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Friday, September 28, 2012
Unanticipated Consequences of Obamacare
The list of the adverse consequences, of Obamacare continues to grow as the administration implements the legislation. Many, if not most of them, were not anticipated by the framers of the legislation in Congress.
Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR) noted: “Matt Kibbe outlined on Fox News the reasons why he thought repealing Obamacare was possible in 2011: "Support for repeal has gone up since the election. The share of people supporting full or partial repeal has risen from 49 percent in last month’s Kaiser health tracking poll to 59 percent in the Dec. 13, Washington Post poll. And Rasmussen finds that 'Belief in the likelihood of repeal has now edged to its highest level to date' -- 47 percent, up 1 point from the election. Voters want, and expect, repeal."
CPR also reported, “Investor's Business Daily explainshow rationing under Obamacare has already started. ‘One of the blessings of blocking the omnibus spending bill was that it included $1 billion for the implementation of Obamacare. Yet the first effects are still being felt, the latest being the Food and Drug Administration's revoking of regulatory approval of Avastin to treat late-stage breast cancer. The reason given by the FDA was that the drug does not provide 'a sufficient benefit in slowing disease progression to outweigh the significant risk to patients.' What risk? These women are dying.’"

Furthermore, “AllVoices reports that "[t]he International Monetary Fund (IMF), based in Washington, has warned that Canada's Health Care costs are unsustainable. In its report it warns that Canada's Federal and Provincial governments have not been honest about the real costs of universal health care and that costs will swamp budgets in the future. The U.S. Democratic Congress, passed Health Care legislation, labeled Obama Care, with much fanfare in 2009. There were many of Obama's base constituents that were disappointed that a public option was dropped. Based on the IMF's report on Canada, they should perhaps be careful of what they wish for."
 
Investor's Business Daily reported that "[a]mid the Obamacare fiasco, the latest is that physicians will be subject to streams of grubby government spies checking up on their Medicare patient intake. This isn't Eurosocialist care anymore. This is the Soviet Union. In a front-page news story, the New York Times reported that Obama administration officials intend to recruit a team of workplace spies they call 'mystery shoppers' whose task will be to call up U.S. private physicians under false pretenses, fraudulently pose as patients and pry information out of their medical office staff about what kind of payment arrangements these doctors are taking from patients these days. It's the sort of sting operation lawmen normally reserve for suspected criminals."
 
CPR noted: “In commentary in the Washington Times, Alex Cortes and Robin Smith outline the top seven provisions in Obamacare that should be defunded.  "1. The Preventive Services Task Force:This unelected panel of academics has been empowered as the body to govern mandatory preventive services that insurance plans must offer with no cost-sharing with patients. What does that mean? Just one example: If you're a healthy 29-year-old man, your plan is mandated to offer 'one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm by ultrasonography in men aged 65 to 75 who have ever smoked.' Do you know how unlikely it is for you to remain covered by this same plan for almost 40 years? But your plan has to include it at 'no charge,' which in the real world means higher premiums or benefit reductions elsewhere."

The Competitive Enterprise Institute
discussed how the health care overhaul negatively impacts state budgets: "Governors like Phil Bredesen (D-Tenn.) and Donald Carcieri (R-R.I.) warned earlier about the crippling costs of Obamacare to state budgets, but they were ignored by Obama and Congressional Democrats in their headlong rush to pass the health care bill. An adviser to Gov. Bredesen, James Blumstein (a professor of constitutional and health care law at Vanderbilt), argues that Obamacare is a violation of constitutional limits on Congress’s power under the spending clause."
 
In the Orange County Register, Sally Pipes explained how Obamacare hurts doctors in private practice: "The number of privately owned medical practices has declined sharply in the past five years. In 2005, at least two-thirds of practices were in private hands. That figure has dropped today to less than half – and is expected to sink below 40 percent by the end of next year. Many doctors, specifically those who have just completed a resident specialty, now are choosing not to enter private practice in the first place. Instead, they're heading to salaried positions at large hospitals. Last year, 49 percent of first-year specialists chose hospital employment. Obamacare will only exacerbate these trends. Some of the law's dictates will make it more expensive to operate small practices – even though the rules are supposed to reduce medical costs."
 
The Heritage Foundation outlined how Obamacare negatively impacts maternity care: "Individuals seeking maternity coverage in the non-group insurance market are discovering fewer options are available as insurers seek to cut costs to meet the regulatory demands of President Obama’s health care law. Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina dropped the coverage to save costs and keep premiums competitive, and insurers in other states have followed suit. Maternity coverage can be a costly aspect of health insurance because the vast majority of people who purchase it in the individual market plan to have children."
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 15:07 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



Friday, September 28, 2012
Abortion and Welfare Checks Are No Solution to What Ails US of A
Democrats indicate they are committed to fight for the rights of the poor by ensuring economic opportunity and equality by using the power of government to redistribute wealth.   Further, they claim republicans have a laissez faire attitude toward the poor, a “let the best man win” outlook, thereby locking generations of the less fortunate into perpetual cycles of poverty, while the rich get richer.  
 
Republicans, on the other hand, indicate that the most our society can do is offer equality of opportunity, but nobody can realistically guarantee equality of outcomes because so much is dependent upon the individual themselves and the choices they make.
 
I do believe society as a whole is responsible for helping the less fortunate, albeit, in many instances, I believe families, churches and non-profits do a better job at this than our government.  I believe we should help the disabled, those with debilitating illnesses, the elderly, and those who have fallen on hard times and simply need a temporary leg up.
 
When we ask the question who should we be helping, we must consider the fact that some people are simply beyond much help because they are irresponsible.  We can only truly help them once they quit making poor decisions for themselves and their families.
 
Consider the young man who chooses to join a gang instead of the boy scouts.  Consider the teenage girl who wants to get pregnant because she thinks a baby will cement her relationship with her beau.  Consider the drug addict who refuses intervention from his family and our justice  system.  Consider those that suffer from mental illness and refuse to take the medications prescribed and the counseling that has been offered.  Consider the person who would rather panhandle than take a menial job and work himself up the ladder. 
 
We actually spend billions of dollars each and every year in America to help people who make these types of poor choices each and every day.  Here in Santa Barbara County, we spend upwards of $200 million per year to try and convince a few thousand people that there is a better way.  But, despite all the money we throw at these problems, the problems are not going away.  Is this the taxpayer and business communities fault?  Is this phenomenon created because our tax rates are too low?
 
One of the most accurate statements at the Republican Convention that addressed this issue head on came from Rick Santorum.  He rightly pointed out that the three leading indicators of poverty in America have to do with whether somebody finishes high school, whether they are a single parent raising a child out of wedlock (typically very young women), and whether they have a strong work ethic. 
 
The democrats want to blame the republicans for the fact that these problems exists, however, starting with Presidents Roosevelt, on through Presidents Johnson, Carter and now Obama, democrats especially have thrown trillions of dollars at these problems with nothing much to show for it.  At least President Clinton was willing to tie welfare and work together, something that Obama has now once again decoupled.
 
In reality, although the democrats pin their hopes on treating the symptoms of these problems via abortion and welfare checks, they do not have any real solution to high school drop outs, unwed mothers trying to raise a kid on their own, and people who are not willing to do what it takes to earn a living.  At least the republicans aren’t making things worse and engaging in blame shifting and that is a start to addressing the real source of the problems.
 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and the host of the Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on AM 1440
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Friday, September 21, 2012
Labor Pains in America!
By Andy Caldwell

When I was growing up, it was common for kids and others who would normally have a tough time finding a job for a variety of reasons, to go work in the fields.  Whether it was picking grapes or hoeing weeds, people could make some good money working summers.  How things have changed!
 
Kids can no longer work in the fields, due to child labor laws and recently, lawmakers have even considered making it illegal for kids to work on their own family farm.  Is that a good thing for society?  After all, we should not be confusing abusive sweatshop conditions which still exist in third world countries that exploit children against their will, with the topic at hand, summer jobs in America.  Personally, I started earning money for myself when I was 9 years old and haven’t stopped since!
 
Whereas, kids today are scarcely allowed to work, there is a whole lot of people who no longer find it necessary to work, especially in jobs considered arduous or demeaning.  Before the modern day concept of welfare was created, able-bodied  people were expected to take any job they could find or go without aid.  If jobs simply were not available or the person was incapable of working, then government and/or the private sector would step in with some form of relief.  Unfortunately, welfare as we know it has had devastating consequences upon our country’s fiscal welfare and more disturbingly, upon the very fabric of our society as it affects our work ethic.  Welfare has become a permanent way of life for generations of families trapped in a cycle of government dependency.
 
America created what is referred to as the social safety net.  In many cases, the social safety net is a good thing as it helps people to get back on their feet making sure they don’t starve or go homeless in the process.  Welfare payments, subsidized housing, free health care, meal supplements and other considerations pile up for millions of Americans who can’t find work.  However, the system is definitely being abused by some who don’t want to work.  Only in America would various surveys demonstrate that most households under the federal poverty level have television and cable, game consoles, at least one car, a washer and dryer, and of course, a roof over their head.  Compare our standard of poverty with the billions of people in the world who have none of these things, including food for the day.
 
President Obama has managed to accomplish something no other president has been able to do!  His poor handling of our economy has actually served to reverse the immigration trend from Mexico!  For the first time in history, more Mexicans are heading back home than are arriving here because things are actually better in Mexico.  To make matters worse, Obama just ended the Clinton era welfare reform measure that required people to demonstrate they were looking for work in order to get welfare checks, and since Obama extended unemployment benefits, California now owes the federal government nearly $15 billion because we have been borrowing the money we need to meet these obligations.
 
These trends have left several sectors of our economy reeling, including agriculture.  Despite the high unemployment rates, farmers are having a severe labor shortage.  Yet, communities like Lompoc have an unemployment rate hovering around 14%?  Inner cities, across America, have youth unemployment rates around 40%?   With jobs available in the fields, there is no reason for the high unemployment rates in our region, at least with respect to the able-bodied, as work really is available, and our nation needs it fruits and vegetables!
 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and the host of the Andy Caldwell Show, weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on AM1440.
Posted at 13:47 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



Thursday, September 13, 2012
We Should Never Abandon The Electoral College
A Sacramento Bee editorial noted, “The way that the United States elects a president is broken, and has been for some time – actually, since the very beginning.”
 
The Bee further observed, “The American people do not directly elect their president. They vote for a slate of ‘electors’ (who are selected by the political parties) to an Electoral College, which then elects the president…it is long past time to elect the president the same way that we elect every other official from governor to senator to school board member – by direct popular vote.”
 
But, should the President of the United States be elected by popular vote?
 
In 1787, as the US Constitution was being drafted in Philadelphia, James Wilson of Pennsylvania proposed direct election of the president. But James Madison of Virginia worried that such a system would hurt the South which would have been outnumbered by the Northern population in a direct election system.
 
Thus the Electoral College was created. It was part of the deal the Southern states in computing their share of electoral votes, could count slaves (under the US Constitution, they were worth two-fifths of a vote), they of course were given none of the privileges of citizenship, (and could not vote....the slave owner voted for them). Virginia emerged as the big winner with more than a quarter of the electors needed to elect a President. A free state like Pennsylvania got fewer electoral votes even though it had approximately the same free population.
 
However, the Constitution had a pro-Southern bias. For 32 of the Constitution's first 36 years, a white slave-holding Virginian occupied the presidency. Thomas Jefferson for example won the election of 1800 against John Adams from Massachusetts in a race in which the slavery skew of the Electoral College was the decisive margin of victory.
 
The system's sex bias was also obvious. In a direct presidential election, any state that chose to enfranchise its women would have automatically doubled its clout. Under the Electoral College, however, a state had no special incentive to expand suffrage....each got a fixed number of electoral votes, regardless of how many citizens were allowed to vote.
 
After the civil war, the USA forgot about questioning the Electoral College system and continued its application in voting. The college favors a two-party system only and has no discretion for third or fourth political parties in an election.
 
So it seems that slavery or remnants of its philosophy is still with us today in the US elections.
 
I disagree. Not only is it not broken, but I submit that the election of our President is functioning exactly as the Founders envisioned it.
 
Reference: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sunday, 12 November 2000, Section E, pages 1 & 4.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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Thursday, September 13, 2012
The Penalty For Declaring Bankruptcy
As governments, business entities and individuals around the world move inexorably closer to financial disaster, the history of bankruptcy and the attitudes of the public offers some insight into why bankruptcy has become so pervasive, especially in the Western societies.
 
People did not go bankrupt in the middle ages because the penalties for doing so were extremely draconian, including whipping and imprisonment.
 
Wikipedia notes: “In the old civilizations, such as ancient Rome, finding oneself in debt was the wrong thing to happen. The debtor could be sold into slavery to pay off the money owed, and if the debtor was not valuable enough as a potential slave, he would be chopped into pieces to satisfy his creditors. In the United Kingdom and America, debtors used to be imprisoned or made into indentured servants to pay off debt. The word “bankrupt” comes from the Italian word banca rotta, which goes back to the days when creditors would break a deadbeat merchant’s bench.”
 
As a result, people avoided the formality of bankruptcy at almost any cost, which left them subject to the most extreme forms of confiscation of property and harassment.
 
Although the penalties that were imposed for bankruptcy became less draconian over time, the attitude toward those who filed bankruptcy continued to be negative well into the 20th century. As recently as 60 years ago, when I was starting out, people who filed bankruptcy were still looked down upon as deadbeats, with low moral character.
 
And, I can remember a time that it was not possible to file bankruptcy more than once. Eventually, the law was modified to permit a person to declare bankruptcy more frequently.
 
Today, a debtor cannot obtain a discharge in a Chapter 7 proceeding if they had previously obtained a discharge within the past 8 years, or in a Chapter 13 case filed within the past 6 years.
 
Chapter 7 is generally used when a person has little property except for the basic necessities, such as furniture and clothing, and they have little or no money left after paying for their basic monthly expenses, or they are not even meeting their basic needs.
 
Chapter 13 is used when the debtor has significant equity in a home of other property that they want to keep. Generally, they have regular income and can pay their living expenses but they are not able to keep up the scheduled payments on their debts. The process allows the debtor 3 to 5 years to catch up on their delinquent accounts, based on a schedule that is worked out with the bankruptcy trustee.

In addition to the foregoing changes, Congress also enacted other modifications that are intended to reduce or eliminate the effect of the bankruptcy “stay,” which normally prevents creditors from pursuing collection. The stay will now last for just 30 days if a bankruptcy case of the debtor was pending within the preceding year but was dismissed, and it will simply not come into existence at all if two or more cases were pending within the preceding year but were dismissed. If a Chapter 7 case is dismissed for abuse and the debtor files under a new chapter (such as Chapter 13), however, the stay has its normal duration.
 
This is probably more than most people really want to know about bankruptcy, but it illustrates how the process has become increasingly complex over the years.
 
As time progressed over the intervening years, public attitudes toward bankruptcy also continued to soften to the point that today it is no longer considered a character flaw by most people, but is simply now viewed by many to be an easy way to get out from under the burden of paying such obligations as credit card bills or mortgage payments.
 
An entire industry seems to have sprung up to feed off this market, running commercials to entice people to sign up and get out from under the burden of meeting their obligations. The recent federal legislation that has made it possible to avoid paying home loans and/or forgiving a portion of such debt is further evidence of the change it the attitude of borrowers toward honoring their commitments.
 
It may be progress in the eyes of some, but it’s a far cry from the time when it was considered a moral obligation to pay one’s bills.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 13:40 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



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