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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Obama Comes To Bland County

Well, actually it was a paid advertisement for his "stimulus" plan, an advertisement that showed up just this side of the East River Mountain Tunnel on I-77 northbound a few weeks ago.

A sign that was intended to make the traveling public know that Obama's BIG PLAN was working.

The related work on an overpass on the West Virginia side of the tunnel lasted only a few days. As did the sign.

But the contribution to our national debt - 2.6 million taxpayer dollars - that went to the construction of these goddam signs that served no purpose other than to try to make people think that Obama knows what he's doing will live on and on and on and ...

For the love of God, does anyone in Washington have an ounce of compassion for the hard-working men and women of this country?

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Oh, by the way, regarding Obama's stimulus effort? Outside of a really happy sign maker somewhere (any bets on whether it was a Democratic Party insider?), the rest of America is still waiting for their stimulation. See "42 states lose jobs in August, up from 29 in July."

Any more stimulus and we'll all be out of work.

This Has Been a 'Healthy' Debate

So what have we as Americans decided about our health care system after all the proposals have been offered, studies have been released, souls have been searched, and bank accounts have been analyzed?

Two things:

1) The product offered to us is expensive.

2) It's a darn good product that's worth the price.

And, based on the reactions of all those folks at America's town hall shouting matches, maybe a third: SCREW WITH IT, DEMOCRATS, AT YOUR OWN PERIL.

The latest feedback on the metamorphosis of American opinion that has gone from "We have the worse system on the planet" to "Please don't take away my health care":
FOX News Poll: Americans Prefer Current System to Obama's Health Care Plan
By Dana Blanton, Fox News

Most Americans see no upside for their family in the health care reforms being considered in Washington and don't believe President Obama when he says his plan won't add "one dime" to the federal deficit. The majority of Americans believe they will have to make changes to their health care coverage if the president's plan is passed.

These are just some of the findings of a new FOX News poll released Thursday.

More Americans would rather Congress do nothing than pass Obama's plan: 46 percent to 37 percent of people polled say they prefer the current health care system to the one the president has proposed.

Similarly, more people oppose — 48 percent — the health care reform legislation being considered right now than favor it — 38 percent. While most Democrats — 65 percent — favor the reforms, majorities of Republicans — 79 percent — and independents (55 percent) oppose them. [link]
First, on a side note: We need to quit polling Democrats. They're either unemployed and will be fine with ObamaCare as long as the government continues to give them their free ride, or they're employed by the government and they know that their gold-plated health care coverage won't be affected no matter what Obama and Congress do to us schleps in the private sector. Their opinions don't count.

Second, isn't it amazing that America has reached this point? After all the data has been dumped on us, after all the speeches and lectures, after the debates, an increasing number of citizens are finally recognizing what I've known all along: We have the best health care delivery system on the planet. And any government interference will only damage it.

I continue to love you guys. You rock!

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I was asked recently in an email how I would "fix health care." A fair question, the answer to which would require more time than I have available to me without appropriate compensation.

A few thoughts for your consideration:

1) As you might surmise from the above, I think the "care" that is provided us is wonderful. Yeah, there are the headaches and the anecdotal horror stories, but all things considered, we have a great system. As time goes by, it will become greater, and ever greater. And I watch in awe as it evolves.

2) The problems we have don't relate to care (in the broad sense) but to cost of care. We want a Lexus - no, we expect, demand! a Lexus - in our garage but we want our monthly payments for that luxury vehicle to be commensurate with payments on a beat-up Yugo. If we're ill, then, by God, the insurance company is supposed to pay for it! At $9.95 a month!

Really.

Well, rather than try to alter that mindset, I'd confront it. I'll call it the Verizon approach to American health care. You want total and absolute coverage? Then we should require* that all health insurance companies provide it. And charge accordingly. Verizon calls it its "unlimited premium" plan. The big plan with the big price tag.

Verizon, wisely, spells out in great detail exactly what you get for that hefty sum. It's not completely unlimited but its offering exceeds the needs of most cellular users. Great package at a weighty price. Sweet.

(This, by the way, is what every American seems to expect from the insurance company. Premium and unlimited. Oh, so you know, Verizon will charge $129.99 a month for that Lexus of cellular plans. You want the best? You pay for the best. )

You can't afford "Premium"? Then how about "Select"?

No?

Then "Basic" is for you. A plan that starts at $39.99. With limited coverage and no bells and whistles. Health care coverage that will provide for your basic care but won't pay for the big things. If insurance companies spell out in great detail what's covered - and what's not - in book form, if necessary - then who can complain? Using the Verizon analogy: When a "Basic" plan customer tries to make a call to Shanghai and is told that his plan doesn't cover the opportunity, is it Verizon's fault?

"Pre-existing conditions"? Plan for "conditions." Or don't whine when the decisions you made to save money bite you in the ass. The options were made available. (Refer to "the book.") You chose. The onus is on you, pal.

3) Tort reform. Reducing health care costs by reducing the destructive need on the part of doctors and hospitals for defensive medicine.

Eliminating frivolous lawsuits too.

"Loser pays" too.

Lassoing workers compensation abuses.

And all that ...

I use stinted language here because I know there's not a prayer that these vital reforms will ever see the light of day and I choose to not waste a lot of bytes on the subject. All those lawyers in the halls of Congress are going to crack down on the lawyer community and cut our health care costs by a third? When pigs fly.

4) Plan pooling, cross-state-border pooling, etc.

5) A different emphasis on federal government spending. Look, this will open some eyes, I know, but we need to reduce, dramatically, our defense spending, and shift funds to care for the elderly and the infirm (notice I didn't include the poor; they receive adequate funding now; they need to find gainful employment) The demographics in the USA have changed over the years. A lot fewer young people are now responsible for the care of a host of old people. The numbers, as they add up, don't work. And, as baby boomers retire en masse, the situation will only become more burdensome. This can't be sustained.

We need to look at using our military spending for the defense of the homeland and reduce our presence around the globe. Last I heard, we had 44,000 American soldiers stationed - permanently - in South Korea. Why? It's time the South Koreans defended South Korea. We're broke.

Same for Japan.

Germany? Italy? England? Wasn't there some organization that was created to defend them? Oh, yeah. NATO. Well, let NATO - minus the U.S. - do what it was supposed to do. We need cash for health care for our elderly. And bad. They can start taking care of themselves. We can no longer afford to.

Bring 'em home. Station them here. Save trillions (over time).

* And demand that the French start protecting and maintaining our national cemeteries along the Normandy shore. They owe us that much.

I know this sounds isolationist. And maybe it is, to a degree. But we can't be the world's policeman any more. We're tapped out.

We can, however, be the world's SWAT team. Iran's a threat? Go in. Neutralize the threat. Come home. Russia invades Poland? Transform Russia from the running sewer that it is into the world's biggest sand box. And come home.

We cannot afford to be all things to all people everywhere. Not any more.

And then there's foreign aid. While China is keeping us afloat by lending us trillions of dollars so that we don't sink into third-world status, we give billions to other countries. It was good while it lasted, and we all felt good about it, but ... China is keeping us afloat, for God's sake.

We are now the world's biggest debtor nation. We need to get our arms around that happenstance.

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These are some random thoughts off the top of my head.

I encourage Nancy Pelosi to adopt my plan. She can even claim ownership. I'll not ask for anything in return except for sanity to return to the discussion about the health care delivery system in these United States.

As if ...

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* I know it's another government mandate. But this cruise ship has left the dock. People expect close government oversight of our system and we'll lose if we try to fight it. Let's just alter course rather than put it in reverse.

Another Nail In The Coffin

If the ObamaCare proposals aren't troubling enough, add to the angst the fact that state taxes will have to go up when it comes time to implement that which the federal government mandates.

Tim Hugo, Delegate, Virginia's 40th District:
To date, much of the debate has centered around the potential costs to the federal government and the possible funding mechanisms associated with these proposals. The Congressional Budget Office, economists, and reputable officials across the political spectrum have indicated that President Obama's promise to pay for health care reform largely with Medicare and Medicaid cuts is, at best, grossly optimistic.

Yet, what strikes me as most disturbing is the lack of discussion as to how this federal health care reform bill will impact Virginia's tax and spending policies.

