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Friday, October 31, 2008
So, I figured, if you were studying such trends, why would you choose the S&P Index, and not the Dow? The Dow would seem obvious. It's an old, established index and something all people relate to. Why the S&P? Could it be because, for some reason, the S&P doesn't tell the same story as the Dow?
I decided to pull the historical data for the Dow and do the same analysis, using the Dow. Also, for fun, I decided to add the Coolidge administration. I mean, if we're going to lambast Hoover, let's at least give Coolidge his due. In doing so, I wonder if you'll notice a strange correlation between the Coolidge/Hoover numbers and the Clinton/Bush2 years.
It's kind of interesting the crash after a long, big orgy.Anyway, I used yesterday's (Oct 30) close for Bush 2. And, to make the analysis easier, I chose to average the percentage increase or decrease across the president's time in office (imperfect, but good enough for comparison purposes):
Bush 2 = -1.91% per year (what a difference a couple of weeks make in this market, by January, he could be a net positive (though I don't expect that).
Bush 1 = +11.26% per year
Reagan = +16.9% per year
Nixon/Ford = +2.98% per year (figured Ford's admin was too short)
Ike = +15% per year
Hoover = -20.75% per year
Coolidge = +42.6% per year
Clinton = +28.39% per year
Carter = -.3% per year
Johnson = +5.15% per year
JFK = +6.1% per year (broke up LBJ and JFK because I wanted to see if there was any early or later effect from the JFK tax cuts)
Truman = +10.2% per year
FDR = +16.2% per year
Without Hoover and Coolidge, the average per year increase for Republican administrations is 8.34% per year. For Democrat administrations, it is 10.94% per year. If we include both Hoover and Coolidge in the GOP numbers, it goes up to 9.08% per year. There's a difference, sure, but, not as much as the S&P analysis indicated, and right around 9-10% which is pretty much
what we're conditioned to expect from stocks, irrespective of who is president. For fun, remove Clinton, and the D average is 7.47%.
Some things jump out at me from this analysis:
1. The Coolidge and Clinton years were the absolute best for stocks. Both these periods were marked by tremendous innovation and speculation, and both were followed by down periods.
2. The New Deal years are interesting. In March 1937, stocks peaked at 194, from their starting point for FDR of 53.84. From July 1937, they tumbled downward, bottoming at 92 in April 1942 - a 50% decline in 5 years! Imagine if W had the same performance (he's down 13% in 8 years). But FDR was a wartime president (oops, same for W). They didn't start a steady climb upward until that summer, after the tide had turned in the Pacific War, and the American war machine kicked in. Without WW2, that FDR 16.2% does not happen. In fact, many consider it was only the threat of War that ensured FDR's 1940 victory and 3rd term. The New Deal programs weren't proving so capable of turning the economy around, but a World War was.
3. Clinton's numbers are amazingly good. However, having just lived through the '90's I think we can agree a lot of the wealth and stock market run up was not entirely real. Plus, Clinton, unlike the current Democrat nominee,was a proponent of free trade and cut the capital gains tax. Those two policies alone probably had more impact on investment than any other factors during his 8 years. I give at least half the credit for Clinton's success to Newt Gingrich. In fact, I wonder what this analysis would show us if we did it based on Congressional control????
4. I'm really surprised by the mediocrity of the other D's numbers. I wonder what JFK's would have been had he remained president. He passed the supply-side tax cut that was Reagan's model, and I wonder if his New Society would have been very much different from LBJ's.
5. The analysis you sent showed Carter as a success, economically. This analysis confirms his ineptitude, as well as that of Nixon and Ford (and of the '70's in general)
6. Most of all, I think these number show the economy to be much more cyclical. They also show that the controls put into place during/after the Depression, are working, and have worked, to ease the business cycle and provide a softer landing. I think better understanding and application of monetary policy has helped, too. Lots of Libertarians like to rail at the Federal Reserve, but I think they're largely wrong.
I did check one other thing I had been led to believe, and that was that you could take any 20 year period and stocks would outperform social security (when you use the historical growth rate of SS as 2%). That's true if you qualify the years as after the depression, or, you forswear investing from about 1927-1931. I don't always get to fact check these kinds of things, but just thought this was interesting. The bottom line, to me, is really that the stock market is immune to presidential meddling, which I had been taught in economics class, but, I think it's pretty much true, and a testimony to the solidity of our system. And, it's also a reason why investing part of our social security money in the market is not a bad thing - as long as we avoid another Depression.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Rush Limbaugh puts the election in stark relief.
Meanwhile, the LA Times refuses to release the videotape of Obama's appearance at the farewell party for Professor Rashid Khalidi, a former spokesman for the PLO and anti-semite.
As for the Obamamercial, which is airing now - this is so boring, and Obama's narration so sleep-inducing, that it is unwatchable. His resume is so thin, getting 30 minutes out of this is tough. I think this hurts him more than it helps. But, I expect he wants to spend every penny he's raised, both legal and illegal.
As I was standing in line to vote, the library had an exhibit on Anne Frank, and that also detailed the rise of Nazism. Seeing that, it is interesting the parallel between the cult of personality that is Obama and was Hitler, with the Hitler Youth, the personal flags, the economic populism and blame game. How long til CEO's and their minions (their management teams) are driven off to whatever the modern day equivalent of concentration camps are.....
