Monday, April 28, 2014

How Many Uninsured People Have Signed Up for ObamACAre Anyway?

Why didn't the ACA use PayPal instead?
The President and his Administration, sans the lady who set it all up in the first place, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, have been proudly touting that '8 Million People Have Signed Up For The ACA!'

We have been reading a lot of things lately to try to discern just precisely how many for the formerly uninsured are now 'insured' under Obamacare...and to be honest, we are having a lot of trouble finding that precise number.

After all, the pretense of introducing and passing a 2400-page monstrous expansion of federal power and virtual takeover of the American health care system in 2010 was to make sure that the 51 million uninsured at the time could find health care insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.

Now, advocates of the ACA 'swore' that it was not a federal takeover of the private health care system. They 'swore' it was just setting up exchanges where private companies would provide private healthcare insurance at lower prices, $2400/year according to President Obama, 'just like the FEHB, The Federal Employee Health Benefits model that the federal government had used for decades'.

We were on the FEHB for 12 years in Washington. It was a pretty good deal. The federal government paid about 85% of our healthcare premium for the privately insured plan we had from BCBS each month; our deductibles were about $100/year and our copays were maybe $10-$15 at the most.

Would that Obamacare be just like the FEHB! We would have signed up for it in a heartbeat as would any other thinking, sentient human being living in America. (Did you know that many dogs and cats have health insurance now? Seriously)

Had the ACA been operating just like the FEHB, we would have saved not $2400 this year but over $10,000 in premiums plus thousands more in out-of-pocket deductibles due to a surgery in the family.

To paraphrase Senator Lloyd Bentsen's famous put-down of Vice-President Dan Quayle in the 1992 elections:

'I knew the FEHB, President Obama. It was a friend of mine. Obamacare, sir, is no FEHB!'

Anyway, after reading a bunch of stuff about the touted 8 million signups for the ACA, here's what we have been able to glean so far:
  1. Between 25% and 50% of the people who have signed up for the ACA have not paid for their plans yet in some states. Therefore, they are not officially 'signed up' until their first check clears.
  2. Roughly 25-30% of the people who have signed up for the ACA have done so through the expanded coverage of Medicaid in some states. They now have health insurance, that is true, but it 100% paid for by the taxpayer, not by the individual.
  3. Roughly 25-30% of the non-Medicaid- eligible people who have signed up for the ACA did not have private health insurance previously. That means that roughly 70-75% of these people DID have private health care insurance previously but now have cheaper health insurance from the exchanges, almost solely due to taxpayers support because premiums have not gone down at all as far as we can tell.

So, let's just some basic math this morning:

8 million people have signed up for the ACA. 25% are Medicaid-eligible so that means 2 million are on state Medicaid programs 100% paid for by the taxpayer meaning you.

6 million to go.

To be generous, 25% of these people have not paid for their coverage. That is 1.5 million right there who are not officially signed up as of today.

So we are now down to 4.5 million new signees to the ACA.

75% of these 4.5 new signees previously had health insurance and were therefore 'covered' and not a part of the 51 million target 'uninsured' population in 2010. There's 3.375 million right there previously insurance people.

That leaves us with a remnant of 1.125 million 'previously uninsured/not eligible for Medicaid' population of citizens that the ACA is actually in force and covering today with private, taxpayer-supported health care insurance.

Out of a total population of 51 million uninsured that the Obama Administration, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid promised 'the ACA had to be passed in order to find out what was in it so all of these people could have access to Affordable Health Insurance!'

Less than 2.2% of the targeted population. 2.2%.

It would have been more intellectually and spiritually honest of the proponents just to say: 'We want to expand Medicaid to cover the 2 million Medicaid-eligible population and then come up with some other means to cover these 1.125 million in some other assisted way'.

We would have all come out of this with far less taxpayer money spent and debt built up not to mention the political sturm und drang and angst it has caused this country for the past 4 years.

