Republicans Must Take Immediate Control Of The Economy

Early in his presidency, President Obama introduced and the Democrat controlled Congress adopted what they believed was an $850 billion Keynesian stimulus plan. However, it predictably failed to grow the US economy as he expected. There are multiple reasons for its failure. Not enough was directed to infrastructure construction spending. Taxpayers struggling with excess debt used the extended tax reductions to pay off credit card balances. Giving away many billions of dollars in the form of food stamps and other welfare payments and as loans (which later defaulted) to reward green energy companies rewarded his political base. Although almost all welfare payments are spent, they have an insignificant multiplier effect. They grow the National Debt because they stimulate the creation of mostly non-tax-paying jobs and do not generate significant tax revenues for the federal government or the states to offset the expenditures.

His stimulus program should have been designed exclusively for projects that would have generated hundreds of thousands of tax-paying jobs and income for the tax-paying entities receiving the contracts. One way to do so would have been to use a large percentage of the stimulus to subsidize shovel-ready state infrastructure projects to repair and improve our decaying highways, bridges, tunnels and airports.

Despite the failure of his stimulus plan, the Obama administration continues its unprecedented expansion of welfare benefits for the poor leading to the unending rise in the National Debt. His main effort after adopting the stimulus plan went into adopting Obamacare which is an abomination. It is not only destroying the healthcare industry, and causing the conversion of forty hour per week jobs to part-time jobs, but also creates new types of welfare subsidies for people with pre-existing conditions, the poor, and low-income workers that have to be paid for. Obamacare was passed and President Obama was reelected based on an elaborate series of lies which were intended to, and with the aid of a politicized press, succeeded in preventing the American voters from learning the truth about the required major changes in healthcare policies and the outrageous excessive Obamacare premiums and deductibles required to be paid by the young and healthy middle class and businesses to fund the cost of the Obamacare subsidies.

Fortunately, while the president’s economic policies were failing, the low-interest rates maintained by the Fed over many years promoted a rise in stock prices that promoted spending that grew the GDP and generated tax revenues that contributed to the reduction in the deficit. A major stimulus to our economy was also supplied by fracking. Although conducted only on private land and impeded by President Obama because of his generally unfounded environmental concerns, fracking generated enormous revenues and created millions of tax-paying jobs in the oil and gas, steel, pipe-line, auto and railroad industries. Fracking grew the GDP and limited the rise in the deficit because it produced a multiplier effect on our GDP that the president’s stimulus program failed to achieve.

We now face a serious danger that our economic growth will stagnate because the increases in oil and natural gas production from fracking in a stagnating world economy has caused a temporary glut of supply and a precipitous drop in oil and natural gas prices. The expected large economic benefit from increased consumer spending and reduced costs to business resulting from hundreds of billions of dollars of reduced energy costs may be more that offset by reduced capital expenditures for drilling new wells, employee layoffs and debt defaults in the oil and gas industry, reduced demand for steel pipe and pipeline and rail services and trucks.

Now, after his inept policies have added many trillions of dollars to and doubled the size of our federal debt, President Obama is proposing a true Keynesian stimulus by seeking funding for transportation infrastructure. He blames Republicans in Congress, whom he has refused to negotiate with on most issues and consistently mocked and abused throughout his presidency, for creating grid lock and being the cause the government shutdown that he encouraged and exacerbated for political reasons. Looking back, we see that President Obama has repeatedly violated the Constitution and acted like a “banana republic” dictator while dangerously steering our economy toward socialism and communism.

The Republican controlled Congress will have the opportunity to take control of and stimulate the economy by (i) funding the repair and upgrading of our decaying transportation infrastructure, (ii) strengthening our military, (iii) improving homeland security and (iv) eliminating the Obamacare mandates. Despite his veto threats, President Obama will find it difficult to prevent passage of spending to improve our economy and our safety. However, if Republicans listen to the inept economists who insist on austerity to reduce the budget deficit and the National Debt or if they politicize the spending as the Obama administration does, they will fail.

Even though the spending programs proposed above will provide a Keynesian stimulus to our economy, we will need enormous amounts of capital to pay for the needed transportation construction projects across the country. Instead of complaining repeatedly as President Obama does about growing wealth discrepancies we should be seeking ways to encourage privately held wealth to partner with government to finance infrastructure construction projects. Our safety, domestic production and quality of life will clearly benefit from the improved infrastructure.

