Archive for the ‘Common sense’ Category

Gotta Wonder   Leave a comment

perryWill the investigation find a stuck accelerator cable, a drunk driver, or an ISIS terrorist?

Of course, this is presupposing that they will tell us the truth.

Posted May 18, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense, Uncategorized

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Missing the Point Yet Again   Leave a comment

Another police officer gets away with murdering another citizen.

Protests follow Tulsa cop’s acquittal in fatal shooting of unarmed black man

TULSA, Okla. — A jury late Wednesday acquitted a white Oklahoma police officer who says she fired out of fear last year when she killed an unarmed black man who had his hands above his head. The verdict led almost immediately to protests.
To me, the issue is NOT that this man was black and this officer was white (and female), but that he was an unarmed member of the public and she was (and will be again) an armed member of a gestapo force.
shelby.jpg We need to get away from this black-versus-white nonsense. It divides us and keeps us from addressing the real issue – that police feel they have authority to shoot people to death in the streets and face no consequences. Take the race element out of it and we can all get behind the idea that police shouldn’t be shooting citizens unless the citizens are actively engaged in trying to harm someone or someone’s property.
I find it disturbing that, in the incidents of officer-involved shootings where both the officer and the dead citizen were black, the black community hasn’t flooded the streets in protest demanding justice. I find it disturbing that in the rare incidents where the cop was black and the dead citizen was white, the white community has not flooded the streets in protest.
See, if we took the racial aspect out of this, the black community would have whites marching with them, but because whites know they’re not welcome, only elites show up who buy into the same racial nonsense we need to be getting away from.
The point shouldn’t be the race of those involved in the incident, but that the incident occurred at all.
The other thing I would like to point out from the article … it says that four jurors were visibly fighting tears and wouldn’t look at either the defendant or the dead man’s family. If that doesn’t pique a journalist’s curiosity, something is wrong with that journalist. That smacks of jurors who have been coerced. They didn’t want to arrive at the verdict they did, but for some reason they did. Why?
Well, the defendant is a police officer being prosecuted by her employers, who have ever reason to want her acquitted. Yeah, think about that. Ordinarily in a court of law, a defendant has the cards stacked against him or her. The judge and prosecution work for the same government and if they are using a public defender, even their lawyer is not on their side. Follow the money. The same government is paying everybody’s salary. The only ones interested in justice are the jury, who are often misinformed as to what their role in a trial is.
But in this situation, the role is reversed. The lawyer was probably provided by the Police Union, which means the money is also coming from the government. The only ones interested in justice this time was the jury. Were the judge’s instructions that they have to rule according to the law (that no doubt favors the officer shooting a citizen)? The Founders would shake their heads sadly and probably already be advocating for throwing off the yoke of a tyrannical government. Why? Because they believed that juries had the right to overthrow unjust laws. I believe this jury may have wanted to do that, but felt intimidated by the government apparatus arrayed against them.
Either way, this cop should have been sent to jail for a long number of years and that is a travesty, made possible in part by our being divided along racial lines rather than united by a unitary philosophy that cops should face consequences when they gun down unarmed people.

ARGGH! Why Is the Government Doing This?   Leave a comment

For many years, I’ve been doing online banking. I pay my bills through my debit card. To reduce my exposure of being hacked (which happened last week), I keep my money in my savings account and transfer it to my savings as I need it.

Until today.

Image result for image of online bankingIn 2009 the federal government (as part of Dodd Frank, I believe, although I couldn’t find that with a quick Google search) passed a bill that has limited the number of online transfers you can make from your  savings to your checking. If you exceed that number, you are charged a fee. It’s not a bank rule. It’s a federal regulation.


When I was hacked two weeks ago, the fraudulent charge did not go on my card because I don’t keep money in my checking account. I instead got a call asking if I’d used the card and forgot to transfer the money (good customer service!) and when I said no, I had to get a new card. But at least I had access to my money. What’s more, because I didn’t have money in my account, I denied an identity thief a stay at a luxury resort in Norway. I like that.