The proponents of the ACA and the spokespeople for the Obama White House can not even tell us with any specificity how many people have 'officially' signed up for ACA and paid for it.

They have as much credibility as the inimitable 'Baghdad Bob', spokesperson for Saddam Hussein when the Allied Forces were invading Iraq in 1990 who insisted that 'Our Supreme Leader Saddam Hussein and his government are not in any danger of being defeated by the American devils!'.

Here's a suggestion: Let PayPal handle all the transactions. Any small business person or on-line purchaser will know within 2 milliseconds if you bank account has been dinged and money withdrawn for the purchase.

At least we would have some real-time information on the biggest legislative action ever taken by an Administration in terms of revamping a huge swath of the American landscape and economy.

Did you know if the American Health Care System were a country and the cost of it were measured as GDP (roughly $2.5 Trillion) it would be the world's 6th-largest nation behind France $2.6 trillion)?

Apparently, the Obama Administration and the Democrat leadership in Congress at the time didn't realize just how big and how massive and how complex the US health care system was at the time of passage of the ACA.

Spending a couple more trillion dollars to help just over 1 million people get private, taxpayer-supported health care insurance seems a bit crazy, doesn't it?

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

80% of Americans Pay More in FICA Taxes Than They Do In Income Tax

We have been on a lot of college campuses over the past 4 years.

At each stop, I have asked undergrads several questions such as:

-How many of you own a landline phone?
-How many of you have ever written a paper check to anyone?
-How many of you know what a 'FICA Tax' is?

Far less students know what a FICA tax is than own a landline or have written a paper check to anyone for anything ever in their young lives. Maybe only 3 had a landline phone in their homes for some reason. Only 3 or maybe 4 of them have ever written a paper check to anyone.

Hardly any of them knew what a FICA tax was. At all.

Of course, we older Americans know that a 'FICA tax' stands for 'Federal Insurance Contributions (sic) Act'. It is the money we send in every pay period to pay for Social Security and Medicare benefits of current retirees (not your own future benefits).

Well, get ready for this then:

80%+ (and growing) Americans pay more for FICA taxes than they do for federal income taxes today. Many will do so for their ENTIRE LIVES!

'Just wait til you start your own business and get hit with the self-employment tax of 15.7% of your income right off the top!' we tell them. 'Not just the 7.9% or so that is taken out when you work for a company...but double the rate!'

If you are young and you don't know anything about taxes, you might want to bone up on where your taxes are going since you are going to be paying them for the next 45-50 years or so.

Because your taxes are not going where you think they might be going.

The reason why so many people pay more in FICA taxes than income taxes is because approximately 50% of taxpayers don't pay any income tax at all every year. 0%. None. The breakpoint for a family of 4 to pay no income tax in 2013 was about $34,000.

However, everyone pays the FICA or SS/Medicare tax on every dollar earned starting dollar 1.  You can't get away from it; no deductions or exemptions allowed. It is a de facto 'flat rate tax' that opponents of the flat rate tax say 'we can never have in America!'

We already have one. It is called 'the payroll tax'.

One of the problems with modern American politics is that it is very easy to boil down to the core emotion of an issue that motivates people to vote. One of the favorites is that some program is 'for the children' and therefore 'critical to the future of this nation!'

Know how much of the US federal budget is actually dedicated to 'children'?

The Brookings Institute says that for every $7 in federal spending on seniors, $1 is spent on children.

We are surprised the ratio is even that low. Social Security and Medicare are almost 98% dedicated to support of senior citizens. Their combined budget for 2013 was over $1.3 trillion or about just under 40% of the entire federal budget of $3.4 trillion.

So whenever you hear some politician plead that 'we must do this for the children!', check out the budget first. You will see that 'we have already done it for the seniors!'

Once we lock in that huge amount for the seniors every year, there is precious little left for the children, notwithstanding environmental cleanup, road construction, welfare for the poor, welfare for the know, everything else we say we want.

