Canadian Hospitals suffer from Overcrowding in British Columbia

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 22nd, 2014

Week in Review

The left likes to say we’re idiots here in the United States.  Because every other advanced economy has national health care.  Of course, every other advanced economy doesn’t have the best health care system in the world.  No.  That honor goes to the United States.  And perhaps NOT having national health care is the reason why we have the best health care system in the world.  For those national health care systems have their problems.  Even the system north of the border the American left yearns to have.  The Canadian single-payer system (see New B.C. seniors advocate to focus on needs of growing elderly population by ROB SHAW posted 3/19/2014 on The Vancouver Sun).

Isobel Mackenzie, a longtime Victoria seniors care administrator, was named Wednesday as the province’s first seniors advocate, more than 16 months after the office was first announced…

There are more than 700,000 seniors in B.C. and that’s expected to double to 1.4 million over the next 20 years…

Mackenzie said she’s not sure if her office will get involved in how hospital overcrowding is affecting seniors care, and sidestepped a reporter’s question at her press conference Wednesday about the case of an elderly man who had spent eight hours waiting in a hospital emergency room…

“Obviously, health care is a priority and home care – giving support to people so they can stay at their home and healthy,” she said.

Logan said the government tried an “experiment” of providing funding to United Way but they’ve been “overloaded with requests.”

All of the advanced economies share something in common.  They all have an aging population.  Thanks to birth control and abortion people in the advanced economies stopped having babies after the Sixties like they used to have.  Which is why the seniors are now the largest growing sector of the population.  We have fewer people entering the workforce to pay the taxes that support a greater number of people leaving the workforce.  And thanks to modern medicine, these people are living long into retirement.  Which is why Canadian hospitals in British Columbia are overcrowded.  Which lead to longer wait times and the rationing of care.  Things common with national health care.  And these things are only going to get worse as their aging populations age further.

This is the future of Obamacare.  For the Affordable Care Act is already proving unaffordable to those who have to pay.  And people are losing the health insurance and the doctors they liked and wanted to keep.  A lot of doctors are opting out of Obamacare.  Leaving fewer in the system to treat a larger number of patients.  Which will, of course, lead to longer wait times and the rationing of care.  Just like in Canada.  And in every other advanced economy with a national health care system.  Which is why the United States is the only advanced economy without a national health care system.  Because Americans don’t want longer wait times and the rationing of care.  And they don’t want the Affordable Care Act.

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Nations race to Devalue their Currencies to Boost Exports and Destroy Retirement Savings

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

If you ever traveled to a foreign country you know what you had to do before buying foreign goods.  You had to exchange your currency first.  That’s why they have currency exchanges at border crossings and airports.  So people can convert their currency to the local currency.  So they can buy stuff.  And when traveling people liked to go to areas that have a weaker currency.  Because a stronger currency can get more of a weaker currency in exchange.  Allowing your own currency to buy a lot more in that foreign country.  And it’s the same for buying exported goods from another country.

The weaker a country’s currency the more of it people can get in exchange for their currency.  Allowing importers to buy a lot more of those exported goods.  Which helps the export economy of that nation with a weak currency.  In fact having a weak currency is such an easy way to boost your exports that countries purposely make their currencies weaker.  As they race each other to see who can devalue their currency more.  And gain the biggest trade advantage (see Dollar Thrives in Age of Competitive Devaluations by A. Gary Shilling posted 1/28/2013 on Bloomberg).

In periods of prolonged economic pain — notably the 2007-2009 global recession and the ensuing subpar recovery — international cooperation gives way to an every-nation-for-itself attitude. This manifests itself in protectionist measures, specifically competitive devaluations that are seen as a way to spur exports and to retard imports.

Trouble is, if all nations devalue their currencies at the same time, foreign trade is disrupted and economic growth is depressed…

Decreasing the value of a currency is much easier than supporting it. When a country wants to depress its own currency, it can create and sell unlimited quantities. In contrast, if it wants to support its own money, it needs to sell the limited quantities of other currencies it holds, or borrow from other central banks…

Easy central-bank policy, especially quantitative easing, may not be intended to depress a currency, though it has that effect by hyping the supply of liquidity. Also, low interest rates discourage foreign investors from buying those currencies. [Japanese] Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has accused the U.S. and the euro area of using low rates to weaken their currencies.

“Central banks around the world are printing money, supporting their economies and increasing exports,” Abe said recently. “America is the prime example. If it goes on like this, the yen will inevitably strengthen. It’s vital to resist this.”

So a cheap and devalued currency really helps an export economy.  But there is a downside to that.  In some of these touristy areas with a really weak currency it is not uncommon for some people to offer to sell you things for American dollars.  Or British pounds.  Or Eurozone euros.  Why?  Because their currency is so week it loses its purchasing power at an alarming rate.  So fast that they don’t want to hold onto any of it.  Preferring to hold onto a stronger foreign currency.  Because it holds its value better than their own currency.

