranny are either the principal men of the state…or those who hold great offices, and have a long tenure of them.”
Regarding our elected representatives, and their duty to conduct themselves according to the desires of their constituency, James Burgh wrote that:
“When we elect persons to represent us we must not be supposed to depart from the smallest right which we have deposited with them. We make a lodgment, not a gift; we entrust, but part with nothing. We have, therefore, a right to know what they are saying and doing. And should they contradict our sense, or swerve from our interests, we have a right to remonstrate, inform, and direct them. By which means, we become regulators of our own conduct, and the institutors of our own laws, and nothing material can be done but by our authority and consent.”
If representatives were to serve in the government for a term or two, and then return to be among the governed rather than a governor, they would be more inclined to pass laws that they are willing to live with as part of the citizenry.
Compare this with US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and her recent behavior regarding the healthcare bill before congress. Not only does the American public not know what is in this bill, according to her own publications she is deliberately trying to keep it this way. She is involved in hidden deals and spending millions of taxpayer monies to purchase votes in favor of the bill. This hidden legislation, back-room briberies, and strong-arm tactics are exactly the opposite of how the representative system of government is supposed to work.
The key is to understand and remember that we the people have an absolute right to self-government. We only give that right away when we do not remember it, or fail to use it. Our elected officials representing us in congress have a duty to vote our votes, inform us of the goings-on, and truly act as proxies of the American people they represent.
One way to do away with this ruling class is to pass term limits for congressional representatives. In addition, we need to be as vocal and vigilant as ever against politicians like Nancy Pelosi. The right to govern ourselves is an absolute and unalienable right that we have. When our elected representatives take power unto themselves like Pelosi is doing – hiding the contents of a bill from the public and doing back-room deals to pass legislation before publishing its contents – we need to exercise our rights and replace her. She and politicians like her are working toward the decline of the American way of representative government.
But we can fight back. We can get educated. We can familiarize ourselves with the documents regarding the founding of our great nation. We can attend any discussions on the Constitution or correct use of government in areas where we live. If there aren’t any, start one. Join social networking groups that discuss these topics online. When the grassroots ground swell is large enough, we need people to be educated on these topics and ready to make a difference in our country’s future.
2) Stand there and we’ll take a guess about just how far the market can crash. But we’re being told it is as bad/worse than 1929.
If you are standing on principles, the speed of the decision doesn’t matter as much.
I think the scenario sort-of makes one point: Government gets involved with “A” in mind (in this case the S&L loans or Financial Bailout.) First blush is positive. But as with most if not all government involvement, it gets hijacked, and turned into something not intended. Go back (choose the years) and we will see the examples. Income tax; FDR’s programs; Welfare; The Great Society programs; etc. etc. I don’t know them all.
My opinion? Given the above scenario, the President should choose 2, and let Lehman Brothers collapse. And he should have pressured the Fed to not get involved in helping bail them out. (Or maybe he didn’t know cuz it was secretive, but he could have found out, and fired the guy for doing it.) Also, allowing the Fed to facilitate JP Morgan Chase’s purchase of Bear Stearns for pennies on the dollar. Yes these banks should have failed. There’s no way that a banking system performing the kinds of stunts that they have been performing should have been bailed out with taxpayers money. You think laissez faire is adversely affected by uncertainty (absence of full information)? Absolutely it is. What about Keynesianism and other interventionist policies? Are they immune to the ails of uncertainty? Absolutely not. And the market forces will correct for any uncertainty a LOT quicker than a poor government policy that has become LAW and may take generations to overcome. We’re still paying for the ones from 60-70 years ago. In fact, the government injects it’s own uncertainty into the system, but more on that below.
We appear to have changed topics from Bush vs. the Constitution, and maybe for good reason after listening to Paul, Jeff and Deon’s points. One of the best conservative minds — possibly ever — was Edmund Burke. I bring him into the Constitution discussion because he advocated gradual change, but at the same time not destroying the pillars of freedom with our experimental Acts. I’m equating his mentioning of Experimental Acts of his time to the Patriot Acts of our time. Yes we have to change with the times as Burke says (e.g. we have to deal with terrorists), but according to him, it’s not worth destroying the pillars of liberty that we have built our society on in order to accomplish that change. If we do so, we are destroying the foundation upon which our nation is built.
In terms of the banking issues, absolutely let Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns fail. Don’t let the Fed get involved at all. The banks made bad business decisions. There is tons of evidence of corruption. Why inject loans into that? What is the economic principle that that decision is based on? In my opinion the decision was based on fear. Once again, we have a government trying — through their macro economic policies — to right the ship. “We can fix it. We can control the market forces.” And once again, the evidence is that they can’t. It might have stabilized some things for the time being, but anyone watching KNOWS with their gut that this glut of spending is going to have to be paid for at some point, and it’s going to be worse when it’s time to pay the piper. The Fear Move didn’t do anything but delay a market correction. Check out Karl Denninger if you’d like to read more.
AND, there are even some studies, like this one by the Stanford economist John Taylor, which purports to show (pdf) that the credit markets actually did not react all that badly to Lehman going under and that the crisis was really the product of market uncertainty about the effects of government action. So, the “market” reacted not all that badly to a market force of letting a bank go under, but the real market crisis started after the government decided to get involved to try to “control” the natural market forces? Add to this the fact that the bond market says it’s safer to lend to Warren Buffet than to Barak Obama, and I think we see what Keynesian fiscal policies bring to the table in terms of uncertainty.
See, now this makes sense to me.
At it’s most basic level, government is a willing agreement entered into by a group of people to give up some individual liberty for the preservation of the group in general. Cicero called it a “partnership in justice.”
For example, I have consented to be governed by the laws of my city, state and nation, even though that means I can’t do everything I may want to do whenever I want to. I may not agree with every law, but by not rebelling, it proves my tacit consent.
Naturally, then, in government leaders will emerge. We need to pick sheriffs, judges, mayors, presidents, legislators, etc. But does it really matter what kind of people they are? I think it does.
We have recently heard of all kinds of votes being “bought” in order to pass the healthcare bill. A Utah Congressman’s brother is getting appointed to a judgeship in exchange for the Congressman’s vote for Obamacare. The Hill newspaper reports on some of the goodies, including $300 million in extra funding for Sen. Landrieu’s home state of Louisiana, and millions in extra Medicaid dollars for Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson. The public doesn’t want the bill to pass, so the Dems have to make these hidden deals in order to get it passed. Outside of Obamacare, the New Jersey government has been caught in corrupt contract scandals, awarding contracts and taking a cut of the money. Many state and national politicians are caught in sexual scandals. Our government leaders have been convicted of embezzlement, lying, and tax-fraud; implicated in the disappearance of interns, campaign fraud, and abuse of intelligence to rationalize war; and unconscionable waste of taxpayers money – basically robbing us, the citizens. It’s more like reading about pirates plundering a nation than its leaders preserving it!
Polybius, a Greek from around 200BC, watched the downfall of his native Greece and the emergence of Rome as the dominating power of the era. He wrote many books on Rome’s emergence and its history. He compares Rome to other contemporary nation-states like Greece, Carthage, etc. He says in The Histories, volume III that
“But the quality in which he Roman commonwealth is most distinctly superior is in my opinion the nature of their religious convictions. The consequence is that among the Greeks, (where belief in religion was deemed foolish) apart from other things, members of the government, if they are entrusted with no more than a talent, (a piece of money) though they have 10 copyists and as many seals and twice as many witnesses, cannot keep their faith; whereas among the Romans those who as magistrates and legates are dealing with large sums of money maintain correct conduct just because they have pledged their faith by oath. Whereas elsewhere it is a rare thing to find a man who keeps his hands off public money, and whose record is clean in this respect, among the Romans one rarely comes across a man who has been detected in such conduct.”
Whether the moral code you adhere to comes from organized religion or not, Polybius makes clear that moral people — people who believe in and live in accordance to the natural principles of right vs. wrong; honesty is good, dishonesty is bad; fidelity and integrity are good; etc. — these are the people that make the best public servants and leaders in government.
A generation later, the Roman Cicero said that leaders that follow these moral codes are the only ones fit to govern.
Another generation or two later, approximately 160AD, Marcus Aurelius was Emperor of Rome. In his Meditations he lauds a moral character that works for the public interest in a manner that befits a ruler.
My point is that the morality question has very little to do with the Religious Right of the current political landscape. Oh sure they get their boxers in a bunch about it nowadays, just in time for the next one to fall from within their own ranks due to yet another “indiscretion.” We don’t need to look to these punters for direction, or assume when they fall that the belief in a moral code is incorrect. We have the writings and lessons of history before us. Some Roman guys from a long time ago set-up a mixed government system with an Executive Branch, a Senate, a legislative (popular assembly) body, and judges. Sound familiar? They were the world’s super power for centuries, and their system worked for over 500 years. America, by paltry comparison, is just above the 200+ years mark.
So it’s not like we haven’t been pointed the way.
James Burgh, involved in the creation of this great nation, wrote in 1774 that,
“When we elect persons to represent us we must not be supposed to depart from the smallest right which we have deposited with them. We make a lodgment, not a gift; we entrust, but part with nothing. We have, therefore, a right to know what they are saying and doing. And should they contradict our sense, or swerve from our interests, we have a right to remonstrate, inform, and direct them. By which means, we become the regulators of our own conduct, and the institutors of our own laws, and nothing material can be done but by our authority and consent.”
Compare this with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and her behavior around the healthcare bill. Not only does the American public not know what is in this bill, she is deliberately trying to keep it this way as it says on her own website. The hidden deals, millions of dollars for buying votes, and strong-arm tactics is exactly the opposite of how the representative system is supposed to work!
Pelosi and politicians like her are bad for America. Watch CNN say so HERE.
We need a way to get career politicians back into the real world – like thru term limits for Congress. And we need to be as vocal and vigilant as ever against her and politicians like her. The right to govern ourselves is a real and unalienable right that we have. When our elected representatives abuse it and take power unto themselves like Pelosi is doing – hiding the contents of a bill from the public and doing back room deals to get it put into law – we need to use our natural rights and get her and her cronies out of our government. She and politicians like her are working toward the decline of America. The history is before us.