Thursday, October 19, 2017

Is US Business Friendly?

Over here, Sean insists that the USA is business friendly because we are ranked number 8. 

I say the USA has too many taxes, rules and regulations given the large number of categories where we do not even place in the top 20.  In fact we only place in the Top 20 in 3 questionable areas: Getting Credit, Enforcing Contracts and Resolving Insolvency.  Thoughts?

Ranking of Doing Business  Click Graphic to Make Bigger

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Trump with a DEM Congress?

Now I know it is too early for the DEMs to start counting their eggs, however with Trump annoying and energizing so many people.  One never knows...

CNN GOP may be in Trouble in 2018
CNN 2018 may Mean Impeachment

Of course the good news is that the DEMs seem to have no limits to how socialistic they want to make the country... So the GOP folks may still have a chance of getting elected.
CNN DEMs can Lose it by being Too Liberal

Monday, October 16, 2017

Symptom of Anxiety

Well here is an interesting link from one of my FB Friends. OM Anxiety Makes You Look Like an Asshole  Now these weren't my symptoms before treatment, however I can understand the reality of this piece. People who are unaware of what is going on in the head of a person with anxiety or depression could easily misread the situation.

The reality is that people with anxiety / depression are expending so much energy to cope, and they are trying to avoid any triggers that may make it worse...  So of course they don't necessarily seem warm, approachable, at ease, etc.

Before I got things back under control I still remember laying on my bed shaking at the idea of going out to the country to visit mu parents. Now as you know I go out there often and usually have a great time, so this was not a rational fear. This was simply too little serotonin in my brain which led to my brain's electronic pulses not communicating correctly between neurons.  Build up my serotonin and the problem goes away. Poof !!!

Of course the amusing thing is that most people who have not experienced anxiety / depression don't realize how a tiny change in the chemical balance in their brain could drop them into it tomorrow.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Emperor Trump

I find this kind of humorous after having to listen to Conservatives complain about Obama's Executive Actions.  How he was terrible and over stepping his authority because he wanted to rule the country...  MSN Trump Writes More Executive Orders Than

Here is Trump with a GOP government and he is stymied to the point of using "Decrees from the Emperor".  Where is that great negotiator?
"Obama goes around signing executive orders," Trump said in February 2016. "He can't even get along with the Democrats. He goes around signing all these executive orders. It's a basic disaster. You can't do it.
Trump said that same sort of thing regularly on the 2016 campaign trail. It was a perfect way to make the case that Obama was an out-of-control executive, trying to push his liberal agenda on the country via fiat."
And I must say that I don't remember Obama ever threatening to censor our national media. Maybe Trump thinks he is the President of Russia, China or North Korea? :-)

The Hill - Hypocrite in Chief
BI 7 Trump Complaints about Obama
USA Today Orders
WAPO Trump's Past EO Comments

Thursday, October 12, 2017

EPA Changes and Fear Mongering?

One of my FB friends linked to the following. BI Before EPA Photos To which my first comment was:
"So turning back Obama regs is going to take us back to 1970? Do you distrust the State regulators and modern businesses that little? On the upside maybe the wealth gap will lessen back to 1970 levels..."
It just frustrates me to no end when people on both side make mountains out of mole hills, and try to use fear to get people to support their view.  In this case Trump is backing out some Obama era regulations and we are showing pictures of 1970 as if they are relevant...

Of course my Liberal friends do think the sky is falling and were resistant to considering some complicating factors and questions. Here is a taste of the discussion:
  • If 1970 was bad and 2000 was much better, exactly how far do we take this environmental protection and regulatory burden effort?  Are the 2000 regs that bad?  I don't know of anyone who wants to go back to 1970.
  • How has the regulatory burden contributed to loss of higher paying manufacturing, mining and other jobs in the USA? Income inequality? Those jobs that supported low academic /lower skill families before they were stuck working for Starbucks, Kohls, etc...
  • If we continue to make it harder and more expensive for domestic and foreign firms to operate in the USA. (ie more regs, higher taxes, more mandated benefits, etc)  Will the American consumer stop buying high foreign content products and services in order to support our American companies and workers?  Even if the cost to them is more? Value less? (see below)
  • Please remember that investors like myself and everyone with IRAs, 401Ks, pensions, etc make money no matter where the product is made and no matter who the customers choose to support.  This is because most diversified portfolios include international investments and US companies who do business globally. The only people who suffer when American consumers buy low domestic content products and services are the US workers and the US Tax Revenues.
Here is an important exchange that I want to emphasize:
"I don’t buy based on the lowest cost, there are stores I will not go to and products I will not buy even though they may be the lowest priced. I am not alone in that philosophy either. Just because you operate that way does not mean everyone does" FB1

"Very few people do buy "lowest cost"... They buy "best value" to maximize their personal benefit. Instead of paying more to support American workers, people rationalize that they deserve better quality, better features, better performance, lower cost, etc." G2A
Often people equate buying foreign to "buying cheap" and that is not quite correct. The reality is that many things we purchase are priced by what the market will pay. So if a foreign firm:
  • can build a good product for a lower cost
  • sell it in the USA at a higher USA price
  • they can use those additional profits to invest in more R&D, feature development, performance improvement, quality improvement, etc
  • and in time their product and market share eclipse the domestic product and domestic companies/ manufacturers go bankrupt. 
In summary: if we want better US jobs for more people, we need to minimize regulatory burdens, taxes, etc to what is an optimal trade off point.  And to do this we also need to get all healthy Americans to be smart, skilled, and independent.  

Related Links

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

SCOTUS and Gerrymandering

One of our favorite topics is in the news again.  I sure hope SCOTUS puts an end to this wasteful practice.  It seems a simple computer program could do a much better job and take a lot less time and money.

VOX Might Yield Blow to Gerrymandering
NR SCOTUS Should Not Strike down Gerrymandering
USA Today Gerrymandering

WAPO What Districts Could Look Like
Isthmus Slaying the Gerrymander

Monday, October 9, 2017

Executive Actions and Health Insurance

It absolutely fascinates me how much latitude a President has to work around the laws that are on the books.  No wonder they keep getting sued for over stepping their authority.

The irony of course is that the Conservatives vilified Obama and accused him of playing emperor when he took these types of actions, while the Liberals cheered Obama.  Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Conservatives are cheering on Emperor Trump while the Liberal gnash their teeth.

The first and second links discuss potential actions that Trump may take to allow people to buy less inclusive, and likely less expensive plans.  This sounds great until one understands the likely negative impacts it will have on the rest of the system.

