Saturday, March 27, 2010

Too much talk

The Administration is engaged in a massive redistribution of wealth in the name of Change. They are able to do this for several reasons:
The previous administration didn’t do what it should have to correct many of the pre-existing conditions and abuses of the entitlements package (Social Security; Immigration, Health Care costs, Medicare). All the things that are wrong with them now were wrong with them when the Republicans were in office. They made only feeble attempts to correct anything, ran the other way when challenged and spent money on earmarks.
The (news and entertainment) media made a buffoon of GWB (His vocabulary, syntax and general dopey demeanor helped them) and Republicans decided to defend him because he was attacked by the obviously biased media - not because he was doing such a great job of being President. That just made the Dems dislike him even more.
The same media hooked on to Obama – who can blame them for not hooking onto McCain? (And what is with the Republican nominating process? Bush I, Dole, Bush II, McCain? Can’t we get someone who can string a couple of words together and not fall down in for the camera?) So a slick media darling wins against a dopey-grinning old war hero - again. In our television sound bite world, that should not be a surprise.

Now Obama has center stage, the media love him, the Kool-Aid drinkers oppose anything Republican, Republican alternatives make it into the discussion, and the biased media creates the party of No.

So we turn to talk radio for the other side. Finally, a real opportunity to discuss the issues, alternatives, the costs, the ideas for reform - a forum to convince the great undecided block of the great alternatives that exist. And what do we get:
For every minute that Hannity spends with Newt and his positive ideas, Hannity spends an hour talking with Ida from South Carolina calling each other “Great Americans”. (Note: George Washington was great American. Ida is presumably a nice lady.) He also has taken to calling Rahm Emanual “Deadfish” at every opportunity. That really helps the discussion. Any Undecided who tunes in would surely be immediately converted by such learned discussion.
So our Diogenes turn the dial He hears Monica Crowley calling the senior Senator from Pennsylvania Senator Sphincter. Also really helpful. The still unconvinced Undecided guy listens to Rush and his raving for a while and almost gives up. With some effort he tries to see if Mark Levin and Bob Grant will convince him that there is some sanity here. Unlikely.

These shows do provide some small level of help to the process of getting the country back on the right track – but no where near enough. These hosts have big audiences because this is a basically conservative country and lots of people are irate about the current direction. There are just as many that have consumed the Obama Kool-Aid and are buy his program. Elections are determined by that group in the middle that switches every once in a while because the last guy screwed up so bad. Those are the people they should be trying to reach – not throwing raw meat to the people who are already convinced. That does not mean deviating from principles. It means presenting meaningful, factual arguments in a rational way.

I’ve about had it with these guys. Time for a new set.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The really good thing about the health care bill is that provides a plan for solving all of our ecomomic woes. Now that it is OK for the government to tell people that they have to get health care insurance or be fined, the possibilities are endless. All they need to do is pass a couple more mandates:
Step 1: Raise the minimum wage to $150 an hour. With everyone making over $250,000 a year, welfare and other entitlements could be eliminated and everyone would be taxed to pay for the health care bill. The bill would pay for itself.
Step2: Everyone has to buy a new GM electric car. This would get the entire UAW back to work immediately and save lots of imported oil.
Step 3: Everyone has to buy a new house and all new furnishings and appliances. This would resolve the crisis in the building trades by putting them all back to work, put upward pressure on housing prices, and increase consumer spending.

What could go wrong?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Everyone move

There is a lot of shooting going on near the Jack Abrams school in Huntington. The resident geniuses have come up with a plan to save the children from all this shooting. They want to move the school! The barbarian is at the gate, and their plan is to move the gate. Brilliant! How about stopping the shooting?


The health care bill saves money for in its first ten years if you believe several things:
That it is correct to compare income (taxes start immediately) for the next10 years against expense for the next 10 years when the changes start in 2014,
That the projections of future expense are correct. (Medicaid projections were off by a 900%),
That the massive savings taken for eliminating waste and fraud will actually occur.

Liars figure.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Alice in Washington

Representative Israel says the current Health Care bill is hard to defend because the “language and provisions are fluid”! [Newsday - Bishop vote draws GOP ire] He says that this has led to the GOP distorting the bill.
The Mad Hatters of Washington have created a situation where criticisms of this fluid bill – (a moving target?) - are distortions and but voting on the fluid (undefined?) bill is something that really needs to get done. Rep. Pelosi thinks she is re-enforcing this logic saying the bill needs to pass because then we can find out what is really in it. (?)
So, the guys that want an immediate vote on this bill are complaining that they can’t properly convince the American public what a great thing this will be to pass the bill because they need to pass the bill which is still fluid so we can see how good it is. Curiouser and curiouser! The responsibility for provisions being fluid would seem to be lie with the authors of the bill.

