Category Archives: entitlementists

President Obama’s Deceitful And Relentless Sisyphean Type Punishment Of The Middle Class

In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a deceitful king who was punished after death by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever. He deserved the graphic punishment. Middle class Americans are being subjected to a different type of Sisyphean punishment as a result of our government’s failed policies which prevents them, despite a lifetime of hard work and achievement, from being able to earn and save enough to pay for their children’s education, purchase a home, or build a fund for retirement. The middle class is the back bone of American capitalism. They produce our products and services and their spending is vital to GDP growth. It is no wonder that the US economy is sputtering. This article will examine how from the start of his presidency, President Obama’s fiscal, healthcare and immigration policies have exacerbated the undeserved and increasingly severe Sisyphean punishment of the middle class. It will also explore the various actions our federal government can take to improve our economy and our safety and at the same time alleviate the punishment of the middle class.

President Obama calls the socialist economic system developed by liberal Democrat entitlementists, his “Middle Class Economics”. His intent is to deceive voters into believing he cares about the middle class. He talks about creating middle class jobs, but, except for favoritism toward destructive unions that support him and other Democrats, has shown a total disregard of the middle class. We know that the compensation problems of the middle class began before the election of President Obama who inherited a deep recession, but despite a continuing series of stimulus programs from the Fed that reversed the decline, his fiscal policies, or “Obamanomics”, have failed to grow the US economy sufficiently to generate middle class wage increases. In fact, his policies have extended the decline in middle class wages during his presidency. Unemployment is down as a result of the growth of low-paying jobs and people leaving the work force. But, under Obamanomics we have too many middle class or former middle class Americans who are underpaid, unemployed, under-employed or have given up looking for work.

President Obama has raised federal income taxes on many of the middle class by eliminating their Bush tax cuts and imposing a Obamacare income tax on their capital gains income. He talks of spending on transportation infrastructure to grow the economy and create middle class jobs but he failed to do so when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and he had the opportunity. Nor did he promote adequate spending on defense to maintain our military superiority that also would have created middle class tax-paying jobs. Instead he squandered trillions of dollars on predictably ineffective fiscal stimulus programs that included unsound loans to green energy companies and supported expansion of unproductive welfare programs, including Obamacare which is harming the economy. His claimed Keynesian stimulus programs failed because they were not aimed at creating tax-paying jobs that would have stimulated further economic growth and generated substantial tax revenues. Increased spending on food stamps increases the GDP and provides a short-term benefit to the recipients, but has a low multiplier effect because it leads to the creation of mostly part-time minimum-wage jobs. It increases the National Debt because it fails to generate increased tax revenues.

For decades members of the middle class enjoyed more financial success than their parents. With the decimation of the middle class that is no longer true. The most significant economic problem in the US today is not the growing income of the wealthy who are living the American dream, but the elimination of the gap in discretionary after-tax income after spending on food shelter, transportation, education and healthcare, between the unproductive poor and the productive middle class. The Obamacare subsidies, whether they are intended to do so or not, have narrowed or eliminated the gap. They have even made it possible for families who become skilled at maximizing welfare benefits, legally or illegally, to have higher discretionary income than the hard-working middle class achievers whose wages are declining. A family living of four in New York City can qualify for welfare benefits exceeding $70,000 per annum. Why haven’t more voters recognized that liberal Democrat entitlementists have created a welfare state that makes it financially desirable for many Americans to have children out-of-wedlock to be able to maximize benefits from the wide variety of available welfare programs than to get married, form a family unit and work hard to support it? That situation is unlikely to change as long as a Democrat occupies the White House.

Defining the middle class and the upper-middle class is difficult. Reasonable people can disagree as to what constitutes middle class and upper-middle class income. It varies greatly from city to city. In many cities pre-tax incomes of $70,000 to $100,000 before deducting healthcare, housing and transportation costs might be considered as middle class and $125,000 to $150,000 as upper-middle class. Others like New York, LA and Dallas require much higher income levels like $150,000 or $250,000 for an individual to be considered middle-class or upper middle class and an additional $30,000 to $50,000 for a family of four. Since the cost of living is higher in cities where middle class and upper-middle class incomes are higher, the Sisyphean type punishment applies to virtually all middle class and upper-middle class families. It also applies to many upper income families living in high cost areas.

Middle class and upper-middle class families generally encourage their children to work hard in school to get into the colleges of their choice. Unlike children from poor families who generally get full tuition scholarships if they get accepted at a college, middle class children generally do not qualify for need scholarships and have to bear a large part of the cost of college. Accumulating savings to pay for college has become more difficult during the past decade as the cost of tuition has soared due to government guaranteed loans and middle class incomes have declined. The problem became exacerbated because the savings of many middle class families was decimated when their home and other investments declined in value during the Great Recession. Students and their families have been relegated to taking out college loans in ever-increasing amounts at excessive rates of non-deductible interest. Upon graduation most of the students, except for those graduating college with the most desired skills or who are athletes or entertainers, even if they are hired in good tax-paying jobs that qualify them to be immediately counted in the middle class or upper-middle class, find themselves living with their parents, unable to repay their college loans or form a family unit. Many college graduates are unemployed or under-employed and unless substantially modified many of the current student loans are likely to be defaulted.

President Obama chose Obamacare as his most important Obamanomics initiative. He knew when he proposed Obamacare that it would place a yoke on the shoulders of the middle class and make them pay excessive premiums and deductibles. Although he knew the truth about Obamacare when it was first proposed, he disgracefully lied repeatedly for political gain about the cost reduction of $2500 per year for Obamacare plans and about keeping your doctor and your plan. He also claimed Obamacare would reduce the use of ERs as doctors for the poor. However, many poor people are expanding their demand for free treatment at hospital ERs. Where else can they find a doctor who will immediately treat them or their children 24 hours a day? He lied because he knew that if he told the truth about Obamacare, it would not have passed in Congress. President Obama’s long-term objective is clear. He is an entitlementist who wants to secure votes for Democrats from the people who benefit from Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid and who receive premium subsidies, the new entitlements. As a socialist he wants the federal government to control healthcare which represents more than 15% of the GDP. Socialists believe that government can provide healthcare better and more efficiently than the private sector. We are already seeing strong evidence to the contrary.

President Obama’s lies also succeeded in preventing most voters from learning prior to his re-election and even to this day that Obamacare requires the middle class to pay grossly excessive premiums and deductibles to help pay for the enhanced mandated benefits given to the poor, the sick and the low-income workers whose coverage is free or highly subsidized. He also failed to disclose that young taxpayers are required to pay even higher premiums to help keep down the rise in costs for the older middle class individuals whose healthcare costs are predictably higher. He deliberately concealed the future rise in premiums and deductibles for the middle class, who are not eligible for subsidies. Such a rise is inevitable as a result of the increase in Obamacare insurers’ outlays as their statutory protection is phased out over a three-year period and as the sick learn how to make greater use of their Obamacare policies that can be purchased without regard to pre-existing conditions, but offer up to $2 Million in benefits. Helping people with pre-existing conditions to obtain improved healthcare is a desirable goal that was being pursued prior to Obamacare. Offering them a Rolls Royce healthcare plan at substantially below cost and requiring the middle class to pay for it, is outrageously unfair. Prior to Obamacare many middle-income families, unless their children qualified for large scholarships, used most or all of their life savings to pay for their children’s college tuition and related costs. After Obamacare they are likely to have little or no savings to pay for education.

Employers, many of whom offer healthcare benefits, are also subjected to the horrors of Obamacare mandates and rising premiums. To avoid Obamacare burdens, many employers are converting full-time to part-time jobs and will pay penalties rather than Obamacare premiums, while encouraging their low-income employees to seek subsidies under Obamacare. Corporate executives facing a long-time stagnant economy and obsessed with increasing profits to please shareholders and to justify their excessive compensation will continue using increasing healthcare costs as an excuse for limiting wage increases.

President Obama is now claiming Obamacare is a success because an increased percentage of Americans have healthcare coverage. The increase results from people taking advantage of Obamacare’s new welfare entitlements that give coverage for free or at below cost to (i) poor people signing up for expanded free Medicaid, (ii) sick people, who couldn’t previously obtain coverage, taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase insurance at standard rates which pay for only a small fraction of their high-cost care and (iii) low-income people buying expensive Obamacare policies because they are offered discounts in the form of subsidized premiums and deductibles. President Obama ignores the evils of Obamacare, which include the hundreds of billions of dollars of costs to offer these new entitlements or the harm to doctors and other healthcare providers and the reduction in the quality of care resulting from attempts to limit cost increases for those who pay. Some healthy middle class people have been tricked by Obamacare ads into signing up for insurance to avoid paying a penalty. They are not told that the penalty is less than the over-priced premium for a Obamacare policy that may be worthless to them because of the exorbitant deductibles. He considers it a success because more people have coverage and once you give an entitlement it is difficult to take it away. He obviously doesn’t care about the spiraling cost of Obamacare premiums for the unsubsidized middle class, the damage to the healthcare system, or the size of the National Debt. That’s for the next president to worry about.

President Obama believes that even if the Supreme Court rules that a major portion of the subsidies are being paid illegally, Republicans will be afraid to enforce the law and will grant a waiver to those receiving subsidies. Republicans in Congress should go to the aid of the middle class by voting to eliminate all the Obamacare subsidies and mandates regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision and  immediately propose a replacement for Obamacare even though they know it will be vetoed by President Obama. Republicans should make the repeal of Obamacare a major 2016 campaign issue. Republican control of the White House may be required to appeal Obamacare.

Obamacare and the skyrocketing costs of other welfare entitlements are likely to prevent most of the middle class from ever again accumulating meaningful wealth despite a lifetime of hard-earned achievements. They virtually guaranty that the Sisyphean punishment of the middle class will persist from generation to generation unless we find a way to grow the GDP at more than 5% per annum and Congress (i) reins in welfare spending as a percent of the GDP, (ii) modifies welfare benefit rules to discourage bearing children out-of-wedlock and encourage family formations or at least identification of fathers, (iii) creates incentives to work, (iv) repeals Obamacare, or at least its subsidies and mandates, (v) deals with future unfunded Medicare obligations and (vi) modifies and enforces our immigration laws. The horrendous growth of the National Debt resulting from welfare costs, including Obamacare subsidies, has to date gone almost unnoticed because, due to Fed low-interest rate policies, it has not yet significantly impacted taxpayers. The people who qualify for the Obamacare subsidies pay little or no federal income tax and many receive negative income tax payments, another form of welfare for the poor paid for by tax-payers.

Most Americans are oblivious to the dangers posed by the National Debt which exceeds $18 trillion. They know that we are a rich country. They observe our amazing technology, the continuous growth in stock market indexes and the financial success of many Americans and the top 1% in particular. The number of millionaires and billionaires is skyrocketing. They do not understand that if the National Debt continues to grow much faster than the GDP (as it has during the entire term of the Obama presidency) which is likely because our government faces tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded entitlement liabilities, and if interest rates return to prior levels, a time will come when our government has to raise taxes, confiscate wealth or print large amounts of dollars to pay the annual interest charges. Since the tax burden of middle class taxpayers is already excessive, socialist entitlementists are beginning to make demands to substantially increase the tax rates on the upper class and the wealthy and eventually will demand confiscation of wealth. Such tax increases or confiscation of wealth inevitably will likely lead to an economic decline further harming the middle class and jeopardizing the survival of American capitalism. Our country’s financial condition could change suddenly if the National Debt spirals upward and the US dollar is abandoned as the world’s exchange currency and collapses in value.