I attempted to address the financing problem in my book published in March 2013 entitled “Perpetuating American Greatness After The Fiscal Cliff”. I proposed changing our tax laws to enable the creation of “Jump Start America Bonds” to encourage American corporations with trillions of dollars parked overseas to finance domestic transportation infrastructure construction projects. Perpetuating American greatness is at issue.

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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.

“An Abundance Of Caution” When Dealing With Ebola

The Obama administration and the CDC keep reassuring us that they are using “an abundance of caution” in dealing with Ebola. Like so many other statements made by President Obama and his administration these words sound good but can’t be trusted.

Treating Ebola with an abundance of caution will vary over time. It currently requires:

1. That we prevent entry into the US of anyone who has been in a West African nation within the past 21 days, (the period during which a person may be incubating the disease even if not yet feeling sick or being contagious. The passports of all persons seeking entry must be checked to determine whether such condition exists. Otherwise they may become contagious after arriving in the US and infect multiple people before we recognize the symptoms. Ebola is so dangerous and difficult to treat that we must use our best efforts to keep it out. The argument that a travel ban will increase the risk of the disease getting out of control in West Africa is specious. We can and should greatly increase our effort to control Ebola at its sources to prevent it from becoming a pandemic that will reach South and Central America and Europe and inevitably to the US. To help them deal with Ebola, we must also give much greater financial assistance to the governments and people in West Africa whose lives and economies are being destroyed by the Ebola epidemic. If we fail to restrict entry many people, who fear that they have been exposed to Ebola, will lie to be able to come to the US for potential treatment. If we do restrict entry, those same people may attempt to come to the US indirectly through countries that do not restrict entry. However, if our border agents are diligent in examining passports of incoming travelers to determine whether they have been within West Africa within the past 21 days, the risk of a person entering the US who is infected with Ebola will be reduced.

2. The hospital employees who treat Ebola patients or are otherwise involved with Ebola should not have any contact with any other patients or perform any other services within the healthcare facility. They should all be monitored from the time of their first potential contact with the Ebola virus until 21 days after their service ends. Ideally all Ebola patients should be transported by specialized teams and treated at designated Ebola facilities by dedicated personnel.

3. Every person who is at risk of having been exposed to Ebola should be monitored and subject to restricted contacts and movement or quarantine as necessary (beginning about 10 days after first exposure and until the end of the 21 day incubation period) to limit the possibility of the spread of Ebola if they become contagious. No-one who is being monitored should be permitted to visit any public places or take any form of public transportation. They should limit their contacts with other people or animals. The apparent failure of the CDC to prevent a person being monitored because of Ebola patient contact from taking a commercial flight was grossly negligent and clearly inconsistent with a claim that it was requiring “an abundance of caution”.

4. Airplane passengers on a plane where Ebola symptoms have been detected should be quarantined until Ebola had been ruled out. If a passenger is confirmed to have Ebola, then all passengers and crew should be kept in quarantine for 21 days at special facilities to be constructed for such purpose. If a passenger is diagnosed with Ebola within a few days after a flight all fellow passengers should be notified and monitored.

5. All safety protocols should be constantly reviewed and healthcare personnel involved with Ebola patients should be properly trained and retrained in safety procedures.

6. Removal of protective clothing and waste disposal by healthcare facility personnel should be supervised using video and two-way communication equipment.

Although we have not used an abundance of caution, there is some apparent good news relating to Ebola and certainly there is no need to panic at the current time. The patients who have survived Ebola may have been helped by an experimental vaccine and have antibodies in their blood which is apparently helping others survive. We are nearing the end of the 21 day incubation period for the 48 people (and possibly more) who had contact with the first Ebola patient and none of them have yet shown symptoms. This is indicative that Ebola is not spread easily despite the failure to properly diagnose the initial Ebola patient’s illness on his first hospital visit. The two nurses treating such patient were apparently infected as a result of outrageous breaches of protocols which will become less likely over time. Our healthcare system has successfully dealt with other infectious viruses in the past.

Restricting Entry Into The US And Quarantining People Exposed To Ebola To Control Its Spread

The actions being taken by the incompetent Obama administration to control the spread of Ebola in our homeland are insanely inadequate. The first person who was an Ebola carrier to come into the US without a medical escort should not have been permitted entry. He had been in contact with a person dying of Ebola in a West African country only a few days before he boarded a plane and began his journey here. He lied about his Ebola exposure and like other infected persons who are not yet contagious or showing other symptoms, had no temperature. That enabled him to gain entry into the US. Within a week he become contagious and put at least 50 other people including family, neighbors, first responders and hospital personnel at risk of exposure. The number of people potentially exposed was increased because of a failure due to human error to properly diagnose the Ebola carrier on his first visit to highly classified hospital in Dallas.

