Thursday, July 27, 2017

Proximate Solutions to Insoluble Problems

(first published in North State Journal, 7/26/17)

The essence of politics, said 20th century Christian Realism theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, “is finding proximate solutions to basically insoluble problems.”

Niebuhr was trapped between his inherent pacifism and “turn-the-other-cheekism” of the Christian faith and witnessing the horrors of World Wars I and II and came to the conclusion that men and women of faith need to act to get things done even if it is not the “perfect,” most ideal solution.

If Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has read Niebuhr, perhaps he could challenge his colleagues this way:

The key to ever making health care in America a soluble problem is to set into place the incentives and structures that help people not get sick in the first place.

“The essence of our collective job in the US Senate this July, 2017, is to find the best option we can to get to 50 votes in the Senate, not to make the US health care system ‘perfect,’ but better than what we think it is today under the ACA.”

Many people today think that every time a bill passes Congress and is signed into law by the President, it has to 'solve all of our problems and set us free!'

Nothing could be further from the truth. The best we can and should expect out of any piece of legislation is that it somehow addresses a need and helps as many people possible without harming others in major ways.

Finding the “perfect” health care system is inherently insoluble. Nothing in the ACA, AHCA or BRCA is really getting at the heart of the problem which is reducing the cost of health care in the first place.

We Americans like the fact that we have modern medical technology, medicine and regimens that allows us to live relatively healthy lives despite the fact that the majority of Americans simply do not live healthy lifestyles.

Talk about diametrically opposed forces that make a “perfect” health care system impossible. The heavier we Americans get due to fast food, lack of exercise and excessive consumption of booze and beer, the more we want and need these medical breakthroughs to stay alive.

Until Americans lose about 25 percent of BMI, stop drinking and smoking too much, and start walking at least a couple of miles every day, our health care delivery system will continue to be insoluble. All we can really do is try to manage the health care of millions of unhealthy people as best as we can.

We are stuck with the same problems today that President Obama and the Democrats tried to ‘fix’ with ACA:

How do we provide the maximum amount of health care insurance coverage to the most number of people without bankrupting the national treasury, corporations and individual pocket books?

Here’s some things to think about which will get at the core of the problem:

1. Everyone in the United States should have access to some form of catastrophic health insurance coverage to protect them against the loss of everything in the case of a catastrophic health event.

2. If you want to pay for private health insurance without the benefit of any tax deductions, you can do whatever you want with your body and health.

3. If you receive health coverage from any government source such as Medicare, Medicaid, VA, or get a tax deduction through your business, you will be enrolled in a managed health care organization, that will help you learn how to take better care of yourself.

The key to ever making health care in America a soluble problem is to set into place the incentives and structures that help people not get sick in the first place. That sounds so elemental but sometimes simple solutions are the best.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Can We Solve Health Care In America?

(Which Einstein probably never said...
but if anyone did, he should have)
Sometimes, the best thing we can do for you is to relay pertinent data from respected sources whom we trust and then ask you just to read it with some of our inserted comments as food for thought.

Health care is complicated enough as it is before thinking about amending, repealing and then replacing ACA with AHCA or BCRA I or II. Some clear thinking and explanation is always in order when you think or talk about health care insurance coverage in America.

Here's a piece by Joseph Antos and Jim Capretta, a health care policy analyst we have known for quite some time. This is a direct reprint of their July 24, 2017 article in the AEI blog so if you have any questions, perhaps I can refer them to the authors to answer.

Annotations are inserted in blue below:

'The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) produced cost estimates for two of the three versions of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), sponsored by Senate Republican leaders. A comparison of the June 26 and July 20 estimates confirms that the two BCRA versions do not differ substantially from each other.

CBO has not estimated the impact of the much-discussed amendment to the BCRA sponsored by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), which is included in the July 13 draft. That provision would allow insurers to sell products to consumers that are out of compliance with the requirements of the Affordale Care Act (ACA), as long as they also offer at least one ACA-compliant product at each metal level.

