Thursday, November 19, 2009
More about this next week when I have more time after I am finished studying for and taking the GMAT.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Here is an update of the U.S. Dollar chart I posted a few weeks ago. I had called for a continued fall in the dollar to the uptrend line. Looks like that was dead on. We are now sitting on that uptrend line.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
"There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence. I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men and become the instruments of their own undoing."
Maybe we, Americans, should take a cue from Representative Joe Wilson. We need to speak out against our government. There is something clearly wrong in the country. The monetary system is by far the greatest fraud perpetrated upon the American people in history. As evidenced by this video:
We need to stand up and demand change. A reform of the monetary system could make it possible for everyone to have a chance in life. It could end our national debt. It could potentially end poverty in the United States (without paying taxes for welfare). It could also end the needs for 40% tax rates. No longer would we have to lose our wealth through both taxes and inflation. Let's return to the sound money of the Constitution.
There is a reason the Founding Fathers set up our money system the way they did.
Here is where it says in the Constitution that the powers the Federal Reserve exercises are unconstitutional and downright illegal:
Article 1. Section. 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
- To borrow Money on the credit of the United States; (Congress does this, but so does the Federal Reserve...a PRIVATE banking institution)
- To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; (Congress does not have the power to coin our money anymore...The Federal Reserve does...a PRIVATE banking institution, and they charge us interest to use our OWN money!!!)
- To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; (How long have we been in Afghanistan and Iraq? 6 years going on 7? Wow!!)
Article 1. Section . 9. No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time. (First of all, The Federal Reserve has NEVER been audited. The Federal Reserve, on a daily basis, prints and distributes U.S. dollars all over the world. In one instance, detailed by the video below, The Federal Rerserve gave $3,000 dollars for every man, woman, and child in New Zealand to the Central Bank of New Zealand.)
Article 1. Section 10. No State Shall...coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make anything but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.... (Granted, carrying gold and silver is a hassle, but a dollar bill can easily be back by gold or silver. President Kennedy tried it in 1963, check out executive order 11110, dollar bills today are not backed by anything, they are debt created out of thin air by a bank, watch the video if you do not understand this.)
Our Founding Fathers warned us about always protecting the control of our money. They hated central banking with a passion and feared it. Were their fears founded? Did they have a reason to hate the banks? I think so. As evidence I give you these quotes to consider:
"And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
"The refusal of King George III to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators was probably the prime cause of the revolution."
"The bold effort the present (central) bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it."
"If Congress has the right under the Constitution to issue paper money, it was given to be used by themselves, not to be delegated to individuals or corporations."
"Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international money lenders. The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States"
-Sen. Barry Goldwater (Rep. AR)
"This [Federal Reserve Act] establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President [Wilson} signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized....the worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency bill."
-Congressman Charles A. Lingbergh Sr., 1913
"We have, in this country, one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board. This evil institution has impoverished the people of the United States and has practically bankrupted our government. It has done this through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it".
-Congressman Louis T. McFadden, 1932
"We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system.... It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied very soon."
-Robert A. Hamphill, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank
"The regional Federal Reserve banks are not government agencies. ...but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations."
-Lewis vs. United States, 680 F. 2nd 1239 9th Circuit 1982
Let's stand up and do something about this diabolical institution!! Vote for Ron Paul in 2012!!
We need to End The Fed!!!
http://endthefedusa.ning.com/ - End The Fed website
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1207 - Support Ron Paul's Audit The Fed Bill, call your congressman and demand cosponsorship!!!
Check out the graph and paragraph about the housing market at the bottom of this post.
Allocation: 100% Cash
Trades I'm pondering:
1) Long U.S. Dollar (UUP)
2) Short Gold (GLD)
3) Short Macy's (M)
4) Short Mylan (MYL)
5) Short Freeport McMoran (FCX)
Monthly Mortgage Rate Resets
The second wave of the housing crisis is upon us. Notice in the graph how the current stock market rally has taken place as monthly mortgage rate resets have been steadily falling. As of right now we have settled into a bottom in the reset market and mortgage resets will steadily start rising from here. Subprime is over. However the option adjustable rate and alt-a mortgages are going to start resetting to higher rates (reflecting the increased risk of default by most borrowers). This could send the housing market into another tailspin, much like 2007-2008. In my opinion this will be the catalyst for the coming start market crash I have been predicting.
Here is what James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, had to say:
“Rising unemployment and a new variety of mortgage resets continued to gradually shift the nation's foreclosure epicenters in the third quarter away from the hot spots of the last two years and toward some metro areas that had avoided the brunt of the first foreclosure wave. While toxic subprime mortgages drove much of that first wave of foreclosures, high unemployment and exotic Alt-A and Option ARMs are spreading the foreclosure flood to more metro areas in 2009”
This news of a shift in the character of foreclosure activity comes precisely in tandem with the beginning of the predictable second wave of the housing market decline. The pleasant lull in the reset schedule is decidedly behind us. As always do your own due diligence on any investment you may make.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
"The inability of the Colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the PRIME reason for the Revolutionary War."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
“Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.”
-Milton Friedman American economist, statistician, public intellectual, and a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
We need to clarify our position on the swine flu. As you probably know we are not doctors so don’t base your health decisions off this post or any posts for that matter. We have heard kids in public school system are being pressured into signing a contract to agree to take the immunization shot which is disturbing considering the source.