His entry should have been denied. The questionnaire he filled out was meaningless. We cannot trust a person who has been exposed to Ebola to tell the truth. This person had to know he was exposed to Ebola and might soon become ill and face death. We know that the Ebola incubation period is 21 days. Taking the temperature of a person before they board an airplane or prior to their entry into the US is worthwhile, but it does nothing to detect a person who has in fact contacted and is incubating Ebola and is bringing it into the US. As the word spreads that the best way to survive Ebola is to get to a hospital in the US, the more likely it is that people who have been exposed to Ebola will lie when filling out a questionnaire to get into the US. The greater the number of cases in West Africa, the greater the risk of plane passengers bringing it into the US becomes.

As we get into the flu season, it will become more difficult to make and early diagnosis of Ebola. We are taking a risk that, like in parts of West Africa, our capacity to contain Ebola may be strained or exceeded. Hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of Americans may die as a result.

What should we do to reduce the risk of an Ebola plague in the US?

NO PERSON SHOULD BE PERMITTED TO ENTER THE US (EXCEPT UNDER APPROVED MEDICAL SUPERVISION) WHO HAS BEEN IN A COUNTRY, OR A SPECIFIED AREA WITHIN A COUNTRY, WITHIN THE PREVIOUS 21 DAYS THAT HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED BY THE US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AS SUBJECT TO AN EBOLA EPIDEMIC AS DEFINED. ALL SUCH PERSONS ARRIVING AT US CUSTOMS SHOULD EITHER BE RETURNED TO THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, BE PLACED IN QUARANTINE OR, IF THEY HAVE A HIGH TEMPERATURE, THEY SHOULD BE HOSPITALIZED TO DETERMINE IF THEY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO EBOLA.

IN ADDITION, IF SUCH A PERSON IS TESTED AND FOUND TO HAVE A HIGH TEMPERATURE OR SHOWS OTHER EBOLA SYMPTOMS UPON ARRIVAL IN THE US, THEN ALL PASSENGERS ARRIVING ON THE PLANE WITH SUCH A PERSON SHOULD ALSO BE PLACED IN QUARANTINE UNTIL IT IS DETERMINED IF SUCH PERSON IS INFECTED WITH EBOLA. IF SUCH PASSENGER IS CONFIRMED TO HAVE EBOLA, ALL SUCH OTHER PASSENGERS SHOULD BE KEPT IN ISOLATED QUARANTINE.

SIMILARLY, IF A PERSON IS IDENTIFIED AS BEING INFECTED WITH EBOLA ANYWHERE WITHIN THE US, THEN ALL PERSONS WHO ARE IDENTIFIED AS AT RISK OF BEING INFECTED WITH EBOLA BECAUSE OF CONTACT WITH SUCH PERSON OR THEIR BODILY FLUIDS, AFTER, OR, AS A PRECAUTION, FOR A DAY OR TWO PRIOR, TO THEIR BEING DIAGNOSED AS CONTAGIOUS WITH EBOLA, SHALL BE PLACED IN ISOLATED QUARANTINE.

ALL SUCH PERSONS PLACED IN QUARANTINE SHOULD BE KEPT IN ISOLATION FOR 21 DAYS AT A SPECIAL RESIDENCE BUILT AT OR NEAR OUR IMPORTANT AIRPORTS AND SERVICED BY SPECIALLY TRAINED PERSONNEL.

IF ANY OF SUCH PERSONS HELD IN QUARANTINE DEVELOP A HIGH FEVER OR SHOW OTHER SYMPTOMS OF EBOLA, THEY SHOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO A HOSPITAL FOR TESTING AND TREATMENT.

BECAUSE OF THE HIGH RISK TO HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS WE MUST DEVELOP IMPROVED PROCEDURES TO AVOID BREACHES OF PROTOCALL (INCLUDING BY CAMERA OBSERVATION) AND TAKE STEPS TO INCREASE SUPPLIES OF PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND IMPROVE WASTE DISPOSAL AND CLEAN-UP PROCEDURES AT ALL HOSPITALS AND CLINICS.

