Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
It is really coming down to the wire whether or not the House is going to pass a health care bill before the August recess. The Republicans are not plentiful enough to be an issue for Speaker Pelosi to even take into consideration. They only need 218 votes in the House to pass a bill, and there are 257 member in the Democratic Party House caucus. The only problem Speaker Pelosi has is if 40 Ds will vote with the 178 Rs. If that happens then she loses.
I actually agree, surprisingly enough, with those who assert that there has been a lot of time spent debating on this issue. There have been debates on this issue since the time of FDR and HST to the present. The framing of the narrative of what are the choices and what are the opposing views should be more clearly spelled out. This fight is essentially coming down to the question of whether or not our elected members of Congress are going to Let Freedom Ring.
This issue of health care legislation comes down to answering the question of containing the costs of providing health care. Obama and his minions would have you believe that the only way to contain the costs is to have a strong central government plan to put the maximum set of detailed and specific restrictions and mandates on the medical services that USA residents may receive. This plan will include punitive measures toward any physician or hospital that attempts to profit by attending to people outside of the rules and mandates that they impose. This path eventually leads to services that are scarce, and by law are illegal to buy outside of their rules at any price. This is a plan that takes freedom away from each individual US resident.
Now the supporters of Obama argue that under the status quo people are losing freedom to be provided health care from the rules in place by health insurance companies and hospitals and physicians affiliated with them. The flaw in this argument is that while it can be expensive and difficult today for some people to receive health care it is not illegal.
There is another way to have health care legislation that answers the question of containing the costs of providing health care and let freedom ring. There are four essential freedoms that US residents and health care providers need.
1. The freedom to try
2. The freedom to buy
3. The freedom to sell
4. The freedom to fail
The way to do this is to allow a competitive free market of medical service providers the freedom to create their own products for providing medical services that are not restricted by a particular State's set of coverage mandates. Instead there should general guidelines that are the same in every State. Then the residents in every State can have the freedom to choose the product that is the most worthwhile for their family's needs. This way the large company has got to compete with the small company on the merits of the product they sell instead of eliminating the smaller competitor with unfair regulatory laws. The profit motive in this system makes it worthwhile for each company to strive to provide a service people find worthwhile to purchase. This path eventually leads to services that are cheaper and in abundance.
There also needs to be some clarity in the debates in describing how health care services are delivered, and what is the purpose of health insurance. Health insurance does not, and was never intended to insure you will have wellness and good health. The major function of a health insurance plan is to help you to pay the medical expenses in the event of a catastrophic and expensive medical procedure. In this respect it is the same as car insurance. One major difference, however, is that you can purchase any car insurance plan no matter where you live.
For there to be any important health insurance legislation passed and signed into law our elected officials are going to need the courage to rebuke and ignore influential and powerful special interest groups who have skin in the game. These special interest groups include trial lawyers, unions, political parties, large health insurance companies, and large pharmaceutical industries. I am for health care reform legislation as long as it is designed with one major requirement - Let Freedom Ring!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
It was the original intent of the Founding Fathers to carefully limit the areas of responsibility of the federal government. James Madison pointed out that the Constitution was structured so that the powers delegated to the federal government are few. He also pointed out the number of individuals employed will need to be smaller than the number under the State.
Six Areas of Constitutional Responsibility for POTUS
1. Chief of state over the Nation.
2. Commander in chief over the military.
3. The chief executive officer of the whole executive branch of the federal government.
4. The chief diplomat in handling foreign relations.
5. The chief architect for needed legislation.
6. The conscience of the Nation in granting pardons or reprieves when justice requires.
Nineteen Extra-Constitutional Areas of Discretionary Responsibility for POTUS
1. The responsibility of maintaining full employment for the Nation.
2. The task of ensuring a high level of agricultural prosperity.
3. The task of developing a national housing program.
4. The task of supervising the exclusive distribution of atomic energy resources.
5. Underwriting mega-bucks in private loans and private insurance programs.
6. Providing federal relief for the victims of natural disasters.
7. Administrating a national welfare program.
8. Administrating a national Medicare and Medicaid program.
9. Administrating a national social security program.
10. Allocating mega-bucks for education.
11. Settling major union labor - management disputes.
12. Administrating a network of health agencies.
13. Administrating the EPA.
14. Administrating nearly 40% of the nation's land area and resources.
15. Administrating control over the discovery and development of energy resources.
16. Regulating of all major United States industries.
17. Supervising all radio and TV broadcasting required to issuing a license.
18. Administrating the FDA.
19. Initiating various federal programs on a regional basis to replace many powers and activities originally reserved sovereign to the States.
