Saturday, March 31, 2012

Resurge awaken

When we talk about renewable energy, do we mean impoverishment?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Obamacare Makes a Sick Health Care System Worse

  • But we have the tools to prevent the spread of socialized health care.

  • The health care system in the U.S. needs reform, no question, but it needs the type of reform that makes the system better, not worse. As more and more people have now realized, Obamacare is nothing more than Medicaid expansion. Wyoming Liberty Group’s battle to stop the implementation of Obamacare in Wyoming has made it a leader in health care reform. That expertise is now spreading to other states, giving them the tools to fight off the Obamacare Goliath.

    Our neighbor Montana is a good example of a state that is using the tools developed by the Wyoming Liberty Group’s policy expert, Regina Meena, to hold its own against the forces of socialized medicine. Carl Graham, the CEO of the Montana Policy Institute, explains in a radio interview what real health care reform is and how to fix the system using these tools.

    Mr. Graham says there are three measures that define real heath care reform: it increases health insurance coverage and health care access; it increases the quality of health care; and it gets health care costs under control.

    Obamacare fails on all three of these measures. It will force more people to have insurance, but as we saw here in Wyoming, the cost will be higher. Not only that, just because people have insurance doesn’t mean they will have access to health care. If the supply of health services is rationed, people will have access to a waiting list, which is not access to care.

    Obamacare reforms will also likely mean less quality. If the government takes away profits and limits competition, health service providers have no incentive to improve the way they do things.

    Obamacare’s costs have been grossly underestimated. The federal government originally said the cost would be under $940 billion over 10 years but the Congressional Budget Office says the cost will be at least $1.76 trillion during that period.

    So if we want real health care reform, how do we fix the system?

    The key is putting consumers back in control of their health care choices. Real reform would mean consumers themselves would make decisions that meet their needs, together with a safety net (not hammock) for those without the means to help themselves.

    Regina Meena, at the Wyoming Liberty Group has developed a Five-Point plan to do achieve real health care reform. As Regina says, “The key to this plan is returning health insurance to the private insurance market, where auto, property, life and supplemental health currently function. These insurance products are viable, affordable and work for us.”

    How do we get there?

    1. We need more competition. Obamacare has started the consolidation of the health care industry, which means less competition. The tool to achieve more competition, one fully supported by the Wyoming Liberty Group and the vast majority of Wyoming legislators, is cross border insurance sales. If the insurance industry can sell in Wyoming the same insurance policy it sells in other states, and can pool the risk over a larger population, the cost of insurance will go down in Wyoming.

    2. We need more insurance options. For example, people should be free to choose policies with higher deductibles, or policies that provide only catastrophic coverage.

    Other improvements include: a reduction in mandates, greater transparency and certain tort reform.

    If we want to defeat this Goliath permanently, we must clarify the relationship between government and the people. Socialized medicine is a Utopian solution that is supposed to equalize health outcomes. But to make people ‘equal’ the government has to treat people differently. It raises costs to some so it can give their hard-earned income to others; and is it fair to force some to pay more to lower costs to others, especially when it reduces access to health care for everyone at the same time?
    We need real health care reform, one that increases quality and lowers costs.

    Let’s face it, Obamacare is more about redistribution and control than curing a sick health care system.

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Windmills of doom

    Well, I've practiced a bit by doing representational wind turbine paintings and now it's time to go surreal.

    Enter the Windwalker

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Abandoned and forgotten -- almost

    Another view of these strange old abandoned buildings. Although the sign at the turnoff says something about a research center, turns out the back building is the old wastewater treatment plant and the front building is possibly an old hospital. I found that out today when I biked up to the new wastewater treatment plant, which is on the other side of the highway from the old plant. The new wastewater treatment plant is on the top of one of the rolling hills so I biked up to the gate and a disembodied voice came out from the speaker - Can I help you ? 

    Uh oh, I thought. I said I was looking for places to take photos from and asked if I could come through the gate and take pics from the top of the hill. The voice asked if I was a terrorist. I said I was an economist, which some people think is a terrorist, but no, I wasn't a terrorist by the usual definition.

    The fellows at the plant turned out to be very nice and told me the story of the new/old wastewater treatment plant. The new plant also has a  nice high view of the windfarm farther east, a great place for more pics.

    U.S. government debt default -- one way or another

    The U.S. debt is now so large it is beyond most peoples' ability to conceptualize. How will the U.S. get out of this debt? By defaulting on its obligations. 

    The U.S. should, and probably will, default on its debt, either outright or through inflation. Why should this happen? If is doesn't, our children and grandchildren will be turned into serfs. 

    Say the U.S. government doesn't default on its debt. That means young people will be forced to pay higher taxes in the future to pay it off. At the moment, interest rates are low. As inflation takes hold however, those rates will rise. When that happens the interest payments on the debt that taxpayers will be forced to pay will also rise. This will take more and more tax dollars out of government coffers and put it into the hands of bondholders. At the same time, taxes will have to rise to fund health care, social security and other entitlement programs. People will be forced to pay taxes for spending they never voted on - they will be little more than serfs. 

    Default will punish all those who lent money to government. (Just like what is happening in Greece right now.)

    So how will the government default on its debt? In one of two ways. The government could, as many homeowners have, just stop paying what it owes on the debt - an outright default. 

    Or, what is more likely, the value of what the U.S. government owes to bondholders will be reduced via the scourge of inflation. 

    Sure, individual citizens who hold U.S. government bonds, and banks, mutual funds, pension funds would lose money, but the upside is they would never lend money to the federal government again. 

    Sure, foreign governments who have been keeping the U.S. government spending spree afloat would lose money, but the upside is they would never lend to the U.S. government again. 

    OK, never is a long time and memories are short. People would eventually start lending to the U.S. government again just like they did to a number of U.S. states that defaulted on their debts in the 1840's. In the meantime, government would be forced to spend only what it collected in taxes. We would once again be living within our means and not creating a legacy of debt and higher taxes to future generations.