Eliminating Recessions, Minimizing Interest Payments On The National Debt And Maximizing Economic Growth Should Be Added To Fed Mandates

Brilliant action by the Fed, which kept interest rates low for more than 8 years, was instrumental in preventing the Great Recession from becoming a depression.  It was an exceptional achievement considering the mess our bankers has created. Low interest rates and QE debt purchases ended the downturn and worked together with technology improvements, the Amazon effect and other factors to fuel a low-inflation recovery. Eliminating many Obama administration regulations and the once in a generation business tax cut spearheaded by President Trump have greatly stimulated the GDP.  But a large number of fools including those currently leading the Fed seem bent on ending the upturn and causing a recession. Chairman Jerome Powell apparently learned nothing from the Fed’s efforts of recent years. Maybe it’s his banking background. Banks make higher profits in periods of rising interest rates. It is no surprise that most bankers think that rising interest rates are desirable, even necessary, in a growing economy to prevent excessive inflation.

Since wealth begets wealth perpetual economic growth in the range of 5 to 10% should be attainable. China has grown at that rate for many years. It’s clear that it will not happen under Chairman Powell if he follows the advice of incompetent economists who want three or four rate increases this year and at least two more next year accompanied by a faster reduction in the Fed’s balance sheet. Such actions will choke off the growth and are likely to cause short term interest rates to exceed long term rates. Economists debate whether an interest rate inversion will cause a recession. Why foolishly create the risk?

Interest is the cost of money. The higher the rate, the greater the cost of funding business operations,  including the cost of capital investments and carrying inventory and receivables. It will also over a few years have a devastating impact the cost of carrying our $20 trillion National Debt as the debt rolls over at higher rates. Rising interest rates will as usual CAUSE, not PREVENT, inflation by pushing up costs and lead our economy into the much-anticipated recession. Interest rates should at all times be kept at or below the desired rate of inflation. By doing so and controlling its balance sheet the Fed can (assuming sound fiscal policy and adequate regulation of banks and excessive risk) avoid future recessions.  Eliminating recessions, minimizing interest payments on the National Debt and maximizing economic growth should be added by Congress to the Fed mandates. Each is consistent with maintaining full employment. The Fed should be given the responsibility to react to events such as natural disasters or significant stock market declines or even a slowing of economic growth to keep the economy on a steady course.

The nonsensical talk about Fed independence is back in vogue. Of course the Fed should be independent to make its decisions. But, it does not act in a vacuum. It should invite criticism of its actions and be in constant contact with and coordinate its actions with Congress and Executive Branch.

 

 

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Improving The Republican Tax Proposals

Dear President Trump,

I applaud many of the provisions of the proposed House and Senate tax proposals, but, as discussed below, the reduction or elimination of important deductions will result in unfair tax increases for too many taxpayers and may adversely effect the solvency of high tax states and the growth of the US economy. I fear that the current proposals, if  modified and passed into law, may cause almost as much harm as good to our economy. You can encourage Congress to find better ways to raise offsetting revenue than by eliminating important deductions. This letter will suggest changes to improve the tax proposals by eliminating current loopholes that let many of our most successful individuals avoid paying hundreds of billions of taxes during their lifetimes. I know it is late in the process and that time is of the essence, but I expect there will be almost immediate approval of  the suggested changes. I believe that if the proposed changes are adopted at your suggestion they will be recognized as the major accomplishment of your presidency by making the tax code fairer and enable you to achieve your goals of greatly accelerating the growth of the economy and helping the middle class.

1. THE PROPOSED LIMITATION OR ELIMINATION OF THE HOME INTEREST AND PROPERTY TAX DEDUCTION. I consider the elimination or reduction of deductions for home mortgage interest and property taxes to be the most unjustifiable change. By allowing depreciation of rental properties and not private homes, the tax code currently favors renting over home ownership. The proposed changes compound the unfairness. Prior to the collapse in home values caused in large part by improvident or fraudulent lending practices, owning a home was a major source of wealth accumulation by the middle class as one’s home mortgage was repaid over time and the home value rose due to inflation. Young families today are beginning to rediscover the wonderful benefits of home ownership and the economy has benefitted. The reduction of the tax benefits for home ownership will make it much more difficult financially to purchase and meet the monthly costs of owning a home. It will also significantly reduce the equity value of current homeowners and cause great harm to the home building, maintenance and improvement industries and lead to reduced funding for public school education. It will result in the loss of millions of middle class jobs. We must find a better way to pay for the tax reductions contained in the current proposals even if it means raising the corporate rate to 21% or 22%. Property taxes and interest on mortgages up to at least $1,000,000 should remain deductible.

