Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Kingdom for a (real) Candidate...

Call me disillusioned.  Call me disappointed.  And...probably, call me an idiot for wishing for the impossible.

The elapse of time reveals "stuff" that books and articles almost never share. One of those is that both what are called "Left" and "Right" ideologies started out very close together at the beginning of the last century and have been moving farther to the left with every passing year. It was, among other motivations, the recognition of this that was behind Bill Buckley's efforts to enable the formation of a real Conservative movement in this country.

Unfortunately, that movement (as do all political parties) sees the solution in how government is run, and ignores (or discounts) the inherent dangers of government itself to the individual freedom. In a sense, all current political ideologies are "Progressive" in nature because they see the government as the "proper" vehicle for solving problems of a country's citizens. The only difference is that those to the far left see the government as the solution to ALL problems, seeking to eliminate personal consequences for any acts, while those less left (I shudder to suggest that they are really "right") see some problems as still being the personal responsibility of citizens.It would be nice to see even one candidate who said that he (or she) recognized the government as being the enemy of personal freedom and responsibility and was running, not to IMPROVE government but, to be a place holder to prevent further incursion of personal liberty by government and, if at all possible, to make it less able and less efficient at controlling individual initiative; that the only reason for government at all was twofold: to keep other countries from filling the void, and to enable an effective national defense (arguably, that would include securing all of our border...including the one with Mexico). Won't happen...but if it did, I would move if necessary to be able to vote for that person.

None of the governmentalists (as I call them) recognize, value or make of the highest priority the protection of the freedom of the individual, coupled with the resulting self-reliance and responsibility (which actually includes  enduring the consequences of bad decisions as well as the rewards of good ones) and the corresponding requirement of Government to stick to the one reasonable activity of protecting our borders.

Ronald Reagan was the only President in my lifetime that seemed to recognize the danger of Government...yet he was unable to accomplish more than slow the tide of growth and power, while attempting to protect individual freedom, initiative and responsibility, of the Federal Government. It will take more than just finding the right will require finding a new Congress. Sadly...that will probably never happen.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Argument is NOT about Entitlement Reduction...

Only in America is lying encouraged and actually protected by the Law of the Land...especially in politics.  I have spent the better part of a month trying to analyze the arguments about what is falsely called "Entitlement" reform.  Such a misnomer...everyone who has worked at all has had part of their pay confiscated to "fund" both Social Security and Medicare, but the politicians for some reason want to call paying back what we have paid for an "Entitlement."  But that is a subject for still another day's discussion...or thought...or whatever...

Today I want to write out my understanding of the argument regarding Medicare.  The so-called Republican plan is pretty easy to get.  Ryan has written out his plan and taken whatever heat or praise that the facts of the plan elicit.  It acknowledges that right now, payments taken in return for a promise to pay in the future are, in fact, a fraud and a crime...since the funds knowingly will not be available to provide the promised benefits in the future.  So he proposes keeping the promises for those for whom it is too late to do anything themselves to cover for the fraud of the government.  But, he openly changes the Medicare system to 1) bring it closer to the people by moving control away from Washington, D.C., and into the individual states, and 2) bringing it even more in tune with the people by making the amounts available to the individual available to that individual so that he or she may chose who or what supplier of Medical Coverage should bet their coverage.

But...and there is no suggestion that this is NOT true...the amount of money will not increase and there will be a possibility of financial burden that falls on individuals.  Those who can afford it will pay toward Doctor's visits and will contribute toward services costs.

Here is the curious fact, though.  The so-called Democrat solution has exactly the same least as far as reducing the dollar value of benefits is concerned.  Yes, indeed.  Sure, I know you haven't seen any video of any Democrat pushing "granny" over a cliff...but everybody is sure going off of a cliff...sometime.

The only question...and the only difference between the ideological left and when and who will be blamed.  It is NOT a question of IF.

Here are the facts as I read and hear them:
1)  Both sides actually agree that nothing will change for all current citizens and current recipients who are 55 years of age or older;
2) The Ryan plan puts funding policy directly into the hands of the individual state and individual funding decisions on provider and coverage selection directly into the hands of the individual who has paid into the system.  He relies on competitive free-market competition to keep those premiums as low as possible and the benefits as inclusive as possible, but that is not controlled by government edict, but by the laws of supply and demand, which will presumably be intensified by eliminating the state laws limiting cross-state competition in the area of Health Insurance;
3) The Democrat plan (as explained by everyone who has spoken with any apparent intelligence and honesty on the subject, and as verified as much as possible by my reading of the Obamacare bill) is, of course, put into effect by Obamacare is claims to reduce costs.  Actually, it doesn't...but, again, that particular element is for another discussion.  What is important, and what Democrat spokesmen will NEVER admit, is that it also reduces benefits over time.  Yep... somebody is going off the cliff.  But no Democrat will ever have his or her direct fingerprints on the wheelchair.  Why?  Because they blame it on someone ... anyone...everyone...else.

"How can that be?" you ask.  Simple.  Obamacare over time required cost controls which effect payments to providers.  And they set up bureaucratic committees that will determine what is "proper" treatment that will be, "paid for" reimbursement.  It also reduces over time the amount paid to Doctors and Hospitals for specific types of care and treatment.  Note, that they still argue that these payments...even as reduced...will be the "right" amount to ensure that the patient gets total care with now additional payment by them.

What does this mean?  It means that as the payments that you were told were going to provide you with medical care get too small for Doctors and Hospitals to make a living and pay off their own huge debts, they will chose to not accept patients who are on Medicare.  And Insurance Companies who you have paid for ancillary services to avoid any additional payments for gaps in coverage will adjust their coverages to match that which the government has dictated.

The result is that the Democrat plan will also have some people...maybe people who are not yet as old as granny...pushed off of the proverbial coverage cliff.  The only difference is that Obamacare will blame the Insurance companies, the doctors and the hospitals and claim innocence of any contributory involvement.

This is very attractive to all politicians for whom results are not nearly as important as avoidance of blame.  It is also attractive to a lot of voters who embrace the concept of victim-hood and also value the concept of taking a chance of failure if that failure will ultimately be able to be blamed on someone else.

The Ryan plan acknowledge that there is no certainty of total coverage, but insures that the value that you pay into the program will come back to you...and attempts to put into individuals' hands the power to maximize the economic power that those funds represent. does put the responsibility of using those funds in an intelligent way on the States and the Individual.  That means that you have the power of achieving great success or abysmal failure.  Amazing concept, isn't it: Freedom of Choice is NOT Freedom from Consequences...good, ...or bad.  But there is a certain rush of excitement there...or is it the breath of FREEDOM.  You decide.

(Oh...and for you non-believers...currently, your Medicare premiums over the years total about $57,000 while the medical benefits that you use total in excess of $158,000.  In a few years those numbers will be near or above $80,000 and $230,000 respectively.  Medicare IS broke...and you need to accept that.)