President Obama argues for a higher minimum wage, which is of questionable overall benefit. It will help some workers working for the minimum wage and hurt others and does not help the middle class. Walmart and others have recently increased wages of their mostly low-income employees, but middle class wages are unlikely to rise significantly unless we have much stronger economic growth that spurs demand for labor or corporations elect to treat their non-executive employees more favorably. Henry Ford believed that raising the wages of his employees would enable them to purchase cars. President Obama has made no meaningful effort to convince corporations to share a portion of their increasing cash flow with middle class employees rather than using it to pay grossly excessive executive compensation and giving it to shareholders in the form of increased dividends and stock buy-backs. He could have tried to encourage voluntary middle class wage increases or proposed changes in the federal corporate tax laws to give tax credits to entities giving salary increases to middle class and other non-executive employees. He might also have proposed legislation to give workers a voice in management by requiring the election of an employee representative to the board of directors.

Socialism has a long history of failure. Some might argue it is beneficial in countries with an educated and motivated work force and only a limited number of people in need of welfare benefits. However, it becomes destructive as the number of families relying on welfare grows to unsustainable levels.

The middle class is not the only group to suffer from excessive welfare entitlements. Although poor families (a large number of whom are single parent families) are singled out for preferential treatment by President Obama’s socialistic policies, quality of life for welfare dependent families has declined. Children from poor families often fail to achieve in school for any number of reasons despite trillions of dollars of government funding provided for food, housing, education and other benefits. Too few of them learn about personal responsibility and self-reliance from a parent, grand-parent or from religious training. Only a limited number of them achieve in school and become eligible for available fully paid college scholarships. Some, whether or not they finish high school, achieve the American dream by working part-time (or full-time) beginning at low pay and with effort advance up the jobs ladder to achieve middle class status or higher. However, under our failing system, a large number of people in our inner cities have turned to the welfare system as their principal means of support. Young girls often become un-wed mothers and live off the wide assortment of welfare benefits which they maximize by avoiding marriage and having additional children with the same or another unidentified father. Too many young men find a way to share the welfare benefits given to women who bear their children out-of-wedlock. Others, relieved of the obligation of supporting a family, are satisfied with part-time dead-end jobs. Many turn to joining gangs and selling drugs as their main source of income.

Recent developments have reminded us of the problems faced by many of our largest cities and how unsuccessful our efforts to improve the lives of the most needy Americans have been. Socialists do not understand that a poor person is better off being given a fishing pole than a handout of a few fish. We are learning from inner city unrest that people can’t live with dignity on welfare by choice or because there are no available tax-paying jobs. Our long list of well-intended housing programs, costing more than a trillion dollars over a more than 50 year period, have often temporarily improved housing conditions for the poor, but have over time destroyed more communities than they have helped. Instead of recognizing the negative effects of our socialistic welfare system on the lives of the poor, President Obama and other Democrat liberal entitlementists are now attempting to expand welfare benefits and shift the blame for their failed leadership on alleged police racism. They have promoted hatred of, and attempted to criminalize the efforts of, the men and women in blue who risk their lives daily to attempt to prevent crime in our inner cities. Almost every incident involving a killing of an unarmed person of color by the police becomes a sensationalized national news event prompting a large protest, whether or not justified. Too often the protests are provoked and get out of control leading to looting and arson because the police are told by local politicians and police chiefs to stand down. The inner city destruction that results leads to a demand for increased welfare to clean up the damage and rebuild. Most of the cost of rebuilding will fall on middle class taxpayers. Crime and murder rates are now on the rise in the areas inhabited by the poor in many cities where the police, prevented from performing their job and facing the risk of being personally attacked or unfairly charged with wrongdoing, become less confrontational to protect their own safety.

The middle class and the poor have also suffered from President Obama’s wanton failure to enforce US immigration laws which has enabled illegal immigrants to work at millions of jobs at below the minimum wage. Many of such jobs had previously been tax-paying middle class jobs available for legal residents. Liberals argue that these are jobs that Americans do no want. That is true in some cases, but is clearly not true for many desirable jobs involving manual labor where language and mechanical kills can be learned on the job. The long list of jobs includes building, improving, repairing and maintaining homes, apartments, sidewalks, driveways, landscaping and pools. Although employers benefit from the cheap source of labor, these are the types of potentially tax-paying jobs we need to rehabitate the middle class and lift the inner-city poor out of poverty and reduce the number of people needing welfare.

The illegal immigrants entering into the US across our borders or overstaying their visas are using their children born in the US and eligible for food stamps and other welfare benefits as their anchor to remain in the US and as their personal ATM to fund their family’s basic financial needs. Illegal immigrants are able to further improve their way of life by working at or even below the minimum wage without paying withholding taxes or receiving healthcare benefits. They get free healthcare for their families at the hospital ERs which causes crowding and adds tens of billions of dollars to the annual cost of operating the ERs. The costs, borne by tax-payers are a further burden on the middle class. We do not know the aggregate cost of providing welfare benefits to illegal immigrants and their US born children. We do know that there has been an enormous rise in the number of people receiving food stamps during the Obama presidency to approximately 50,000,000 at an aggregate cost of about $80 billion per year. A significant portion of that amount is paid to illegal immigrants families.

Unless President Obama’s current blatantly unconstitutional effort to change the immigration laws is stopped by the Supreme Court, it will result in the elimination of even more middle class jobs to the tens of millions of illegal immigrants who are already in our country. Why aren’t voters and the press demanding to know why President Obama is enabling illegal immigrants to take jobs from Americans workers? Although we are a land of immigrants and welcome more than a million people into the US as legal residents annually, as long as we recognize children born in the US to illegal immigrants as citizens eligible for welfare benefits, we will not be able to stem the flood of illegal immigrants. Nor will we prevent people overstaying their visas and going into hiding until we issue everyone an US identification card (“USID”) of a type as described in my book entitled Homeland Security and Economic Prosperity published in 2003. A USID would enable us to track illegal immigrants and serve the even more important purpose of identifying, preventing entry and limiting the movement of Islamist terrorists within our country.

Upper-income individuals and the wealthy are generally able to bear the costs of our welfare entitlements including Obamacare. However, we are already hearing almost daily from socialist entitlementists about the excessive income and assets of the top 1%. It is not the growth in the income of the top 1% that is the problem. The industrial revolution, that created wealthy industrialists, generated the middle class and made it possible for almost all Americans to have the opportunity to achieve a comfortable way of life. We should appreciate the important role now played by our most financially successful individuals who have amassed multi-billion dollar fortunes that are beyond the amounts their descendants will ever need. They currently pay a significant portion of all federal income taxes. Their capital investments are spawning new entities and their personal spending on homes, yachts, jets, cars and other luxury items propel economic growth. They and the entities they own are responsible for the creation of many millions of tax-paying jobs. Their charitable foundations are feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and finding cures for diseases worldwide. We should note that much of the income growth of the 1% results from the asset bubble caused in large part by the Fed stimulus programs that have lasted for over five years because of the failed Obama fiscal policies.

Socialists demands for confiscatory tax policies are not the answer, but changes in the tax laws to make them fair should always be under consideration. Without making income tax rates excessive, unfair and counterproductive we might consider higher, but not confiscatory, marginal rates for people earning in excess of $5,000,000, $10,000,000 or $20,000,000 per year averaged over a 3-5 year period. Investment bankers should pay ordinary income tax not capital gains taxes on disposing of their carried interest. We might also change our estate tax laws to take into account that many of the great fortunes accumulated in recent years came in the form of capital appreciation of assets that has for good reasons never been subject to income taxation until it is sold. That is why Warren Buffett pays a lower-income tax rate than his secretary. The Federal Estate Tax is designed to collect a death tax on such appreciated property. However, permitting the wealthy to donate all of their assets to charitable foundations prevents the US government from ever collecting taxes on such capital appreciation. Federal estate and gift tax laws can be changed to enable the US Treasury to recover such previously untaxed income with the remainder of the estate available to be given to a charity.

Economic growth in the US has been feeble. We need more than a trillion dollars to be spent on transportation infrastructure and increases in defense and homeland security expenditures to generate economic growth and create millions of tax-paying jobs. Many conservatives argue that only the private sector and not government creates jobs. How wrong they are. Adequate spending on infrastructure and defense by governments can lead to the creation of millions of tax-paying jobs and substantially increased tax revenues to enable the GDP to grow at a higher percentage rate than the National Debt. However, many Republican Congressman, who have for six years been unfairly abused by President Obama at every opportunity, are obsessed with the size of the National Debt and have good reasons to dislike the president. They have made no attempt to impeach him for his outrageous conduct, but we should not expect them to cooperate with him during the remainder of his term. However, the Sequester and other forms of austerity pushed by conservative Republicans are not the answer. Our goal should be to grow the GDP at 7 to 10 percent yearly while reducing welfare as a percent of the GDP. A decaying infrastructure coupled with defense and homeland security needs, available raw materials and technology and an underemployed work-force give us the opportunity to do so.

Many Republicans favor tax cuts for corporations which might help to stimulate investment. But, corporations have strong balance sheets and are not investing because they do not see a need to increase their productive capacity. They might just use the tax savings to increase dividends, stock buybacks and executive compensation. They have strong balance sheets and will begin to spend when they see the increased government spending. We should look to the wealthy and our cash rich multi-national corporations to partner with our federal and state governments and invest in and help jump-start our economy by financing transportation infrastructure construction. It can be accomplished by changes in the federal tax laws which permit corporations to bring home the trillions of dollars of cash deposited overseas if they invest it in expanding production capacity or to partner with states to finance transportation infrastructure. We could give a fair return, financial guarantees and naming rights to entities investing in America.

Republicans should take the lead in immediately promoting increased defense and homeland security spending. They should pass legislation to do so even if it is vetoed by President Obama. Although the US remains as the world’s leading military superpower, China is closing the gap and will soon equal the US militarily. China like Russia will continue to seize territory unless we take deterrent actions to prevent it or are prepared to confront them. However, they are unlikely to attack our homeland because of fear we will retaliate. A majority of Americans are war-weary and don’t want to fight to protect the citizens or territory of other nations. But, that is no excuse for decreasing and not materially increasing our military strength and preparedness. President Obama’s inept foreign policy has created a new urgent need to be prepared to defend our homeland from immediate and rapidly expanding security threats.

Throughout his presidency he has failed to recognize the threat of Shiite Islamic terrorism supported by Iran. He falsely claimed that Al Qaeda’s Sunni Islamic terrorists were on the run and diddled when they re-appeared on the scene as ISIS, savagely killed tens of thousands of people and in record time established a rapidly expanding caliphate in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. Although Iran and ISIS have each made it clear that their goal is to rule the world, our president has downplayed the danger to our allies and our homeland and failed to develop a military strategy to deal with the threat of either Iran or ISIS. He stubbornly refuses to use US troops on the ground, even special forces to stem the rise of ISIS. It is no longer a question of trying to build democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must prevent ISIS from using its caliphate to train Islamic terrorists to attack our allies and our homeland. We must also prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb and from gaining control of most of the Middle East. Fortunately President Obama appears to be listening to Congress and public opinion relating to verification of Iran’s current capability and delay in removing sanctions prior to such verification in negotiating his Iran nuclear deal. Our president is placing unjustifiable reliance on ill-equipped countries to retake the territory seized by ISIS and paying lip service to the Iranian risk. Apparently he is prepared to allow Iran to assume control of defeating ISIS and, if it succeeds, become the major political force in the Middle East to the chagrin of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni dominated countries who are taking actions to prevent it and to confront the danger a nuclear Iran will cause.

Meanwhile ISIS is using social media to encourage a significant number of US residents to join its cause. There are potential domestic terrorists who might commit horrendous and financially devastating damage within our country. Our constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but that does not include the right to participate in an Islamic terrorist conspiracy of the type currently being orchestrated by ISIS. The necessary evidence to prosecute the conspirators is available from their Internet communications.

