Sunday, July 31, 2011

No Nursing Home For Me! I'm Stayng At A Holiday Inn

On February 1, 2011, we did a post that was very well received. It concerned our dire current state of health care in this country and offered a whimsical, if impractical approach, to fixing our problems relative to escalating health care costs based on a simple social experiment that was implemented in Sweden.

It was a lighthearted look at health care reform rather than the typical, analytical approach we typically use to ravage Obama Care. The post can be accessed via the following link:

The crux of the post was that you can usually solve problems easier, better, cheaper, and less oppressively if the human behavior you want to change is done in a positive manner rather than a negative, forcible manner. Obama Care is not a positive approach. Obama care forces you to buy health care insurance. Obama Care forces you to pay more in taxes. Obama Care forces a cumbersome, ineffective, expensive, and likely doomed bureaucracy on the country. There is no elegance to Obama Care, it is a brute force approach to problem solving that will fail because if does not attack specific root causes of our escalating health care costs.

The Swedish experiment showed how to elegantly change behavior in a positive way. It is the kind of specific, elegantly thinking that is needed in this country to fix the problems that Obama Care will not fix. The following is also another  lighthearted approach to fixing the high costs of health care in this country, specifically the high cost of nursing homes.

The solution listed below is in an email currently circulating on the Net. While on the surface it is funny and seems quite impractical relative to addressing one aspect of our high health care costs, skyrocketing nursing home costs, just like the Swedish experiment, if you think about it, the approach is certainly more elegant than anything in Obama Care:


No nursing home for me. I'll be checking into a Holiday Inn! With the average cost for a nursing home care costing $188.00 per day, there is a better way when I get old and too feeble.

I've already checked on reservations at the Holiday Inn.

For a combined long term stay discount and senior discount, it's $59.23 per night.

Breakfast is included, and some have happy hours in the afternoon.

That leaves $128.77 a day for lunch and dinner in any restaurant I want, or room service, laundry, gratuities and special TV movies.

Plus, they provide a spa, swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge and washer-dryer, etc.

Most have free toothpaste and razors, and all have free shampoo and soap.

$5 worth of tips a day, you'll have the entire staff scrambling to help you.

They treat you like a customer, not a patient.

There's a city bus stop out front, and seniors ride free.

The handicap bus will also pick you up (if you fake a decent limp).

To meet other nice people, call a church bus on Sundays.

For a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there.

While you're at the airport, fly somewhere. Otherwise, the cash keeps building up.

It takes months to get into decent nursing homes. Holiday Inn will take your reservation today.

And you're not stuck in one place forever -- you can move from Inn to Inn, or even from city to city.

Want to see Hawaii? They have Holiday Inns there too.

TV broken? Light bulbs need changing? Need a mattress replaced?

No problem... They fix everything, and apologize for the inconvenience.

The Inn has a night security person and daily room service. The maid checks to see if you are okay. If not, they'll call an ambulance ... or the undertaker.

If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip, and Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

And no worries about visits from family. They will always be glad to find you, and probably check in for a few days mini-vacation.

The grandkids can use the pool.

What more could you ask for?

Think about it, it certainly has more merit than many of the hidden disasters we are coming across as knowledgeable people read and analyze Obama Care. It is a positive, elegant approach to a problem, just like the Swedish experiment was. It does not involve a government bureaucracy and reduces cost within the health care industry. It is a positive approach that is a better solution for many people than the current way of doing business in this country relative to nursing homes.

Wouldn't it be nice of the political class could actually think out of the box and as elegantly like the Swedes did and this nursing home bound American did rather than heavy handedly and with brutal force like as with Obama Care. If they did, would we would at least save some trees since we would not longer need 2,500 page pieces of doomed legislation like Obama Care incurred and we would all be assured of room service in our old age.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

And What Value Do We Get For Our $14 TRILLION Debt?

Many times we have discussed the fact that the major issues of our times never seem to get resolved by the political class sitting in Washington. The issues of failing public schools, the lack of a coherent national energy strategy, escalating health care costs, leaky borders, Social Security and Medicare heading for insolvency, a bloated military establishment, and other major challenges never get resolved. We have overspent our nation's resources by more than $14 TRILLION and we have nothing to show for it.

Even the politicians that have accomplished nothing realize their incompetence, if you believe the following quote from Colorado Senator Michael Bennet as stated in the Washington Post on September 3, 2010: "We have managed to acquire $13 TRILLION of debt on our balance sheet. In my view, we have nothing to show for it." How true.

As a side note, realize that it was less than a year ago when a politician was talking about "only" a $13 TRILLION national debt. In less than 12 months, the Obama administration and Congress have added another $1.3 TRILLION to that figure or about $11,000 per U.S. household.

Don't believe Bennet's opinion? Consider a quote from former President Bill Clinton, as quoted by the Associated Press on September 21, 2010: "Do you know how many political and economic decisions are made in this world by people who don't know what in the living daylights they are talking about?" How true.

So even members of the political class acknowledge they do not know what they are doing and have been abysmally unsuccessful in addressing the major problems. But what about some of the smaller issues of our times, How is the political class doing with those? Not very well if you consider the following examples of horrible priorities, horrible wastes of taxpayer money, and horrible execution of government functions:

- Let's start with one horrible sense of priorities from California Congressman Howard Berman. Congressman Berman and his staff are working on legislation that would order the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to restrict helicopter flight paths and set minimum altitudes over some of the most exclusive residential property in Los Angeles. The affluent neighbors of Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton are upset about the sound of helicopters that these celebrities use and want the Federal government to intervene, a cause that Congressman Berman is working on.

Some serious problems on this issue. First, the country is about to go over a financial cliff and this Congressman is spending taxpayer resources on a matter that affects just a very small number of Americans. Talk about bad priorities.

Second, according to the Associated Press article that reported on this "injustice," the FAA already has existing rules in place to regulate helicopter traffic so the entire effort of Berman is unnecessary, especially since the legislation he is proposing has very few specific recommendations on how to regulate the southern California celebrity helicopter crisis. His proposed bill is leaving those ugly details to the FAA to figure out.

What a waste of time, energy, and taxpayer resources when hundreds of other, far more important issues need to be addressed. Thus, I think you can assume that a lot of our $14.3 TRILLION national debt was expended on these types of empty, very low priority initiatives.

- Second example of bad priorities this week comes directly from the President. With the nation on a collision course with severe fiscal problems in the beginning of August, one would hope that the political class would be in an "all hands on deck, 24 hours a day  mode," trying to solve the debt ceiling issue. They all should be locked in a room and not allowed to come out until they have reached a solution. This includes everyone from the President down to Congressman Berman, his helicopter issue be damned. However, that is not the case.

This past Monday, the President decided that spending a few hours to host the Major League Baseball World Series winners, the San Francisco Giants, at the White House was more important than staying deeply involved with debt ceiling crisis. Better to kill a few hours hanging out with very rich professional athletes than helping avoid the fiscal crisis. The Giants would still be champions two weeks from now and two months from now. Why was this meeting not postponed in light of the fiscal crisis? Bad, bad set of priorities, Mr. President.

It should be interesting to see if his bad sense of prioritizing continues this week: does the President leave Washington for a purely political birthday bash/election fund raiser event in his honor on August 3 or does he put the good of the country first if the debt ceiling issue is not resolved by then? I know what option I would be betting on, given what the President's less than proper priority usually is.

- Let's look at a few other services we get from the Federal government to see if we are getting real value for our $14.3 TRILLION of debt. The first example comes from the Briefing section of the July 29, 2011 issue of The Week magazine. This week the section focused on the medical evidence that is revealing, for the most part, antidepressant usage may be causing more problems than solutions.

An interesting part of the article was the description of how a drug gets approved by the Federal government, through the FDA, for use by Americans. It appears that when a drug company comes up with a new drug, the FDA requires that the drug company must show two drug trials where the proposed drug showed positive effects. If the drug company can show just two successful trials, the Federal government will approve the drug for use.

However, what most people do not know, the FDA does not set a limit on the number of negative trials that the new drug caused before it finally got to two positive trials. Theoretically, a drug company could conduct hundreds of trials and if any two of them showed positive results, the drug is approved.

The analogy to me is golf. If I hit 10,000 golf balls in a row on the same par three hole, I may eventually get a hole in one, not because I am a good golfer but because the odds of probability say if I do anything enough times, I may get a result I desire. Same thing with the FDA's approval process. Conduct enough drug trials, eventually you will get the answer you want. This is what we are paying for, an FDA that allows a golfer to do the same shot over and over until he gets it right. Hardly a valuable Federal government service.

- A while ago we reported on the ill fated and down right stupid program that was implemented by the Justice Departments' ATF division called "Fast and Furious." The objective of the program was to intentionally allow guns to be sold to the Mexican drug cartels and then track them to crime scenes where arrests could be made and the network of gun trafficking could be better understood.

The problems with this program were many. First, it turns out that the government really had not way of tracking the movement of the guns once they left the country so that once the cartels had them, they were lost to the trackers. Second, these were not a few, low caliber guns. There were thousands of guns, many of which were military grade, that our government allowed to easily get into the hands of the violent drug cartels.

Third, and tragically, recent news reports are finding that weapons from this program have resurfaced in connection with at least 122 crimes in Mexico. The New York Times reported that on 48 different criminal occasions between 2009 and 2011, Mexican authorities found weapons from this operation.

At least two of the weapons were used in the killing of a U.S. border agent and who knows how many Mexican citizens were also killed as a result of this botched gun tracking program. Total incompetence that happened to be more than wasted taxpayer wealth, it was and will continue to be a fatal waste of human lives. I wonder how much of the $14.3 TRILLION was a result of insanely bad programs like this one?

- But the waste and incompetence of Fast and Furious gets even better. According to an article from McCatchy Newspapers that was recently reprinted in the St. Petersburg Times, six drug cartel gun runners, the exact kind of people that the ATF failed operation would be looking to apprehend, were actually paid informants on the payroll of the FBI and the DEA.

So let me get this straight: one part of the Federal government (ATF) is trying to catch Mexican gun runners who are actually working for another part of the government (the FBI and DEA)? How much of that $14.3 TRILLION was wasted because one part of the Federal government did not know what another part of the Federal government was doing? Thus, they were actually working counter to each others' objectives, accomplishing nothing in the process but expending a lot of taxpayer money to nothing.

- A scathing article by David Brooks of the New York Times that was summarized in the July 1, 2011 issue of The Week magazine is unmerciful when it comes to Fannie Mae, the giant Federal government mortgage facilitator. According to Mr. Brooks, Fannie was used for over a decade to funnel taxpayer money to Democratic party politicians and to the friends of of Fannie's chief executive, James Johnson.

By flooding the market with risky subprime mortgages, to eventually be backed by taxpayers when that market collapsed, Mr. Johnson was rewarded with over $100 million in compensation. According to a new book on the subject, "Reckless Endangerment," Johnson and his insiders "paid themselves lavishly and used Fannie funding to lobby Congressmen, falsify academic research, and suck in reputable figures such as Bill Daley, Ken Starr, and Larry Summers to defend Fannie's scam." All parties to this disgrace walked away from the nuclear economic meltdown they helped create.

Thus, part of the $14.3 TRILLION debt is a result of this type of criminal behavior backed by both Congressional involvement or Congressional laxity. In either case, nothing good came out of the whole Johnson tenure as head of Fannie, a tenure that will cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars to clean up for years to come.

- The last example of political class incompetence comes from Miami. A recent Miami Herald article reported on how south Florida has become the Medicare scam and fraud capital of the country. Since it is estimated that anywhere from $60 to $90 billion a year in Medicare funds are lost to criminals and fraudsters, why hasn't the political class, via Congress, made south Florida a focus point on cleaning up the taxpayer waste? 

According to the article, whenever there is a little heat put on the scammers, they just take their money and go to Cuba, South America, or Central American to live off of their ill gotten gains. If everyone knows what is going on, why isn't action being taken to crack down on those still scamming Medicare in south Florida and pressuring other governments to extradite those living abroad back to the U.S.? The problem is defined but no solution is forthcoming. In the meantime, the tens of billions of dollars lost every year via south Florida scams contribute to the $14.3 TRILLION debt.

Well, unfortunately, not only can the political class not solve the major issues of our time, they cannot solve any of the less important issue, all of which have contributed to that $14.3 TRILLION national debt over the years. The non-prosecution of criminals, both in south Florida and in Washington, the lack of cooperation and the redundancy across Federal government entities, the bad priorities that cause a loss of focus on what is really important, and government regulations that are not effective. Is there any doubt why we have the debt we do?

As always, three steps from "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" need to be implemented immediately to rescue the country from the debt of the political class:
  • Step 1 would reduce government spending by 10% a year over five years in order to get out of control government spending reined in. More importantly, it would require every Federal organization to do a ground up audit of itself to eliminate redundant functions, terminate bad or unneeded programs, and ferret out waste.
  • Step 34 would hold members of Congressional committees responsible for the objectives of their committees. Failure to attain those objectives and adequately oversee the government functions their committees oversee would result in those committee members being removed from their committee posts.
  • Step 39 would impose term limits for every Federal politician. If you have been in office more than ten years, you are now part of the debt problem and need to be removed.
The political class members currently in Washington have done nothing and are doing nothing to attack the cancer that is that $14.3 TRILLION national debt while providing no meaningful value while they waste TRILLIONS of dollars. No value, but high cost, a deadly combination.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.
Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Friday, July 29, 2011

And Harry Reid Thinks I'm An Extremist? I Think Not

One irritating trait that seems to be common to President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid is the trait of calling others names when they do not get their way. During the mid term elections last year, President Obama told an audience at a Democratic fund raiser that they had to "punish their enemies," which unfortunately turned out to be any American who dared to have a difference of opinion with the President's policies. Nancy Pelosi decided that any American citizen that dared to have a different opinion on Obama Care than her was un-American, i.e. in a free country, a difference of opinion, in her eyes, makes you a traitor.