Four Major Drawbacks of the aforementioned Central Planning
1. It is unbelievably expensive.
2. By its very nature and intended design the federal government is sluggish and inefficient. The Founding Fathers engineered a system of checks and balances to impede changes because they feared a future efficient tyranny.
3. It places mega-bucks at the disposal of the executive branch which can be and have been used to intimidate both the members of Congress and the Governors of the States.
4. It is virtually impossible for one human being to effectively administer everything assigned to the POTUS.
The constitutional provision that created the basis for the President's cabinet
The President may require the opinion, in writing, of the principle officers who superintend the various bureaus and agencies, or other services of the executive department. Such officers shall be required to report to the President any pertinent information he may desire concerning those duties and responsibilities assigned to any office.
In 1789 the cabinet posts created
1. Department of State
2. Department of Treasury
3. Department of War
4. Office of Attorney General
The current fifteen cabinet posts and when they got created
1. The Department of State
2. Department of Treasury
3. Department of Defense *In 1947 the Congress formed the National Military Establishment (NME) headed by the Secretary of Defense. The NME combined the Department of War with the Department of Navy (created under J. Adams in 1798) and the Department of Air Force (created under Truman in 1947). In 1949 the NME was renamed the Department of Defense.
4. Department of Justice *In 1870 under Grant the post-Civil War increase in the amount of litigation involving the United States necessitated the very expensive retention of a large number of private attorneys to handle the workload. A concerned Congress passed the Act to Establish the Department of Justice, setting it up as "an executive department of the government of the United States" with the Attorney General as its head.
5. Department of Interior *In 1849 under Taylor Congress created Interior and charged it with duties ranging from issuing patents to running Washington's jail. In 2003 the department even owned Nevada's Mustang Ranch brothel, prompting Interior Secretary Gale Norton to observe:
It gives the phrase "Madame Secretary" a whole new meaning.
6 Department of Agriculture *After lobbying from the U.S. Agricultural Society (1852), Congress established the Department of Agriculture in 1862 (raised to cabinet level in 1889) under B. Harrison.
7. Department of Commerce *This cabinet level department was first created as the Department of Commerce and Labor under T. Roosevelt in 1903. It split up in 1913 under Wilson as the Department of Commerce.
8. Department of Labor *In 1913 under Wilson the Department of Labor was split away to be a new cabinet level post.
9. Department of Health and Human Services *In 1953 Congress created the Department of Health, Education, and welfare under IKE. In 1979 under Carter Congress split away education and HEW was renamed Department of Health and Human Services.
10. Department of Housing and Urban Development *In 1965, under LBJ, Congress created this agency.
11. Department of Transportation *In 1967, under LBJ, Congress created the Department of Transportation.
12. Department of Energy *In 1977, under Carter, Congress created the Department of Energy.
13. Department of Education *In 1979, under Carter, Congress created the Department of Education.
14. Department of Veteran Affairs *In 1988, under Reagan, Congress made the Department of Veteran Affairs a cabinet level post.
15. Department of Homeland Security *In 2002, under George W. Bush, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of the sneak attack by terrorists on September 11, 2001.
The Founding Fathers designed the office of President to give the President all the power and independence needed to carry out the six specific functions they assigned, but they required the President to operate within a carefully circumscribed sphere of limited authority. It is not true that they wanted a weak executive branch. They did want a strong executive, but with a limited sphere to work in.
The fact that the executive branch has now acquired gigantic dimensions of discretionary power is a matter of the most profound importance to this and all future generations of Americans.
Fortunately, something is built into the Constitution so that any unauthorized usurpation of authority can be dismantled by peaceful means. We the People have the RIGHT to vote into power those who recognize the problem, and are willing to do something about it. History may very well record one day that taking those corrective measures was one of the most important challenges that We the People met.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
It is getting down to crunch time for President Obama to get a bill through the Congress that drastically changes how residents in the USA will get medical services. They have tried in vain to convince everyone that they only need some more money from the super rich, and they can create a new system with an outcome of affordable medical services for everyone. The number do not add up. With just additional money from ultra rich there is still not enough money to pay for their plan. This leaves them with figuring out a way to contain the costs of medical services.
