Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Press Conference

What did I hear tonight...that if you don't pass my budget now we are in dire circumstances...sounds all too familiar...if you don't pass the stimulus quickly the economy will crumble. The Dodd amendment is a perfect example of how/why Congress is not supposed to function rapidly. When Congress is artificially forced to "cram," even more wasteful spending results.

Dear Congress, please take your time before you spend my tax money. (The only way I do not go insane is that I envision that all my money is going to battle cattle methane production...a real way to get rid of greenhouse gases, not car emissions). I take my time before I spend money...I research the best value etc...What has every personal financial consultant since the beginning of time said is the best way to avoid debt that leads to bankruptcy, DON'T SPEND WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE AND AVOID COMPULSIVE PURCHASES!

On health care:
Before I can form an opinion I need more information on the source of the rising health care costs. If anyone knows please fill me in.
1. Are costs going up because the level of care is going up? Could I get the same "level" of care I did 10 years ago for the same price. E.g. 10 years ago when you daughter got stitches b/c of a cut on her face, she didn't also get an MRI to ensure there was no brain swelling. The technology and drugs available today are incredible...and guess what we expect everyone to get the latest care...it is not cheap to write the software, mine the titanium and pay upkeep on complex pieces of equipment.
2. Are costs going up b/c of increased litigation? Malpractice insurance costs increases are only a small piece of overall affect on costs...why do you think my daughter got the MRI, makes the doctors case stronger if there was litigation.
3. Are costs going up b/c we are offering care to more people? Anyone, Anyone can go to an emergency room and will not be turned down. Has anyone thought about that means non-taxpayers? So the costs of that expensive care for non-payers is spread to those who can pay. Guess what it is the way the free market economy "spreads the wealth." The market raises the price on those who can pay to pay for those who can't.
4. Are HMO and health care employees getting rich? Do they make more relative to what similar skill and position used to make?

I will be first to tell you that the system we have is bad. It is one where private individuals are forced to pay sticker price b/c they do not know the ins and outs and HMOs use their power to negotiate a fair market value. The health care system much like airlines works on a system of yield management. Health care is perishable in the sense that opportunity must meet with circumstance and health care management knows they must squeeze every drop they can to make ends meet. The system does need overhaul, BUT WE NEED TO STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT LOOKS LIKE CANADIAN SYSTEM AND/OR THE VETERANS/MILITARY SYSTEM! The rules focused approach concentrates on the system and not the patient...I know, I have gotten the t-shirt.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Is this what we've come to?

White House to China: No Safer Investment Than U.S. AP
Friday, March 13, 2009
powered by Baynote
The White House says there is no safer investment in the world than in the United States. Press secretary Robert Gibbs was responding to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's comments Friday that he is concerned about the safety of his country's investments in the U.S. China is Washington's biggest foreign creditor, with an estimated $1 trillion in U.S. government debt. And Washington is counting on the Chinese to help pay for President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package by buying U.S. bonds. Gibbs says the Chinese should rest assured because investments in the U.S. are the safest in the world. Gibbs also says Congress can help by passing Obama's budget for next year, which promises to halve the deficit by 2012.

Who thinks this is a good idea? Is it just me or is this sad? We are begging China to loan us money and having to convince them we are good for it. Bernie Maddoff also promised his investments were the safest in the world. If you have to say it maybe there is reason to question it?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Things that matter

I continue to be impressed with our new President's ability to give a speech. It is awe inspiring to listen to his perfect cadence and impeccable vocabulary. What is not awe inspiring are his policies. If someone really cares about solving problems and improving life for everyone why in the world would they ever cut tax benefits for charitable giving...ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Private charities time and time again are proven more effective than federal government at solving problems. NGOs have way more impact at a fraction of the cost...mostly b/c they have to fight and scrap for every dollar. They depend on volunteers. People are there b/c they want to be feeding the homeless or providing health care for children, not b/c they are government employees in Health and Human Services on assignment...don't get me wrong, most folks in Health and Human Services are there b/c they care, but not b/c it is their mission in life. The typical NGO is comprised of folks with a very specific passion for their focus. Bottom-line is that they get the job done better than big government.

Then why cut their funding? Why take good money from the local level and move it to a national level? It is about power. Whoever controls how the money is spent decides direction and priority. NGOs are about solving specific problems and government has problems with that b/c they do not get to control the money. What strikes me as odd about this control grab is the lack of rationale and justification behind it. Most of the time when government looks to take control it uses fear and sugar. Fear like wire tapping b/c the terrorist are coming or sign my bill before you're in a soup line. Sugar like vote for me and I'll get more projects for our district. It is amazing how much control we will turn over for fear and sugar...back to my original thought:

It should not surprise me that the new president does not believe in charity. The chart below is a perfect example...despite being in the top 5% of wage earners in his years prior to his 7 figure books deals the president gave half the national average. Does he really care? Why didn't he put his money where his mouth is? Or is it just easier to care with other people's money? I could let this go until he hurt what I think is a real solution to real problems. People helping people. The role of government is to encourage this b/c it is best for the nation as a whole. Allowing people to place money in the hands of NGOs and not government is a good thing.