Friday, March 24, 2017

The GOP's Big Quandary: Healthcare - Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don't

The Big Catch 22

Trump has promised lower premiums, lower deductibles and plans that the public is "going to love" but, so far, getting that kind of plan is proving to be a "big job" that is "hard to do" - using Trump's own verbiage.

Problem #1 - The Campaign Pledge to Lower Premiums & Deductibles

In order to keep premiums "affordable" and deductibles down (without price caps on products and services) the government is going to have to subsidize the plans for about 24,000,000 people already on Obamacare.  If the plan the Republicans are going to forward to the American people is to be "better" than the Affordable Care Act, then, by definition, the premiums and deductibles will need to be far lower than those currently experienced under the ACA.

Problem #2 - More Spending to Offset Premiums & Deductibles Can't Be Married with Cutting Spending on Healthcare

The Republicans want to forward a plan that is far more conservative and won't cost more money while promising to cut premiums and deductibles by some type of supplemental government coverage.  Cutting Spending and Spending more (at the same time, in the same respect, on the same item) is nonsense.  All in all, the Republicans are going to have to pass a healthcare reform bill that is massively bigger in costs and subsidies and far more left of Obamacare.  Quite literally speaking, any plan the Republicans would pose, will need to be far more generous and liberal than the "liberal" plan already in place that is known as Obamacare.

Problem #3 - Any Plan that Is Passed by the House Will Absolutely Need to Beat Premium and Deductible Costs - MORE SO Than Under the ACA

If this campaign promise isn't delivered to the American people, the GOP will look like a mob of liars.  The program the GOP designs will have to meet or beat the ACA costs of plans.

Problem #4 - Time is of the Essence & Running Out

The GOP had the better part of a decade to come up with a plan.  They said they had a healthcare plan.  That simply isn't true - sketchy details of a plan isn't a plan.  Mid-term elections are fast approaching.  If they don't deliver both a repeal (and replacement), many GOP congresspersons may find themselves unemployed during the next few election cycles.

Furthermore, as disgruntled masses of constituents start moving their votes over to the Democrats, Republican majorities will shrink (and possibly disappear altogether) and healthcare-reform-the-Republican-way will be dead with growing number of opposition politicians growing in numbers over time.

Problem #5 - Repeal Would Need to Accompany Replacement

Failure to Repeal and replace would lead to many of those who desperately need treatment being denied because of inability to pay.  Deaths due to inaccessibility to affordable healthcare due to Republican recklessness would cause a massive backlash and an outrage by those who see the denial of affordable healthcare to sick and dying - a massive case moral turpitude.  Such events would spark even bigger demonstrations and public outcry.

Problem #6 - Repeal Obamacare - A "NO WIN" Situation

The problem here is that Obamacare would have been easier to repeal if many millions in the Republican base hadn't moved to enroll for health insurance.  But, millions are now enrolled.  If Republicans kill Obamacare, they will be throwing millions of their own constituents off healthcare enrollment - the very same people who voted GOP candidates into office.

If Obamacare isn't repealed, the GOP base (that hasn't enrolled for health insurance through the ACA) will be angry and may not vote for GOP candidates in upcoming elections because they couldn't keep this massive promise of repeal.

In Conclusion

Republicans have a hard way to go.  Either way, it's a "no-win" situation with regard to healthcare reform in America.  It may be time to for many in the Republican wing to start updating their resumes because it's only a matter of time before voters start becoming a disgruntled bunch casting ballots.

Michael Hathman

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Separation of Church & State: What They DON'T Want You to Know!

What does "Separation of Church & State" really mean? Why is the media lying about it? Well, here's the real truth!

(1) The Separation of Church & State means that a church shall not have the privilege of collecting taxes from the state.

(2) No clergy shall hold a position in the church and have said position still retain any type of political power.

Separation of Church & State does NOT mean:

(1) Banning the Bible or teachings of morality from the nation's schools.

(2) Banning God from all places government.

(3) Banning God from the public square.

(4) Banning God and Biblical speech in the public forums or places of academia.

From Wikipedia: "Separation of church and state" (sometimes "wall of separation between church and state") is a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson and others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

What was the solid intentions of the Founding Fathers with regard to the establishment of the United States of America?

John Adams in a speech to the military in 1798 warned his fellow countrymen stating, "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams is a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and our second President.

Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence said. "[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be aid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind."