The 3rd link discusses Trump's effort to make it harder for poor women to get and stay on birth control.  I of course think this is the height of stupidity since unintended pregnancies and the costs of/to the children are one of our country's biggest problems and shames.  Long term reversible birth control should be free to every man and woman in the USA.


VOX How Trump is Planning to Gut ACA
CNN Association Health Plans
Hill Trump Weakens Birth Control Mandate
Vice What Trump Has Signed

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Are You Brain Washing Yourself?

This discussion is continued from GOP and DEMs See Things Differently The summary of the discussion is that Laurie believes that...

"most liberals rely on sources like wapo and regional newspapers while conservatives are getting their news from Breitbart." 
"the left and the right are not equivalent in terms of information / misinformation they get from the news sources they use." 
My argument is that people who truly are on both the far Left and far Right tend to read sources that support their perspective of reality, thereby reinforcing it. (in essence brain washing themselves) And though Breitbart is somewhat relevant and it did trigger other outlets to react, overall few Conservatives read it.

I think that Laurie is standing on her high horse and looking down on the irredeemable lying deplorables just as Hillary did. The sad part of this is that for every Laurie there is a far right Conservative looking down on a Liberal as an irrational naive socialist seeking to destroy our country. Hopefully someday we can start respecting those who have different views from our own. 

Ironically I was asked earlier how I know I am somewhat of a moderate?  I explained to the individual that as long as my Father calls me a socialist and Laurie says I am too Conservative...  I will know I am somewhere in the middle.  :-)

One more thought... If many of Trump's voters are old white folks and irredeemable deplorables, how many of them even know how to retweet?  Or is the CJR info just noting that the Trump twitter followers are more active?  There are a lot of questions in the links below.

Relevant Links
WAPO Political Polarization Is Mainly A Right-Wing Phenomenon
CJR Breitbart led right wing media ecosystem altered broader media agenda
PEW Voters Divided on News Source
All Sides Bias Ratings
Most Trusted News Outlets
Breitbart Bleeding Readers and Advertisers
CJR Info

PEW Info

Thursday, October 5, 2017

GOP and DEMs See Things VERY Differently

This links below should not be very surprising since:
  • the Liberals focus on Liberal news sources and communicate more regularly with Liberal friends
  • the Conservatives focus on Conservative news sources and communicate more regularly with  Conservative Friends
Just think of your own Facebook page...  What links and conversations do you pay attention to, how many of your friends have similar views, who have you unfriended because you could not handle seeing their links / comments anymore, etc.
PEW Partisan Divide Grows
CNN New Poll

If anything scares me with regard to Our Nation is Dying, it is what the modern technologies have done to enable citizens to stay in and reinforce their personal perspectives.  The folks on the Far Left keep drinking their kool aid and those on the Far Right keep drinking theirs, and the situation just keeps getting more volatile. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Our Nation is Dying?

A an uplifting guest post from Hiram.
"As I have said, our nation is dying. And our attitude toward gun violence is just more evidence of that."
Now Hiram has made these cynical comments before and I think it time we discuss the topic:
  • Is our nation dying?
  • What does dying mean to you?
  • How does this differ from the challenges of the last 241 years?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What are the root causes?
  • What are the cures?
My belief is that people have likely had their doubts regarding our country's long term viability for 250 years...  And yet we have persevered... However in the past:
  • we did not have social media and belief oriented news casts that enable people to continually reinforce their world views while vilifying others. 
  • people paid severely for making bad personal choices, where as today many of them are cushioned by our social programs
  • these are a fiscal drain on the other citizens and the country, and absorbing the pain lessens the motivation of people to make good personal choices.
  • foreign competition was not as intense because global transport and communication costs were much larger and more time consuming. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Presidential Approval Ratings

Okay I had to steal this from CNN One Graph.  Just look at how historically low Trump's approval rating is...  And it is quite literally only being held up by the Republicans.  In essence he has done nothing to broaden his base of support.  He is so far below Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, etc that it is laughable.  That must greatly frustrate Trump, no wonder he submerges himself in his rallies often. That way he can deny this reality.

Gun Control

Back here I said.
"Though I am against laws that would further restrict the types of guns and magazines one can buy/own, I am actually a big supporter of strong, consistent and thorough background checks. And even better yet, enforcing the current laws and prosecuting those that break the laws."
After Denver, Sandy Hook, Orlando and now Las Vegas, I now think we should limit clip sizes to less than 20 bullets and stop the sale of guns that can be easily modified to "bump fire operation".

There is no real rational reason for this to be legal in the USA, but unfortunately it looks like our more whacko gun rights folks are still not convinced.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pots and Kettles

What I find fascinating about this Tom Price story is that Trump's travel / security is so much more expensive...  And yet of course Trump does not seem to mind wasting that money.  But of course that make sense since it is spent on him and his family...

My guess is that Trump is just using it to get rid of another employee who fell out of favor with him.  I keep wondering who are these people who agree to work for Trump.

CNN Price Resigns
CNN Trump Travel Costs

Here is an interesting summary of Trump's week. Enjoy !!!
CNN A Week in the Life of Trump

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Dysfunctional Senate

Since we have discussed the increasing polarization of the citizens and our politicians, I thought you may find this article interesting.  VOX This is Not how the Senate is supposed Work

I have no idea how we resolve this since the people on the Left and Right both seem obsessed with listening to their own version of reality and insisting that "those other folks" are evil and trying to destroy America.

The Playboy's Legacy

So what do you think?  Is this a fair assessment or political correctness / feminism run amuck?
CNN Hugh's Legacy has a Dark Side

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

When Deficits are Good Again?

Since I love to play requests...

"But, whatever, now it's time to focus on the new, awful GOP tax plan. Which, as constituted today per their own document, would actually raise taxes on working-class families with children while massively cutting taxes for corporations and people like Donald Trump." Sean

"...and adding Trillions to the National Debt.  As we all know, adding to the National Debt is terrible, awful, and ruinous when the Democrats do it, so it will be nice to see the Republicans, in denouncing this plan, be consistent for once." Moose

CNN Tax Reform
FOX Trump Sells Tax Plan
VOX Tax Plan
NPR Tax Reform

MN Politicians Wasting Money in Court

Of course being a non-Democrat, I think Dayton is mostly to blame for this silly waste of our tax dollars... Thoughts? MP MN Gov / Leg Standoff Update
"How is this affecting state government?  Well, the whole affair is costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills, although the total price tag is not yet known. The Legislature’s fees won’t be known until the lawsuit concludes, but Dayton’s office has reported about $245,000 in legal fees through August. "

Monday, September 25, 2017

Conservatives Accuse Pope

I have to wonder if the Catholic Church is in for hard times in our modern world.  With all the sexual abuse cases, and now it appears the hard core fundamentalists are pushing back against the Pope's more liberal interpretations.  CNN Conservatives Accuse Pope  Hopefully the Pope can drag the church into this century, or there may be some really quiet churches out there as the old folks die off.

