Sunday, October 4, 2009

Response to Ebert (Post from last year.)

In response to Ebert's article   I wrote this ...

As much as I love Ebert, I am appalled by what I read here.   It is setting up a straw man argument and knocking it down.   The left is always looking to the more extreme examples and calling the right either crazy or stupid.   Ebert says that they vote against their own self interest.

Obama says that the right have no plans and just want to keep the status quo, when this far from truth.   My point is that nobody is listening to what the Republicans are really saying.

The American people understand that socialism has never worked.   They understand that this country was founded on the principle of limited government.   They understand that giving the government too much power is dangerous. They understand that we are going broke under a mountain of public debt, that the unfunded liabilities of social security, Medicare, and Medicare are already unsustainable, and that the government is already living way beyond its means.

Never mind expanding the government.   The current system is unsustainable.   In the future, ordinary tax payers will have to pay 50 to 60% of their income in taxes just to support what has already been promised.

The tenth amendment to the Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, limits the power of the federal government. Since the 1930's it has been completely ignored.   Like many Americans, I want a return to constitutional government.

Glenn Beck has pointed out how extreme the people Obama has surrounded himself with are, and some of the extreme statement they have made.   For this the press is treating him like a nut case.  Because people don't sign onto the left wing socialist utopia, they are called nut cases.

GDP per capita is inversely proportional to tax rates throughout the entire world.   It is dangerous and counter productive to give government too much power.   Do you really want the government controlling your life?   Do you trust the government?   If the government is trustworthy now, will it still be trustworthy 20 or 40 years from now?

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Healthcare Debate (email from last year.)


My time to comment on all of this is limited but I had some stuff I wanted to get off my chest ...

1.   Rationing should be a matter of choice.   If you want to spend the money for care then you should be able to get it.   What your insurance covers is also a matter of choice, depending upon how much you want to spend.   The real problem with American healthcare is that we don't care about costs because we have come to expect someone else to pay for it.

2.   The article #1 at the bottom of this email reflects the concern of many that this is not just extending benefits to a few uninsured.   (If so, then let us call it public assistance and not have something so comprehensive.)   The proposed system stacks the deck (at taxpayer expense) in such a way that employers and everyone else will find it more cost efficient to go with the public option.   This isn't just additional "competition."   This is public subsidy, which always drives out the private sector.

This notional that the president said that the public option will pay for itself is contradicted by the fact that it will cost a trillion over ten years.   I don't even believe that this will be the real cost, because many have projected that the bill will lead to a single payer system within ten years.

It also takes away choice by forcing existing plans to meet government mandates if they make changes.   I have read that everyone will be under these government mandates within 5 years.   It will force people to have insurance even if they don't want it.

This is long term complete takeover of the healthcare system disguised as incremental changes.   This is the biggest power grab by the government in a long time.

3.   Insurance is not the same as healthcare.   People at one time paid for their healthcare out of their pocket, but since then everyone expects someone else to pay for their healthcare.

Lack of insurance is not the same as the lack of healthcare.   Emergency rooms are required by law to treat people regardless of if they can pay or not.

4.   There are provisions in the bill to limit medical advances as a means to limit cost increases.   It is not only counter to freedom but counter to progress.

5.   It has been documented in many places and at many times that the GDP per capita of all the countries of the world is inversely proportional to their tax rates.   We should caution against increasing the burden of government.   I am against the stimulus bill on this basis.

6.   Human beings are born selfish.   Little children want what other people have.

Over time most of them grow to take into account the feelings of others, but not all them do.   In recent years the political landscape has not been about protecting people's rights, which is the real reason for government, but seeing how many freebies people can get from the government, regardless if this is at the expense of others.

The only way to get elected today is to promise people something for nothing.   This is especially true in the healthcare bill.   People have come to expect something for nothing.

The left portrays Republicans as selfish people, but Republicans give more to private charity than Democrats.   It is because Republicans believe in private charity.   Democrats believe in giving away other people's money.