It is easy to cast the Queen of Hearts but it remains to be seen whose head will come off.

Monday, March 15, 2010


First, they send millions of letters saying that they are going to send a letter. Then the Census form comes. The first instruction is to count all people, including babies... then you are supposed to count all the homeless people who stay in your house April 1. After counting all the people, including babies and homeless, you can successfully answer Question 1. Question 2 asks whether, in addition to all the people and babies and homeless, and after "counting all people, including babies, who live and sleep here most of the time", were any other people that were left out. The options include "babies" and "people staying here temporarily" (homeless?). Could this be any dopier?

Besides being designed for morons by morons, the main point of the questions seems to be about categorizing people by race. - clearly not what the census is supposed to accomplish.

And we are told that the government will spend $1 billion plus following up with people who don't respond or have difficulty answering the questions.

The Census question line informs you that there are reasons for asking all these questions about race. Two of the reasons are to assist in drawing up congressional districts (according to race? that can't be right) and in distributing government programs (according to race? that can't be right)

What is going on here?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


We obviously want cars to be dependable - to stop and start as directed. Whatever this problem is needs to be fixed. But there are two puzzling issue around the Toyota coverage that are not being investigated.
Toyota has sold upwards of 20 million cars in the United States since 2000. In those 10 years there were a few complaints about acceleration (23 was one number published). Including those caused by drunks and the infirmed. Then the news coverage got hold of the issue and complaints are through the roof. Politicians latch on to it and we have people crying at Senate hearings. Question One is what percentage of the increase in complaints is due to a serious problem with the cars or because of the law suit lotto that is sure to follow.
One possible cause of this problem has been identified as electronic interference. Could the car’s electronics be responding to the simultaneous use the cell phone, GSP, blackberry, Bluetooth, video game usage while driving?

As stated fix the problem, but let’s not always repeat the media hysteria that brought us recent coverage of the snowicane, the snowpocalpse, the non-tsunami in Hawaii and on and on.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Company A has a unique product they want to sell; Company B is in business to resell this type of product to the public. Company A wants to charge more for their product; Company B doesn't want to pay the increased cost. Company A has choices - don't sell the product unless B pays their desired price (but then they realize no income), hold out for their price and risk Company B walking away (possibly no income again) , or reach an agreement on price with the purchaser. Company B has the same choices from the other side. Gee, I wonder how often this happens.
It is happening now between Disney (ABC) and Cablevision (and between thousands of other companies).

But Senator Kerry is coming to the rescue on this one. He wants this one settled or else the federal government will get involved and - what? Determine the proper price that one company should pay another for its products? That can't be good for business in general.
Now there are hundreds of other television channels but Senator Kerry considers it important enough that his constituents do not miss Jeopardy that the government should interfere. Senator Kerry is one of the many people who did not have enough time to actually read the President's Health Care plan but he has time to do this.

Constituent service is in the eye of the beholder.


Long Beach used eminent domain to purchase property “using the developer’s money” and then transferred ownership to the developer. How much other money also changed hands is not recorded. The local government seized private property for no other reason than to build another Megamart.
The basis for this is a 5-4 Supreme Court decision that determined actions like this to be legal. The article notes that after this decision, such actions increased 5 fold in one year. If people don’t have a right to private property, there are no rights at all. It violates the very foundation of our system.
For the record, the Justices who approved of this were Kennedy, Souter, Ginsberg, Stevens, Breyer; those opposed were Renhquist, O’Connor, Scalia, and Thomas.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Another good idea

The last great idea was that every on should own their own home. Sounds good but it was quickly determined that there several inconveniences on the road to making it happen. There were pesky requirements such as having to make a down payment, having sufficient income, and having a history of paying people back for money owed. Not everyone could qualify for a mortgage. The simple fix was to do away with the requirements. Banks were encouraged to make 100% loans with little other checking. It was an idea that didn’t work out very well.

The current great idea is that everyone should have medical coverage. Another idea that sounds good but there are always those inconvenient practical matters.

The first inconvenience encountered on the road to this version of utopia was that not everyone can pay for health care. Easy fix. The government (that has no money) can subsidize those who can’t pay by taxing those who can.

Some people don’t want to pay for it? Easy fix - Fine them until they do.

Don’t want to add all this to the Federal Budget. Easy fix – unfunded mandates to the make States (who have no money) pay for most of it and hide some of it in the Medicare trash bin.

