Tag Archives: Obama

The often overlooked issue with the Affordable Care Act

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Much like oil, natural gas, and other industries with products we simply can’t often forego, insurance companies operate on a pretty thin profit-margin; on average about 3%. We know this because most are publicly held entities, and must report their earnings. While this seems to be too thin of a margin to be true, it is in large part due to these industries not being subjected to the whims of the market as much as others. They don’t need to build up money in the good times to survive the bad—their business is fairly constant.

For instance, jewelry sales, an industry with profit margins that are significantly higher, often tank in a bad economy—that diamond necklace can wait when times are tough. But, you still need gas and insurance no matter what the economic conditions are.

With that being said, if insurance companies could achieve higher profit margins, they owe it to their shareholders to do so. So why don’t they? The problem is that “pesky free-market capitalism.” If one company raises their rates and another doesn’t, the former better be offering something the latter doesn’t or while their profit margins may rise, their actual profits will sink like a mobster with cement shoes.

So now let’s look at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), because a coworker asked me if I was for or against the law.

First let me point out that I can’t say that I’m completely against the law, it’s 9,625 %$#@ pages, depending on how you count it! I don’t know one hundredth of what is in it. There could be 20 pages worth of things that literally say something to the effect of, “…and The Logical Libertarian blog is to receive a $100,000 monthly stipend” for all I know. In which case, my opinion has just evolved in light of new evidence.

Mitch McConnell Standing Next To A Facsimile Of Obamacare In Print Form
Mitch McConnell Standing Next To A Facsimile Of Obamacare In Print Form

But when I consider that the U.S. Constitution is only six pages long, and it’s a damn-effective framework for a whole country to operate from, I’m pretty comfortable in saying the ACA is probably the quintessential Rube Goldberg of legislation—massively overcomplicated.

However, as people complain about this law for various reasons, one thing that is often overlooked is the intent behind it.

Most of the people behind the ACA take issue with private health insurance companies. While it’s hard to paint a doctor as an uncaring jerk, it’s quite acceptable among the ignorant to attack those evil insurance companies; just watch Bob Beckel on FNC‘s The Five on any given day. The left have conditioned generations of people to forget that insurance companies are simply composed of people with equal unalienable rights as the rest of us, who offer you their money to buy a risk you cannot afford to take yourself. They are not a diabolical monolith hell-bent on draining your blood and back account in one fell swoop.

Bob Beckel - Democratic Strategist on Fox News' The Five
Bob Beckel – Democratic Strategist on Fox News’ The Five

But here’s where the people behind this bill and their atrocious math come in. The ACA was aimed squarely at health insurance costs, not healthcare costs. Since insurance companies are operating on a 3% profit-margin, that means that for every $100 you spend on health insurance, $97 goes to the doctor, medical staff, and insurance company operating costs (something that will have increased, not decreased, to comply with new regulations), $3 goes to the health insurance company’s bank account.

Now lets imagine that this bill completely eradicated every single dollar of health insurance profit, your $100 health insurance bill would now be $97. I don’t know about you, but if I’m trying to reign in burgeoning costs of a bill that’s divided up 97:3, I think I’d focus my efforts on lowering the $97 portion before worrying about the $3 one.

So why didn’t they? I believe there are two issues at play.

Many lawmakers are lawyers by trade, including the president. Legal reforms such as limiting frivolous lawsuits, loser-pays legislation, or my proposal to indemnify people from punitive damages for immediate acceptance of liability (proposed in a previous post here) would severely reduce the income of the ambulance-chaser sub-species of legal counsel.ambulance-chaser_1407[1]

But if we consider the idea that a group of lawyers in Washington are going to pass reforms that would negatively affect the livelihoods of some of their former schoolmates, chances simply aren’t that good. There’s always going to be a sense of loyalty to their fellow law school alum, and sadly it seems to have overridden their oath of office and loyalty to their constituents. These proposed reforms are about justice for those who are being abused by a litigant using the court system as a method of intimidation and ill-gotten gains. There is no rational explanation to oppose them if justice is your goal.