We have done this before as a public service to our nation but we beg you to take the time soon to read the April 2014 CBO Budget Projections so you too can become as well-informed as perhaps maybe 100 other people in this nation about the nuances and details of our enormous federal budget.

Ok, maybe 200. But who is counting?

Our hope is not that you agree with us on everything we have to say about anything. Our hope is that once you get the facts about our tax system and federal budget, you will be able to use your own native intelligence and basic math skills to be more informed about what is really going on in the federal budget and with your taxes so you will be able to persuade others to vote for people who can do the same.

Right now, it appears as if we have elected 435 kindergartners to Congress, 100 1st-graders to the Senate and 1 pre-schooler to the White House when it comes to fiscal and budgetary discipline.

That is an insult to every kindergartner, 1st-grader and pre-schooler out there who can actually add and subtract basic numbers.

Remember what has been commonly attributed to Winston Churchill when it comes to emotion in politics (although the Churchill Centre denies he ever said such a thing):
'If you are young and not a liberal, you don't have a heart. If you are old and not a conservative, you don't have a brain'.

Remember that when you get your first pay stub and start staring at the FICA box to see where the largest part of your withholdings are going.

You'll stare at it so long you may start the paper on fire as if you were using a magnifying glass to burn an ant on your sidewalk. That is your money that you earned. And it is not coming to you.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

'Well, Well, Well! Isn't That Special?'

The Church Lady
'Well, well, well. Isn't that special?'

The NY Times, of all people, reported that the Obama White House worked closely with the US Census Bureau to change the way they collect data on health insurance coverage from the American people.

Just came out yesterday. April 15, 2014.

They 'say' it is just 'coincidental' that this new survey occurs at the same time as the rollout of the ACA, aka Obamacare.

They 'say' it is intended to give a more accurate account of who had insurance in the past because people were confused by the questions about whether or not they had health care coverage during the last year.

They 'say' the Census Bureau was operating independently of any political concerns or pressures from the White House...except for the inconvenient fact that many of the questions were either submitted or edited by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which just happens to be the official budget scoring arm of the White House.

AND the fact that the new HHS Secretary who will take over for Kathleen Sebelius, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, just happens to be the DIRECTOR of OMB right now in the Obama White House.

Gosh! You have to wonder if maybe Ms. Burwell might have seen some of these new questions submitted to the Census Bureau as the OMB Director.

Naw. That would just be too preposterous to consider. That is almost as crazy as it is to believe that the head of the IRS enforcement unit, Lois Lerner, did not take any direction from anyone in the Obama White House or political operation in 2009 when it came to investigating Tea Party applications for non-profit status, right?

It is easier to believe that a tornado can sweep through an abandoned junkyard and assemble a Boeing 777 'all by chance', right?

It may appear as if we might be trying to make light of this but these are serious questions citizens have to ask of their elected officials whether they are Democrat or Republican, Whig or Bull Moose. If elected officials take liberties while they are operating in the public trust on our behalf, how will we know if anything is true or reliable or not?

We have made it quite clear that we think the ACA has many flaws, perhaps some mortal, from the beginning based solely on budgetary and policy concerns. We have pointed out many of the downfalls of the Bush Administration and the GOP-led House and Senate from 2001-2009 as well solely on budgetary and policy concerns in similar manner.

But this is getting to be almost ridiculous, wouldn't you be forced to agree?

When the Obama White House puts forth a bill that is now viewed unfavorably by close to 60% of the American population and then comes close to making it appear as if they are 'cooking the books' at the Census Bureau so the 'facts' (sic) later will look more favorable to them and the ACA, that has to raise even a little concern on the part of the most ardent supporter and admirer of President Obama.

The Church Lady made a career off of pointing out the logs in the eyes of her guests when it appeared that their hypocrisy was too much to bear.

This action by the Census Bureau to change their reporting and survey system right at this very time when we need solid comparative data year-over-year to see if the ACA is doing what it was intended to do appears to be trying to refute President Abraham Lincoln's famous aphorism:

'You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.'