When a nation prints money it puts more of them into circulation.  Which makes each one worth less.  And when you devalue your currency it takes more of it to buy the things it once did.  So prices rise.  This is the flipside to inflation.  Higher prices.  And what does a devalued currency and rising prices do to a retiree?  It lowers their quality of life.  Because the money they’ve saved for retirement becomes worth less just as prices are rising.  Causing their retirement savings to run out much sooner than they planned.  They may live 15 years after retirement while their savings may only last for 5 or 6 of those years.

Printing money to devalue a currency to expand exports hurts those who have lived most responsibly.  Those who have saved for their retirement.  Making them ever more dependent on meager state pensions.  Or welfare.  And when that’s not enough to cover their expenses they have no choice but to go without.  We see this in health care.  Where those soaring costs have an inflationary component.  With the government squeezing doctors on Medicare reimbursements doctors are refusing some life-saving treatment for seniors.  Because the government won’t reimburse the doctors and hospitals for these treatments.  Or doctors will simply not take any new Medicare patients.  As they are unable to provide medical services for free.  And with their savings gone seniors will have no choice but to go without medical care.

The United States, Britain, Europe, Japan—they are all struggling to provide for their seniors.  As China will, too.  And a big part of their problem is their inflationary monetary policies.  Coupled with an aging population.  The Keynesians in these nations have long discouraged their people from saving.  For Keynesians see private savings as leaks in the economy.  They prefer people to spend their money instead of saving it.  Trusting in state pensions and state-provided health care to provide for these people in their retirement.  Which is why the United States, Britain, Europe and Japan are struggling to provide for their seniors in retirement.  A direct consequence of printing too much money.  And not letting people take care of their own retirement and health care.

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Abortion and Birth Control are Bankrupting Social Security and Medicare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 20th, 2013

Week in Review

For the first time in history a credit reporting agency (Standard and Poor’s) downgraded the U.S bond rating in 2011.  Why?  The agency said they needed to see $4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years.  The best Congress could do was $917 billion in spending cuts over 10 years.  And the creation of a super-committee to find another $1.5 trillion.  For a total of $2.417 trillion in spending cuts.  At least, on paper.  That never happened.  After winning reelection the president held out for and got increases in tax rates.  So he could increase spending.

So how did the U.S. get to where they needed to cut $4 trillion in spending?  Well, a large part of it has to do with abortion (see 55,772,015 Abortions in America Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 by Steven Ertelt posted 1/18/2013 on LifeNews.com).

The United States marks 40 years of legalized abortion in all fifty states at any time for any reason throughout pregnancy on January 22nd, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Since that time, there have been approximately 55,772,015 abortions that have destroyed the lives of unborn children.

Taxpayers pay taxes.  And how do we get taxpayers?  By having babies.  So when we aborted over 55 million babies the effect on tax revenue was profound.  We can see how by making some assumptions.  And doing a little math.

First of all, 55,772,015 abortions over 39 years come to on average 1,430,052 abortions a year.  Dividing this number by two to pair off couples for baby-making that comes to 715,026 couples.  Without abortion available we’ll assume about 80% of these couples will have children.

The first babies of the 715,026 enter the workforce 20 years later.  So in that year the number of additional workers paying taxes equals 2,002,072 (1,430,052 + (0.8 X 715,026)).  The following year the second child of this couple enters the workforce while another couple’s first child enters the workforce.  This brings the additional workers paying taxes equal 3,146,114.  And so on until each couple brings in three new taxpayers into the workforce. Over a decade the number of new workers paying taxes equals 110,685,999.

Assuming a median income of $50,000 these 110,685,999 taxpayers earn a total of $5.5 trillion over ten years.  Assuming an effective federal income tax rate of 18% the total federal income tax these people would have paid equals approximately $996 billion.

Using the 12.4% Social Security tax rate (both employer and employee) the amount of Social Security taxes these people would have provided over 10 years equals approximately $686 billion.

Using the 2.9% Medicare tax rate the amount of Medicare taxes these people would have provided over 10 years equals approximately $160 billion.

Adding these taxes together (Social Security and Medicare) they add up to $847 billion.  Adding this to the amount of federal income taxes brings the amount of taxes these people would have provided over ten years to about $1.8 trillion.

When they wrote Social Security and Medicare into law the average family size had fallen from around 5 to about 3.5 over a decade or so.  If you take that $1.8 trillion and adjust it for 3.5 children (1.8/3 X 3.5) the lost tax revenue equals $2.15 trillion.  At 4 children that lost tax revenue comes to $2.5 trillion.  At 5 children that lost tax revenue comes to $3.1 trillion.  At 6 children it’s $3.7 trillion.

Today’s seniors entered child-bearing age long before women’s liberation, birth control and abortion.  So most women got married and had children.  It is not uncommon for today’s seniors to come from families of 10 children or more.  This is significant because when the actuaries set up Social Security and Medicare they assumed these trends would continue.  But they didn’t.  The birth rate (and the population growth rate) declined since Social Security and Medicare became law.  Causing the population to age.  More people are now leaving the workforce and collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits than there are workers entering the workforce to pay for them.

