Many traditionally looked to the government as if its job was to manage the economy. It wasn’t. The Constitution is clear on that. Not only does it state that money is to be coined, the Tenth Amendment specifically restricts our government from assuming any power or role not delegated to it by the constitution – that power being reserved to the states and the people. Aside from taking an unconstitutional role in the economy, we’ve continually seen a pattern where we give government a dollar, it provides $0.75 in goods and services, and we then expend another $0.50 of effort to reap the rewards.
According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, more than half of our economy is now state and local government. Any job the government provides costs more than it would in the private sector, if only due to more administrative costs. We pay for those expenses through taxes and inflation. That means you take home less and less every year.
Contrary to what some believe, the bailouts did not work. All we did was paper over the mistakes that should have caused major financial institutions to collapse with taxpayer dollars and government credit. Contrary to the purpose of helping the economy, it hurt us in the long term by concealing malinvestment and otherwise rewarding unprofitable behavior.
When Congress picks winners and losers, we all lose in the long term.
The last time we shrank the federal government was when Calvin Coolidge lived in the White House. And it helped the economy. It’s time to do what’s been proven to work.
The fact that we spend more than 15% of our GDP for healthcare is unacceptable. Medical insurance no longer functions like insurance. Insurance is also not medical care. These interrelated fundamental disconnects have caused our problem.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone saying that our system is fine, that it doesn’t need reform. We need reform. If you don’t think we do, you live under a rock.
Other types of insurance are not allowed to decide an event is covered, then retroactively deny payment and take the money back. Medicare and insurance companies also don’t pay for the entire event covered in question. For example, if an x-ray really costs $100, and an insurance company only pays 50%, then $200 must be charged in hopes of getting full reimbursement as much as the insurer will tolerate. If it isn’t tolerated, the provider has to charge everyone else more money.
If car insurance functioned like medical insurance, you would have to be in the same risk pool as someone with five DUIs, vehicular manslaughter on his driving record and a monster truck attached to a wrecking ball. On top of that, the guy with the monster truck would be guaranteed renewable, portable coverage. Because insurers must take such a risk, you the customer must share it and pay higher premiums.
Small and medium sized insurers especially get in trouble for breach of contract and fraud. Under our current system, the rights of some happen to be more unequal than others.
Other types of insurance are not forced to cover the most expensive and exotic treatments available. For example, if homeowner’s insurance had to cover lawn ornaments, mowing the lawn and painting fences, it too would be unaffordable. Insurance is meant for catastrophic events.
Government involvement impacts the private sector more than most think. There are no grounds to call our healthcare system “free-market”. The biggest transition of government into what was left of the free market came with Medicare under President Johnson, which at first paid reasonable prices. The second biggest transition came with the HMO Act of 1973 under President Nixon, which left in place the old flaws and effectively tied healthcare to employers.
Government created problems in healthcare include:
1) Inconsistent quality (odds of you getting certain procedures vary by location)
2) Paperwork costs
3) Restriction of choices that doctors and patients can make
4) Dominance of insurance and pharmaceutical companies
6) Price inflation
7) Interference with price discovery
8) Misallocation of resources
9) Actuarial malfunction
10) Artificial shortage of providers
11) Lack of competition
12) Reimbursement rates change depending on where you are
13) Prices change depending on who is reimbursing the provider
14) Artificially small pools/insurance tied to employers
Solutions must be implemented on the state and federal level according to constitutional restrictions. You’ll see where laws are required in parentheses before each solution. Solutions must include–
(Federal law if transaction across state lines/State law) Pharmaceutical published price lists. If you buy a drug, you should know how much it costs in advance. That price should not magically change based on who insures you.
(Federal law) Let’s have actual free trade when it comes to pharmaceuticals instead of banning imports. While we’re at it, we should scrap GATT, CAFTA, NAFTA and our involvement in the World Trade Organization so we can have the jobs to pay for healthcare.
(State law) Provider published price lists. If you go to a doctor, you should know how much it costs. We can include hourly or per procedure rates. That price should not magically change based on who insures you.
(State law) If a provider causes a disease or illness during treatment, the provider should eat the cost of treating it.