2. RAISING THE ESTATE TAX CREDIT OR ELIMINATING THE ESTATE TAX. Raising the Estate Tax Credit as proposed or even to eliminate the Federal Estate Tax on estates of spouses with aggregate estates of up to $25 million or $50 million is a good idea to protect family businesses and farmers. But, eliminating the Federal Estate Tax is likely to be political suicide for Republicans. You will be endlessly criticized for giving an enormous and unjustifiable benefit to our richest taxpayers, including you. The richest people in our country are among the most under-taxed. Their aggregate income and wealth that is growing by hundreds of billions of dollars per year is in the form of unrealized capital gains that are not taxed for valid reasons. Our wealthiest people, many of whom will probably be worth well over $100 billion at the time of their death, also avoid federal gift or estate taxation by making large charitable gifts or by creating charitable foundations. We should either deny the charitable deduction for estates or otherwise taxable gifts or provide for a capital gains tax to be payable at death or at designated dates (such as every three or  five years after the change is passed) or by individuals at the time they make charitable gifts of appreciated property. We could provide for such tax to be payable in kind or over a period of years. The assets paid to the government in kind could be non voting while held by the government and be redeemable or sold over time. The rate of tax should be open for discussion, but the amount of the tax should be very significant and allow for most of the deductions being targeted for elimination to be retained. Just think of the US government as one of the largest shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft or Amazon. I do not think Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos will object. Tax deductible contributions will be reduced, but mainly be reducing the size of charitable gifts by an amount equal to the current tax underpayments. Eliminating the estate tax might also reduce charitable gifts.

3. REDUCING THE TAX ON PASS-THROUGH ENTITIES. This is also a questionable change favoring the rich. C Corporations pay a tax on net income (after deducting salaries paid that are taxed at individual tax rates) and stockholders pay a SECOND tax on dividends paid. Pass through entities avoid double taxation and they do not need the added benefit of lesser rates. If a C Corporation is more favorable, a Subchapter S Corporation or LLC can convert to a C Corporation.

4. TAXING THE CARRIED INTEREST. After years of discussion your wall street advisers left taxing of the carried interest out of the tax proposal. The amount recovered may not be great, but closing a loop-hole is important for tax fairness. It should have been included with appropriate relief for illiquid positions, such as permitting payment of the tax over time or in kind.

5. THE ELIMINATION OF THE SALT DEDUCTIONS. States with high income tax rates are already losing high income taxpayers to no income tax states. Some of them currently face insolvency. The elimination of SALT deductions causes a sudden change that is unfair to people who relied on the SALT deductions and bought homes and created business in high tax states. As discussed above, most, if not all, of the lost revenues from the rate reductions could be recovered by fairly taxing the unrealized gains of the super-rich and by properly taxing carried interests and pass-through entities. Limiting the SALT deductions to an amount such as 5% of taxable income may be needed to offset a portion of the proposed reduced tax revenues, and such limit should be phased in if possible and the middle class exemptions should be enlarged.

6. ENCOURAGE WAGE INCREASES BY OFFERING A FIRST YEAR TAX CREDIT FOR WAGE INCREASES OF LOWER PAID EMPLOYEES. We are permitting corporations to bring back trillions of dollars of funds parked overseas. Some of it will be spent on capital investments, but most of it will be used for dividends and stock buy-backs unless we encourage middle class wage increases. We could generate much higher GDP growth by giving employers a first year tax credit for wage increases to employees except for the top 10% of wage earners. Such credit would be lost if the wage increases were not continued during the next year. Including such a tax credit may prove to be revenue positive over ten years since it will grow the economy and increase individual incomes.