It is hard to fool 310 million Americans at the same time. The Census Bureau should reverse this policy if for no other reason than to keep the rules of the game the same and not try to cook the books in their favor. Again.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Presidential Precedents

(Actually, Gerald Ford said this, not Jefferson)
We are very big believers in this important doctrine in politics:

'Be careful of what you wish for. Because you might actually get it!'

James Capretta of the Ethic and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC has posted a very interesting and intriguing postulation about what might happen to Obamacare when (if) there is ever another GOP President elected in America.

You know there will be another Republican President in your lifetime, don't you? Whenever someone says there is an 'electoral lock' for the Republicans or the Democrats, inevitably in the next couple of elections, the other side wins....and wins decisively.

After the 1984 Reagan landslide, pundits said there was an electoral lock for Republicans due to their strength in the South. 8 years later, Bill Clinton became President in 1993.

After 2004, pundits said the GOP turnout machine developed by Karl Rove in the christian community meant that the Republicans would rule forever. A very short 4 years later, Barack Obama trounced John McCain and then did it again by swamping Mitt Romney in 2012 with the 'Obama Machine'.

We love asking this question to anyone who asserts that the electoral map has gone permanently purple in many states heading towards deep blue for the Democrats:
'What do you think would happen in 2016 if VP Joe Biden is the Democrat nominee?

'Crickets' is the sound we usually hear from the audience. Almost deathly silence in some cases.

There is no way that the level of voter enthusiasm for presidential candidate Joe Biden will come within a light year of the enthusiasm shown for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

It is doubtful that even Hillary Clinton could engender or set off an equal level of enthusiasm should she run in 2016 as Obama did in 2008 and 2012. For one thing, she got beat by a veritable unknown political novice, Barack Obama, in 2008 when it looked like the stars were aligned for her nomination and her husband pulled in all of his chits for her.

Second, she now has a record to defend, not only on her own as with Benghazi and that ridiculous assertion of her State Department that the riot in Benghazi was caused by some cartoon in California but the whole Obama record as part of his Cabinet, up to and including Obamacare.

Mr. Capretta points out some 'inconvenient facts' about President Obama's persistent executive decisions 'delaying this' and 'postponing that' particular provision of Obamacare. 38 orders at this date and counting.

A bill that Obama supported and pushed through by the way. His non-execution of his own ACA would be like LBJ passing the Civil Rights Act in 1965..and delaying implementation of key provisions of the law for 3,4,5 or more years.

Here's the main takeaway of this article by Jim Capretta today:

'Whatever President Obama can do to delay implementation of the ACA today through executive order, a Republican President can do 10 times over once elected. On ACA or any other piece of legislation by Congress'
Our government operates pretty much on precedent, whether it be presidential executive orders, Supreme Court decisions or parliamentary procedure in Congress which was set upon its head when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the 'nuclear option' this year on appointments.

'Anything you can do, I can do better' goes the old song. Same applies to executive orders and actions by our presidents. Democrats don't get to do what they want without the Republicans being able to follow suit, you know.

Maybe we need a less activist President next time around. Like Calvin Coolidge, for example.

'It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones' said President Calvin Coolidge.

He also said: 'Congress always says 'Do'.  (I say) 'Do not do' or at least 'Do less'.
Amen, brother. Amen.

JAMES C. CAPRETTA | 04/08/2014

Though it is admittedly hard to imagine at the moment, a Republican could actually win the White House again someday.

That thought raises an interesting question: what would happen to Obamacare under such a scenario, remote as it might seem?

Democrats are hoping that by the time such an unpleasant turn of political events rolls around Obamacare will be solidly entrenched as an important component of the health system. The hope is that the public will have become accustomed to the law’s rules and subsidies, and that a growing number of people will actually be favorably disposed to the program because of their personal experiences with subsidized coverage.

Growing acceptance of Obamacare is certainly plausible given the history of citizen acceptance of significant government involvement in the health systems of other economically advanced democracies. At a minimum, Democrats are banking that tens of millions of people, especially those getting insurance through the exchanges, will believe the continued security of their health coverage is dependent on the continuation of Obamacare.

