Thursday, October 10, 2013

Has it been that long?

Well, I'm back. I know I've said that in the past . . . The disaster known as ACA (aka Obamacare, I refuse to call it that!) really will be an abomination. Three years to prepare a web site and they fail. Rampant stories of families' insurance skyrocketing abound. Wait until you run out of providers . . .

Friday, October 01, 2010

Need I Add a Comment?

Education Today

Since I send my children to private school, yet pay my local taxes, I still feel I have a voice in how the local public school district should conduct themselves. I have absolutely NO love for the Teachers Unions. They only care for the teachers and not for the students. My local school district is rate low on scholastic achievement and THE highest in weapons possession. This is why we've always had our children in parochial school. I may not be Catholic, but they teach a fine lesson!!

One of my daily sites is 'Q and O', a libertarian site. Bruce McQuain has an excellent post on education. There are some interesting graphs that just make you shake your head.

Here's the take-away paragraph from the post:
Japan spends about 5% of its GDP on education, pays its teachers the equivalent of $25,000 US, has average class sizes of 33 and graduates 93% of its students from their equivalent of high school. South Korea actually spends more of its GDP than does the US (7.35%), pays its teachers a little over $27,000 US, has huge average class sizes (almost 36) and has a graduation rate of 91.23%. The US’s stats are 7.38% GDP, average teacher’s salary of almost $36,000, average class size of 19 and a graduation rate at a dismal 77.53%.

Charts of the day – do we really need more teachers?
October 1st, 2010 | Author: Bruce McQuain

Apparently the president’s job initiative centers around hiring 10,000 more union teachers.

The reason given is we need to beef up our math and science achievement. And, as usual, the way to do that is to throw either more money or more teachers at the job.

What everyone ignores, however, is we’ve been doing both for years with no change. What’s the definition of insanity again?

So for an approximate 10% rise in enrollment, we’ve added 10 more public school employees for every student. And we’ve also seen the spending go through the proverbial roof as a result. The normal, everyday, tax paying citizen would most likely expect spectacular results if he or she invested the amount they were taxed in something of their choice. Instead, they end up screwed again:

Looking at those two charts, does anyone think the problem is related only to the money spent or the number of teachers?

Japan spends about 5% of its GDP on education, pays its teachers the equivalent of $25,000 US, has average class sizes of 33 and graduates 93% of its students from their equivalent of high school. South Korea actually spends more of its GDP than does the US (7.35%), pays its teachers a little over $27,000 US, has huge average class sizes (almost 36) and has a graduation rate of 91.23%. The US’s stats are 7.38% GDP, average teacher’s salary of almost $36,000, average class size of 19 and a graduation rate at a dismal 77.53%.

To most that would signal that something is wrong other than the number of teachers or what we’re spending. Somehow, however, that message seems never to get through to our political leaders who continually work under the premise that more money and more bodies is bound, at some point, to make it all better.

That thinking, In this case, given the word pictures the two charts paint, it is obviously wrong. When and how we can get that message across to both sides of the political spectrum remains to be seen. But if the left wants to invoke the “for the children” canard in an attempt to shame the right into capitulating for the usual remedies, maybe they can put these two charts in their pockets and make one up of the comparative spending and graduation rates and change not only the discussion, but the solution. My guess the new solution would take less people and less money. Wouldn’t the taxpayers love that?


I don't expect teachers to raise our children, that's the job of parents. Until we get parents to really care about their children's education we'll be hard pressed to hold teachers accountable for test scores.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Totten in Israel

Welcome back!! Oh wait, that's what you should say.... sorry, once again I've been delinquent in my blogging. But here's something from Michael Totten while he's currently in Israel. The vid is powerful and validates why I support Israel 100%.

Yoram Hazony wrote a fascinating essay about how many Europeans view Israel, and why so many of them find the country distasteful. A sovereign Jewish state that uses armed force to defend itself and advance its own interests is increasingly at odds with the pacifistic post-nationalism of Europe.

“If Germany and France have no right to exist as independent states,” he writes, “why should Israel? And if everyone is prepared to remain dry-eyed on the day the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are finally gone, why should anyone feel differently about Israel?”

He suggests that Israelis and Europeans learned the opposite lessons from Nazi Germany. Israelis learned that Jews can’t survive without a sovereign state and army of their own, while many Europeans think national sovereignty and military force are what lead to events like the Holocaust.

It may be useful, then, for Europeans and other Westerners who find Israel so exasperating to step outside their own paradigm and take a look at how Israel views itself. The following six-minute video is an excellent place to start. It’s not comprehensive, it avoids the tough questions, and the Palestinians have their own counter-narrative, but when Israel looks in the mirror, it sees this:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fox is Most Trusted in News!!