The July 20 version of the BCRA incorporates several major policy changes from the June version, including:

  1. The new taxes on high-income families imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be retained. Those taxes, the Medicare payroll tax of 0.9 percent on the wages of high earners and the 3.8 percent tax on the non-wage incomes of the same households, would have been repealed by the earlier version of the BCRA. (As a matter of tax policy, this should be repealed for the simple reason that this is the first time in American tax history that a 'payroll tax' of any kind has been assessed against 'non-wage incomes'. Payroll taxes are either taxes on payroll wages or they are not. This is a bad precedent the Obama Administration and 2009-2010 Congress tried to set)
  2. An additional $70 billion would be added to the State Stability and Innovation Fund.
  3. Funds from Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) could be used to pay the premiums of high-deductible health insurance plans purchased on the non-group market.
  4. A new $45 billion fund would be established to support state efforts in combating the opioid epidemic. This fund does not figure prominently in CBO’s estimates of the coverage and premium effects of the legislation. (Not sure if this is the right vehicle to deal with our opioid crisis. This appears to be adding financial incentives for senators with high opioid addictions and traffic to vote for the underlying reform bill but it appears to us that dealing with the opioid crisis in a separate bill with more discussion and input might have a higher chance of solving the problem)

CBO’s assessment of the most recent BCRA draft includes the following key findings:

  • The legislation would reduce federal spending by $903 billion over ten years and reduce federal revenues by $483 billion over the same period. The net deficit reduction over the coming decade would be $420 billion. CBO estimated that the June version of the BCRA would have reduced federal revenue by $701 billion over ten years, or $218 billion more than the tax cuts in the current version of the legislation. (When we have a $20 trillion national debt that is still growing, deficit-reduction would seem to be a welcome outcome of health care reform if it can be done)
  • CBO estimates that the revised BCRA would increase the number of people going without health insurance by 15 million in 2018 and 22 million in 2026. These estimates are essentially unchanged from CBO’s previous estimate. (This is mainly due to the dropping of the individual mandate. (see Avik Roy's explanation) If there is no penalty for not having health insurance, it stands to reason that more people, mainly young healthy people not covered by a large corporate or educational network, would just drop paying for coverage. They think they are 'immortal' at that age anyway..until something happens and they realize they are not)
  • The largest spending reduction in the revised BCRA is in the Medicaid program. CBO estimates the bill would reduce Medicaid spending by $756 billion over ten years, of which $575 billion comes from pulling back on the enhanced federal matching rate for the ACA’s expansion of the program. (This may be one of the most under-reported stories about the ACA, which also stands to reason given the media's preoccupation with Russia and collusion, etc. The ACA paid 100% of the costs of states expanding their Medicaid population for the first 5 years of expansion and then 90% thereafter...except the Obama Administration and the Democrats in 2010 never expected that a future Republican President in concert with a Republican Congress might just bring the traditional federal-state matches back into line on the expanded population one day.

    Historical federal/state matches average 63%/37%. If you live in a state with a 100% match for the expanded Medicaid population, which are not the women with dependent children or disabled already covered by Medicaid prior to 2010, you can expect to see enormous cost hikes at the state level to start paying for that 'fair share' of the 37% match by the states for this expanded population.

