About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Responses - What Will These People Do Then?

Thanks to all of the responses I received to the subject posting. I am especially pleased & really proud of the two senior citizen subscribers to ReturnToExcellence.net whose comments make up the substance of the message below from which I hope all of us learn.

"I WAS AFRAID THIS WOULD HAPPEN" was the first message screamed to me in all caps re the Dem victory in NY's 26th Congressional open House seat election this past Tuesday. As we all know by now this district is as conservative Republican as they come - it has been many decades since a Dem was last elected to the House there & the Republican winner last November won with 74% of the vote - the special election was required after he was forced to resign because of embarrassing e-mails & photographs. The election reversal was obviously due to the success of the Dems' attack ads on the Republican candidate's support & meager defense of Paul Ryan's Medicare reform plan & the Republican party's total inability to be prepared to address it either reactively or proactively.

With no change in position or strategy Republicans are sitting dead ducks in November 2012 & beyond until all of the welfare-entitlement programs totally collapse.

"What to do?" was the next most popular response received & one of the most thoughtful senior citizen subscribers to ReturnToExcellence.net offers the following identification of the problem: "Doug - How can we get seniors to realize that by rejecting the proposed reforms to SS & Medicare they will lose it all? I rely on my SS check each month but I understand that if nothing is done, it will not be there in 3, 4 or 5 years. The right reform needs to be done to these programs if that is to be avoided. The message must be depoliticized and made clear to seniors so they can stop falling for the scare tactics that are being used in Congress. The message has to be made in clear language that even the least literate person can understand. I know from personal experience that many of them don't have the ability to grasp all the intricacies of government programs. It is not going to be easy to convince them, but it must be done."

Demagogues showing TV advertisements of grandma being pushed off a cliff from her wheelchair by a figure who looks like Paul Ryan vividly shows what Republicans are facing. Too bad too many of the old guard establishment Republicans will run for the hills also making correction of this problem all the more difficult until we only have such a very few defenders of liberty left that they will be too few to stop the country from going over the cliff.

Please make no mistake about it the Ryan Medicare reform plan is too weak - it largely matches ObamaCare's theoretical Medicare cuts (if they really happen) the next ten years before switching to the 'premium support' feature of the Ryan plan for all new enrollees currently younger than 55. For everyone over 55 there is no difference between the amount of money the House Republicans voted to spend on Medicare under the Ryan plan & the amount that the Dems who supported ObamaCare voted to spend in 2010. Source Thomas Savings & John Goodman. The difference in reaction is purely political.

My own analysis of the problem is that all of the entitlement programs are growing faster than CPI inflation & if we could just reign them in to the CPI rate of growth we would solve our problems - this is all you really need to know.

With re to the response of granny gremlin being thrown off a cliff Peter Douglas offers the best answer - "(Republicans)... better be prepared to make arguments that tug @ emotions & use images that are as stark as grandma plunging off a cliff. Show a grandchild growing up & then being denied life-saving medical care in 2031 because the nation is broke. Show a framed dollar bill hanging on a wall in the year 2025 as a relic from America's past, before the dollar collapsed & international lenders demanded a new currency & a strict austerity plan. Show a roomful of Democratic pols smoking Cuban cigars & joking about how easy it is to dupe grandma with simple scaremongering, & how her children & grandchildren will be working much of their lives for the greater good of the state."

For all of our sakes this had better play out as our two brave senior citizens & Peter Douglas present. The stakes are extremely high for our young Republic (& the world whether they know it or not). If we are successful on this front we have a chance to return to excellence & reinstate our glorious Constitution that has been waiting for our return since the 1930s if even not before.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What Will These People Do Then?

In spite of Kim Strassel's analysis that Tuesday's special House election in upstate NY was not a referendum on Paul Ryan's plan to change Medicare the Ryan plan @ least played an important part in the outcome in which a Democrat (possibly with some help from a third party candidate) defeated a Ryan supporting Republican. Republicans have recently won this conservative western NY district with as much as 74% of the vote so other than the Republican candidate's support of the Ryan Medicare revision plan everything was pretty much the same as previous elections.

The final tally was Dem 47%, Rep 42%, & third party candidate 11% meaning that even if the third party candidate took all of the Republican's votes there still was a drop from 74% to 53%. This election result goes right along with the theme of the last two postings re the waning popularity of capitalism in America. The sooner patriots like Mark Levin & Andrew Napolitano recognize that we are in the minority the sooner we will know how to fight the real enemy & not pretend that every one who is going without a meal tonight is more for the Constitution than socialism.

