Obamacare’s unhealthy reliance on our youth

21NewTaxesIt is no real surprise that the roll out of Barack Obama’s healthcare proposal – dubbed the “Affordable Care Act” – has failed to garner the results that the government was hoping for.  Fraught with technical problems that rendered the Healthcare.gov web site virtually unusable in its infancy, the government-run health initiative has turned into an abysmal failure.

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has failed because there is very little incentive for our nation’s young and healthy population to signup for the program that provides them with very little benefit.  To survive, Obamacare needs healthy people to signup for coverage that they will probably never use.

A Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report cited only 24% of those who signed up for Obamacare through December were young and health Americans.  Worse, of those people who did signup for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, the report could not account for how many enrollees actually paid their premiums.

The problem: “Early data from a handful of state exchanges shows the administration needs more young adults to sign up in the next three months to help offset costs from older enrollees and prevent insurers from raising their rates,” Reuters wrote in a report earlier in the month.

This seemingly innocuous statement bears further analysis – in order for government-run healthcare to “work”, Washington needs young and healthy people to essentially throw their money away and overpay for health coverage in order to fund the health benefits of other people.

If this healthcare train wreck isn’t the very definition of redistribution of wealth, what is?

Obamacare helps to prove once again that a “free lunch” simply does not exist.  Everything needs to be funded, and that funding cannot simply appear out of thin air.  When a particular segment of society is screwed into paying for another segment of society, one cannot honestly expect the former to willingly fund the latter.

When the very laws of economics are ignored by our government, big and expensive initiatives like Obamacare fall to the ground.  When our government depends on people to fund the very livelihood of others, society quickly rebels in a natural attempt to keep their possessions secure.

Would you pay the cost of a Ferrari to drive around in a minivan?  Me either.  Why, then, would our government expect young people to pay for coverage they don’t need to fund coverage for someone else?

When one spends their life in government, the laws of economics never apply.

 

Sweden’s Shrinking State

Ah, Sweden, the very mention of it will often bring about the phrase ‘liberal paradise’. The land where healthcare is free, everyone lives long lives, and there’s no crime or violence, despite huge taxes and a massive public government.

All of it sounds wonderful except: it hasn’t been that way since the early 1990′s and its government is shrinking by the day.

Yes, this ‘paradise’, it seems, has been deregulating and lowering both taxes and spending for the past 20 years at a rate that’s absolutely astonishing. This myth of the ‘perfect state’ has come about due to a few things:

  1. Between 1850-1950, Sweden had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it amassed massive capital, and was largely unregulated.
  2. Between 1950 to 1980, all the state programs began with the huge surpluses they had, and marginal taxation skyrocketed to 70% – this is the liberal paradise that people mention. Times were good, really, but it was unsustainable.
  3. Starting in the 1990s, the ‘banking crisis’ occurred where banks collapsed, the healthcare system utterly failed, killing thousands, and the entire financial system started to collapse on itself. Spending as a percentage of GDP  was at an all time high of 71.1% (for reference, the US now spends 103%). The education system was on the verge of collapse and many, many jobs evaporated overnight.
  4. Sweden went from 4th richest OECD country to the 16th in the span of 20 years.

Strangely, no big government advocate seems to know of the 1990′s Swedish banking crisis. It’s in plain view: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Sweden#Crisis_of_the_1990s and is a well studied piece of history in Sweden itself. The reasons are clear: big government intervention. Sweden, instead of continuing to go down the bad course, actually did something that is rarely done: they reversed course.

In 1994, following the banking crisis, massive market reform came down and entire industries were deregulated. Private schools were started, a voucher system was put in place, and largely, the majority of top performing schools in Sweden are for profit. The banking system was deregulated, many services were cut, taxes lowered, and spending as a percentage of GDP was cut from 71.1% to 53.3% an overall reduction of the state by over 30%.

Even the citizens are wanting less state provided healthcare. A rise of private insurance has been growing in Sweden, In 2011 about 440,000 people had private health care insurance in the country of 9.5 million (source: http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/22/socialist-swedes-take-to-private-health). If this public paradise was so great, why is it radically moving towards privatizing and deregulation faster than the US is moving towards socialization? Now, Sweden is still less ‘free’ than what most libertarians would wish, but it does show that a country can turn itself around and that even the most praised ‘ideal liberal states’ are not immune to the ill effects of big government.

For more reading on the subject, an article that appeared in Forbes does a great job going into more detail: http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2012/05/13/look-to-sweden-obamas-high-tax-gurus/

Gov’t biggest part of the problem, poll finds

A majority of Americans polled recognize the ineptitude of government to be the main cause of societal and budgetary problems in the United States of America, leaving those Americans who refuse to vote for Republicans and Democrats, once again, puzzled about why voters continue to elect inferior political leaders.

A Gallup Poll found that 21% of respondents to a poll asking what the most important problem facing Americans today is cited the government as the answer.  Uncertainty with the economy and high unemployment came in second and third, with issues like a lack of respect for other people and immigration fell towards the bottom of the list.

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In addition, American’s discontent with our nation’s healthcare system has skyrocketed with the botched roll out of the so-called “Affordable Care Act” known as Obamacare.  “Compared with a year ago, mentions of government are up slightly. Mentions of healthcare, on the other hand, have quadrupled — from 4% in January 2013 to 16% today, likely related to highly visible problems with the rollout of the 2010 healthcare law,” Gallup noted.

“Mentions of the government as the top problem remain higher than they were prior to the partial government shutdown in October. During the shutdown, the percentage naming the government as the top problem doubled to 33% from 16% in September.”

 

Despite massive spending, underachievement prevails

r-SAN-FRANCISCO-MINIMUM-WAGE-HIKE-large570Did you know that the number of people on food stamps has grown over the past 13 years by nearly 30 million, which accounts for almost 20% of households receiving taxpayer-funded food subsidies?  At the same time, the federal government is spending more per household than ever before – in fact, a 152 percent increase since 1965.

Our middle class is shrinking – the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, due in large part to insanely complex government rules and regulations that only those with resources can bypass.  In fact, the top 7% of households own 63% of the nation’s wealth.  During the so-called economy recovery, the other 93% of families lost wealth, putting into question the effectiveness of big spending government stimulus packages and who, in reality, the recovery truly helped.

ABC News reports that nearly 50 million people in the United States live in poverty, but yet, most Americans view our nation as the most prosperous in the world, fundamentally superior to our foreign counterparts despite our poor education system, insanely expensive healthcare industry and THE biggest government that we’ve ever had.

In fact, our healthcare system spends twice as much per person than any other developed nation in the world, a cost that accounts for more than 16% of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Our healthcare spending has increased at twice the rate of inflation, but yet our pharmaceuticals continue to kill and emergency rooms remain clogged with people using it as their primary care service.

A much-maligned segment of the population, the top 1% of income earners in the country have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% put together.  Perhaps this is due to nearly a quarter of all jobs in the United States that pay a wage of less than $10/hour.

Worse, spending in Washington continues to grow, more than it ever has despite record tax revenues.  Federal politicians managed to rack up $755 billion in deficits through the first eleven months of 2013′s fiscal year.  Spending during the same period amounted to a whopping $3.2 trillion.

Now, the government wants to take over healthcare.  Already the most expensive healthcare system in the entire world, the 10,500-page Obamacare monstrosity has authorized the government to spend even more money.  The new healthcare system’s broken Healthcare.gov web site cost the American taxpayer $634 million to build.  Obamacare has caused many insurance companies to cancel policies and create more expensive alternatives.  Premiums have risen and job hours have decreased to sub-30 hours to avoid Obamacare penalties.

The evidence of the big government effect is clear and overwhelming, and it is costing the American taxpayer trillions of dollars in reckless spending.  Both the Democrats and Republicans represent the cause of these problems, and our nation will never truly fix our ailing spending habits until we replace those responsible for it.

Before you insult Libertarians, at least try to understand them

Let’s be clear – I don’t expect everyone to be a Libertarian.  Just because so many of our founding fathers exhibited Libertarian principles that many of us continue to fight for today, I still do not expect everyone to climb on-board the solution-wagon and ride away into the sunset.  But, I would at least hope that those who oppose Libertarianism would do the rest of us a favor and actually understand it before criticizing it. Continue reading

Fear: The most powerful weapon at our government’s disposal

When it comes to government and their expanding powers to rule, regulate and fight, a very clever tactic is employed to win the approval of large populations.  Never mind our vast quantities of weapons like missiles and ammunition.   The government has something far more powerful at its disposal, more potent than biological warfare and more devastating than the billions of rounds of ammunition that our government has recently stockpiled.  What our government uses to usurp liberties and freedoms from the American people, under the guise of security, is far more sinister.

It’s fear.

After the attacks on 9/11, we were told that unless we fight our enemies on their territory, we will be forced to fight them on ours.  And so we fought, sparing no expense.  We went to war and destroyed other nations on the taxpayer’s dime.  We also helped them to re-build, again, on the taxpayer’s dime.  We did this to supposedly eliminate a threat to the American people.

Well-publicized mass tragedies like Sandy Hook, Columbine or the Aurora, CO theater shootings have the same effect.  Emotions run hot and the environment becomes ripe for the government to strip Americans of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  Because once again, if the government does not get involved, more Americans will die at the barrel of a gun.

The impact that fear has over large populations cannot be ignored.  It is a powerful and brutally effective weapon to remove freedoms and liberties from the people, and cleverly enables government to consolidate more and more power into the hands of largely unaccountable politicians.  When the people are afraid, liberties are voluntarily given up.  A population scared for their lives will give up almost anything for protection.

If it saves just one child’s life, right?  Because if the government does not get involved, more people will certainly die.  If our government had not blown communities in Afghanistan and Iraq to smithereens, our nation would be at war with our enemies here at home…in our own backyard.  Scary, isn’t it?

Never mind the fact that our government is arming Syrian rebels that have vowed to destroy the United States and our interests.  Let’s forget about Benghazi, gun-running or the IRS scandal for a minute.  Americans are willing to forgive and forget, so long as they don’t have to worry about their livelihoods every night.

After all, who wants to live in fear?