•In a normal year Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 36,000 people die from Influenza and over 200,000 are hospitalized EACH YEAR. Source
•So far this year the H1N1 has accounted for only 44,555 cases resulting in 1,588 deaths; this is a death rate of 5.19 per million with 267.89 Cases per million in the US. Source
This numbers come from the CDC which is considered a very reliable source but a three-month-long investigation by CBS News revealed some very different facts. The CBS study found that H1N1 flu cases are NOT as prevalent as feared. The CBS article states:
"If you've been diagnosed "probable" or "presumed" 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn't have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn't have flu at all."
"The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico."
CBS reports that in late July 2009 the CDC advised states to STOP testing for H1N1 flu, and they also stopped counting individual cases. Their rationale for this, according to CBS News, was that it was a waste of resources to test for H1N1 flu because it was already confirmed as an epidemic. So just like that virtually every person who visited their physician with flu-like symptoms since late July was assumed to have H1N1, with no testing necessary because, after all, there's an epidemic. It's interesting to note that at the same time as the CDC decided the H1N1 epidemic warranted no further testing for cases due to its epidemic status, Finnish health authorities actually downgraded the threat of swine flu. Link
The graph above shows that a lot of people are being told they probably have the swine flu when they actually do not. This is propagating a “pandemic” that is not a pandemic. We all know the WHO has declared the H1N1 a pandemic but just how reliable is the WHO’s pandemic rating system? Let’s start off with a couple dates.
•On April 29th, twelve days after those two first cases were discovered WHO announced a Level 5 Worldwide state of alert for the prevention of a pandemic. What does this mean? Level 5 is quite high, which is one below the highest level possible. Level 6 means the pandemic is already happening. 1 ½ months later WHO announces Level 6, the maximum level, initiating a global pandemic of H1N1. Some might say ask: Why isn’t there a pandemic every year, if the yearly virus is worse than this new virus? The answer is: in May 2009 the WHO changed the definition of “pandemic” (link) from its then current definition of an infection by an infectious agent simultaneously present in different countries at the same time and with a significant mortality ratio to the proportion of the infected population. They removed from the definition, this mortality characteristic. Therefore the new definition went to describe the pandemic as a simultaneous infection present in various countries and carrying an infectious agent showing any novelty characteristic, thus leaving us unable to know the type of immunity present within the population. This is a definition I’m quoting from the British Medical Journal. Changing the definition of such strong emotional words is a logical fallacy of epic proportions but not in the scope of this article. I cringe to say this but we’ll assume it’s blatantly obvious and move on.
•April 26, 2009, USA declares a Public Health National Emergency based on twenty cases of infection and zero deaths.(part 1)
•October 23, 2009, President Barrack Obama finalizes the declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, empowering the health secretary to suspend federal requirements and speed up treatment. His declaration authorizes Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to bypass normal federal regulations so health officials can respond more quickly to the outbreak. (part 2)
•WHO is an International Organization that normally issues recommendations. Then it’s assumed that each sovereign country applies or not the recommendations following its own criteria, its own circumstances, and its own internal research. Now, in case of a pandemic, WHO can give orders. Well, you may ask, what terrible thing may arrive? Well, the mandatory vaccination, which if you refuse could result in a fine up to $1000/day, or you go to prison. Forced vaccinations leave you with absolutely no choice and are one of the ultimate violations of our personal freedoms regarding our decisions about what we put in our own bodies.
This brings us to the vaccine. A source at the NIH admitted that the vaccine(s) were one of the fastest human vaccines in development, according to CBS correspondent Sharyl Atkinson. In order to get these vaccines to market so quickly, the United States government granted "liability protection" to swine flu vaccine manufacturers. This protection allowed the drug companies to fast-track production by adding unlicensed components. In other words you will be taking a vaccine has been licensed without normal safety regulations - and if you suffer adverse reactions, the drug manufacturer is immune from legal liability. This unprecedented power to experiment on the population was given to the drug manufacturers with the passing of the 2006 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (the PREP Act). This act allows the DHHS Secretary to invoke almost complete immunity from liability for manufacturers of vaccines and drugs used to combat a declared public health emergency, which the "swine flu pandemic" qualifies as. The most problematic aspect of the PREP Act is that it removes all financial incentive to make a safe product. In fact, vaccine makers now have a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct! As long as they can prove they "didn't know" of any problem, they will not be liable for damages. Hence it's in their best interest to know as little as possible about the adverse reactions it might cause. It seems unimaginable, but you and your children are now being enlisted as an unpaid human trial subjects for experimental, fast-tracked vaccines like the swine flu vaccine. Source
The risks of these, and the current fast-tracked swine flu vaccine, are truly unknown at this time. Source
There are some concerns with some of the ingredients found in the vaccines and some are very troubling. Some shots will contain the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, which some believe to be harmful to children. The CDC claims there is no evidence of this. However, a US Congressional Report on Mercury in Medicine, released in 2003, claimed that there is a link between thimerosal and the development of autism, along with other brain development disorders. Additionally, some vaccines use squalene, an immune adjuvent that causes the immune system to react in a powerful and unnatural way. The purpose is to reduce the amount of vaccine needed per dose. The American Journal of Pathology published a study in 2000 which cited a possible link between adjuvants and arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases. Critics claim the use of adjuvants was another unsafe result of the vaccine being rushed out the door. Source
According to Dr. Kent Holtorf, an infectious disease expert, the vaccines with thimerosal has 25,000 times the amount of mercury then would be considered toxic by the FDA if it were in food or water. Remember since this is an “epidemic” it does not have to pass normal FDA standards.
With regards to autism and vaccines there are different reports studying Amish communities due to their extremely low autism rate (1 in 15,000 compared to the nation average of 1 in 175). Amish tend to be home schooled and do not take vaccines. You can read more here and here. Excerpt: “Dr. Mayer Eisenstein told us he is not aware of any cases of autism in never-vaccinated children; the national rate is 1 in 175, according to the CDC. “We have a fairly large practice,” Eisenstein told us. “We have about 30,000 or 35,000 children that we’ve taken care of over the years, and I don’t think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines. “We do have enough of a sample,” Eisenstein said. “The numbers are too large to not see it. We would absolutely know.” Keep in mind Amish refrain from a lot more than vaccines so take the above with a grain of salt.
Conclusion: I am not against vaccines by any means, just unnecessary ones. I think this is an unnecessary vaccine and while it might not seem like this is a big deal I will explain why it could be. Assuming this will be the normal flu season and the normal amount of deaths will occur two possibilities I could easily see happen.
•The Obama administration will say they saved the world from the swine flu when they didn’t. This will give them the benefit of the doubt next year when there’s a new “pandemic” and they have the ability, or will give the states the ability, to mandate vaccines. This of course would be un-American and against everything America stands for. (Freedom if you’ve forgotten)
•The Obama administration, CDC, and WHO will all be ridiculed for their overreaction and will lose their creditability. This is by far the worse of the two scenarios because if/when there is a legitimate pandemic people will assume they are overreacting and ignore their recommendations since they assume the new definition of “pandemic”.
"When in doubt move to cash."U.S. Dollar Index (DXY)
Allocation: 100% Cash
Trades I'm pondering:
1) Long U.S. Dollar (UUP)
2) Short Gold (GLD)
3) Short Macy's (M)
4) Short Mylan (MYL)
5) Short Freeport McMoran (FCX)
Monday, November 9, 2009
We appreciate you reading our blog and your opinion on the subject, but while reading the link you posted I’ve found some mistakes you’ve made in your assessment of the article.
You made the comment based on your interpretation of the article, “The Canadian healthcare systems outperform the US system almost across the board according to basically every large scale study ever conducted.” This statement is a direct contradiction to what the author’s state when discussing their findings.
When the article clearly states in its discussion:
“In this systematic review, we demonstrated that although Canadian outcomes were more often superior to US outcomes than the reverse, neither the United States nor Canada can claim hegemony in terms of quality of medical care and the resultant patient-important outcomes.”
You’ve also made the statement that Canada is outperforming the United States (which is clearly a statement that can’t be made since it’s been disproved above) at just over half the cost. The article states “Canada’s single-payer system, which relies on not-for-profit delivery, achieves health outcomes that are at least equal to those in the United States at two-thirds the cost.” The difference between ½ the cost and 2/3 the cost isn’t the problem I have with the statement, the problem is you assume the cost is lower because of socialized medicine. When in reality you’ve failed to take into account that the United States subsidizes the entire WORLD’s research and development when it comes to healthcare. Of course their costs are going to be less; they don’t have to pay for the research, our healthcare costs so much because it’s operated as a BUSINESS, and businesses have to take into account research and development when pricing a product. When a country doesn’t have to take that into account then their profit margins grow for the product, therefore they can lower the cost for the buyer without sacrificing the quality of the product.
"It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so."
Hmmm....Since this is an economics/finance blog, why don't we debate this from the economics side. Why does socialized medicine seem better? Let's look at some myths of socialized health care and how the United States creates the illusion that these systems work.
1) Myth #1 Health Care Cost are Soaring
No, they are not. The amount we spend on health care has risen. That does NOT mean health care cost are soaring.
You cannot judge the "cost" of something simply by what you spend on it. Why is this so? You must also judge what you get. I'm pretty certain the cost of 1950s health care has dropped in real terms since 1950. However, nobody in the U.S. really wants 1950s health care (or even 1990s health care). They just want to pay 1950s prices for 2009 health care. We want the latest surgeries, therapies, pills, discoveries, and highly skilled labor. However, we do not want to pay the price for these creations.
Advances in modern medicine are expensive. The fact that we spend so much on health care today is largely a positive. Of course, a lot of the spending is wasteful, this is mostly the governments fault (medicare and medicaid) but this is not what proponents of government health care want you to focus on.
Why do we spend so much more on health care than other advanced countries? Mostly because it is worth so much more to us. Similarly we spend more on DVDs, HDTVs, computers, and video games. Interestingly, we also spend a ton more on these other items now than we did in 1950 because none of these existed in 1950. Health care today is a combination of stuff that has existed for a while and a set of entirely new things that look like and really are miracles. We spend more on health care because it’s better. Say it with me again, slowly – this is a good thing, not a bad thing.
By the way, I do not mean that the amount we spend on health care in this country isn’t higher than it needs to be. Myth #4 covers that.
(2) Myth #2 - The Canadian Drug Story
Ah … one of the holy myths of the “US health care sucks” crowd. This should be fun.
The general story is how you can buy many drugs in Canada cheaper than you can buy them in the US. This story is often, without specifically tying the logic together, taken as an obvious indictment of the US’s (relatively) free market system. This is grossly misguided.
Here’s what happens. We have a partially free market in the US where drug companies spend a ton to develop new wonder drugs, much of which is spent to satisfy regulatory requirements. The cost of this development is called a “fixed cost.” Once it’s developed it does not cost that much to make each pill. That’s called a “variable cost.” If people only paid the variable cost (or even a bit more) for each pill, the whole thing would not work. The drug company would never get back the massive fixed cost of creating the drug in the first place, and so no company would try to develop one.
Thus, manufacturers have to, and do, charge more than the variable cost of making each pill. Some look at this system and say to the drug companies “gee, it doesn’t cost you much to make one more pill, so it’s unfair that you charge much more than your cost.” They are completely wrong and not looking at all the costs (gigantic research and development cost). The R&D cost are so massive that you see one failed drug completely bankrupting biotechnology companies on an almost daily basis.