Sincerely,

Stephen Feinberg

Approving and Improving the Kudlow, Moore, Laffer and Forbes Tax Proposal

Kudos for the Kudlow, Moore, Laffer and Forbes “Three Easy Pieces” tax proposal. However, the depreciation change is unnecessary and unrealistic and the tax rate is probably better at 20% or even 22%. I suggest a 4th piece, namely a 100% tax credit for the 1st year of all wage increases except for increases to the top 20%. Otherwise expect most of the earnings growth from tax savings to go to dividend increases, stock redemptions and increased compensation for executives as has been the main use of earnings growth in recent years.

Interest Rate Lunacy

The Obama administration missed an opportunity to extend the term of the US Debt. Each 1% increase in interest rates on the US Debt will soon cost our government $200 billion per year. Janet Yellen babbles on about unemployment, inflation and normalization of interest rates. She ignores the overriding need to keep interest rates as low as possible. The June increase in rates was a major mistake.

The Ryan Proposal To Replace Obamacare Needs To Add Annual And Lifetime Benefit Limits

I published a letter to President Trump in this blog on February 5 warning of the difficulties in dealing with the repeal and replacement of Obamacare prior to the Ryan healthcare debacle. The Ryan proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare does not resolve Obamacare’s most egregious problems, the continuous increases in healthcare premiums paid by the young middle class and employers and excessive deductibles. Such problems are caused mainly by the need for insurance companies to recover the billions of dollars of welfare benefits required to be given under Obamacare for people with pre-existing conditions, and the excessive fees charged by hospitals to paying customers to make up for patients who do not pay for mandated treatment at hospital ERs and resulting from Medicare and Medicaid underpayments. We must provide healthcare coverage for people with pre-existing as promised by President Trump, but we must subject people receiving underpriced coverage to annual and life-time benefit limits and make them responsible for helping to control the cost of their benefits. Excessive healthcare costs have negatively impacted jobs and wages, are a cause of off-shoring of manufacturing and have made it difficult, if not impossible, for young people who achieve and get a tax-paying job to re-pay their college loans, form families and purchase homes.

I urge everyone to read my February letter which discusses many of the issues affecting healthcare. I encourage treating the replacement for Obamacare as a work-in-progress beginning with a return to free-market competition and a realistic reduction in the Obamacare welfare benefits while we conduct a re-examination of all aspects of the healthcare industry and the health insurance business as it will change following the repeal of Obamacare.

Immediate Repeal Of Obamacare Mandates And 10% Tax On Repatriation Of Overseas Funds

February 24, 2017

Dear President Trump;

Congratulations on your election victory. I am a Harvard Law School graduate with more than 50 years experience as a practicing securities, corporate, tax and estate planning attorney. I self-published two virtually unread books and a blog at sjfeconomics.com relating to homeland security and economic prosperity which I believe have important ideas that can be extremely helpful to your team. I delivered copies of my books to you with my letter of support in March 2016.

I have reviewed your first 100 day plan and strongly approve of most of it. For your program to be successful you must also win the political game for public approval of your actions that will be played against Democrats led most likely by President Obama and the liberal press. We know that they will rely on fake news, misleading statements and lies. Many of your proposals like your cabinet appointments will get delayed in Congress.

You are off to a good start. It is important that you do not lose the momentum. This letter will deal only with immediate steps to take relating to two of the items included in your 100 day plan that will impact job growth, namely, the manner in which Obamacare should be repealed and replaced and the change in the corporation tax laws by lowering the tax rate for repatriating capital held overseas to raise revenues to finance infrastructure construction.

1. THOUGHTS ABOUT THE REPEAL AND REPLACEMENT OF OBAMACARE

I am writing as a game player to suggest a strategy to win the approval of the minds of voters in the game of repealing and replacing Obamacare. I note that my factual knowledge about Obamacare comes primarily from TV and newspaper reports, discussions with friends and doctors and internet searches and must be fact checked. I know that millions of hours have been spent by people more qualified than me to expose the evils of and to guide Congress in developing a replacement plan for Obamacare.

