Generic drugs are supposed to lower healthcare costs and provide you with another medical alternative. That’s what it says on paper. But there’s a real danger that goes along with these drugs. A danger even your doctor might not be aware of.
Ask a D.C. insider what’s the best way to solve the debt crisis. Nine times out of ten, they’ll recommend taking on more debt. That’s how things operate in the Potomac swamp. Up is down, right is left, digging yourself into more debt is the best way to get out of it. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, there used to be common sense when it came to the economy. So where did it all go wrong?
Politicians talk about the uninsured. Special interests argue on behalf of those with pre-existing conditions. But why is no one wondering how doctors are affected by the new law? They’re the ones on the frontlines dealing directly with new patients, as well as the red tape that makes bureaucracies go round.
Politicians proclaim the benefits of small business while on the campaign trail. But when they meet in the seedy halls of Congress, they have no problem doing whatever they can to stifle, regulate, and subdue their progress. Instead of siding with entrepreneurs, these politicians often side with political allies and cronies that helped put them into office.
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
Technology brought the world together. But has it gone too far? Decades ago, mail was delivered by hand. Now it’s delivered in seconds. How has that changed the way you live your life? How has it changed the way people act with each other? These are just some of the questions we need to ask.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
Gun control isn’t a modern idea. The rise of gun control laws and limits on your 2nd Amendment freedom go hand in hand with the increase in the size and scope of government. Politicians want you to think the only people who can keep you safe are government forces. But as one renown libertarian economist and thinker will show you, their misguided laws do nothing but take away your freedoms and leave you less safe.
The government will do whatever it takes to make sure it has enough of your money to fund itself. On the surface you might think that means enduring a grueling audit. But the IRS and the government is more than willing to ignore your privacy in the cold relentless pursuit of the money they think they deserve. As they get bigger and bigger every year, the smaller and smaller your paycheck becomes as they leach off it.
The Congressional Budget Office said the government needed to reach 7 million people by the end of March. They claim to have reached the goal and now the debate about Obamacare is over. But what does this milestone really mean in the ongoing healthcare discussion? And more importantly, how will it affect reforms going forward?
If you’re good at something should you be penalized so others have a chance at success? Should award winning actors and actresses be barred from future Oscar ceremonies to give other men and women the chance to succeed? Success should always be rewarded and encouraged. But what happens when you have a government that wants to even the playing field and take away the spoils of success. Gregory Bresiger finds out...
In an effort to cut costs and keep track of patients' records, governments could institute a medical guideline cookbook. Bureaucrats might think they have the best of intentions in mind, but these new rules would drag down the medical process and destroy whatever quality is left in our current system.
Practical people often pooh-pooh fiction reading as a time wasting dalliance, dominated by a Marxist coloring of the world. However, fiction readers were given a scientific reason recently for spending hours absorbing fanciful figments of someone’s imagination.
Argentina is suffering the ravages of government debasement of the currency -- i.e., inflation, the process by which government pays for its ever-increasing debts and bills by simply printing more paper currency. The expanded money supply results in a lower value of everyone’s money, which is reflected in the rising prices of the things that money buys.
When government expansion is allowed to continue unabated or when it casts a heavy regulatory shadow on America’s entrepreneurial spirit, the freedoms that we’ve come to know, and perhaps take for granted, slowly begin to slip away.
The saga of All Saints could soon be coming to a community near you. Thanks partly to the scandal surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the agency has proposed a new set of rules for a huge number of social-welfare groups that claim tax exemption under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code.
The new reality of Obamacare’s tax credits has left finance reporters to pen articles warning readers to “take care” when considering a tax credit and providing strategies for how best to “protect yourself.” So what do finance reporters know that the White House doesn’t?
Nihilo ex nihilo fit. Out of nothing, nothing comes. First put forward by ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides in the fifth century B.C., Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine later used this axiom to prove that the universe needed a “first mover” to get things going. Even if the whole thing began with some kind of “Big Bang” moment, it still needed a banger to bang it. Who? God, of course.
What positive steps can we take? The energy that is now expended by well intentioned, freedom-seeking individuals on the destructive course of politics can be turned into powerful steps that will have a positive effect on the future. All are moral, right and just. None require aggressing. Consider the following...