Today, I logged in to transfer funds and it wouldn’t let me do what was necessary. Fortunately, it wasn’t 2 am and I didn’t have a bill due that morning. My bank had sent me a warning letter that I had assumed was for my son’s saving account since I had never received a warning on excess account usage. Turns out my bank has been allowing these transfers within the bank (good customer services), but the federal government is now cracking down on them, so they’ve stopped. What’s more, because I have a history of exceeding the limit (because I don’t want my money stolen by hackers), my account cannot be converted over to another type of account that would allow me to do what I’ve been doing successfully for about seven years. I can never make another online transfer from my savings to my checking … even within the six transfer limit per month. That is POOR customer service!

So tomorrow, on my supposed day off, I’ll be going to my bank and opening a second checking account with no debit card so that I can continue to use sensible banking practices.

I am so tempted to move my money to another bank, but it won’t do any good because this federal regulation affects all banks.

The question I have — the question I think the entire American population should be asking — is why in the hell are we allowing the federal government to control our banking practices? I’m an adult. I can decide whether money in my savings account should go into my checking account. I don’t need Uncle Sam looking over my grownup shoulder. And why is there a limit in the first place? Really, if you are someone in the know, please, give me a coherent explanation … something other than that it’s a federal regulation, because that is not an actual coherent reason for the limit.

This is why I oppose government involvement in our lives. They start out with something semi useful … protecting us from banks misusing our money we entrust to them … and then they decide to protect us from ourselves by micromanaging our personal financial lives.

A Reverse Legacy   Leave a comment

Every president since Jimmy Carter has promised to cut regulation. Carter lied and so did the others. Even President Obama’s early executive orders promising to cut red tape and improve the flow of the regulatory process sounded impressive until six of the seven all-time-high years for federal regulation occurred during his tenure. Obama lied too.

Image result for image of regulatory rollbackWe’ve experienced four decades of nonstop growth in federal regulation. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations is more than 175,000 pages long, having grown steadily since the 1970s.

Understand that federal regulations aren’t just words on paper. Those 175,000+ pages include more than one million commandments from Washington in the form of restrictive words such as “must,” “cannot,” or “shall.”

Candidate Trump promised to change that and Prresident Trump’s first 100 days give us reason to hope this trend is about to change. President Trump has already issued two executive orders on regulatory reform that informed executive branch agencies that regulatory restrictions on businesses will not be able to keep growing on autopilot. Trump’s hiring freeze will also help lower the rate of new regulations. As research from the Mercatus Center has shown, there is a high correlation between the number of employees at an agency and the number of regulations issued by that agency. President Trump has also taken advantage of the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the power to overturn recently finalized regulations through a simple majority vote. He has signed at least 13 such repeals. (By the way, this tool had been successfully used only once in its 20-year history.)  I doubt he’ll be able to keep his lofty promise to cut regulation by 75% or more, but just halting the growth in federal regulations would be a massive achievement.

The president has several methods available to him to accomplish this. Moving into the next phase of his first term, there are three main legislative solutions that President Trump can use to follow through on his promises to cut regulation. These solutions address the accumulation of old regulations, the creation of costly new regulations, and the lack of public participation in the regulatory process.

Get rid of outdated, ineffective regulations.

Both the Regulatory Improvement Act and the SCRUB Act create a “Regulatory Improvement Commission” to come up with a package of older regulations to eliminate that would then go through Congress for an up-or-down vote. Focusing on older regulations would take some of the politics out of regulatory reform, and voting on a large package in this way would limit the ability of established interests to interfere with the process. Because figuring out what regulations to cut requires weighing costs and benefits, addressing regulatory accumulation also requires that proposed federal regulations undergo basic cost-benefit analyses. Currently, most regulations coming from Washington are never subjected to this commonsense test. Don’t believe me. In 2014, only 16 of the 3,500+ rules published in the Federal Register underwent cost analyses. Since 2001, fewer than three out of every 1,000 regulations have had an accompanying cost-benefit analysis. The resulting lack of information creates an incomplete picture of the total regulatory burden on the economy.


Slow the nonstop growth in new, costly regulations.

While a regulatory improvement commission would help lower the economic drag from decades of regulatory accumulation, we really need to reverse the destructive effects that the autopilot nature of federal regulation has on the economy. Federal regulations cost the economy $1.9 trillion each year, which comes out to about $15,000 per U.S. household. The Trump administration could begin to turn the tide by supporting the REINS Act, which would give Congress authorization for voice approval or override within 70 days if a major regulation with more than $100 million in annual economic costs is to take effect. This would invert the current system, under which regulations take effect unless Congress takes the time to stop them. To understand this dynamic, recognize that there have been 29 times more regulations issued by agencies than laws passed by Congress since 2009. The REINS Act has overwhelming support from Republicans, and it has already passed the House. President Trump could have a chance to sign it into law before the year is over.


Infuse unprecedented transparency into the regulatory process.

To further strengthen his opposition to runaway executive-agency powers, President Trump can encourage Congress to consider legislation such as the Regulatory Predictability for Business Growth Act, which was introduced in 2015 but did not pass. This bill would require agency interpretations that are in effect for longer than a year to go through the general notice and comment provisions required under the Administrative Procedure Act. Administrators’ interpretations are meant only to provide guidance for complying with existing regulations, so they are considered exempt from the full regulatory-review process required under the Administrative Procedure Act. Agencies increasingly use blog posts, press conferences, and guidance documents to substantially alter the meaning of existing regulations. Returning agency interpretation to its proper role as guidance rather than lawmaking would help reintroduce public participation and openness into the regulatory process. And, if President Trump is seeking a legacy, this change will last long after he has left office.

Excessive regulation holds back the United States’ economic potential. President Trump appears to understand that dramatic reforms to the regulatory state are required to overcome the sluggish economy he has inherited. Fixing the regulatory system so that it no longer drags on the economy will certainly take longer than 100 days, but President Trump is off to a nice start.

This Is Why Government Shouldn’t Be Involved in Health Care | Jeffrey A. Tucker   7 comments

Image result for image of ahcaThe Republican-controlled House vote to “repeal Obamacare” – if that is what this was – was a stunning mess.

Did they get it right? The answer is obviously no, and that’s inevitable. Just imagine a bill that sets out to reorganize any industry that is currently mostly market driven, such as shirts, software, groceries, or furniture. Would any bill coming from Congress that pertains to the whole of any of these be wonderful? It’s impossible.

This is because the minds of politicians working together – with all their mixed motives of special-interest acquiescence, electoral fears, and general ignorance – cannot possibly replicate, much less improve upon, the brilliant mind of the market at work.

Sadly, any structural change in the industry is pushed through via legislation.

Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with such bills in most markets. But the health care industry is different. It’s been heavily regulated for more than a century. Obamacare went in the wrong direction, toward more rather than less government control. It actually disabled the mind of the market. The result has been soaring deductibles and premiums, insurers going belly up, and average citizens being forced to pay for insurance they can’t afford to use.Change is necessary. Sadly, any structural change in the industry is pushed through via legislation. That is a tragedy. The challenge is to sort out real vs. fake reform, and do this amidst grandstanding, bombast, posturing, ideological panic, rhetorical bombast, and media mania.

The Miasma of Politics

The House had little more than one day to consider a bill that would affect the lives of every single living American in the most fundamental way. Meanwhile, those of us in the peanut gallery had to try to make sense of whether or not this bill is a promising development, remembering that not backing something necessarily means de facto settling with the legislative status quo.

Even getting the core facts of the legislation was a challenge.

What is the core standard by which any health care bill should be evaluated, given that nothing coming out of Congress that can gain a majority of Republicans will ever be right? The test is this: does this bill take us in the direction of restoring market competition and market signaling, or does it preserve the current managed, artificial, coercive, and unworkable system that relies on government control?

Donald Trump does not understand this at all.