The left doesn't mind stealing from people because they have bought into the notion, and sold the notion to the American people, that people don't deserve the wealth that they have, and that they got wealth by unsavory means.   The corporations are portrayed as the bad guys.   They believe that the government should somehow equalize wealth in the country and bring down those who are wealthy.   However this notion that government programs can be paid for by soaking the rich is flawed, as it has been documented that if you taxed every millionaire at 100% of his income, that you wouldn't even come close to paying for the deficit from 2 years ago, and certainly not the current deficit or the current budget.

6.   Saying that Canada and England have a better healthcare system is a delusional fantasy.

"As a person who has lived on both sides of the border, I can attest to the superior quality of American medicine.   Services that took six months or longer to receive in Canada are delivered within hours here.   Doctors treat you as a paying customer worthy of their time, rather than an inconvenience; and after you factor in direct and indirect tax savings, I'm not paying much more for this higher level of service."

They may have more coverage, but not better care.   The vast majority of medical advances have been made in the United States.

There are countless horror stories of people dying while on waiting lists.   Coming to America for care.   People not able to get the best drugs for cancer.

I can't find the source of this story but I have seen the source before ....

They may have better results, we are comparing different lifestyles.

The issue of the American system is one of cost and coverage, not care.

They may say that they are more satisfied, but at least half the people are getting more out of the system than what they are paying in.   I would say that I am satisfied too if I am getting it for free.

7.   Saying that people parrot that the U.S. has a best healthcare system is to imply that we are somehow stupid.   It is typical liberal name calling.

8.   The constitution limits the power of the federal government, especially in the 10nth amendment.   That should be end of the argument.   Period.   Don't tell me that we should violate the Constitution because we will be better off.   Saying that we would have to abandon regulation if we followed the constitution is a straw man argument.   I believe in a regulated economy.

The states have the power to do this.   I think that the states should implement a single payer system if they want to.   They could band together to cooperate with each other.   If they federal government wants to implement a national program then it should be with the permission of the states.   The states should be able to opt out if they don't want to participate.

9.   Here is the real shocker:

Last year on my web site I endorsed a national single payer system.   Why?   Because we are halfway there now and there is no going back.   Because the current system is unsustainable.   Because I had learned of some success of the Japanese and other countries.   (Since then I have learned that the Japanese system is going broke, as are other countries.)   Because I don't think that the current system is really a free market system.   Because government created this third party payer system that caused costs to spiral out of control, and because government created monopolies, but only a single payer system would be able to fix prices.

I would prefer a free market approach to healthcare.   I just think that it is too late.   I don't think that it is politically feasible.   The government run healthcare programs aren't going to go away.

This is me looking at the political reality and not liking what I see.

I like the McCain plan very much.   I would much prefer this.

President Obama has made contradictory statements about lowering costs but increasing coverage and services, while claiming to save money on Medicare.   This is impossible without government controlling prices to some extent ...

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Article #1:

"Unfortunately, the public option, as proposed, fails in its execution. The program is scheduled to start with premium costs that appear to be much lower than market rate. Presented with the opportunity to opt into a health plan that presents such savings, it is reasonable to expect that many individuals and employers will be enticed to enroll in the government’s plan.

Absent any cost-reduction measures for the cost of providing care itself, however, the public option is almost certain to burn through its initial $2 billion reserves relatively quickly once the true costs of care begin to hit the system. The government will then be faced with the need to increase premiums within the public option or to increase taxes to pay for the public option.

This is what in business is known as a loss leader pricing strategy and, when applied to our national health care system, it could have dire consequences. Specifically, it brings into the realm of possibility the need to ration care in this country in order to control long-term costs.

In real terms, rationed care means that the entity that controls the health care system, in this case the government, will put a limit on the number of procedures that can be performed within the system in a given year.