We greatly improved homeland security after the World Trade Center attack on 9/11 and occasionally prevent a terrorist act. But when we examine the terrorist attacks around the globe and listen to daily news reports, it is clear that our anti-terrorist preparedness is woefully inadequate. Incompetence is rife and ignored at most government agencies. Our borders have not been sealed because our President doesn’t want to stop the flow of illegal immigrants to gain votes for Democrats. We must not wait for events that disrupt our economy or cause the death of large numbers of Americans. We must immediately recognize the danger and greatly expand the effort needed to prevent any type of domestic terrorism anywhere in the US and to respond in the event of a catastrophic event caused by a weapon of mass destruction or an attack on the Internet, our power grid or our banks. That will include hiring, training and equipping a large number of additional anti-terrorist specialists to work with current anti-terrorism forces and within local police units. We should increase the number of our military personnel so that we are prepared to fight on three fronts if necessary. Hopefully it will serve as a deterrent so that we will never have to call upon them to do so. We should address our doctor shortage and strengthen homeland security by offering free medical school to military enlistees who agree to serve as military doctors for five years after graduation. Just as the extraordinary World War II military build-up strengthened our economy and enabled us to escape the Great Depression, the effort to upgrade our military strength and to protect our homeland against terrorism, if undertaken, will enable us to jump-start the American economy and re-establish a strong middle class and permit others to escape poverty.

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MIMI

MIMI was three years old when her father, a Jewish immigrant, died. She was the fifth of six children, the eldest being age eleven. Her mother got assistance from her father’s painters’ union and other recent immigrants living in the fledgling Jewish community located in the poorest section of downtown Yonkers, to pay for the funeral and temporarily feed her family. Her mother, who spoke only broken English mixed with Yiddish, was suddenly thrust into the role of a single parent provider. There was no welfare available. In order to keep her family together, her mother got permission to sell fresh fish at the local Kosher butcher shop on the days prior to the Jewish sabbath. To buy the fish she had to travel two hours each way, first on an electric trolley and then a subway, from the station located on Broadway at the NYC border, to and from the Fulton Fish Market in lower Manhattan. She bought the fish for cash and carried it on her back, packed in ice, on her return trip.

As MIMI and her brothers and sisters grew, their clothing consisted mostly of hand-me-downs from relatives and friends or an occasional item purchased with money earned from part-time jobs. They learned to live with very little.

MIMI grew into a beautiful young lady. At age 14 she became a part-time personal assistant in NYC for a prominent logo designer. She lived near the Yonkers train station on what is now the Hudson Line of Metro North and commuted to Grand Central Station in NYC. Upon graduating high school, she became employed as a full-time sales girl selling women’s clothing at Genung’s, a local department store. Her beauty was recognized when she was selected as Miss Yonkers in the early 1930’s.

MIMI focused on and was acutely aware of current fashion trends. She spent her limited earnings carefully, displaying an exceptional flair for style. Her ambition was to open a women’s clothing store in downtown Yonkers, patterned after the Saks Fifth Avenue store on Fifth Avenue in NYC. Young Jewish men and an unprecedented number of women had opened retail stores in Yonkers’ downtown Getty Square area to sell all types of merchandise, including clothing, appliances, jewelry, eyeglasses, sporting goods and cameras. MIMI could only dream of opening a woman’s clothing store.

Her opportunity came unexpectedly. One afternoon she was helping a customer at Genung’s who told her that she had just bought some hosiery bargains from a store going out of business. Mimi left work to go to the store, which was located a few blocks away at one of the least desirable locations, on a very steep hill at the outskirts of Getty Square area. She inquired about purchasing the store, but was advised that they were merely liquidating the merchandise and going out of business. When she pressed them, they offered to sell her the remaining merchandise and the fixtures for $100 and to speak to the landlord about giving her a lease.

Mimi didn’t have any savings. She immediately went to her sister, Rose, who was married and had a young son, to try to borrow $100. Rose at first declined because that amount represented almost all of her family’s savings, but Mimi was relentless. She convinced her sister that this was the opportunity she had been looking for and would not fail. The next day, MIMI produced the $100 and purchased the fixtures and the remaining almost worthless inventory.

MIMI was immediately faced with a dilemma. She now had a store, but had no cash, no credit and no merchandise to sell. That didn’t stop MIMI. She conceived an imaginative plan to solve the problem. She took the train into Manhattan and walked to the area west of Fifth Avenue below 42nd Street where many Jewish manufacturers produced and sold wholesale all types of high fashion womenswear products, such as blouses, sweaters, gloves and lingerie. She knew the names of some of the manufactures and located their showrooms. Many of them were pleased to show this pretty, fashionably dressed, young woman their lines. She selected a total of a half-dozen items to buy at each showroom at an aggregate cost of less than $20  and then told them she had no cash and needed credit. She explained that she had customers for each of the items and that payment the next Monday morning would not be a problem. The size of the order was meaningless to them, but MIMI’s charm, knowledge of their merchandise and enthusiasm were persuasive. A few were willing to take what for them was an insignificant monetary risk.

With the garments in hand she immediately became one of the first personal shoppers in the US. While she was selecting each on the items, MIMI had envisioned who she would sell them to. MIMI went home and enthusiastically contacted her friends and their mothers to get them to buy the items she had personally selected for them. As promised, on Monday morning she was back at the showrooms to make payment and to get credit to purchase a larger number of additional items on the same terms. Within a few weeks MIMI’s merchandise was the gossip of the Jewish community. She knew almost every customer by name and was able to convince them how great they looked in garments purchased from MIMI’s,

In a short period of time she got credit until the end of the month and was able to purchase inventory for display at her store. Her business prospered and she soon relocated it to a much larger store on Broadway near the center of Getty Square. She was joined in business by her husband, Nat, and within a few years they rented a larger prominent location at 3 North Broadway, just off Getty’s Square’s most important corner. It was stocked with  sweaters, blouses and lingerie. Christmas was a special and busy time at MIMI’s and your gift was wrapped in an expensive red and gold box with a ribbon patterned after the Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas wrapping.

The store at 3 North Broadway occupied almost half of the ground floor of a rundown and low occupancy hotel, a four story structure built over 100 years before to house travelers by stagecoach on their first stop of the multi-day trip from NYC to Albany along Broadway, route US9. Soon thereafter, MIMI and Nat approached the hotel owner and negotiated a 25 year lease for the entire premises. They thereafter hired a prominent local architect and borrowed heavily to renovate the structure into a modern department store to be known as MIMI’s. The store, completed in 1948, opened with the Lieutenant Governor speaking before a crowd of thousands. MIMI’s was an immediate success and sparked a major revival of Getty Square. The name MIMI appeared in large neon letters on the front of the building. MIMI was in the store to greet customers almost every day, six days a week. MIMI, known only by her first name, after a few years became one of the best known people in Yonkers.

MIMI’s had large windows along both Broadway and Main Street that MIMI changed frequently to always display a large number of stylish but affordable items. There was a reason for MIMI’s merchandise being affordable. MIMI had used her ingenuity to became one of America’s first discounters. She knew from her personal dealings with the NYC manufacturers that during the 50’s they shipped their large orders across the country before Thanksgiving and were left with large quantities of unsold high quality merchandise that could no longer be sold and delivered to customers for pre-Christmas availability. Because MIMI’s was located about 20 minutes by car from the garment center, Nat could drive MIMI into NYC to buy and take immediate delivery of large quantities of merchandise that the manufacturers were stuck with. MIMI, who knew every item offered by the manufacturer by style number and color, would buy thousands of dollars of the latest high-style merchandise for cash at cost or below. She immediately displayed the items in MIMI’s windows for sale at prices often at or below wholesale. MIMI’s newspaper ads in the Yonkers Herald Statesman became a weekly highlight for shoppers who sought the special MIMI’s bargains. MIMI’s expanded its sales, before the availability of credit cards, by offering MIMI charge accounts, an in-house credit system administered by hand by MIMI’s brother. MIMI employed her sister Rose and other family members in the business. She provided for her mother, who lived with her, and her younger sister’s family and gave merchandise and support to many local charities.

MIMI’s construction was completed in 1948. It was an immediate success. The Cross County shopping center, one of the earliest in the US, opened in the early 50’s and introduced limited competition to Getty Square. However, because MIMI’s customers came by car and public transportation mainly from southwest Yonkers and other areas stretching from Riverdale to the south and Hastings and Dobbs Ferry to the north, MIMI’s was protected by geography from competition to the east.

MIMI’s prospered for years until the late 1960’s when a drastic change took place in the Getty Square area. Large population shifts occurred in Yonkers resulting in large part from school busing and the construction of a very large, low-income housing project that attracted large numbers of poor people from near-by cities. Well-intentioned attempts by liberals to improve the lives of low-income people had the reverse effect. The income level of Getty Square customers declined precipitously. Crime became a serious issue and as a result traffic in Getty Square after dark was greatly diminished. The quality of merchandise being offered by merchants declined and weaker businesses closed their doors. MIMI’s, which had for more than 25 years remained open until 10:00 six days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas decided that it was too dangerous to remain open at night. It closed daily in the late afternoon well before sundown to let its sales girls get home safely. Within a few years a business that had been highly profitable selling quality merchandise at discounted prices, could no longer cover its costs.

MIMI was in her 60’s, in excellent health and was current with all the trends and developments in the women’s clothing business. She loved her work. She still got excited every time she saw one of her customers in a sweater or blouse or wearing lingerie MIMI’s had sold her. She didn’t want to make the final decision that a business that is unprofitable should be closed. Her husband and son, the author of this article, convinced her it was time to retire and enjoy the fruits of her success. MIMI’s dream ended as it had begun with a going out of business sale followed by the sale of the converted hotel they had acquired years before. Social issues beyond her control had destroyed the neighborhood in which her business was located.

Obamacare Is A Giant Step Along The Path To American Communism

Preliminary Note- I expect that a majority of the readers of this article do not believe there is any danger that our economic system will ever be converted to communism. I hope for the sake of our great country that they are right. However, I fear that the conversion to American communism is already well on its way. Obamacare is a giant step along the path to American communism. Conversion to communism need not be effected by an uprising. It can and is being legislated as the law of the land by our elected Democrat representatives. Even though Russian and Chinese communism, are incorporating aspects of capitalism, American communism is different. Our federal government hasn’t seized outright control of production. Instead it has passed laws, rules and regulations to give itself indirect control in selected areas. It has been taking property, in ever-increasing amounts, from the middle class and the wealthy and giving it or applying it for the benefit of sick, low-income and poor people.

The development of American communism began before Obamacare. Providing free healthcare for the poor at hospital emergency rooms and recovering the cost by increasing the charges to those individuals and employers who paid hospitals for healthcare was a precursor of Obamacare. Charging a fee to cell phone users to fund free cell phones for the poor and increasing transit fares to gives free rides to the poor are other examples of American communism. Requiring the construction of wheelchair accessible bathrooms and ramps, though generally commendable, is requiring spending by those who have, for the benefits of people with disabilities.

What other moves toward American communism will Democrat liberals propose for the benefit of poor and low-income people when they next get the opportunity? Will they (i) require electric utilities to give free electricity or air conditioners, (ii) require landlords to allocate a portion of their properties to offer free housing, (iii) require bicycle renters to pay a higher payment to pay for free bike usage, (iv) require restaurants to give free meals, (v) require theatre owners to provide free access to movies or shows, (vi) require hotels to give free rooms, (vii) require airlines to give free travel, or (viii) require car rental companies to provide free rentals. They may not require such welfare benefits to be given for free. Instead, they might require discounts or provide poor and low-income folks with Obamacare type US government subsidies to be paid for by taxpayers. The Obama administration has found a way to confiscate and transfer wealth by extorting unfair or excessive settlements from banks growing out of misconduct by bankers relating to the collateralizing of mortgages, and redistributing a portion of the penalties collected for the benefit of the poor and organizations that support Democrats.