Two main features of Obamacare (explains David Henderson) disable market competition: guaranteed issue and community rating. Guaranteed issue mandates what is covered under all health insurance, thus ruling out flexibility on the part of either buyers or sellers. Community rating forbids insurance pricing from being influenced by risk assessment, which takes the insurance out of insurance. A reform worthy of support must deal directly with these problems.Donald Trump does not understand this at all. He keeps tweeting that he absolutely insists on keeping the mandate that all health insurance must cover pre-existing conditions. The dogmatic demand painted the Republicans in a corner. They couldn’t repeal the very mandates and disabled-pricing schemes that have created such a mess in the industry.

States, You Do It

Yet Obamacare is so bad that some states have toyed with actually nullifying the law. Taking their cue from such movements, the House bill encourages states to take some steps to do just that. Whether they come through or not is another matter.

Still, this amendment brought some skeptics on board. The final bill permited the states to opt out of both the guaranteed issue and the community rating mandates, thus removing Congressional culpability but allowing a decisive number of votes to come out in favor of the bill.

Two bellwethers that I follow in Congress because of their principled stand for market freedom – Justin Amash of Michigan and Thomas Massie of Kentucky – voted differently. Amash was a yes and Massie was a no.

Massie released the following statement:

As recently as a year ago, Republicans argued that mandates were unconstitutional, bailouts were immoral, and subsidies would bankrupt our country. Today, however, the House voted for a healthcare bill that makes these objectionable measures permanent.

The former Democrat Speaker of the House was rightfully derided for imploring Members to vote for a healthcare bill to “find out what was in it.” Yet today, we voted on a healthcare bill for which the text was available only a few hours before the vote. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office had no time to even provide Congress with a preliminary estimate of the full cost of this bill.

By repealing a small number of Obamacare mandates, while leaving others in place, this bill runs the risk of destroying what remains of the individual health insurance market.

The option in this bill that allows States to apply for waivers from some Obamacare mandates is well-intentioned. However, it falls far short of our promise to repeal Obamacare. There also remains the risk that State legislatures, like our federal legislature, are unable to withstand the political pressure from lobbyists who defend Obamacare, and the pressure from those who receive Obamacare’s welfare handouts.

This bill should have included measures that allow Americans to take charge of their own healthcare and get the government out of the way. These measures include allowing the deduction of health insurance costs from income taxes, giving everyone the ability to purchase insurance across state lines, and allowing individuals to band together through any organization to purchase insurance.

In weighing my vote, I heeded the wise advice that “one should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” If this bill becomes law, it could result in worse outcomes, fewer options, and higher prices for Kentuckians who seek health care. In summary, I voted against this bill not because it’s imperfect, but because it’s not good.

His argument is strong. If you live in a state that does not opt out of the community rating, you are stuck with the bulk of Obamacare. Massie had an intuition about this: the pressure would be too great to preserve the status quo, thus making the “repeal” wholly illusory. Then the Republicans get stuck with a failure.

Amash has not released a formal statement on his yes vote, but his rationale is easy to anticipate. This bill is nothing like what it should be, but we also know that the right kind of bill could never pass the House. This one does repeal some mandates and taxes. It does permit a path for states to opt out. A no vote effectively means the preservation of the status quo. A yes vote does not make this bill law; it only sends it to the Senate, which will pass something very different (better or worse is yet to be seen).

Democrats Celebrate

Meanwhile, in the aftermath, Democrats imagine that they just won the greatest victory since 2010, even to the point of singing a song on the House floor. The passage of Obamacare was a catastrophe for them. It nearly wrecked a two-term presidency and contributed heavily to the loss of the Senate and the presidency. It has been an albatross around their necks. Now they get to hurl that onto their enemies.

But that alone presents another danger. If this bill is perceived to be authentic “deregulation” and “free market reform,” every failure will come to be blamed not on government but rather insufficient control. “We tried your free markets and they failed!” And there is no question that the partisans of socialized medicine are already positioning themselves in this direction. If you believe the New York Times editorial after the House vote, we’ve already entered into health-care anarchy.

My purpose here is not to settle the question of how one should have voted or what the effects or eventual outcomes will be. There is a bigger and more important lesson here. Any good, service, or industry that is removed from market control and put into the hands of government thereby becomes subjected to the grueling and ghastly machinations of the political process in all its subterfuge, duplicity, and vast waste.