I recently attended an outside wedding in part because the Catholic church would not marry the couple who had been living together.  Go figure...

RNS Decline of Religion
BBC Church Stats

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Guessing Game

Okay these 3 link were posted by FB friends.

  1. CBS Why St Paul Teacher Can Not Get a License
  2. SM Public Schools Aren't Failing Us
  3. MH White Privilege is a Myth
Since you all know me so well, which response goes with which link?

A. That is so true and terrible, we need to do something to improve it.
B. Why would anyone even bother to listen to such an off base hypocrite?
C. Those are some fascinating facts that should be discussed.


To Stand or Not to Stand?

Well it seems that Trump is following his Standard Operating Procedure...  He is failing to accomplish anything of importance, so to rile up his base he makes up some"villain" to attack.

And of course this has triggered some interesting conversations and reactions.
CNN Sunday Protest Photos

Most interesting to me is watching how different people within one family are reacting on Facebook.  The younger Liberal "Racism is Systemic Folks" posting kneeling is good stuff and the older Liberal member posting kneeling is bad stuff.

As for myself, I think I am in the "kneeling is bad" group.  Though I respect the rights of people to speak freely on their own free time, these are employees who are hired to play a sport and behave in such a way to support the company that employees them.  Their decision to not stand and salute the flag with their other team mates should be a fire-able offense.

As for Trump using the topic as a topic to distract his true believers, I think he is showing just as much disrespect to the flag and the people in the armed services as the kneelers are.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

What to Do about the Deficit / Debt

I am boarding a flight to China soon, so I will write when I can.  I will leave you some links that a couple of my liberal FB friends posted lately.

CC Debt Just Exceeded
FB The Other 98 Percent

Needless to say I raised some questions about how to best address the debt and they disagreed...  Thoughts?

Welfare Spending
State of Our Unions
Brookings Pie Chart
Spend vs Revenue

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Is GOP Its Own Worst Enemy?

I found this an interesting read...   VOX GOP Can Not Pass a Budget

For a different view... Politico GOP Leaders Unveil

BI Tax Reform after Trump Deal with Dems

It is kind of amazing the level of gridlock we are experiencing given that one party is supposedly in control.  The good news for me is that I like a slow moving government. :-)

Campus Sexual Assault

Here is an interesting opinion piece.  My thoughts / questions:
  • I always wonder why are the schools involved at all? 
  • Why are the city police not dealing with these issues? 
  • Why is the Federal government involved in this?
CNN DeVos is right about Campus Sexual Assault

And for a different view WAPO Why DeVos is Wrong

And one more Politico DeVos to Scrap


Monday, September 11, 2017

Does US Have a 3 Party Government Now?

Sorry I have not been posting and commenting, however I am out West helping Mom and Dad with some family business activities.  Which of course usually means I am working to do as Father says without losing it...  Some times I succeed and sometimes me and the dog go for a long walk. :-)

So what do people think of Trump working with the Democrats?
CNN Trump Breaking 2 Party System?

Friday, September 8, 2017

No Cake For You !!!

One of our favorite topics is in the news again. You know my view...

If you are LGBTQ, find a business owner who wants to be an active part of your most special day!!!

CNN Religious Freedoms vs LGBT Rights

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Trump and DACA

Personally I think Trump made the correct decision in this case for the following reasons:
  • Congress needs to be forced to deal with this.
  • The DACA status was not a good long term solution.
Now let's hope Congress finds a way to give these young adults a path to citizenship.  And this entices the DEMs to cough up some money for the border wall / security. Thoughts?

Hill: Trump Says Nothing to Worry About

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Election Commission Using Private Email

From Sean:
"Where are all the Republican e-mail scolds now -- when it's been revealed that the Pence-Kobach Voter Suppression Commission appears to be conducting much of its business using personal e-mail accounts, which would be a violation of federal law.

TPM: Election Commission Uses Personal E-mail for Official Business "

Monday, September 4, 2017

Urban / Rural Divide

Here we go again... But it does have some interesting graphs.

"I always find it amusing when folks want to lump suburbanites into the "urban" bucket. We know from their voting that many of them including myself associate with the folks in rural MN much better than the urban folks

The reality is that much of the spending on rural roads is so that us urban and city folks can get to cabin country and our beautiful parks. I am pretty certain the folks who live near Brainerd had no need for a huge highway and bypass. And do you think the North Shore residents need huge roads to handle their local traffic?

The reality is that much of the tax revenues come from the folks who live in the burbs. They are the citizens who fund both the urban and rural areas of the state. So I think the Urban folks should stop acting like they are paying all the bills...

The big cities receive a huge amount of local government aid and school funding from the state. And those coffers are filled by the well to do suburbanites that people here like to disparage." G2A

What to Do About North Korea?

My personal vote is that we place about 10,000 conventional missiles and maybe a couple of nuclear missiles in Japan and South Korea that are aimed at almost every military or government location in North Korea...  Then we let North Korea do whatever they want to do. (except sell their bombs to other rogue states)  And hopefully this will help North Korea understand that they will be utterly destroyed if they bomb the US or our allies.

All of Trump's blustering and the military fly by drills are just silly.  I am a big fan of the "walk softly and carry a BIG STICK" concept.

CNN NK Defies Trump (no duh...)
CNN Mattis Promises (really)
CNN Stop Trade with China (yeah right)
CNN Haley at the UN (no more talks, NK can not be trusted)


Friday, September 1, 2017

Who is the Stupid Idiot?

So Jerry and I got in an interesting discussion over on the Harvey Post.
"Yes, I have noticed idiots and stupidity abounding for decades. I learned long ago that part of the difficulty was with "information processing" styles, with "Sensors" and "Perceivers" particularly ill-suited to working with "Intuitive Thinkers" and vice versa. But it is only recently that I discovered differences in matters of information RECEIVING, as mentioned.
As a result, I am attempting to change old habits of communicating, along the lines you suggest. Sometimes people are convinced better by empathy than by sledgehammer logic. All that said, I refuse to give up what I know and believe just because somebody else refuses to acknowledge the truth. Desiderata " Jerry
"So how do you KNOW that YOU are not the idiot? Or the one suffering from poor information intake?" G2A
"Because I know what I know. If I thought I was wrong, I wouldn't be trying to convince you I'm right. I wouldn't even know how to begin to do that; it is tough enough trying to convince you that YOU are ill-informed or misinformed, or Fallen prey to some other "information processing error.."
And I have admitted previously that, depending upon one's selection of facts in a complex issue, one can arrive easily at a false conclusion, especially when the previously-mentioned biases are at work. So I remain open to proof that I have indeed missed the truth of the matter. The problem is that, in this case, I have yet to see any to the contrary which is as strong (for example, specific) as what I already have in the affirmative.
Go ahead. Convince me. I repeat: can you offer any proof that these climate models can predict a "global" temperature 100 years from now with any degree of accuracy? if I am indeed misinformed, try informing me before accusing me of "poor information intake." Jerry

So the circular logic of the argument fascinates me...
  • How does one know that they are not the stupid idiot?
  • Because they know what they know...
So let's test this and I will use Peter and Paul for an example.
  • So Paul knows for sure that climate change is being strongly impacted by human activities.
  • Therefore Paul is not a stupid idiot.
  • So Peter knows for certain that human activities are having no significant negative impact on the Earth.
  • Therefore Peter is not a stupid idiot.
Oh this is SO CONFUSING... Apparently they are both smart and capable with opposite views of reality...  My questions still stand:
  • So how do you KNOW that YOU are not the idiot?
  • Or the one suffering from poor information intake?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What Went Wrong in Houston

From Sean:
Anyone want to talk about our lax regulatory scheme that led to the chemical plant explosions?

A couple of years ago, the Houston Chronicle did a tremendous series on how little control there is over hazardous chemicals in Texas (and to a lesser extent nationwide).  Chemical Breakdown

From Moose:
We could also talk about lax (zero) zoning regulations that ultimately led to some of the serious problems Houston is facing.

I feel bad for the people of Houston, but I don't feel bad that Texas' Republicanism is showing...and it's not a good look.

Additional Links from G2A

Of course my view is pretty simple, it is the same reason a poor Baby Mama has 3 kids that she can not afford to feed on her own. They both know that the tax payers will pick up the cost of their irresponsible and stupid decisions.  I mean look at what we spent after Katrina so many irresponsible people and businesses could rebuild in a high risk location.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

G2As MBTI and Social Style

For your amusement, I have decided to share my latest MBTI and Social Style test results.

Apparently I am an ESTJ on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, no surprise here since this has been consistent for decades. What has changed is that I have become more extroverted, less sensing and less judging over the years. For better or worse I am still extremely Thinking biased... Though I am sure this will come as no surprise to you.

The new test I was given is with regard to my social style. Unfortunately it just said that I was in the Expressive quadrant. My guess is that I am near the middle because I find it pretty easy to shift into the Analytical quadrant when necessary and my behaviors sure don't fit a true Expressive.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hurricane Harvey and Climate Change?

Okay we know that hurricane Harvey is Jerry's fault... He just had to write this inaccurate statement... "Hurricanes have been almost entirely absent for the last ten years."  😀 Of course, now we have one of likely the most damaging ever, given its stalled state and dropping rain that is measured in feet, not inches.

For more of Jerry's wisdom ...
G2A How to Deal with Rising Oceans
G2A RCPs and Forecasts
G2A More on Climate Change

Trump Inconsistencies / Turnover

I think this is interesting.  CNN 3 Stories Hidden by Harvey

After promising to support the rights of LGBTQ citizens during the campaign, Trump chooses to ban transgender people from joining the military,  Even though thousands of them have served admirably in the past. How people see Trump as honest and/or reliable is beyond me.

After promising to be the law and order President, he chooses to pardon a Sheriff who knowingly violated the orders of a US District Judge. And important here is that apparently he did not have the Justice department review the situation. He just saw that a Politic Crony was in legal trouble and chose to pardon him.  This bodes poorly for the future. Why have a legal system if our President is going to ignore it?  And Conservative thought Obama acted like a Dictator...

And then there of course is the continuing incredible turnover in the White House.  So either the President is totally incompetent at interviewing and hiring, or he is nearly impossible to work with.

Great Job Skills Training

It looks like a I may have found a reason to bring even more stuff to Goodwill...  This looks like an excellent program!!!

MP Job Training Program

Goodwill Easter Seals Training Site

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Trump Unhinged... again...

I often wonder how people can still listen to Trump speak and not just shake their heads at his delusional view of reality...  The American business leaders defected at such an alarming rate and yet the Trump believers seem to be willing to listen to his cherry picked phrases and cheer...  While forgetting that it was the complete sentences that got him in trouble.

CNN 57 Most Outrageous Quotes
CNN Trump at War with Himself
CNN Fact Checking Phoenix
FOX Trump Goes on Rampage


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Matter of Priorities

MP America's Fall? A Matter of Priorities  Here is the first comment I posted there.

I do agree that "we have met the enemy and he is us".

The folks who choose to buy the best value product / service for themselves, no matter who's job it eliminates.

The folks who have more children than they can responsibly raise, thus squandering our country's huge investment in free public education and dooming their children to continued poverty / low academic capabilities / low skills.

Those folks having more children than they can afford to raise and care for, thus being dependent on others and drawing down the disposable incomes from their friends and neighbors.

Those who choose to not pursue a life of continuous learning and self improvement, thus remaining trapped in poverty and limiting the benefits they could have provided to our country's success.

Now I do agree that some improvements can be made on the other end of the wealth spectrum, however to deny the challenges I have noted above is irresponsible. The reality is that Defense spending is pretty low as a percent of GDP. It is the Entitlement spending that has massively increased with questionable consequences.

Defense Spending
Entitlement Spending
PEW Half of Kids Live in Traditional Family

What to Do with Afghanistan?