How does this work with Canada? Drug companies that spent the enormous fixed costs to create new miracles are charging a relatively high cost in the free and still largely competitive world (the US) to recoup their fixed cost and to make a profit. But socialist societies like Canada limit the price they are allowed to charge.
The US-based company is then faced with a dilemma. What Canada will pay is not enough to ever have justified creating the miracle pill. But, once created, perhaps Canada is paying more than the variable cost of each pill. Thus, the company can make some money by also selling to Canada at a lower price; as it’s still more than it costs them to make that last pill.
However, this is an accident of Canada being a less-free country than the US, much smaller, and next door. If we all tried to be Canada, it’s a non-working perpetual motion machine and no miracle pills ever get made because there will be nobody to pay the fixed costs. Canadians are lucky free-loaders, subsidized by Americans. It sucks, but that's the cost we pay to constantly lead the world in health care innovation (our only remaining competitive advantage).
Drug companies in general sell their products to Canada at low prices, making a little profit, and reducing slightly the amount they need to charge us. This does create the silly illusion that the Canadian system is somehow better than ours because our own drugs are cheaper there. They are only cheaper to the extent we are subsidizing them by paying their portion of drug development costs and, unfortunately, we cannot subsidize ourselves.
So, repeat after me. We could go with the Canadian system and have super cheap drugs, if only we can find a much bigger, more medically advanced, freer country right next to us to make miracle drugs for themselves, and then we insist that we pay them only a bit above their variable cost for our share, and then they in turn agree to let us be their parasite. Mexico, would you mind helping us out?
(3) Myth #3 - Socialized Medicine Works in Some Places
Hmmm? Why does socialized medicine work in Canada? This is a tough one?
Those touting socialism’s success have never seen a world without a relatively (for now) free US to make or pay for their new drugs, surgical techniques, and other medical advancements for them. When (and I hope this doesn’t happen) the US joins in the insanity of socialized medicine we will see that when you remove the brain from the body, the engine from a car, the candy from the striper, it just does not work.
Even the successes you can gin up for socialized medicine would not be possible without the last best hope of humankind (the US) on the front lines again making the miracles for the world. To put it simply, right now the US’s free system massively, intellectually, and financially subsidizes the world’s unfree (socialized) ones. That sucks. The only thing that would suck worse is joining them without anyone to subsidize us all.
(4) Myth #4 - Socialized Medicine Is Better Because Their Cost/GDP For Health Care is Lower
The favorite statistic of fans of socialized medicine is that in the US we spend more as a percentage of GDP on health care than in many countries with “universal coverage.” I do not argue with their statistics, but their logic is, as usual, way off. Warning, this list of why these cost/GDP numbers are misleading is long, here goes...
- Measuring cost/GDP is inaccurate as it leaves out most of the cost, the cost of lower GDP growth. As one would expect, countries with larger government sectors (including socialized medicine) generally seem to experience slower GDP growth. People are great at measuring costs that they easily can look up, but those are not all the costs!
- If I’m right about the US subsidizing the world of course their costs would be lower!
- Many of the countries we are being compared with come from, frankly, healthier cultures than ours. I do not think the government should be allowed to make, for instance, your health vs. fast food trade-off for you. If free Americans more often than others go for the Wendy’s Triple w/ Cheese like I do, our cost/GDP will be higher. Freedom sometimes ain’t sugar-free. By the way, if we change our system to socialism, but these habits persist, our costs will still be higher. So, here come the diet and exercise laws...
- I do agree the US system could be better. I mention this again at the end, but I do not think health care should be tax-free if provided by an employer. Being provided by employers in the US leads to over-consumption (as it’s pre-tax and the marginal cost of service is lower to the consumer), and worse, does indeed help lead to the fractious less efficient organization of insurance (and the famous, and real, “portability” problem). I certainly agree that this structure raises costs, but if you have a simple problem like this, you fix it, you do not say “hey, let’s try communism.”
- A large fraction of health care costs are sadly in the short period before death from long-term illness. If socialized societies ration these costs then their total cost/GDP could indeed be lower than in the US. But, I can not see disallowing free people from spending their own money on their last few months of life. If people have what economists would call a “taste” for this (in this case the word seems callous but it’s accurate) then a free system could indeed voluntarily choose to spend more per GDP on health care. That is not a bad feature of the system. It’s a wonderful feature of the system, as it allows someone who spent a lifetime saving for retirement to use a little bit of that to live a bit longer if it’s their desire. Just because you (perhaps) do not agree with the choice does not mean you have a right to dictate to these people.
- As I mention again near the end, we also have a true cost problem in this country emanating from our insane tort system. Some argue that this is exaggerated as they measure the cost of the literal payouts to plaintiffs and say that while it is higher here than in other countries it is not enough to explain our cost differential. But, again, they only measure what they can see and fail to account for the massive cost of “defensive medicine” we force doctors to practice in anticipation of these tort lawyers. This indeed makes our cost/GDP spent on health care too high, but the solution is again not the gulag for us all, but perhaps only for half of the American Bar Association (ok, just cap their awards, that would be fine).
(5) Myth #5 - A Public Option Can Co-Exist With A Private Option
This one has been the subject of some hot debate. Let’s first define it. Part of the current administration’s plan is to add a “public option” for health insurance. That is health insurance provided by the government (actually provided by you and your neighbors – this is a good thing to remember whenever you find yourselves thinking that anything that comes from the government is free.)
They claim this “public option” can co-exist fairly alongside private health insurance, increasing competition and keeping the private system “honest,” and not deteriorate to a single payer (socialized medicine) system. They are not leveling with you, as in unguarded moments they admit that the single payer socialized system is what they really want. The New York Times disagrees with me, thinking the two can co-exist. But the New York Times still thinks Stalin was a pretty decent Joe.
Those advocating the “public option” say it’s just there to keep private enterprise honest. They point out that private doctors prescribe more expensive procedures than ones employed by the government, and then use that as evidence that the private system has inefficiencies. It makes me want to ask them, “but then don’t we need that in every industry? Doesn’t the already massive competition in health care keep things honest?” Of course, this leads to the uncomfortable conclusion that by their logic the government must be a major player in every industry. Ah, just when you think you have them, you remember, they have you! This is in fact what they desire. Don’t throw them in the briar patch, remember, they are socialists! But, in our case they are mendacious socialists who know that if they are honest, the public will not allow them to achieve their massive imposition of state control on all aspects of life.
So they are dismantling liberty piece by piece. Now, let’s get back to the idea that the government can run a fair “private option”, but not forget that there’s nothing special about health care.
The government does not co-exist or compete fairly with private enterprise, anywhere. It does not play well with others. The regulator cannot be a competitor at the same time. It cannot compete fairly while it owns the armed forces and courts. Finally, it cannot be a fair competitor if when the “public option” screws up (can’t pay its bills), the government implicitly or explicitly guarantees its debts. We have seen what happens in that case and don’t need a re-run (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, U.S. Postal Service....all went bankrupt at one point or another).
The first thing the government does is underprice the private system. You can easily be forgiven for thinking this is a good thing. Why not, cheaper is better, right? Wrong. They will underprice private enterprise by charging less to the purchaser of health insurance, not by actually creating it cheaper. Who makes up the difference? Well, you and your family do if you pay taxes, or your kids will pay taxes, or their kids will pay taxes. The government can always underprice competition, not through the old fashioned way of doing it better, they never do that, but by robbing Peter to pay for Paul. They are taking money from your left pocket and giving you a small portion of it back in your right pocket. They do it every day before breakfast, and take a victory lap for the small portion they return.
Second, the government ultimately always cheats when it’s involved in “honest” competition. Try mailing a first class letter through Fed-Ex, or placing an off-track bet on your favorite horse with a bookie, or playing a lottery through a private company. Uh, you can’t, so please stop trying, I don’t want you to hurt yourself. Once the government discovers it cannot win, it changes the rules. You see, the government has the power to legislate, steal, imprison, and even kill. Those are advantages private firms do not have.
Perhaps the best example of the destructive “public option” is our nation’s schools. Here we clearly have a government provided “public option” competing with (and in fact dominating in size) private schooling. But, is it fair? Does it work well? Not by a long-shot. To send your kids to private school (i.e., a school that competes with the government) you need to first pay your taxes for the public schools. Absent vouchers or tax credits, the bête noirs of the “socialism in education” set, if you eschew the “public option” you have to pay for education twice. Double payment is not only unfair, but the quality of the public product without competition is inhuman and a catastrophe (public school, including the college I attend make you retarded and crush creative thought) to a generation of children the Left weeps tears over, but actively works to destroy (after all, the Left needs future customers). That the schools provided by the government pale next to the private options, which themselves pale next to what we would have with a full private system (even if publicly funded) is beyond sad, but not the direct point here. The direct point is a “public option” cannot exist without cheating – in this case making you pay for it even if you don’t use it (I’m pretty sure if a private company tried that it would be called stealing).
With a “public option” things inevitably would go the horrific way of our public schools. Instead of existing to please customers (patients and students, respectively) the “public option” in schools exists largely to benefit empowered stakeholders of the system (health administrators and unionized school employees, respectively), who will shamelessly pretend to give a damn about sick people and children. Watch the analogy play out if we go this route in health care. It will be like looking in a funhouse mirror and seeing a doctor where you used to see a teacher. All else will be the same.
Finally, let’s worry a bit about the end game. We are not here yet, but in a world where the “public option” replaced all private options, would we still be allowed, if we had the resources, to pursue private medical alternatives? Some socialized countries say yes, some say no. Imagine the answer is “no” in this country, where freedom is valued more than anywhere else in the world. Imagine a person is to be prevented from spending their hard earned money on their, or their children’s, health care, or a doctor was prevented from earning what he could in a parallel free system after all his training and work. If we get to this point, and I pray we do not, it’s time to skip all the Constitution but the second amendment (while we still have it), as it won’t be America anymore.
Let’s again conclude by asking why they are lying here about the “public option”? Well, the President has said if starting from scratch he’d prefer socialized medicine (he calls it something different, but it isn’t different). He also now insists that this “public option” is not intended to lead to fully socialized medicine, and accuses those who say it will lead there of, you guessed it, lying. Odd no? But it takes literally seconds to realize that this “public option” cannot co-exist with the freedom to choose and thus will indeed lead to full-on socialization. Since the simplest answer is usually best, and the President has already declared his preference for a “single-payer” system, and since this “public option” leads there with near certainty, might I be forgiven for assuming he knows this and has a socialized medicine end-game in mind?
(6) Myth #6 - We Can Have Health Care Without Rationing
Rationing has to occur. This sounds cold and cruel, but it is reality. A=A. If you have a material good or service, like health care, that is ever increasing in quality, and therefore cost, there is no way everyone on Earth can have the best at all times (actually the quality increases are not necessary for rationing to be needed, it just makes the example clearer). It’s going to be rationed by some means. The alternatives come down to the marketplace or the government. To choose between those alternatives you judge on morality and efficacy.