Anyway, that's designed to scare you. I don't really think that's possible in Amerikkka.
"Thank you all for the reasoned comments, many obviously coming from people who have worked in the industry (Navy or civilian). Clearly, when McCain points to the Navy's record, it is a pretty impressive one.
"To dismiss nuclear power or delay it indefinitely, is tantamount to telling the American people that you don't care about the single most green, and readily available source of power today. When a candidate does that, we need to question his motives, and, in Obama's case, that means following the money, which will lead you to groups whose motives are not always about safe, clean energy, but something else. These range from Greenpeace on the radical left side (who want to end the Western way of life) to farmers on another side (who want to see corn-based, government-subsidized ethanol).
"Nuclear power is a threat to these groups, as it doesn't fit their agenda. Same for drilling for more oil and natural gas in this country. These technologies, which are available TODAY, will not be pursued by an Obama administration. Instead, we will get more years and years of research into (unlikely to help much) technologies like solar power, electric cars, and, of course, those same ethanol subsidies. Meanwhile, energy costs will rise and our dependence on foreign oil will increase (yes, it could).
"Meanwhile, we could be switching transportation to a natural gas-based infrastructure, switching our electric grid to something more like 60% nuclear, 25% hydro/wind, and the rest natural gas/coal, and we could do this all with native resources, and probably make a good dent in 10 years, and be done in 25.
"But, if we never start, it won't happen. With Obama, it will never start. Mark my words (to quote a famous VP nominee)."
Today, according to Drudge, Rassmussen will release a new poll showing a 3 point Obama lead.
Gallup has it at 2.
Despite this being from the Washington Post, it's a good read on why the polls all differ widely.
Remember when you read these "margin of error" numbers in these polls, these do not mean that the national race could be anywhere from x to y, it means, within that sampling of people, the margin of error for when they vote could actually be from x to y. In other words, if a particular poll has it O -52, M- 42 with a 4 pt MOE, that means that when that group of people go to vote, they could end up with a tally of O-48 and M-46, giving the MOE that way, or O-56, M-38 going the other. That MOE is specific to that polling group. That's why we see these wide variations. It's all based on who answers the phone. That's whay another poll can have it O-49, M-47 with a 3pt MOE. This is why pollsters get paid big bucks by campaigns, to choose polling groups that most closely resemble the electorate and to apply their voting models to those samples. It's an art, not a science. Remember that.
If my experience with advance voting is any indication, people are energized about this election and it will be a record turnout. But, will it also be a record turnout in traditionally Republican quarters? Hard to say, but, again, in my community, the advance voters were out, and these are pretty staunch conservatives. But, hard to say. I tend to think advance/early voters fall into 2 categories - those who follow politics and would vote anyway, and those committing fraud.
So, my guess is the early/advance voting numbers are no indication of new voters, but of the energy of those who are voting. I'd say both sides seem pretty energized.
With Obiden slowly lowering the definition of rich (now, according to Joe, it's $150k, will it be $100k by Monday, and $50k by Wednesday????), and with new revelations each day of some whacky socialist idea Obama holds, we could see swing voters starting to swing back right, as they realize their pocketbooks will be the first thing socialized in an Obamanation. Then, it will be their guns, then their land, and eventually, their thoughts will be captives to the Dear Leader.
I don't really believe that, but, can you trust this guy?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Listen to it.
It's too bad Thompson didn't have enough fire to run in the campaign as he should have. It's too bad Romney couldn't get past people's lingering doubts about him as a conservative and Mormon. And, it's too bad Huckabee's populism too closely mirrors the Democrats.
But, we got an honorable man as a nominee, and one who deserves to win, if only because the alternative is so horribly wrong for the country.
So, get out to vote and take a couple dead friends with you.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Only the Wall Street Journal (that right-wing bastion of capitalism) and USA Today (the hated McPaper) saw increases in circulation, though so slight as to be nearly unmeasurable (0.01% increases).
Anyway, the McCain campaign is seizing on this and it elicited this response from McCain senior policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin:
"No wonder he wants to appoint judges that legislate from the bench – as insurance in case a unified Democratic government under his control fails to meet his basic goal: taking money away from people who work for it and giving it to people who Barack Obama believes deserve it. Europeans call it socialism, Americans call it welfare, and Barack Obama calls it change,"
How long til the Obama campaign calls that statement racist?
Based on the line I am in, I'd call the demo pretty standard fare for this area. And, it's the first hour of the first day, so I am guessing this is the high water point.
So, we probably can't save McCain, but maybe that apostate, Saxby Chambliss, can be saved from his incompetent opponent.
Unable to advance vote this morning. At 0930 (an hour after voting was supposed to start), poll workers informed those waiting in line that someone had failed to deliver "the key" they needed to get the voting machines rolling. So, I stuck it out another 30 minutes, and when I crammed into the library polling place and saw the line inside, figured another 2 hours, at least.
Is this a form of voter suppression against the mostly affluent suburban white voters at this polling place? I don't know, but given who runs Fulton County, I would not be surprised if it was an orchestrated effort.
We were told the polls will stay open until 8 tonight. I'll try after work and let you know.
If Obama wins this thing, and people all over the world trade their Che Guevara t-shirts and handbags for Obamachotske's, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I mean, really, if we can put a likeness of an American president on the chests of European fashionistas and immigrant lawn mowers, rather than a murdering terrorist psychopath, isn't that really an improvement and something to be celebrated, if it doesn't inspire one to vote for Him?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
However, the country as a whole does not deserve the consequences.
Obama is going to govern as a committed leftist (see the Levin column I reference below). If anyone believes the Bush tax cuts will survive in any meaningful form once Obama, Pelosi, Frank, and Reid have at them, you are fooling yourself. That 95% of Americans for whom he is promising to cut taxes will soon evaporate and it'll become the 40% of Americans who pay no income taxes, who will benefit from a redistribution scheme targeted at the top 50% of tax payers. Want to be reminded what you paid under Clinton, check out this Tax Foundation chart.
The single most important thing we can do to get this economy moving is to reduce the capital gains tax (as McCain promises). Instead, Obama has promised variously to raise it, lower it, and only raise it on some. Which Obama do you believe? He's a committed leftist, folks. Does this question really require an answer???
Abortion will not become more rare. In fact, Obama will do the opposite, making abortion more legal and thwarting attempts everywhere to impose reasonable restrictions on abortions. He will reverse all previous precedent and use your tax dollars to federally fund abortions. The black pianist, Huntley Brown, sums it up (in a rare, true, internet email,), "There's a reason Planned Parenthood gives him a 100% rating." Obama will appoint judges to solidify this view for generations.
Property rights will continue their march towards obsolescence. Those same judges who disdain the right of the unborn to life are also much more likely to ignore the Constitution's clear protections on property rights. A government that sees itself the way Obamacons see it is much more likely to use whatever means to confiscate private property for whatever "public" use they can conjure.
Illegal immigration will not be stopped. In fact, it will increase and likely border security will be ignored in an Obama administration. Unless the economy completely tanks (possible under Obama's philosophies), with the offering of free/reduced health care, college benefits, and all the other enticements of the Obama welfare state, we are only going to become more appealing to immigrants from South of the Border. Of course, if freedom is important to them, maybe they'll wise up and stay away from this place under Obama.
Anyway, if I point a scary picture, good. You should be scared. If you live in a state where there's a competitive Senate race, go out, hold your nose, and vote for your GOP senatorial candidate. They might be the only thing that can hold the line until the GOP gets it act together, and Democrats over reach (which they will) and the ship can be righted.
But, we need to make sure we don't get so far aground we can't get off the rocks without abandoning the ship.
Some of his points, with which I strongly agree:
"I honestly never thought we'd see such a thing in our country - not yet anyway - but I sense what's occurring in this election is a recklessness and abandonment of rationality that has preceded the voluntary surrender of liberty and security in other places."
"There is a cult-like atmosphere around Barack Obama, which his campaign has carefully and successfully fabricated."
"My greatest concern is whether this election will show a majority of the voters susceptible to the appeal of a charismatic demagogue."
" The "hope" Obama represents, therefore, is not hope at all. It is the misery of his utopianism imposed on the individual. "
I completely agree with Levin's close:
"Unlike past Democrat presidential candidates, Obama is a hardened ideologue. He's not interested in playing around the edges. He seeks "fundamental change," i.e., to remake society. And if the Democrats control Congress with super-majorities led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, he will get much of what he demands."
And, we will all be much worse off because of it.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Here's the transcript from CNN:
"CNN: Yeah. Governor, you've been mocked in the press. The press has been pretty hard on you, the Democrats have been pretty hard on you, but also some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt or all of the above.
"Palin: Who wrote that one?
"CNN: That was in the National Review, I don't, have the author.
"Palin: I'd like to talk to that person.
"CNN: But they were talking about the fact that your experience as governor is not getting out. Do you feel trapped in this campaign, that your message is not getting out, and if so who do you blame?"The actual quote was:
"Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for vice president, it's sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward, or — or, well, all of the above."
Brent Bozell over at the Media Research Center has demanded that CNN apologize for this, as has Greta Van Susteren, and Rush Limbaugh riffed on this today, and O'Reilly made it his "Talking Points" theme.
You can leave a little feedback over at CNN, but, don't expect anything from the new Obama News Network.
As far as I am concerned, CNN will no longer be watched in my house, nor will their web site be permitted either (I can block these things).
I advise all of you to do the same.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Because Joe dared to ask Barack Obama a question the media refuses to ask, the Drive-by's decided to pillory him and Cindy McCain was the victim of a hit piece in the New York Times this weekend.
So, while the Obamamessiah tries to run out the clock on the election, the MSM has decided they don't want to have anything to do with tough questions of their annointed one, and have instead chosen to attack anyone who dares to get in the way. They ignore Obama's running mate, who suggests that due to Obama's weakness, he will be tested in the first 6 months in some way (Iran, perhaps?), and instead, choose to divert attention from the real issues.
Well, I hope Joe (the plumber, not the senator) helps to focus the public on the issue that is actually the most important at this time in our nation, and that is what are we going to do to turn this economy around, and what the future of this country going to be. Is it going to be a quasi-socialist, European-style nation? Or, are we going to remain a capitalist republic, where individualism, and the strength of our entrepreneurial spirit drive us to greater things?
Friday, October 17, 2008
If we hand the White House to Barack Obama and 60 Democrat Senators to Harry Reid, we are going to see a massive expansion in the Welfare State, increased government regulation (it won't stop with the financial industry - telecom, the Internet, pharmaceuticals are next on their list), government-run health care, an the end of conservative talk radio by reimposing the Fairness doctrine, and the loss of two wars.
This election will have far reaching consequences. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, unless you want to live in a socialistic, European-style, welfare state, if you have an opportunity to vote for a Republican senator (regardless of whether he was part of a gang), do so. They may be the only people standing between us and the decline of our unique American way of life.
Unless all you watch is the drive-by media (CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, PBS), and all you read is the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, or AP and UPI news stories, you probably know all about the "community organizing" group, ACORN, and their efforts to register and get to vote, people who are:
- Non residents of the states they are registering in
- Drunk or on drugs (i.e. homeless), or willing to register and vote for a cigarette
Of course, if you're a liberal or socialist, you probably think any measures are acceptable, as the ends (Obama as President), justify the means (cheating).
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I just saw Barack Obama at a rally today (on TV, I wasn't there) and he said "How many plumbers do you know who make $250,00??
Well, I don't know when the last time Obama or Michelle called a plumber (probably never), but they charge a lot of money, Barack.
And, the plumbers who run those companies who send the individual plumbers to your house almost certainly make over $250,000. Those guys, once their income is confiscated to redistribute to those who still are behind, will stop hiring those guys.
So, poor plumbers, you'll have a nice little middle class tax cut, but you won't have a job.
At least you can take solace in the fact that Obama will extend your unemployment benefits for a longer time and that minimum wage job you're forced to take at McDonalds pays a few pennies more than it does now.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Unfortunately, politics is a contact sport. The Democrats know this, and, they want everyone to think the GOP knows it. Some Republicans do know it, but, unfortunately, I don't think McCain is one of them. He needs to get down and dirty with Barack Obama, and, thanks to Obama's past, and his insane Liberalism, he can do it and be honest about it.
Two things he needs to do:
- The Dems have already accused the GOP and McCain of playing the race card. So, since we are getting accused of it anyway, let's go ahead and do the things that they accuse us of anyway. McCain needs to blanket certain media outlets with an ad that ties Obama to Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan. These two radicals are anti-semites, white-loathing, America-hating, race baiters - and the American people need to see clips of them interspersed with Obama praising them.
- In the debate Wednesday, McCain needs to take Obama up on his challenge, and say it to his face, "Senator Obama, I will say it to your face, you are one of the most liberal members of the United States Senate. That wouldn't be the most awful part, except that your recent liberalism is a move to the center for you, based on your past radical associations with Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I was very bothered the other night in the debate to hear Obama, the champion of “change” try to scare voters by saying that McCain wants to do away with the tax break that employers get for providing health care. IF ONE IS EVEN A PASSING STUDENT OF OUR CURRENT SYSTEM, ONE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE CURRENT METHOD OF EMPLOYER-FUNDING IS THE REASON WE ARE IN THE MESS WE’RE IN. I write that in all caps, because, if you don’t agree with that, there is no point in reading further.
I have to start with first principles. These are mine, not someone else's, though I am sure others believe them as well. They are not the only first principles I could list, but they are the most apt to this problem:
1. I believe that a free and open marketplace provides the best odds for distribution of resources in a market/economy.
2. I believe that individuals, given enough information, will make decisions that are in their best personal interest (this would include health care decisions, as well as financial decisions, among others).
I will stipulate these facts vis a vis the health care situation in the United States, and agree that addressing these issues would go a long way towards solving the problems many people see in the health care industry:
1. Health care costs are rising out of control, outpacing increases in wages, and even the inflation rate, and that this is a decades-long trend that any solution must reverse.
2. There are far too many people (who are not in transitory situations), who are without health insurance, and this number must be reduced, to zero as a goal.
3. A pure free market insurance solution will seek to apply higher costs to the sick.
Looking at the range of solutions, they are bracketed by a purely consumer based solution, where we all pay what the services actually cost, out of our pocket, and a completely government-run entitlement system, where we pay nothing at the time of service, but the system is funded by the government (through our tax dollars, deficit-spending, whatever schemes the government needs to devise to pay the providers). The answer lies somewhere in between these two extremes.
For me, in evaluating the health care position of a candidate, I care whether the plan adheres to first principles, as well as how well it will address the realities stated above.
Neither John McCain, nor I, are advocating turning each individual loose to handle health care costs on their own, negotiating with doctors separately. Obviously, insurance companies bring the power of a collective to bear, and use that power to influence the prices they pay to doctors, hospitals, drug companies, etc. I don't think anybody with a serious proposal is suggesting anything other than using the insurance model for health care. I advocate having a system that encourages a national market for health insurance among many insurers, while at the other extreme are those who advocate a single insurer, the US Government.
My core disagreement with Obama's plan, is that the ultimate result is government will put itself in competition with private insurers, and due to its size, continuing demands from constituents, and Congress's insatiable appetite to buy votes, we will find ourselves with a single payer system. I realize "government run healthcare" is an invective to some, but, recall, I started this thread after Obama said that John McCain wanted to raise his taxes via the elimination of the employer health care tax credit, a statement that is arguably untrue.
Where the government is making decisions for us, we lose freedom. Since this is ultimately about freedom, the question voters should be asking themselves is, "Who do I trust to make decisions about my health care? Government bureaucrats, or myself?" You might say, how is that different from today, with the role of government bureaucrat played by a private insurance company?
The difference is, in the government case, you have no alternatives to choose from and decisions will be made by a government who is prepared to enforce its decisions at the point of a gun. In a thriving, free-market system, the disgruntled consumer would switch to another insurer. In a government-run system, are you going to throw the bums out? That doesn’t seem to have worked with most of the crises of our time.
I responded to his specific comments:
[Him] I think we can agree that the current system for health insurance and health care is broken. The discussion is how best to address it. Also note that I'm not convinced the Obama plan is the best plan.
[Jay] The current system of employer-funded health care is, indeed, if not broken, seriously flawed, and has been since its inception. Growing out of the Blue Cross days of the 20’s and 30’s, it was developed and expanded during WW2, in an environment of wage controls; offering health insurance as a way for employers to attract employees and retain them was later encouraged by the government through tax policy. Thus, we have our problem today. It was interesting to hear Obama praise this system in debate 2, and attempt to scare people that McCain wants to change this system. Some change there.
[Him]The first thing to point out is that "government run health care" is often thrown about like an invective.
[Jay] If everyone agreed the government ran things great, we wouldn't see it as an invective? I point it out and will continuously point it out, because I believe this is absolutely NOT the path I, nor the majority of Americans want to follow. As much as we know what caused this current mess, we do not want to replace it with what will ultimately be another, equally bad for the consumer, and really, really, really bad for the taxpayer, mess – which is what a single-payer, government-administered, system will be.
[Him]Since McCain has benefited from government run health care for just about all his life, it must not be all bad.
[Jay] Whoa! Do you think McCain went into the military and then public service because of the quality of the health care? I can tell you, having experienced the military health system firsthand, that most assuredly is not why he did it (maybe it had more to do with two generations of sailors before him?). Maybe he did go into politics for the health care. Having lived in DC, and been part of the DoD complex, I know what the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) is, and, actually, as a model for the solution, it may be close to what we actually want. The interesting thing about that, is during the Hillary-Care fiasco, at one point the Republicans were proposing (I think it was Phil Gramm, that wascally McCain advisor) that we extend the FEHBP to all Americans, under the guise that if it were good enough for Congress, it ought to be good enough for the rest of America. Of course, that is ancient history, and we still would have had to figure out the funding issues.
[Him]Furthermore, many other countries have found ways to improve the health care of their citizens through some sort of government intervention.
[Jay] And many have ended up with rationing (ending up with long waits for services) and price controls, and a two tiered system that sees the wealthiest either going off-shore, or paying doctors (in some cases illegally) under the table. I'm curious to hear the good examples.
[Him]So we need to stop using that phrase like some kind of scare tactic.
[Jay] I am resisting the temptation to launch into a tirade that “government-run health care” has now entered the lexicon as verboten. How about not scaring them about McCain’s plan?
[Him]One problem with free-market health insurance is you lose the bulk buying benefits of a group policy like you get with an employer (be it private or the government).
[Jay] I think you are confused by what I (and others) mean. No serious person is suggesting we do away with private insurance. We’re suggesting that the United States government not become the primary insurer of most Americans (it already is for seniors, military retirees, and the poor).
As Barney Frank might say, this is a shibboleth. You seem to assume we're all going to negotiate directly with our doctors. There are obviously still going to be insurers. They'll be private insurers, not the single payer that many government-sponsored (how's that sound) proponents favor. One of the changes McCain wants to make is to allow consumers to be able to cross state lines and buy health insurance. This would allow us all to seek the insurer who's plan most closely matches our needs and pocketbook, without being tied to some of the cost-creating legislation that some states like to add. Just as states like SD and DE make it easier for credit card companies to operate in their states, other states would become clearinghouses for health insurers. Ultimately, you’d see rationalization in these plans as consumers settle on the minimums acceptable to them. This would go a ways towards introducing free-market forces into a system largely devoid of them.
[Him]My recent MRI would have cost me $1200 out of pocket, but my health insurance company had negotiated a rate of only $630. The same is true for a private (or COBRA) insurance plan, it would cost me thousands of dollars more than the one with AT&T.
[Jay] The point is that bulk creates negotiating ability. Sure, I agree, but, without competition, don't we just create the New AT&T, only this time run by bureaucrats. I think we can all agree the consumer is much better off after telcom deregulation. Much the same would be true if we allowed the free market a greater hand in health care.
[Him]I personally hate the effects of the whole "Consumer Driven Health Care" movement. What it does is cause you to sometimes avoid a procedure or medical action if the cost is too high. And I'm not talking about elective surgery. Awareness is good. Choosing to avoid medical care because of cost is not.
[Jay] Perhaps the devil is in the details here. And, you need to recall that CDHP’s are a relatively new invention, and still limited by regulation. Democrats in Congress have successfully fought to place limits on what qualifies as CDHP’s and when you can use an HSA. Conservatives have long proposed that those very large deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses that it takes to today qualify as a CDHP/HSA be reduced, making them more attractive to consumers. This is another free-market reform we could achieve today. Regardless of WHO has thwarted this (Democrats), Conservatives and Libertarians want to see these plans made more available and more attractive, by decreasing those deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, and increasing the amount of money people can put into HSA’s.
Part of the reason I don't use the AT&T HSA plan is really the reason you cite here. The out-of-pocket expenses are too high for me, joining it with two kids and a wife. If I was 23, it would be a no brainer though. However, because HSA's are limited in number, they are also limited in what kinds of plans qualify for them. A more friendly Congress to consumer choice could help alleviate the problem you mention, by lowering the amounts on the plan to qualify for HSA, and increasing the amount of money you can put into an HSA. These are reforms and things conservatives have pushed for. However, in that these plans force the consumer to think twice about going to the DR for the sniffles, going to the emergency room for a little cut, or deferring care for items they shouldn't be wasting expensive doctor’s or ER time on, I think that's a good thing. I know when we were growing up, we didn't go to the Dr. for everything. People are conditioned to do that now, because the cost is shielded from them.
Do you have firsthand knowledge of someone who has avoided a medical care because of their participation in a CDHP? Or, is this theory?
[Him]No I do not agree with you that competition is the key to solving this problem.
[Jay] I know. I believe in the free market, and you may not. The fact that a purely free market would surely charge the sick more for insurance is a problem that we have to come to grips with when applying purely free market solutions to health care. That is the largest problem to purely free market solutions and is why this is such a difficult problem. But, I think we can design a system that maintains as many free market principles as possible and address the cost issue for higher-risk people, the portability problem, and the coverage problem. I’m not arguing as a Libertarian, who might just say – “let them eat cake.”
[Him]Here's a nice (and fair) analysis of their two proposals:
[Jay] I looked at the site. It seems a reasonable analysis of the plans as they stand today. I like the voting, obviously this site is hit by those on the left much more than those on the right. Even on the funding issue, where there is NOTHING good said about the Obama plan, the "voters" still give it an overall passing grade. Either the site is hit by partisans, or, people are willing to pay ANYTHING for what Obama is offering. At any rate, the analysis doesn't go far enough to suggest the ultimate result of Obama-care, which will be a government run single payer system.
[Him]Universal coverage is critical to any plan I would support, but I am concerned about what the Obama plan would cost.
[Jay] It would cost a lot. It would eclipse Medicare and Medicaid immediately and would rival social security. Plus, it would ultimately put the government in charge. You may trust your government to do the right thing, I don't. I see Obama's plan as a step towards socialism. The United States is not England, Canada, France, or Cuba. I will reject arguments that we should be more like them. We are the greatest country on earth precisely because we are not like them.
[Him]I would like to see the best of both plans, and other ideas, combined - but the likelihood of the country coming together is pretty slim.
[Jay] It won’t happen as long as Obama continues to scare people by telling them lies about McCain’s plan, as he dis in the debate and does on his stump speeches (I watched one yesterday, it was maddening listening to the misrepresentations).
More References for you:
- on rationing in England
- more on english rationing, and this is a socialist site complaining about rationing in England, and trying to blame it on a profit motive in the National Health Service.
- A dated, but still relevant paper on the dangers of price controls and rationing in the Health Care industry.
- James Capretta’s blog
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I'm almost spent gang. McCain can't make the sale, and it's a down year for Republicans anyway. The public hates Bush, and they're going to get what they want, someone as far removed from Republican/Conservative politics as possible.
We all know how potentially disastrous for the country that could be. We also know and can see how McCain feels the same way. He can't bring himself, for whatever reasons, to hammer it home.
Like the letter writer, I think Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney could and would; and would be happy to do so. I will continue to hammer Obama and leftists on this blog, up to and past the election, at least until they enact the Fairness Doctrine, and use it to not just stamp out free talk radio (hopefully it'll move to satellite and make that industry profitable), but opposition on the Internet.
Then, I guess we'll all go underground.
But, I exagerate (I hope).
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
- His associations and friendships with people like William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and ACORN have to call into question not just his judgement and integrity in his explanations, but, does he share these people's views?
- He has never voted against a tax increase
- His health care plan would likely force private insurers out of the market and end up with a government single payer system
- He has yet to reach across the aisle to work with GOP senators on any significant legislation
- He believes our troops were "air raiding villages" in Afghanistan
- He is part of the Fannie Mae problem
So, I think we're pretty much looking at an Obama victory and all us conservatives are wishing we had a Romney/Palin ticket instead of McCain. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy, I love what he did for our country, and I think he'd be a great president, and a rock in a time of economic disasters and war.
Instead, we're going to get a neophyte, potentially radical, certainly leftist, potentially crooked Obama as president.
Apparently, Obama's story is morphing from (in the 4/16 Dem debate) "The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense" to (according to top propagandist David Axelrod today) Obama "didn't know the history" of unrepentant bomber William Ayers' activities in the violent Weather Underground movement when the candidate attended a political event at Ayers' home in 1995.
"When he went he certainly didn't know the history," chief Obama liar David Axelrod told CNN - arguing for the first time since the story surfaced early this year that Obama was unaware of Ayers' past.
Note, CNN also says that the Obama/Ayers coming out party in 1995 was not organized by Alice Palmer, who Obama was replacing, but by Obama and Ayers themselves.
See the CNN story here:
Barack Obama - I know you may be too stupid, naive, or clueless to know what these people are about. Maybe you should read this article by one of his targets.
Monday, October 6, 2008
People need to know that Barack Obama is really the senator from Fannie Mae.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
"Palin cited a New York Times story published Saturday that detailed Obama's relationship with Ayers. In an interview with CBS News earlier in the week, Palin didn't name any newspapers or magazines that had shaped her view of the world."
I ask you, my readers, what is the relevance of Palin's statement to Katie Couric last week in this story? Now, every time Sarah Palin refers to some published report (in a left-wing rag, no less, than the NYT), are we going to get the qualifiers from the left-wing, drive-by media, that "In an interview with CBS News earlier in the week, Palin didn't name any newspapers or magazines that had shaped her view of the world"?
There are people that don't believe bias exist. They either or stupid, or part of it.
Friday, October 3, 2008
"'The left wing media (CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MCNBC)' meaning every media source besides FOX? If an angry conservative blogger rants, does anyone read? Besides a sleep deprive[d] (sic) teenager who should be doing his homework. It's ok, maybe if you make enough outrageous statements, you too can be a real political pundit. Also your banner should just be you're, not your/you're. Come on, bloggers need some sense of creditability."
Comments like these, where the host is described as angry, accused of making outrageous statements (many of them outrageously true), and a gratuitous stab is taken at my disdain for those that misuse your/you're, are indications that something has hit a nerve.
Jimmy - I hope your ***** feels better now that you've had some time to relax!
Palin still missed some opportunities to close in and kill Biden, but, hey, she's new at this, and admittedly, she hasn't spent 35 years learning senatorial obfuscating. Joe Biden is a nice guy, I like him. He's been wrong on a heck of a lot of foreign policy issues, and, if you think more government is the solution to all that ails this country, you're not ever going to vote for a republican anyway.
One area I personally wish McCain/Palin would stay away from is their populist refrain about corruption and predators in lending institutions. The reality is that banks and mortgage companies just did what they needed to do to compete in an environment that was hyper-competitive because Fannie/Freddie made it easy to securitize bad mortgages and sell them as bundles. I wish instead of taking the populist line that they would turn this into a "we knew Fannie/Freddie were rotten to the core, but Dems resisted reform at every opportunity," then point people to a web site where they can watch all the videos of Dems saying how great Fannie/Freddie were, and how awful it was of their regulator to even suggest that they might be leading us into a financial meltdown. And make sure you point out that it was McCain who sponsored legislation to fix the mess, but was rejected by Dems (specifically point the finger at Chris Dodd, and all those who received big bucks from Fannie/Freddie, among them Barack Obama). But, my main man, Dick Morris, loves this line of attack (the populist one), so it must poll well.
Anyway, I think (I know) there are a hell of a lot of average Americans who hold ALL politicians in disdain. The events of this week have not done anything to dissuade them from that.
For them, Sarah Palin is a breath of fresh air. She doesn't have the debate club experience the Senate gives you, but, she does have a folksy manner that I think most people find at least interesting, and probably endearing (she's not the same as Reagan, by all means, but she has a similar charm), and maybe they will look at her and think, we really could use some outside blood in Washington. Would that they would vote against every incumbent running. Dem or Rep, THAT would be a massive improvement.
A poster on another blog (a leftist partisan, for sure) said this was Biden's best performance. Haha. If this was Biden's best, does that mean he's been woeful in all his previous performances? I saw him in some of the Democrat debates, and I thought he was very effective when he was pointing out how dangerous Obama would be. Otherwise, he's really just a guy who likes the sound of his own voice.
The left wing media (CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MCNBC) will score this as a victory for Biden, and maybe, if it was scored by debate coaches, it would be (but I think it'd be nearly a draw scored that way). In the court of public opinion, it was a clear victory for Palin. Luntz's undecideds gave it massively to Palin, and the Fox poll (admittedly, viewership skews far right) had it 86-12 for Palin. In contrast, even that network's unscientific poll after McCain/Obama had that one nearly 50/50.
Does this move the needle nationally, and state-by-state? We'll see, but it does remove Palin's experience as an issue, and allows her to go campaign and energize the base, while McCain now focuses on the swing voters and his ads will launch into high gear - tying Obama to his friends Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko, Frank Raines, and J. Wright; clips of prominent Dems supporting McCain, or dissing Obama; portraying Obama as just another tax and spend liberal; pointing out that Obama doesn't really care whether we win wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.
I think Biden made a huge strategic blunder in more than twice trying to tie McCain to voting to defund troops, then launching into a senatorial explanation of how he did that (undermining his argument at the same time). No one is going to buy that argument. He made up some "facts" during this debate, too, and, was pretty ineffective in his advocacy of Obama and attacks on McCain.
Boiled down, people watched this debate to see Palin. R's to hope she improves on recent performances, D's in the hopes she would crash, and undecided's to see whether she was this incoherent redneck they've been hearing about. 2 of those groups were pleasantly surprised and 1 is crying right now (you figure it out). Joe Biden was window dressing at this party. If he said anything, no one was listening.
I hope the exchange tonight between him and Alan Colmes makes youtube, because Morris just literally ripped Colmes's head off and handed it to him.
If you saw it, you know what I mean.
If not, I'll hopefully see it on youtube tomorrow and post it.
(sorry this post is time late, I am watching it on DVR, because we had to catch Survivor!).
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Joe Biden was last seen leaving the auditorium picking his hairplugs off the floor.
Now, the only events Sarah is going to so should be campaign events, conservative talk radio, and friendly news outlets, like Fox and local TV.
Frank Luntz's famous dials showed a knockout for Sarah.
Has Sarah Palin saved McCain once again? Hopefully this momentum will carry them back to the offensive, where they are best.