Social Security & Medicare along with Medicaid form the cornerstone of the American welfare state. To illustrate just how dependent many Americans are on these programs please consider that two thirds of our seniors depend on Social Security as the main source of their income & for one in five it is the only source of income. Without Social Security half of all seniors would be living in poverty so naturally seniors love Social Security. If possible seniors love Medicare even more. Today's retiring baby boomers are the only people who have paid into Medicare their entire working lives. Medicare Part A is primarily paid for by the 2.9% payroll tax plus co-pays & deductibles paid for by the recipient while Medicare Part B is primarily paid for from funds taken out of the general tax revenues of the U.S. Treasury plus monthly premiums & shared co-pays & deductibles paid for by the recipients. The portion of Medicare Part B paid by seniors amounts to only 25% of the program's cost. Medicare Part D is under a similar arrangement as Part B & is 75% funded by the U.S. Treasury meaning that the drug plan constitutes a taxpayer subsidy of 75% of the cost of the program.

So what's not for seniors to like – except that these programs are not financially sustainable? How unkind is it for our elected reps to let this continue until total collapse of the programs? It is the elderly & people over 55 who are dependent on these programs who will be hurt the most when the programs collapse. Just what will these people do then?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lou Dobbs' Response - Mistaught & Hoodwinked

A typical response to the subject message was "Doug - I cannot substantiate this - however, I recently heard that most poor people in America have a cell phone."

All of the examples from the subject message by the Heritage Foundation re the standard of living of people living @ the poverty level helps answer the question I asked - why is "capitalism...more popular in China than in America? This message is important to us right now because we are living it & have a chance to do something about it."

Now I don't know whether or not Lou Dobbs is a subscriber to ReturnToExcellence.net but his excellent answer to Judge Napolitano on Freedom Watch on FBN re who to blame for the American deterioration is stunningly accurate, & right out of our posts, when he says it is you & me - not the politicians, corporations, or anyone else. To both Mr. Dobbs & me it is morally reprehensible that we are the ones who should know better after inheriting the greatest political & economic system in the world. When we took America's free enterprise system for granted & gave its rewards away to people who had earned nothing we squandered all of our wealth & opportunity going forward.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mistaught & Hoodwinked