(Federal law applying to interstate transactions) Extend Robinson-Patman to cover medical insurance and pharmaceuticals. It’s time to separate employment from health insurance. We must end the existing conspiracy to charge different groups different prices for the same products to railroad more into insurance.
(Federal law if transaction across state lines/State law) Once insurance decides to pay – that’s it. You can’t go to a garage, get your car repaired, then take some or all of your money back a year later.
(Federal law) Medicare will not pay for any drug unless its wholesale price is the same regardless of who is buying it and its price is published.
(Federal law) Sarbanes Oxley shall not apply to healthcare organizations. This law only serves as an additional cost ultimately paid by patients. Given the financial crisis, it clearly hasn’t helped anyone. Sarbanes Oxley, has, however, given large companies with the structure to comply with it a competitive advantage. Until Sarbanes Oxley is taken out of the equation, don’t expect to see new providers, drug companies or insurers. Sarbanes Oxley isn’t just an arbitrary cost, it’s geared in favor of large companies with the infrastructure to comply.
(Federal law) If a patient and a doctor agree upon a course of treatment doesn’t have FDA approval, a patient and a doctor shall not be barred from getting that drug if they agree that it would help.
(Federal law if transaction across state lines/State law) Allow consumers to buy solely catastrophic coverage. Due to mandates in our current law, you can’t buy a policy specifically for catastrophic illness or injury. This is the primary reason to have insurance in the first place. Unlike the policies we’re forced to buy, a policy that only provides catastrophic coverage is affordable.
(Federal law if transaction across state lines/State law) Allow policies to be written according to a consumer’s wishes. Mandates force you to purchase coverage you don’t necessarily need. For example, if you have no fertility problems or don’t want to have children, state mandates in Connecticut force you to buy a policy with fertility treatments anyway.
(Federal law) If there absolutely must be a tax incentive for healthcare, it must count equally whether it’s for health insurance premiums, out of pocket expenses, copays, deductibles, medical devices and all things necessary for treatment. Anything short of that is a protection racket for special interests.
It has been time to remove the federal government from the education business. The costs are high because there isn’t a mandate or a restriction entirely unconnected to real educational outcomes that Congress can’t say “no” to. A one size fits all model does not support innovation, and it definitely doesn’t prepare our children to succeed.
At the college level, guaranteeing student loan debt to anyone regardless of any ability to pay, any practical application of the degree or any realistic demand for the skillset provided has obvious consequences. The same is true for exempting student loans from the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, Truth in Lending Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. More frightening is that we saddle our youth with these exorbitant debts, encouraging them to take on even more still, while denying them the ability to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. Congressman Joe Courtney may bill himself as supporting students under this arrangement, but in fact, he’s only supporting high tuition rates.
A strong national defense means defending the United States and only the United States.
If we go to war, we should declare it, fight it and win it. Declaring war creates a plan and an objective. We’ve lost or are still fighting the vast majority of wars we’ve failed to declare. When you win a war, there is no enemy and you need no occupying force for the long term.
Fighting terrorism means targeting only terrorists, not nation building.
National defense does not include policing the world and managing the affairs of other nations. Doing so means over extending our military, intervening in cultures we don’t understand and creating enemies we don’t need. Ultimately, it’s a barrier to promoting the freedom we claim to support.
There are three motivations for murder: passion (heat of the moment), compulsion (basically madness) and greed (for power, money or something else). Not one single gun law was ever capable of taming or eliminating from existence any one of those three motivations.
Private citizens have managed to control their own guns just fine, with both hands, pursuant to USC Title 10 subtitle A Part I Chapter B section 311(2). They provide themselves better training for the defense of their own lives and property than the government ever could. Aside from the vast majority of Americans being part of, near, around, related to, and in many cases protected first by the militia, this is why the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. Period.
The Second Amendment says:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”
There’s also the Ninth Amendment, which bars government from construing its Constitutional powers to disparage individuals or states from excising any of their rights. It reads:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”
The Tenth Amendment then shackles the federal government from using any power not specifically delegated to it by the remainder of the document. It reads:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”
Arguments on caselaw are restricted to those issues raised in the trial court based on the facts shown and proven, also in the trial court.
I’m not going to support any restriction on the right to keep and bear arms – not now, not ever. The fact that a right is misused by some is not a valid reason to abridge or limit it for all.