    Or enormous tax hikes to pay for it. Or a severe reduction in funds appropriated for teacher salaries, new road construction or any other state government function. 
  • The proposal to impose per-person limits on future federal expenditures for the program accounts for most of the remaining savings. CBO expects Medicaid enrollment to decline by 10 million people in 2021 and 15 million in 2026.
  • CBO expects that terminating the penalties associated with the individual mandate would lead to large-scale withdrawals from coverage and additional adverse selection in the individual insurance market. Those changes would not be so severe as to lead to a breakdown in the market. As with current law, the subsidies provided in the BCRA would be sufficient to ensure enough participation to keep the market stable, although at lower enrollment levels.
  • The revised BCRA would increase average premiums in the individual market before 2020, and then reduce them in the ensuing years. (Gonna be a hard sell for people who have already seen a doubling or tripling of their health insurance premiums since the advent of ACA. They want to see at least a freeze of premiums starting tomorrow and then a reduction over time. 
  • The increase would occur primarily because of the elimination of the penalties associated with the individual mandate, which would lead some healthier insurance enrollees to exit the market. CBO expects average premiums in the individual insurance market to increase by 10 percent in 2019. Beginning in 2020, the BCRA would tie the restructured premium tax credits to plans with an actuarial value of 58 percent, compared to 70 percent under current law. As a result, average premiums in 2026 would be about 25 percent below the average under current law.
  • The BCRA makes income-based tax credits available to everyone with incomes up to 350 percent of the federal poverty level. Households below the poverty level would pay no more than 2 percent of their incomes in premiums to get coverage in the individual insurance market.
  • However, CBO estimates that many of these low-income households would not sign up for coverage because of increased deductibles as a result of moving to a lower actuarial value for approved plans.
  • In 2026, a single policyholder purchasing a benchmark plan with an actuarial value of 58 percent would face a $13,000 annual deductible. (Most deductibles hovered below $5000 before ACA) That deductible would exceed the annual income of a person at 75 percent of the federal poverty line ($11,400). For a person at 175 percent of the federal poverty line ($26,500 in 2026), the average deductible would represent about one-half of his annual income.
  • CBO’s estimates of the revised BCRA make it clear that the new version of the legislation is unlikely to improve how the legislation is perceived by the public. (Maybe if the press would get off of its fixation on shiny objects such as 'The Russian Connection' and try to help explain how these health care proposals will affect every person that would help some)
  • Republicans in Congress would like to roll back the penalties associated with the ACA’s individual mandate, but CBO’s methodology for assessing health reform legislation puts great weight on these penalties for inducing enrollment into coverage. The Republican effort to reduce federal spending associated with the ACA also makes it difficult to provide what many would view as reasonable health coverage for low-income households.
  • Senate Republicans have been struggling to come up with a formulation that would allow them to move away from the structure of the ACA while still providing reasonable security to people who need support to get insurance. It is clear from CBO’s estimate that they have not yet succeeded — but there is still some maneuvering room, at least in fiscal terms.
  • The American Health Care Act, passed by the House of Representatives on May 4, would provide $119 billion in deficit reduction over the next decade. According to congressional rules, the Senate version must provide deficit reduction at least equal to that amount. Given CBO’s latest score, Senate Republicans could spend as much as $300 billion more to create better opportunities for affordable coverage in the private market while transitioning to more prudent financing for the Medicaid program.' (Most individual purchasers of health care insurance would just settle for a freeze in their premiums and then a reduction over time)

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Friday, July 7, 2017

When A Rising 'Unemployment Rate' Would Be 'Great News!'

We have been so conditioned to think about the 'unemployment rate' as being the sole indicator of strength in the labor market that using it as the only beacon sometimes might lead us off course.

We have long been writing about the inherent fallacies of the 'official' unemployment rate put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics each month which are: A) The formula has changed so much over the years as to make comparisons with past data like comparing apples to oranges and B) It can be used to mask what is really going on in the economy for purely political purposes.

Imagine that. Politicians and spinmeisters using government data for purely political purposes.

First of all, here is the official BLS data put out today.

No one in the press or on the mainstream or cable news is going to read it out loud to you verbatim, since they have their own individual agendas to pursue and political axe to grind so let us give you the 'highlights' without the hype and the fanfare and trumpets sounding or worry beads rolling in their hands:
  • The unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.0 million, were little changed. (although the rate did inch up from 4.3% to 4.4% since May)
  • Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 222,000 (yea!) in June, and the unemployment rate was little changed (how come?) at 4.4%
  • The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged (boo!) at 1.7 million in June and accounted for 24.3 percent of the unemployed.
  • Over the year, the number of long term unemployed was down by 322,000 (yay!)
  • The labor force participation rate, at 62.8% changed little (boo!) in June and has shown no clear trend over the past year. The employment-population ratio (60.1%) was also little changed in June and has held fairly steady thus far this year.
  • In June, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 197,000 from a year earlier. (yay!) (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey (yay!) 
Sort of boring if you don't really dig into the numbers a little bit more deeply.

There ya have it! One side will say 'this is all great! and the other will say 'this is all terrible!'
However, we see the latest data as 'moving in the right direction' for the following reasons:
  1. Even though the unemployment rate did not change much, it did change some going from 4.3% to 4.4%.

    If that trend holds for most of the rest of 2017, and the 'official' unemployment rate keeps inching up each month ever so slightly, then that means more and more people are feeling more confident about their job prospects and future and will enter or re-enter the labor force and look for a job.

    They are NOT counted as being in the work force unless and until they are actively interviewing and looking for employment. Technically, more people 'actively' looking for work expands the total official 'labor force' so if they can't find a job immediately, the unemployment rate goes up to account for this new influx of people.