Thanks to a long time member of our group for sending us 1) the clip below from The Economist that provides the results of a GlobeScan poll & statistics re the decline of capitalism's popularity throughout the world & 2) his reflective afterthought qualifying his opinion of the accuracy of The Economist's presentation.  I provided the above graph showing capitalism is more popular in China than in America..  This message is important to us right now because we are living it & have a chance to do something about it. 
I have seen the results of similar polls in recent years that confirms the GlobeScan stats regarding American's under 25 - something like 60% favor capitalism & 40% favor socialism - right in line with the poll below. 
This is indicative of just how brainwashed people who have attended government schools have become over the decades.  They have been mistaught & hoodwinked.
All of this of course goes against the teaching of Ayn Rand who believed that capitalism is the only moral economic system, i.e., the only one consistent with individual rights & a free society.
Professor Friedman wrote "a myth has grown up that free market capitalism ... is a system under which the rich exploit the poor.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Wherever the free market has been permitted to operate, wherever anything approaching equality of opportunity has existed, the ordinary man has been able to attain levels of living never dreamed of before.  Nowhere is the gap between rich & poor wider, nowhere are the rich richer & the poor poorer, than in those societies that do not permit the free market to operate....Industrial progress, mechanical improvement, all of the great wonders of the modern era have meant relatively little to the wealthy.  The rich in Ancient Greece would have benefitted hardly @ all from modern plumbing: running servants replaced running water.  TV & radio - the patricians of Rome - could enjoy the leading musicians & actors in their homes, could have the leading artists as domestic retainers...These achievements have been made available to the masses conveniences & amenities that were previously the exclusive prerogative of the rich & powerful."
Just consider that a middle class person in Europe lives below the standard of living of someone in America living @ the so-called poverty level (see Heritage Foundation info below).  Many architects & engineers in Europe can only afford to rent apartments - not own their homes like we do in America.  The recently jailed IMF chief is a socialist - he was arrested in his trans Atlantic flight first-class seat after spending his time in NYC in a $3,000 per night luxury suite - talk abut a gap in society.  He could not care less if the people he represented lived in cardboard shacks.
Take any third world country & ask yourself which gives the people a better chance @ the life you have in America - following socialism or free market capitalism?  It is easy to complain when you are surrounded by all of America's wealth, but take a step back & look @ what system got you to this point.  You will also see why the elites are trying to take it from you.
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation provides the following stats re people defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:
  • Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three bedroom house with one and a half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
  • Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two thirds have more than two rooms per person.
  • The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
  • Nearly three quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
  • Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
  • Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
  • Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.
For more please click on ReturnToExcellence.net & look up the May 15, 2009 posting entitled To The Socialists Of All Parties & the responses posted on May 26, 2009.
But the worst part of socialism to me is that it cheats people out of reaching the potential in life they were born to live. They will never experience the thrill & triumph of high achievement - the highs of life - so that to reverse paraphrase TR - everyone's place will always be with those cold & timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. As such the true cost to any socialist society, namely the opportunity cost, is more than just enormous - it is literally unimaginable.
From The Economist:
Rising debt and lost output are the common measures of the cost of the financial crisis. But a new global opinion poll shows another, perhaps more serious form of damage: falling public support for capitalism,. This is most marked in OUR country that used to epitomize free enterprise. In 2002, 80% of Americans agreed that the world's best bet was the free market system. By 2010, that support had fallen to 59%, only a little above the 54% average for the 25 countries polled. Nominally Communist China is now one of the world's largest supporters of capitalism, at 68%, up from 66% in 2002. Brazil scores 68% too. Germany squeaks into top place with 69%.
France, one of the world's strongest economies, continues as an anti-capitalist outlier. Only 6% of French "strongly" support the free market down from an already puny 8% in 2002. Add those who "somewhat agree" with capitalism's superiority and the figure is 30%, down from 42% in 2002. Turkey (another free market success story) had the same level of support then, but it has dropped even lower, to a mere 27%. In Europe only Spain seems to buck the trend, rising from 37% in 2002 to 51%. Indians, on paper big winners from the free market reforms, appear unimpressed: support has dropped to 58% from 73%.
Capitalism's waning fortunes are starkly visible among Americans earning below $20,000. Their support for the free market has dropped from 76% to 44% in just one year.
Doug - As an afterthought, I feel that the research conducted by GlobeScan is probably accurate only if one assumes the following:
1. Those polled in their respective countries represent the educated class (which form a tiny minority in countries like China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia , Turkey et al.).
2. The clarity in phrasing the questionnaire, which hopefully included business regulations, bribery, corruption, and influence peddling.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Herman Cain & The Old Marine Revisited

At last night's FairTax strategy meeting in NJ Herman Cain, & especially his recent debate winning performance, received much attention & discussion. I reminded several people in attendance of the very popular posting on ReturnToExcellence.net on July 3, 2010 where an old marine spontaneously sang the fourth verse of the National Anthem. Many did not notice then that the song was sung @ a Herman Cain Tea Party meeting. I repeat below the original posting & hope that everyone will do their own study re Mr. Cain - when you are convinced he is for real back him with all of your might. I know that Carol & I are.

---Original Message - An Old Marine - July 3, 2010---

Thanks to a subscriber to ReturnToExcellence.net for sending us this link to a video of a Tea Party meeting with the great Herman Cain taking a question from a man who refers to himself as a former Marine. The result is inspirational as all of Mr. Cain's events are. In this case it brings in the fourth verse of the National Anthem.

The Marine made a mistake though in referring to himself as a former Marine - I have never met a former Marine or an ex-Marine. I have met old Marines.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Losing Battle