Not to be outdone, Harry Reid this week characterized those in the House of Representatives trying hard to get out-of-control government spending reined in as being "extremists." Since I truly and honestly believe that this national debt problem has the highest potential of destroying the country and our democracy than any other threat in a very long time, I would guess that Harry would consider me an extremist also.

But who really is any extremist, Mr. Reid? Let's look at your track record regarding extremism:
  • You have been the majority leader in the Senate since 2007 and have ruled that chamber with a Democratic majority for the past five years and will add another year in that span up to the elections in November, 2012. During that five year time period from 2007 through 2011, the Federal government added almost five TRILLION dollars to the national debt.
  • If you include the estimated deficit for the next year, the Federal government will likely add almost $6.1 TRILLION to the national debt.
  • This additional debt, created while you controlled the purse strings in the Senate, comes out to a debt burden of almost $54,000 for EVERY U.S. household.
  • The smallest amount that was added to the national debt while you controlled the Senate occurred in 2007 and 2008, $161 billion and $459 billion respectively, possibly because you were reined in by a Republican President. Once the Republican President was replaced by a Democratic President, the nation's annual budget deficits increased by about three fold, on average, once Obama was in office.
  • The total annual deficits rolled up during your tenure as Senate majority leader and the expected deficit next year, include five of the highest annual deficits this country has EVER incurred on a dollar basis. 
  • The annual deficits as a percentage of GDP were 1.14% and 3,18% in your first two years as head of the Senate but under a Republican President. Once a Democratic President took office, the country's deficit as a percentage of GDP while you ran the Senate exploded to 10.0%, 8.82%, 10.91% and 6.96% (est. in 2012).
  • Even though a recent CNN poll showed that a substantial majority of Americans were in favor of a balanced budget amendment to get debt under control, an issue that had already been passed by the House of Representatives, you would not even allow it to come to the Senate floor for a vote, despite the will of the American public.
  • While the Senate was under your control these past five years, you have presided over an economic stimulus program of $830 billion that failed miserably.
  • You were complicit in bailing out dysfunctional banks, brokerage houses, auto makers, and other companies, rewarding their incompetence with billions and billions of taxpayer dollars.
  • You were complicit in passing legislation that was useless when it came to remedying the country's economic ills including Cash For Clunkers, Cash For Appliances, Cash For Caulkers, the HAMP mortgage program, the first time home buyers rebate program, the small business investment legislation and others.
  • You shadily snuck Obama Care through the back door of reconciliation in order to get passage, a piece of legislation that is likely to go down as one of the worst ever written when compared to its objectives and its expected and growing negative financial impact.
  • We are still losing the war on drugs, our public schools are still failing, our tax code is a disgrace, we still have no national energy policy, our military is bloated, wasteful, and preparing to fight yesterday's wars, and our election processes are driven not by freedom but by the obscene amounts of money that you and others in the political class allow to distort the will of the people.
And you call me, and others like me, an extremist for wanting to keep the country financially solvent? You call me an extremist for not wanting my kids and grandkids to end up paying for the record setting and record shattering debt and deficits you allowed to incur during your time as the head of the Senate? You call me an extremist for assuming that once in a while the Federal government might actually resolve a major issue in a cost effective manner? You call me an extremist for having a difference of opinion when it comes to the catastrophic waste and spending the the Federal government has incurred under your watch? As the numbers prove above, you cannot blame Bush for this, he at least kept the deficit and debt reasonable in your first two years as the head of the Senate, things did not get really out of control under Bush left office.

Mr. Reid, if I am an extremist for wanting America and Americans to be free again, free of the financial burden that the Federal government's outrageous spending and debt has incurred over the past five years, years when you were in a powerful position of leadership, then I would put forth that I am in pretty good company when you consider the following historical insights:

"A wise and FRUGAL government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government." Thomas Jefferson

"A politician looks forward only to the next election. A statesman looks forward to the next generation." Thomas Jefferson

"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of the opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all of its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear." Harry Truman

"The politicians just don't want your money. They want your soul.  They want you to be worn down by taxes until you are dependent and helpless. When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both." James Dale Davidson

"The government is merely a servant - merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. It's function is to obey orders, not to originate them." Mark Twain

"Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress... But I repeat myself." Mark Twain

If these are extremists, than I am proud to be considered in their company. Americans who want government to get out of our lives as much as possible. A government that is responsive to the major issues of our times. A government that is FRUGAL with our hard earned wealth.

You are none of these things, Senator Reid. The Federal government spending you have presided over is extremist by any measure possible. Your name calling and suppression of other Americans' opinions is extremist by any measure. Your incompetence to resolve any major issue during your leadership tenure  is extremist by any measure, namely nothing has been resolved during your tenure, nothing, nada.

So please, start acting like a statesman for once in your life, stop whining if you do not get your way, and stop demonizing us "extremists" who just happen to have a difference of opinion. As Will Rogers once said: "Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest of us."  Stop acting like a politician and start acting like an American, an American that has the country's best interests at the forefront and an American that respects the diversity of opinion that should exist in a democracy. Astonish us for once.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What's Next, Roulette In The Rose Garden? Poker In The Press Room?

I have never hidden the fact that I was never a big fan of Barack Obama. Back in 2008 I found him shallow, void of concrete plans, pompous, nothing more than a typical Chicago politician. However, I was willing to give him a fair shot at success even though I did not vote for him. Friends and family members whom I respect were very excited about an Obama Presidency so I was willing to accept the fact that I was possibly wrong, not able to see some attributes or qualities of leadership that they thought they saw.

After two and half years in office, I can confidently say I stick by my initial suspicion, this is not a leader by any means, this is just another politician. His economic programs have all been failures, his health care reform initiative is riddled with problems, he has not gotten our troops out of Iraq as promised, he has not closed down the prison at Guantanamo as promised, and his administration's policies and amateur hour antics have introduced so much uncertainty into the world that it has been a long time since our economic condition has been this dire. His reckless spending may have already bankrupted the country under mountains of debt.

But what really cemented my belief that I was right back in 2008 was the recent email that the President's handlers sent out and its accompanying video clip, announcing that the President would be raffling off a dinner with himself in the White House for four people. All you had to do was donate $5 to his re-election campaign fund and you would have your name entered into a raffle for the honor of having dinner with the President.

I find a number of quite despicable aspects of this whole affair:
  • Should the most powerful man in the world stoop to such carnival-like antics, raffling off his valuable time to collect a few bucks from Americans? In my eyes, this cheapens the aura and respect of the office of President to unheard levels.
  • Given that the country is facing a possible default on its debt, we are fighting three wars across the world, unemployment is stubbornly high, the country is as divided as ever, etc., how could this President find time out of what should be a hectic schedule to film a video for this raffle? If he performed his job like he should have wouldn't that performance be more Presidential and effective for his campaign than this cheap stunt?
  • The video effort gets even stickier when put in the light of legality. According to many sources in the news, it appears that this video was filmed in a non-residential area of the White House. If that is the case, and other official videos have been presented to show the same setting and which would verify this was not in the residential area, than the President and his handlers have actually violated a Federal law which prohibits the use of the White House public areas for political campaigning. Thus, you can bet this issue will eventually take up more and more valuable time away from solving the actual problems of the nation as the political class looks for any angle to optimize this possible illegality.
  • Given this administration's less than sterling record of playing by the rules, you can bet that this raffle will be rigged so that only Obama supporters win. I thought about entering but I am sure that if I was one of the winners (or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity were a winner), you can bet that our entry would suddenly disappear.
But the most obnoxious part of this whole affair is the following quote from the email invitation:

"Most [election] campaigns fill their dinner guest lists with Washington lobbyists and special interests. We're running a different kind of campaign. We don't take money from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs - we never have and we never will."