Everyone on both sides seems to hate the rationing word. People favoring free markets point to the explicit rationing that occurs in other countries with glee, while those favoring socialism point to the number of uninsured who get their health care through emergency rooms and the like (a form of rationing). Both sides are wrong to complain about rationing per se, that’s a fact of life. But there are differences.
It is an uncomfortable truth that tough choices will have to be made. There is no system that provides for unlimited wants with limited resources. Our choice is whether it should be rationed by free people making their own economic calculations or by a bureaucracy run by Congressional committee (whose members, like the Russian commissars, will, I guarantee you, still get the best health care the gulag hospitaligo can provide). Free people making their own choices only consume what they value above price, using funds they have earned or been given voluntarily. With socialized medicine health care is rationed by committees of politicians trying to get re-elected and increase their own power, and people consume as much of it as the commissars deem permissible. I do not find these tough alternatives to choose between.
By the way, nothing says that part of this rationing cannot include large amounts of charity, privately or even (and the libertarian in me quakes) publicly, but that still involves rationing. Sorry, we can’t suspend the laws of physics and arithmetic.
So, why do they lie about rationing, other than habit (all politicians lie, yes, even beloved Mr. Obama)? Well, rationing isn’t pleasant news for those who don’t get that 2+2 will always equal 4. Telling optimistic innumerates that your plan does not include rationing wins support.
(7) Myth #7 Health Care Is A Right!!!
Nope, it’s not. But we are at the nuclear bomb of the discussion. The one guaranteed to get me yelled at. Those advocating socialized medicine love to scream “health care is a right.” They are loud, they are scary, but they are wrong about rights.
This is more philosophy than economics, and I'm not a philosopher. But, luckily it doesn't take a superb philosopher to understand that health care simply is not a “right” in the sense we normally use that word. Listing rights generally involves enumerating things you may do without interference (the right to free speech) or may not be done to you without your permission (illegal search and seizure). They are protections, not gifts of material goods. Material goods and services must be taken from others, or provided by their labor, so if you believe you have an absolute right to them, and others don’t choose to provide it to you, you then have a “right” to steal from them. But what about their far more fundamental right not to be robbed?
In fact, although it’s not the primitive issue, the constant improvement in health care gives another good example of why the “right” to health care makes little sense. Did you have a right to chemotherapy in 1600 AD? You could have protested to Parliament all you wanted, but chemo just didn’t exist. Then, did you have a right to it the moment some genius invented it? You did not pay for the research. You did not make the breakthrough. Where do you get the right? How did it come into existence for you the moment somebody else created these things? I’m pretty sure you cannot have rights to material goods that don’t exist, and I am pretty certain that the moment some genius (or business, or even government) brings them into the world your “rights” do not improve (if I develop a new computer chip or video game system you do NOT have the right to use it just because it exist). But strangely, many disagree.
Conundrums are easy to create. If a cure for all disease is discovered but it costs the GDP of Europe for each treatment, do we all have a right to it? Of course not. We can say we do, but it does not matter. The smarter crazies might argue that they only mean the right to a reasonable level of health care. But then we have government running and rationing health care, as Congressional committee decides what’s “reasonable”? Health care is not a primitive right.
So why do people scream health care is a “right” if it so obviously is not? If not a right it can still be willingly provided as charity by society. But those screaming “health care is a right” worry that this will not work out as well for them.
Those seeking free health care could admit these are not rights but they simply want other people’s stuff, and be honest supplicants, or open thieves. However, they believe that guilt and the false moral high ground work better for them. Do not cede that ground. They are beggars with the government’s guns behind them. They are beggars you may, or may not, choose to help. But that is your and my choice, not their right. When they ask you to help, please consider it, and do what your conscience and abilities suggest and allow. When they try to take it as their right, they are thieves, tell them “no.”
Finally, while again we may choose to provide a minimum standard of health care to our neediest, we should not be ashamed that better health care, like all material goods, comes with success. Capitalism is simply what happens when you mix freedom and economics. Capitalism says if you achieve and build more, you can spend more and have more. You can have a bigger TV, a bigger house, a hotter spouse, and shinier teeth for your pets.
How on Earth did the notion that it’s “unfair” to spend the money you earned on your own health care, probably the most important thing to you, come about? Well, I know how it came about. It has been pushed by a far left academia, political candidates who don’t have a clue about economics beyond cashing a lobbyist’s check, trade union organizers pining for a workers revolution that just never came but now they’re trying to steal on the sly (but God forbid a secret ballot), and a biased media who just thinks they are smarter, better and kinder people than everyone else because they enjoy making snotty sarcastic comments about Republicans (not that I like Republicans, I just hate when the left destroys capitalism....Republicans and Democrats IMO are both retarded, it is like choosing between a turd and a shit sandwich, neither understand economics, but for this discussion the Republicans win).
Ironically of course, as in all things, the profits made on allowing people to spend differentiated amounts of their own money on health care would fund so much better health care for all it’s sickening (pun intended). Think of the newly invented drugs and other advances that shortly would be cheap enough for everyone if companies were actually fully free to profit on them. It would be too long of an economics lesson to explain to my beret-wearing friends of Che that profits are a good thing, and that companies cannot charge whatever they want forever, as the essence of capitalism is not love of the corporation but love of competition. But, while I admit it looks dark now, everyone would do well to study up on those things as signs are beginning to emerge that they are going to be making a comeback soon.
Finally, to reiterate, calling something a “right” and holding up signs screaming you have that right just does not make it so. I could make a sign and stand in front of the local Budweiser distributor chanting, "beer is a right!", but is is not likely I will receive free beer for life.
So Why Are These Myths Believed (Or Pretended To Be Believed)?