Even if you don’t like every result of market control, it’s hard to imagine that anyone can defend what necessarily replaces it once you surrender any market to control by government.

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Source: This Is Why Government Shouldn’t Be Involved in Health Care | Jeffrey A. Tucker

Posted May 5, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense, Uncategorized

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How the Market Is Already Repealing Obamacare | Stewart Jones   Leave a comment

There’s a common misconception that if you’re opposed to government services, programs and/or departments, then you’re opposed to building roads, education, people getting affordable health care and even people taking care of the sick and elderly. These misconceptions are becoming more apparent as the free market offers solutions and options using innovation and technology, as the government continues to fall in on itself.

doc-patient teamSix months into the pregnancy, we received a letter explaining that due to the changes in the law, our policy would no longer cover maternity services.

I continue to be amazed at the ingenuity of people and individuals working toward solutions in the marketplace, in spite of government. Over time government has assumed more and more control over medical decisions that individuals make everyday.

My Own Experience

I have paid my dentist out of pocket for many years and had private insurance for major medical only. In 2011, my wife and I were expecting our first child and had private health insurance which was slowly being limited more and more by regulations from the Affordable Care Act and Patient Protection Act. It was dreadful!

Six months into the pregnancy, we received a letter explaining that due to the changes in the law, our policy would no longer cover maternity or OB-GYN services. This meant that our insurance would no longer pay for anything related to the birth of our daughter. We searched and shopped for insurance that would help cover the cost of the hospital and birth, but the more government regulations and controls were placed on the market, the more difficult it became to actually get affordable medical insurance and health care.

We spoke with our doctor about it and found that by avoiding insurance altogether and paying the doctor directly, it reduced all costs associated with pregnancy by 60%. We avoided the government-burdened insurance market and paid the doctor directly.

This model of doctors and patients actually working out agreements and paying a flat fee in exchange for medical services is actually very effective. If we could only bypass the government regulations and laws on health care, more people would get better service at a more affordable rate.

Market-Based Medicine

One awesome example of markets finding ways around the government’s stronghold on medical services is the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. In order to run their own practice with the least amount of government interference as possible, two doctors formed this practice 15 years ago. The goal was to eliminate the inefficiencies that accompany hospital networks and Medicare/Medicaid networks in order to run their own practice. The practice has done so well, that it has grown to over 40 doctors now.

According to them:

It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more and more out of pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.”

This has allowed them the ability to perform the best quality surgeries at the lowest and most transparent cost. All of their procedures and costs appear on their website. By bringing this level of transparency to the public, it has forced a price war for surrounding hospitals to post prices for procedures, something that is often hidden. This has brought costs down in surrounding areas.

Exiting the rat race of hospital networks and eliminating acceptance of government payments has allowed them to cut the cost and provide a better service.

In spite of what government does, people around the country are finding ways to lower costs and raise quality in the most competitive and realistic manners.

Flat Fee Memberships

The difficulties with getting health care at affordable rates come not from marketplace inadequacies, but from government regulations.

Another great example, are physician’s offices like Irmo Primary Care, Gold Standard Pediatrics and many others that are starting flat fee pricing for memberships and monthly medical services called Direct Primary Care. These practices are helping to once again bring patients and doctors together without interference from government and bureaucratic middlemen. I love streamlining services!

Dr. Bryan Hill, a South Carolina pediatrician, opened his direct primary care practice in September. “Instead of accepting insurance for routine visits and drugs, these practices charge a monthly membership fee that covers most of what the average patient needs, including visits and drugs at much lower prices.”

It’s sad that most of the difficulties with getting good health care at affordable rates come not from inadequacies in the marketplace, but from the many regulations by central planners in government.

History has shown us that free-market forces have the ability to lower costs and increase quality while fostering new growth and innovation. It puts the power in the hands of consumers, where it should be. If government would just get out of the way, then the free-market can fix the problems with healthcare.