THE NAMES AND METHOD TO CONTACT ALL PLANE PASSENGERS AND EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE SHARED A FLIGHT WITH A PASSENGER DETECTED TO HAVE EBOLA-LIKE SYMPTOMS, BUT WHO HAS NOT WITHIN THE PREVIOUS 21 DAYS VISITED AN AREA SUBJECT TO KNOWN EBOLA CONTAGION, SHOULD BE RECORDED FOR LATER USE IF NECESSARY.

The argument that prohibiting the entry of persons to keep Ebola from entering our country will likely cause great financial hardship in the countries currently effected and increase the risk that Ebola will spread worldwide is ridiculous. We are sending in military personnel to construct housing for potential Ebola patients and are supplying financial assistance, trained medical personnel, food, medicines and medical products to help countries attempt to deal with the Ebola epidemic. We can  attempt to stop the spread of Ebola within such countries by increasing financial and medical and humanitarian assistance to help offset losses to their economies, but the risk is too high of an Ebola epidemic within the US if we do not prohibit such entry. There are estimates that one million will die in Africa from Ebola within six months. We may not be able to prevent that, but that is an even greater reason to prevent people exposed to Ebola from entering the US.

There is a strong likelihood that Ebola will soon spread to South and Central America. It is therefore imperative that we seal our southern border now. We should have sealed it long ago. We know that many of the children and families that illegally entered the US with President Obama’s encouragement, and surrendered to border agents, had a variety of detected illnesses, but were nevertheless recklessly transported for political reasons throughout the US without being quarantined for at least a 30 day period. They were permitted to enter our schools without appropriate vaccinations. We do not yet know the source of enterovirus 68D which has hospitalized large numbers of our children at least two of whom have died. It seems highly likely that the illegal immigrants, who have different immunities to local viruses than US residents, were the source of enterovirus 68D. We cannot afford the risk that Ebola may be spread in the US as a result of illegal immigration. The press must speak out and Congress must act quickly because we cannot trust the Obama administration to acknowledge its prior errors and quickly close our borders on its own.

The failure to prevent entry of persons infected by, but not yet displaying Ebola symptoms, will very likely, in a short time, disrupt US air travel and cause panic in many American communities and damage our economy as Ebola cases are diagnosed. We must act now to prevent it.

Congress Should Immediately Declare War On ISIS And Adopt A Trillion Dollar Defense and Homeland Security Spending Program

Since President Obama has indicated that he will not go to Congress to request that it declare war on ISIS, Congressmen must begin to act like adults and perform their constitutional function to protect our country. They should as soon as they return for the next Congressional session, declare war against ISIS (which has openly declared war on us). It should be approved by bi-partisan, almost unanimous votes in both the Senate and the House.

Our country is threatened and our president makes light of it. Congress should also assume the task ignored by our president of restoring our declining military superiority and upgrading our homeland security by initially allocating at least a trillion dollars for such purpose. An enormous sum, but at least that amount will be needed to enable our military to fight the necessary war against ISIS and attempt to prevent, defend against or recover from the terrorist attacks that are likely to be planned or carried out on our shores by Islamic terrorists and their followers.

We must reverse the deliberate decline in our military strength orchestrated by President Obama during the first six years of his presidency in order to be able to provide government funding for Obamacare and other rapidly growing welfare entitlements and his politically oriented green projects. We must develop and have available a broad array of new and improved offensive and defensive weaponry to defend against attacks on our citizens and our infrastructure.

We must begin by currently repairing and upgrading and taking further steps to protect and provide redundancy and back-up for all aspects of our infrastructure (including our transportation infrastructure, water supply, power grid and the Internet) and added protection for all of our strategic places. Our cities and states with CIA and FBI assistance have since 9/11/2001 upgraded their anti-terrorist preparedness. We have placed reinforced cement or steel pillars around many of our strategic places to prevent an attack. However, the Boston Marathon bombings and other acts of Islamic sponsored terrorism demonstrate how difficult the task is. As was also true for the 9/11/2001 attacks, we always seem to miss the available clues that could have led to the prevention of the terrorist acts.