President Obama and other Democrats seeking political gains constantly complain about growing income inequality. It may be true with respect to the gap between the middle class, whose incomes have stagnated due in large part to the inept federal fiscal policies of the Obama administration, and those of us who have capital to invest and are benefitting from a rising stock market. Stock prices have been increasing in large part because of short-term interest rates that the Fed has kept near zero for years because of the failure of our fiscal policies. However, the gap is overstated because most employers have been paying increasing healthcare costs for their employees. While such payments do not increase cash compensation or take home pay, they have materially increased aggregate employee compensation. The income inequality gap between the middle class and low-income people and the poor is not growing, but is narrowing because of ever-increasing welfare benefits, including Obamacare subsidies, being given to the later groups. President Obama and liberal Democrats also complain that many of our highest income individuals or corporations pay little or no income tax because of tax loopholes. They could eliminate the problem, but because the beneficiaries of the income tax loopholes are major campaign contributors to both parties, our politicians do not eliminate tax loopholes every year as was done routinely in past Congresses.

President Obama believes that our rich Americans, even though they earned it, have much more wealth than they need. He ignores the fact that the industrialists who created great wealth for themselves during the 19th and 20th centuries, reinvested it in a burgeoning US economy and created millions of blue-collar jobs that led to the formation of the middle class. A faster growing US economy sparked by capital investment would create millions of jobs and strengthen the middle class.

Instead of concentrating on growing the economy and improving employment opportunities for the middle class and the poor to give them an opportunity to narrow the income gap, the Obama administration adopted (i) an inept fiscal stimulus plan that exploded the size of the National Debt, (ii) rules and regulations that stagnated our economy and (iii) adopted Obamacare, a communistic type law, to take property from those who are succeeding to provide underpriced healthcare for sick and low-income people.

Obamacare Is A Cancer.

Obamacare was adopted by Democrat Congressmen at the urging of President Obama for political gain. President Obama promoted Obamacare based on deliberate lies to mislead the voters about its affect on the middle class. He did so to conceal the fact that the Obamacare mandates require the healthy middle class or their employers and the wealthy, to purchase overpriced insurance or be charged a penalty to pay for a significant portion of the healthcare offered on a highly subsidized basis to sick and low-income people. He obviously expected that once the sick and the poor received Obamacare’s subsidized benefits it would be politically impossible to eliminate them. He believes that the ends justify the means. Now that his repeated lies have been exposed he ignores them and lies about the success of Obamacare.

Obamacare is proving to be a malignant cancer that was inserted into and is causing great harm to our healthcare system, the US economy and the middle class. President Obama and the Democrats who created it knew or should have known of the terrible damage it would cause. Its thousands of pages of regulations are adding excessive costs to healthcare providers. They don’t care. Their goal was to seize governmental control of our healthcare system, expand Medicaid for the poor and create a giant new welfare entitlement to provide greatly expanded benefits for sick and low-income people. They thought they could trick the young and middle class to purchase overpriced Obamacare policies to pay for it.

Obamacare does not create a single payer system making the US government the sole payer. Instead it uses the insurance companies as the middlemen, leaving them to take the blame for the inevitable premium increases and declining quality and availability of healthcare. Obamacare mandates straight jacket insurers. It requires insurance companies to disregard pre-existing conditions and offer greatly expanded benefits, including preventive care that is exempt from deductibles. As a result, they must offer outrageously below cost coverage to sick people that requires insurers to raise premiums, deductibles and co-pays for everyone else or reduce payments to providers or some combination of both. Since low-income people receive federal government subsidies of up to 80% of their premiums, the extra costs incurred by insurers resulting from the Obamacare mandates are in large part borne by the middle class and their employers. To limit the premium increases for the older (but not yet Medicare eligible) middle class they targeted the unsubsidized young middle class for maximum increases by mandating that older people could not be required to pay more than three times the amount paid by young people. They knew, based on actuarial tables, that the rate should be five times higher. Furthermore, since most of the subsidies will be paid for by the taxpayers, the middle class (who pay the bulk of our income taxes) will ultimately be paying for most of the subsidies as well.

Prior to Obamacare, healthcare policies were designed to offer a broad range of benefits subject to cost constraints. Health insurance policies were offered for a one year term. They generally did not include catastrophe coverage that would have entitled you to coverage in later years, but would have greatly increased the premium. Various forms of insurance were available prior to Obamacare to protect against acquiring a pre-existing condition. However, few people bought such coverage. Disability insurance was available to help by providing partial income continuation, but also was purchased by only a small percentage of our population. Some people lived a healthy lifestyle that helped avoid pre-existing conditions, but for various reasons, often beyond their control, or because they made a mistake, developed pre-existing conditions. Others were born with a genetic defect, abused their bodies or took undue risks that increased their chances of becoming subject to pre-existing conditions. If you acquired a serious medical problem prior to the time of renewal of your healthcare insurance policy it was treated as a pre-existing condition. As a result your renewal premium, as determined by insurance company actuaries, may have greatly increased or become unaffordable. Irregardless of the cause, healthcare policy costs for a person or family with a serious pre-existing condition were often $100,000 or more per year.

One’s ability to purchase the best and most expensive healthcare to treat one’s medical problems, like the purchase of an expensive home, car or vacation, was available only to those who could pay. Steps were being taken at the state level to assist people with pre-existing conditions in obtaining limited coverage. Insurers in various states were offering special types of coverages to give limited relief to people with pre-existing conditions. Business group insurance with large pools of healthy workers were often able to include coverage without ratings or with limited ratings for people with pre-existing conditions. However, most people (unless they had acquired adequate catastrophe or disability insurance or had received a large damage award following an accident case) had to limit their care or spend all or a portion of their savings to pay for their healthcare costs. People were responsible for taking care of their own bodies.

We must recognize that the patient must have some skin in the game to encourage wellness, prevent the cost of healthcare from becoming prohibitive and avoid long waiting periods for treatment. We should require significant co-pays. Healthcare needs are often discretionary. If a person has to pay for a portion of a treatment or procedure he may choose to forgo it. Similar consideration should be given to modifying Medicare to make it viable in the long run, instead of the multi-trillion dollar burden it will soon become.

President Obama and the Democrat leadership saw an opportunity for political gain by offering greatly expanded benefits for everyone, including people who had pre-existing conditions. They knew that low-income individuals would be unable to afford to pay the required increases in premiums needed to pay for the trillions of dollars of additional costs to take care of the sick and to cover the Obamacare mandated benefits over a 10 year period. They therefore included very high subsidies for the people they affectionately refer to as low-income folks. The subsidies are so large that they cover not only the increased costs resulting from the Obamacare mandates, but also cover a large portion of the remainder of their premiums, thereby creating a gigantic new welfare program for low-income people. They expected such generous subsidies to be available within a few years, after the employer mandate kicked in and many, if not most, employers dropped coverage, for a majority of all Americans. They knew that if they told the American people the truth about the enormously increased healthcare costs which would have to be paid by everyone who did not receive a large subsidy, namely the middle class, the employers and the rich, Obamacare would never have passed.

President Obama with the assistance of the Obamacare draftsmen  and paid advisers like Gruber carefully concocted a plan of deception to prevent the American people from learning the truth about the cost of Obamacare and who was going to pay for it. They started by creating new types of insurance plans and named them after valuable metals to fraudulently give them the appearance that purchasers were getting a meaningful choice between good healthcare plans. In fact, the exchange offered plans available to most people require them to buy very expensive mandated coverage they may not want or need. Choices between plans deal with choices between higher premiums and lower deductibles and vice-versa. The differences between the plans are meaningful only to people who will be receiving large subsidies or who can reliably predict their healthcare needs.

President Obama and the draftsmen knew that the aggregate of the premium charges, deductibles and co-pays for all of the plans, to be determined by the insurance companies, would have to be substantially higher than prior plans that did not have to meet the very expensive Obamacare mandates. They took money from Medicare and adopted 18 new taxes to pay for a portion of the governments’ administrative costs and the cost of providing the subsidies for low-income people and expanded Medicaid benefits for the poor. Some of the Obamacare taxes will be passed on to consumers and further increase healthcare costs. The revenues from the new capital gains tax are treated as Obamacare revenues, but have nothing to do with Obamacare. They are merely a supplemental income tax on upper income taxpayers allocated to Obamacare to make it appear to be costing the US government less. Few people realize that the Obamacare capital gains tax, coupled with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, increased marginal income tax rates on upper income taxpayers by almost 10% in one year. Yet, many economists wonder why the recovery in the American economy is so tepid.

Obamacare was passed by left-wing Democrats who didn’t understand and didn’t care how it would work. At the urging of President Obama, who withheld the truth from them, they rushed to adopt Obamacare while they had the minimum votes for passage. President Obama is still lying to prevent the middle class from learning the truth about Obamacare. The middle class is only beginning to understand that it is required to pay for (i) the very expensive benefits Obamacare gives at way below fair market rates to people with pre-existing conditions, (ii) the greatly expanded and costly to provide benefits mandated (mainly for political reasons) for all Obamacare exchange offered policies and (iii) the subsidies for low-income workers.

Prior to the passage of Obamacare we were making progress in solving our healthcare problems. It had been determined years ago that the poor needed medical care, and a compassionate America was giving it to them. Everyone who lived within a radius that enabled them to reach a hospital emergency room had access to quality healthcare. Emergency rooms were required by law to treat everyone. You didn’t need to have insurance coverage or be able to pay. The use of emergency rooms became a healthcare safety-net entitlement. Although emergency rooms were not the most efficient way to provide run-of-the-mill healthcare in most cases, over time people who lived near hospitals, including illegal immigrants, used emergency rooms for their routine healthcare needs. However, the federal and state governments didn’t offer to pay for the new welfare benefit. To recover their emergency room costs, hospitals charged higher fees for patients who had insurance or could afford to pay. Such charges and the cost of newly developed treatments, procedures and drugs were rapidly increasing aggregate healthcare costs that were driving up the cost of healthcare insurance. When we look back we can see that providing free healthcare for the poor at emergency rooms resulted in the middle class and the employers indirectly paying for the cost of providing healthcare for the poor.

A large portion of employee healthcare insurance costs was (and is currently) paid for by employers. As a consequence, employers were not increasing cash compensation and in many cases were passing along an increasing portion of the costs to employees in the form of policy limits, premium contributions, deductibles and co-pays. Healthcare insurance for individuals was seeing similar cost increases. As a result of Obamacare, businesses are increasing employee deductibles and co-pays, eliminating full-time jobs and creating part-time jobs, outsourcing or delaying hiring as they grapple with Obamacare regulations and costs as a result of or in some cases in preparation for the delayed employer mandate.

Hospitals were permitted to require proof of insurance or payment before providing treatments and procedures requiring patient admission to the hospital. Expensive surgery and treatments were often not sought or were unaffordable because of cost constraints in cases where there was no insurance or high deductibles or co-pays. Nevertheless, using capitalist principles and relying on American exceptionalism, we were able to develop the world’s best healthcare system and provide ever-improving healthcare to increasing numbers of people.

President Obama and the Democrats fraudulently claim that when everyone has insurance it will lower the cost of providing healthcare by reducing emergency room visits. It is true that clinics that can be staffed with nurses and other trained medical personnel are being established at or near hospitals to perform routine procedures at lower cost. The use of clinics is an important step in lowering the cost of providing good healthcare for the poor. However, that was being accomplished independently of Obamacare, financed, in large part, by charitable contributions to hospitals from rich donors. But, where is a parent going to take their ill child if a doctor or a clinic is not readily available after office hours or because of increased waiting time to see a doctor? Moreover, the savings (particularly if clinics remain open 24 hours) will barely dent the outrageous costs of the Obamacare mandates.