Republicans, meanwhile, hope that the election of a GOP President would set in motion a full legislative solution—repeal and replacement of the law with a market-based alternative plan. 

But what if a Republican gets control over the levers of Obamacare administration without also getting a clear path to a legislative solution (for instance, if the Senate remains under Democratic control or Republican control is sufficiently narrow or politically fragmented to slow the adoption of an alternative plan)?

If that were to happen, the decisions by President Obama over the past months and years to assert executive discretion over the interpretation of major sections of the law could come back to haunt the law’s supporters. Because of the precedents that have been set, it will be very difficult to complain if a Republican president were to use the same supposed executive authority to push the implementation of the law in a very different direction.

For instance, the administration has released a long list of conditions that satisfy the “hardship” exemption from the individual mandate tax. Among other things, a person may self-certify that he or she cannot pay the tax because of expenses associated with caring for an “ill, disabled, or aging family member.” It is not hard to imagine a Republican administration expanding the Obama administration’s list substantially, to the point where the mandate really does become meaningless, if it hasn’t already reached that point.

Similarly, the Obama administration has effectively gutted the employer mandate through 2015. The mandate is not being enforced this year, and the administration took the bite out of it for 2015 too by raising the employment threshold for exempted businesses from 50 to 100 workers. For those firms with at least 100 workers, they can comply by providing coverage to just 70 percent of their workers (most employers with over 100 workers already do so). A Republican administration could build on these legally-dubious “transition provisions” and assert that special rules are needed for several more years to prevent undue disruption of the labor market.

Further, in the on-going backpedal over the “you can keep the health plan you like” flap, the Obama administration has said it will not enforce insurance rules, for a period of at least three years, which would otherwise force the cancellation of millions of policies. This supposed “fix” fell far short of a real solution because many state insurance regulators chose not to allow the old plans to be reopened. Moreover, some insurers have not moved to reopen the plans they canceled in 2013.

A Republican president could take all of this a significant step further by: announcing the intention to allow the old plans to continue in existence on a permanent basis; by loosening the rules around what constitutes a canceled plan that can be reopened; and by allowing new entrants into the old insurance plans as well. He could also clarify that anyone in these old plans would be permanently exempt from the individual mandate tax as well. These changes would create a large escape hatch from Obamacare.

The Obama administration has also sent signals that it will work with health insurance industry to make the taxpayer-financed cushions against insurance losses in the exchanges as generous as possible. Administration officials hope to coax insurers into low-balling their premium requirements for 2015, and beyond. A new, Republican administration could easily take the opposite approach and tighten the rules wherever possible. One key provision—the risk corridor provision, which explicitly limits insurer losses—is expected to expire after 2016, but there is a broad expectation that the administration will do whatever is necessary to extend the concept through an indirect route. A Republican president could reverse direction and force insurers to price their products without the expectation of a taxpayer backstop if they lose money.

A Republican administration is very likely to quickly reverse course on the so-called “HHS mandate.” This is the regulatory requirement (not in the statute) which is forcing employers, including those with strong religious objections, to pay for products and services they find objectionable. Among other things, the regulation is forcing Catholic universities to include in their health plans for their workers all manner of contraceptive products and services, including those which can induce an early pregnancy abortion. If not struck down by the Supreme Court or lower courts, there will be enormous pressure on a Republican president to quickly dispense with the requirement altogether or, at a minimum, to carve out a generous exemption for employers with sincere religious objections to it.

The Obama administration’s creative use of executive discretion has extended beyond insurance rules and the exchanges too. In Medicare, for instance, the administration advanced a demonstration program in Medicare that paid Medicare Advantage (MA) plans an extra $5.3 billion above what was provided under the law. Most of the spending occurred before the November 2012 election and masked the cuts that Obamacare had made in the MA program up to that point in time.