We need enhanced federal financial assistance to the cities and states and a USID card with constantly updated electronic linkage to the CIA, FBi and other security agency databases to assist in identifying potential terrorists and preventing their attacks. I refer you to the book I published in 2003 entitled “Homeland Security and Economic Prosperity” that proposed and described a USID card. We should be strengthening the relationship of the police, our first responders, with the residents they are hired to serve and protect. We should not be stirring up and promoting antagonism, for political purposes, against our local police forces for protecting the property of law-abiding people in their communities from looters.

Some people look at our $17 trillion deficit and ignorantly blame it on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most people do not understand that increased military spending on those wars generated millions of tax paying jobs and as a result of a multiplier effect, resulted in GDP growth and federal income tax revenues that financed them. The increase in the National Debt is largely attributable to the Great Recession that resulted from wrongful and ridiculously stupid mortgage lending practices, excessive use of leverage by our bankers investing other people’s money, and failed government regulatory actions that promoted the wrongdoing.

President Obama’s naive and inept foreign policy decisions have led to the growth of Islamic terrorist groups throughout the world and encouraged Russian and Chinese aggression. Combined with the opening of our southern border to terrorists and criminals following the illegal invasion, encouraged and welcomed by President Obama, of infants and families from Central America, they have placed our homeland in jeopardy.

The ISIS land and weapon grabs in Iraq and Syria, barbaric acts, and open declaration of war on the US, coupled with Russia’s outrageous takeover of Crimea and other parts of eastern Ukraine, is serving as a wake-up call to an increasing number of Americans. However, even though our homeland is threatened, most Americans still remain oblivious to the dangers we face. They are unaware of the extent to which our military strength and homeland security have been weakened.

President Obama, who got reelected by concealing the truth from voters and spent months acting like “Mr. Cool”, as the crises developed, does not seem prepared to deal with them. When Russia moved into the Ukraine, he chose to ignore our prior commitment to give the Ukraine military assistance if attacked. When we had the chance, why didn’t we bomb the Russian tanks moving inside Ukraine’s border? No risk, no gain. A coward is afraid to take the risk. JFK responded to Russian aggression by blockading the Russian ships during the Cuban missile crisis. President Obama’s only response to the Russian advances in Ukraine was to threaten and then take what have turned out to be ineffective sanctions that are also harming the European and indirectly our economy.

After the sudden rise of ISIS occurred President Obama acknowledged that he had no strategy to deal with ISIS in Syria. We now know that he should have been prepared. He had been briefed for more than a year by our military leadership, the CIA and his cabinet members. Maybe he just didn’t want to acknowledge that almost all of his prior foreign policy decisions during his years as president, including his failure to negotiate an agreement to leave troops in Iraq, were wrong. He is a commander-in-chief of our military who always favors personal political considerations over the taking of appropriate military action to protect our homeland.

This is not the time for political rhetoric and gamesmanship. President Obama constantly tells the enemy what he will not do and often tips his hand on what he will do. Even a child knows that you greatly hinder your chances of winning in a game of war if you tell your strategy to the enemy. ISIS is attracting thousands of followers and getting stronger each day.

Now, after dallying for months, President Obama says he wants coalitions with our allies, including NATO members and Sunni controlled countries, to provide ground combat troops. However, he is not leading by example by offering to include American troops in the force. In what appears to be a domestic political ploy rather than a useful military strategy, he is moving 5000 free Syria Army fighters, who had been fighting against the Assad forces, to Saudi Arabia for 6 months to a year of training.

We know that bombing ISIS in Syria and ultimately obliterating ISIS will require significantly more US troops on the ground. However, our president plays semantic games by insisting that he will not place troops on the ground, meaning combat troops. How can we gain the respect of our enemies or even maintain the strength of our awesome army if we keep reducing its size and we commit in advance not to use it? We should be putting together a force comprised of US combat troops, fighting along-side Kurdish and Free Syria Army combat troops and those from Sunni controlled countries to take the war to ISIS now! As we ready the force we should use our special operations forces to wipe out ISIS command posts and positions and then immediately withdraw. The longer we delay, the more difficult it will be to wipe out ISIS and other Muslim terrorist groups and the more casualties we will ultimately incur.