My Condolences was the title of the posting on ReturnToExcellence.net on June 4 & Responses on June 5, 2009 re Steve Lonegan losing his NJ gubernatorial primary race.  Similar thoughts to those expressed on those postings crossed my mind when Mike Huckabee announced on his TV show that he would not run for president in 2012.  We are running out of candidates like Mike Huckabee, Mike Agosta, Anna Little, Ken Blackwell, & Vernon Robinson to name just a few who lost their last election to skunks.
Every day it seems more & more that we are in (no longer fighting) a losing battle.  The Tax Policy Center estimates that "45% of U.S. households paid not a single dollar in federal income tax in 2010" & the Financial Times reports that "for the first time since the Great Depression, households are receiving more income from the government than they are paying the government in taxes." The Joint Committee On Taxation previously reported that 51% of U.S. households paid no federal income taxes in 2009. 
The great wealth of the world is in America & it is in the collective hands of the middle class where it is the target of far too many high powered statists.  According to the IRS if the taxable income of everyone who made over $100,000 per year (is that a wealthy household?) had this income confiscated @ a 100% rate it would not cover BO's deficit for FY 2011 ($1.582 trillion confiscated vs. $1.650 trillion deficit). 
America is now in the "apathy to dependence stage" of the Death Of Democracy & it is accelerating quickly to total bondage - the last stage. 
A statist living off America in 2011 has the greatest of all worlds possible.  He has no responsibility except to proclaim his rights - whether constitutional or imagined - & just has to hope (if he is that smart) that he is not overrun by a dictator when his haven collapses.
The Founders' desire for liberty in their new country has been sadly replaced by the statists' desire for safety, complacency, & apathy that takes a free world for granted - oh how America has spoiled them.
All of the foregoing stats should be frightening to even the strongest class warfare proponent who thinks the CEOs of major companies are stealing him blind.  An enlightened evaluation of the foregoing percentages indicates he would do better concentrating his energies on how to correct the imbalances of the 50+% who already have stolen him blind or are about to.
Governor Huckabee's decision not to seek the presidency may have been based on the principles of Jeff Green's response - identical to those expressed on this blog many times before under the heading of "outnumbered" - to some of Karl Rove's shallow & misleading comments about how things are positively shaping up for the GOP presidential candidate in 2012 because so many red states have picked up population & electoral college power - "the 'glass half empty' version of red state versus blue state gains since 2008 would note that Hispanics accounted for much of the population growth in states such as Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, & Texas; & Hispanic voters favored BO over McCain by a two to one margin in 2008.  In several other battleground states, African Americans represent a very sizeable % of the electorate (in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, & Virginia).  Approximately 95% of African-Americans voted for BO in 2008.  If Hispanics & African-Americans vote in proportion to their % of population & if they favor BO by margins similar to those in 2012, it will be extremely challenging for a GOP candidate to carry several of the toss-up states."
Mr. Green continues his analysis - "BO would need to win less than 40% of remaining votes (mostly non-Hispanic whites) in order to carry Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, & Nevada: & he would need slightly more than 40% of remaining votes to win Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, & Pennsylvania."
When the very first member of this e-mail club was very gleeful in 2004 after Bush was re-elected I told him that he better enjoy it because if "they" ever get organized the Republicans will never win another presidential election in our lifetimes because we are simply outnumbered.  That was before I knew much about BO & what skills a community organizer possessed. 
I think Governor Huckabee may have taken all of the above into account & like Carol & me he knows that America will never return to excellence again without us knowing who John Galt is.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Responses - Intelligence Test

The inbox overflowed with responses re the subject intelligence test.  Only our SC businessman scored 100% & he was honest enough to qualify his result as follows

Intelligence Award To be fair tho, I had seen a couple of them before.  Almost got tripped up on a few until I re-read the questions.
Other noteworthy responses - the ark question got most people:
1.  10 of 11. Missed Moses and the ark...geesh.
2.   Doug - Did the test and got 2 wrong, the one about baseball and the other about the ark.
3.  Doug - I only got one wrong! Number 5 confused me and I got it wrong!  Thanks for sharing!
4.  I got 8 of 11...can't believe I got the ones wrong that I did...that was cute.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Intelligence Test

Click here to take an intelligence test that is fun & thought provoking - Carol enjoyed it & scored higher than me. It is claimed that the test is over 50 years old & Bill Gates (richest or second richest man in the world along with Carlos Slim) once took this test & got only three right although I could not verify that.

Please let me know how you did. For me taking the test was like returning to my college physics days when I left every exam thinking I had scored 100. These physics tests too were multiple choice but the professor provided the correct answer & had also worked the problem wrong from every conceivable angle & provided all of these wrong answers as well. Physics made me hate multiple choice tests. This intelligence test was actually more enjoyable for me than college physics exams for some reason.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Giving Credit Where Debit Is Due

A week after the U.S. Navy Seal Team 6 killed bin Laden it has been nauseating to hear all week from conservative commentators, of all people, that BO made a courageous gutsy political decision to authorize the mission. It was the Members of the Seal Team whose lives were on the line - not BO's. To mention this as an after thought compared to BO's political career shows just what our news cycle & national mindset has come to. If we were all on the same existential team we would not need to know who started the manhunt eight years ago & who authorized the strike on May day.

Now to take any action that BO does out of context of Saul Alinsky's Socialist-Marxist book Rules For Radicals misses what BO is all about - namely completing the socialization of America for starters.