This problem they have is like a fork in the road. The one path they do not want to go down to contain costs is the capitalist model created by Adam Smith. The way of this path is to allow a competitive free market of medical service providers the freedom to create their own products for providing medical services that are not restricted by a particular State's set of coverage mandates. Instead there should general guidelines that are the same in every State. Then the residents in every State can have the freedom to choose the product that is the most worthwhile for their family's needs. This way the large company has got to compete with the small company on the merits of the product they sell instead of eliminating the smaller competitor with unfair regulatory laws. The profit motive in this system makes it worthwhile for each company to strive to provide a service people find worthwhile to purchase. This path eventually leads to services that are cheaper and in abundance.
The other path they want to go down to contain costs is the economic model created by Karl Marx. The way of this path is to have a strong central government plan to put the maximum set of detailed and specific restrictions and mandates on the medical services that USA residents may receive. This plan will include punitive measures toward any physician or hospital that attempts to profit by attending to people outside of the rules and mandates that they impose. This path eventually leads to services that are scarce, and by law are illegal to buy outside of their rules at any price.
Barack Obama in his own words...
And we have urged Congress to include a proposal for a standing commission of doctors and medical experts to oversee cost-saving measures.
NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Chapter 8 of W. Cleon Skousen's book is titled Prosperity Economics. I have read thirteen chapters out of thirty-one, but I feel compelled to write this diary before I finally finish the book.
The Founding Fathers made this country a land of fantastic economic opportunity because they wrote a Constitution with the free market principles set forth in the book Adam Smith wrote in 1776, The Wealth of Nations. There are four fundamental economic freedoms which the constitutional structure of this Nation provide to perpetuate an economic system that works efficiently.
1. The freedom to try.
2. The freedom to buy.
3. The freedom to sell.
4. The freedom to fail.
There are four situations where governmental intervention is legitimate.
1. To prevent criminal invasion of the market.
2. To prevent invasion of the market with deceptive trickery.
3. To prevent destruction of free trade of the market.
4. To prevent exploitation of the vices to the detriment of the community.
The fourth situation should be local instead of Federal government intervention.
The profit system is the key to success under the free market system because profits make it worthwhile for somebody to do things or make things better and cheaper.
While the Founding Father’s’ greatest fear was big government, they did not extend that fear to the private sector free market. They believed Adam Smith’s realization that true wealth is not an accumulation of silver and gold but the development of farms, factories, homes, clothes, cheap fuel, good streets, good schools, hospitals, efficient transportation, and universal access to various types of communications. How we get these things is develop a free market system that makes everything abundant and cheap. Market competition is the most frugal and economical way to provide a product or a service. In the field of economics, they were striving for bigness. If it takes bigness to make a product abundant and cheap, so be it.
The fear of bigness did not clearly emerge in the US until after the Civil War. By the end of the nineteenth century the formula for economic opportunity from the Founding Fathers was beginning to give Americans the highest standard of living in the world. With less than 6 percent of the earth’s population, they were producing more than half of just about everything. So how did this happen that this formula would be abandoned, according to W. Cleon Skouser?
The beginning of the twentieth century saw many prominient and influential leaders losing confidence in the system. These included wealthy industrialists, heads of multinational banking institutions, leaders in the academic world, and some of the innovative minds in the media. The same feverish restlessness was taking hold in similar circles in Europe.
It was true, as it is with all systems, that the free-market economy was in need of some adjustments and fine-tuning, but these leaders were getting ready to throw the entire system over-board. The problems of the day included a number of large-scale strikes, the rise of powerful trusts, the mysterious recurrence of boom and bust cycles, and the rise of a new Populist movement in which certain agriculture and labor groups were demanding that the government get involved in the redistribution of the wealth.
If I had to sum up how did this happen in just one word, that word would be ENVY.
The author concluded this chapter with this conclusion...and please bear in mind that he wrote this book in 1985:
The western world was astonished when the Red Chinese leaders suddenly abolished their bare-subsistence communes and invited the peasants to “get rich’ as private property farmers. Of course the Chinese communists did not dare call their new policy “free-enterprise capitalism.” They called it “enriched Marxism.”
But regardless of the name, if people are allowed economic freedom it will tend to gradually open up the channels for political freedom in the years to come. This is why the the message of freedom - both economic and political - should become America’s greatest export.
I heartily agree with this author in the context of President Ronald Reagan’s America.
I heartily reject President Obama's statement in his inaugural address:
Starting today we must begin the work of remaking America
I reject the plans and intent that Tim Geithner gave to Charlie Rose about regulation and legislation.
ROSE: Whatever you can do in terms of regulation and legislation will take place during the next three years?
GEITHNER: Yes, within that period of time. Within that period of time. But, again, these things are about preventing the next boom.
I especially reject Robert Reich's prediction that this economy can never recover because we must have a new economy.