The Affordable Care Act creates a new health insurance marketplace (the exchange). But because of the great uncertainty about what buyers will enter the market and who will buy what product, the law creates three vehicles to reduce insurance company risk.
Politicians and bureaucrats are notorious for manufacturing euphemisms -- clever but deceptive substitutes for what they really mean but don’t want to admit. That’s how the phrase “revenue enhancement” entered the vocabulary. Some of our courageous friends in government couldn’t bring themselves to say “tax hike.”
“It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future,” says a proverb often attributed to Yogi Berra. Imagine the world of freedom, or lack of it. Who could foresee the technologies that make our lives so rewarding and convenient? The same technologies have us all under the government’s giant microscope. Thankfully, the brave have turned the microscope around.
In the months since Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the spying that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been perpetrating upon Americans and foreigners, some of the NSA's most troublesome behavior has not been a part of the public debate.
National Treasury Union President Colleen M. Kelly recently described the 2014 IRS budget allocation as “woefully inadequate.” But the agency has not proven itself to be an efficient steward of taxpayer dollars. Here are ten ways the IRS lost the trust of the American people.
It’s easy to be negative about the U.S. economy these days. Find a glint of silver, and folks come running to point out all of the dark clouds looming about. This, of course, is what we got last week when the monthly jobs report was released from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Folks pooh-poohed the number of jobs and whining that they’re not enough or that it’s less than a bunch of economists thought that it might be. But you know what? Stuff ’em.
Given how poorly states like California and Illinois have funded the pension funds for their own employees, one would think that this would stop dead in its tracks any plan to have the government assist in managing private sector funds too. The spate of recent activity, however, suggests otherwise.
Facts are easy. You can check facts. What supporters of the Affordable Care Act are doing, on the other hand, transcends factual bungling. It’s far more advanced: a warping of reality so debauched it looks like something out of a tale by H.P. Lovecraft.
Robert Reich who was secretary of labour under Bill Clinton wrote an article that he called “The Seven Biggest Economic Lies”. I intend to show the reader how deeply flawed this article is in the hopes that sound economic principles may get the attention that they deserve. I will not take his statements out of context but rather quote them in their entirety.
Robert Reich’s writes: 1. Tax cuts for the rich trickle down to everyone else. Baloney. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both sliced taxes on the rich and what happened? Most Americans’ wages (measured by the real median wage) began flattening under Reagan and have dropped since George W. Bush. Trickle-down economics is a cruel joke.
If you cut taxes and keep spending like a drunken sailor like G.W. Bush and Reagan did, you need to make up the difference by either printing money or borrowing, which are forms of taxation as well. So in fact, using those two presidents as examples of why low taxes don’t work is inaccurate. Money printing and borrowing are less visible than outright taxation so politicians can claim that they cut taxes while taxing us through the back door.
On the other hand if you really cut or eliminate taxes, and at the same time reduce or eliminate government spending, there will be more accumulation of capital which leads to higher real wages.
About 100 years ago, about 98% of the population worked the land in food production. Today, farmers in advanced economies have all kinds of machinery and technology which has made them more productive. This has a twofold effect of improving the earnings of farmers and lowering food costs for the entire population. People will object by saying that farmers today do not earn much, but if you compare the standard of living of a farmer today with that of a farmer 100 years ago, you will understand what I mean.
This whole process of wealth creation is made possible through the accumulation of capital which is what farmers in poor countries do not have. Today only 2% of our population is engaged in farming thereby allowing the rest of the population to produce goods and services that were not available or were too costly for widespread consumption back when we were all farmers. This higher productivity leads to a better standard of living for everyone and government taxation impairs this process.
Robert Reich’s writes: 2. Higher taxes on the rich would hurt the economy and slow job growth. False. From the end of World War II until 1981, the richest Americans faced a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent or above. Under Dwight Eisenhower it was 91 percent. Even after all deductions and credits, the top taxes on the very rich were far higher than they’ve been since. Yet the economy grew faster during those years than it has since. (Don’t believe small businesses would be hurt by a higher marginal tax; fewer than 2 percent of small business owners are in the highest tax bracket.)
Ask yourself: Would you put your capital at risk and work hard only to retain as little as 9% of what you produced? When people are faced with such punitive tax rates they take their capital elsewhere, avoid taxes, or stop working altogether.
