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Archive for the ‘Angst Blogger’ Category

>Daily Bail Good Reads

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Posted: 24 Jan 2011 02:05 AM PST
Very, very interesting pick-up from Reuters below.  Here’s some background linkage from the past week. Both are quick reads…   CHART UPDATE: Fed’s Balance Sheet Hits Record High In Latest Week On New Bond Purchases – Weekly Report   Could The Federal Reserve Go Broke?…
Posted: 24 Jan 2011 12:39 AM PST
We’ve published 15 stories since Friday evening so here’s an easier way (no scrolling) to see the most recent headlines.  And if you think we should keep this list pinned at the top all the time, let me know in comments. Subscribe to RSS headline updates from: Powered by FeedBurner
Posted: 23 Jan 2011 11:32 PM PST
Found this (in bold below) buried in a column Friday from Floyd Norris at the NYT.  If true, it would explain how China has managed to keep the Yuan from rising versus the dollar over the past 18 months.  It has also been rumored that China is accumulating large stakes in public U.S….
Posted: 23 Jan 2011 10:05 PM PST
This is just a partial screengrab. Pro Publica Bailout Tracker… Another excellent infographic, this time from ProPublica.  Every company, every bank, every amount, every payback.  None of the stealth bailouts are tracked.            
Posted: 23 Jan 2011 09:12 PM PST
The Spanish government is set to launch a sweeping bailout of its troubled regional savings banks in an attempt to reassure global bond markets. In every country so far except Iceland, from the U.S. to the U.K. to Ireland & Greece, the bill for bailing out criminally over-leveraged banks goes…
Posted: 23 Jan 2011 08:45 PM PST
Esto es muy espectacular… Video – Banco de Santander en Madrid – Dec. 22, 2010 Acción colectiva flamenca de flo6x8.com se coló en una de las oficinas del Banco Santander en Sevilla. Según cuenta, se “compincharon” con una “emisora de radio amiga”, y se plantaron en la sede…
Posted: 23 Jan 2011 08:32 PM PST
With the national debt now past $14 trillion and headed for $20 trillion by 2015, here’s a quick link with a look at the size, scope and immensity of $1 trillion. Visualizing One Trillion Dollars… —     Related links…   Dollar Bill History…
Posted: 23 Jan 2011 02:00 PM PST
Video – Olbermann says goodbye… Keith Olbermann gives abrupt goodbye to MSNBC show NEW YORK (AP) — Keith Olbermann was MSNBC’s most popular personality and single-handedly led its transformation to an outspoken, left-leaning cable news network in prime time. Despite that, he often seemed…
Posted: 23 Jan 2011 12:30 PM PST
Do not skip this story.  Absolutely brilliant piece of investigative journalism from Ryan Grim.  At a minimum, please give it a quick read. Editor’s note – We are republishing this story from last year for those who missed it the first time around. — Source – Ryan Grim – Huffington…
Posted: 23 Jan 2011 11:10 AM PST
Video:  Former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson has a message for you… We haven’t forgotten the crimes against humanity of former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson and his tax-free $700 million.  We put everything that’s important about your former TARP-loving Treasury Secretary into a…
Posted: 23 Jan 2011 11:00 AM PST
I’m sure Bush just said something brilliant, as Paulson submissively giggles.  And B-52 has no idea how to relate to other humanoids so he’s just faking it. Write something funny and I’ll post it. —   Hank the Hammer and his tax free $700 million… Video:  Former Goldman…

>Vote Against Obama’s Health Plan

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Don White

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State Regulation: Always Beats Federal

By Don White

America now has the best health care in the world. Yes, there are people in America who have no health care – Democrats say 47 million — but there are agencies and medical services available for these people to receive health care, even if they can’t pay for it or intentionally failed to opt into a medical plan.

What I don’t like is big government telling us what we must have. For example, once we all have Obama’s health care plan which won’t satisfy everyone because it will be a cut-down, inadequate plan, then Washington will tell us to scrap our cars and drive battery-operated golf carts to get to work and that they’re going to provide one for every licensed American – all at taxpayer expense.