Abortion has been a part of this decline.  In a current 10-year projection we are seeing anywhere from $1.8 trillion to $3.7 trillion in lost tax revenue due to abortion.  If Roe v. Wade didn’t legalize abortion and the Left didn’t assault the family (encouraging women NOT to get married or have children) during the Seventies as radical feminism took off there would have been a lot more births.  Perhaps as many as those actuaries thought there would be when they calculated the costs of Social Security and Medicare.

If normal family patterns had continued not only would these abortions not have happened families may have had more children.  Producing more taxpayers.  There were 3,136,965 live births in 1973.  The average family size then was about 2.5.  If you divide the number of births by average family size you get about 1,254,786 families having children.  If each of these families had one additional child that additional 1,254,786 children would be approximately 87.7% of the average number of abortions.  If these children grew up to have three children of their own we can calculate this additional tax revenue the same way we did for the loss revenue from abortion.  Or we can multiply the loss revenue from abortion ($1.8 trillion) by 87.7% to approximate what those additional children in 1973 would contribute in a ten-year projection today.  Approximately $1.9 trillion.  Adding the losses from abortion and families having one less child brings the total of loss tax revenue to $4.04 trillion.  Which equals the $4 trillion S&P was looking for in spending cuts.

So what is the cause for America’s deficits?   Is it because the rich aren’t paying their fair share in taxes?  No.  It’s because of abortion and birth control.  And radical feminism.  That attacked the family and encouraged women to do anything but get married and have children.  Something FDR and his New Dealers never designed Social Security and Medicare to take into account.  For FDR and his New Dealers were sexists.  As are Social Security and Medicare.  These programs require women to marry and have children to stay solvent.

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Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Progressivism, Great Depression, Creeping Socialism, Social Security, Baby Boom and Baby Bust

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 15th, 2013

History 101

The Policies of Herbert Hoover and FDR caused and prolonged the Great Depression

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) took Rahm Emanuel’s advice.  Long before Rahm Emanuel gave it.  FDR did NOT let a good crisis go to waste.  And as far as crises go, none were better than the Great Depression.  After the government’s bad policies (wage and price controls, higher taxes, Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, etc.) caused the Great Depression and then their monetary contraction caused the massive bank failures the poverty rate soared for senior citizens.  FDR saw that suffering and thought here was a way to forever lock in the senior vote.  Give seniors a government pension.  And put the fear of God in them that the opposition wants to take it away.

At the turn of the Twentieth century the new thing in politics was progressivism.  Smart government people intervening into our private lives to make things better.  The size of the federal government exploded during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.  He gave us the Federal Reserve System.  America’s central bank.  That would prevent anything like the Great Depression from ever happening.  Which it failed to do.  As the Great Depression happened on their watch.  He gave us a permanent federal income tax.  He attacked the U.S. Constitution.  Making the case for expansive presidential powers.  And used the courts to get around Congressional opposition.  As well as the U.S. Constitution.

The political opposition fought back against Wilson’s power grab.  Defeating the progressive successor in the next election.  And returning the country to normalcy.  Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge undid much of the anti-business policies of the Wilson administration.  Returning the nation to prosperity.  And giving us the Roaring Twenties.  Where the nation modernized with electric power, the automobile, radio, etc.  Unlike the speculative dot-com bubble of the Nineties.  Where investors poured money into dot-com companies that never made anything to sell.  The Federal Reserve was a little loose with their monetary policy causing some inflation in the Twenties.  But the economic activity was so robust that it absorbed that inflation.  Then the progressives got back in power.  First the Republican Herbert Hoover.  Then the Democrat FDR.  Whose policies caused and prolonged the Great Depression.

When FDR gave us Social Security it only cost Employer and Employee each 1 Cent of every Dollar up to $3,000

FDR was picking up where Wilson left off.  Expanding the federal government.  And the power of the presidency.  Using the federal courts like Wilson to bypass Congress.  And the U.S. Constitution.  Marking yet another departure from the free market capitalism that founded the country.  And made it the world’s number one economy.  It was a creeping socialism.  At least, that’s how the political opposition saw.  Especially with Social Security.  Which helped tip the power from the states to the federal government.  Just as Thomas Jefferson feared a strong executive would do.

Of course, the progressives played on our emotions.  These were, after all, destitute seniors.  We had to take care of these people.  Our fathers.  Our mothers.  Our grandparents.  Who sacrificed for us.  Now it was time to sacrifice a little for them.  And they promised it would be a little.  Both employer and employee would only pay 1 cent on every dollar earned up to $3,000 a year.  That’s all.  Only $30 a year (about $483.58 today).  And how could such a small amount be socialism?  The problem was that it didn’t stay only 1 cent on every dollar earned up to $3,000 a year.  The tax rate went up.  As well as the maximum taxable earnings.  The government has increased them both.  Often.