Alinsky makes clear that an organizer must look like he is one of the people he is trying to control - after all who would follow someone who didn't? What better way for BO to look like an American patriot than taking out public enemy #1 - the unsuspecting American public has raised BO's approval ratings in the polls by several points thanks to the work of the Seal Team who BO really hates. With all of the info that came in does any one really think BO had an option to not proceed with the mission against bin Laden?

In response to the point some commentators make that BO took a risk if the mission failed - with gasoline @ $4 per gallon nationwide & unemployment staying high with only a business cycle bounce here & there the bin Laden mission could very easily look like a political gamble, using other people's lives, where it was already figured in that much was going against BO in November 2012 if nothing changed.

Over the past four years I have never presented these type of ideas as a conspiracy theory but rather a presentation of facts. Just look @ BO's overall anti-American record that began with making people dependent on government stimulus & government healthcare programs. BO's administration continues the criminal investigation that could lead to the indictment of CIA interrogation officers whose work revealed the very type of information that led to bin Laden's hideout. In a union payback move the BO controlled NLRB has told Boeing they can't built a $2 billion plant in SC - a right to work state. More subtly BO has instructed, through his Treasury Secretary, the Federal Reserve System to keep interest rates manipulated to artificially low levels thereby crippling many senior citizens who rely on a reasonable CD rate for a portion of their incomes. On the opposite end of the spectrum college graduates can't get jobs because of the rotten economy controlled by BO's policies - the NY Post reports that 85% of new college graduates can't get a job. These college grads make up the new underclass - all per BO's design.

Please keep all of the above in focus when you hear a commentator one night criticize BO's actions & the next night point out how he did something right for America like the bin Laden mission. Click on the following video that will help you understand BO's disconnect with you & our country.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Response - How The FairTax Will Be Passed

Below is a response from a subscriber to ReturnToExcellence.net & a FairTax supporter to the subject message that contains many points that will undoubtedly be presented in future messages re the debt ceiling & the 2012 FY budget.
Yes Cain debates well and yes, a FairTax (FT) champion, preferably a President, may provide the best odds for FT passage.

U.S. financial circumstances however may present a FT opportunity QE3 this year. How?

Consider that

1 – US requires additional $4-5 billion per day to finance its debt
2 – Federal Reserve has been financing perhaps as much as $4 billion per day since November 2010.
3 – Private estimate US consumer inflation range from 6% to over 10%.
4 – US main creditors (besides Fed) China and Japan are in process of decreasing their US treasury holdings
5 – IMF and G20 are actively assessing alternatives to the $ as global currency
6 – S&P lowered their expectations regarding US debt risk
7 – Odds are low that Congress will pass a deficit reduction measure as part of debt ceiling extension that will increase the confidence of our creditors and the IMG/G20 in the risk of investing in US Treasuries.
8 – Fed repeatedly states that it will stop printing $'s to purchase US Treasuries (end of QE2) June 30.

If 7 and 8 occur, expect the 10 year Treasury Bill to jump from 3 ½ % to over 6% in a week. Without the Fed, interest rates will automatically go up to reflect real inflations with pressure to jump to over 10% week 2 given risk of poor returns (per falling $) or outright default.

The first few days of such a scary but very possible crisis may result in an emergency session of the world's (yes – G20 and IMF) involvement in addressing a high probability of a $ collapse. Here is where the FT may present itself as a significant and immediate measure to stabilize the $. How:

A – via 0% federal corporate tax rate, position the US overnight as an entrepreneurial friendly haven. Foreign and domestic investors and venture capitalists would plan to take advantage of this; hence $ would stabilize.

B – save $450 billion per year (reference: economist Art Laffer) due to abolishment of the IRS. That $ reducing the debt will result in more private entrepreneurial opportunities.

A & B may then prevent an economic Armageddon and offer the US with another opportunity to fix its financial house. This would entail cutting bloated government and privatizing bankrupts entitlements.

Let us then make the case positioning the FT as a serious 2011 alternative.

For more details about threat of US Dollar collapse please read my review of Damon Vickers Jan 2011 book "Day After the US Dollar Collapses" http://economics501.wordpress.com/2011/01/

Friday, May 6, 2011

How The FairTax Will Be Passed

Click here to listen to Herman Cain respond to Chris Wallace's question about the FairTax @ the first televised presidential primary debate last night. Mr. Cain is another eloquent speaker - in the Luntz focus group after the debate the 29 SC panelists overwhelmingly said that Mr. Cain won the debate & their support. This illustrates how the FairTax will be passed into law - presidential candidates educating millions of people about the FairTax during the debates & then one of them winning the presidency. I recall that after President Reagan won the presidency that Congress was so overwhelmed by the mandate to enact Reagonomics that they were sitting on the steps in the House correcting in pencil typographical errors in the written legislation. The FairTax needs such a champion.