It is not my opinion that the congressional leaders pushing the proposed health care bill are in favor of rationed care. To the contrary, I am certain they believe that the rationing of services will not result. However, studying the history of other countries and looking at the costs and drivers of cost in our own health care market suggest that it is a real possibility.

The public option will also take its toll on employers, who will be required to pay significant percentages toward their employees’ health care premiums (72.5 percent for single coverage, 65 percent for family coverage) if they choose to offer private insurance, or pay a tax equal to 8 percent of their total payroll toward the public option. As someone committed to the well-being of those who work with me, I can say that employers should invest in quality health care plans for their workers.

Because Congress has sidestepped the issue of addressing the cost of care, the proposed requirement on employers will make it very difficult for many organizations to offer private insurance, therefore forcing them into the public option and decreasing the choice available to individual workers."

Article #2:

On September 10, 2009, at 4:56 PM, CommonPaine wrote:

"For profit health insurance is a relatively new phenomenon. For most of the 20th century, health insurance was essentially a non-profit co-operative. Most of them are now gone, having converted themselves to for-profit companies. This conversion reached the tipping point in the 80s

Ever since, the insurance companies have become the vultures of health care. Those stories that the president relayed last night are nothing new. They have been an every day occurence for several decades. It is sufficiently common that local newspapers don't even bother writing about it anymore.

Let's face facts: health insurance companies bring nothing positive to our health care system. They provide no care at all. Their only fuction is to pool money. Even that they can not do ethically; they skim an obscene amount off the top by denying payment for care. I sold health insurance for a while back in the early 90s. One of the things I looked into was the loss ratios of the companies doing business in the state. For those who don't know what a loss ratio is, it is the percentage of premium dollars that gets paid out in care. I was astonished to find that a few companies paid out only 55%. They skimmed 45% off the top. Admittedly, these were not the majority of insurers. The majority were only skimming a paltry 25% - 40%. The really good ones generally kept a measly 12% - 20% for overhead. By way of contrast, the most efficient insurance plans around the world are all govt. programs. Single-payer plans typically require only about 3% - 5% for overhead, and preiums are way smaller as well.

While I have no problem with care providers earning a living by giving care, I see no reason why a company that gets rich by denying payment for care has any right to exist. You can idolize these vultures if you wish. They have proven themselves to be ethically corrupt and morally bankrupt."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Government and Bail Out.

  1. There is no Santa
  2. What are they buying?
  3. Republicans as Democrats
  4. The ‘Stimulus’ package — all economists agree?
  5. Like Europe
  6. List of waste in the stimulus bill...
  7. "Anxious over the ballooning size of the proposed economic stimulus package, now at more than $900 billion, lawmakers in both parties are working on a last-minute plan to strip tens of billions of dollars from the bill.... Stimulus Talks Set to Continue After Centrists Push Cuts
  8. 'In 1801, Jefferson in his address said that "the sum of good government" is not very much -- to be "wise and frugal," to "restrain men from injuring one another," to "leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits" and to "not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned." ' Summoning the U.S. Up from Childishness
  9. "Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. " RAW DATA: President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address
    How appaling that the President is telling us to not worry about cost. - John Coffey

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bill Gates releases Mosquitoes.

From: Wendel, David J  
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 4:49 PM
To: Trout, Larry R ; Coffey, John R ; Marticorena, Fernando R 
Subject: what are you're thoughts on this?
Coach Fired for 100-0 victory.

David Wendel
-----Original Message-----
From:  Coffey, John R   
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 4:57 PM
To: Wendel, David J ; Trout, Larry R ; Marticorena, Fernando R 
Cc: 'john2001plus
Subject: RE: what are you're thoughts on this?

In a competitive sport, like chess, you always try to play your best no matter what.   Your opponent paid money to play in a tournament against tough players, so going easy on him would shortchange him.   He will learn the most by having the best moves made against him.
From: Trout, Larry R  
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 8:05 AM
To: Coffey, John R 
Cc: Wendel, David J 
Subject: RE: what are you're thoughts on this?