Barack Obama - Harvard Law School
Barack Obama – Harvard Law School

If lowering health care costs isn’t important, just the health insurance costs, they could have opened up insurance markets to increase competition across state lines, dropped coverage requirements, etc., but they didn’t do this either. Capitalism has only been effective for hundreds of years, I’d link to think it has proven itself.

But this bill was passed by people who largely want socialized health care; something they know the populace isn’t willing to accept. They call it “single-payer” because they know “socialism” carries quite the stigma, but I refuse to allow them to rename poison to get me to swallow it.

These lawmakers are offended private health insurance companies even exist because they believe a right to life, and a right to health care are synonymous, and therefore a duty of government. I appreciate the altruism behind it, but that doesn’t make it any less nonsensical.

The problem is that health care isn’t just a thing that exists in the world like food, air, and water that people can consume as needed. It is a service provided by someone who has spent large sums of money and eons of time on education in the field. One person does not, nor ever will have the right to the time and effort of another in a free country.

So if that’s true, and we agree doctors deserve to get paid, why am I against government paying them as a collective then? As cold as it may sound, if I was not physically responsible for you being in a wheelchair, I should not be financially responsible for your wheelchair.

If you want help—ask for it. If I can afford and desire to, I will—it’s called charity, and it’s abundant here. What shouldn’t happen is me being pilfered at the point of government’s gun.

Now that the website is failing, rates are going up, and people are losing their plans that Obama promised they wouldn’t, I think it’s fairly clear that mistakes were made and lies were told. The only way Obama wasn’t lying about being able to keep your plan is if he honestly didn’t know what was in the bill either. The new higher coverage-requirements literally guaranteed this would happen by law.

But maybe they were crazy like a fox all along. Because these policy drops and rate increases, while induced in their entirety by big government, will assuredly be blamed on the evil insurance companies, and then used to promote a healthcare system former Mother Russia would be proud of.

So as we complain about the failed website, the assaults on liberty, the tort reform that didn’t happen, the deregulation promoting competition that were left on the cutting-room floor, and the host of other issues with this law, lets not forget that even if it had been 100% effective, it would still have only lowered costs by a measly 3%, because there was nothing to address health care costs, only health insurance costs; proving once again that math, logic, & reason and big government liberalism are still perfect strangers.

#StandWithRand – People all over, were missing the point

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As you may have noticed, Rand Paul has attracted a lot of attention recently; some inexplicably negative. There were attacks on the Senate floor, arrows slung on Twitter, poorly written articles full of hyperbole by people who missed the point, etc. I find it increasingly frustrating that people who should know better; don’t. I’m not about to speak on behalf of Rand Paul, nor am I authorized too, but I won’t sit idly by and watch people either lie about or distort the obvious purpose of his filibuster either.

Senator Rand Paul (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)

I’m usually a fan of Breitbart news, and considered Andrew Breitbart an honorable conservative hero—he is sorely missed. But Aaron Goldenberg at Breitbert.com wrote this article, which is a good illustration of the ignorance on Rand Paul’s filibuster. I don’t know anything about Aaron, and don’t mean to attack him personally, but based on his article, the point of Paul’s actions was completely lost on him, as well as senators McCain and Graham, and a portion of the populace as well. While Aaron’s article is factual in that if the president wanted to kill you, he has many means at his disposal besides drones; that’s not, nor ever was the issue.

Addressing the hyperbole; he talks about the fact that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh haven’t been bombed as proof that Obama has no intention of using drone strikes on American soil. While the president certainly doesn’t like those people, they are not considered terrorists, even by White House standards. We don’t have satellites that can read a newspaper from space either. Giving Aaron the benefit of the doubt, I believe he was being facetious and comedic, but such hyperbole distracts from the truth, and isn’t proper journalism. I’m an amateur blogger who just spouts off, but Breitbart.com; while openly conservative, is a proper investigative news site—they should maintain higher journalistic standards than such ridiculous hyperbole.