Instead of honestly acknowledging the outrageous burden on the middle class, President Obama took to the airwaves as the chief salesman for Obamacare and deliberately lied (beginning before its passage) about the effects of Obamacare by stating repeatedly that your premiums would decline, and if you liked your doctor, or if you like your plan, you could keep them. He apparently believed that low-income people would accept having to use another plan, doctor or hospital when they learned they were paying reduced premiums as a result of their subsidies. He obviously felt that a significant number of young middle class liberals, who were attracted by his promises of hope and change and blindly supported him, would be confused and prevented by the Obamacare lies from understanding that Obamacare provides for a transfer of wealth from the middle class, their employers and the rich to sick, poor and low-income people and that they were deliberately targeted to pay for President Obama’s new welfare program. The repeated failures of the Obamacare websites and the lack of criticism from the liberal press served as a further barrier that prevented the middle class from learning the truth about Obamacare. However, the VA, IRS and numerous other scandals that even the pro-Obama press are finding impossible to ignore, have caused them to question the truth of statements from and the competency of the Obama administration.

The draftsmen made all preventive care exempt from the deductibles. Therefore, many people will not discover that they their coverage is subject to a deductible or co-pay until after they have a medical need which is subject to them. We do not yet know how many low-income people chose lower premium plans because they did not know they were subject to higher deductibles. Nor do we yet know how many people are being denied treatment for failure to pay a deductible in advance or what will happen if hospitals, doctors and other healthcare providers provide services and the deductible is not paid. Many people, whether or not their premium is subsidized, will elect not to have a treatment or procedure if they have to pay out-of-pocket for all or a significant portion of its cost. Hospitals may elect to perform expensive surgery, even if the deductible or co-pay prove to be uncollectible, because the insurance companies will be obligated to pay all charges in excess of such amounts.

For political reasons, the effectiveness of many of the Obamacare provisions (including the required purchase of a Obamacare policy) were delayed until after the 2012 presidential election so that the Obamacare lies would not be exposed until after the election. Since the Democrats didn’t have the votes in the House of Representatives to modify Obamacare, President effected such delays by issuing executive orders, that are likely to be found to be unconstitutional. President Obama knew that the unfair treatment of the middle class would be discovered over time, after the presidential election. However, he expected that so many low-income people would sign up for the new welfare benefit that it would be political suicide for Republicans to try to take away the subsidies. Being an entitlementist, he believed that the new welfare program would gain more votes for Democrats than it would lose. Now, President Obama stresses the millions of people who have gained coverage because of Obamacare. Many of them have signed up for expanded Medicaid programs which are free and paid for by the federal and state governments and should not have been linked to Obamacare. They were included in Obamacare to coerce the states into creating Obamacare exchanges and give the federal government control of healthcare. Large numbers of low-income people will flock to Obamacare after the employer mandate kicks in and they lose their full-time jobs and their employer paid coverage. However, they may not do so, and will be left with no coverage, if they are unable to receive a subsidy because their state in one of the majority of states that has not established a state Obamacare exchange. In an attempt to coerce the states to create Obamacare exchanges, Obamacare specifically limits subsidies to people who sign up on a state established exchange. However the Obama administration that wants to grant subsidies to as many people as possible to encourage Obamacare sign-ups, has chosen to ignore the very precise wording of the Obamacare law and is granting subsidies to people signing up on the federal exchange. Such subsidies are being challenged in a case to be heard next year by the US Supreme Court. Unless the Supreme Court finds the Obama administration’s payment of subsidies to low-income people signing up on the federal Obamacare exchange to be unconstitutional, we can expect Obamacare premiums for the middle class to rise substantially. If the US Supreme Court rules that no subsidies can be paid to purchasers on the federal exchange, then the number of uninsured individuals will skyrocket.

The draftsmen of Obamacare knew that when the middle class discovered the extent that they were being overcharged for a Obamacare policy many of them would refuse to purchase or refuse to renew a Obamacare policy and go without coverage. Why should anyone pay for insurance coverage they were unlikely to need knowing that if the became ill or injured and needed coverage, they would be able to obtain coverage at the next enrollment period? They therefore included a penalty (that the Supreme Court called a tax) that increases over each of the first three years, rising to 2.5% of income, to trap the middle class into paying an unfair amount whether or not they purchased a Obamacare exchange policy. Whether you call it a penalty or a tax, it is designed to force the middle class to pay to help subsidize the greatly underpriced benefits offered to the ill and to low-income folks. The president (who claims repeatedly that he is a champion of the middle class) continues to deliberately deceive the young middle class people he needs to sign up for Obamacare exchange policies to keep premium increases from going through the roof. He told them it will cost no more than a monthly phone or cable bill. That is just another Obamacare lie unless you are a low-income person or family eligible for up to an 80% subsidy.

We do not yet know what percentage of the Obamacare exchange policy purchasers are healthy or young middle class people who get no subsidy or whose policies will prove to be worthless because of high deductibles and co-pays. We do not know how many people lied about income to be eligible for subsidies or were illegal immigrants who lied about being US citizens. President Obama and the HHS won’t tell us. Nor are they telling us whether people who signed up for Obamacare policies have paid their premiums or are paying their required deductibles to the healthcare providers. Since they make selective disclosures to make it appear that Obamacare is succeeding, it is obvious that President Obama and the Democrats are trying to withhold certain relevant information until after the mid-term elections. They are being aided in their efforts by the failure of the liberal press to talk about the Obamacare faults.

President Obama and the Democrats attempted to get insurance companies to participate in the Obamacare exchanges and to minimize premium increases during the first three years by including a provision in Obamacare (that the president, HHS and the liberal press do not talk about) that provides for subsidies for insurance companies to cover their losses during the first three years. Many insurance companies have nevertheless excluded the services of many of the best available doctors and hospitals from their groups of providers, to limit their costs of providing Obamacare policy services. They are also talking about raising premiums next year. Because, as was predictable, the insurance company losses are now expected to exceed the amount available, the administration has announced that the subsidies shall be reduced proportionately as necessary. We can expect that when the quality and availability of healthcare has declined significantly, the Democrats will blame it on the “greedy” insurance companies and demand a single payer system. We should not forget that Medicaid ad Medicare are basically single payer systems and that an increasing number of doctors are refusing to treat Medicaid or Medicare patients.

Obamacare Is Destroying The Quality And Availability Of American Healthcare.

Because Obamacare mandates will increase insurance company payments by hundreds of billions of dollars annually, insurers are squeezing healthcare providers by reducing payments for treatments and procedures. Many doctors and some of our greatest hospitals are being excluded from or are refusing to participate in Obamacare provider networks because insurance companies selling Obamacare exchange policies are seeking to contain costs to limit premium increases. The added costs of complying with Obamacare regulations and the failure of Obamacare to deal with outrageous malpractice claims are driving additional doctors from private practice. Many of them, who have or will become hospital employees, will find their compensation reduced because hospitals are paid inadequately by Obamacare exchange qualified insurers. Because of Obamacare, the number of malpractice claims and the cost of malpractice insurance are going to grow due to the increased number of patients that doctors are going to have to treat (at lower fees per patient).

We have not yet seen the expected surge in demand for healthcare services from the sick, the poor (who receive Medicaid) and low-income individuals who are eligible to receive free or highly subsidized insurance coverage under Obamacare. Healthcare expenditures during the first three months of 2014 were less than expected. This is probably due to the confusion caused by the inept Obamacare rollout. The covered benefits, that include preventive care, not subject to deductibles or co-pays, will, within a short time frame, overburden the healthcare system. It will in most cases, because of reduced payments and increased costs, make it less profitable to practice medicine unless you work longer hours. Obamacare’s adoption comes at a time when the aging of our population is also going to add demands for healthcare services from Medicare beneficiaries that will put further pressure on healthcare providers. We only have to look at the treatment of our veterans, whose service earned them premium healthcare, but have for decades received inadequate coverage despite annual funding increases, to know it is inevitable that patients will in a few years incur long waiting periods for appointments and treatment under both Obamacare and Medicare. Obamacare will make it difficult to make a doctor’s appointment or arrange for a timely hospital procedure, thereby effectively rationing healthcare (even for those who are not entitled to a subsidy and pay excessively for coverage) and subject its availability to political considerations. As in Europe and Canada, the rich will not subject themselves to the inadequate healthcare offered under Obamacare (or Medicare which is following the same path) and will pay independently for high quality healthcare. Medical groups are already offering concierge plans to provide improved quality healthcare covering a broad range of healthcare needs at an affordable price for those who decline to purchase an Obamacare policy.

We Should Repeal Or Phase Out The Obamacare Mandates And Subsidies ASAP.

The Democrats claim that Obamacare can be fixed. Like most laws, Obamacare has some provisions and regulations that can be improved, but it is impossible to fix the main flaws of Obamacare. We must start by recognizing that we simply cannot afford (i) the elimination from consideration of pre-existing conditions which may enable an individual or family to receive a million dollars or more of treatments and procedures annually and (ii) the mandate that all insurance policies provide very broad politically motivated benefits for everyone. If we taxed the rich at close to 100% of income, which even Democrats most left leaning members would not dare to propose, the remainder of the cost of the Obamacare welfare will have to be borne by the middle class.

Republicans are faced with a dilemma. They opposed the adoption of Obamacare and have from time to time demanded its repeal. However, the Obamacare cancer has already caused major changes in the healthcare system which are irreversible. We cannot repeal all of Obamacare, but we can repeal its most harmful provisions. We must, as soon as possible, repeal the Obamacare provision that prohibits taking pre-existing conditions into consideration and repeal or phase out many of the other Obamacare mandates.

Irreparable harm is occurring daily as people with pre-existing conditions take advantage of the Obamacare windfall to obtain virtually free benefits that are not paid for the the US government, but instead are paid for in large part by the middle class through increased premiums. Democrats will immediately bash Republicans for any attempt to reinstate the consideration of pre-existing conditions as a callous attack on the sick who will be deprived of needed healthcare. Since most Americans sympathize with the needs of those Americans who are suffering from untreated medical problems, it is critical that Republicans carefully explain why Obamacare is a communistic law whose benefits are being paid for by the middle class and destroying the medical profession. To do so they must remind Americans of all of the misleading and fraudulent statements and outright lies made by President Obama relating to Obamacare.

Democrats argue that Republicans have no alternative proposal to replace Obamacare. Merely eliminating the mandates would represent a major corrective step. We can then reconsider pre-existing conditions and the other mandated benefits, ab initio, using healthcare experts who understand the importance of free-market capitalism, not political entitlementists who lean toward communism. We can encourage insurance companies to offer new types of coverage that will offer various forms of limited catastrophe coverage. We can also expand former efforts to give help to people with pre-existing conditions. To reduce administrative costs and make the providing of healthcare more efficient, we should eliminate federal government involvement in healthcare administration and encourage the mergers of insurance companies with hospital and other healthcare provider networks. The Obamacare rules, that encourage healthcare providers to focus on outcomes, can be retained to improve outcomes and by so doing, reduce costs.

President Obama is now arguing that Republicans are trying to take health insurance away from millions of Americans who have signed up for Obamcare. He ignores the equal or greater number of people who have already lost or are paying excessively for their coverage, or will lose their employer paid coverage after the employer mandate becomes effective. He also ignores the tax benefits from receiving employer paid coverage that will be lost when employees receive a small wage increase (that Democrats will claim credit for) and have to pay for their own coverage on the exchanges.

If left unchanged Obamacare may destroy American capitalism. Eliminating the Obamacare mandates will greatly reduce premium costs and materially increase the disposable income of the middle class and increase business investment and hiring. Instead of working 20 to 30 days a year to pay for the healthcare of non-family members and people they do not know, young middle class people will be able to pay off their college loans, buy a car or home, or put the money in an IRA that will be worth a million dollars or more when they reach retirement age. If we can grow the economy, as is likely to happen if the burden of Obamacare is removed, the percentage of disposable income spent on healthcare will likely decrease over time.

This article is one of a number of Obamacare related articles that have been published on this blog.

We Are Going to Find Out That Eight Million Is Worse Than Seven Million

President Obama, after reporting that eight million people have signed up for a Obamacare Exchange insurance policy before the end of the extended April 15, 2014 deadline, proudly stated he has won. What did he win? Americans are not taking to the streets to celebrate his victory. Most people don’t know what he is referring to. Apparently he considers getting people to sign up for a Obamacare Exchange insurance policy to be a game for which he creates and can, at his whim, change the rules. Almost everything President Obama has said about Obamacare for the last 5 years has been an outright lie or deliberately misleading. Now, because he set up a meaningless goal of signing up 7 million registrants before the deadline, which was apparently exceeded, he claims he won. Even if all of the 8 million people have validly registered on a Obamacare Exchange and paid their premium (which is doubtful), it is almost certainly a meaningless number.

Why should the fact that eight million people registering on an exchange be a meaningful number or be something to be proud of? After all, five million people had insurance policies cancelled because of Obamacare and over 40 million individuals had no coverage before Obamacare. The percentage reduction in the number of uninsured is not significant considering the extensive and costly effort made to get people to do so. Moreover, since Obamacare is a new welfare program that offers poor, low-income and people with pre-existing conditions healthcare for free or for a price of 20% or less than its true cost, you would expect more people to have taken advantage and signed up for it. However, the insurance policies being offered on the Obamacare exchanges are so confusing and limiting as to hospitals and doctors, that, even the folks being offered a bargain, are sceptical.

Obamacare is being paid for by higher insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays being charged to the healthy middle class and above who (i) do not qualify for a premium subsidy and (ii) who as taxpayers are going to be taxed to supplement the 18 Obamacare taxes (most of which are being paid by or will be passed on to them) adopted to pay for the US government Obamacare costs, including the subsidies, and the increased Medicaid coverage for the poor. The more sick and highly subsidized people who sign up for a Obamacare policy, the greater the costs that will have to be borne in large part by the middle class. As a result we are going to discover that the more people who sign up for Obamacare, the more disastrous it will be to the middle class. For that reason 8 million people signing up for Obamacare policies is worse than 7 million. The draftsmen of Obamacare knew how unfair it was to the middle class and that large numbers of people would opt out of coverage. They therefore included a penalty, that increases each year, to compel the purchases. The penalty, if collectible, is payable to the government (and not the insurance companies) and, therefore, will not limit premium increases.

President Obama doesn’t talk about Obamacare as a welfare program for low-income people because he is trying to induce the middle class into signing up for it to generate revenues for the insurance companies by collecting excessive premiums from low-cost customers and thereby limit future premium increases. However, the middle class, particularly those who are young and healthy and targeted by Obamacare mandates to pay the most excessive amounts for their coverage, are discovering sticker shock when they learn the cost of their premiums, deductibles and co-pays. We do not yet know for sure, because President Obama refuses to tell us, the important facts he must know about the registrants, including whether they are people who (i) are sick or had pre-existing medical conditions, (ii) were replacing their cancelled insurance, (iii) are paying little or nothing for their coverage because their premium payments are being highly subsidized by the US Government and the taxpayers or (iv) are healthy middle class people. We can expect to find out that a high percentage of the those who have registered for coverage are sick, poor or low-income folks taking advantage of the bargain. They are the only individuals who will be getting fair value for purchasing a Obamacare qualified insurance policy.

President Obama, with assistance from the liberal press, has also prevented the American people from finding out other important facts about Obamacare, including the enormous costs of (i) eliminating pre-existing conditions from consideration or (ii) providing the expanded mandated coverage of Obamacare qualified insurance policies. He stresses only the benefits, not the costs.

It should be obvious that President Obama doesn’t care what the cost of providing Obamacare is to the US Government or the taxpayers or about the excess amount being paid by healthy, middle class people. He lied about Obamacare to get reelected and is now lying to try to keep control of the Senate in the mid-term elections.
He has repeatedly tried to trick middle class, young people into signing up for Obamacare by making fraudulent statements about its cost, recently claiming it will cost no more than a monthly cell phone or cable bill. That statement is deliberately misleading because it only applies to low-income people entitled to a large premium subsidy. When the true cost of their premiums, deductible and co-pays becomes known to young people, many of them will elect to pay or risk paying the penalty and go without coverage, or will cancel or not renew their coverage and premiums are likely to skyrocket in future years.

The US is a wealthy country which can afford to give adequate healthcare to the poor and low-income people. We can set up clinics at or near hospitals to provide free or low-cost preventive care and certain types of emergency care. However, we cannot afford to give Rolls Royce or Cadillac plans to everyone, including people with pre-existing conditions whose coverage may cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars per year. President Obama proudly claims that as a result of Obamacare no-one will ever again lose their home because of illness. He doesn’t care whether they are rich and getting an unneeded benefit or their pre-existing condition was self-caused as a result of smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, or high carb diets causing obesity. He doesn’t tell middle class workers that as a result of Obamacare (i) they are required to pay for most of the healthcare costs of their low-income and sick neighbors, or (ii) they may never be able to buy a car, own a home, save for retirement or their children’s education or even pay off their college loans. Nor does he tell them that when the employer mandate kicks in, they may lose their full-time job or their employer paid coverage.

We must find a way to help people deal with the cost of pre-existing conditions and to help low-income people get acceptable healthcare without placing the burden on the backs of the middle class. President Obama will gladly have the government pay the subsidies to the insurance companies on behalf of low-income people to make it look like Obamacare is gaining popularity. President Obama doesn’t care about the people being harmed by Obamacare because (i) he wants the government’s providing of healthcare for the poor and low-income folks to be his legacy and (ii) because he is an entitlementist who wants to use Obamacare and government control of healthcare as a new welfare program to gain net votes for Democrats from low-income people and the poor. He is using his power as president to convert our economic system of dynamic capitalism that engenders exceptionalism into a socialist state, favoring mediocrity, that will inevitably be doomed to economic stagnation.

President Obama doesn’t care that most doctors dislike Obamacare. He thinks of them as highly paid and rich. He doesn’t care that they are facing greatly increased operating costs and reduced income as the insurance companies seek to limit their costs and future premium increases and the government reduces Medicare payments to providers. He is concealing from the American people that the quality and availability of healthcare is precipitously declining. Obamacare policy holders can expect to encounter long waits to be treated at a hospital or by a doctor not of their choosing. As in European countries, those people who can afford to pay for their own high quality and timely provided healthcare will pay extra for private doctors and hospitals operating outside of the exchanges.

ENTITLEMENTISM

I define “entitlementism” as a political process by which voters in a democracy, motivated by greed, need, fear, or a desire to promote the comfort and well-being of others, elect presidents, governors and legislators who favor the retention or expansion of welfare benefits and other economic entitlements mainly for the poor and the elderly. Entitlementists are people who promote entitlementism. Entitlementists generally believe that wealthy and high income individuals and the entities that they control should pay higher taxes, fees and other payments to pay for the entitlements.

The grave danger that entitlementism poses to American democracy is that voters will vote for candidates who support and maximize entitlements and that political candidates who seek to control excessive entitlement spending may become un-electable in many areas of the country. If entitlementists get control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, they may, though a combination of taxes, mandates and penalties on individuals and businesses, turn American free market capitalism into an undesirable form of socialism that may over time erode into communism.

Entitlementists adopted Obamacare to offer new types of welfare benefits, including premium subsidies to many millions of individuals with incomes up to $46,000 and families of four with incomes up to $94,000 expecting them to become entitlements. It mandates the purchase, by businesses and individuals, of over-priced insurance that many of them do not want or need, to pay for new entitlements for others.

Although President Obama and his Democrat supporters refuse to acknowledge it, healthy young people with middle class tax-paying jobs are targeted victims selected to pay for the increased healthcare costs mandated by Obamacare. They are being asked to pay excessive premiums, deductibles and co-pays to (i) finance the expanded Obamacare mandated benefits, (ii) to substantially reduce the premiums payable by people with pre-existing conditions and (iii) to limit the premium increases of the elderly. They will also have to bear the brunt of tax increases that will be required to pay for the multi-billion dollar subsidies for the poor and lower middle class and for the expansion of Medicaid coverage. President Obama and other Obamacare supporters are also concealing the fact that most of the elderly, unless they qualify for premium subsidies, are subject to increased premium rates (even though their premiums are unrealistically limited under Obamacare rules (in disregard of actuarial statistics) to no more than 3 times the premium rates of young people). Most of them do not need the mandated Obamacare benefits.

Right wing conservatives, many of whom claim to be Tea Party members, are taking a political stance that enabled Democrat entitlementists to win a number of contested Congressional elections in 2012. They assess the voting record and statements of Republican candidates and, if they fail to meet pre-determined standards, they call them RINOS (Republicans in name only) and oppose their nomination. As a result Republicans often nominate a right-wing candidate who loses an election the Republicans would in all likelihood have won. Alternately, if a moderate Republican they oppose wins the nomination, they refuse financial support or to vote for him or her and he or she often loses a close election to a Democrat entitlementist. Such actions have been instrumental in enabling Democrats to retain control of the Senate. All Republicans, even moderates, opposed the passage of Obamacare. If Republicans are going to stop the march toward entitlementism, that will gain momentum if entitlements are not brought under control, they must harness their idealism and recognize the importance of winning control of both the House and the Senate in the 2014 elections.

An economic entitlement is a financial benefit that large numbers of people believe they are entitled to receive, generally from the government. Entitlements were adopted in the US over time for various commendable purposes to improve the lives of Americans. They have evolved into a broad range of benefits to provide safety net payments. They are designed to prevent hunger, provide shelter and basic needs, including medical care. Entitlements include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, housing supplements and other welfare benefits, negative income taxes, unemployment and disability insurance, flood insurance, financial relief following national disasters and now Obamacare. All of these programs are financed in large part by the US government. The costs of providing each of the entitlements are growing rapidly and are out of control. Entitlement costs are increased significantly by payments to beneficiaries and others cheating the system based on fraudulent claims under entitlement programs that now exceed hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Yet, we do almost nothing to prevent or punish the wrongdoers. Entitlementists don’t seem to care.

When adopting legislation authorizing various of the entitlement programs Congress chose different ways to determine eligibility for benefits and to fund the costs. Unfortunately our Congressmen ignored or misjudged the costs of providing certain of the entitlements and we are now facing $60 to $90 trillion of estimated unfunded entitlement liabilities that we cannot afford even if we achieve an annual two or three percent rate of growth of the GDP. We might be able to manage the unfunded entitlement problem if we grow the GDP at 7 to 10% annually for the next ten years, but because our leadership is inept, that is unlikely to be achieved. Therefore, we must find a way to scale back a significant portion of the unfunded entitlement liabilities. As a result of the Great Recession and skyrocketing entitlement payments the National Debt is approaching $17 trillion. It doesn’t seem to be currently affecting anyone. Most people seem to think that the rising National Debt will present a burden for our children and grandchildren, but few people think that our wealthy country can’t handle a National Debt of $20 trillion, $25 trillion or more. Low interest rates have masked the problem. Entitlementists like President Obama have for years been stonewalling any attempts to modify entitlements to reduce rising current entitlement costs or the unfunded liabilities in the out years. To the contrary they have magnified the entitlement problem by adopting Obamacare. In all likelihood, we will not know that the National Debt is too high until interest rates rise and we discover that we are no longer the world’s most powerful country financially or militarily. We will then be faced with a choice of reducing entitlements or other government spending, raising taxes, or printing money and enduring inflation. Moreover, if entitlementists are in control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, it may ultimately lead to confiscation of property from the wealthy.