Firing should be out of the question.

I believe a coach should have the option in any sport to put in their back benchers when its obvious they are going to win by a big margin.   This has the added benefit of giving experience/playing time to your secondary players.

In this instance, the opposing team was from a school with learning disabilities.   The coach and team probably should have gone easier on them, but that should be their personal judgment call, and no one should be penalized.
-----Original Message-----
From: Trout, Larry R  
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 8:36 AM
To: Updike, L Robert ; Wendel, David J ; Coffey, John
R ; Marticorena, Fernando R ; Hebden, Daniel R 
CSW-SLC; Roesner, Michael A ; Spiegel, Jeff N 
Subject: Bill Gates

Anyone for an ethical discussion of this...

"Bill Gates releases mosquitoes into audience.   Microsoft chairman makes demonstration during discussion on malaria"
-----Original Message-----
From: Wendel, David J  
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:16 AM
To: Trout, Larry R ; Updike, L Robert ; Coffey, John R ; Marticorena, Fernando R ; Hebden, Daniel R ; Roesner, Michael A ; Spiegel, Jeff N 
Subject: RE: Bill Gates

If there were more than 100 more mosquitoes than people, i.e. the mosquito "score" was more than 100 more than the people, then he should be fired.

David Wendel
-----Original Message-----
From: Coffey, John R  
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:28 AM
To: Wendel, David J ; Trout, Larry R ; Updike, L Robert ; Marticorena, Fernando R ; Hebden, Daniel R ; Roesner, Michael A ; Spiegel, Jeff N 
Cc: 'john2001plus
Subject: RE: Bill Gates

Conservatives have charged that the ban on DDT has cost lives in Africa.   I am not sure what the harmful effects of DDT are, although I think that it primarily had to do with weakening bird egg shells, but it would seem to me to warrant cost/benefit analysis.
-----Original Message-----
From: Marticorena, Fernando R  
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:34 AM
To: Coffey, John R ; Wendel, David J ; Trout, Larry R ; Updike, L Robert ; Hebden, Daniel R ; Roesner, Michael A ; Spiegel, Jeff N 
Cc: 'john2001plus
Subject: RE: Bill Gates

As far as I'm concern I think Bill belongs in a nut house.   Who in their right mind would release a potential disease that we have no cure for.   Who can warranty that this mosquitoes weren't infected?
-----Original Message-----
From: Coffey, John R  
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:44 AM
To: Marticorena, Fernando R ; Wendel, David J ; Trout,
Larry R ; Updike, L Robert ; Hebden, Daniel R 
CSW-SLC; Roesner, Michael A ; Spiegel, Jeff N 
Cc: 'john2001plus
Subject: RE: Bill Gates

The only way he could have released 100 mosquitoes is if he bought them at some place that raises mosquitoes.   Who does this kind of work and why, I don't know.   I assume that it is for research.   When I was a biology student, for anatomy class we used to buy dead cats from a supply house, and other animals as well.   The cats all looked exactly alike.   So I think that mosquitoes bred in captivity would be pretty safe. Hey, if I had been Bill Gates, I would have just told people that I was releasing mosquitoes and not really do it.   Then I would watch everyone squirm.
-----Original Message-----
From: Trout, Larry R  
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:53 AM
To: Coffey, John R 
Subject: RE: Bill Gates

The also could easily have been captured in the wild.   I believe this is already done to check local populations for West nile virus.   In provo, quite a few of my neighbors would volunteer to help with Utah counties mosquito abatement programs.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Real 'Inconvenient Truth'

  1. Global Warming Rope-A-Dope.
  2. The Real 'Inconvenient Truth'
  3. Still waiting for greenhouse.
  4. Are climate skeptics right?
  5. This Green believes nuclear, not renewables are a much better use of the land.
  6. If the polar ice caps melted, how much would the oceans rise?