The situation is complex. Some of our friends have in the past befriended ISIS. Attacking ISIS in Syria may improve the chances of an Assad victory and be interpreted as our favoring Shiites over Sunnis. It happens that ISIS consists of Sunni terrorists who have been funded in the past by the Sunni countries, whose support we now seek. We seek Turkey’s assistance in stopping the growth of ISIS, but Turkey has been helping ISIS and is happy to see the Kurds destroyed by ISIS. Assad is not threatening to attack the US homeland, but defied international law and President Obama by gassing his own people. His principal sponsor, Shiite controlled Iran, is developing a nuclear bomb that it has threatened to use to attack Israel, and is supporting Shiite Islamic terrorist groups, Hezbollah and Hamas. We must not make foolish concessions to Iran to enable it to develop a nuclear bomb that will be a threat to the US as well as Israel and should clarify that we will also take steps to curtail the terrorist acts of Hezbollah and Hamas.

We need imaginative thinking. Might there be an opportunity for President Obama, who wants to be remembered as the man of peace, to immediately attempt (independent of Iran and Russia) to use secret diplomacy to work together with Turkey to broker a cease-fire followed by a peace treaty between Assad and the Free Syria Army and Kurdish forces we support (the “Grand Middle East Peace Treaty”)  The could then join with our air and ground support and other coalition air and ground forces of Sunni dominated countries, including Turkey to eliminate the ISIS peril? Assad, whose future role, if any, in the Syrian government could be discussed, could be granted immunity from war crimes. Syria could become the showcase country where Shiites and Sunnis share power over identifiable parts of the country. Shiites would have control of the federal government, but they would recognize the historical borders of tribal dominated areas and guarantee that local control of such areas be retained by the tribal leaders.

Regardless of the actions we take or fail to take in Syria, we should immediately take steps to strengthen our military and secure our homeland. Our country has faced and immediately responded to previous wake-up calls. In the years that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, we rose to the challenge. Our parents and grandparents were drafted into and enlisted in the military to fight to preserve our freedom. Others worked day and night to develop a superior military capacity that enabled us to defeat our enemies in World War II in less than four years. When the war ended we had developed not only a great military, but also an unparalleled industrial complex that enabled us to escape from the Great Depression and establish American exceptionalism.

How many Americans know this aspect of American history? Not many of us have done anything to earn our freedom. It has been won and defended by heroes of prior generations whose efforts established American military superiority, defeated our enemies, and handed us our freedom as a gift. Now, a majority of voters take it for granted. Millions of Americans never learned in school about the history of military conquests over thousands of years. Most Americans are upset as they learn of the terrible atrocities being perpetrated by Islamic terrorist groups throughout the world, but they think that the current military superiority of the US guarantees that our homeland is secure. They seem to have already forgotten that Al Qaeda recruited, sent to the US, and financed the terrorists who carried out the attacks on 9/11/2001. We had adequate available information to have prevented those attacks. We remain vulnerable to an ever more dangerous variety of attacks against our infrastructure and our population.

The attacks on 9/11/2001 should have been a wake-up call. We stirred for a while and then fought two long wars foolishly aimed at establishing western type democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008 we elected a president who promised hope and change. He naively believed that all wars must end, and sought to eliminate the role of the US as the world’s only reliable defender of freedom. He downplayed, even refused to acknowledge, the spread of Islamic terrorism throughout the world. President Obama used the Great Recession, the winding down of the war in Iraq and then sequestration as an excuse to reduce the size and preparedness of our military. The American public, our press and politicians talk about being war-weary. What does that mean? We spent a lot of money and sustained injuries over a long period of time. Yet, our foolish disengagement from Iraq has made us vulnerable to what might be an imminent attack on our homeland. Our president and most Americans do not want “boots on the ground”. That’s gibberish. We have boots on the ground. They mean that they do not want to use our infantry in hand-to-hand combat. Even though we have a volunteer army, they don’t want to bear the costs of war.

They are misled by the president’s repeated talk about the trillions of dollars spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans do not understand that it was our bankers and not the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that created the Great Recession. Wars create jobs and prosperity. Ending the war in Iraq was counter-productive to our economic recovery.

President Obama has enlarged the risk of terrorist acts within our homeland by ignoring and thereby allowing the rise of ISIS and by weakening border security to permit large numbers of children from Central America to enter our country for his own political purposes. We must postpone immigration reform and concentrate on the immediate need to control our borders to keep out terrorists, weapons of mass destruction and the diseases that might be brought into our country.

President Obama knew that his policies relating to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan would ultimately lead to disaster, but obviously felt the problem would not deteriorate until after the end of the term of his presidency. He therefore misled voters about our military problems and concentrated his efforts on domestic issues. A majority of Americans care principally about the US economy and jobs and their own favorite social issues. President Obama and members of his administration wrongfully use their governmental authority to silence their opposition and to sensationalize racial and immigration issues to gain political advantage.