Most of the entitlement underfunding comes from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid obligations. Social Security is a fabulous mandated retirement program. The amount a retiree can expect to collect is calculated by taking into account the withholding tax payments made into the system over a life-time. Social Security payments are the principal source of income for a large percentage of elderly Americans. Most people over age 65 in reasonably good health, who are entitled to Social Security and Medicare, can be financially self-reliant.

Although Social Security benefits vary based on the amount of one’s contributions, benefit levels offer a favorable return to our senior citizens. Years ago we recognized the under-funding of Social Security resulting from increased life expectancy and raised the age of eligibility to begin receiving benefits. We have known throughout the Obama presidency that we should again raise the age for commencement of Social Security benefits or change the manner in which inflation adjustments are calculated. Yet, despite the soaring National Debt, because entitlementists are in control of the presidency and the Senate, no action has been taken to make Social Security payments more affordable. Social Security cash flow needs present an additional problem as the number of workers contributing into the system per retiree declines. No trust fund was set aside out of the funds withheld from employee salaries to pay retiree benefits. Our government became obligated for future benefits, but spent the withholding taxes it received.

The other entitlements consist mostly of welfare payments. By design low-income individuals pay little or nothing for their entitlement benefits other than Social Security. Half of our population pays no income tax. They pay sales taxes and withholding taxes (often offset by negative income taxes) in amounts that are insignificant when compared to the benefits they receive. Democrat entitlementists have learned that they can buy votes by expanding entitlements.

Medicare was designed to ensure that healthcare would be available for the elderly. We have Medicare withholding taxes, annual premium payments and co-pays that can be covered in large part by the purchase of supplemental insurance, but the Medicare benefits dwarf the amounts collected. Low income people pay little into the system, yet they are eligible for full benefits. We have known for years that Medicare was an ill-conceived program which our government will not be able to afford as our population ages. Entitlementists rave about the success of Medicare but ignore its funding problem. The elderly and their children, who are relieved of a potential burden, love the benefits. It would be politically suicidal to try to reduce any Medicare benefits currently payable for the elderly. They vote in large numbers and feel entitled to Medicare benefits regardless of the cost. We have known for years that we must raise the age of eligibility for future Medicare beneficiaries (as we did for Social Security) and take other steps to control Medicare costs. President Obama knows this, but, except to state, every once in a while, that he knows we must deal with controlling future entitlements and that he will consider the way in which inflationary increases are calculated, he has not made any meaningful proposal to deal with the problem. The problem becomes greater with each passing year. Congressmen who propose ways to control Medicare payments in the out years are taking a political risk. Anyone who even brings up the subject of reducing entitlement benefits is immediately bashed by the liberal press and entitlementists seeking to gain political advantage.

Various individuals have proposed alternatives to the current form of Medicare. One way to reign in future Medicare liabilities is to modify the system for people currently under a designated age, such as 55, to a voucher system with co-pays and annual or lifetime limits. Each person would be entitled to an amount available to be spent during the remainder of their lifetime after becoming eligible for Medicare. By introducing aggregate spending limits (with higher limits for designated catastrophic injuries and illnesses) we can get the beneficiaries involved in controlling costs. We can even provide a death benefit for unused life-time benefits. Unfortunately, some people might spend their allocated benefits and be unable to afford all of their additional healthcare needs for various reasons. They might include their own negligence, and might be forced into bankruptcy. Our government will have to offer supplemental healthcare coverage, like Medicaid, and welfare assistance for such individuals. As we are learning from the harm being caused by Obamacare, that alternative is preferential to the destruction of the healthcare system and the middle class and the slowing of economic growth.

The SNAP (food-stamps) welfare program evolved to provide food for the poor in a dignified and efficient manner (though subject to abuse) through the use of a debit card. Welfare has been expanded to include housing and transportation subsidies, Medicaid, cell phones, baby sitters, home care and negative income taxes. A growing number of individuals, single mothers (often teenagers and sometimes with the unidentified father of their children moving in and out of the home to avoid the mother losing her welfare eligibility) and two parent families are relying on food stamps and other welfare benefits as their primary source of income. Some of them live comfortably by working part-time at low-paying jobs (which entitle them to negative income taxes) or off the books to supplement their welfare payments. Encouraged to apply for welfare benefits by navigators under programs initiated by entitlementists, more than 45 million people are now receiving food stamps. Most of them of working age are not attempting to further their education or job skills or looking for a job that would improve their standard of living and reduce or eliminate their welfare benefits. Instead they concentrate their efforts on maximizing welfare benefits. They lack the motivation and drive that has made American capitalism revered throughout the world. The increase in the number of welfare recipients has been fueled by an executive order issued by President Obama in violation of the 1996 welfare law, that makes it easier to satisfy the work requirement and gives states the authority to ignore such requirement.

Flood insurance is sold by the US Government at a fraction of its market cost. When flood insurance payments are added to disaster relief it encourages beneficiaries to rebuild in flood zones leading to large government payments when the next flood occurs in the same area.

It is becoming clear that Obamacare was rushed through Congress by President Obama and entitlementist Democrat Congressmen not only to give government control of all aspects of healthcare from birth to grave, but also to create a number of new entitlements for millions of individuals.

Many of the benefits of Obamacare became effective immediately, while most of the funding provisions were delayed for years until January 1, 2014. This was done so that President Obama could claim credit during the 2012 election campaign for all the benefits of Obamacare while concealing the disastrous aspects of Obamacare from the voters. The public heard repeatedly that 30 million people without insurance were going to be covered, pre-existing conditions were being eliminated from consideration, children under age 26 could remain on their parents coverage and a variety of benefits would be required to be covered, including preventive care, birth control, abortion and other women’s healthcare services.

Until recently, few people understood the funding or other provisions and regulations of Obamacare (many of which had not been written) or the secondary effects they would have on jobs, the healthcare industry or previously existing insurance policies. Since the adverse consequences of Obamacare were relatively unknown President Obama was able during the 2012 re-election campaign to time and again repeat a list of deliberately untrue promises (the now infamous President Obama lies), namely, (i) insurance premiums would decline for everyone, (ii) if you liked your insurance you could keep it and (iii) if you liked your doctor or hospital you could keep them. President Obama and the Democrat entitlementists didn’t tell anyone that the Obamacare insurance policies would provide for increased premiums in most states and large deductibles and co-pays which might make the insurance worthless. Nor did they tell voters they might lose their coverage, their doctor or their full-time job. They didn’t tell college students that Obamacare might harm the economy and prevent them from finding a job. They wanted President Obama and other Democrats to be elected and anticipated that the liberal press, most of whom are entitlementists, would let them outrageously stonewall the lies when they were exposed.

The 2012 election debates over Obamacare focused on birth control, abortion and other women’s rights issues that proved harmful to the Romney campaign and would have been of lesser importance had voters known the truth about how Obamacare would affect their jobs, the loss of their existing insurance coverage, their increased premium costs and the large deductibles and co-pays that were being imposed to enable insurance companies to provide expanded Obamacare mandated benefits and to offer health insurance policies at below free market rates for the sick, the disabled and the elderly. Postponing the harm of the employer mandate until 2015 was clearly intended to and may have a similar effect of deceiving the voters in the 2014 elections except to the extent that voters learn that many employers are taking steps to protect themselves against Obamacare mandates in advance of its effectiveness. To attempt to keep control of the Senate in the 2014 elections, President Obama will do everything possible to focus on women’s rights issues and criticize the stance of the Tea Party on such issues to divert attention from the harm to the middle class being caused by Obamacare.

Few people understand the enormous amount by which eliminating pre-existing conditions will increase insurance premiums. The healthcare costs of people born with special needs, or who become ill or injured may be 10 or 20 or more times more costly than those of a person in good health. Prior to the adoption of Obamacare, individual insurance policies generally had a one year term. Coverage for catastrophic injuries and illness were covered during the term. However, insurance companies would renew the policies of people who became ill or injured during the term only at greatly increased rates. People with pre-existing conditions were generally unable to purchase health insurance at affordable rates. They became cost conscious and limited their demands for treatments and procedures or spent their personal funds. Now, individuals and families burdened with the costs of pre-existing conditions will, if they haven’t already done so, purchase Obamacare qualified policies as soon as HHS gets its Obamacare website to function. We can expect them to make substantially increased demands for healthcare services. Some are rich and getting an undeserved windfall being paid for by the increases in the premiums, deductibles and co-pays of Obamacare mandated policies. Some of them who had lost their job and their coverage have sympathetic arguments for assistance and we should have found ways to help them independently of the adoption of Obamacare using high risk pools that were available in some states.

Healthcare needs for people of all ages are in large part based on discretionary decisions made by a patient and his or her doctor. Elective treatments or procedures can be delayed or avoided. Some people are willing to endure physical difficulties or high thresholds of pain rather than face the risk or cost of surgery. The high deductibles and co-pays under Obamacare will encourage more people to avoid elective procedures.

Unlike Medicare and Medicaid, under Obamacare, federal and state governments are not paying for all of the benefits. The entitlementists, who designed it, believe that they have found a way for insurance companies to (i) provide healthcare benefits mandated by Obamacare, (ii) cover the enormous costs of disregarding pre-existing conditions when determining premiums and (iii) limiting insurance premium increases for the elderly, by overcharging businesses and healthy young and middle-class workers.

In addition, the US government is subsidizing premium costs for low-income people and some small businesses, and expanding free Medicaid coverage for the poor. Almost all part-time workers will receive substantial premium subsidies. As a result, millions of voters will benefit from the new entitlements moving our country closer to entitlementism. Despite the myriad of new taxes imposed by Obamacare, if not modified or repealed the Obamacare premium subsidies will add hundreds of billions each year to federal spending that will have to be paid for by tax increases (to be paid in large part by the same middle class workers who are being overcharged for their health insurance) or by increasing the National Debt. President Obama and the Democratic entitlementists apparently believe that the Obamacare subsidies will gain Democrats more votes than they lose.

Most of the low-income people who purchase highly subsidized insurance policies on the Obamacare exchanges will still be faced with substantial deductibles and co-pays. As a result they receive will have little or no value to them. They will continue to satisfy a significant portion of their families’ medical care needs at hospital emergency rooms. Existing laws provide that they must be treated even if they do not pay the amount due. In all likelihood doctors, hospitals and other providers will be unable to collect a substantial portion of the deductibles and co-pays from such people. Hospitals, facing revenue shortages, will whenever possible increase the rates they charge for patients not covered by Obamacare, Medicare or Medicaid. The insurance companies will pay and, in turn, raise their premium rates on policies not being offered on an exchange. In the event that a patient shows up at a hospital or other healthcare provider without any insurance coverage, the healthcare provider may, if permitted by law, offer to pay the patient’s Obamacare insurance premium in excess of the subsidy, in an attempt to limit is losses to the amount of such premium payments plus the uncollectible deductibles and co-pays.

Over time, an increasing number of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers are likely to refuse to treat Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid patients unless they receive adequate fees from the Obamacare exchange insurers or the US Government. Unless we adequately compensate healthcare providers we can expect the quality and availability of healthcare to decline.