Reich believes that the rich stood idle while the government took 70 to 91% of their income, which is very naive. Not only were there endless loopholes in the tax code, but each time taxes are raised the rich put their money into tax free investments. Let us not forget also that those were the golden days of bank secrecy and offshore money heavens, and taking money out of the country was very easy.
Robert Reich’s writes: 3. Shrinking government generates more jobs. Wrong again. It means fewer government workers – everyone from teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and social workers at the state and local levels to safety inspectors and military personnel at the federal. And fewer government contractors, who would employ fewer private-sector workers. According to Moody’s economist Mark Zandi (a campaign advisor to John McCain), the $61 billion in spending cuts proposed by the House GOP will cost the economy 700,000 jobs this year and next.
If this were true then why not employ everyone in the government.
Mr. Reich talks as if the government paid for all those jobs with resources dropped from heaven. The truth is that every dollar spent by government is a dollar that has to be taken from somewhere. If I spend my money on a suit, or if I invest it, I also generate jobs, and they will be productive jobs. I don’t need the government to spend the money for me.
Governmental employees and contractors piggyback their jobs on the rest of us.
Robert Reich’s writes: 4. Cutting the budget deficit now is more important than boosting the economy. Untrue. With so many Americans out of work, budget cuts now will shrink the economy. They’ll increase unemployment and reduce tax revenues. That will worsen the ratio of the debt to the total economy. The first priority must be getting jobs and growth back by boosting the economy. Only then, when jobs and growth are returning vigorously, should we turn to cutting the deficit.
There are so many economic fallacies concentrated in that short paragraph! I will simplify my answer by asking you to ask yourself some simple questions: When you have personal economic troubles, do you spend more? Do you borrow to spend more?
Remember, economics works in exactly the same way for one individual, a family, a company or a country. What is true for one individual is true for a country. To claim the opposite is like to claim that there is no gravity in government offices.
Robert Reich’s writes: 5. Medicare and Medicaid are the major drivers of budget deficits. Wrong. Medicare and Medicaid spending is rising quickly, to be sure. But that’s because the nation’s health-care costs are rising so fast. One of the best ways of slowing these costs is to use Medicare and Medicaid’s bargaining power over drug companies and hospitals to reduce costs, and to move from a fee-for-service system to a fee-for-healthy outcomes system. And since Medicare has far lower administrative costs than private health insurers, we should make Medicare available to everyone.
Mr. Reich talks about “bargaining power” but why doesn’t this great bargaining power work with the military industrial complex? Or with the post office which the government could never run profitably in spite of having a monopoly?
The reality is that government never does anything efficiently and always uses its leverage to benefit special interest groups which is why healthcare is so expensive. Why do you think insurance companies supported Obamacare?
When the government restricts the number of medical schools we can have, the number of doctors we can have, or if it restricts supply of services with licensing hurdles, it benefits corporations and professional groups at the expense of the rest of the population, at your expense.
If we want lower costs and better service, we need more competition, not less.
Robert Reich’s writes: 6. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Don’t believe it. Social Security is solvent for the next 26 years. It could be solvent for the next century if we raised the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax. That ceiling is now $106,800.
Well, actually, Social Security fits the definition of a Ponzi scheme to the letter, which is “an investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation”.
Mr Reich claims that Social Security “is still solvent” for another 26 years, but this is a feature of all Ponzi schemes: they are solvent for a while until their new incoming money is less than the payouts. Bernie Madoff was “solvent” until he no longer was able to pay. Raising the ceiling on income merely postpones the inevitable end of all Ponzi schemes.
Robert Reich’s writes: 7. It’s unfair that lower-income Americans don’t pay income tax. Wrong. There’s nothing unfair about it. Lower-income Americans pay out a larger share of their paychecks in payroll taxes, sales taxes, user fees, and tolls than everyone else.
For once I agree with Reich. It is not unfair that the lower-income classes don’t have part of their income taken from them by force, this is a great thing.
What is unfair is that the rest of the population is subject to this theft. Remember that slaves did receive part of what they produced in the form of food and shelter. The difference between taking 90% of someone’s income as in the case of slavery, and taking 30% in taxation is only a difference in degree.
Most of the failures in Mr Reich’s reasoning have to do with not looking at the unseen consequences of the policies he advocates. The reader may be interested in Bastiat’s famous essay “That which is seen and that which is not seen” which is a wonderful explanation of this common fallacy.