To most of us, that’s an extreme example of government intervention, but it’s not too far from reality, so watch out!

Today, we have many different private health plans we can subscribe to just as we have many different makes and models of cars to buy. We can choose the best one for us, and thank goodness, just as all families are not the same, health plans vary widely.

What happened to variety? It used to be “the spice of life.”

We don’t have a single payer system in America. . . not yet, but Obama is herding us in that direction even if he says he isn’t. So on all of my blogs I am spearheading a drive to get people to call their congressmen, send emails, letters, and complain about the new proposed VAT tax which isn’t “transparent”, but is a silent, hidden tax on everything, Obama’s invisible “ace in the hole” to pay for health care.

VAT means Value Added Tax

But there is no “value added” in any tax. It’s just another way Obama would make us look like Europe.

Here’s what VAT amounts to in European countries: United Kingdom, 17.5%; Belgium, 21%; Denmark, 25%; France, 20.6; Germany, 16%; Netherlands, 17.5; Sweden, 25%; and Italy 20%.

Don’t allow it. Get Washington off our backs. Obama also suggests a new sales tax on drinks of all kinds – alcohol and even sugar drinks. He knows this country is bankrupt but he wants to jab the knife into all of us one more time, and even twist it going in. Don’t let all this to happen to you and to your friends and family. Click here and read my blog on Angst Blogger and vote against more taxes.

The first detailed health reform proposal “got off to a rocky start this week in Congress, as “even moderate Republicans” attacked a draft bill by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Democrats from his (Obama’s) Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee,” the Los Angeles Times reported. This liberal newspaper said “Many of the proposal’s goals are broadly shared by lawmakers of both parties,” but GOP legislators complained they were excluded from the drafting process and that the Democrats are rushing reform.

Here are some sketchy details:

The plan “would require all Americans to get medical insurance

It establishes complex new insurance exchanges to facilitate near-universal coverage, and

Dramatically steps up Federal government oversight of the insurance industry.

Remember states’ rights? Insurance regulation today is the province of state insurance departments. It is that way for a reason, so that local people can decide on issues of insurance for local people. When you give the power to Washington, you as an insured remove yourself one step from the process. Well, if they did this in Hawaii, it must be good for Alabama, right? Wrong! Our founding fathers created a Constitution that allowed the Federal Government only those rights to rule not handled by states. Let’s not make inroads on the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment restates the Constitution’s principle of Federalism by providing that powers not granted to the national government nor prohibited to the states are reserved to the states or the people.

Why in the world would we want at this time to take away the right of states to regulate insurance? Washington has proven its inability to regulate everything from interstate commerce to voter registration and holding honest elections. It has also proven to be the most expensive form of regulation and is constantly bungling the job states can do better.

The plan skips over – for now – the two issues Republicans have most vocally opposed, a government-run insurance option and a mandate for businesses to insure employees. “Mandate.” That’s an order or authorization to act. Government, public servants, telling people and companies what they must do. The opposition party disagreed. The “Republican response was sharply negative.”

An earlier version of the bill, circulated in Washington last week, did include language describing those contentious proposals, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said in a statement, that Republicans have “been meeting with Democrats for months to discuss health-care reform, but from what I’ve seen in this proposal, it doesn’t look like they listened at all.”

The measure’s “lack of details on a public plan” come as more uncertainty is emerging regarding how such a plan would take shape.

Non-Government State and Regional Cooperatives

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., has circulated a proposal to create non-governmental state and regional cooperatives that would provide an alternative to private insurance plans. Conrad’s proposal has attracted interest from Enzi and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the top Republican on the Finance panel, presumably because it would need to meet the same requirements for financial reserves as private plans and wouldn’t be an arm of federal or state governments.

Opposition To A Public Plan

“The sooner we can get the government plan off the table, the better, in terms of getting an actual result for the American people,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader, told reporters. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., told Bloomberg that on June 16 the panel will begin two weeks of work on the bill.

House Democrats plan to introduce next week a similar measure that also will include the public option and mandates for both individuals and businesses

Conservatives and moderate Republicans oppose the government plan on two fronts:

It makes it mandatory for everyone to have health insurance, taking away Americans’ right to choose if they want insurance coverage or not. This may be difficult for a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat to understand, but independence of thought and action is still one of the hallmarks of free men everywhere – even when it affects their health. On the other hand, Democrats love the herd mentality, letting someone else make important decisions for them, and forcing on everyone the same quality and kind of insurance “protection.”

This “leveling” aspect of our current administration and Congress is what most quickly raises the hackles on the necks of conservatives who fear too much Washington in their lives is detrimental, not helpful. They believe private business can deliver a better package of benefits at less cost than a bungling, wasteful government plan of “one size fits all.”

Robert E. Moffit of the Heritage Foundation says Congress has already enacted a large portion of Obama’s health benefit agenda, largely through the stimulus bill and other legislation, totaling about $200 billion over 10 years in public-program expansions (SCHIP and Medicaid), including the creation of Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research, and a multi-billion taxpayer “investment” in information technology.

“If Congress enacts the rest of Obama’s agenda,” says Moffit, “Washington will exercise an unprecedented centralization of power and control over the health care sector of the economy. Already, government controls almost half of all health care spending. The debate now is about how the government will control the rest of it.”

One day Obama locked up the captains of the giant health industry — the lobbyists for the doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, the insurance industry, medical technology, along with the Service Employees International Union. He put them in a room and said they weren’t leaving until they pledged to knock off 1.5 percent annually from the nation’s health care bill, accumulating roughly $2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. They agreed, knowing taxpayers would make up the difference, not them.

How did they do this? Moffit said it was “through a series of fashionable initiatives, such as ‘administrative simplification’ and ‘standardization’ of insurance claim forms, electronic medical records, and the greater use of health information technology.” (In other words, ensure that all the transactions driven by today’s perverse health care incentives can be executed more quickly.)

Most of these “savings” initiatives are already embodied in the Obama budget. But The Washington Post recently said that Obama’s health care savings are “phony” and would only cover “a fraction” of the real cost of his health reform agenda. Without details of how exactly these changes would be implemented, no reliable estimate of savings is possible.

The joint PR offensive conducted by the Obama administration and health industry chiefs highlights a troubling feature of health care debates, past and present, according to the Heritage Foundation. Health care is one of the most highly regulated sectors of our economy. That’s why an army of lawyers, lobbyists and consultants routinely descend on Washington and state capitols, trying to manipulate the rules and regulations to micromanage their competitive position at the expense of other players.

Lobbyist.com says there are 22,000 lobbyists in Washington. That’s 411 for each congressman. The result: billions of dollars in cost shifting and a giant national game of “tag” where ordinary Americans are “it.” It is households, not government officials, managed care executives or employers, who ultimately pay 100 percent of the nation’s health care costs. And if President Obama and his allies in Congress have their way, ordinary Americans, not just the hated “rich,” will be paying more for less in the form of higher taxation. Sooner or later.

The president is asking Congress to budget an additional $634 billion over 10 years in a reserve fund for reform — without any details of what that reform would be. But many experts expect the real 10-year costs would exceed $1 trillion. That presents an irresistible temptation for Congress and Washington lobbyists to forgo any heavy health policy lifting,” says Moffit, “and to figure out how to divvy up another big chunk of taxpayer money.”

Because Democrats control Washington, we won’t see real health reform. That would mean real change, not just a transfer of direct control over health care dollars to politicians.

Real reform won’t happen until enough people like you and I, family people with real stakes in the outcome, people of both parties, stand up and speak out for freedom in health care insurance. Then we could make the various plans in both public and private health programs responsive to our needs. When we make plans and providers directly accountable to individuals and families, this will ignite a health care revolution. To Democrats, that could be dangerous.

Mr. White is a former AP newsman in Salt Lake City, former insurance company president, a CPCU, and former chairman of the Minnesota Federation of Insurance, an association of life & health, property & casualty, and auto insurers. He is considered an expert in insurance matters.