President Obama has made it clear that despite its faults he will veto any attempt to repeal Obamacare. He will continue to use his executive powers to grant exemptions principally for groups that favor Democrats. It is difficult to predict what other steps President Obama may take to try to prevent Obamacare from failing regardless of the cost to the middle class or the US government. Since deductibles and co-pays are already causing serious problems for both insurance policy purchasers and healthcare providers, we can expect that President Obama will propose further additional government subsidies, regardless of cost, to cover the deductibles and co-pays payable by the poor and lower-income people. If Republicans refuse to approve his proposed changes because of costs, he will brand them as unfair obstructionists.

One of the favorable features of Obamacare is that it will create significant healthcare cost savings by creating clinics and expanding nursing care, but that could have been accomplished independently of Obamacare. Hospitals should be given the choice of treating patients unable or unwilling to pay either at emergency rooms or at clinics created at or near the hospital.

Employer provided health insurance has been a major source of funding for employee healthcare and has represented a significant portion of employee compensation for years. Many businesses have been offsetting healthcare cost increases by increasing deductibles and co-pays and reducing middle-class cash compensation. Some are reacting to Obamacare by reducing full-time head count and hiring part-time employees to limit healthcare costs. Some businesses have delayed expansion plans. Other businesses are going to use Obamacare mandated requirements as an excuse to cease providing healthcare benefits to employees in order to reduce costs. Instead many of them will pay the applicable penalty and offer a taxable salary increase and advise employees how to purchase insurance on Obamacare exchanges. Many of the employees will be unable to purchase an exchange offered policy with the after-tax dollars received or will decline to purchase insurance when they realize that it is of little value because of the high premiums (even if reduced by a subsidy), deductibles and co-pays. They will pay the penalty and take the risk of living without insurance. If they later need catastrophic coverage they will acquire it during the following eligibility period. The result will be that the poor and those with pre-existing conditions will have insurance or Medicaid and millions of people who had jobs and insurance coverage will lose their job or their coverage. We are learning that Obamacare is not promoting the common good as claimed by the entitlementists. Instead it is destroying the American way of life. We can nevertheless expect that President Obama and the Democrats will ignore the detrimental affects of the dropped employer coverage and claim credit for pre-tax amount of the cash compensation increases. They will also claim that Obamacare enrollment is improving as anticipated by including individuals who lose their employer coverage and purchase insurance on the exchanges. A portion of the cost of providing health insurance for low-income workers will pass from the employer to the US Government which will subsidize the premiums for such workers’ policies purchased on the Obamacare exchanges.

Congress should take immediate steps to modify Obamacare to encourage employers to continue to provide health insurance for their employees. This might entail elimination of the employer mandate or limiting the required benefits to be offered under employer plans. President Obama may, in an attempt to help Democrat candidates in the 2014 elections, again postpone the employer mandate by fiat, even if he does not have authority to do so.

Giving free Medicaid or health insurance with greatly expanded mandated coverage to 30 million additional people and eliminating pre-existing conditions had to substantially increase the cost of healthcare insurance for everyone except for those who were going to receive underpriced or highly subsidized policies. The designers of Obamacare didn’t tell voters that their plan was to reduce healthcare costs for the sick, the poor and low-income workers by sticking a large part of the new entitlement costs on businesses, the rich, the healthy middle-class and young people. They also relied on unjustifiable expectations that fees to providers for treatments and procedures could be reduced, without harming the quality and availability of healthcare, because providers would be treating large numbers of additional patients.

They also created the fiction, that if enough healthy people were forced to over-pay for health insurance, it would pay for the enhanced benefits of a Obamacare policy and the extra costs for reducing the premium costs for those with pre-existing conditions and the elderly. They knew or should have known that they significantly underestimated the costs to be incurred by the exchange qualified insurance companies in paying for the mandated Obamacare benefits and the requirement that they provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly at below actuarially calculated rates and that not enough young or healthy people existed even if all of them bought the overpriced Obamacare qualified policies. Although the facts relating to the percentage of healthy young people buying Obamacare exchange policies are being concealed for political reasons and ignored by the liberal press, the truth will eventually be learned. President Obama and the Democrats also deliberately underestimated the government costs of providing the premium subsidies by underestimating the number of employees who would lose their full-time jobs or their employer coverage.

Obamacare was adopted at the depth of the Great Recession. President Obama and the Democrats ignored the risk of further damaging the economy or slowing the hoped for recovery. It’s adoption coincided with the adoption of what turned out to be a failed stimulus plan that led to an unprecedented expansion of welfare benefits and squandered funds on other liberal causes (that included excessive payments to Obama supporters) and pork spending while creating few tax-paying jobs. However, they anticipated that Obamacare would be disruptive to business and the healthcare industry and therefore postponed the effectiveness of many of the provisions of Obamacare until after the 2012 presidential elections. They wrote the law and regulations so that almost all individual insurance policies would be cancelled and the individuals would have to purchase replacement policies on the exchanges. They also knew that, despite the employer mandate and the penalties they imposed, millions of employees would ultimately lose their existing employer paid coverage because businesses would do everything possible to increase short-term profits and would attempt to avoid increases in or reduce healthcare costs. They were relying on the better health status of the individuals who were losing their employer paid coverage to improve the quality of the pool of exchange policy purchasers to help pay for the extra costs the insurance companies would have to pay to meet Obamacare requirements.

Obamacare mandates are leading to the loss of full-time jobs, the increase in part-time jobs, the loss of existing healthcare coverages and the continuance of an upward spiral of insurance costs in most states. These factors have caused a slowdown in the economic recovery that was predictable when Obamacare was passed. President Obama was fortunate that events he had nothing to do with, like actions taken by the Fed, amazing oil and gas fracking successes, the rapidly expanding use of social media and new internet devices and software and business and growth in the developing world, helped the US economy make a modest recovery from the Great Recession.

President Obama and the Democrats are changing their tune. They ignore the lies about being able to keep your insurance and claim that Obamacare requires better benefits. They now argue that requiring young and healthy people and businesses to purchase insurance policies, subject to high deductibles and co-pays, they don’t want or need, or pay a penalty, to pay to help the poor and those people with pre-existing conditions, serves the common good. They are claiming that more people will be helped that hurt by Obamacare. Even if it turns out to be true because of the enormous government subsidies, that claim does not justify the great harm it is causing. The outrageous taking of property and damage being inflicted by entitlementists on the quality and availability of healthcare, businesses, millions of individuals and the US economy, is unjustifiable. They are trying to trick young and healthy people into purchasing insurance policies on the exchanges using government paid advertising and navigators to convince them it is their patriotic duty to do so while misleading them as to the aggregate costs.

Obamacare is furthering the destruction of the middle class. An individual or family whose income slightly exceeds the maximum amount that qualifies for a Obamacare subsidy will find that the portion of their income remaining after paying taxes and excessive healthcare costs may be negligibly higher (or in some case lower) than the disposable funds available to those who work part-time, collect negative income taxes and maximize their welfare benefits including healthcare subsidies. What incentive will young people have to incur college loans in a country that is more interested in expanding entitlements for the poor and low-income workers than in creating full-time high-quality job opportunities?

Like all entitlements, once people are getting the benefits of Obamacare, it will be difficult or impossible to take them away. We will never know the extent of middle-class job or wage losses or the negative impact on the US GDP caused by Obamacare. President Obama and other Democrats will try to shift the blame for Obamacare failures to the Republicans. They will resurrect outrageous claims for political purposes that Republicans who have criticized Obamacare and President Obama’s lies about it are extortionists and obstructionists. It is all but forgotten that President Obama refused to negotiate with Republicans relating to their concerns about Obamacare or unfunded entitlement obligations. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and other conservative Republicans may have made tactical mistakes by failing to anticipate that they would be fiercely attacked by President Obama and the liberal press and that the American public would blame them for the government shutdown. They were not trying to harm the US economy. They were trying to prevent the upcoming Obamacare disaster that they anticipated. Although President Obama acts like he has dictatorial powers, the US Constitution gives Congress control over government spending.

The actions and statements of President Obama and his appointees during the partial government shutdown, like causing barricades to be placed at monuments and parks, were obviously intended to inflict as much pain as possible on the American people that he could blame on the Republicans. They are indicative of the fact that President Obama wanted a much publicized short, but painful, government shutdown for his own political gain. His obvious goal was to shift the blame for his economic failures to the Republicans to enable entitlementists to retain a majority in the Senate and gain control of the House in the 2014 elections. Although it was ignored by the liberal press, President Obama and his cabinet appointees, seeking to maximize the criticism against Tea Party conservatives, shamefully played politics by exaggerating the risk of default and failing to assure financial markets around the world that President Obama would use his Presidential powers to ensure that the US would not default on its debts. They knew that more than adequate monthly incoming tax receipts would be available to be used to meet the interest and principal payments on US debt as they became due. President Obama’s political gamesmanship, and not the short-term partial government shutdown, is responsible for any long-term damage to our credit in world financial markets.

Entitlements do not care if the entitlements they propose promote the common-good as long as they result in additional voters becoming dependent upon them. Obamacare is reducing the quality and availability of healthcare. Encouraging insurance companies to limit their extra costs by reducing payments to doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers is going to backfire. Healthcare providers are going to suffer great financial harm with the result that they will refuse to participate in Obamacare exchange insurance provider networks. Doctors are leaving private practice in large part because of reduced Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare fees, excessive record keeping requirements, difficulties in getting paid and excessive malpractice insurance costs. Low-income people with newly issued insurance policies can be expected to greatly increase the number of malpractice claims that will speed the doctor exodus.

Some doctors will perform services only for individuals and families willing to pay them directly. Concierge healthcare plans with limited benefit are being offered by groups of doctors, outside of Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare. They will become more popular as the quality and availability of healthcare provided under government programs further declines.

The initial failure of the federal government’s Obamacare website is a “red-herring”. It is merely a sign of the HHS’ incompetence in running a business. They will eventually get it to work. The website failure is merely delaying the distress which is going to be suffered by millions of Americans when they discover they are facing job and insurance coverage losses, large premium cost increases and large deductibles and co-pays. We can expect that the government will investigate and fail to disclose how the contractor to build the website was selected, how the website requirements were determined and who failed in monitoring the installation.

Look for President Obama to use the website failure as an excuse to postpone the penalties for failing to comply with the individual mandate so that people will not have to pay or leave themselves subject to the penalty if they decide not to purchase insurance. He will claim that registration is growing each month and that it will take a few years to get the kinks out and reach satisfactory enrollment levels. We know that if they do not get a large percentage of healthy people to pay for coverage (and even 100% may be insufficient), the insurance companies will lose money and will raise the premiums as soon as they can unless they are subsidized by the government. Obamacare anticipated the problem and provides for declining subsidies for the insurance companies over the next few years. We can anticipate that if premiums go up or the quality and availability of healthcare decline the entitlementists will then blame the insurance companies for operating inefficiently and demand single payer healthcare.

Make no mistake, the principal purposes of Obamacare is to give a new welfare entitlement to the poor and low-income individuals and to give the government control of healthcare. It promotes entitlementism and enlarges the Democrat base, by offering a new complex welfare entitlement benefit to a very large group of low-income people. It furthers the plan of liberal Democrats to take from those who have and give to those who have not. It also enables Democrats to demonize Republicans who want to control the costs of entitlements and preserve American capitalism. Entitlementists will seek to make Obamacare a pillar of entitlementism.

Even if Republicans gain control of both the Senate and the House in the 2014 elections it will be extremely difficult to reverse the damage already caused by Obamacare. However, it will give them the opportunity to seek changes in Obamacare, to limit future damage and reduce unfunded entitlement obligations.

They are talking about the unfair increase in insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays to finance the costs of eliminating pre-existing conditions from consideration and reinstating high risk pools to help alleviate the healthcare costs for those with pre-existing conditions. They also propose the sale of health insurance beyond state lines to create competition among providers.