Here some important facts:

  • Anwar al-Aulaqi was the first American to be targeted for assassination without due process (that we know of) and was obliterated by a US air strike on Sept 30, 2011. While I agree he was a bad man with intentions of doing bad things to America, and I am glad he’s dead; he was not killed on a battlefield, nor executed as a result of a judicial sentence. We determined, without due process, that he should be killed, and carried out that objective—creating a precedent doing so. Rand Paul was absolutely right to ask what would have stopped us from potentially doing the same to Jane Fonda during Vietnam.
  • Anwar’s son Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi was an American killed in October 14th 2011 by a US drone strike as well without due process, although he was officially not identified as the target for that attack.
  • These are real American’s who were really killed by real drone strikes which set a real precedent. Nothing theoretical there.
  • Based on this information, Rand Paul wrote letters to the nominee for the CIA John Brennan, starting in January which can be seen here, here, and here, asking if they believed they could legally target American’s on American soil. They already set one precedent, it was fair to assume that could potentially be the next logical step.
  • The White House was largely quiet at first, but as CNN reported, “In a letter to Paul dated on Monday, Holder said it was possible, ‘I suppose,’ to imagine an ‘extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate’ under U.S. law for the president to authorize the military to ‘use lethal force’ within the United States.”

Detractors of Rand Paul’s filibuster have insinuated that Rand Paul is either accusing Obama of planning on such a hit, or at least wanting to do it in the future. However, that is not the case. Prior to Obama, the thought of killing an American without due process seemed ludicrous, yet it happened to the Al-Aulaqis.

Filibuster From Mr Smith Goes To Washington
Filibuster From Mr Smith Goes To Washington

Rand’s question was a general one, but let’s use an example. If Al-Aulaqi lived in a remote cabin somewhere in the Midwest, and the CIA and/or FBI were afraid that the land might be full of booby traps making it dangerous to execute an arrest, would the administration believe they have the right to use a drone strike to take him out without him having being tried (even in absentia), convicted, and sentenced first?

Again, I do not want to speak on behalf of Senator Paul, but whether the plane was piloted or not isn’t the issue. It just so happens that drones have recently begun operating within our borders, and it begged the question why. But, the issue was about killing Americans without due process, drone strikes merely served as the example.

Let me illustrate this with a hypothetical question. Imagine we were at a dinner party and I asked, “Can you envision a time when it would be OK to have sex with a ten-year-old?” Unless you’re someone required to notify people you are now living in their area, you would immediately and emphatically say “no.” It’s a blatantly offensive proposition that most humans would not have to consider before answering.

To people like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, democrats like Ron Wyden, liberal commentator Bob Beckel, and many others (me included) it wasn’t a partisan issue, and it should have garnered an immediate and emphatic “No” as well—which it didn’t. Obama, Holder, and Brennan showed clear signs that they felt such an option should be on the table in extreme circumstances.

At first, if I was being kind to the Obama administration, they are lawyers. Lawyers love to leave themselves “outs” and rarely like stating something for the record that might be used against them later. But, holder wrote the first response above indicating that while it was unlikely, he would not rule it out. Would that be your response to molesting a child? Would you say, “Well in extreme circumstances, maybe…”? Those of us who feel killing without due process as being similarly offensive to molesting a child for example, were rightfully concerned.

Aaron also went on to say the filibustering the nomination of John Brennan was irrelevant, but I called Rand Paul’s office; they sent three letters to the man asking him to respond, along with asking the president and Holder. So Rand killed two birds with one stone. He held up the nomination of a man who would be responsible for carrying out such a strike, while at the same time forcing Obama to respond, lest no work go through the senate for the indefinite future.

Predator Drone
Predator Drone

If you don’t agree that killing Americans without due process is that big of a deal as long as the president says they’re a “Bad guy,” then so be it; that’s your prerogative.

But to John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and anyone else who thought Rand Paul was wasting time, your position disgusts me. Rand Paul got two lawyers in high office to agree on their limit of power over We The People definitively and on the record. That’s a win!

This president has constantly tested his constitutional limits, and often shown his frustration with the Constitution holding him back. Thus, it was a legitimate question based on precedents set, the president’s history of action, and the fact that the proposition offered didn’t seem to bother him.

Rand Paul has nothing but praise coming from me for putting his foot down and forcing these people to acknowledge and respect the limits of power our forefathers put on them. Bravo to him for doing so. I #StandWithRand

Get rich quick! It can’t lose

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

I have a genius idea and I’m sharing it with you, my loyal readers—and indiscriminate web-surfers who accidentally ended up here while searching for LOLcat memes.