I think I just heard a collective "Wow!" across the nation! Who would have thought that Fox News would have such an honor of being the most trusted news organization in America, especially considering the polling source? Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning organization, conducted a phone poll of 1,151 registered voters and found that 49% of those polled 'trusted' Fox News compared to 37% of those who did not. CNN was next with 39% trusting vs. 41% who did not trust them. In fact, Fox was the ONLY news organization with more folks trusting than not trusting!! Amazing!

Needless to say, the results are drawn starkly along political and ethnic lines, but hopefully this will lay to waste the Obama Admin's ridiculous and juvenile argument that Fox News is NOT a 'real' news organization.

Here's the poll.


Monday, January 04, 2010

Mayo Clinic - Obama's Example of Health Care

Well, I knew it was too good to be true. Obama held up Mayo Clinic as the example of how health care was to be managed. Unfortunately, Mayo never reciprocated that same love.

Now comes news that Mayo will be discontinuing Medicare service to some of their Arizona patients due to low reimbursements from Medicare.
Obama in June cited the nonprofit Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for offering “the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm.” Mayo’s move to drop Medicare patients may be copied by family doctors, some of whom have stopped accepting new patients from the program, said Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, in a telephone interview yesterday.

“Many physicians have said, ‘I simply cannot afford to keep taking care of Medicare patients,’” said Heim, a family doctor who practices in Laurinburg, North Carolina. “If you truly know your business costs and you are losing money, it doesn’t make sense to do more of it.”

This is what to expect with the new Obamacare. With the Govt paying low-ball prices, you can expect providers to opt out of the program (if they're allowed!!)
The Mayo organization had 3,700 staff physicians and scientists and treated 526,000 patients in 2008. It lost $840 million last year on Medicare, the government’s health program for the disabled and those 65 and older, Mayo spokeswoman Lynn Closway said.

Mayo’s hospital and four clinics in Arizona, including the Glendale facility, lost $120 million on Medicare patients last year, Yardley said. The program’s payments cover about 50 percent of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients at the Glendale clinic, he said.

“We firmly believe that Medicare needs to be reformed,” Yardley said in a Dec. 23 e-mail. “It has been true for many years that Medicare payments no longer reflect the increasing cost of providing services for patients.”

With the kerfuffle concerning 'Death Panels' by Sarah Palin, few recongize there are panels currently in place. When the money doesn't materialize as expected, there WILL have to be choices. While they may not really be 'Death Panels', you can expect a sharp decrease in quality care as the limited number of current providers either drop out of the Govt program or drop out of medicine all together.
Nationwide, doctors made about 20 percent less for treating Medicare patients than they did caring for privately insured patients in 2007, a payment gap that has remained stable during the last decade, according to a March report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, a panel that advises Congress on Medicare issues. Congress last week postponed for two months a 21.5 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements for doctors.

Medicare covered an estimated 45 million Americans at the end of 2008, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency in charge of the programs. While 92 percent of U.S. family doctors participate in Medicare, only 73 percent of those are accepting new patients under the program, said Heim of the national physicians’ group, citing surveys by the Leawood, Kansas-based organization.

Greater access to primary care is a goal of the broad overhaul supported by Obama that would provide health insurance to about 31 million more Americans. More family doctors are needed to help reduce medical costs by encouraging prevention and early treatment, Obama said in a June 15 speech to the American Medical Association meeting in Chicago.

This is only the beginning of the restructuring of health care in America. While we never liked our insurance carriers, at least we received the highest quality of care in the world. Obama and Congress really missed the opportunity for real reform. Transportability, pre-existing conditions, tort reform and anti-trust would have met most of America's expectations of Reform.

What we received instead was a Govt mandate to purchase insurance (from private corporations!) with massive cost increases via taxes on existing plans as well as taxes on services. Remember, never let a crisis go to waste...


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Tea Party Dilemma

What to do? What to do??? The masses forming the Tea Party movement are coming to a crossroads. Do they play hardball and try to form a new third party to take on the dinosaur parties or do they try to reform the Republican party from within?

If they try to form a new party, they run the risk of a massive failure ensuring the Democrats' consolidation of power. How much power do the Tea Party folks really weld? There's no denying a massive disconnect between the politicians and 'everyday' people. However, how this translates into action will depend on how pervasive the anger (yes, real anger) has percolated throughout the heartland. If they overreach and try to form a new political party without sustained support, it'll be doomed to failure. We already know they'll get no love (nor respect) from the Mainstream Media and without a modicum of support or fair reporting, then the 'non-informed masses' will vote as they always have (if they even bother to vote...).

If this happens, the Democrats will be the winners even in an expected down year and the momentum will have been lost. This will leave us as serfs to the politicians and lobbyists to pay of years of debt.