Wow, a campaign based on the little people in the country, the individual Americans, the true essence of America. Not! Does the President and his handlers think we are that stupid to believe that he is a man of the people, that he shuns politically motivated, large sums of money when it benefits his election campaigns? Let's look at his track record when it comes to being a "man of the ordinary people:"

- On August 3, 2011, the day that the country might start running into debt ceiling and financial problems, a massive birthday party/campaign event in Chicago is planned for the President. The event will consist of several events including a Jennifer Hudson concert ($50 per ticket), admission to the birthday party ($200 a ticket), a premium seat $1,000), a souvenir photo with the President ($10,000) and VIP seating and dinner with Obama ($38,500). Kind of makes that $5 raffle ticket a bargain.

The President could not care less about your $5, he wants the big spenders and your raffle entry is nothing but political PR and a way to get your email address to hit you up for money later in the campaign. Trust me, at $10,000 a picture, there will be alot of special interest money banging around on Birthday night regardless of what the raffle email said.

- A short article in the May 20, 2011 issue of The Week magazine described how a group of Democrats have announced that they were putting processes in place to collect campaign funding from anonymous sources for the 2012 elections, using a funding model that Obama labeled a "threat to democracy" when Republicans successfully used in last November. This process allows people to donate money without divulging their names. Seriously, ask yourself: do we think that this will consist of a bunch of $5, non-special interest donations or will it consist of much larger corporate, union, lobbyist, and PAC donations? Given this announced Democratic Party strategy, the President's  claim that "we don't take money from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs" is now out the window from a credibility perspective.

- Consider an article in the April 25, 2011 issue of Business Week that described some of Obama's recent and historical fund raising efforts:
  • He recently attended a fundraising dinner at the home of Marc Benioff, chairman of, which had an admission price of $35,800 per person which was to be split between the President's re-election campaign and the National Democratic Committee.
  • At the time the article was written, the President was scheduled to attend another fundraiser on April 27 in new York City. Price of admission? $35,800 per person.
  • In 2008, Microsoft gave the Obama campaign over $830,000.
  • In 2008, Google gave the Obama campaign over $800,000.
  • In 2008, Goldman Sachs gave the Obama campaign just under a $1 million and Citigroup gave just over $700,000. And the political class, including Obama, eventually gave them billions of dollars of your taxpayer money via the TARP bank bailout process shortly thereafter.
  • In 2008, Boston philanthropist Alan Solomont, former media executive Charles Rivkin, and lawyer John Roos each raised more than $500,000 for Obama's campaign. They are now the ambassadors to Spain, France, and Japan, respectively. These guys went to cushy jobs in exotic, faraway lands on the taxpayer expense and all you got was a raffle ticket.
It is obvious that this President will stoop to any level at any time to ensure he gets elected. So, why not go all in, so to speak. Let's put those roulette wheels in the White House Rose Garden. Let's move the press out of the White House press room and put those poker tables in. Get a royal flush, share a beer with the President. Double down on Double 00 at roulette and maybe you can shoot some basketball hoops with the big guy. He seems bored and irritated whenever he has to actually do something as required by his job so he would probably welcome the break. The integrity, status, and aura of the Presidency cannot fall much lower.

This kind of  hypocritical and demeaning behavior makes Step 39 from "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" even more important. Step 39 would impose term limits on all politicians, restricting them to one term, length to be determined. Only by imposing a one and done term limit restriction can we avoid being offended by Presidential raffles and the freedom destroying money pit that re-election campaigns have become.

Consider a quote from a June 27, 2011 article in Business Week: "If you have tens of thousands of dollars to spare, you can very easily buy face time with the President of The United States. Anything less, you're looking at a raffle ticket." So true, so please do not buy this PR raffle garbage, you are just a pawn in this high powered game of chess.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Weekly Obama Care Calamity - Triple Bonus Issue

For a while back in June, it seemed like every week brought another unforeseen calamity in the making from Obama Care. One week we found out that the law, as written, mistaken made about 3 million non-needy and non-poor Americans eligible for free Medicaid health insurance, funded by the taxpayer. The next week we found out that the law, as written, discriminated against working Americans vs. comparable Americans who were on Social Security by making the working American group pay 50% more for insurance in Obama Care's insurance exchanges than those that were not working.

These disasters were combined with several other Obama Care disasters that we have discussed extensively in this blog:
  • The law forces Americans to purchase a service, health care insurance, that they may not want, may not afford, or may not need, making them criminals if they decide to disobey the law.
  • Major American companies including MacDonald's, AT&T, Verizon, John Deere, and Caterpillar are on record stating that they could easily see themselves dropping health care insurance for their employees and retirees since Obama Care changes to the tax code makes it cheaper for them not to offer health care insurance than to continue to offer it. This scenario would likely cause tens of millions of Americas to lose their health care coverage as a result of Obama Care, the exact opposite of what the legislation was supposed to do.
  • The legislation does not address the main culprits of high health care costs in this country, namely that Americans eat too much, they eat too much of the wrong kind of food, they smoke too much, they do not exercise enough and the population is getting older. By not properly addressing these root causes, this legislation has virtually no chance of being successful.
  • Within one year after it was passed, over 1,000 waivers to the law have already been issued, indicating that that this is a bad law if you have to waive its provisions more than four times a day in the first year of its existence.
  • The legislation did not address a primary driver of high health care costs, namely the need for tort reform in this industry, reform that has significantly reduced health care costs in several states that made such reforms.
  • The original costs estimate of the law stated that it would reduce the Federal deficit by $125 billion over ten years. However, many of the factors above, along with the fact that the original cost saving estimate did not include all of the legislation's costs, has now turned that meager deficit reduction estimate into a substantial deficit addition estimate.
We could go on and on but it is pretty obvious that this is one sorry, dangerous piece of legislation. However, it gets worse, as this week we have come across not one more Obama Care calamity but three.

Let's start with a new study done by researchers at the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston. This research analysis examined the effects of the state wide health care reform law that was implemented in 2006 in Massachusetts. That state-based health care reform effort was very, very similar to Obama Care. The law forced all state residents to purchase health care insurance, it placed health care insurance mandates on all businesses in the state with more than 10 employees, it expanded Medicaid coverage, it created a pool of money to subsidy the purchase of health care insurance, and it created health insurance exchanges for those less fortunate people who could not afford insurance company policies. All of these components exist in one way or another in Obama Care.