Projections of future savings don’t work? Easy fix – make up an overly optimistic economic future that no one really believes.

History shows that the estimations of the cost of such government programs (Medicare, etc) are wild understatements. Easy fix. Keep repeating that this Administration is for Change. It will be different this time.

The government’s track record of efficient management is not good (Medicare, Post Office, Military procurement, Congress, etc). Easy fix. Use the Change thing again.

Polls show that most people don’t want it. Easy fix – Ignore them.

Modifications to the health care system are necessary. Costs are increasing to soak up the available money. Look at the process for most people:
People get medical treatment; doctors/hospitals/drug companies charge for their services; insurance companies and the government pay the bill. The only group in the loop who is (profit) motivated to control the cost is the insurance industry. The simple issue is that most people really don’t care what it costs. They pay their co-payment and they are out of it. No one shops around for a good deal with a competent doctor. There is no reason and no ability to do so. In the only instances where they can shop (elective Lasik and plastic surgery), prices have gone down.
The jackpot solution is to get people who buy the services to have some interest in what the service costs and make providers compete for the business based upon price and service.

According to President Obama’s overstatement is only 10% of the population is outside of this system and that group needs to be addressed. Changing the entire structure of the best medical system in the world in order to service 10% of the people is just silly.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


In a recent Newsday Op-Ed article, former Secretary Reich supports President Obama’s plan to assist homeowners who have mortgages for amounts greater than the homes value (underwater). A short fable is instructive:
Mr. Ant and Mr. Grasshopper have identical jobs. They buy identical houses for identical prices. The only difference is that Mr. Ant uses his savings to make a 50% down payment; Mr. Grasshopper gets a mortgage from a bank for 100% of the purchase price. The value of their homes goes down 50%. Mr. Ant has lost the equity in his house (his savings); Mr. Grasshopper has lost – nothing.

Enter the Reich/Obama solution to have the bankruptcy court adjust Mr. Grasshopper’s loan so he is no longer underwater. Mr. Grasshopper has not lost any of his own money; Mr. Ant’s savings have been wiped out. But the plan assists Mr. Grasshopper while Mr. Ant gets - nothing. Besides helping the wrong guy, Mr. Reich does not explain how this will help recovery.

An interesting byproduct occurs when the value of both homes goes back up - say 25%. Mr. Grasshopper now has 25% equity in his home; Mr. Ant has now lost only part of his savings.

Secretary Reich does not even propose that this would help that housing market; nor does he suggest that it would free up credit. In fact, it would restrict the availability of credit. Invalidating lending contracts will not encourage more lending; nor will destroying the value of contracts help businesses recover.

The only rational they offer for this “solution” is punishing the banks - a popular pastime but not a solution. The reason for all of this is that the banks were encouraged through Fannie Mae to make loans with little or no down payment. (The banks screwed up but they were certainly encouraged to make these subprime loans.) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own most of these loans and the federal government owns both of them. This plan will be successful in hurting the banks but will also reduce the value of the government’s own assets.

Reich’s reasoning is that the President should “work for everyone” to help those who are underwater. But his proposal will work best for people who didn’t save for their home and will not work at all for those that did. The more money people saved to make a down payment, the less likely they are to be underwater and so would be ineligible for this program. It encourages the wrong behavior.

Further, the fact that the value of a home goes down does not mean that government assistance is necessary. Any such program should ask questions: Was there a down payment? Was there a cash out refinance (where is that money)? Is it an investment property? Eliminate all of these. See what is left. Act to help people who are unempoloyted.

President Obama said multiple times during the campaign that he was going to redistribute wealth. He is, unfortunately, honoring that pledge.


No one is disputing that the (former) Chairman of the committee that writes our Tax laws is a tax cheat, takes gifts from lobbyists, misuses his office, lies on his disclosure statement, and doesn’t report all his income. Although this would quality him to be Secretary of the Treasury in the current Cabinet, he has now “temporarily” been removed as Chairman. Does the spin never end? Why should this be temporary in any definition of the word? He should be thrown out of office. If anyone else committed the same offense they would be in jail.
He is not even being removed because of his felonious actions. Democrats are admitting that he had to be removed so that his party would not be embarrassed during the next election. That sounds like they plan to put him and his felonies back in his Chairmanship after the election. Apparently the Democrats assume that the voters of his district are complete morons who actually would want to elect a felon. Sad if it is true but people deserve who they elect.
It is just unfortunate for him that when - for the first time in 40 years in office – he does something wrong, he is caught in the act. What are the odds!