Archive for May, 2009

US Government considering public health care plan

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

News Story:

US senators are meeting to discuss possible options for the US government to begin to offer a government run healthcare plan to US citizens not currently eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.  This would be especially focused toward benefitting the middle class.

There are several plans being discussed.  The first would be similar to Medicare, but would compensate healthcare providers better.  The second would be run similarly to a typical health insurance plan, patients must pay premiums, not taxes, to participate, but the government would not need to be profitable as health insurance companies do.  Also, the possibility of allowing individual states to institute their own public healthcare plans is on the table.

Obviously, insurance companies are opposed to any government control over the industry.  The insurance industry is currently negotiating many changes in their practices with the government in hopes of preventing the public takeover of healthcare insurance.

Commentary:

The healthcare insurance industry as it stands today is in definite need of an overhaul.  As in so many corporate run industries, executives are obscenely overpaid at the expense of customers, patients in this case as well.

I don’t think the government should be emulating the Medicare program, however.  I also don’t think that putting this burden on individual states will be a good idea.  There would be massive disparity from one state to the next in the quality of healthcare available.  Any time the government gets involved in control of new areas it concerns me immensely, as  efficiency, and quality of service are not a strong point of the US government.  When you remove financial motivation completely from the equation for those running programs, you don’t get good performance typically.

US considering overhaul of financial sector pay practices

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

News Story:

The Obama administration is in discussions concerning initiatives to change how financial-services corporations compensate their executives.  This would even affect corporations who were not recipients of federal bailout money.

Commentary:

I have very mixed feelings on this subject.  On one hand it is obscene how large the divide between a typical corporate employee’s pay is compared with a typical corporate executive.  This is especially true in the financial sector.  What really merits being paid hundreds of millions of dollars?  And this in a time when banks and financial corporations were failing miserably due to such a long period of very questionable lending practices…..and they get rewarded with more money in a year than most people will come close to seeing in an entire lifetime?

My concern with this though, is that government dictating pay scales to the financial sector just opens the door a bit wider to total government control of the lives of US citizens.  Where does the line get drawn?  Are we truly a capitalist society anymore when the government is taking such strong control over the details of how corporations function in the US?  Just one step closer to the socialist society that Obama would like to create.

Book deal signed by Sarah Palin

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

News article:

Sarah Palin has signed a book deal with HarperCollins to write her memoirs.

Commentary:

Why is it that people who are still so young are writing their memoirs when they have so many years still ahead of them?  I know, obviously the money….gotta cash in now…strike while the iron’s hot….then maybe write a couple more memoirs as they get older.  Let’s attain the slightest bit of notoriety, then people will line up to read your memoirs and see what kind of dirt you’re willing to dish on those unfortunate enough to have had some relationship with you in your life….

Patients leave ER, too broke to pay

Monday, May 11th, 2009

News Story:

In the face of high unemployment, and the ongoing recession, a higher number of ER and hospital patients are leaving without treatment against medical advice.  Many express concern about the cost of care, and unwillingness of hospitals to be up front with the cost of care.  AMA discharges consist of about 21% who have no insurance vs. 7% who do.

Commentary:

As most people believe, the cost of healthcare is out of control.  Medical care should not bring ruin to a person’s financial well being.  Those who are uninsured are in effect punished for it by having to pay higher costs than insurance companies pay for similar care  due to network discounts.  This is a dreadful type of abuse against the poor and unemployed.

Can the US dollar survive?

Monday, May 11th, 2009

News Story:

Some countries around the world such as China and Russia have expressed interest in a single worldwide currency.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar all support the continuing existence of the US dollar, noting its resilience even in the face of the current economic crisis.

Commentary:

One world currency is an interesting concept.  My question would be who would be the governing body to control the one currency.  This seems to be a possible way for an extreme amount of corruption to exist, and could be damaging to the US, if it were controlled more by European or Asian nations.

Flood Victims in West Virginia Gets Help from National Guard

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

News:

Residents of West Virginia that were stuck by flooding from over the weekend received assistance from the National Guard.  Over 300 buildings were damaged, power lines were out and mudslides occurred as well.

Commentary:

It is great to see that the National Guard is capable of helping American citizens.  Lets keep the troops home.

LCD Monitors can now watch you

Friday, May 8th, 2009

News Story:

A Japanese monitor manufacturer, Eizo Nanao Corp., has introduced “EcoView Sense”, a feature which includes motion sensor technology in a couple of their monitor models.  This allows the monitors to sense motion up to 4 feet away from it, and to go into sleep mode after 40 seconds with no one sitting in front of it.

Commentary:

What an ingenious way to save a little energy.  Very cool.  Now to wait for it to become affordable for the average consumer….

Obama 100 day job poll

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

News Story:

A recent poll asked if Obama is doing a good job as President after his first 100 days in office.  39% said yes he is, 61% said no he is not.

Commentary:

Sounds like a serious case of buyers remorse to me….although I don’t know why people are so surprised….they jumped right on board for his brand of CHANGE….

Democrats in the House plan to subsidize vehicle trade-ins

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

News Story:

Democrats in the House of Representatives want to pass a bill that gives consumers money to trade in their old vehicles for new vehicles with improved gas mileage over their current vehicles.  This is to help US car manufacturers and to improve the overall gas mileage of vehicles on the road in the US.

Commentary:

This is a good idea overall for its helpfulness to struggling US car manufacturers, although it is paid for with stimulus money, which I am opposed to.  The supposed benefit to gas mileage of cars on the road is a bit of a ruse, though, as the car dealers will just resell the trade in vehicles and most will remain in use.

Should you own when you can rent?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

News Story:

There is a growing trend of people choosing to rent many things including homes, cars, and even less expensive things like art and purses.  The thought is that you don’t have to maintain these items, and can easily get rid of them when you no longer want them.

The supposed benefit is that you can then save more money by having smaller incremental payments, and no cost for maintenance.

Commentary:

I think that renting items which depreciate quickly makes much more sense than doing so with larger items like a home which will build equity over time, and make the owner money in the long run.  Especially for a buyer in today’s depressed market, there is a great opportunity for making a profit on a home.

Other less expensive things that won’t build value may not be such a bad  thing to view as more disposable, and keep more money in the bank for other things like vacations, or entertainment.