My prediction,then? Not a V, not a U. But an X. The X marks a brand new track -- a new economy. What will it look like? Nobody knows. All we know is the current economy can't "recover" because it can't go back to where it was before the crash. So instead of asking when the recovery will start, we should be asking when and how the new economy will begin.
Instead of remaking America I want America restored to the Prosperity Economics upon which it is founded.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Lately I have been reading a book I borrowed from my public library written by W. Cleon Skousen, This is the author of a recent bestseller, The 5,000 Year Leap. The book I am reading is The Making of America (888 pages). I have only read 202 pages, but I am moved to write before I finish.
Politicians, especially conservative ones, will utter a phrase about the founding of our Nation being based on Judeo-Christian values, and trolls will rise up to try to claim that this is false. The Founding Fathers were very knowledgable of books written through the ages. I confess my ignorance in thinking that Judeo-Christian values were only a reference to scripture and verse from the Torah and Holy Bible, and now I know it actually went to detailed political structure and process.
The Founders knew that ninety-nine percent of the human race has had to live out their lives under tyranny. The author listed twelve characteristics of tyranny.
1.Government power is exercised by compulsion, force, conquest, or legislative usurpation.
2. Therefore all power is concentrated in the ruler.
3. The people are treated as “subjects” of the ruler.
4.The land is treated as the “realm” of the ruler.
5. The people have no unalienable rights.
6. Government is by the rule of man rather than the rule of law.
7. The people are structured in social and economic classes.
8. The thrust of government is always from the ruler down, not from the people upward.
9. Problems are always solved by issuing new edicts, creating more bureaus, appointing more administrators, and charging the people more taxes to pay for these “services.” Under this system, taxes and government regulations are always oppressive.
10. Freedom is not considered a solution to anything.
11. The transfer of power from one ruler to another is often by violence - the dagger, the poison cup, or fratricidal civil war.
12. Those in power revel in luxury while the lot of the common people is one of perpetual poverty, excessive taxation, stringent regulations, and a continuous existence of misery.
Jefferson found that ancient Israel was the first nation in history to have a system of representative government According to chronologists, the Israelites came out of Egypt between 1490 and 1290 BC. These freed slaves were led by Moses to the lower part of the Sinai Peninsula along the Horeb range. Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro, visited him there and was astonished to see Moses trying to handle the problems of all these people alone.
Jethro talked to him and gave him some advice for dividing up the administrative tasks and having people elect people to assist in handling the people’s problems, and this advice led to an efficient and practical government. The more than three million in 600,000 families were combined into groups of ten families to each elect a leader. This first step alone gives Moses 60,000 newly elected leaders to assist him. These new groups were combined in groups of fifty families to each elect a leader, and this move gave Moses 12,000 additional assistants. These new groups were combined in groups of one hundred families to each elect a leader, and this move gave Moses 6,000 additional assistants. These new groups were combined in groups of one thousand families to each elect a leader, and this move gave Moses 600 additional assistants. Instead of trying to rule over people alone, Moses suddenly found himself with 78,600 elected leaders to help him administer the affairs of the people.
In addition to the administrative structure records indicate that “elders” from the people met at various intervals as a type of house of representatives. There was also a permanent council of seventy chosen men who acted very much like a senate. Moses, himself had the benefit of two immediate assistants as a type of vice-president. Aaron had charge of internal affairs and Joshua was in charge of the military and defense related matters.
These Founding Fathers had been reared and trained under the canopy of English law and British culture, yet they rejected much of the government structure of the mother country. The author lists eleven parts of their mother country that they rejected.
1. They rejected the entire concept of a monarchy.
2. They rejected the idea of a prime minister selected from the members of Parliament.
3. They rejected the idea of a cabinet selected from among the members of Parliament.
4. They rejected the idea of the members of Parliament serving as the executive administrators of the government in a cabinet.
5. They rejected the idea of parliamentary supremacy in favor of constitutional supremacy.
6. They rejected the British idea of a “living constitution.”
7. They rejected the idea of an upper House of Lords occupied by a body of lifetime aristocrats.
8. They rejected the idea of a unitary republic with all power in the central government.
9. They rejected the idea of the national government having the power to nullify the laws of the local governments.
10. They rejected the power of the executive to dissolve the legislature.
11. They rejected the British coinage system for a decimal system.
The maintenance of the vertical separation of powers between the ward, the city, the county, the state, and the President is a key factor in the successful continuation of this great republic based on constitutional supremacy. Thomas Jefferson made a very wise and prescient observation.
When all government, domestic and foreign, in little and in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.