I forgive individuals (not that they need or want my forgiveness!). Lots of people are scared and misinformed by their politicians and the media or else they would understand the whitewash that is going on here and reject socialist “solutions” to a problem best solved for their families by freedom. In fact, eventually I think they will (if Congress and the President don’t first intentionally jam through a bill they know cannot survive scrutiny by the American people)........hmmmm looks like they are doing this, they put the bill in front of the House in the middle of the night (what a democracy). Now as to why the media and politicians say what they say, and propose what they propose, it is more complicated.
Actually the media is often just plain intellectually lazy, repeating tired leftist dogmas and looking down on anyone who believes in freedom as just a red state moron. How else do you explain free infomercials for Obama’s socialized medicine without rebuttal? How else do you explain the failed New York Times front page that’s less news and more editorial parody than Steven Colbert? Why the politicians do it is somewhat more complicated, and a bit more nefarious.
Some politicians may indeed just be idealistic dupes who actually want to help people but don’t realize they will harm them. I have sympathy for these people but they still should not win the day. Some just want to feel important. But let’s leave Ms. Pelosi out of this for now. Let’s talk about the smart ones who understand these issues. I do not think true confusion among the political and intellectual class is most of their problem. I do not think they believe for a second that socialized medicine will make people better off. How could they? I think most of the Congressmen for socialized medicine, Rahm Emanuel (and his boss), and the rest of the K-street gang are smarter than that. I think they understand that when the people’s power grows, theirs shrinks, and vice versa.
Lots of politicians understand that the simple free system leaves them out in the cold. No power for them. No committees to sit on to decide people’s lives. No lies to tell their constituents how they (the government) brought them the health care they so desperately need. No fat checks from lobbyists as the crony capitalists pay dearly to make the only profits possible under this system, those bestowed by the government. Libertarians are often accused wrongly of loving “big business,” but we don’t, particularly when corporate executives predictably turn themselves into crony capitalists who try to succeed by wheedling from the government. On the other hand the socialists love cronies of all sorts, ones who command large enterprises all the better. Liberals are far closer than libertarians to building and countenancing the all-powerful corporate state they claim to fear. Odd I know!
We further see this predicted abuse of power as the health care proposals are already filled with freebies to the President’s friends – including exempting unions from onerous features. Gee, the same unions in whose favor he has re-written the bankruptcy rules and wants to exempt from the most American of ideas, the secret ballot. It’s good to be a friend of “the most ethical administration ever.”
For another example how this is about government power and the suppression of private liberty, and not about helping people, look no further than the fact that their proposed massive tax increase on the "rich" (which by leftist definition are never paying their "fair share" if they have enough left over to remain rich) is on pre-deduction income. That means if you give all your money to charity you still owe Caesar his 5+ percent on money you did not keep and do not have, but gave away to a good cause. This might raise some revenue, but it is largely about the destruction of private charity. Barack and Harry and Charlie and Nancy and the other gang of four (yes our gang of four is much bigger than four) are about the people having to crawl on their knees to government (them) instead of anyone else, including private charity, not about helping people.
By the way, Congressman Rangel, the House’s chief tax writer and current tax cheat investigatee, said lawmakers targeted high earners because it “causes the least amount of pain on the least amount of people.” So does, in the short-run, imprisoning the rich and harvesting their organs for better health care for everyone else. Charlie, any thoughts on where you stop? When is enough enough?
Finally, if the above is not enough, the rush to pass a huge expansion of government now, and limit debate and discussion, is indicative of a group that knows it is wrong, and if people have time to think they will refuse to go along, but is attempting an exercise of naked power, to impose dictatorship before the people wake up. Paraphrasing Mark Twain, a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. They are counting on this, and they don’t want to give the truth time to be shod.
At this point you might accuse me of offering only complaints about the Administration's plans, without constructive suggestions of my own. There is truth to that. But I make no apologies. If people believe crazy things it’s first and foremost important to change that before progress can be made. But also, I think we're doing okay enough without radical changes, certainly not hastily panicked changes towards socialism, and also because I lack the expertise to recommend the detailed practical steps that would be productive (in contrast it requires much less expertise to see that the myths above are indeed lunacy).
I do understand people are frustrated at many aspects of the current system, and it is tempting to tear it all down and build something that looks shiny and new and perfect in the advertisement. Many of the complaints concern the complexity of getting insurance, treatment and reimbursement. I blame this mostly on excessive regulation, a complex employment-based insurance system strongly encouraged by tax law, and litigation for the benefit of trial lawyers rather than patients or anyone else.
We do not need a single payer (socialized medicine) system to cut confusion and inefficiency. On the contrary we need unfettered competition and clear legal standards. Another major concern is provision of basic health care to the needy. This is an important issue, but not an expensive one in the scheme of things, and not one that should drive the trillion-dollar health care debate. You do not reorganize the entire housing industry and tax policy around the need for homeless shelters, you just build enough shelters and let the market take care of, and discipline, the people who can pay for their own housing.
Finally there is the concern that health care costs make US workers too expensive to compete in global markets. As long as workers get full value for their health care dollars, it shouldn't matter whether companies pay in cash or in health benefits. The competitiveness issue is an important one, but health care costs versus wages versus taxes to pay for public health care is a minor detail in it. The main thing is not how it’s divided up but total costs, and total value received by the worker. Costs are minimized, and value received maximized, by open competition.
I recognize these are general prescriptions rather than specific health care reform proposals, but you don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
"Buy low, sell high!"Well that little quote has some truth to it. Don't get caught up in the buy gold mania. A smart investor picks up undervalued assets when they are making new lows.....not making all time highs. Now is the time to be selling gold, not buying it. I will pick up my gold in the $600/oz. range in the coming year or so.