So, five years after its implementation, what has happened to the health care situation in Massachusetts:
  • State health care expenditures went up over $400 million.
  • Private health care insurance costs have gone up $4.31 billion.
  • The Federal government's tab in Massachusetts has required it to spend an additional $2.412 billion on Medicaid in Massachusetts.
  • Medicare costs went up by $1.42 billion.
  • These four components added $8.5 billion to the state government's and state and national taxpayers' costs of health care in Massachusetts.
  • Thus, a major objective of the Massachusetts legislation, cost containment, was not close to being attained.
  • The number of emergency room visits, which was supposed to go down as a result of the state legislation, went from 2.351 million visits in 2006 to 2.521 visits in 2009, an increase of 7.2%.
  • Not only did emergency room visits go up, the cost of emergency room visits went up 36%, $943 million, the exact opposite effect that the Obama Care-like legislation was supposed to do.
  • The study found that the state legislation did not anticipate the fact that with more, newly insured residents, demands on the existing health care provider network would go up substantially along with health care costs, a simple economic truth: increase demand, keep the supply unchanged and costs have to go up, the exact opposite intent of the legislation.
  • The study concluded that Obama Care, would suffer the same consequences as the very similar Massachusetts law: higher costs for the taxpayer, increased cost of health care services, more use of emergency rooms, etc., all the exact opposites of what Obama Care is falsely supposed to do.
Great, rather than learn and adjust an existing model, the political class in Washington went down almost the same road of disaster as Massachusetts. Einstein once said something to the effect that the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. When comparing the Massachusetts health care reform effort to Obama Care we can now see that Einstein was right.

The second calamity comes from a survey of small businesses that was conducted by the National Federation Of Independent Business (NFIB) that addressed the opinions of small business owners:
  • Since Obama Care was passed, about 12% of small businesses in the survey have either had their health care insurance plans dropped or were told they would be dropped in the near future. Since Willliam Dennis, a senior research fellow at NFIB has publicly stated, "We are not aware of any data suggesting we've had turnover anywhere near this level in the past," it could be deduced that this dropping of insurance coverage in the past year was due to Obama Care.
  • By a very large margin, those surveyed did not think that Obama Care would reduce their health care insurance program costs, will not reduce the administrative costs of their health care plans, and will add to the Federal deficit.
  • 20% of those small businesses that currently offer health care insurance to their employees expect to change what those programs offer the next time they renew their insurance plans, with most stating that they will reduce the benefits of their coverage for their employees.
  • Businesses with a lot of lower wage employees may see those employees go to the lower costs Federal government insurance exchanges. If that should happen, 26% of small businesses say they are very likely to drop health care insurance for all their employees and 31% say they are somewhat likely to drop their insurance. This behavior, if enacted, would significantly increase the health care costs of the Federal government, adding to an already obscene national debt.
Same type of results to what happened in Massachusetts. Currently covered small business employees are already losing health care coverage just one year after Obama Care was passed. The cost to the Federal government is likely to be substantially higher than expected as 1) low wage employees go to the heavily subsidized exchanges for coverage and 2) small businesses drop health care coverage for their remaining employees who do not leave for exchange coverage, resulting in more Americans without coverage, the exact opposite effect that Obama Care was supposed to prevent.

The third calamity comes from a new report out of Cornell University by economist Richard Burkhauser and others. I will not try to explain the subtleties of what the Cornell people found but it involves how the government originally interpreted the law (family plan thresholds vs. individual plan thresholds) and estimated how many people would opt out of their employers' insurance program and go to the government subsidized insurance exchanges.

Given what is likely to happen, which is not the way the cost of Obama Care was figured, the Cornell analysis estimates that many more workers will end up in the exchanges than was expected, adding an additional $50 billion a year to the national deficit and national debt. If their assumptions and calculations are correct, over a ten year period, about half a TRILLION dollars would be added to the national debt as a result of Obama Care. Thus, whatever dream/hope/fantasy the political class had of reducing the national debt over the next tens years as a result of this legislation is pretty much gone by now.

Even worse, the researchers think this may be the best case. Obama Care has made it so attractive for employers to shift workers out of their own programs into the exchange programs, they may find it advantageous to shift ALL of their workers out of their health care plans, shutting them down, and forcing all employees to get insurance exchange coverage. If that happens, then it is likely that a full TRILLION dollars would be added to the national debt in the next ten years.

Three different analyses, three different approaches, three different organizations, all coming up with the same conclusion: Obama Care will be detrimental to those that already have health care insurance, will significantly increase the national debt, will not reduce overall health care costs, will likely result in tens of millions of Americans losing their current health care insurance coverage, and will be an administrative nightmare to manage.

Outside of these three new calamities, and the numerous others we have discussed, is there any doubt that this piece of garbage needs to be taken off of life support and put to permanent rest? Time to start over before the legislation kills us all.

I can hardly wait to see what calamities await us next week. Stay tuned.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Has The Political Class Ever Accomplished Anything? Take The Quiz And Find Out

Another pop quiz today. This quiz asks you to name the approximate year or era of the following New York Times headlines. After the headlines, I will tell you when those headlines appeared and you may begin to recognize a pattern, namely, after decades of paying for thousands of politicians to go to Washington, the value and successes we have gotten in return is pretty measly.
  1. Calm In The Middle East Urged by The President
  2. Cigarettes Peril Health, U.S. Report Concludes, 'Remedial Action' Urged
  3. President's Farewell Sees Threats To Liberties In Vast Defense Machine
  4. Congress Expects Accord This Week On Tax Cut Bill
  5. House, 382-4, Votes To Help Consumer
  6. OPEC Parlay Weighs New Oil Price Rises and Cuts In Output
  7. Sun Powered Airplane Crosses Channel
  8. AMA Says Plan Would Drive Many Doctors Out Of Medicare
  9. City's Teachers Perform Poorly On State Exam
  10. Tax Plan Offered To Curb Evasions, Raise $237,000,000
  11. Jerusalem's Fate Held Main Issue In Settlement Of Palestine Question
  12. North Korea Calls U.N. Order Illegal
  13. President In Midnight Statement, Take Up Oil Scandal, Promises Facts Will Be Revealed, Guilty Punished, Special Counsel From Both Parties To Bring Our Truth
  14. U.S. Forces Take Control In Baghdad, President Elated, Some Resistance Remains
  15. 178 Nations Reach A Climate Accord, U.S. Only Looks On
As you might expect, every one of these headlines could have occurred today. Middle East strife, a military budget and industry out of control and wasteful, no energy breakthroughs or coherent national energy policy to make us energy independent, bad teachers, health care problems, tax issues, failed government bureaucracy in the consumer protection field, North Korea, political class corruption, etc. It makes you wonder what these people in Washington have been doing all these decades if the issues we have faced through the years are still unresolved today.

Okay, let's see how you did on the quiz. The headlines are repeated below along with the first paragraph of the New York Times article that followed the headline. I will provide some brief commentary after each headline capsule:

1. Calm In The Middle East Urged by The President - April 1, 1954: President Eisenhower called on Israel and Arab states to restrain their extremists and permit other nations to help them settle their disputes.