On the other hand, if the Tea Party tries to reform the Republican party from within, will this run the risk of alienating the hard core believers? Will it or can it truly reform such a corrupt monstrosity? With power and money entrenched, it'll be hard to replace or reform people so used to suckling at the teat of the taxpayer.

As a Libertarian, I've watched the two parties from afar for some time. With the Tea Party bringing a wild card to the table, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. We've already seen some Republicans trying to jump on the band wagon and hijack the movement.

Michael Munger, at, takes on this topic. He too is not sure how it will play out. But it will make for a good political bloodbath.

With the nation on the precipice of a massive debt collapse, I just wish the government would just rein in all the spending. We are leaving our children nothing but a mess...


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Obamacare - Loss of Freedom?

Jeffery Anderson, at National Review, has a thoughtful article on the impact of Obamacare will have on personal freedom.
Remember back in June, in President Obama’s major address to the AMA, when he said the following? “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise. . . . If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” In the six months since, there seems to have been a change.

Obamacare would require Americans to buy government-approved health insurance. It would make it illegal to offer choices in insurance plans beyond the handful of very similar ones that the government would allow. It would become illegal to offer new and innovative plans. Under any of the government-approved plans, it would become illegal to pay your doctor directly for more than a certain percentage of your care. Higher deductible, consumer-driven plans would be severely altered or eliminated. By law, a greater percentage of money would have to be paid in insurance premiums, rather than directly for care. Competition and choice would diminish tremendously. One-size-fits-all conformity would rule the day.

At its core, what Obamacare really means is a loss of freedom.

Obamacare would significantly diminish Americans' freedom to control the fruits of their own labors and to spend them as they choose and as they think best. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that American taxpayers would be on the hook for approximately $2.5 trillion for Obamacare in its real first ten years in operation (2014 to 2023) — about triple the false number of $871 billion that the Democrats are spreading. As the CBO conveys, $871 billion only covers the cost of insurance coverage expansions, which is only a portion of the bill. Furthermore, less than 2 percent of the costs for what the Democrats are calling the bill's "first-ten-year costs" would hit prior to the fifth year of that period. So the Democrats are really giving the six-year costs — for insurance coverage expansions alone — and calling them the ten-year costs for the whole bill. Either the Democrats know this and are being deliberately deceitful, or else they don't understand their own bill and are in over their heads even more than it appears

I don't know HOW the United States Government can legally mandate us to purchase PERSONAL health insurance from a PRIVATE corporation, but then I didn't think Eminent Domain could take PRIVATE property and give it to a corporation either. Are they going to whip out the old and tired Commerce clause in the constitution? This covers interstate transactions, but due to anti-trust status of the health care insurances, many are limited to intrastate commerce. If that's the case, the Commerce clause would not be applicable. However, what will happen is Obama will transfer $1.0 trillion from American taxpayer to the insurance companies... Talk about redistribution of wealth! Is this REALLY a surprise? How many people know that Obama more than doubled the contributions for McCain from the health care industry during the 2008 election? He received a record $389.4 million!!!!
The CBO also reports that, in its real first twelve years in operation (2014 to 2025), Obamacare would transfer $1.0 trillion from American taxpayers to private insurance companies. Ever wonder why insurers back Obamacare — even though they would no longer be free to control their own product-line? The answer is plain: Obamacare would mandate that Americans buy insurers' product. And to make that mandate more feasible, it would transfer a trillion dollars of Americans' earnings to insurers over a dozen years. That trillion dollars would be funneled through the government and used to help individual people comply with the mandate, but the money would be required to be spent on insurance, and it would therefore end up in the hands of insurers.

The Democrats are not only making disingenuous claims about the costs of their proposal, they are making similarly disingenuous claims about its effects on the deficit. Democrats claim that this massive expansion of government would somehow reduce the deficit. But the CBO says otherwise. The CBO says that unless Democrats follow through and cut doctors' pay under Medicare by 21 percent next year and never raise it back up, the bill would increase the deficit by over $200 billion in its real first decade. How many people think that the Democrats would really cut doctors' payments by a fifth? Certainly the Democrats know that they won't, and yet they are shameless enough to pitch Obamacare as deficit-neutral, despite the CBO’s plain findings to the contrary.

What is to happen next? I guess we start paying now for the future prospect of "reward". Kinda like Wimpy's "I'll gladly pay you next Tuesday for a hamburger today." Not only will we pay, but our children will pay as well as our grandchildren will pay. I have no doubt health care needs to be revamped, but this monstrosity along with the anticipated collapse of Medicare will only bring us pain with little reward. The 20th century will be remembered as the halcyon days of America...