This was the first time that the Office of Management and Budget had allowed such a sizeable Medicare demonstration to go forward that wasn’t budget neutral. What would stop a Republican administration from using this precedent to push billions of dollars more into the MA program and effectively undo the MA cuts in Obamacare on a permanent basis?

The most significant reinterpretation available to a Republican president would be to reverse the decision allowing premium credits to be paid by the federal fallback exchange. This is, of course, the subject of a pending lawsuit, with the plaintiffs arguing that the law is clear and only state exchanges are authorized to pay the credits. The Obama administration is relying on long-standing precedents to argue that the executive branch can make interpretations of this kind when there is ambiguity. If the courts side with the Obama administration, it would not preclude a new set of lawyers, under a new administration, from reaching the opposite conclusion about how to read the statute.

A reversal of this kind would be politically tumultuous, to put it mildly. By the time a Republican president has a chance to make such a decision, there could easily be ten million or more people getting premium credits from the federal exchange. It is hard to imagine a Republican president terminating these credits without first lining up a replacement program more to his liking. Nonetheless, the option would be there, and with it also the leverage to push Congress to enact an alternative plan.

The wide latitude available to a Republican president to reinterpret Obamacare does not mean it would be wise to take all of these steps, or any of them for that matter. The goal would need to be movement of the nation’s health system toward one which would provide secure insurance and stable costs for everyone—without the baggage of Obamacare. How a Republican president should proceed on these, and many other matters subject to interpretation, would depend on the overall plan to replace Obamacare with something far better.

For the moment, though, it is sufficient just to note that the current president has opened the door very wide to reinterpreting Obamacare after he leaves office. And creative use of that opening by a future president could lead to some surprising long-term changes in the nation’s health system.

James C. Capretta is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a contributor to e21.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

'Bring Back Silent Cal!'

'I bet I can make you say 3 words'
'You. Lose'
Amity Schlaes has written a very good, comprehensive book on one of the most obscure Presidents of the United States that many people have never heard of: Calvin Coolidge.

Quick: A) Name the years he served; B) how he got there and C) what his record was as President. (no cheating or Googling)

See? It is almost as if he has disappeared from the US history books. (*answers at bottom of post)

A man of few words, President Coolidge was sitting next to a young lady at a dinner one time who wanted to challenge his reputation as 'Silent Cal'.

'I made a bet that I could get you to say at least 3 words to me tonight' the young lady said to the President.

Without looking at her, he said. 'You lose' and went on about eating his dinner.

We are only just beginning the book but let's take a quick look at some of the major achievements of 'Silent Cal' Calvin Coolidge from the introduction by Ms. Schlaes:
'It is hard for modern students of economics to know what to make of a government that treated economic weakness by raising interest rates 300 basis points, cutting tax rates and halving the federal government...
It is harder still for modern economists to concede that that recipe, the policy recipe for the early 1920's advocated by many men of both political parties, yielded growth on a scale to which we can only aspire today...
  • 'Under Coolidge, the federal debt fell.
  • 'Under Coolidge, the top income tax rate came down by 1/2, to 25%'. 
  • 'Under Coolidge, the federal budget was always in surplus.
  • Under Coolidge, the economy grew strongly even though the federal government shrank. 
  • When Coolidge retired in 1929, the federal government was smaller than when he had become president in 1923. 
  • The federal budget under Coolidge had military, veterans and interest on the national debt accounting for 50% of it
The robust economy of the 'The Roaring '20's' might have rivaled the Internet Boom of the 1990's when another President, William Jefferson Clinton figured out after his first 2 years he could not get much done tacking to the left-wing of the Democratic Party after HillaryCare was ignominiously and roundly defeated in 1993-94. (Obamacare is just HillaryCare on performance-enhancing steroids)

He made his best hire of his presidency when he appointed Erskine Bowles of North Carolina to be his chief of staff. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin brought confidence to Wall Street and interest rates plummeted.

The 'peace dividend' from the wind-down of the First Iraq War led to lower deficits.