Commentary - 57 years after Ike issued his plea, the two sides are no closer to a long term peace agreement than back in 1954. Fifty seven years of fruitless negotiations, resulting in untold suffering and deaths on both sides as a constant state of conflict has existed since this headline. No one in he political class has found a way to solve this problem since Ike's plea.

2. Cigarettes Peril Health, U.S. Report Concludes, 'Remedial Action Urged - January 12, 1964: The long awaited Federal report on the effects of smoking found today the use of cigarettes contributed so substantially to the American death rate that "appropriate remedial action" was called for.

Commentary - One of the primary drivers of bad health and high health care costs in this country today is the millions of people that smoke tobacco products in America. While the rate of smoking has come down over the decades, millions still smoke to the detriment of their own health and the health care costs of us all. The government correctly  identified the threat over 47 years ago, the political class has yet to come up with a way to eradicate the threat and the associated costs.

3. President's Farewell Sees Threats To Liberties In Vast Defense Machine - January 18, 1961: President Eisenhower cautioned the nation in a farewell address from the White House tonight to be vigilant against danger to its liberties implicit in a vast military establishment and a permanent armaments industry unparallelled in peacetime.

Commentary - this statement is really scary, given Ike's military background. Here was an insider to both the political class and the U.S.military correctly forecasting that unless kept in check, this "military/industrial complex" would continue to eat up more and more resources even though there was no world wide war or conflicts going on, wasting resources while endangering our freedom.

Unfortunately, his accurate warning went unheeded by the political class, so much so today that our military budget eats up about 25% of the revenue the Federal government collects. This 25% is far too much for the defense needs of the country today, resulting in an overgrown Pentagon bureaucracy, foreign deployments of U.S. troops that are not needed, and billions of dollars of taxpayer waste every year.

4. Congress Expects Accord This Week On Tax Cut Bill - February 17, 1964

Commentary - No need to go through the first paragraph of this article since it is basically the same as the other tax cut historical articles I did not need to cite. 47 years ago the political class was still wrestling with the proper tax code to have and that wrestling match continues on today. The constant adjusting and fighting over the code has resulted in a tax plan that is overly complex and overly simple to cheat on, resulting in unfairness across all income ranges.

5. House, 382-4, Votes To Help Consumer - February 2, 1968: The House passed today a comprehensive "truth-in-lending" bill designed to give consumers full and clear information on how much they pay in interest and other finance charges on loans and credit purchases.

Commentary - Hey, wasn't this one of the main reasons for Obama to push through the Dodd/Franks financial industry reform bill last year? Wasn't that bill and the consumer protection agency bureaucracy it created supposed to do the exact same thing? What happened between last year and 1968, why do we need this new consumer protection law when we had one back in the 1960s? Didn't anybody in D.C. learn anything from 1968's action?

6. OPEC Parlay Weighs New Oil Price Rises and Cuts In Output - March 27, 1979: Pressure for another large increase in world oil prices built up today at the opening of a meeting of oil ministers of the Organization Of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Commentary - given that gas prices have risen considerably in just the past year, it appears that 32 years after this headline appeared, the political class and its useless Department of Energy are no closer to removing us from these OPEC threats than we were back in 1979.

7. Sun Powered Airplane Crosses Channel - July 8, 1981 - After several earlier unsuccessful attempts, the first solar powered plane succeeded today in crossing the English Channel.

Commentary - Let me add that the crossing was accomplished with only the solar power the plane could generate during the flight. The plane contained no batteries to store any solar power it created and there was no other means of power on the plane.

Thirty years after a solar powered plane proved viable and successful for quick air flights, how come the political class, Federal government, and its Department Of Energy have not been able to find a way to solar power a car that never leaves the ground, given that some English folk thirty years ago powered a plane just on solar?

8. AMA Says Plan Would Drive Many Doctors Out Of Medicare - October 4, 1995: After months of public silence, the American Medical Association expressed the concern about Republican proposals to redesign Medicare, saying new limits on payments would make the program unattractive to many doctors.

Commentary - as with the other headlines, this headline could have occurred quite recently, specifically right in the middle of the Obama Care negotiations. It is an issue now, it was identified in the Times as an issue sixteen years ago, and nothing was done in that time frame to make it a non-issue by the political class.

9. City's Teachers Perform Poorly On State Exam - November 16, 1999: Not only does New York City have a disproportionate number of uncertified teachers, but those that do pass the state certification exams tend to score much lower than their counterparts in the suburbs and upstate.

Commentary - Nowhere have I seen any glowing reports about how effective the New York City schools are today. It could be that I missed them and the city's schools are temples of learning but if not, twelve years after the world knew the city teachers were not measuring up, nothing has apparently changed.

10. Tax Plan Offered To Curb Evasions, Raise $237,000,000 - December 6, 1933: Broad based tax reforms designed to increase the Federal revenue by $237,000,000 and prevent avoidance and evasion of the internal revenue laws was recommended by the House Ways and Means committee. 

Commentary - I love this one. 78 years after trying to get tax evaders under control, we are no closer to that goal today than we were back in 1933. A March, 2008 issue of Money magazine quoted an IRS study that estimated that the Federal government fails to collect $197 billion every year from tax cheats. Thus, nothing has changed in 78 years except the number of zeroes in the amount of money the government fails to collect as stipulated by its own tax laws.

11. Jerusalem's Fate Held Main Issue In Settlement Of Palestine Question - December 21, 1949: The place to study both sides of the Palestine conflict is in Jerusalem. Here are two distinct cities, as far apart in aspect, time, outlook and way of life as they are near in space.

Commentary - 62 years later, Jerusalem is still the same flash point of conflict and hatred that it was back when Truman was President, eleven Presidents ago.

12. North Korea Calls U.N. Order Illegal - June 28, 1950

Commentary - 61 years later, nothing has changed, North Korea still defies the world with the only major difference being is that now it is a nuclear player, certainly not an improvement from 1950.

13. President In Midnight Statement, Takes Up Oil Scandal, Promises Facts Will Be Revealed, Guilty Punished, Special Counsel From Both Parties To Bring Our Truth - January 27, 1924: President Calvin Coolidge will name special counsel representing the Republican and Democratic parties to prosecute those guilty of fraud in connection with the leasing of oil lands in the Naval reserve areas of Wyoming and California.

Commentary - 87 years ago the political class and the oil industry were already in bed together, cutting deals, both illegal and legal, in order to benefit themselves rather than doing the right thing for the country. Today, the same things goes on, with oil companies always making hefty donations to both political parties to influence government behavior to their benefit, with the latest embarrassment being the fact that BP oil donated more campaign money to Barack Obama in 2008 than any other candidate.

14. U.S. Forces Take Control In Baghdad, President Elated, Some Resistance Remains - April 10, 2003: Much of Baghdad tumbled into American hands on Wednesday as Saddam Hussein's image was pulled down from pedestals and portraitures around the city. But American and British commanders said the war in Iraq, including the battle for Baghdad, was not over and faced critical days ahead.