    Consider a situation where 5 million people are unemployed out of a work force of 100 million people. The unemployment rate would then be 5%, 5 divided by 100=5.

    If 1 million new active job applicants show up to look for work tomorrow, however, 6 million people will be technically 'unemployed' until they can find a job. The 'official' labor force would then be 101 million Americans either in the work force or 'actively looking' (key operative words) for work.

    The new, hopefully temporary 'official' unemployment rate would then be 5.94% tomorrow, up dramatically from just 5% today. 6 million people looking for work divided by 101 million people in the active labor force, 6/101 or 5.94%.

    See how tricky the unemployment data game is? No wonder people can play games with the data politically, yes?

    However, no one would dispute that having this hopefully temporary, higher unemployment rate would be a great thing for the economy since it meant a million new people were optimistic about finding a job now and they were taking active steps to find a job.

    That would be 'great news' in anyone's book, right?
  2. The absolute number of people who are employed now in full-time jobs is 2,078,000 more than one year ago in June 2016. 153,168 million people.

    153,168 million people working today > 151,090 million people working in June 2016 which is a good thing by anyone's standards.
  3. The employment-to-population ratio is now 60.1, up from 59.6 in June 2016, a 0.5 difference.

    That might not sound like a lot until you consider that the employment-to-population ratio has not been over 60 since (drum roll) April of 2009 when we were flying right into the maw of the economic hurricane now known as the Great Recession.

    Some people tried to explain this all away by the aging of the massive Boomer population as they retired as if all of them were leaving the workforce at the same time due to some common innate biological signal like turtles returning to nest in the same place or salmon dying after spawning.

    We can only find evidence that supports about 30% of this exodus from the workforce as being attributable to planned retirements by Boomers.

    The other 70% of the people leaving the workforce had more to do with the severe economic contraction; the wiping out of savings; the plummeting of home and land values and the crash of the stock market so that many just retired on some form of combination of a pension, a smaller version of IRA or some sort of government assistance through disability or Social Security.

    The mere sign of the employment-to-population ratio poking its head above 60 has got to be as encouraging of a sign as crocuses poke their heads through the melting snow after a harsh and terrible winter.
  4. In a similar manner, the participation rate at 62.8%, even though the BLS calls it 'little changed', is good news as well since it is going up, not down as it has done so essentially for the past 17 years.

    It is too early to see if this is a sustainable upwards trend but if it is, it is very good news because it means more people, from Millennials to aging Boomers are actually 'confident' enough about the direction of the economy and the job market to actively go out and interview and try to find a job whereas for much of the past 8 years for sure, they have chosen to do the opposite.

    But we do know this, just because of sheer human nature: People don't look for work unless they think they can actually find some gainful employment and that confidence level in the American economy has been rising ever since the elections last November, 2016.

So. There you have it. The unvarnished truth about today's employment data. You can spin it however you want.

Just make sure you have the facts first and share them with your friends, families, colleagues and your political adversaries.

They will be glad you did.

**definition of terms from BLS:
  • The number of people in the labor force. This measure is the sum of the employed and the unemployed. In other words, the labor force level is the number of people who are either working or actively seeking work.
  • The national unemployment rate. Perhaps the most widely known labor market indicator, this statistic reflects the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labor force.
  • The labor force participation rate. This measure is the number of people in the labor force as a percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years old and over. In other words, it is the percentage of the population that is either working or actively seeking work.
  • The employment-population ratio. This measure is the number of employed as a percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years old and over. In other words, it is the percentage of the population that is currently working.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Celebrating The Freedom To Not Agree

This Fourth of July, do something a little different than celebrating our collective cherished freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, the news media press and right to petition for grievances.

And eating hot dogs and watching baseball and fireworks displays.
Celebrate the same freedom to NOT agree with anyone's freedom of speech, freedom of worship, right to assemble, freedom of the press or right to petition for grievances.
Those are just as important, if not more important, as any of the enumerated rights in the First Amendment, which are a lot in just one amendment when you really think about it.

Remember that the United States of America had its birth 241 years ago not because they were celebrating all of their agreements with the King and Great Britain.