Gouverneur Morris, Penman and Signer of the Constitution. "[F]or avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy . . . the only ground of hope must be on the morals of the people. I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments. [T]herefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man towards God."

James Wilson, Signer of the Constitution; U. S. Supreme Court Justice, "Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. . . . Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other."

George Washington, General of the Revolutionary Army, president of the Constitutional Convention, First President of the United States of America, Father of our nation, " Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society."

Benjamin Franklin, Signer of the Declaration of Independence "[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

"Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness . . . it is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof." Continental Congress, 1778

Friday, January 20, 2017

Electorial College: Socialist Voting Tool or Voting System of Checks & Balances?

Why Was the Electorial College Created?

Well, the story when our nation first started, isn't much different than it is today.  In 1789, the United States was as divided as it was in the Revolutionary War.  The South supported Britain with the North mostly supporting Unionist.  Later, it became the Slave States v the Northern States and State Rights v the Federal Government.

Additionally, the Founding Fathers distrusted a powerful federalist state (they just broke away from England the tyranny of the very powerful English Parliament).

The Founding Fathers greatly favored a very powerful system of "checks and balances" and this extends beyond the confines of government itself by design.

For example, not only were the 3 branches of government checks Presidential ("Executive"), Congressional and the Supreme Court.  The three branches also had different power levels designed within themselves to provide more "checking" security.  For example, the court system would be divided into 4 groups: state, state supreme courts, appellate, federal and federal supreme courts so that no one judge would wield too much power.  Likewise, Congress (divided into House and Senate) would also be divided further by committees and the 2 houses could be checked by each other when considering legislation.  And, the executive (running both police and military) could be checked by both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court.

Obviously, having checks on and within branches of government is important.  But, the press (representing both the "voice" and "watchdog" of the American People.  The press would be the "check" on government overall.

North v South

That brings us to the Electorial College.

Population in the later 1700's favored the northern states.  And as a voting block, it typically favored the Republican Party.  In any election, any election held would most likely favor a Northern President as opposed to a Southern one.  Leaving the system to a "popular vote" would have further put a political "wedge" between the North and the South and thereby giving an "unfair" edge up on for the Northern States.  This presented a very unique problem that had to addressed adequately and as "fairly" as possible.  Furthermore, much of the population was disfranchised by the voting requirements.  But those voters who were male, owning land and white were favored to cast votes while (in many cases) there were restrictions on non-whites, non-Catholics, Jews and women.  This kept the voting pool rather small and ostensibly, it made the voting field extremely "lop-sided" favoring northern interests.  In order to avoid a civil war and giving the south a very good reason to secede from the Union, the Founding Fathers absolutely had to solve this problem of regional voting "favoritism" that would almost always award the north a "northern president".

This would present a huge problem for the Union standing behind a President without being bitterly divided based on population.  In 1790, the first census was taken and the lopsided "voters" was glaring as much as it was clear:

Out of 791,850 "qualified voters who were white males of 16 years and upward, including heads of households, only 244,757 were residing in Southern states at that time.


The situation worsened as the United States slowly sunk into civil war:


The Electorial College was the solution to address this very, very serious problem.  By having congressional districts (based on party control), a college of electors could be chosen by the congressional districts to elect the president.  This system of choosing the president a more "equitable way" of voting when deciding which candidate president (with much less deference with regard to region and population density).

Urbis v Ruris

Today, the map of the United States is still bitterly divided with cities supporting more liberal and Democratic candidates for president of the United States and rural areas supporting more conservative and Republican candidates for President.

An Extraordinary Glimpse of Population Currently

Nearly 90% of the American population (87%) lives in urban areas.  If the popular vote were taken (almost all of the time) a president would emerge from an urban area (as is currently the case).  Many of rural voters would feel as though they were "forgotten" and "outnumbered" by city dwellers in the political process.  Keeping an Electorial College as part of the Presidential selection would take the votes of rural Americans much more into consideration than otherwise.

Currently, the Electorial College allows for some votes of Americans to be "weighted more" than votes situated in bigger, more populated states and those states who have more urbanized or bigger urbanized areas in general.

An Electorial College allows the votes of Americans to be counted much more equitably than by a system based on popular vote based on regional and geographical locations than by the population as a whole.

However, times are changing and perhaps, with the electorate being far more sophisticated and politically up-to-date, a vote based on popularity may be the answer combined with a third party that is more center than the current two parties that maintain political power and that is inclusive of all poeple regardless of geographical residency.

Michael Hathman

More Sources: