Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The auto manufacturing sector has been devastated by the recent economic crisis. Frozen consumer and commercial credit and sharply declining sales have pushed U.S. automakers to the edge of bankruptcy. According to one estimate, almost three million American jobs are tied to the Big Three automakers. The collapse of the domestic auto industry would have a ripple effect that would be immediately felt by New York's nearly 98,000 auto manufacturing-related workers and the many suppliers and dealers throughout the state and the entire nation. Moreover, a collapse would have a destructive impact on our economy.
It is profoundly disappointing that the measure on the floor of the Senate last week was blocked. It would have provided critical assistance for American automakers and the millions of workers whose jobs are directly and indirectly in jeopardy. Millions of Americans, whose livelihoods are in jeopardy, are left to wait over the holidays to see whether their jobs will be saved.
This is a difficult time for America and for American families. Our economy has been buffeted by turmoil in the financial markets and the growing mortgage crisis, resulting in - and compounded by - severe job losses and a deepening sense of anxiety across this country. Inaction is not an acceptable option. I have called for the current administration to use the tools at its disposal to keep our automakers afloat, including using the authority given to the Treasury Secretary to stabilize our markets and troubled companies. In the long term, we must pursue economic policies that will not only create jobs but create the incentives for these companies and many others to lead our nation and the world in developing innovative technologies that will shape our future and ensure our prosperity.
Again, thank you for your letter regarding the auto industry and our economic challenges ahead. For updates, please check my website at http://clinton.senate.gov.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton"
Friday, December 12, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set," Obama said in July. "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."
Civilian national security force? Do we not have enough over-zealous police already?
And you thought the Patriot Act was bad!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The term "Two Americas" was coined by the great slip-and-fall Senator from North Carolina, John Edwards. We can now see graphic proof of his idea in this county-by-county electoral map from the recent presidential election. The map is the work of Mark Newman. Notice how the blue is mostly limited to urban areas of high population density: the northeast, the west coast, the tip of Florida, the upper midwest (Chicago, etc.) This is one America, comprised of upper middle class and upper class white liberal elites, service union members, city dwellers who do not depend on cars, the entertainment industry, the pornography industry, etc. The second America, the Red America, is the rest of us. We are also know as bitter clingers, or, in the olden days, the silent majority.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
On January 20, 2009, everybody turn on your TVs, and then tell me what you see: is it an inauguration or a coronation? The democrats and their friends from Hollywood love to stage grand spectacles, and the Obama convention speech and acceptance speech were mere rehearsals for the Big One when he takes the oath of office.
McCain, Bush I and II, and Reagan all approached the presidency with a sense of humility, meaning they realized that the office was larger than them. They were mere occupants for 4 or 8 years, servants of the people and guardians of the Constitution. Clinton viewed the presidency as something for him to use, as a tool to advance his own cause, or his wife’s, or his party’s. It is only a slight exaggeration to say it was a toy for him to play with.
What about Obama? Will he view himself as a servant of The People, or their King?
What about us? Will we view him as a fallible servant of the The People, or as our King?
Barack Honolulus, Rex Americanae. BHRA*
*cf. the Catholic motto, INRI, for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudæorum, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. John 19:19
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Inspired by "The Deep Sleep," by David Craig, Columbia magazine, Fall 2008.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
It is the conventional wisdom, or at least the congressional wisdom (oxymoron?), that health insurance* should be provided by employers. I contend that this is a poor way of providing health insurance, in that it denies health insurance to millions of people, raises premiums, ties employees to their employers almost like indentured to servants, is unfair to lower income employees, and results in higher taxes for businesses and individuals.
First, let's look at the dollars and cents. When you pay premiums to an employer based insurance plan, you get a tax deduction. This means that the amount of savings is determined by your tax bracket. For example, let's say your annual insurance premium is $10,000. If you are in a low income tax bracket, say 15%, your tax savings will be $1500. However, if you are in a higher tax bracket, say 33%, your tax savings will be $3300. It is plain as day that the higher your annual income, the greater your benefit under the current system. And don't forget, any one who does not get health insurance from his employer gets ZERO tax savings. Is this the result that liberal Congressmen wanted for constituents when they came up with the tax code? Are they to dumb to figure this out?
Now, lets look at the McCain plan. McCain would give a $5,000 tax credit (per couple filing a joint return) to any one purchasing health insurance. Since it is a tax credit, and not a deduction, is means $5,000 to every taxpaying family, even low income families who owe zero in taxes. This would be a greater benefit on a percentage basis to those with lower income, and a smaller benefit on a percentage basis to those with higher income. Under the current system, for someone in a 15% tax bracket to save $5,000 in taxes , his insurance premium would have to be $33,333.33. I have never heard of an insurance premium that high, even for plans with frills. So tell me, which plan states the insured more money, McCain's or the status quo?
Next, let's consider Freedom. This is simple. With employer based health insurance, the employee is limited to whatever insurance plans the employer offers. With McCain's plan, which disengages health insurance from employment, the insured can purchase any health insurance plan that is available in his state. Every one would have the exact same choices available to him as everyone else, including members of Congress.
I believe that premiums would be lower under McCain's plan also. Under the current system, insurance premiums are negotiated between insurance companies, large businesses, and labor unions (small companies and individual customers have no negiotiating power whatsoever). These entities have only their own interest at heart, not yours and mine. Furthermore, the pool of negotiating parties is limited, and the pool of potential customers is reduced by tens of millions of citizens (the 47 million uninsured). Keep in mind, many of these 47 million are healthy, and inclusion of healthy people in insurance plan helps spread out healthcare costs, and therefore helps keep premiums down. Finally, because we would be able to choose any health insurance plan that is on the market, insurance plans would be forced to compete for our business, not for IBM's business, or the AFL-CIO's business. They would have to come up with insurance plans to satisfy us.
Also, wages and salaries and jobs would go up if employers did not have to provide health insurance. I should not have to explain this, but the conventional wisdom is so ingrained that I think it is necessary. If a business does not have to pay health insurance premiums, guess what, its overhead is lower! A lot lower. That means: higher pay for employees; or higher contributions to retirement plans; or, hiring more employees; or, investing in equipment, plant, advertising, or other revenue increasing items, and hence the possibility of even more jobs, higher pay and better benefits. Now, would that be good for the economy, or bad?
Finally, did I mention FREEDOM? If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me, "the only reason I stay at my job is for the health insurance," I would be a wealthy man. People are tied to their jobs; they do not feel free to leave their jobs because of the fear that they will lose their insurance. It is time to end the idiocy of employer-provided health insurance.
Elect McCain, take your tax credit, and go out and buy your own insurance. Embrace freedom, and you will be healthier, wealthier, and smarter than Congress.
*You know what bugs me? When polticians say "health care" insteadof "health insurance." Doctors, nurses, and hospitals, among others, provide health care. Insurance companies are financial middlemen. They transfer money from one party to another for a fee. That is not "health care."
For an alternate point of view, go to bafflegabbed.typepad.com.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008