I think there many reasons to phase out fossil fuels but I tell you truthfully that global warming is not one of them.   You asked how an educated person like myself does not believe in global warming, but I know a lot more about this issue than most people.   I do believe in global warming, but the notion that it is significant enough to cause disaster is wrong.   Right now the increased CO2 is helping to feed the world and a 1 degree increase in temperature over the next hundred years will be beneficial to mankind.

What is amazing is the alarmism when fossil fuels are on the way out anyway.   We have way less than a hundred years of oil reserves unless you start getting it from shale which is much more expensive.   Nuclear fusion will be a reality by 2035. Green (algae) oil will become a reality as well as hybrid cars everywhere, and cheaper solar and wind power.

When the cost of something goes up, the free market is very clever at finding alternatives. When there is money to be made or saved, people lay awake at night thinking about how something can be done better.

Schwarzenegger's and Obama's goal of 80% reduction in fossil fuel usage by 2020 is not remotely realistic. I hate to think of the money they will waste. Government has thrown money at energy for decades and not come up with much.   They will pay for their programs with increased taxes on fossil fuels, which will hurt the economy and poor people, but it will be the free market that will adapt to the rising costs and find a way to change.

Best wishes,

John Coffey 

    funding international abortions

    President Obama on Friday is expected to lift a ban on federal funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions, reversing a policy of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

    So why are we funding international abortions? What right does the government have to steal from you and me to fund foreign organizations?

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Free Market

    "Certainly President Obama seems supremely confident that the federal government, in his own capable hands, can tackle everything ....

    ... They noticed the waste and the ineffectiveness of huge government programs, but above all, they were chastened by the law of unintended consequences ...."

    -- Free Market

    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Obama Takes Stimulus to the People

    By John Coffey

    Obama Takes Stimulus to the People
    Read the article here.   The video is worth watching.

    I think that the following principles are either self evident or can be backed by evidence...
    1. Debt public and private is the main reasons why are in the current economic mess that we are in.
    2. The Community Reinvestment Act, championed by Democrats, required lenders to lend to people who were not credit worthy.   Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also championed by Democrats, bought up those loans and sold them as trillions of dollars worth of securities with the implied backing of the federal government.   When those securities lost some of their value due to loans going bad, businesses and banks who had invested in those securities faced financial crisis.
    3. The government already has a 500 billion dollar annual deficit with a ten trillion dollar national debt piling up. Yet the government suddenly decides that it can double that already massive deficit in the name of economic stimulus.
    4. In your own life, you can not borrow massive amounts of money, year after year, decade after decade, without going bankrupt.   Why should the federal government or the national economy be any different?
    5. We need economic growth for the benefit of our people and to grow our way out of the current financial downturn.
    6. Taxes discourage economic growth because they take away incentive. Milton Friedman showed that throughout the word, the GDP of almost every country was inversely proportional to how much each country taxed its citizens.
    7. However, that is not even our biggest problem right now...
    8. The government has to get its money from somewhere.   It either taxes it, prints it, or borrows it.   It cannot produce wealth out of thin air.
    9. Government spending takes resources from the economy, such as labor, material, credit and capital, and spends those resources on questionable projects.   You can know for certain that some of these projects are going to be pork barrel and wasteful spending.   The government takes productive assets and resources and turns them into unproductive assets.
    10. A recent Harvard study showed that economic growth is inversely proportional to how much the government spends.
    11. Obama is trying to spend us into prosperity.   This isn't so much a stimulus package as it is a Democrat wish list of all the projects they would like to fund.
    12. How would this work in your own life if you tried to spend your way into prosperity when you were already massively in debt?
    13. Over the last ten years, federal government spending has gone up from around 19% of the economy to around 28% of the economy.   I have seen figures where if you add in state and local government spending, the entire government is spending nearly 50% of the economy.
    14. Government got us in this mess.   More government is not going to solve the problem.   It is going to make things worse.
    15. This is not the way to grow the economy.   We should be doing the opposite of what we are doing now.   We should cut government spending and not increase it.