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Very Busy Weekend

Though I am sure there are more exciting things to discuss, I thought I would share something less earth shaking.  So this weekend I moved my oldest daughter to Oklahoma City for her new "post college" job !!! (ie one less tuition bill !!!)  And here is how it went:

  • Wednesday: Hooked my 2002 Suburban up to my big enclosed trailer and secured the last of her belongings for the trip.
  • Thursday: Drove to Ivanhoe, MN and picked up my friend for this adventure.  I also brought my golden lab Izzy because my daughter who was already in OK wanted to see her. Then we visited a friend in Lake City Ia and stayed over night.
  • Friday: We took the long trek to OKC and it was nearly 100 degrees when we got there.  We had dinner and unloaded .
  • Saturday: We went down and toured part of OKC called Brick Town and some lovely gardens they have downtown.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  Then the air conditioning compressor on my trusty old Suburban decided that 100 degrees in town was just too hot...
  • Sunday: Tim, Izzy and I drove in our very hot vehicle to Manhatten KS and stayed over night with his brother.
  • Monday: We headed to Cameron, MO for lunch and to checkout the eclipse. Unfortunately the weather did not fully cooperate, but the clouds did make the drive more comfortable. (see pics below) It was fun to see, however I am happy it was on the way... And now I am home and Tim is taking my Suburban and trailer out to the farm until Winter comes.
Well it was an excellent and memorable weekend, however I am sure going to be happy to be sitting at my desk tomorrow in an air conditioned office building.  :-)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Harris Charlottesville Poll

WNYC Harris Charlottesville Poll

"Nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) believe both sides are to the blame for violence in Charlottesville (vs. 39 percent who blame the white nationalists alone), lending credence to President Trump’s assertions this week. "

"The majority of Americans (54 percent) are either ‘not at all or not very satisfied' with how President Trump has responded to the Charlottesville protest. And 63 percent of Americans think The President should condemn white nationalists and other hate groups (among whites, 59% agree). And three-quarters of Americans believe the killing of Heather Heyer is an act of domestic terrorism."

Overall these results make sense to me...  Though it seems to me that:
  • Trump did condemn the White Nationalists on Monday.  Though he sent a mixed message on Tuesday when he tried to explain that both sides contributed to the violence and broke laws.
  • I am still on the fence regarding if the car incident was domestic terrorism or if the guy just lost it.  (terrorism defined: the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Use BMI with Care

On a much lighter topic... Or maybe heavier... :-)

Personally I like referencing the BMI chart, it is an easy and pretty accurate tool for the majority of people.  However the linked pieces do cover some exceptions that every one should be aware of.

Unfortunately even after losing 10+ lbs I am still at ~27 and unlikely to ever get back to a 25.  At 6" I would need to get down to ~185 Lbs.  I think I am pretty comfortable in the 195 to 200 range.

CNN: Calling BS on BMI
HN Using BMI Chart (chart below from there, touch to increase size)

Partisanship, Propaganda and Disinformation

A gift from Laurie:

Here is a post / link from K. Drum that I found interesting, maybe because it paints a picture or media consumption more favorable t the left. This will give you something new to argue against if it interests you. a link is provided to the full report if you don't like Drum's brief summary.

Fake News: It’s Mostly a Right-Wing Phenomenon

Harvard Report

I'll need to study it in more detail later. I do agree that folks on the Right and Far Right do have a hard time with the big picture and conflicting views. I mean their willingness to watch FOX News pretty well proves it.

Though it may be statistically significant, I sure don't think they have a monopoly on it. I can pretty much guarantee what my Liberal FB friends will post on, and it is not an unbiased middle of the road link.

As for the Trump vs Clinton coverage, I am curious if they counted all the media coverage of Trump's outrageous claims as discussing the issues... Like when Trump said Mexicans were murderers and rapists... The news gave him all kinds of negative coverage...  Now was that counted as discussing immigration or ripping on Trump?

Stereotyping and Prejudice

In the G2A Unite the Right post we have been discussing who was at the rally and why. Especially after Trump doubled down on his belief that both sides were responsible for the escalation. Here is some of the discussion.
"So you are all absolutely certain that every protester there was a neo-nazi, skin head, racist? Source please. It just seems to me that you are dehumanizing them, just as you accuse them of doing." G2A

"OK, let's assume that a person felt that from a purely historical standpoint that the statue should stay and said person was not racist or antisemitic. If you show up and see that the march isn't a bunch of like-minded folks, but rather a bunch of neo-Nazis, why do you stay around and join with them? Who says, "Hey, I bet these dudes with swastikas and yelling the n-word and talking baout how Jews control everything are just the right people to help make sure the Confederate status stays up?" Sean

"There is no way an intelligent, non racist person should / would join that rally with neo nazis and the KKK. If one joins them they share in the blame for their views and actions. The racist views were central to this demonstration and not from some tiny faction. Someone could take their deep love of confederate history and write a letter to the editor about don't remove the statue." Laurie
Then I provided some links that explained the diversity of groups that were gathered in town that day.
DP Unite the Right Attracts More Radical Attention
NPR Collection of Groups
SLPC Bickering Galore

Now apparently the Liberal logic is that if you choose to join a broad scoped protest...  You are now officially part of the worst faction who participated in the protest...  So with this in mind, does that mean that Liberals who participate in a protest where folks from Antifa show up in black masks and break stuff are now full fledge supporters of political violence?

I will never understand the desire by both the far Left and far Right to Stereotype groups and be Prejudiced...  :-(

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Centrist Health Care

I am just putting this here because it fell of the front page at MinnPost and comments were occurring until now. MP Centrist Health Care  On second thought I chose to bring Sean and my discussion here...  No sense waiting for their Moderation.
"The problems of the Medicare reimbursement rate can be solved. In fact, Maryland has taken a couple of critical steps to solving it. First, they have an "all-payer" model, where all third-party payers (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance) pay the same rate for the same service. The rates are typically higher than Medicare/Medicaid, and lower than private insurance rates from before the reform. This has been combined with initial steps to move beyond a fee-for-service model by capping hospital revenue on a per capita basis." Sean

"It will be interesting to watch... Maryland Plan  Do you know if all hospitals and Doctors have to accept that one rate?" G2A

"If they are accepting third-party payments, yes. If the individual is paying out of pocket, then the provider is free to charge whatever rate they see fit." Sean

Sunday, August 13, 2017

How to Deal with Rising Oceans

I thought this was an interesting concept...
CNN Tech Dutch Test Floating Islands
Wiki Off Shore Wind Farms

And just think how easy it will be for rich people to set up their own exclusive island country with it's own laws...  They can just have it built in the future. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Unite The Right and Opponents

Sean asked... "Are you enjoying the "economic anxiety" rallies going on in Virginia? "  My google search took me hear...  CNN Unite the Right  Is this what you are talking about?

