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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 15, 2012 - Morning Headlines

Morning Headlines:

- Tempers heat up as Afghan protesters demand the American soldier accused in the killing 16 Afghan citizens be tried in Afghanistan (CNN):

- New CBO estimates claim Obamacare is twice as expected as originally thought (Fox News):

- After backlogs slowed the process down, foreclosures are expected to increase (CNN Money):


  1. Afghanistan - I am glad the the US Gov't has the family of the soldier in protective custody. I hope, for their sake, that they can be relocated and go on to live somewhat normal lives. I don't think the wife/mom will be able to relax until the kids are grown. She will likely always feel like her family is threatened. I'm glad the gov't is stepping up for them!

    Obamacare - In my opinion, and I know most will disagree with me, we need a system that is more simple and without personal mandates. I believe we should have universal healthcare in this country. The health care industry is out of control. It needs to be better regulated which will help control the costs. Right now, the health care industry, and the insurance industry as a whole, is a racket that needs a smackdown!

    Foreclosures - This is an American tragedy of how the government will screw its people for political gain. As the OWS folks like to say, 'banks got bailed out, we got sold out'. The banks were allowed to survive but for the tax dollars of the American people. The government did not hold their feet to the fire and require them to refinance properties to stem the tide of foreclosures. The number of foreclosures dropped because the banks were acting illegally. Now that they have settled with the government (supposedly on our behalf) for pennies on the dollar, the engine is whirring back to full speed. What the government should have done, before the handed our money to these vultures, was to require the lenders to refinance troubled assets. Instead, the allowed the banks to make the rules up as they went along which only confused struggling homeowners and allowed the banks to seize the properties (which losses the banks will write off) and stick the homeowner with tens of thousands in unearned income tax. This bailout of the financial industry is one of the worst mistakes the government has made and I am generally supportive of the bailouts - such as the auto bailout which has had a tremendous positive result. The financial bailout was nothing but a payoff to the elitists. Lending practices haven't changed much nor has the culture of these institutions. As the economy gains momentum, expect the foreclosures to continue to heat up as the banks realize the profits from these assets... Simply disgusting!

    1. Whatsamattausa - Good morning!

      I am SUPER swamped at work today... which really stinks. I'd love to be able to give a full response, but I just wanted to tap into the universal healthcare part.

      Of course, as you probably know, I'm against it in any sense and any way. I do not want the gov't running anything; retirements (SS), necessities (food stamps), health (universal healthcare, medicaid), home (subsidized housing)... etc. etc. etc. People should be REQUIRED (by required, I mean they must do this on their own because the gov't won't do it for them) to provide for themselves. I wish I could get into more of an economic discussion about it, but it will have to be for another time (who knows, maybe later today if I can catch up) :-P

      I do have a quick question. It's nothing against you personally; it more just helps me me understand views overall. If I remember correctly, you're a Ron Paul fan. I'm almost sure that RP fans are against universal health care in general (I think he has referred to the Constitution to say that gov't programs like Obamacare... which, I do know is not universal healthcare... are not found in the Constitution), but I'm not totally sure. Hope to learn your view. If I don't get back to you, have a great day!

    2. LME -

      Again, I will never take respectful inquiry as a personal attack and I appreciate the fact that you are interested in understanding my position.