This country was founded primarily on the basis of all of their disagreements with the King and Great Britain enumerated at the end of this post in the Declaration of Independence but prefaced by this memorable paragraphs now known the world over (except in places such as North Korea, Iran etc):
  • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —
  • That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
  • Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
  • But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
Think about the American history of disagreement over our entire history.  We had no sooner formed a government in 1789 than we began bickering and arguing and politicizing everything and using the press to lambaste opponents (Jefferson hated Hamilton; Adams hated Jefferson; everyone hated Hamilton and on and on and on. If you think current politics is 'nasty' and debased, go back and read some of the news clippings about the way our hallowed Founders treated each other in public. It makes current politics looks like Romper Room to be honest)

'Disagreement' might as well have been etched into stone walls of Congress when it was erected. It has been that important to the creation and growth of the American Republic.

Despite the fact that many millions of people did not agree with the agenda of President Barack Obama, they all had the freedom to speak out against his policies; write about them in the press (and, increasingly day-by-day, on social media which is supplanting mainstream media outlets), not participate in any rallies supporting his policies and not agree with the positions of people wanting to to petition the government for grievances, although certainly we all should support their right to do so even if we don't agree with them.

Today, many millions of people do not agree with the agenda of President Donald Trump and/or the Republican Senate and Congress. They do not have to agree with any of those agendas and have the same rights to not agree with them or even listen to them just as what happened on the other side during President Obama's terms in office.

Isn't that a remarkable concept our Founders gave us long ago? Thank God for all of that freedom!

What would this country be like if we all had to agree on everything one person in the White House at the top or one Congressional session told us to do..'or else!'?

'Or else!' what? It would be awful and it wouldn't be America.

The one thing both sides should agree on is the need to disagree in a not-so-disagreeable manner. Nor should either side condone, and not condemn, violence whenever it erupts on their side or the other.

If you don't like what one side is doing politically, all you have to do is one or all of the following:

1. Turn off the TV set
2. Stop listening to talk radio
3. Get off of social media
4. Volunteer to get someone elected you do agree with
5. Run yourself
6. Contribute money, time and effort to get people you agree with elected
7. Go to the beach, mountains or some cave somewhere and get off the grid totally

All of these activities connote some degree and sense of 'disagreeing' with the opinions and policies other people want to pass on society which includes you whether you like it or not.

You can listen to someone speak if you want to. You don't have to listen at all. You certainly do not have to agree with them just because something comes out of their mouth or brain activity.

You don't have to agree with anything you read in the press. You can disagree with it all you want. You can consider it all 'fake news' or 'the gospel truth' but that doesn't mean I or any other person have to agree with you or the press that writes it. That is a very healthy thing in a democratic republic such as ours.

You don't have to agree with the religious beliefs of any person you know or don't know. You don't have to agree there is 'religion' at all, as John Lennon sang about in 'Imagine there's no heaven..' But you do have a responsibility to respect their views and honor their freedom to worship freely.

You don't have to agree with the list of 'repeated injuries and usurpations' any group might petition the government to overturn. But you should support their right to do so since if they are prevented from ever presenting their grievances, one day it might be your grievance that is being denied a fair hearing.

Many times, it takes a pretty brave person to stand up against the tide of popular opinion and say these words: 'I respectfully disagree with all of you. And let me tell you why...'

Sometimes, it take a very brave person to do so. In a very few cases, it takes the most brave of all brave people to speak truth to power. Just as the Founders did in 1776, come to think about it; they knew they were not only risking their fortunes but their very lives if they lost the War against the vaunted British forces.

'Y'all are really not gonna mess this all up,
now are you?'
Benjamin Franklin put it pretty simply when he said this right before he signed the Declaration in

"We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." 

We pretty much are at a state in American history where disagreement in a not-so-disagreeable manner is most needed, yes?

Unless we can all recover a sense of common purpose as Americans and 'hang together' as in 'stick together' as Franklin meant metaphorically and recover a common civil discourse with great elected leaders who know how to negotiate and compromise and get to 'proximate solutions to basically insoluble problems' as Reinhold Niebuhr said, surely 'we will all hang separately' when it comes to dealing with foreign threats, internal budget deficits and national indebtedness and social unrest and class warfare.

Let this Fourth of July be different. For all of us. It is up to each of us to make the difference when it comes to civil discourse. Let's all start trying harder.

We can do this.

*List of grievances for colonists in 1776:

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

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