On a negative note the enemies of the FairTax are still many. Sean Hannity interviewed Mr. Cain after the debate & asked him questions about everything except the FairTax & you know why.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Middle Class Was Made To Be Sacked & Looted

Thanks to one of the many doctors in our group who sent the article below along with the comment "this is a fantastic article - as usual, the only person getting the short end of the stick is the doctor. I do not know why we stand for this. I do not know why we are so uninformed. The taxpayers are once again abused." I think you get her point.

In reality highly motivated high energy elite statists have taken advantage of the unsuspecting complacent apathetic leisure-loving American middle class as long as I can remember - most recently by sacking & looting them (us) by just a few adjustments to accounting through the click of a mouse.


By Alieta Eck, M.D.

Physicians are waking up to the fact that they have been used by self-serving politicians and insurers. Their licenses have been co-opted by those who have profited greatly. While physicians were busy studying hard, excelling on their exams and putting in endless hours of often thankless care in their residency training, the MBAs were dreaming up ways to siphon off the fruits of their labor.

In 1965, physicians were blitzed when the huge government programs were started in the name of charity. Instead of being an efficient way to care for the poor and lift them out of poverty, "charity care" has become synonymous with big government programs that are heavy on bureaucracy, crushing the taxpayer and downright cruel to the poor. Medicaid cardholders have difficulty finding a physician who can afford to provide care with the low payments, so the government responds by setting up venues that cost the taxpayer dearly.

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) have been established-- each one handed a generous start-up grant of $650,000. They are given "enhanced Medicaid dollars," and free medical malpractice coverage, all ways to increase their revenues and decrease their costs. But a look at their Form 990s tell a story of profligate spending, of highly paid executives and well endowed bank accounts used for travel, "recruitment," and consultants. Sure, the poor are seen on a "sliding scale basis," but the return visits are frequent and the billing to the government relentless. One such clinic takes in $14 million in taxpayer funds and spends $160-280 per patient visit-- for charity care.

Patients are treated as commodities and campaign props for politicians "who buy the poor for silver." (Amos 8:6) and who do very well from the donations of those who establish these clinics. The taxpayer is hit from all sides. The practices of nearby physicians find they must work on an uneven playing field competing with institutions that exist because of their own tax dollars.

The perfect storm of an ailing economy, decreased government revenues, angry taxpayers and the clear exploitation of the poor by the corruption inherent in the Medicaid system is making the physicians wake up. They abandoned the Medicaid program a long time ago and instead have cared for the poor for free, giving real charity at their own expense.

So the doctors are asking, "Why should the taxpayers pay into the Medicaid system to the tune of $10 billion per year in NJ?" "Where is the money going, if physicians are not being paid?" While physicians were getting a total of $90 million in the NJ Medicaid system, the administrators of the Medicaid HMO's and FQHCs were reaping $500 million.

Now the physicians are demanding that the system be dismantled piece by piece, and are asking for volunteers and philanthropists to establish non-government free clinics through voluntary charitable donations. One such clinic was started in Red Bank, NJ, with a lovely building erected through the generosity of Jon Bon Jovi. Physicians are willing to donate their time-- as much as four hours a week, to care for the disadvantaged in their communities. No claim forms, no coding, no bills-- just care.

If the Volunteer Physicians Protection Act (VPPA) becomes law, doctors will receive state sponsored medical malpractice coverage for all of their other work, not just the charity. This would be a big "thank-you" that will only cost the taxpayer if an actual lawsuit is brought and prevails. Lawsuits will be rare, as is the case with the Federal Tort Claims Act that already covers work done in free clinics. And since medical school physicians and residents are already covered by the state, this program would just need to be expanded.

A free clinic in central New Jersey operates by the kindness of volunteers and the generosity of those who choose to donate to a worthy cause. Patients find that the kindness is palpable and they feel uplifted when they leave. The total cost per patient visit is $13. No taxpayer funds are used.

"Most of our twentieth-century schemes, based on having someone else take action, are proven failures. It's time to learn from the warm hearts and hard heads of earlier times."

Marvin Olasky, The Tragedy of American Compassion, c1992, p.233.

Every American needs to decide what role he might play in bringing health care to the poor. Volunteering a few hours per month in a non-government free clinic alongside doctors of every specialty would reap a world of benefit to the caregiver as well as the receiver.