If so I guess my answer is that it takes 2 to fight...  My guess is that the Far Left folks will out number them and cause most of the problems.  I am also against taking down so many historical statues just because they are politically incorrect.  Kind of like the silly people who a going to rename Lake Calhoun to something people can not pronounce.

MN ESSA Feedback Request

From Jerry:
MDE has asked for public comment on a tediously long and politically correct document, full of high-sounding words and woefully short on real substance. I predict 10 more years of education failure in MN. See what you think. MN DOE Asks for ESSA Plan Feedback
Of course I went immediately to the ESSA Accountability Document, which is long and full of words.  Unfortunately as I often say, I just don't see accountability improving until Education MN and the Public School bureaucrats are willing to truly change the system...  Which unfortunately for the unlucky kids is not likely to happen anytime soon.

History of Gerrymandering

Eric explains the history and significance of gerrymandering in this MP post.  And he details a case in Wisc that is pending.  It and the comments are somewhat interesting. Thoughts?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Balance of Power

I really wonder if Trump will ever figure out that he is not the Boss?  I wonder if this is how he treated potential customers and business partners when he was trying to make a deal?

CNN Trump Just Picked a Dumb Fight with McConnell
VOX Trump Tweets McConnell Should Back to Work
FOX Trump Blasts McConnell

Let's think, McConnell is 75 years old, just got elected for 6 years and reports to the People of Kentucky.  Why again should he care about taunts from a petulant youngster?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fixing Income Inequality

From Laurie

I am going to stick to the topic about jobs and wages with a K Drum link about wages:
Chart of the Day: Middle Class Incomes vs. the Rich, 1946-2014

I believe the median income should go up and the super rich should pay more taxes. We could use some tax revenue for infrastructure which would help middle class jobs.

Can't decide what to add about education subtopic except educating low income ELL (learning English) students is very difficult.

from NYT piece Drum Links:
Our Broken Economy, in One Simple Chart

"It’s true that the country can’t magically return to the 1950s and 1960s (nor would we want to, all things considered). Economic growth was faster in those decades than we can reasonably expect today. Yet there is nothing natural about the distribution of today’s growth — the fact that our economic bounty flows overwhelmingly to a small share of the population.

Different policies could produce a different outcome. My list would start with a tax code that does less to favor the affluent, a better-functioning education system, more bargaining power for workers and less tolerance for corporate consolidation.

Remarkably, President Trump and the Republican leaders in Congress are trying to go in the other direction. They spent months trying to take away health insurance from millions of middle-class and poor families. Their initial tax-reform plans would reduce taxes for the rich much more than for everyone else. And they want to cut spending on schools, even though education is the single best way to improve middle-class living standards over the long term.

Most Americans would look at these charts and conclude that inequality is out of control. The president, on the other hand, seems to think that inequality isn’t big enough."

Monday, August 7, 2017

How are Jobs and Wages Doing?

As Trump claims that he is making a big difference...  I find the following links and quote interesting.

CNN We Still Have Jobs Problem
CNN Money How is the Economy
Politico Jobs Growth at 1 Million

"The pattern of job growth in 2017 remains essentially the same as in 2016. According to the Labor Department, an average of 184,000 jobs per month have been created this year, compared to 187,000 in 2016. If you eliminate January, when President Barack Obama was still in office, the monthly average is a somewhat lower 179,000.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) called the report “solid” and said, “Our economy is making steady progress with more people entering the labor force and continued job creation.” But he cautioned that the report “also shows too many Americans are still having a hard time finding good-paying jobs, getting a raise, and providing for their families.” " Politico Piece

A Centrist Health Plan

Apparently Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (moderate Democrat) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (moderate Republican) made an interesting pitch on "Face the Nation" Sunday.  Eric at MP discusses it here.

Unfortunately with so many citizens living in their Far Left or Far Right bubbles...  I really do not know how this would happen...

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Can DFL Reconnect with Rural / Outer Burbs

This MP Post discusses one of my favorite topics. Here is the first comment I left here.
"I agree with Karen:
Matt, I keep hearing that the Democratic Party is supposed to be open to people with different views, and yet your response seems more typical. Apparently Democratic politicians need to comply with your views on social issues our they don't count. 
It seems to me that the Democratic and Republican politicians have the same problem... They are focusing on their further Left and further Right party members, and therefore losing the votes of those who live in the middle. 
The good news is that more moderate folks like myself will have greater impact in future elections. The down side though is that who ever wins always wants to take a hard left or right..." G2A

On Vacation. Again...

Now isn't Trump the guy who said he would have no time for vacations because he would be too busy working for us citizens?

Didn't he also criticize Obama for taking too much vacation and playing too much golf?

Now it turns out Trump is the guy spending a LOT more time on vacations and golf.  Not to mention the huge amount more his travel and security is costing us citizens.  I truly wonder sometimes if Trump feels any regret for all the lies he spews forth?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Grading Immigrants

I personally am fine with scoring immigrants and prioritizing the entry of the ones that will make America great...  And since there is no shortage of English speaking workers from most countries who would love to move there.  The CNN reporter was just being silly.

My thoughts from Beijing...

Friday, July 28, 2017

Healthcare Repeal Stalled

Let's hope the politicians stop playing partisan games now and start working to improve ACA...  Probably won't happen, but I can dream.

CNN ACA Repeal Effort Fails

The skinny bill would have been foolish, since it would have:
  • Removed the mandates
  • Removed funding sources
  • And not cut the expenses significantly
In other words it would have been a disaster.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Who Would Want to Work for Trump?

After watching how Trump is treating Sessions, I really am curious why anyone in their right mind would want to work for Trump?

I mean it is hard enough to put up with a boss like him when he treats you like that in the privacy of their office.  But to put up with a boss who rips you a new one in front of everyone in the whole world...

And then it looks like Rex Tillerson may have had enough of Trump's antics.  And given that he is ~65 years old and worth ~$245 million... Why should he?

CNN Trump - Sessions Soap Opera
VOX Why Trump Suddenly Hates HIS AG
Fox News Trump Leaves Session Dangling
CNN Chill Emanating from the WH

GOP Senators Pass First Hurdle

Well they just got off the starting line...  It seems to me they should spending less time on this and more time on taxes, budgets, etc.  Thoughts?