OBAMACARE IS NOT FIXABLE. It is disguised as a health insurance program, but is primarily a welfare platform to provide tens of billions of dollars of healthcare benefits annually for people with pre-existing conditions that are disregarded in setting premiums. It is an intricately designed hodgepodge of laws that create uniform healthcare coverages entwined with Medicaid, Medicare, prescription drug and tax provisions (that further burden the middle class) included to make it appear attractive and to make it difficult to repeal. It was fraudulently promoted as a program that would cover everyone and reduce healthcare premiums. It is very unpopular and is failing primarily because of its excessive and often unaffordable premiums to employers who are the major purchasers of healthcare coverage and the outrageously high premiums and deductibles for healthy young people whose income level does not permit them to qualify for the subsidies. The high deductibles even make it worthless for many low-income people who qualify for premium subsidies. Ignoring pre-existing conditions is like offering fire insurance for your home after a fire has occurred or auto insurance after the accident. It is like telling homeowners that their fire insurance rates are being doubled or tripled so that uninsured owners whose homes have already burned down can buy a policy and collect hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild their homes. Trying to trick middle class young people and their employers to pay for such excessive benefits for others is outrageously unfair. The death spiral we are witnessing was inevitable. It has been accelerated because young healthy middle class people learned they were being targeted.

From its inception President Obama acting like a snake oil salesman has time and again lied about Obamacare to prevent successful young healthy people from learning that they were intentionally being grossly overcharged to pay for the welfare benefits of others. It was the only game in town and many people bought Obamacare coverage. Now President Obama and other Democrats make misleading claims about the number of people covered under Obamacare, but fail to acknowledge the many millions of people bought Obamacare plans because they lost their former plan or thought they had to or who are without coverage because they lost their employer paid coverage when they changed jobs or their work week was reduced to under 30 hours by their employer to avoid the Obamacare coverage mandate. President Obama didn’t tell Americans that a high percentage of the people who signed up for Medicaid or for Obamacare policies are receiving a welfare benefit. Now former President Obama and his cronies who designed Obamacare want to increase the penalty. In other words, if young people continue to elect not to purchase overpriced Obamacare insurance they should be punished by paying a penalty that the Supreme Court permitted as a tax to subsidize the welfare payments for others. The very existence of the penalty is proof that President Obama and the draftsman knew when they adopted Obamacare that the premiums and deductibles of Obamacare insurance plans offered to young middle class taxpayers were grossly unfair and that many young people would refuse to buy such plans even if they were given names of precious metals, namely, Silver, Gold, Copper and Platinum, to make them appear valuable. They wanted buyers to think they were being given a choice of coverage when there is no choice. They differ only in the choice of paying higher premiums to get smaller deductibles. Obamacare is so unfair that millions of people have elected to have no coverage and be subject to the penalty.

Every American needs access to healthcare. People with chronic conditions need the most expensive treatments, procedures and drugs. Prior to Obamacare we provided subsidized healthcare benefits for the elderly, the poor and the sick under Medicare and Medicaid and at hospital ERs, but many people were unable to afford health insurance because of ratings. We sought ways to assist such people by designing high risk pools. Obamacare was designed to ignore pre-existing conditions when setting premiums. But, we cannot afford to give and no-one should expect to receive unlimited healthcare for a small fraction of its predictable cost, which is what Obamacare attempted to do. A large number of people with pre-existing conditions now have coverage under Obamacare. Many of them were covered and continue to be covered under employer plans. Some of them are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars of welfare benefits annually for a relatively small premium or co-pay. Those receiving excessive benefits under Obamacare, the Democrats, including President Obama, some Republicans who fear being involved with reducing a welfare benefit and the liberal press will protest loudly against any attempt to reduce the welfare benefits of Obamacare. Even if a special high-risk pool is created and the US government (and not the middle class and employers) contributes a substantial welfare benefit to subsidize those with pre-existing conditions, it will still be painful to people whose benefits are reduced when Obamacare coverage is not renewed and ends. To paraphrase Shakespeare, if it must be done, better it were done quickly. No-one was dieing in the street prior to the adoption of Obamacare. Hospital ERs have long been required to treat all patients and they currently treat many people with Obamacare, Medicare or Medicaid coverage who do not have immediate access to a doctor. Hospitals provide a significant portion of all healthcare benefits and their services must be paid for. Hospitals pass on the cost of all unpaid ER care (and all Medicare and Medicaid underpayments) by increasing the charges to those who pay. As a result the middle class and their employers were, prior to Obamacare, paying a substantial portion of the healthcare benefits provided at ERs for the sick and the poor, including documented and illegal immigrants. Rising healthcare costs paid by employers (which, including employee co-pays, now exceed $20,000 per employee) are largely responsible for the lack of wage increases during the last 10 years. Many ER patients work off the books and claim they are unable to pay. We should seek ways to collect ER payments due from those who hide their income.