Commentary - this was probably the easiest headline to date, given the Baghdad reference but I thought it important to include anyway. Unfortunately, the estimate of days ahead became weeks ahead which became months ahead and seven years later we are still there, spending money, and losing troops to sporadic battles. Why we are still in country, given the current President's pledge to get us out quickly, is beyond me.

15. 178 Nations reach A Climate Accord, U.S. Only Looks On - July 24, 2001: With the Bush administration on the sidelines the world's leading countries hammered out a compromise agreement today, finishing a treaty that for the first time would formally require industrialized nations to cut emissions of gases linked to global warming.

Commentary - I included this one to show that the American political class is not alone in being unable to accomplish much of anything. Although this treaty was signed over ten years ago, it is my understanding that the vast majority of the signers of the treaty have failed to make any significant headway into reducing their emissions even though they signed off on the treaty. Thus, even when political classes around the world have clear cut objectives and goals, they still can't seem to be able to get anything done.

Pretty depressing. Decades go by and the major issues of our times go unresolved. Dirty politics, tax evasion, complex tax codes, Middle East hatred, an out-of-control military, the continuing energy crisis, the lost war on drugs, North Korea, escalating health costs, failing public schools, etc. No issue ever gets resolved despite the American taxpayer spending TRILLIONS of dollars and suffering through thousands of ineffective politicians.

What should be done? Several steps from "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" would be a good start:
  • Step 6 would not allow anybody or any organizations to contribute to election campaigns unless they were a single U.S. citizen. This would help remove the influence of businesses, unions, PACs, and lobbyists from political decisions and hopefully, make those decisions more focused on solving problems and not politicans' reelections.
  • Step 34 would set up a review process that would remove Congressional committee members from their committee posts if their committees were unable to meet at least minimal standards of performance for their committee's responsibilities. For example, given the lack of a functioning and effective energy policy and the failure of the Department of Energy to deliver any value to the American people, Congressional energy committees would be prime candidates to be re-staffed with new people.
  • Step 39 would impose term limits on Federal politicians so that they they focus only on the nation's issues while in office as opposed to focusing on their reelection. Also, the current Congress has members that have been in Washington for decades, the same period when the major issues of the country have not been resolved. Thus, these long term politicians can now be considered part of the problem and not part of the solution. They need to be removed via term limits and fresh people with fresh ideas and fresh enthusiasm brought in.
Hopefully, in the next twenty, thirty or more years the New York Times articles headlines above are not still as relevant as they are to us today, i.e. a monument to the inability of American politicians to solve a problem.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.
Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Monday, July 25, 2011

You Are More Likely To Die Than Be Fired By The Federal Government

Talk about adding insult to injury. About fourteen million Americans are unemployed today with many more millions underemployed, either working part time, working in jobs they do not want, or they have become too discouraged to even search for a job. American businesses are scared about all of the uncertainty that this Presidential administration and Congress have created in the market that they are afraid to hire, making existing employees work much harder just to keep their jobs. Times are tough all over.

Well, maybe not all over. According to a July 18, 2011 USA Today report, "Federal employees' job security is so great that workers in many agencies are more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off or fired." In other words, once you get a Federal job, regardless of how poorly you perform and your government entity performs, your death is more likely to be the cause of you leaving your job than any other reason. Details from the article include the following:
  • Death is the primary threat to job security in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget, and a dozen other Federal operations.
  • The Federal government fired .55% of its workers in fiscal year 2010, 11,668 out of 2.1 million.
  • The private sector of the economy fires almost six times as many workers on a percentage basis than the Federal government.
  • The Federal Communications Commission with 1,800 employees and the Federal Trade Commission with 1,200 employees did not fire a single employee last year.
  • Once you are into your Federal career for more than a few years the job security rate becomes nearly 100% since 60% of government firings occur in the first two years of employment.
  • Last year the government fired none of its 3,000 meteorologists, 2,500 health insurance administrators, 1,000 optometrists, 800 historians, or 500 industrial property managers.
  • Almost one fourth of the government's employees, about half a million people, make over $100,000 a year and enjoy an astronomically high job security rate of 99.82%.
  • Only 27 out of 35,000 of the Federal government's attorneys were fired in 2010, a minuscule .08%, while 33 died.
  • Geographically speaking, Washington D.C. employees had the safest jobs, 99.74% job security.
These are truly ridiculous numbers. Made more ridiculous by a quote in the article from HUD spokesman, Jerry Brown, whose department has a 99.85% job security rate. Following his assertion that this high job security rate shows a  skilled and committed workforce, "We've never focused on firing people, and we don't intend to start now. We're more focused on hiring the right people."  This statement strains the limits of credibility to think that anyone hiring process or department almost never, ever hires a bad performer.

His inane quote is countered by a quote from San Francisco management professor John Sullivan, an expert on employee turnover: "Rather than indicating something positive, rates below 1% in the firing and layoff components would indicate a serious management problem." The professor also asserts that a low departure rate such as what the Federal government incurs shows a failure to release poor performers and those with obsolete skills.

Which quote do you believe? Frankly, I would go with the professor's, given some of the facts and incidents we have reported on in this blog:
  • When the economic and financial structure of the world was crashing several years ago, internal audits found that dozens of SEC employees were spending most, if not all, of their time in the office searching the web for pornography and downloading it onto their government computers.
  • When the Gulf oil spill fiasco happened, it was widely reported that many Interior Department employees were also spending significant amounts of time looking for and downloading pornography.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) auditors found that two NSF employees were in the midst of a torrid love affair and had used thousands and thousands of NSF budget dollars to support the affair.
  • The St. Petersburg Times reported in October, 2007 that in a one year period, Federal employees had wasted over $140,000,000 of taxpayer money on first class travel tickets., breaking government rules on travel restrictions. (Note: this finding of waste and other examples are described in detail in "Love my Country, Loathe My Government")
  • The Associated Press reported in December, 2007 that the IRS had spent $2,000,000 on a computer security system that the IRS had no intention of using.
  • A news report in April, 2008 reported that a Department of Agriculture employee had written government checks worth over $642,000 over a six year period to a live in boy friend. This same report found Postal Employees had spent over $14,000 on their government issued credit cards for Internet dating services.
  • Various sources estimate that upwards of $200 billion a year is lost to fraud in the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs, indicating that someone in those operations are not doing their job when it comes to running a tight, fraud-free operation.
  • Last week we talked about a story on a story from The Week magazine that estimated about $17 billion a year or about 12% of the budget for unemployment benefits is lost to fraud every year, indicating another organization that is doing a very subpar job at minimizing waste and fraudulent spending of taxpayer money.
  • Earlier this year we reported on a news article that investigated the Federal Aviation Administration and found that it had lost track of the locations and the ownership of thousands and thousands of small private airplanes, airplanes that could easily be used for terrorist operations.
We probably could go on endlessly with other examples like this but you get the point. If the Federal government was solving all of the major issues facing Americans today and wasting very little taxpayer wealth in the process, then I could live with the low firing rate since I and the rest of America was getting value in return.

However, the exact opposite is happening. None of the major issues of our time are getting resolved, or for that matter, getting any better, and those responsible for delivering efficient, effective and value quality government services face no consequences, accountability, or responsibility for this non-performance.