MP Would Stalemate Bring DEMs and GOPers Together

CNN Senators Advance Bill
CNN Boehner's Thoughts
Fox News McCain Comments
VOX What Happens Next
VOX DEM Game Plan

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dayton and The Estate Tax

Apparently Dayton wants to re-negotiate the estate tax change amongst other things. MPR Dayton Veto Now I think MN should get rid of their estate tax since they are one of the few states that have one. Therefore it encourages many wealthy households to relocate out of this State.

And yet I get so frustrated when Conservatives say things like this. "Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, chair of the House Taxes Committee, describes the estate tax as "not very Minnesota nice." People who already pay taxes on their wealth should not be hit again when they die, he added. "I want to work every day to try and raise those numbers so more families can keep more of what their mothers and fathers and grandfathers and grandmothers have earned."

The strange thing from what I understand is that dying is one good way to ensure you do not pay your capital gains taxes.
"Much of the money that wealthy heirs inherit would never face any taxation were it not for the estate tax. In fact, that’s one reason why policymakers created the estate tax in 1916: to serve as a backstop to the income tax, taxing the income of wealthy taxpayers that would otherwise go completely untaxed.

Under the current tax system, capital gains tax is due on the appreciation of assets, such as real estate, stock, or an art collection, only when the owner “realizes” the gain (usually by selling the asset). Therefore, the increase in the value of an asset is never subject to income tax if the owner holds on to the asset until death.

These unrealized capital gains account for a significant proportion of the assets held by estates — ranging from 32 percent for estates worth between $5 million and $10 million to as much as about 55 percent of the value of estates worth more than $100 million. (See Figure 4.)

The estate tax also serves as a modest corrective to other tax rules that provide massive tax benefits to income from wealth, such as the fact that capital gains are taxed at lower rates than wages and salaries. The top 0.1 percent of taxpayers — those with incomes above $3.1 million — will receive 56 percent of the benefit of the preferential capital gains rates in 2017, worth more than $600,000 apiece. Other tax rules allow part of the income of the very wealthiest to go completely untaxed, even with the estate tax.

Since the estate tax serves, in part, to tax capital gains that have not otherwise been taxed, some people have proposed taxing estates at the top capital gains rate, currently 23.8 percent. This argument is flawed: the capital gains tax rates typically apply to nearly all capital gains income, whereas the estate tax applies only to the part of an estate that exceeds the exemption level. (The estate tax’s average effective rate of 17 percent in 2017 is below the capital gains rate.) "

Friday, July 21, 2017

Buy American or Not

Since you know that I think many of the challenges American workers face are self inflicted by our limitless consumer desire for the low cost best stuff.

I mean many Americans want the lowest cost, highest feature, highest quality, best performing , etc products and services, and don't care where that money goes as long as they save a few bucks and get their dream product / service.

While at the same time insisting that American workers should be paid.  Which of course is kind of insane.

 I find Trump's Buy American pitch promising, though I think he and his company should start putting their money where their mouth is.

WH List of Accomplishments
CNN Trump Promotes Buy American while Mar-a-Lago Seeks Foreign Workers
WAPO Buy American
Reuters Allowing More Seasonal Workers While Pushing Buy American
WAPO Trump Products are Made Where

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Judge Rules Against Dayton Veto

Briana does a good job of detailing this topic.  MP Judge Rules

Personally I think it is the silliest thing Dayton has done.  Next year we will hear that the GOP legislature has defunded the Courts and the Governor. :-)

Trump's Strange Conflict of Interest Concept

Fox Trump Interview
CNN Trump Interview
VOX Trump Interview

Well the above pieces pretty much support Hiram's comments from the Trump Jr post... Trump seems to think that he is appointing personal employees who should put his wants first, when he is actually appointing government employees who's job is to put our people and the law first. Inside his head must be a very strange place.
"Crimes are statutory things and the criminal statutes are published on the internet. Generally speaking, the criminal law doesn't speak of "collusion", the legal term of art is "conspiracy". Conspiracy is pretty much the same in terms of penalty as the crime itself. 
In terms of right to know, Trump has a basic problem. For the first time in his life perhaps, Donald Trump is an employee. In this new and unfamiliar role, Trump hasn't seemed to grasp that his scope for keeping secrets from the people he works for is highly limited. Nor does he seem to understand that there isn't anybody around him who is under any personal obligation to keep his secrets for him.  
Trump gives every appearance of thinking "leaking" is illegal, which it hardly ever is. Anyone, both inside and the outside of the White House in this free country is free to give their version of events to any reporter that person chooses to. In Trump's business world he prevented that by making everyone sign confidentiality agreements. Nobody he works with now has signed such an agreement." Hiram 
"Agreed. That is why Trump had Comey fired.
Comey was a centrist who worked for the USA.
Trump wants people that are "loyal to him".
Of course that is hard to find in a Public Institution." G2A 
"Trump fired Comey because Comey was pressing the Russian investigation.
Trump still thinks in terms of loyalty. He is mad at some Republican senators because they weren't loyal. He really hasn't figured out that members of Congress don't work for him. His desire for loyalty helps to explain the nepotism, the need he feels to surround himself with family members".--Hiram

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Basic Income to End Poverty

Since the basic income concept intrigues some folks, here is an interesting piece on it.
VOX A Basic Income
The Hill Zuckerberg

I am not sold on it by any means, but am open to the concept if it eliminates all these different welfare programs.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Child Protection Struggles

Here is a worthwhile read.  MP CPS Struggles  Maybe I am sensitive to the topic after listening to NPR Reveal No Where to Run on the way home from the lake on Sunday.

Of course while these folks are concerned about how to raise funding and resources to manage the growing case load...  I am more interested in how we as a society can prevent these dysfunctional  Baby Mamas and Papas from having / keeping kids in the first place.


Police Racial Bias

Where are all the Protesters...  I mean a Black Police Officer shot a White Woman...  Isn't this another case of racial profiling?  Or is it simply a reality that sometimes really terrible things happen to good people.

VOX Australians React
CNN What We Know and Do Not Know

Do you think the BLM folks will protest until the Black officer is thrown in jail?

GOP Healthcare Unravel

This opinion piece is interesting. CNN 7 Uncomfortable Truths

And Trump's response... FOX Let's Repeal Obamacare...

I think practically that is the only way we could get both sides talking about something better...  But I think that uncertainty would be devastating for patients, healthcare systems and the insurance industry.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Trump Approval: How Low Can It Go?

It seems only the Trump true believers still believe, and I would think many of them would be frustrated with his lack of progress.  Though it seems nothing sticks to him in their eyes.

