Is A War With Iran Inevitable?

As a matter of policy the US does not preemptively attack its enemies. It resorts to violence only after being provoked by antagonists that threaten America and its allies. The behavior of Iran during the course of the last year does in fact justify a military response.

Military action can take many forms ranging from an outright invasion to limited strikes against strategic targets. It could also mean establishing embargoes and conducting cyber warfare that disrupts the enemy’s economy and infrastructure.

After President Trump abrogated an inane and highly ineffective nuclear arrangement with the Iranians (designed by President Obama), Iran began to ramp up its nuclear development. Much of this relates to enriching uranium for creating weapons of mass destruction. The country is moving ahead with its plans to build a deliverable bomb.

Iran is participating in a number of horrific adventures throughout the Middle East, that includes arming terrorists in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. This has resulted in a huge number of casualties and refugees, along with famine and disease.

The ayatollahs have also sanctioned action against oil tankers operating in international waters. And most recently, Iran launched cruise missiles that destroyed critical oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are mortal enemies of the Iranians. Together they have created a very dangerous standoff that pits Sunnis against Shiites, the two major Islamic sects.

President Trump has been restrained in his reactions to Iranian aggression, which has emboldened the rogue state and the religions zealots that govern Iran’s theocracy.

Trump’s restraint is interpreted as weakness in some circles. Does the American leader have the courage to do what’s necessary to control Iran? Constant US threats that are not supported by action could lead to another situation similar to Syria, where Obama drew a line in the sand relating to genocide conducted by Assad. The Syrian leader stepped across the line and Obama did nothing. Inaction led to Syrian cooperation with Russia and Iran.

What actions by Iran justify military action? If Iran maliciously kills one American or attacks any locations occupied by Americans, deadly force would be in order. After 9/11 the US responded by launching military attacks against Afghanistan.

The destruction of US property by Iran (such as the US drones that Iran shot down) would justify retaliation, but in a much less severe manner. This could be the destruction of Iranian military equipment and long-range armaments that were used in an attack.

If Iran assaults our allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel being the obvious choices, the US must be prepared to respond in kind. The recent attack on Saudi oil fields falls into this category. An aggressive US response is called for, and the president is making a mistake by not responding to it.

Massive attacks that endanger innocents must be avoided at almost all costs. But Iran’s armies, missile launch sites, radar equipment, artillery batteries and command and control centers should be priority targets.

A confrontation with Iran is inevitable unless sanctions bring down the current regime. Trump may be depending upon this outcome. It would be a misstep to do so. The US should be preparing to attack this enemy with or without concurrence of other nations. The peril the world faces by waiting any longer is unacceptable.

Four Things That Will Hurt Democrats In 2020

Democrat candidates for president are saying quite a few things that are alienating voters. As discussed many times, presidential aspirants, in the primaries, must personify progressive ideologies to win. The theory goes that when the nomination is won, the candidate must then pivot to a more tolerant perspective to lure independents and moderate voters.

I’m going to give Democrats some free advice and outline four areas that will help Donald Trump win in 2020. Rest assured the most radical elements in the party will not listen. They certainly will try to win votes by denigrating Trump, calling him names and saying he is bad for America. These strategies will fail.

The four issues to be discussed are:

 

  • Russian collusion and obstruction of justice involving Donald Trump
  • The US relationship with Saudi Arabia
  • The US relationship with Israel
  • Trump’s terrible persona

 

  1. Russia and collusion. