Thursday, July 5, 2012
Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...
One of the little discussed but horrifying realities of Obamacare is that your medical information is no longer going to be private. Yes, I know we all sign the HIPAA privacy notices when we visit our physician, but Obamacare shreds the vestiges of privacy and confidentiality that we have previously enjoyed in the doctor patient relaionship. How so? In multiple ways. First, the IRS is now going to be more intimately involved in the healthcare of you and your family. The IRS is soon going to require your personal health insurance information and all those covered under the plan; the annual cost of your health insurance plan; whether a family member was offered employer sponsored insurance; whether a taxpayer received a credit for health insurance premiums; whether a taxpayer has received a waiver from the individual mandate; and perhaps most onerous of all, private medical and health information about all of us. All of this is to ascertain the amount of any "tax" we owe for not complying with the socialized healthcare program that has been foisted upon us. Now, I don't know about you, but this makes me incredibly uncomfortable to have the IRS involved in my healthcare. It doesn't stop there, though. Our medical history will be entered into a national system with easy access by any healthcare provider, all in the name of providing appropriate health care. Oh yeah, tucked into the abyssmal Obamacare program is a mandate that all insurance companies submit detailed health information about their insured either directly to a centralized registry in Washington or to a state registry that compiles the data and submits it to Washington. Feeling comfortable about your medical information floating around the IRS and other agencies in Washington? Neither am I. While much of the focus has rightly been upon the extraordinary cost of Obamacare, we cannot lose sight of the fact that if it is not repealed, our privacy is shredded under this program. And that is not healthy.
Is it my imagination, or do Buffalo wings taste like chicken?
Do you remember Countrywide Mortgage? They were the largest mortgage company in the U.S. and it could be argued that they were the institution that helped to initiate the mortgage crisis that we are still trying to resolve. According to a report from the House of Representatives, Countrywide made hundreds of discount loans to members of Congress and top officials from government lender Fannie Mae between 1996 and 2008. Countrywide was dependent on Fannie buying the enormous volume of subprime loans that were generated by the mortgage lender, and Congress was considering new mortgage regulations that would have severely curtailed the subprime lending business. Countrywide countered this pressure by making loans at the direction of then Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo that carried a substantially below market interest rate and favorable terms. In the aftermath of the collapse of Countrywide, Moizilo was slapped with a $22.5 million penalty for misleading investors in Countrywide and was barred from ever serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded company. He also paid $45 million to settle other claims of violations of security laws. Countrywide eventually failed and was taken over by Bank of America, which has seen their stock price plummet in the wake of cleaning up the $1.5 trillion mortgage loan portfolio at the time of the takeover. And you and me as taxpayers? So far, we have paid $183 billion to keep both Fannie and Freddie Mac afloat so as not to cripple the mortgage market further. Oh yes, who were some of those that benefitted from the largesse of Mozilo and Countrywide (and eventually you and me)? Here are a few: Former Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd (D-Conn); Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon (R-CA); Former HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson; Former Fannie Board Member and Executive Director Henry Cisneros; former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala; and the list goes on. The culture of corruption in Washington is deep and rancid. And you and I pay for it.
"Always" and "Never" are two words that you should always remember never to use.
Speaking of corruption, the hits just keep on coming in the ill fated attempt to push our nation toward ineffective and inefficient "green" energy. And once again, you and I as taxpayers are footing the bill for these failed endeavors. The latest train wreck is Colorado based Abound Solar, a manufacturer of solar panels. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a $400 million dollar loan guarantee to Abound Solar in December of 2010, and the company had drawn down about $70 million by August of 2011 when the loan guarantee was withdrawn- thankfully- by DOE. The problem at Abound was the inferior quality of their product placed them at a signifcant competitive disadvantage.Regardless of the reason for the company failing, there are two concerns that I have. First, It is amazing to me how quickly after receiving the federal loan guarantees (read: taxpayers on the hook) that these green energy companies are filing bankruptcy. It certainly calls into question the vetting process for these companies. Abound, Solyndra, LightSource, all quickly went into bankruptcy after a brief time at the public trough. The other interesting aspect of these green energy bankruptcies is that a review of the high profile failures all have one common denominator that jumps out. Wanna guess what it is? You already know. They have deep connections to the Democratic Party. Many of the founders have been high profile donors to Obama or to the national Democratic party, and they have been rewarded with your tax dollars. Readers of this blog know that the prime directive is "Always follow the money", and now we are following it from your wallet to the pockets of generous donors to the Democrats. The only real green in this green energy debacle is your green disappearing.
Clothes don't make the man, but being naked will get you arrested.
And that, my friends, is my view.