Saturday, August 4, 2012

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

One of the negative aspects of socialized medicine that experts (and your humble blogger) have warned about is rationing. With limited dollars and growing demand for services and medications, the only way to make a socialized health care system work is to ration. Even though Obamacare has not been fully implemented, rationing is beginning in the U.S. health care system. According to Kaiser Health News, 16 states have now set limits on the number of prescription drugs that they will cover for Medicaid patients. This is significant, because under Obamacare, more patients will be forced into Medicaid as their primary insurance program. For instance, Illinois has limited Medicaid patients to four prescriptions as a cost cutting move. Drug costs make up a significant portion of the total costs of Medicaid, and this push is a necessary reaction to limited dollars covering a larger number of patients. Many states are also moving patients to generic drugs, which may not have the same efficacy as certain brand name drugs. As you can imagine, this puts doctors in a quandary with their patients, as they may be forced to prescribe drugs that have limited effect or forced to decide which drugs are going to be prescribed due to limits of coverage. The simple economic fact is that when there are limited dollars available under a government program and a growing number of participants, rationing is the only way to keep the system solvent. Government interference in our health care system is dangerous to our health, and will only be more so as time goes by.

I can start a fire with two sticks. As long as one of them is a match.

The latest unemployment numbers show that unemployment continues to hold steady at over 8.2% and a real unemployment rate (the U-6 rate) at over 16%. Unemployment seems to have become an intractable problem in the U.S. But is it? Are there steps that the policymakers in this country can take to reverse this toxic situation? I'm glad you asked. According to the Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation, Hong Kong has the number one economy in the world for growth, growing at an average annual rate of 7%. The U.S. is number 10, with an average annual growth rate of 1.9% One of the reasons is that the top corporate tax rate in Hong Kong is 16.5%, compared to 35% in the U.S. That is the highest corporate tax rate of all the industrialized countries. Hong Kong has a zero tariff rate which encourages free trade and foreign investment and a regulatory environment that according to the study, is "highly supportive of business efficiency." By contrast, the U.S. has some of the highest tariff rates in the world and a stifling regulatory environment. Additionally, our deficit spending is a drain on our economy. In 2011, the U.S. ran a deficit of $400 billion, which was financed by foreign investors buying our Treasury securities. Put another way, the U.S. borrowed $400 billion from foreign investors, which all of us would agree could be better used in our country. If we want to begin to effectively create jobs in this country, there are three steps Washington needs to implement: make corporate tax rates more competitive; reduce the excessive regulatory burden on all businesses; and begin to get our fiscal house in order by reining in the prolific level of government spending. Until Washington recognizes that jobs are not created by government and gets out of the way of the real job creators, we are going to continue to struggle with high unemployment.

How can my mirror and my camera have such a different idea of what I look like?

Have you heard about Green Jobs, Green New York (GJGNY)? This is a company that created "shovel ready", environmentally friendly jobs that was in the sweet spot of President Obama's stimulus funding. Stimulus that has added markedly to the burgeoning debt in our country. James O'Keefe, he of the Project Veritas undercover video renown, went undercover and asked how effective is GJGNY in creating productive jobs. GJGNY is heavily tied to labor unions, and according to the video, John  Hutchings, Director of the Laborer's International Union of North America (LUINA) New York State Laborer's Organizing Fund (NYSLOF) explained, "You know, the Green Jobs, Green New York, between us, a lot of it is bullshit." Uh...say what? Why would he say that? Because GJGNY is basically an environmental program that basically digs ditches and then fills them in again. Hutchings goes on to say about GJGNY, "Well, I think the key thing is, even if it's bullshit, I think as long as people are working, that's not bull, you know what I mean?" Not exactly. On the surface, it sounds good that people are working, even if it is doing nothing but digging holes and filling them in again. But here is the problem: your tax dollars were confiscated to transfer funds to unions and their workers who are almost unanimously ardent supporters of Democrats who continue to "reward" their union voting blocs with more confiscated tax dollars. This vicious cycle does nothing to create new jobs- it rewards union cronies with make work projects- and it takes tax dollars from other productive sectors of the economy and re-routes them to low productivity sectors. This is one of the problems with the government trying to "create" jobs. The government decides who will receive the benefit of the confiscated tax revenues, and it always rewards those that will deliver votes. For the health of our economy, we must change this notion that government can create jobs and we must certainly stop the process where elected leaders reward those that vote for them.

My idea of curls is eating the cheesy kind.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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