Even if Obamacare is repealed, increasing ER, Medicare and Medicaid underpayments to healthcare providers threaten to continue to cause an increase in healthcare premiums and deductibles and further erode the quality and availability of care. The problems of Medicare which has many trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities have been masked by the obvious failures of Obamacare. Medicare is a needed program for the elderly, but must be reformed before it causes more serious harm to our economy.

DON’T WAIT A FEW MONTHS OR LONGER TO PRESENT A PLAN TO REPEAL AND REPLACE OBAMACARE. DEAL WITH OBAMACARE IN STEPS. I APPLAUD YOUR EXECUTIVE ORDER TO END THE OUTRAGEOUSLY UNFAIR OBAMACARE TREATMENT OF YOUNG MIDDLE CLASS TAXPAYERS. YOU ARE CLEARLY CORRECT THAT ALL OBAMACARE MANDATES AND PENALTIES ARE UNFAIR AND SHOULD NOT BE ENFORCED. BUT, DO NOT RELY SOLELY ON THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. WE ARE A COUNTRY OF LAWS THAT SHOULD BE ENACTED, MODIFIED AND REPEALED BY CONGRESS. FOLLOW UP YOUR EXECUTIVE ORDER BY HAVING CONGRESS REPEAL ALL OBAMACARE MANDATES AND PENALTIES, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND PHASE OUT REBATES AFTER 2017. IT CAN BE DONE IN A MATTER OF WEEKS. PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE LIBERAL PRESS WILL ATTEMPT TO SET UP ROADBLOCKS AND WILL CRY THAT PENALTIES AND SUBSIDIES WERE AN INTRICATE PART OF OBAMACARE AND THAT REMOVING THEM WILL DESTROY OBAMACARE. PRESIDENT OBAMA CLAIMS THAT OBAMACARE IS A WONDERFUL IMPROVEMENT IN OUR HEALTHCARE LAWS WHICH HAS PROBLEMS THAT CAN BE FIXED BY RAISING THE AMOUNT OF THE PENALTY AND MAKING OTHER MINOR CHANGES. THAT IS JUST ANOTHER OBAMA LIE (LIKE YOU CAN KEEP YOUR DOCTOR OR YOU CAN KEEP YOUR PLAN) THAT MUST BE STRONGLY CRITICIZED. THE HIGHER THE PENALTY THE MORE UNFAIR OBAMACARE WOULD BE. RISING HEALTHCARE COSTS HAVE DESTROYED THE MIDDLE CLASS AND LEFT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO PAY THE EXCESSIVE PREMIUMS AND BE SUBJECT TO THE HIGH DEDUCTIBLES OF OBAMACARE WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE. FACE DEMOCRATS AND THE PRESS HEAD ON IN THE BATTLE OVER THE REMOVAL OF THE MANDATES, PENALTIES AND REBATES. READ MY ARTICLE ENTITLED PRESIDENT OBAMA’S DECEITFUL AND RELENTLESS SISYPHEAN TYPE PUNISHMENT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS AT SJFECONOMICS.COM. YOU MIGHT WANT TO COMPARE THE PUNISHMENT OF SISYPHUS TO OBAMACARE’S PUNISHMENT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS. OBAMACARE IS JUST ANOTHER SOCIALIST ATTEMPT TO TAKE FROM THOSE WHO EARN AND GIVE IT TO THOSE WHO NEED.

Without mandates insurance companies who conspired with President Obama by participating in the sale of grossly unfair Obamacare plans on the exchanges will incur even more significant losses on Obamacare policies due to expensive benefits given to people who had pre-existing conditions when they bought Obamacare plans. On the other hand, with the mandates removed, insurance companies, which were prevented by the Obamacare coverage mandates will be allowed to immediately start to design new insurance products to compete with Obamacare and seek the approval of state insurance departments to sell such policies. I expect that within a year no insurance company will offer an Obamacare policy. It will confirm and you should explain loudly and clearly by tweets that Obamacare was a hoax conceived and carried out by President Obama and the socialist Democrats with the assistance of the insurance companies to provide a secret welfare program for people with pre-existing conditions and a way for hospitals and other healthcare providers to recover some of their Medicare, Medicaid and ER underpayments (discussed below) by greatly overcharging the young healthy middle class and their employers.

Millions of people will be without healthcare coverage after the self-destruction of Obamacare, but the numbers will be exaggerated by Democrats. The outrage of Democrats claiming that you will be depriving 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 people of coverage has already begun. I believe that about 12,000,000 of them are on Medicaid most of whom should be allowed to keep their coverage as a welfare benefit. Many people with pre-existing conditions are covered by employer plans and will not lose their coverage. On the other hand millions of young people are currently without coverage or they or their employers are paying excessive amounts for coverage. Demonstrate that you seek to be the savior of the young middle class and their employers. We can expect that if healthcare costs decline raises will follow. Put together a group of brilliant actuaries to expose the truth about Obamacare. Have them present examples of young middle class individuals who are paying premiums of more than $10,000 with high deductibles that make their coverage worthless. Have them demonstrate that on an actuarial basis (and assuming a fair billing rate) young healthy middle class people should have paid only a few thousand dollars for a similar plan with a low deductible and including catastrophe coverage to protect against sickness and injury during the one year term. Have the actuaries give specific examples of individuals who were previously uninsurable and received hundreds of thousands of dollars of benefits under Obamacare while paying a subsidized premium of only a few thousand dollars.

AFTER REPEALING THE MANDATES, PENALTIES AND SUBSIDIES, IT WOULD BE A NO-WIN SITUATION TO TRY TO REPLACE OBAMACARE WITH A LAW THAT WILL BE BRANDED AS TRUMPCARE. LET AMERICANS KNOW THAT YOU ARE RELYING ON A REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED CONGRESS TO FIND A WAY TO REPEAL AND REPLACE THE REST OF OBAMACARE ASAP, BUT HAVE LEARNED THAT IT WILL BE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. OBAMACARE HAS NOT ONLY INCREASED THE COST OF BUYING HEALTHCARE COVERAGE, BUT HAS ALSO SEVERELY HARMED MEDICAL PROVIDERS, REDUCED THE AVAILABILITY AND QUALITY OF CARE, AND INTERFERED WITH THE RELATIONSHIP OF DOCTOR AND PATIENT. REPLACE OBAMACARE BY BRINGING BACK FREE MARKET COMPETITION AMONG INSURERS UNDER STATE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT SUPERVISION. MINIMIZE THE ROLE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO RUNNING MEDICARE AND SUBSIDIZING MEDICAID AND TO A LIMITED EXTENT SUBSIDIZING COVERAGE FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. MAKE EVERYONE AWARE THAT OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IS FAILING BECAUSE IT IS OPERATED AS AN OUT OF CONTROL WELFARE SYSTEM WITH ENORMOUS WASTE AND INEFFICIENCY. DOCTORS INCUR EXPENSIVE LONG TERM TRAINING AND SERVE AS UNDERPAID INTERNS AND THEN FACE RECORD KEEPING REQUIREMENTS AND PAYMENT LIMITS THAT PREVENT THEM FROM EARNING DESERVED COMPENSATION. THOUGH MOST HOSPITAL BUILDINGS ARE PAID FOR BY CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS, MEDICARE AND MEDICAID PAYMENTS TO HOSPITALS ARE ON THEIR FACE INADEQUATE TO COVER OPERATING COSTS FOR THE SERVICES PROVIDED. AS A RESULT PROVIDERS CHARGE AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT FOR THE SAME SERVICES PROVIDED TO OTHERS .

You should encourage Congress, the insurance companies and the healthcare providers to work together to promptly deal with replacing Obamacare, but stay out of the extremely complicated mess that Obamacare has created. It will continue to haunt healthcare for many years. We do not know if most employers will return after the elimination of the mandates to 40 hour work week jobs or offer healthcare coverage to low-income employees after the mandates are abolished. No matter what reasonable approach Congress makes to create high-risk pools, the press will report incessantly about the sad stories of people with pre-existing conditions who lost their Obamacare policy and died, or can no longer afford their healthcare coverage or a needed expensive drug. Parts of Obamacare that make sense like coverage under your parent’s policy until age 26 or the doughnut hole and Medicare and Medicaid changes included as part of the Obamacare can be expected to be considered by Congress and the insurance companies when they are creating new policies. Congress by finally enacting laws limiting malpractice claims will both reduce healthcare costs and make the practice of medicine more profitable and less stressful. We should also consider including sales across state lines, which will require controls on risk taking and adequate capitalization of insurers plus guarantees against the bankruptcy of insurers.

You have only a few months to get the insurance companies to come up with new policies and present them for approval to the state insurance departments if you wish to minimize the number of uninsured people at the end of this year. Get insurance companies to offer inexpensive catastrophe policies as soon as practicable in as many states as possible to healthy young people to offer them protection (even if the are currently covered by an Obamacare plan) against the risk of becoming subject to a pre-existing condition in the interim period while Obamacare is being replaced. We must get patients and healthcare providers involved with benefit choices and place reasonable coverage limits for all plans to encourage wellness programs and avoid wasteful healthcare demands. One way is to encourage expanded use of tax-favored HSAs and tax DEDUCTIONS to supplement healthcare plans with high deductibles. We might also allow HSAs that encourage savings for use with low deductible plans.

Employer plans often cover employees with pre-existing conditions, but the employee must remain well enough to continue to work. Portable catastrophe coverage insuring against acquiring a sickness or injury that would be viewed as a pre-existing condition should be required as part of all future insurance plans. Such requirement will, over time, reduce the number of people who acquire pre-existing conditions and are thereafter unable to afford healthcare coverage. Congress should determine whether employees who lose their coverage because their employment is terminated and who have become subject to a pre-existing condition should be entitled to remain on the employers plan at their own expense (that may be paid in whole or part by their new employer) or become entitled to purchase comparable insurance from a government subsidized high risk group.

Doctors have struggled with declining incomes and quality of life as a result of Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare under-payments and complex paper work needed to comply with federal regulations and get paid for services. Many doctors have left the practice of medicine. Others have become employees of large hospital groups or medical practice organizations. We can greatly lower healthcare costs and improve outcomes. We should make greater use of clinics staffed by nurses and clinicians to reduce cost and alleviate the overcrowding of ERs by permitting hospitals to treat patients at clinics as well as ERs. Hospitals can improve care and reduce duplicate and unnecessary procedures by assigning a clinician, a nurse or a doctor to co-ordinate the treatment of each patient. To encourage students to become doctors we should expand the program offered by the armed services by providing medical school scholarships for individuals who commit to provide a designated number of hours of service before and after graduation at ERs and clinics.

EXPLORE A MAJOR CHANGE IN HEALTHCARE BY AUTHORIZING A 90 DAY STUDY TO CONSIDER PERMITTING HOSPITALS AND OTHER HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS TO CREATE INSURANCE SUBSIDIARIES AND OFFER INSURANCE COVERAGE OR A VARIETY OF CONCIERGE PLANS (THAT MIGHT BE TAX DEDUCTIBLE) TO COMPETE WITH THE PLANS OFFERED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES. HOSPITAL GROUPS ARE ALREADY EXPANDING TEAMS OF EMPLOYED DOCTORS THAT COULD PROVIDE THE SERVICES FOR SUCH PLANS. TO ENABLE HOSPITALS TO SPECIALIZE INSURANCE COVERAGE OR CONCIERGE PLANS COULD INCLUDE SERVICES OFFERED BY PARTNERSHIPS OF MULTIPLE HOSPITALS OR GROUPS OF PHYSICIANS.

In conclusion, I ask myself why a program so fraudulent as Obamacare can be defended by a large number of intelligent and successful people. Many of them are earning more than $250,000, are satisfied with their lives and are willing a contribute a small portion of their income to improve the lives of the sick and the poor. Many of them are clueless as the the damage to the middle class caused by such excessive premiums. Most of them have growing investment portfolios and have their healthcare paid by their employer. Unlike American capitalism which has relied on hard working individuals and endured for more than 200 years, no socialistic country has succeeded in the long run. Most people believe that we are a rich country. They ignore the surge in the National Debt to over $20 trillion coincidental with the increases in welfare and disability payments and the large number of people not working or paying income taxes. The slow conversion of our economy to socialism must be reversed and we must grow the GDP before our National Debt becomes unsustainable and our economy collapses.

2. THOUGHTS ON INFRA STRUCTURE CONSTRUCTION AND AN INTIAL CHANGE IN CORPORATE TAXATION

I urge you to ask Congress to immediately reduce the corporate income tax to 10% on repatriation of foreign earnings. It is a “no-brainer”. Make this a stand alone proposal with a sundown provision after two years unless modified in the expected comprehensive corporate tax legislation. Getting the remainder of your tax reduction plan through Congress expeditiously is important, but it may take more time than you think to do so. Hopefully the tax revenues from the repatriation of funds will immediately provide funding of about 100 billion dollars that can be applied to increase transportation infrastructure spending and propel GDP growth without increasing the federal deficit. Act quickly because the extra tax revenues are going to be offset in large part by two factors that have occurred following the presidential election, namely (i) the spike in US interest rates that will raise US government interest costs by $100 Billion for each 1/2% increase in rates as the National Debt is refinanced and (ii) the negative impact on the US trade deficit and corporate profits resulting from the increase in the value of the US Dollar. Bringing the money back to the US may further stimulate capital spending but the cash might be used for dividend increases and stock buybacks that provide lesser stimulus for the GDP. That is why I proposed corporate income tax changes in my book published a few years ago entitled “Perpetuating American Greatness After the Fiscal Cliff” (see pages 64 to 77 in the enclosed copy) to encourage corporate and private investment in partnership with government spending on transportation infrastructure through the purchase of “Jump Start America Bonds” which might now be called “Make America Great Again Bonds”. Individual and corporate balance sheets are much stronger than governmental balance sheets and are better prepared to finance transportation infrastructure.

I will in future letters comment on other parts of your 100 day plan and describe my plan for an interstate fresh-water pipeline project that could be the most important economic development of this century. Constructing a privately owned and financed fresh-water pipeline would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, add tens of billions of dollars to the GDP, reduce the federal deficit, provide water for farming and controlling wind fires, assist in flood control and lower ocean levels to mitigate any potential climate change. I will also propose a very simple proposal for a corporate income tax credit that will encourage immediate wage increases for non-executive middle class workers to stimulate economic growth, help recreate a middle class and generate increased long-term federal income tax revenues.

A VITAL THIRD OBJECTIVE FOR THE FED

The fools chatter incessantly as to whether based on its Congressional mandate the Fed missed the opportunity to raise interest rates or when they should raise interest rates based on misleading unemployment statistics and inflation prospects. Now they talk about a host of international economic events to speculate and advise on what the Fed might or should do.  The rarely mention the cost of paying interest on the National Debt which is approaching $20T on its way to $25T and $30T in a few years no matter who wins the presidency unless we have unexpected growth in the economy

At a 1% rate,  interest on the National Debt totals $200B per year and it rises to $800B if the government is required to pay 4%. The latter rate would raise interest costs to an amount roughly equal to our military budget or our federal welfare or infrastructure spending.  We need to spend substantially more on military and infrastructure needs and printing dollars to pay excessive interest will exacerbate our National Debt problem. We simply can’t afford to pay higher interest rates so that they can be lowered if our economy goes into recession. Like the Europeans and the Japanese, the Fed will be able to find ways to stimulate the economy and deal with future banking problems even if interest rates remain low.