      I do support RP but not 100% of his views. I think the constitution likely does but heads with the ACA but I also don't think it prohibits a law establishing a universal health care code. Basically, I believe a universal healthcare law (not that is has to be run by the government but rather mandated/regulated - which may be viewed as being the same thing) creates a level playing field for all and truly establishes a 'free market' (whatever that means). I take 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' as a basis for universal healthcare. You cannot have life and the pursuit of happiness if you are not healthy (and the government seems to be chipping away at the whole liberty thing but that's for another time :)). I admit that that position may be a stretch but I'm not sure the logic can be argued. The health care industry is littered with holes (areas they can reject coverage) and, often times, insurance companies will reject you first and make you fight for what is rightfully yours. The last thing people need when stricken with a serious illness (or any illness for that matter) is having to fight with customer service folks who are instructed to say 'No' as it helps the bottom line. I am a believer in healthy mind, healthy body - in other words, one can will oneself to health in certain circumstances but their mind must be free of negativity. Health insurance companies, by the nature of being for profit, have a conflict of interest and the direct result is a detriment to the welfare of a human being. Further, a person should not be punished for being stricken with an illness when, in some cases, it could be the governments lack of appropriate oversight that causes such illness (though the latter point is really moot as I don't think it matters how the illness occurred) - such as not regulating air quality, not regulating subsurface extraction, etc.. It seems to me that, in 'the greatest country in the world', nobody should have to suffer because of illness. It could, in certain circumstances, come down to a choice of condemning oneself to death or to financial ruin/bankruptcy which is not a benefit to ones health. So, should someone choose life, they have then removed themselves from a number of employment opportunities as employers are allowed to delve deeper and deeper into peoples' personal lives. A bankruptcy on your record will make one ineligible for a number of jobs and undesirable for a lot of others (especially the better paying jobs). I also don't think the cost would be astronomical when you consider that medicare, medicaid, indigent care, etc. would all go away (this would be a great topic for an article and, if i can find the time will try to get actual costs). It could be funded by a small tax increase - I personally wouldn't mind paying all or a portion of what I currently pay as an additional tax to know that we live in a society that both preaches caring for others and allows its actions to set the example. A healthy society is a prosperous one!

      Hope your busy day is the 'good busy' and not the 'bad busy'! Look forward to chatting with you again on this or another/other topic(s).

  2. Hi All,

    Afghanistan - We don't know exactly what happened over there - and with the state of our State we might never know the whole truth of the thing. My heart goes out to that soldier and his family... but I feel that we need to get out of that area, now. Not only can we no longer help those people - they obviously DO NOT want our help. Bring 'em home.

    Health care - Health insurance was originally just that... 'what if' insurance, just in case 'something happened'. Initially ours covered a yearly check-up (more often for babies)and major injuries or illnesses. Our 'great' ins. included dental with a pretty large, but reasonable, yearly family deductible. Contraception and regular child birth were NOT covered. For our kids, we did a pay-as-you-go each visit for the doc and bought 'baby bonds' each payday from the hospital.

    (The 'regular' childbirth issue created a whole new and exciting issue of women who CHOSE, with NO medical need, to have a C-Section over a regular birth, so insurance would cover it... but that's another story.)

    Somewhere along the line, that changed and insurance companies are now required to cover just about EVERYTHING. And people cry 'those e-e-evil insurance companies' - and wonder why the cost went up and continues to rise?

    Universal health care must be - by necessity - rationed. The head of the monstrous thing said what we all knew - out loud.(can't remember his name) The people hit the hardest by this will be the very young, and the very old, as the socialist model is 'everything for the common good.'

    The insurance companies are on the middle rung of the medical cost thing - with docs/hospitals above, LAWYERS at the VERY top - and patients at the bottom. Whether we feel it's right or wrong, we must understand. In order to stay in business, they have to factor everything in.

    We need to rein in medical costs, but Obamacare is not the way to do it... as it stands right now, it will be twice as expensive as originally touted - with LESS people covered.

    Our local, state, property and federal taxes already pay for those people who have no health insurance, those same people will not be forced to pay the 'fine' involved for NOT buying it, because they cannot afford it.

    Following this line of reasoning - they'll still get theirs free - and I'll pay MORE for it. Adding insult to injury - I'll either LOSE my existing health insurance (which I've paid into for almost 40 years - with (knock on wood)very little need to actually use it) or it will become so expensive, due to the added burden on them - that I won't be able to afford it. I'm old(er: )- and when the time comes, I'd prefer NOT to have Medicare - or Government Run Obamacare - as my only healthcare choice.

    Before there's even a shadow of a chance to get this under control, we MUST have tort reform. National 'Loser pays' and award caps would be a great start. Unfortunately, most of our elected reps - are first and foremost - lawyers. btw We are the only civilized country that does NOT have 'loser pays.'

    1. (cont)

      The housing crisis - was born, way back in Carter's day - with 'affordable housing for ALL'. Everyone beats up the banks, but fail or refuse to understand that they were forced/coerced by ACORN (at the time, fully funded and backed by Congress) and others into making what they knew - up front - were bad loans. While the banks are in no way blameless, whole thing was just nuts. Back in the early 90's, banks were offering 120% loan to value refi's and zero to 3% down payment loans... I'm no economist, but as a 'what iffer' by nature - the whole thing looked to be just begging for trouble.