I recently responded to a co-worker's saying McCain wants to raise taxes on health plans with this:
Your contention and Obama's (in the debate he said this, and I guess it's a talking point) that McCain's health care plan means higher taxes isn't exactly true, though it has enough truth to be semi-credible.
What McCain proposes is that the employer tax deduction for health care costs paid for employees be repealed. This means, of course, that should employers decide to continue to offer employer-negotiated health care for their employees, the employee would be on the hook for the taxes for that portion of their income, at whatever income tax rate they pay.
What you and Obama fail to tell people, is that McCain's plan also includes a $5000 tax credit to either allow those without health insurance to defray some of it's cost,or pay for it all, or for those in employer-provided plans to pay their costs, including this tax.
This New York Times article, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/01/us/politics/01mccain.html, does actually a fair of pointing out that only those with "gold-plated" policies would see their costs go up.
If you believe, as I do, that competition, and more consumer awareness of how much health care actually cost, is the key to solving this problem, then this is a plan that goes down that path,along with the increase in availability of Health Savings Accounts.
I know people like to say Obama's plan isn't government sponsored,single-payer health care, and, at least initially, it isn't. But, as it pits private health care plans against a massive government-run system (government as insurer), the end result will be employers abandoning their plans in favor of the government plan.
From an analysis by Health Policy Consultant James Capretta:
"Businesses would be forced to either offer coverage and pay a substantial portion of the premium or else pay a tax to the federal government. \
"Under his plan, employers would find it increasingly attractive to drop their company-sponsored plans in favor of paying the tax. The tax would be based on wages, not health care, and wage growth has lagged far behind health-care cost inflation for more than three decades. Over time, without other reforms, paying the tax would almost certainly be less expensive for most businesses than organizing coverage themselves. And with the government making other options available, employers would finally be able to drop their insurance plans without simply abandoning their workers.
"As more and more employers chose to "pay" instead of "play," millions of workers would be pushed into the national insurance exchange, where they would, in theory, have a choice between private insurance and the new, publicly run option. Obama and other Democrats like to say this structure would foster healthy competition between the public and private sectors. But this would not be real, market-style competition. The government would run the new, public insurance option just as it runs Medicare and Medicaid, with plenty of price controls and cost shifting. Doctors and hospitals would have no choice but to accept the government-dictated fees imposed by a federal bureaucracy. These below-market fees would allow the public option to charge premiums considerably lower than those charged by private insurers. And with these artificially low premiums, the public insurance option would become the de facto plan of choice for millions of workers. A
recent analysis of an Obama-like plan projected 40 million new enrollees in the public option in Year One. That would be like doubling the size of Medicare — overnight.
"Once the plan had been set in motion, the momentum toward a full government takeover would be impossible to reverse. Congress would have every incentive to cut doctor and hospital fees further, to control the costs of the new insurance subsidies promised by Obama. It would not be long before private insurers, lacking this ability to control their costs by fiat, abandoned the marketplace entirely. "
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
"With no House vote scheduled until Thursday, McCain still has time to do the right thing.
"He should publicly announce his support for the House Republican alternative package of insurance, loans and tax changes to deal with the financial crisis. He should attack Barack Obama and the Democrats for supporting the use of tax money for a massive bailout when the same purpose can be accomplished by other, cheaper means. McCain should draw a line in the sand and take a firm position.
"The Democrats are not prepared to pass their bailout proposal by themselves. If they were, they would have done so on Monday. Instead, they withheld the votes of their most vulnerable congressmen and let the package fail. If the Republican Party poses a united front in the House, with McCain's leadership, the Democrats will have to fall in line. They cannot not do anything. By taking a firm line, McCain can turn the whole process around to his — and his country's — advantage.
"By backing an alternative, McCain forces Obama to defend the Democratic/Bush package. He can tie Obama to Bush and to the Washington insider/Wall Street crowd. He can give his populism a programmatic reality and a topical relevance. Obama would have to spend the rest of the election defending the $700 billion turkey the length and breadth of the country.
"America detests the bailout package. Polls show better than 2-to-1 opposition. Were McCain and the Republicans able to project that there is another alternative that works, the opposition would swell to even greater proportions.
"Obama and the Democrats could cite the views of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Wall Street executives that the Republican relief package would be too little, too late. But voters can be pardoned for skepticism. Paulson, a few years removed from Wall Street, and Democrats, in hock to the street for campaign contributions, are naturally eager to get their hands on $700 billion. If Obama lends himself to that cause, it could cost him the election.
"McCain needs to have the courage to free himself from the web of Washington deals and take a principled stand for the right side and stay there. Then the inevitable dynamics of the process will bring the country around to him. Otherwise, his campaign will have missed the opportunity to draw the kind of clear issue that would have gotten him elected president.
I"t is admirable to see a candidate of principle and conviction lose an election by standing on his beliefs. It is sickening to see one lose by abandoning them."
There are lots of great videos of people like Barney Frank and Maxine Waters telling us as recently as 2004 that Fannie and Freddie were perfectly fine, and that no reforms were needed, despite their regulator requesting otherwise. In 2005, John McCain co-sponsored legislation offering reforms to these organizations, but it was blocked in the Senate by Democrats.
'Say what you will about President Bush, senator, but he is the twice-elected president of the United States and a good and honorable man. I would rather be associated with him than with Billy Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Tony Rezko, to begin with.'
My reader says this would be a "showstopper" and a "debate clincher." I don't know about that, but I like it . ."