The Budget Act of 1990, signed by President George Bush 41 after arduous negotiations with House Democrats at Andrews AF Base, flattened the growth in federal expenditures to about 2%/year from 1995 on to produce the only budget surpluses most of us will ever see in our lifetimes.

We don't even think President Obama knows that Andrews AFB can be used for anything else short of a convenient disembarkation site for his many vacations taken over the past 6 years.

The federal debt was paid down by close to $700 billion by the end of 2000. It stood at only $5.6 trillion when Bill Clinton left office on January 20, 2001. (although perhaps 1/3 of that amount was intragovernmental debt such as for Social Security 'trust fund' (sic) allocations meaning the 'real debt' we had to pay actual interest on a monthly basis at about $3 trillion)

Today, the federal debt is at $17 trillion+...and climbing daily. There is no way we won't hit $20 trillion in debt before 2020. None whatsoever under current policies advocating by President Obama.

The point of all of this?

Other than strongly encouraging you to get and read Ms. Schlaes' book 'Coolidge' today, the point is to show you how restraining or reducing the spending by the federal government coupled with the major cutting of marginal tax rates has led to economic prosperity in a big way in our nation's past.

It is not 'impossible'; 'crazy' or 'insane' as many defenders of Big Government Spending would have you to believe. Tell them they are wrong the next time they try to shout you down.

We remain of the very strong opinion that the next president can and should follow the lead of 'Silent Cal' Calvin Coolidge.We are pretty sure President Obama will never change his ways so the next president will have to lead to help systematically reduce spending in every federal program on a line-item-by-line-item basis.

Even the Defense Department was not spared the knife under 'Silent Cal'; the Navy was slashed 20% in one year alone.

We think that the first thing that needs to be done is to separate the entitlement programs from the rest of the discretionary budget.

Call it the 'decoupling' or the 'disestablishment' of entitlement spending on individual support from the rest of spending that goes more for the 'common good' in terms of transportation, defense and other annual discretionary programs.

Social Security should have been converted to personal savings/retirement accounts long ago. People retiring today could be sitting on nest eggs of $300,000 or more with monthly annuity payments far in excess of the meager $1700/month average most seniors will receive from the current outdated SS model.

Medicare should also be modernized where your payments into the Medicare system actually go into an account that can be used to pay your medical expenses not just in your golden age when you start to really break down but for your entire life!

Check this out: Under both of those plans described above, you would own the contracts and accounts, not anyone else.  Right now, you kick the bucket at age 65 years, 364 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes and you lose all of your potential Social Security benefits. (full retirement age is 66)

Do the same at age 64 years, 364 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes and you don't qualify for Medicare either! (full retirement age is 65)

How unfair is that?

We have written extensively about these in the past and published a myriad of ways other experts have figured out how to achieve both ends.

But read about Calvin Coolidge first. He may inspire you to be as frugal as he was which, at the same time, led to prosperity for all of our great-and great-great grandparents...and, for some of us, our very own parents.

* A) 1923-1929.  B) Coolidge was VP and replaced Warren G. Harding who died in office. C) Excellent...on all accounts.
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Friday, April 4, 2014

'All Is Well!' In The 'No Voter Fraud!' World...Except When It Isn't

On April 2, the state legislature heard 'stunning' testimony from the North Carolina State Board of Elections that 36,515 people in North Carolina had voted in past elections....and apparently also voted in one of 28 other states as well.

These people had the same first name, last name and date of birth...and voting records as having cast ballots in two different states in the 2012 Presidential year elections.

These votes do not affect just the outcome of the Presidential race. They also affect any Governor's races being held at the same time, US Senate races, all Congressional races and all of the down-the-ballot races from state senate and state house to municipal races to bond referenda.

Granted, many of the voters don't vote all the way down the ballot in any election year; the drop-off in vote totals is significant as you go from the Presidential race down to the judicial races. But still, with 36,515 questioned ballots, many of those people also voted illegally in the down-ballot races as well as the big ones at the top.

