Fwd: Medicare

From: larry.r.trout

'For those of us who like to believe that human beings are rational, trying to explain what happens in politics can be a real challenge.


For example, that segment of the population that has the least to fear from a reform of Medicare or Social Security is the most fearful -- namely, those already receiving Medicare or Social Security benefits.


It is understandable that people heavily dependent on these programs would fear losing their benefits, especially after a lifetime of paying into these programs. But nobody in his right mind has even proposed taking away the benefits of those who are already receiving them.


Yet opponents of reforming these programs have managed repeatedly to scare the daylights out of seniors with wild claims and television ads such as one showing someone -- who looks somewhat like Paul Ryan -- pushing an elderly lady in a wheelchair toward a cliff and then dumping her over.


There are people who take seriously such statements as those by President Barack Obama that Republicans want to "end Medicare as we know it."


Let's stop and think, if only for the novelty of it. If you make any change in anything, you are ending it "as we know it." Does that mean that everything in the status quo should be considered to be set in concrete forever?


If there were not a single Republican, or none who got elected to any office, arithmetic would still end "Medicare as we know it," for the simple reason that the money in the till is not enough to keep paying for it. The same is true of Social Security.


The same has been true of welfare state programs in European countries that are currently struggling with both financial crises and riots in the streets from people who feel betrayed by their governments. They have in fact been betrayed by their politicians, who have promised them things that there was not enough money to pay for. That is the basic problem in the United States as well.


We are not yet Greece, but we are not exempt from the same rules of arithmetic that eventually caught up with Greece. We just have a little more time. The only question is whether we will use that time to make politically difficult changes or whether we will just kick the can down the road, and keep pretending that "Medicare as we know it" would continue on indefinitely, if it were not for people who just want to be mean to the elderly.'






Conversion of climate change skeptic not likely to sway GOP - latimes.com


The article does not mention that we are at the peak of the 12 year
sunspot cycle. In 2007, at the low of the sunspot cycle, 100 years of
global warming temporarily vanished.

There has never been any dispute that CO2 emissions cause some global
warning. The dispute has been whether this would lead to disaster.
It took a hundred years for the temperature to rise 1 degree
Fahrenheit. After I did considerable searching on the on the
Internet, I found that even the most strong proponents of this theory
thought that the temperature would only rise 1 to 3 degrees over the
next 100 years. This is not disastrous, although maybe inconvenient,
and it gives us plenty of time to move to alternatives. The first
nuclear fusion power plant comes online in just 8 years.

I am deeply interested in this:



Fwd: China

'According to the official Xinhua news agency, the Yangmingtan Bridge was the sixth major bridge in China to collapse since July 2011. Chinese officials have tended to blame overloaded trucks for the collapses, and did so again on Friday. In the United States, bridges are built with very large safety margins in case heavy loads cross them.


Many in China have attributed the recent spate of bridge collapses to corruption, and online reaction to the latest collapse was scathing.


"Corrupt officials who do not die just continue to cause disaster after disaster," said one post on Friday on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging service similar to Twitter…


Questions about the materials used during the construction and whether the projects were properly engineered have been the subject of national debate ever since a high-speed train plowed into the back of a stopped train on the same track on July 23 last year in the eastern city of Wenzhou. The crash killed 40 people and injured 191; a subsequent investigation blamed in particular flaws in the design of the signaling equipment.'




Fwd: China

'After three decades of torrid growth, China is encountering an unfamiliar problem with its newly struggling economy: a huge buildup of unsold goods that is cluttering shop floors, clogging car dealerships and filling factory warehouses.


The glut of everything from steel and household appliances to cars and apartments is hampering China's efforts to emerge from a sharp economic slowdown. It has also produced a series of price wars and has led manufacturers to redouble efforts to export what they cannot sell at home…


"Across the manufacturing industries we look at, people were expecting more sales over the summer, and it just didn't happen," said Anne Stevenson-Yang, the research director for J Capital Research, an economic analysis firm in Hong Kong. With inventories extremely high and factories now cutting production, she added, "Things are kind of crawling to a halt."


Problems in China give some economists nightmares in which, in the worst case, the United States and much of the world slip back into recession as the Chinese economy sputters, the European currency zone collapses and political gridlock paralyzes the United States.


China is the world's second-largest economy and has been the largest engine of economic growth since the global financial crisis began in 2008. Economic weakness means that China is likely to buy fewer goods and services from abroad when the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is already hurting demand, raising the prospect of a global glut of goods and falling prices and weak production around the world.


Corporate hiring has slowed, and jobs are becoming less plentiful. Chinese exports, a mainstay of the economy for the last three decades, have almost stopped growing. Imports have also stalled, particularly for raw materials like iron ore for steel making, as industrialists have lost confidence that they will be able to sell if they keep factories running. Real estate prices have slid, although there have been hints that they might have bottomed out in July, and money has been leaving the country through legal and illegal channels.'



DC Comics Confirms Green Lantern Comic Book Character Is Gay - UsMagazine.com

I think that I would have been more subtle about it by dropping subtle
hints over a long period of time so that people get used to the idea.
(And the speculation would have been good publicity. ) Instead it
feels like they are trying to force an agenda. It seems completely
unnecessary and I don't like the lack of continuity with the decades
of character history.

Not that what happens in a comic book is that important, but I like
the movie version of Green Lantern that is clearly heterosexual.

I don't think that the comic book pages are the place to promote
unresolved controversial social agendas.



Fwd: Health Care

'As critics warned, the Affordable Care Act will not "bend the cost curve downward" as promised. To the contrary, a June report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid predicts that national health spending through 2021 will continue to grow at a considerably faster clip than Gross Domestic Product.


That growth will not be even. Private health insurance spending will rise about 8 percent. Medicaid spending will grow about 20 percent. In a few years, government will account for 50 cents of every health care dollar spent in America. What's more, federal health care costs will consume a larger and larger share of the federal budget—and crowd out all other government functions in the process. If current trends continue, then by 2025 just four budget categories—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the debt—will gobble up every last federal dollar.'




Big-Government Ratchet Turns Another Click - Reason.com

Although numerous factors have contributed to the explosion of
health-care costs—an aging population and expensive technology, for
example—a chief driver is government itself. WWII-era wage controls,
followed by the tax preference for employer-provided health insurance,
combined to create the third-party-payer conundrum vexing us today.
Medicare and Medicaid made the cost problem worse. It's the same
dynamic driving up college tuitions: Massive government subsidies
encourage massive price hikes, which then ostensibly justify yet more
government intervention to bring prices down.


Fwd: deficit

We are borrowing 3 billion dollars a day.

125 million dollar an hour.

2 million dollars every minute.


This year we will borrow $3530 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

Best wishes,

John Coffey



8 Tips For Going Sugar-Free | Care2 Causes


Fwd: tax credit

'Illegal immigrants could receive more than $7 billion this year in federal tax credits, according to one estimate, thanks to a loophole in the law that allows people not authorized to work to reap the government payments with no questions asked.


Sen. Jeff Sessions' office calculated that, based on recent trends, illegal immigrants could receive roughly $7.4 billion through a provision known as the Additional Child Tax Credit. That's more than quadruple what the payout was four years ago, but the payments have been steadily increasing over the past decade.


Though illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving similar tax credits, a quirk in the law allows them to qualify for the child tax credit. And it's a "refundable" credit, meaning recipients can reap the money -- with average checks totaling about $1,800 -- even if they've paid no taxes.   '






 he told us in 2009 that only the government could break this business cycle. He told us in Osawatomie, Kan., that the private sector couldn't lead us back to economic vitality on its own. Recently, he told us that successful entrepreneurs didn't build their businesses — or roads or bridges or whatever claptrap he pretended to have meant...

If you think that despite all this, Obama may have learned his lesson and will change course going forward, you are fooling yourself. Obama won't change his economic policies, because he is addicted to spending and to growing government on several levels. His economic philosophy, his ideology and his political survival demand that he stay the course.

He firmly believes that only government spending — Keynesian pump priming — can stimulate a moribund economy. He believes it to the point that he's willing to bankrupt the nation to do it. His philosophy countenances no other alternative methods of recovery, specifically letting the private sector breathe and recover on its own.