      This is not our first 'housing crisis', it's just much more widespread. In the past, things were allowed to run their course, and with time, they rallied, recovered the losses and gained in the long run.

      Instead, in today's society of 'instant gratification', we seek an immediate remedy. The result: This market was, and still is, being artificially bolstered. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear the 'true' bottom for housing still lurks in the future.

      (I really, really hope I'm wrong! We're planning to sell our home and move closer to our littlest granddaughter this summer : )

      Have a great day and @LME don't work TOO hard!

  3. I love when i hear discussions about healthcare:

    2 things I hear the most:

    1.) It will be rationed
    - SURPRISE! It already is, the people who can afford it get care, the ones that can't don't and if everyone could afford to get care by your logic it would still have to be rationed. The argument that rationing will take place is a supply and demand argument.


    - What a great american argument........ BRAVO!

    2.) I don't want to pay for someone else s problems……
    Guess what!

    You already pay for all the uninsured. The hospitals eat the bills of the people who come into the emergency room because they let a cold or cough get so bad they now have to go to the ER. The bill is then 3-5k easy....

    They can't afford to pay.... So the people who have insurance eat their bill.

    So think to yourself, would u rather eat a 250$ bill for a checkup at a local clinic and 50$ for the medicine prescribed or would u rather eat the 3-5k ER bill.

    My personal opinion:
    Open state boarders for health care

    Mandate hospitals post pricing and provide every bill itemized

    Have a government program that will provide no-interest loans for any bills over $1,000

    Create a nationwide optional health savings plan were u can deduct your own money tax free out of Your paycheck and get it deposited into your banks Health Saving’s Account.

    Create a national standard for hospital and clinic record keeping (might already be one I don’t know)

    Look into any medical or insurance companies who are potential monopolies or are “to big to fail” and break them up to try and help spur competition.

    Return the medical market into a market ran buy patients not by insurance companies & governments.

  4. @Loyalty Watcher.. I note several times in your post - government intervention.

    “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” George Washington

    Our founders never meant for the government to be a do-all, be-all, for every item of life, for all people. They fully expected everyone to take care of themselves. The ONLY exception is those who CAN NOT physically do so. Poverty, though sad, is not physical inability.

    'I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.' Benjamin Franklin

    For some reason you 'kids' say you don't like the govt. and then in the next breath seek to give them more and more power. Do you not understand that the more 'they' do for you - the more freedom(s)you give up? Freedom IS NOT free.

    "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government." Patrick Henry


    I know this is preaching to the choir - but here goes:

    Hospitals already provide itemized bills - one for my father stretched up - and down - the hall THREE times... my mom's last trip to the hosp was over $100,000; five years ago, our littlest granddaughter was born aschemic(not breathing)She was life flighted to Denver Children's hospital, where she was treated and stayed for five days. The final bill was well over $100,000.

    Yes - we have health insurance that WE paid for - we were also required to arrange payments for a massive amount that was NOT covered. They received care that saved their lives, so we have no complaints... That's life.

    Yes - 'they' COULD allow the sale of insurance across state lines - it's been struck down, each and every time it's been proposed. Yes - this would also promote competition and theoretically, drive prices down.

    Yes - we've had tax exempt medical savings plans - someway, somehow the govt. jacked up that plan as well.

    A national 'standard' for record keeping is in O-care with the ever popular and oh so honest and upright, IRS doing the 'keeping' - no thanks.

    Sorry, but the time when the medical market was 'ran' by patients - went the way of the horse and buggy - back when doctors made house calls and were paid in chickens and other forms of barter. P.S. The house call thing? The govt. messed that up too!

    "If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

    Have a great day : )

  5. AFGHANISTAN: does anyone here not pray for the families who were slaughtered in their villages? I have, it is another horrible tragedy for US military to kill innocent people. I, also pray for those who killed the villagers. Not enough attention is focused on military who suffer from PTSD and other mental conditions. We, desperately need to take care of our soldiers who have suffered from the horrifying acts of war. Blessings to all and hoping for COMPASSION to others and to yourselves.