(source: Historical Social Security Tax Rates)

That low tax rate lasted barely a decade.  Then they started raising the maximum taxable earnings.  Not much for the first 30 years or so.  But once the Seventies arrived that maximum amount grew at an accelerated rate.  Despite the increasing tax rate.  Thanks to President Nixon decoupling the dollar from gold.  And ushering in the era of out of control Keynesian economics.  Where the government inflated the money supply like there was no tomorrow.  Devaluing the dollar at an alarming rate.  Which is why they increased the maximum amount of earnings at an accelerated rate.  Because constantly devaluing the dollar reduced what those Social Security checks could buy.  So they had to keep making those checks bigger.  And that required more tax revenue.

The Social Security Tax Rate held Steady during the Nineties thanks to the Dot-Com Bubble and Japan’s Lost Decade

But it’s worse than that.  For it’s just not bad monetary policy forcing the increases in the tax rate as well as in the maximum taxable earnings.  Something else happened during the Seventies.  Birth rates fell.  The baby boom ended in the Sixties.  But not the baby making activities.  They just continued along without producing new taxpayers.  Thanks to birth control and abortion.  Also, over the years they expanded the Social Security program to provide for more than just those destitute seniors.  So the benefits of the program greatly increases just as the falling birth rate reduce the growth rate of tax revenue.  As the number of people leaving the workforce grew at a greater rate than those entering the workforce.  Which is why when you convert the dollars into constant dollars the graph doesn’t change much.

We finance most wars with inflation.  By printing money to expand the money supply.  To give the government all the cash they need to buy the instruments of war.  And to pay, feed and clothe their military personnel.  We can see this rapid inflation during World War II as the real dollar amount of the maximum taxable earnings fell.  That changed in 1951.  When they started to increase that maximum amount.  That and the higher tax rate stabilized things for awhile.  Then the Seventies came along.  Where both the tax rate and the maximum taxable earnings amount continued to rise.  Even in real dollars.  Reflecting the growth in benefits.  And the fall in tax revenue.  Thanks to the baby bust following the baby boom.

The tax rate held steady during the Nineties thanks to the surpluses of the Clinton administration.  Due to that dot-com bubble.  And Japan’s Lost Decade.  Whose bad economic times helped boost the American economy.  Still they had to keep raising the maximum earnings amount.  As the baby boomers started retiring.  Then Clinton’s dot-com bubble burst.  Giving George W. Bush a recession to start his presidency.  His tax cuts pulled us out of that recession.  Then Bill Clinton’s revamping of the Community Reinvestment Act caught up with us.  Giving us the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008.  And the Great Recession.  Which President Obama tried to ameliorate by reducing the employee’s Social Security tax rate from 6.2% to 4.2% in 2011.  For his near trillion dollar stimulus bill failed to end the Great Recession in 2009.  As his Social Security tax cut failed to do in 2011.  Which was not enough to overcome his anti-business policies (such as Obamacare).  All he did was starve Social Security of hundreds of billions in revenue.  Making the Social Security funding problem worse in the long run.  Requiring even higher tax rates than that once promised 1% (for both employer and employee).  On earnings more than that promised $3,000 (about $48,000 today).

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AARP’s Endorsement of Obamacare puts pressure on Social Security Benefits

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2012

Week in Review

AARP endorsed and helped pass Obamacare into law.  In exchange for an exemption from the very law they supported so they can sell their “Medigap” insurance policies easier than their competitor Medicare Advantage could sell theirs (see AARP latest to receive Obamacare break by Matthew Boyle posted 5/19/2011 on The Daily Caller).  Good for AARP.  But not for the senior citizens they represent.  For Obamacare will lower the quality of US health care.  And increase health care costs.  Especially for seniors.  So whenever AARP starts quoting Ronald Reagan one should be suspect as they are no friend of Ronald Reagan.  For Ronald Reagan would not have approved of what AARP did to help pass Obamacare into law.  Even if he and Tip O’Neill worked together to pull Social Security back from the brink of insolvency (see Ronald Reagan’s 9 Wisest Words About Social Security by Alejandra Owens posted 12/19/2012 on AARP).

That legislation, negotiated by President Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill, focused on what was needed protect Social Security for the long term. Reagan understood that Social Security is a separately funded program unrelated to problems in the rest of the budget, and he clearly stated that: “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.”

Indeed, today the Social Security trust funds hold $2.8 trillion in government bonds. These reserves have been built up with the contributions that workers and employers have paid into the system for the dedicated purpose of paying Social Security benefits. These funds are held in legally established trusts and cannot be used for any purpose other than paying benefits. According to the latest Trustees’ report, Social Security can pay full benefits through 2033, and roughly 75 percent of benefits beyond that time.

The Social Security Trust Fund?  There’s no trust fund.  The government raided it long ago and replaced it with IOUs.  Government bonds.  Current Social Security taxes go to pay for current benefits.  There is no pile of cash earning interest anywhere.  No personalized savings accounts for individual Social Security contributors.  If there were then there would be no Social Security crisis.  No, that money is gone.  Spent by the government to fund their current spending obligations.  Which are so great that even by raiding the Social Security Trust Fund they still can’t find enough cash to prevent a deficit.