LOL catImagine I have a massive mound of debt, and I’m sick of it. However, I have good credit and am ready to put it to good use. I am going to use that line of credit, borrow every penny I can, and buy up as much stock as I can in companies I believe are the way of the future. I’ll sell that stock for a profit once it gains like I expect it will, and payoff both my old and new debts; maybe even pocket a few bucks along the way.

To be fair, I’m not a professional stock broker or anything, and I really don’t know that much about these industries other than I believe them to be really cool, futuristic, and impressive. Since they’re futuristic companies, I assume they have people much smarter than me solving problems, and therefore, there is little doubt any of them will fail.

I know what you’re thinking; this man is a genius! How can it fail—right?

If you’re still reading, and you’ve never read me before, you’re probably thinking I’m a whack job who bathes in peanut oil while playing GI Joe and pretending he’s fighting off the perfect storm. I’m sorry to say however, that I do not. This genius idea of mine is pure nonsense that no intelligent person should ever endorse it.

But let’s look at what is happening here on our little section of planet Earth commonly referred to as America. We have our hard-earned money forcibly taken from us taxpayers and put into government coffers. When our country was founded, we drafted a constitution that laid out the limitations and responsibilities of our federal government. Those tax dollars were meant to pay for such expenses. In the proper limited government mentality our forefathers intended, that’s all they would pay for, but these days, what was once a mole hill, has become a fairly impressive mountain.

Trillion DollarsIt’s no secret we have a lot of debt. At the time of writing this, we were at 16.5ish trillion dollars. Let’s do some math for fun. A dollar bill is 0.0043 inches thick. Stack 16.5 trillion of them on top of each other and you have a pile 1,119,792 miles high. That’s enough to go to the moon and back twice, then around Earth a couple of times for good measure. I’ve heard Obama and his merry band of Democrats say we don’t have a debt problem, but I suspect he hasn’t done the same math I just did yet. Out of sight, out of mind. So not-so-respectfully, I disagree Mr. President—we have a @#$%& debt problem.

In the president’s infinite wisdom, he’s decided that instead of working on reducing our spending and applying more of our tax dollars to reduce our debt, something any family facing a debt problem would do, he’s decided that he’s going to invest instead. Not only is he going to invest, he’s going to do so having no prior experience or formal training in investments, and he’s investing in things like green energy. For those of you unaware, his schooling is in law. He does not have a degree relating to solar energy, physics, chemistry, biology, or any of the related fields for which these investments are based on.

It’s OK though, because he knows that global warming is settled science. Never mind that the scientific community doesn’t know this. They do know that animal life, including mankind create a lot of CO2, and we have a general idea that as our animal population grows (humans are animals; FYI) it should effect the planet’s ability to radiate the sun’s heat. This effect may be harmful to our ecosystem leading to life-altering consequences.

But we don’t know how our planet will react to it. Plant life thrives in a carbon-rich environment. It’s quite possible that the increase in CO2 from the animal kingdom will merely result in an increase in life from the plant kingdom to counteract it. That’s what an ecosystem does after all; it constantly strives to balance itself out.

There have been several scientific experiments with predicted models that led to surprises instead of confirmed hypotheses. There’s a prime example here. I’m not making the assertion my previous example is true, but suffice it to say that scientists without an agenda all agree we don’t really know exactly how the planet will ultimately react to a growing population.

SolyndraSo if Al Gore turns out to be full of more hot air than facts, these green energy investments will be horrible ones. Putting our eggs in a risky basket is a bad, BAD investment. With failures to a myriad of government boosted companies like Solyndra, clearly the president doesn’t understand the science, smart investing, or that our tax dollars are not his personal E*Trade account in the first place. If he really wants to invest money, I suggest he talk to his friend Warren Buffett and let Berkshire Hathaway lead Uncle Sam down the path of proper investing.

So while my “genius idea” is clearly ridiculous, it is virtually identical to what has been done with our tax dollars for the last 4 years, and our gambling-addict-in-chief is showing no signs of reversing course any time soon.