How to boost America’s economy now Reply


By Tom Quiner

Time to get America's economy back on track!

This Labor Day, 2010, our economy is hurting.  Everything the President and his party has tried has failed.

Unemployment is way up.  Economic growth is stagnant. Net job creation doesn’t exist.  The stock market is going nowhere fast.

The underlying premise of the President is that only government can get the economy back on track.  I would suggest that, if anything, the federal government has made things worse in many (but not all) respects.

Here are some concrete suggestions on how to get America back on track:

1. Renew the Bush tax cuts.  The last thing we need now is a tax increase on America’s most productive Americans. In addition, we need to reduce the uncertainty that is paralyzing economic decision-making.  Renew the tax cuts and get out of the way!

2. Sign the Korea-Free Trade Agreement.  Senator Grassley has been a huge advocate of this agreement.  The Bush administration got the agreement negotiated, the Obama administration essentially has killed it.  And yet the upside to the agreement is enormous.

Did you know Korea is the sixth largest export market for pork?  Japan is number one.  But according to the Iowa Pork Producer’s website, pork exports to Korea could surpass Japan’s once the treaty is fully implemented.  Even more, they project the agreement would give our pork producers an increase of $10 per hog marketed.

3. Allow individuals and families to shop for health insurance products across state lines.  This is one of the few products where interstate commerce is prohibited. Increased competition would generate more choice and lower prices for consumers.

4. Along that line, provide a refundable tax credit – $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for families – to purchase coverage in any State, and keep it with them if they move or change jobs.  This is a key component of the Republican’s “Roadmap for America’s future” as authored by Wisconsin Congressman, Paul Ryan.

5. Rescind the requirement for Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on Federal construction projects.  As former Administrator for the General Services Administration, Lurita Doan, said:

[PLAs] “punish non-union, small construction businesses and often prevents them from bidding or performing federal construction work in their communities.”

6. Suspend the Minimum Wage (MW) until the national unemployment rate falls below 7 percent.  As discussed in previous posts, the minimum wage punishes workers with low skills.  It takes a devastating toll on teens, especially black teen aged males. The MW forces employers to pay some workers more than they’re worth, which suppresses employment.  Lack of job opportunity drives some of these young men into gangs.

The minimum wage affects the nation’s economy in other ways.  For example, it has encouraged illegal immigration.  Employers who had jobs that weren’t worth the minimum wage filled those positions with illegals who were willing to work for what the job was really worth.  By suspending the MW, we discourage illegal immigration.

ObamaCare hurts Health Savings Accounts 4


By Tom Quiner

I am self-employed, the owner of a small business.  In order to control health insurance costs, my wife and I purchased a policy with a high deductible supplemented by a Health Savings Account (HSA).

The high-deductible policy reduced my premiums substantially.

The HSA allows me to save up to $5000 of tax deductible dollars to be used toward medical expenses, including dental, eyeglasses, and over-the-counter medications.

Because I pay many doctor bills directly until my deductible is reached, I have incentive to shop for the best price on prescriptions and some medical tests.  In other words, I am a conscientious consumer of medical products and services.

It makes sense.

Beginning January 1st, ObamaCare will cap my annual contribution at $2500 and will no longer allow me to purchase over-the-counter medications using my HSA (Section 9003).  ObamaCare reduces my benefits and raises my costs.  It creates a perverse incentive to purchase higher priced prescription medications which are deductible.

This is but one way ObamaCare will raise healthcare costs for middle America.

Two reasons Obamanomics isn’t creating jobs 2


By Tom Quiner

This is how ObamaCare works.

As many of you know, jobs are hard to come by.  The unemployment rate continues to hover near ten percent despite stimulus spending by the Federal Government which will surpass the cost of the Iraq War (see previous post).

Nothing the Democrats have done is working.  In fact, the case can be made that it has made things worse.

Why?

It boils down to two big concerns with business owners:  cost and uncertainty.  They go hand-in-hand.  Obamanomics is increasing the cost of hiring new employees, but business owners aren’t sure by how much.

Consider ObamaCare.  It has created 159 new government bureaucracies in 2700 pages of legislation which wasn’t read by the people voting for it.  Unelected bureaucrats will figure out how the whole thing works.  Just look at the chart above which takes a stab at diagraming the intricacies of this mammoth piece of legislation.

ObamaCare will hike taxes by $569 billion dollars.

ObamaCare creates 17 new insurance mandates.

ObamaCare adds 16 million people to tax payer-funded Medicaid.

President Obama has never run a business.  He doesn’t understand the impact that uncertainly has on hiring decisions.

Now let us turn to the new 2,300 page Dodd-Frank finance regulatory act.  The Wall Street Journal reports there will be “no fewer than 243 new formal rule-makings by 11 different agencies.

What will these new rules be?

How much will they cost?

Business owners have other concerns.  Will Congress allow the Bush tax cuts to expire? (Why don’t tax increases ever expire!?)  Will Congress increase the payroll tax?

The only thing that is certain is that it is going to cost businesses more to hire new employees, and that is bad for unemployment in this country.  Democrats have written 5000 pages of new legislation in these two bills alone and America is paying the price.

What would be the best stimulus for our economy?  Elect a Republican Congress this November.

Should you be free to choose? Reply


By Tom Quiner

What an interesting question!  It depends on the context, doesn’t it?  It depends on the principle involved.

I pose the question in light of the great exchange in the video above between the late, great Nobel laureate economist, Milton Friedman, and a college student who is allegedly Michael Moore.  (I don’t know if it is really Mr. Moore, nor does it matter for purposes of this discussion.)

You can’t help but appreciate the way  Mr. Friedman engages the young man and forces him to think, to wrestle with a principle.

The young man has a problem with Ford Motor Company’s decision to not put a $13 part on the Pinto back in the 1960’s knowing full well that two-hundred deaths could occur as a result of their economic decision.  His chagrin seems reasonable, don’t you think?

Mr. Friedman’s response is that “no one can accept the principal that an infinite value can be put on an individual life.”  This, too, seems reasonable.

The young man disagrees, but then offers that he is a supporter of abortion rights. He explicitly states that he does not believe that human life is sacred, that principles have to be balanced.

This young man very much articulates the triumphant philosophy of the Democratic Party today.  Human life is not sacred if it is in the womb.  It can be discarded, and even more, someone else should have to pay for it.  However, their philosophy categorically rejects Mr. Friedman’s central principle:  “Individuals should be free to decide how much they’re willing to pay to reduce the chance of their death.”

The recent healthcare debate touched on this principle.  Democrats reject Friedman’s timeless arguments.   Instead, they passed legislation which reduces the consumers freedom to choose, and in fact, goes either further by requiring someone else to pay.

Are we free to choose?  Yes, if it involves aborting your baby.  No, if you would prefer not to purchase health insurance.

Let us reconsider ObamaCare 2


Last March 18th, Richard Foster, chief actuary for the Center Medicare and Medicaid Services, presented with Congress’ 2700 page health care bill. His job was to assess the impact ObamaCare would have on America. Unfortunately, Congress wasn’t interested in waiting for his analysis.

…We’ve been sold a bill of goods. ObamaCare tries to cheat the laws of supply of demand instead of letting supply and demand control costs and increase access to healthcare.

According to Medicare’s actuary, according to the Congressional Budget Office, according to health care benefit professionals, America will be poorer and unhealthier under ObamaCare.
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