On top of that finding, 765 people in the group of 36,515 not only had the same first name, same last name, same date of birth but ALSO THE SAME SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER!!!

Wow. What are the chances that even someone with a name as simple as John Smith of Wadesboro, NC could have the same first and last name, DOB and SSN# as a John Smith of Lebanon, Virginia?

The answer is zero, in case you didn't know. Below 0 degrees Kelvin if you were scoring on scientific temperature scales. Because everyone is supposed to have a unique SSN#, remember?

We have long been aware and convinced of voter fraud along these lines over the past 34 years of being involved intimately with congressional and senate campaign off-and-on during that time. We are quite surprised this number is not more like 136,515 to be honest with you.

We have also been long tussling with people who have declared with all their heart and soul and mind: 'There is no voter fraud! There is no voter fraud!' 'There is no voter fraud!'

All we can say today is: 'There is voter fraud. Deal with it.'

The Voter Integrity Project headed by Jay Delancey in Raleigh has asked the Board of Elections to impound the voter authorization forms in every county so they can not be destroyed before legal action can be brought against the people who have committed fraud.  'Authorization to Vote' forms or ATV are signed sheets where you verify and prove that you are who you say you are.

Apparently, these 36,515 people just flat out lied when they went to vote. If they actually went to vote in their own skin and person, that is. Many people just walk up to the voting tables having memorized someone else's name and address, usually of someone who hasn't voted recently in other elections or dead people, who should be allowed to vote in any election but they do.

That is why the voter identification laws were so critical to pass in North Carolina and other states. As long as the ONLY place in the nation where you didn't need an ID was the voting booth, the opportunity to lie, cheat, steal and commit fraud was just too tempting to politicos intent on getting their guy matter what.

Now, we know there are going to be some well-meaning but misguided souls who are going to protesteth much too much that this is some sort of Republican conservative witch hunt to deny minorities, old ladies and young people their right to vote.

It is not. This is a legitimate attempt to make sure that every vote cast by legally registered and law-abiding citizens of every race and social standing is not negated by an illegal vote cast by someone else.

The first rather lame attempts to 'explain away' these numbers bordered pretty much on the SNL level of comedy.  As reported in the N&O:

'Bob Hall of the liberal watchdog group Democracy North Carolina said the public shouldn’t jump to conclusions until more details about the numbers are known.
He added that duplicate names don’t automatically signal fraud. “I know there is more than one Bob Hall with my birth date who lives among the 28 states researched,” he said. “For all we know, there may be 35,000 legitimate name and birthday matches.'

'For all we know, there may be 35,000 legitimate name and birthday matches'. C'mon, Bob! Give us a break! Take off the rose-colored glasses for a moment and look at the facts!

Let's try to examine the chances of that in detail in real world probabilities.

Across 28 different state lines, there may be hundreds of thousands of 'Bob Halls'. With a name as common as that, that is believable.

But there are 365 days on which to have a birthday, 366 if you count leap year. Even if all of those 35,000+ people were actually named 'Bob Hall', (which they are not by the way just to bring it back into the real world once again), and they were uniformly distributed among those 366 birthdays, you would still have close to 96 'Bob Halls' in separate states having the same name and birthday on every single day of the year!'

But what about if your name is 'Krzyzewski'. What if you see any same name match with the same birthday of that name? Or how about 'Wojciechowski'?

People who are intent on cheating the system couldn't even spell those 2 names, could they? (Not that anyone else can on their first or second try either...try to ask a friend today to spell both on the first try and then buy them a beer and steak dinner if they are successful)

Nope, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. This just about puts a final nail in the coffin of the 'There's Is NO VOTER FRAUD!' corpse. 36,515 matches of the same first and last name and birthday is ample evidence that people have been voting in different states with regularity and no fear of being caught. Because no one has ever cross-checked the voting lists like this before.

Welcome to the 21st century, American Representative Democracy!

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