His obvious aim is to create a single party system that a majority of voters rely upon for financial support. He doesn’t seem to care about the detrimental effect of Obamacare on the middle class who are paying excessive premiums and deductibles to finance the subsidized benefits for the poor and the sick. Nor does he seem to care about the negative impact on healthcare providers who are receiving reduced fees for services. He and his administration have lied repeatedly and withheld information to prevent voters from discovering the truth about Obamacare. He wants employers to convert full time 40 hour per week jobs into less that 30 hour per week jobs and stop paying for healthcare, when the employer mandate becomes effective. The low-income employees will be forced to seek and become dependent upon Medicaid and subsidized Obamacare policies.

It is probably not be too late to stop the spread of terrorism overseas. We must mobilize the effort. If we spend to significantly upgrade our military capability to deal with the growing terrorist threats we will at the same time create millions of full-time tax-paying jobs and stimulate the mediocre and disappointing economic recovery from the Great Recession. The trillion dollars we spend will generate the greatest prosperity in our history. We need a spokesman to step forward and lead the effort. We should coordinate such spending with our European allies who should also be convinced to spend to grow their military capability and ward of terrorist and Russian threats to their and their neighbors’ security. We might lead by example by offering to purchase the French aircraft carrier being built for sale to Russia.

We should immediately take steps to make our oil and natural gas available for export to Europe to break our allies dependence on Russian sources. It is commonly believed that even if we change our export laws, we will be unable to deliver significant amounts of oil and natural gas to Europe for years. That’s nonsense. Let’s change the laws and find out how fast we can supply energy for Europe by using American ingenuity and capability. I think we will be pleasantly surprised.

President Obama has recently shown signs of awakening by authorizing limited bombing of ISIS forces. It’s time for him to take the reins and act like a commander-in chief. However, he appears to be doing just enough to try to hold on to control of the Senate this November and to pass the risks of terrorist attacks to the next president. History will frown on his presidency if he fails to prevent serious acts of terrorism by Islamic terrorists and their supporters within our homeland.

I note that although I refer in this article to the Muslim terrorist group as ISIS, our president for some inane political reason, before the be-headings and other atrocities committed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq and his decision to bomb ISIS elected to call the group, and continues to call it, ISIL to avoid referring to Syria in its name.

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.

The Twitter Stock Price Roller Coaster

In the short time period since the Twitter IPO its stock price has performed as if it was riding a roller coaster.  Various factors have contributed to its meteoric rise to a peak, followed by a rapid decline. Market factors unrelated to the fair market value of Twitter shares have influenced the price movement. Prior to the Twitter offering, IPOs were in a state of great demand (which occurs from time-to-time) with investors of most IPOs being allocated less shares than requested. Many investors were purchasing  the unallocated portion of their subscription as soon as the IPO commenced trading. The Twitter offering was highly glamorized by the financial press. Twitter shares like those of many other IPOs immediately skyrocketed in price. Twitter has many loyal users who were unable to obtain an allotment on the IPO and they and other investors for various reasons elected to buy the shares in the after market. Chart theorists added fuel to the fire as they determined buy points as the Twitter stock price rose and gathered momentum. As the stock price rose far above the IPO price it attracted short sellers. However, as ofter occurs when short sellers sell into a rapidly rising market, they get squeezed and panic, one-at -a-time, and cover their shorts at ever increasing prices, thereby driving the stock price higher. 

When the price of Twitter shares peaked and started to decline, various factors, acting in a manner similar to the way that gravity effects a roller coaster car, precipitated the decline. Some analysts withdrew their support based upon market capitalization and recommended sale . Stop loss orders, which have become fashionable and which were placed at various levels during the share price increase, began to be executed at declining prices, creating selling pressure. Chart theorists interpreted sell signals. Short sellers, who follow the analyst reports, know about the existence of stop loss orders and understand chart theory, exacerbated the decline by selling short at declining prices. As the stock declined, margin calls and tax loss considerations came into play and some unsophisticated stockholders sold in panic. 

Like a roller coaster the ride will stop at the bottom. If Twitter can generate revenues and profitability from its large number of followers, its shares will begin to rise again. If, as I expect, the rise occurs, the SEC should conduct an investigation as to when every short sale took place to try to determine the role of short selling in exaggerating stock market declines.