The health care bills before Congress all operate under the premise that Medicaid eligibility requirements will be dramatically expanded. Yet, Medicaid is a program jointly funded by the federal government and the states. Thus, if the federal government expands the eligibility requirements; then Virginia, and other states, will pick up a large chunk of the tab. In fact, the Executive Director of the bipartisan National Governors Association stated before Congress that these proposals will cost the states "tens of billions of dollars per year."

Simply, in difficult economic times, the federal government is preparing to saddle Virginians with another unfunded mandate under the guise of health care reform. And, with these tight budgets and soaring deficits, how will we pay for the Obama health care reform? There are two ways, we can further cut services or Virginia can raise taxes.

When you hear President Obama, Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds, Delegate candidates, or possibly Governor/DNC Chairman Tim Kaine espouse support for President Obama's health care bill, ask them what they think about the Virginia tax increase that will come with President Obama's reform.
You can ask. But don't expect a straight answer.

Hugo letter received via email.

We Live In Different Worlds

While most Americans landscape their driveway borders with hedges and flower beds, trees and brick walls, we use boulders.

Well, actually God did the landscaping in my case.

And a nice job He did.

Emphasis Where It Counts

While politicians in Southwest Virginia still cling to the notion that government-funded hiking trails and bike paths are the key to our economic salvation, there are a few who concentrate on that which really will turn things around here.

Business.

Particularly small businesses, where most of America's job creation comes from.

It's good to see their efforts don't go unrecognized:
National Federation of Independent Business Endorses Crockett-Stark for Delegate

The Virginia chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) announced this week that the group endorsed Delegate Anne B. Crockett-Stark, R-6th, in the race for House of Delegates.

"I'm honored to earn the endorsement of the NFIB," Crockett-Stark said. "Small and independent owned businesses are the backbone of our economy. Individuals and families put a lot on the line in order to start and run a small business. As your delegate, I will continue to support policies that allow them to grow and flourish, especially in these difficult economic times."

NFIB represents nearly 6,000 small and independent business owners and entrepreneurs on various public policy matters in the Commonwealth.

Crockett-Stark was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2005. She represents all of Bland and parts of Giles, Pulaski, Tazewell and Wythe counties.
Here's to Annie B. She knows where her focus needs to be.

Announcement received in a Friends of Anne B. Crockett-Stark email.

Sarah Palin She Ain't

So Obama's wife has decided to step into the fray.

It was just a matter of time, we all knew.

But understand, that now makes her fair game for criticism.

So here's the Maybe She Should Stay Home And Bake Cookies Criticism of the Day.

Bloomberg:

"Michelle Obama said women are being 'crushed by the current structure of our health care' because they often are responsible for taking care of family illnesses, arranging checkups and monitoring follow-up care."

Someone want to tell me how anything Obama has proposed, or anything Obama can pull out of his magic hat, can keep women from being responsible for taking care of family illnesses, arranging checkups, and monitoring follow-up care? Is there a nanny-for-everyone provision in the ObamaCare proposals that are bouncing off the walls of Congress?

I remember, not long ago, the harsh criticisms that were spewed at Sarah Palin for her having made statements that were far, far less idiotic than that.

I wonder if Katie Couric will pounce. I wonder ...

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On a separate note, and at the risk of being accused of being tactless, is that her butt or does she have a hot air balloon hidden in there?

So Predictable

What do you suppose business owners and CEO's are going to do when Obama raises their health care costs? You think the shareholders and the bottom line are going to suffer if they can prevent it?

No.

Bend over, baby. ObamaCare has a surprise for you:

87% of Employers to Reduce Benefits if Health Care Reform Increases Costs

It's always amazed me that people out there still think that when Democrats raise taxes on business that businesses actually pay them. They don't. YOU DO. Either through higher prices or reduced benefits.

Say what you will about those evil corporations, but their first obligation isn't to you. It's to maximizing shareholder equity.

The cold, hard reality of life.

Is that a squeal I hear?

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The article cited above came with a revealing bar graph:

Two points:

1) Businesses aren't in business to go out of business. Thus the predictable reaction shown here by business leaders.

2) Regarding the 11% who are prepared to "accept reduced profits," they should be sent packing. They have an obligation to do just the opposite.

Of course, they may be lying through their teeth ...

* Graph courtesy of NewsBusters.