I have heard the True Believers blame Paul Ryan, the obstructionist DEMs, the moderate Republicans, the lying media, etc.  However rarely do I hear them blame Trump for his leadership and communication failures.  It simply amazes me...

It is like they have attached so much of their pride and hopes to him that they can not acknowledge his failures, without harming themselves. I am sure there is some psychological term for this.

CNN Trump Approval at Record Lows
RCP Trump Approval / Disapproval
The Hill Trump Approval at Record Low
Heroes and Villains

Climate, RCPs and Forecasts

Jerry is confusing me again... So here we go:
"The IPCC uses four different "Representative Concentration Pathways," (replacing the complex set of "scenarios" i.e. assumptions about what the future will bring) as far as human emissions are concerned. They make assumptions about population, economic growth, energy requirements and production, "carbon intensity" of that energy, etc. LOTS of assumptions, and put them in 4 general categories: RCP 8.5, 6.0, 4.5, and 2.6. [as I understand it, named after the "old" predictions of temperature rise for each] The 100-year warming predicted, based on those RCPs, range from 0.3 to 4.8 degrees C. [You see why I say their predictive value is worthless?] They then have a "standard" computer tool called MAGICC, which quickly calculates the results of any change to basic parameters, rather than run thousands of hours of computer calculations.

Read Lomborg's paper and you find that he used RCP 8.5 (the "business as usual" scenario) and MAGICC to get his answers, the same thing other researchers have done, and achieved the same result-- that Paris doesn't matter because human CO2 is relatively insignificant, as I have shown using very simple math. You can do it with the lower emissions scenarios-- 6.0, etc.-- but of course the impact of adding Paris is even smaller.

You simply have to get to the point where you believe the actual math rather than the hyperventilating politicians with vested interests in keeping this scare going. Even some of them will very quietly admit that Paris "doesn't do much" by itself and that "much more is needed" to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees (an increase many consider beneficial). Why should that be, when the average of the 100-year climate models is now 2.5 degrees and falling (because of better understanding of "climate sensitivity," for one thing), and is still above simple projections of the historical record?" Jerry
Now what one has to remember is that this Lomborg is a Political Science major who has been dubbed dishonest and unqualified.  Here is a description of the RCPs and the graphed results.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Baby Charlie Gard

This is a fascinating story and I am sure happy that I am not the judge.  I hoper he is as wise as King Solomon.
  • Does society let the Parents turn their son into a lab rat?
  • Does society let the Baby die by removing life support?
  • How much is society willing to spend on 1 genetically flawed baby as others normal babies and children die needlessly?
  • Other?
CNN Charlie Gard Update

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trump Jr's Problems

We have discussed this elsewhere... But I thought you would like a actual related post.

FOX News Trump Jr Emails
CNN Trump... "I Know Nothing!!!  Channeling Sgt Schultz...
VOX We Are Beyond Innocent Explanations

Here are the last 2 comments from "elsewhere".

"It definitely does sound like juicy political intrigue, I wonder if any of it was illegal? I guess we will see what Mueller's investigation determines.

Kind of like we did when Clinton purposefully kept her business emails off the business server for questionable reasons.

I keep thinking I will be reusing the old Clinton post title with a new set of names...

"Trump Etal is Irresponsible / Negligent, Not Criminal"

I agree that the Trump etal folks are worse than Clinton, I just don't where illegal starts for Private citizens meeting with foreign parties." G2A

Campaign finance law prohibits the soliciting, accepting, or receiving contributions or donations -- which include in-kind contributions such as research -- from a foreign national.

If there's more where this came from, there could also be (at minimum) a conspiracy case related to election fraud. " Sean

More on Minimum Wage Increases

This is actually a pretty good piece on FOX News regarding Min Wage Increases across the country.

It is interesting how results and analysis varies.

Monday, July 10, 2017

More on Climate Change

From Laurie:
"Nothing I read lately on healthcare interests me enough to share or comment, but something I read on climate change does. There is this from K.Drum:

Our Approach to Climate Change Isn’t Working. Let’s Try Something Else.

I don't have the energy right now to read the Doom's day link Drum's post references. But here it is for people here to also ignore, as this topic never gets much interest here except from Jerry:

The Uninhabitable Earth Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.

Jerry: Reduce Healthcare Costs, Maintain Quality

From G2A Who Demands Compliance Jerry said
"Healthcare requires money. Well said, but it makes the glaringly erroneous assumption that the only way to deliver health care is exactly the way it is done today. As I've said before, four changes would reduce our total costs by about 50% without affecting quality. So should we NOT do those things, just because we might be able to lower taxes for somebody? I'm not understanding the reasoning, here. It looks like an attempt to keep a political argument alive, regardless of what the "right thing to do" might be. " Jerry
I asked him to provide them and here are the answers.
"Actually, they aren't mine; they come from a Mayo study many years ago. They are:
  1. Eliminate first dollar coverage. Every use of the system costs /something/ (a copay, IOW). 
  2. Eliminate fee-for-service. This is the big one. Rather than doing what is the quickest and best treatment, doctors are led to do what pays the best or, more likely, to add on something unnecessary just to cover their costs.
  3. Eliminate third-party payers. Forget single-payer. Everybody pays their own fees or buys insurance on their own. If they get a stipend or a tax credit to do so, that's their own affair. 
  4. Eliminate defensive medicine. The malpractice system is out of control and drives up costs, not directly, but indirectly.
To that we should add, now, deregulation of the health insurance industry. If I want, I should be able to buy a "catastrophic only" policy, or open an HSA or "prepaid care account," without government telling me I can't. 
"We just have a whole lot of well paid people in the system." G2A
"And yet that marketplace is badly distorted by government regulation. Medicare tells doctors they can only get, say, $250 for an appendectomy (I have no idea, but) the doctor doesn't make a penny unless he charges at least $500. So he makes it up somewhere else or refuses to do it. If the doctor could charge, say $550, he might get "rich," but do we really want to hire the low-cost bidder for something like that?  
And by law, all insurance companies in Minnesota are "non-profit." Why would anybody get into that business?
In fact, the whole idea seems illogical to me. If we had a free (or mostly free) market in health care, prices would be set by the millions of individual choices and implicit contracts made between providers and patients-- sellers and buyers. The best and/or scarcest goods and services would make those providers "rich" and everybody else would enter the market at the point where they saw a beneficial exchange, or exit the business for lack of business. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. " Jerry