- "4,000 women had to give birth in hallways, lifts, offices, and even toilets due to lack of hospital beds in the UK over the past year." (Source: Daily Mail UK - Aug 2009)
- "Canadians face significant waiting times for various diagnostics such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound scans. The median wait for a CT scan across Canada was 4.3 weeks, but in Prince Edward Island, it's 9 weeks. A Canadian's median wait for an MRI was 10.3 weeks, but in Newfoundland, patients waited 28 weeks. Finally, the median wait for an ultrasound was 3.8 weeks across Canada, but in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island it was 8 weeks." (Source: Fraser Institute - 2006)
- "Breast cancer kills 46% of its targets in Britain, compared with 25% in the U.S.; prostate cancer kills 57% of the Britons it strikes, compared with 25% of American victims; Britain's heart attack fatality rate was 19.5% higher than America's in 2005." (Source: Pacific Research Institute)
- "The British National Health Service "does not allow" women under age 25 to receive screening for cervical cancer." (Source: Jim DeMint, U.S. Rep. Senator South Carolina)
- "In the UK, breast cancer survival rates are 11-14% lower than they are here in the United States." (Source: Sue Myrick - U.S. Rep. Senator South Carolina)
- "We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize." Dr. Anne Doig - President of the Canadian Medical Association (Source: Canadian Press - August 2009)
- "In Britain, if the proposed medical procedure costs more than $45,000 per "quality-adjusted live years", then you are denied that medical treatment." (Source: Newt Gingrich, Human Events - August 2009)
People!!!! We do not want this healthcare bill passed. Not only will it destroy the healthcare in this country, but it will also destroy one of the only industries in which the United States still has a competitive advantage over the rest of the world.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
No new positions will be entered on Monday. Still feel rally may last a little longer. If the market drops from here it doesn't matter, we are in cash. If it rallies a little bit I may or may not add a few short positions. If market is up Monday we may make a few moves on Tuesday morning.
Allocation: 100% Cash
Trades I'm pondering:
1) Long U.S. Dollar (UUP)
2) Short Gold (GLD)
3) Short Macy's (M)
4) Short Mylan (MYL)
5) Short Freeport McMoran (FCX)
Courtesy of Zen Trader here are some more thoughts... Full post: http://zentrader.ca/blog/?p=2395
Here are some Swine Flu facts.
1. This year’s viral strain (S-OIV) is a strain unknown until now, diagnosed on April 17th, 2009. So to avoid confusion, new strain, but same virus type.
2. Based on the scientific data that we have at hand, this new virus has a lower mortality rate than the common flu.
3. People older than 60, already have a 33% immunity against this new virus.
Significance of WHO and Timeline of Events:
1. On April 29th, twelve days after those two first cases were discovered, WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, announced a Level 5 Worldwide state of alert for the prevention of a pandemic. What does this mean? Level 5 is quite high, which is one below the highest level possible. Level 6 means the pandemic is already happening. 1 ½ months later on June 11 2009, Dr.Chan announces Level 6, the maximum level, initiating a global pandemic of A-H1N1.
Why isn’t there a pandemic every year, if the yearly virus is worse than this new virus? The answer is May, 09’, the WHO changed the definition of “pandemic” from its then current definition of an infection by an infectious agent simultaneously present in different countries at the same time and with a significant mortality ratio to the proportion of the infected population. They removed from the definition, this mortality characteristic. Therefore the new definition went to describe the pandemic as a simultaneous infection present in various countries and carrying an infectious agent showing any novelty characteristic, thus leaving us unable to know the type of immunity present within the population. This is a definition I’m quoting from the British Medical Journal.
2. April 26, 2009 – USA declares a Public Health National Emergency based on twenty cases of infection and zero deaths.
3. WHO is an International Organization that normally issues recommendations. Then it’s assumed that each sovereign country applies or not the recommendations following its own criteria, it’s own circumstances, and its own internal research. Now, in case of a pandemic, WHO doesn’t make recommendations, it gives orders. Well, you may ask, what terrible thing may arrive? Well, the mandatory vaccination, which if you refuse could result in a fine up to $1000/day, or you go to prison. Forced vaccinations leave you with absolutely no choice and is one of the ultimate violations of our personal freedoms regarding our decisions about what we put in our own bodies.
3 Characteristics That Make Swine Flu Vaccinations Questionable:
1. WHO recommends most of the pharmaceutical companies that are producing this vaccine, to be given in two doses, which never happens. If the WHO’s recommendations are followed, those who follow them, will end up receiving three flu vaccinations: the seasonal one, and the first and second doses for the swine flu. That way, the possibility of secondary effects is multiplied by three, and these vaccines do have secondary effects.
2. Coadjuvants– this is a substance that’s generally added to a flu vaccine to stimulate and excite the immune system to produce a higher immune system response in hopes the vaccine is more effective. The result could be the immune system response up to 10 times higher than a normal one. There have been known to have serious secondary effects with coadjuvants such as squalene that resulted in paralysis and arthritis.
One point to consider, when vaccines are being massed produced, in an effort to save money for the pharmaceutical companies, more adjuvants could be added in the place of antigens (which represent a higher cost, and limited supply). This would result in less natural immune system excitation and more artificial excitation to compensate for the lack of antigens.
3. Because so many vaccines have had to be produced on such a large worldwide scale, in the US it’s official that pharmaceutical companies have been absolved of any legal responsibility for any side effects. Essentially they have political immunity and if that’s the case, it’s almost a guarantee that we’re going to see an avalanche of secondary reactions.