The government spends our Social Security contributions for every other purpose they want to other than paying our benefits.  They just launder the money first through the Treasury Department.  Exchange IOUs (i.e., government bonds) for that cash.  Then they go and spend that cash.  And when it comes time to redeem those government bonds they’ll probably just print money.  Inflating the money supply.  And depreciate the dollar.  Making it ever harder for a senior to live on their retirement savings.  And because of what AARP did to help pass Obamacare into law there will even be less money available for Social Security benefits.  Requiring more printing of money.  And more devaluing of the dollar.  Making life a living hell for the retirees they supposedly represent.  At least according to that article in The Daily Caller.

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China has no Pension or Health Care Benefits for their Rapidly Aging Population unlike in the West

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 22nd, 2012

Week in Review

The Chinese economy is cooling off.  Worse, they have some even more bad news in their future (see Ageing China: Changes and challenges by Damian Grammaticas posted 9/20/2012 on BBC News China).

Life expectancy in China today rivals that in the West – it is one of this country’s impressive advances. Except China has not yet built a social safety net to provide pensions, affordable healthcare or homes for all its elderly.

Yet another reason why the Chinese economy is outpacing those in the West.  While Europe and the United States have suffered from the effects of an aging population China hasn’t.  At least, not yet.  While those in the West keep raising taxes and selling sovereign debt to pay for pensions and health care for the elderly and retired China has been growing their economy and using its proceeds to buy the sovereign debt of those Western nations.

So what is it like living in a nation without a social safety net?

“We don’t get a government pension because I never paid taxes. We don’t have any savings,” he says.

Because he has children and a wife, he does not qualify for a place in a care home – only those without relatives are eligible.

Of Henan’s 8.5 million elderly, just 2% are cared for in nursing homes. So Niu Yubiao and his wife fend for themselves.

The couple have seven grown-up children. But like other young people in the area, they have left home to look for work. Niu Yubiao has no idea where they are.

The reason why they don’t have any savings is not because they are greedy and materialistic.  It’s because they live in abject poverty.  And barely earn enough to survive.  This is what it’s like in China once you leave the modern cities on the coast.  The economic miracle of China has not reached the impoverished masses in their interior.

Today, there are 180 million Chinese aged over 60, just over 13% of the population. That will double to 360 million in fewer than 20 years, when China will have more retirees than the entire population of the US.

By the middle of the century, their ranks will soar again to 480 million.

China is ageing so fast that a process that took up to a century in the West will happen in the coming 30 years here. And as the ranks of the elderly swells, the working-age population is starting to shrink…

China’s incredible economic growth has been built on its vast, cheap labour supply. But the numbers entering the workforce have started falling. China’s birthrate has collapsed – at its peak in the mid-1980s 25 million babies were born every year. Now there are about 15 million births a year. The dramatic drop is the result of a richer, developing society and of the one-child policy…

Currently, China funds only meagre pensions, and there are six workers paying taxes for each retiree – in 20 years’ time, there will be just two workers for every pensioner.

This is the current problem in the advanced economies in the West.  A declining population growth rate following the post-World War II baby boom is bankrupting their nations.  For those social safety net programs the Chinese don’t have were implemented in these Western countries before the baby boom turned into a baby bust.  Now the elderly generations in these nations grow faster than the younger generations.  More seniors are retiring and consuming government-provided pensions and health care while fewer are entering the workforce to replace them and pay the taxes to fund these programs.  So they have increasing government expenditures at a time of declining government revenue.  Thanks to a lower population growth rate.  Which has overwhelmed governments.  Causing greater budget deficits and soaring levels of debt.

As bad as things are in the Western countries what’s waiting for China is of such a massive scale that one shudders to think what will happen.  For even if China continues to enjoy high economic growth their aging population will bankrupt them.  Either by caring for the elderly.  Or by driving up labor costs and/or labor unrest as their baby bust fails to replace those leaving the workforce.  Bringing that economic juggernaut to a crashing halt.

But the scenario is even bleaker.   For they have driven much of their economy with artificial economic growth.  Fueled by Keynesian policies.  Artificially low interest rates.  And government interference into the private sector.  Much like what gave the U.S. the subprime mortgage crisis and the Great Recession.  And much like what gave the Japanese their asset bubble and their Lost Decade.  For all demand-side stimulative growth (i.e., Keynesian growth) ends in Great Recessions or Lost Decades.  Because this kind of growth is inflationary.  And when you inflate asset values you make asset bubbles.  Which ultimately burst.  And when they do they bring down those inflated values to market prices.  The longer those inflationary policies were in place the higher those asset values soared and the more painful the deflationary fall.  Just ask anyone in Japan.  Or in the U.S. with an underwater mortgage.