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Source: How the Market Is Already Repealing Obamacare | Stewart Jones

Posted April 25, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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Cultural Attitudes That Harm Us   1 comment

American citizens have several cultural attitudes toward health care and savings that has resulted in an economy that spends one-sixth of the GDP on medical care. Other countries don’t pay so much and many of them have universal medical coverage.

So what’s our problem?

Image result for image of cutting-edge medicalA major issue is that Americans have stopped saving anything. Many of us have retirement accounts, which work because it’s not easy to tap into them, but most of us do not have savings accounts. I recently read an article by a financial guru who spent most of the article ripping into Dave Ramsey for suggesting that paying off debt and having 3-6 months of living expenses in savings made no sense to her. You should be investing those funds, not leaving them in the bank account.

So, naturally, since, they don’t believe in savings, the American middle class does not believe in saving up for medical care expenses. The idea that you should have $10,000 to 15,000 in savings for a potential acute medical episode is ridiculous in most people’s minds. This isn’t pre-World War 2 America, nor are we a 3rd world country. That’s “wasted money” just sitting in a bank.

We object to paying one-sixth of our personal income directly on health-and-medical expenses, but we also resent paying one-sixth of the government’s treasury on health-and-medical expenses. We are less willing to spend public funds to pay for health maintenance than we are to pay for medical services, even though study after study shows that we get better results from getting people to change unhealthy lifestyles than from treating the consequences of those lifestyles. You can’t really blame the American middle class from objecting to paying taxes in order to support people who are very poor or very sick when they themselves work hard to have an income and to take care of their health. Americans are not Scandinavians. We believe in personal responsibility, if only for other people.


Americans, especially medical care providers, do not want to think of medical care as a commodity that is bought and sold in an open market subject to supply and demand rules. Providers want to be paid (and paid well), but they don’t want to think of themselves as capitalists selling their services, so they prefer payment that comes from third parties where the price is hidden from consumers.


Americans are individualists at heart and object to telling other people how to live their lives or being told by others how to live theirs. This means that the right to live an unhealthy lifestyle is considered sacrosanct in the United States. Under the ACA or universal coverage, that means that healthier individuals pay for the poor choices of less healthy individuals.

Americans also tend to live in a state of denial about some health choices, so that about one-quarter of our population engages in unhealthy lifestyles that have long-term medical care expense consequences, the cost of which are born by people who take care of themselves rather than the poor decision makers who require the expensive long-term care.

Americans enjoy being “early adopters” of new treatments, which are often much more expensive in their early, experimental stages than when they have been available for many years. Forty years ago, when medical care was a smaller share of the economy, we could afford that attitude, but new treatment options now require expensive equipment and highly-trained specialists. Although these treatments promise incredible results, they are expensive to the individuals receiving the treatments … or the group that’s paying the bills.

All of these attitudes conspire to make the “Affordable” Care Act, or any replacement other than the free market, incredibly and increasingly expensive for all of us. Universal coverage will only exacerbate the problems that these cultural attitudes engender, leading inevitably in medical care rationing and resultant lack of availability of care, with the end results being similar to England’s 45% higher mortality rate.

Yes, we could choose universal coverage and then attempt to outlaw everything that makes people unhealthy. Good luck with that! It hasn’t worked in France and England, which is one reason England has a 45% higher mortality rate than the US.

Alternatively, we could work with human nature and return our medical care system to the free market it began in. Lift the government-created restrictions against individuals forming groups to drive down medical insurance costs. Lift the government-created restrictions that prevent us from buying insurance across state lines. Life the government-created monopoly against increasing medical schools and opening clinics.  Yes, that would mean that some people wouldn’t make good health choices and wouldn’t have medical care coverage when those choices require them to seek medical care. That would be the consequence of being a poor-decision maker and it might drive some of this group to make better choices. Additionally, medical care would become less expensive because government-created barriers to care and affordable insurance would no longer be a factor in price.

We have a choice to make in this country. Do we want reduced access to expensive care, but everybody having insurance or do we want improved access to affordable care with some people choosing (for themselves) not to have insurance?

I know which one I prefer and which one I believe would result in improved health results.


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