In light of these examples, and the nonperformance of the Federal government bureaucracy to serve the American public, Mr. Brown's statement above falls quite flat. It is not that the Federal government has such a highly skilled workforce that enables it to have a employee firing rate one sixth the size of the rest of the world, the fact is the Federal government does not let anyone go for poor performance or obsolete skills, an absolute requirement of private businesses and companies.

My question back to Mr. Brown would be the following: how many of the people from the SEC and Interior Department who abused their jobs in search of pornography have been fired, how many employees who fraudulently flew on first class tickets have been fired, how many employees who do not do their jobs and allow hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted via fraud have been fired, how employees who abused their government issued credit cards have been fired, how many employees at the FAA who have created a whole in our national security have been fired for losing track of thousands of private aircraft have been fired? I would bet very few, if any, of these perpetrators and their supervisors have been fired as a result of this shoddy performance.

The ultimate responsibility for this disgrace and inefficiency comes back to the political class sitting in the White House and in Congress. They have to step up and be the leaders when it comes to setting standards on performance and accountability.

However, given their own poor track record of delivering results and being accountable, I am afraid that this leadership trait will not emerge soon in our government.

Until then, the Federal government will be the epitome of inefficiency and nonperformance and the poster child for the old saying: " Nice work if you can get it."  A slogan that will continue to divide the country along the lines of those that have it good (politicians and Federal government employees, both of whom depend on the hard work of the rest of the country for their well being) and the rest of the country which is struggling mightily day to day for their own survival and to support the inefficiencies, ineffectiveness, and waste of our Federal bureaucracy and the seemingly lifetime job security that comes with it.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.
Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Special Saturday Post: Disgust Over The Debt Ceiling Travesty, The Four Necessary Steps To Get Over The Crisis

I usually do not post on the weekends, I need those two days to detox my attitude and feelings about the American political class. However, the travesty that is the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington and the disgust they generate for me personally are too much to ignore this weekend.

As most informed Americans know, we are now only a week away from a potential financial disaster. Theoretically, if the government does not raise the country's debt ceiling by August 2, the country could end up defaulting on its financial obligations. This has never happened before so the ramifications are unknown. However, nobody thinks they will be any good.

The most serious, likely outcome is that the government will run short of money which could impact all or some of its functions but is highly likely to result in the credit agencies' downgrading of the nation's credit worthiness and increase borrowing costs. Since the political class and the government it runs borrow $.40 for every $1.00 it brings in, those increased borrowing costs could be very, very large.

Given the dire consequences, one would think that every possible thing was being done to avoid this calamity. Far from it. The five main culprits in this game of politics, Obama, McConnell, Reid, Pelosi, and Boehner, met this morning for less than hour. Less than an hour, unbelievable! The political class is  proving again that they exist only for their own personal political careers and personal political agendas, the good of the of country be damned. They continue to prove they cannot solve any problem, no matter how small or large. Let me repeat, financial disaster ahead and they met for less than an hour.

Given their inabilities and immaturity, let me lay out four steps that need to be implemented immediately in order to have any chance for the country to survive these fools:

- Step 1 - Whenever a company and its union reach and impasse and the clock is ticking towards trouble, what do they usually do? Easy question, they lock themselves in a room, do not leak out any information, and FOCUS on solving the problems they jointly face. Food and beverages are slipped under the locked door and no one comes out until a deal is struck. They do not meet for less than an hour and then leave. Lock the door, throw away the key if necessary, and do not let them out until a deal is reached, regardless if they have to stay cooped up with each other for days with no press conferences, no leaks, no cell phones. That is how real people solve these types of problems in the real world.

Thus, I would consider two lock down scenarios. The first one would lock down the five people listed above in a room until a deal is done, written down, and agreed to. If that cannot happen, then Obama and the 535 members of Congress should be put in a room and they all get locked down until a deal is done. Same criteria: no leaks, no press conferences, no cell phones, nothing until a deal is done and the vote is taken. Anything less than these types of lockdowns is a betrayal of the country.

- Step 2 - in parallel, contingency plans need to be put into place in case a deal is not reached in time. Any such plan should contain a set of prioritized expenditures that would allocate funds to these priorities. Remember, the government is not necessarily going broke on August 3 if a debt ceiling deal is not reached. On a unit basis, while it may not be able to spend $1.40, it will still be receiving a $1.00 going forward. Thus, about 30% of the government's spending would be curtailed rather quickly. The other 70% would then have to be spent on only the essentials that I would list out as follows:
  • Pay off Treasury debt as it comes due in order to protect the high credit rating of the country.
  • Pay out Social Security checks.
  • Pay out Medicare and Medicaid bills.
  • Pay out the military's pay checks and expenses as needed.
These four expenses are essential to support the very basic, essential needs of the country. Any left over money would then be used to pay other government expenses. However, in order to start getting under that $1.00 revenue stream, the following steps would need to be taken immediately in order to protect the above four essential expense streams:
  • The vast majority of Federal employees would be immediately put on non-paid furloughs. The only Federal employees that would stay on live payroll would be those that service the above four expense streams. Two winters ago, Washington D.C. was snowed in for a week and the government was shut down. We survived that government shutout in fine shape, another short one now would not be a problem for the country either.
  • All national parks and national museums would be closed unless they could be staffed with nonpaid volunteers.
  • All other government discretionary expenses would be halted immediately.
  • All members of Congress and the President would have their pay checks suspended until the crisis was solved. California has a similar process where if the state government politicians cannot deliver a budget on time, the lawmakers lose their salary until the budget is in place. Same thing should apply to Congress and Obama. Screw up your job responsibilities as badly as you have on this issue and you should not be paid until you fix the issue.
The country will not go bankrupt if a deal is not reached, it will just have to go on a severe diet. The above priorities and expense reduction ideas are what is needed to make sure the diet does not turn into a fast. Unfortunately, do we really think these people are capable of thinking about contingency plans, never mind implementing them?

Step 3 - Nancy Peolis needs to just shut up. Her biting, sarcastic, and useless comments and insults, as always, in today's paper that Boehner needs to "have an adult moment" will do absolutely nothing to solve this crisis. I would counter her childish remarks by saying if the President had acted when he should have, years or months ago, and had one of his few adult moments, we would not be in this crisis mode today. Insults at this stage of the game do no good at all but this type of destructive behavior is to be expected by a pure politician like Pelosi.

Step 4 - All of these people need to just go away. They have long been a disgrace to the country and now they are a mortal danger to the country. They are not problem solvers, they are not leaders, they are not good for the nation, they are just useless political animals. In November, 2012, they all need to go away and be replaced by people that are civil, dedicated, smart Americans that can anticipate a crisis before it becomes a crisis, unlike what we are stuck with today.

Sorry for the rant today but come on, this whole issue and the juvenile behavior of everyone in Washington is a disgrace, pure and simple. Lock them all in a room until this deal is done, plan for contingencies, muzzle Pelosi, and start working for their political defeat in 2012. How much simpler could it be.

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