So China has some unpleasantness in their future.  Perhaps a deflationary spiral.  Along with an accelerated aging population.  Either one by itself is bad.  But together it could be more than the Chinese economy can handle.  And the fallout of any Chinese crash will ripple through every other nation’s economy.  Where we all will feel it.  And suffer the consequences.  Because we are all Keynesians, too.  At least, the economic policies of our governments are.  And when China can no longer buy U.S. sovereign debt there will be no more deficit spending.  Just massive spending cuts.  Or, if they choose to simply print money, massive post World War I Germany inflation.  Where it will take a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread.  Like in post World War I Germany.

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Floridians in General and Seniors in Particular want to Repeal Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 15th, 2012

Week in Review

The fact that the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare doesn’t change some facts.  People don’t like it.  They don’t want it.  And they want to repeal it.  Especially the seniors (see Poll: Most Floridians disapprove of federal healthcare law, half want it repealed by Alex Leary, Tampa Bay Times, posted 7/12/2012 on The Miami Herald).

A majority of Florida voters oppose the national healthcare law and half want it repealed, a new Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll shows two weeks after President Barack Obama’s signature achievement was largely upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Only 43 percent of voters statewide support the Affordable Care Act and 52 percent oppose it, with 5 percent undecided. With the exception of southeast Florida, more voters think the law will make the healthcare system worse.

More voters also favor the state opting out of provisions of the law, something Gov. Rick Scott has already said it would do…

In perhaps the most worrisome sign for Obama and Democrats, only 39 percent of voters 65 years or older support the law. Seniors make up about 30 percent of the overall state’s electorate…

The results mirror surveys in other states and show the same entrenched partisan feelings.

What is even more significant is that seniors are the largest consumers of health care services.  These aren’t ill-informed young adults who want free birth control and abortion on demand.  These are people whose very lives depend on quality health care.  And that’s the problem.  These informed consumers of health care services see Obamacare reducing the quality of their health care.  For they listen to the details.  Unlike healthy people in their twenties who have other pressing issues on their minds.  I refer you back to the part of Obamacare that interests them.  The free birth control and abortion on demand.

When Coke came out with New Coke the consumers of the original Coke did not like the change.  So they brought out Classic Coke.  And eventually dropped New Coke.  Because New Coke was a disaster with the people who consumed the vast majority of Coke.  The Coca Cola Company understood they had to please the people who consumed the vast majority of their product.  So they took actions to please the consumers of Coke.

The reaction of seniors to Obamacare is similar.  For the new health care system doesn’t benefit the largest consumer of health care services.  These seniors.  No.  These seniors will lose the most.  Obamacare will make huge cuts in Medicare spending which will hurt seniors.  Obamacare will reduce doctors’ Medicare reimbursements and cause many of them to drop Medicare patients.  Again, this will hurt seniors.  And Obamacare will prioritize the use of their limited health care resources.  Those who are younger and have more to live for (i.e., who can work longer and pay more taxes) will receive priority over a senior who no longer contributes to tax revenue while consuming enormous amounts of health care resources.  The phrase ‘death panels’ does not appear in the health care law but there will be government bureaucrats determining who will receive health care and who will not.  Which is a terrifying prospect to all seniors and the terminally ill.  As well as the chronically ill.

Coke listened to their consumers because they cherished them as customers.  The problem with Obamacare is that the government looks at the largest consumers of health care as a burden.  And they don’t like them.  As shown by the passage of a health care bill that is so hostile to them.  Seniors often voted Democrat because they benefited from growing government spending.  That spending will continue to grow under Obamacare.  Only they will pay for a lot of it with spending cuts on programs that serve seniors.  So it’s not likely that the seniors will vote Democrat in the 2012 election.  Especially when only 39 percent of voters 65 years or older support Obamacare.  Meaning 61% don’t.  In Florida as well as other states wherever seniors can be found.  No.  They will vote for those who will listen to them as the largest consumers of health care services.  And who don’t plan on fixing whatever problems we have in the health care system by trying to get seniors to die sooner.

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Obamacare will Slash Medicare Advantage to the Bone – After the 2012 Election

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 29th, 2012

Week in Review

First Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass Obamacare to find out what’s in it.  So our representatives passed it.  Along pure party lines.  Against the will of the people.  Something the people didn’t forget by the 2010 midterm elections.  Voting the Democrats from power in the House.  Removing their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  Taking a majority of the governorships.  And state houses.  The Democrats paid a high price for passing legislation the people did not want.  And now it may be their president who has to answer for this assault on the will of the people.  Who has no illusions that his signature piece of legislation was rammed down the people’s throats with some of the dirtiest political deal making to ever besmirch the halls of Congress.  And he’s working his hardest to hide the facts of Obamacare before the 2012 election (see Obama’s $8.3 Billion Re-Election Slush Fund posted 4/23/2012 on Investors.com).

Backers like to say the more people know about ObamaCare, the more they’ll like it. So why is the administration spending $8.3 billion to hide a key provision from millions of seniors until after the election?

That’s precisely what administration officials are doing right now as a way to mask the effect of ObamaCare’s deep cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program.

Championed by Republicans in 1997, Medicare Advantage offers seniors an escape valve from the creaky, government-run Medicare insurance program…

Medicare Advantage has proved popular with seniors, 12 million of whom have enrolled. But the left loathes it, arguing that Medicare overpays insurance companies, thereby ripping off taxpayers to enrich this industry…

Medicare’s own actuary reported that ObamaCare would eventually force more than 7 million seniors off their private plans and back onto traditional Medicare as insurers flee the market.

Obama may not care that this violates his endlessly repeated promise that “if you like your health plan you can keep it.”

But somewhere along the way, someone in his administration realized that millions of seniors would soon catch on that he was lying — and that this would happen just before the November election, when seniors make their annual Medicare Advantage selections.

Not wanting to confront angry voters who’ve seen their health care choice eliminated by ObamaCare, the administration apparently decided instead to paper over these spending cuts, pumping $8.3 billion back into the program through “bonuses” to Medicare Advantage plans…

Almost all the bonus money is front-loaded. In fact, in the first year, the extra bonuses will fill in more than 70% of ObamaCare’s scheduled Medicare Advantage cuts. That will, conveniently, keep Medicare Advantage plans up and running through the election.

So the more you learn about Obamacare the more Barack Obama fears his reelection chances.  So he’s spending $8.3 billion to hush up the truth.  To lie to seniors.  Apparently.  So the seniors don’t learn that Obamacare is going to reduce the quality of their health care.  To lull them in a false sense of security to get him through the 2012 election.  For by hiding the truth his chances of reelection improve.  Which is a sad commentary on President Obama.  And Obamacare.

Should he win reelection then he’ll spring the truth on these unsuspecting seniors.  By destroying Medicare Advantage.  And forcing them into health care plans they don’t want.  Confessing that he was lying when he said “if you like your health plan you can keep it.”  Which makes one wonder what else he has in store for our seniors.  For the cost of programs for seniors (Social Security and Medicare) are the largest and fastest rising costs in the federal budget.  So if he will ax Medicare Advantage just how much more will he cut from programs for seniors?  Now that there are no more elections to worry about?

No wonder he’s spending $8.3 billion to hide the truth.  If this truth comes out who knows what else will come out before the 2012 election.  And that’s something clearly the president can’t afford to chance.  For when you are passing policies the people don’t want the truth is the last thing you want to come out.

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Medicare on Track to go Bust in 12 Years or Less

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 28th, 2012

Week in Review

This election season we had the war on women.  Added to that in the coming years may very well be the war on seniors.  And unlike the war on women the war on seniors will be real.  Especially if Obamacare isn’t repealed.  Because the rising health care costs of an aging population will force rationing and death panels into the health care equation within the decade.  Or thereabouts (see Medicare trustee report hangs on uncertain assumptions by David Morgan posted 4/24/2012 on Reuters UK).

Medicare, the U.S. healthcare program for the elderly, should be able to stave off insolvency for the next 12 years, depending on a number of financial and political assumptions that may prove unrealistic, officials and other experts said on Monday…

But the outlook is based on assumptions that may be unlikely, including a scheduled 31 percent pay cut for doctors in 2013, which Congress is almost certain to override.

The forecast also assumes that a deficit-reduction agreement to slash Medicare spending by 2 percent a year can be sustained over the coming decade and that the U.S. Supreme Court will not overturn President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law in June.

Do you know why Congress is almost certain to override that 31% pay cut?  Because that pay cut is already written into law.  So unless they override it doctors will lose 31% of their pay on Medicare patients.  And will probably stop seeing Medicare patients.  Which is why Congress always overrides this pay cut.  Because if all our seniors lose their doctors this very large voting bloc will be very unhappy.  And they will make their unhappiness known at the voting booth.  By throwing every incumbent out of office.

Let’s do a little math.  Let’s say someone is turning 65 this year.  And that they’ve worked since the age of 18.  Which means they’ve paid their Medicare payroll taxes for 47 years.  So they paid into the system for 47 years.  A system that can only pay for 12 years of their retirement.  Which takes them to age 77.  While the average life expectancy is about 79 years.  Which means, on average, those turning 65 this year will not be able to consume any health care services in the last two years of their lives.  Of course the bigger problem is this.  What about those who are 53 this year?  Who spent 35 years paying Medicare payroll taxes?  They’ll get nothing when they turn 65.  Worse, they won’t get a refund for 35 years of ‘premium’ payments.  Which means the money we pay into Medicare is not our money.  They spend it on others long before we even become eligible for benefits.  Which will add generational warfare to class warfare as the politicians spend beyond our means to pay for it.  Pitting one ‘greedy’ group against another.  Until they all finally turn on the ones responsible for our financial mess.  The politicians.

Medicare will fail because the population is aging.  And as people live longer they can have more health problems.  You put the two together and it’s a big problem.  You expand Medicare into Obamacare and you have a train wreck.  A shrinking population of healthy, younger people paying ever higher taxes to pay for an expanding population of older, sicker people.  In a word, unsustainable.  

This isn’t Canada.  Or the UK.  We have more people.  Far more people.  The growth in government spending to pay for Obamacare will require taxes the private sector can’t pay.  This growth of government will cross the Rubicon.  And the U.S. will go the way of the Roman Empire.  Brought down by her own unsustainable government spending.  Throwing much of Western Europe into chaos for a thousand years or so.  And the sad thing is that history repeats.  Chaos is on the rise already in Europe.  As people riot in protest against cuts in unsustainable spending.  Which often happens when you take away benefits from people long accustomed to them.  This is a very dangerous road to be on.  And Obamacare is hastening the U.S. down this road to catch up with the Europeans. 

You’d think someone by now would have learned this lesson of history.

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Too Sick or too Old? Sorry, no Health Care for You in the NHS or in Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 8th, 2012

Week in Review

Critics of Obamacare warned that this national health care system would contain death panels.  Too sick or too old?  Sorry, no health care for you.  That’s ridiculous said the supporters of Obamacare.  There was no mention of ‘death panels’ anywhere in the bill.  And there’s probably no mention of death panels in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).  But elderly patients are left to die all of the time.  Precisely because they are too old (see Sentenced to death for being old: The NHS denies life-saving treatment to the elderly, as one man’s chilling story reveals by John Naish posted 4/6/2012 on the Daily Mail).

When Kenneth Warden was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer, his hospital consultant sent him home to die, ruling that at 78 he was too old to treat.

Even the palliative surgery or chemotherapy that could have eased his distressing symptoms were declared off-limits because of his age.

His distraught daughter Michele Halligan accepted the sad prognosis but was determined her father would spend his last months in comfort. So she paid for him to seen privately by a second doctor to discover what could be done to ease his symptoms.

Thanks to her tenacity, Kenneth got the drugs and surgery he needed — and as a result his cancer was actually cured. Four years on, he is a sprightly 82-year-old who works out at the gym, drives a sports car and competes in a rowing team…

Sadly, Kenneth’s story is symptomatic of a dreadful truth. According to shocking new research by Macmillan Cancer Support, every year many thousands of older people are routinely denied life-saving NHS treatments because their doctors write them off as too old to treat…

This kind of ‘professional opinion’ appears to be costing more than 14,000 lives each year, thanks to routine discrimination by doctors who assume older patients are too frail for surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. 

This is according to experts at Macmillan Cancer Support, who warned last week that every day up to 40 elderly cancer sufferers are dying needlessly because they are being denied the best treatments. This is particularly true, it says, for patients over the age of 70.

The charity estimates that if the treatment of older patients matched that on offer in the U.S., as many as 14,000 lives could be saved every year…

Last week, the respected health research charity, the King’s Fund, warned that prejudice about older people means they often go without treatment for conditions such as depression, and are not even tested for illnesses such as heart disease.

This is despite huge advances in medical care which mean that patients can now successfully undergo major surgery at ages where they would not previously be expected to survive.

In America, doctors pioneering the field of ‘geriatric surgery’ regularly perform open-heart surgery on people in their 90s…

Last year, research by the National Cancer Intelligence Network found evidence of widespread age-based discrimination in the NHS on women with breast cancer.

Its study of 23,000 sufferers found that 90 per cent of those aged 30 to 50 are offered surgery to remove tumours, compared to 82 per cent of those aged 60 to 70, and 70 per cent of those in their 70s…

So if you’re elderly and you live in America you better get your health care fast.  Before Obamacare kicks in.  And decides you’re too old to treat.  For if they’re doing it in the NHS they’ll be doing it in Obamacare.  Not because they are mean and hate old people.  But simply because of the economics.  Doctors will advise families that there is no money to spend on their loved ones.  But don’t be upset.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

It is ironic that the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) supported Obamacare as they are supposed to represent the elderly that pay their membership fees.  Why you ask would they do something like this?  Well, they sell insurance policies to seniors that pay for what Medicare doesn’t cover.  Medigap policies.  And to get AARP onboard with Obamacare the new health care law exempts AARP from pricing formulas restricting the amount of their premiums spent on non-health services.  Allowing them to charge higher premiums than Obamacare allows other insurers to charge.  At least according to The Daily Caller.  So when Obamacare denies seniors life-saving treatments AARP can tell their families not to be upset.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

Advocates of national health care like to point to the NHS and say that is the model to follow.  And we are now moving in that direction with Obamacare.  Which can mean only one thing.  Death panels will follow.  Even though they are not specifically mentioned in the bill.  Because when it comes down to it health care is a game of numbers.  Accounting decisions.  Especially when the government runs it.  And the only way to control costs is by rationing services.  And what better way to ration services than by simply withholding them from the greatest consumers of those services?  The elderly.  Don’t think it will happen?  Just look at the NHS.  That is our future.  Where health care isn’t about doing what’s right for the patient.  But controlling costs.  But it’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

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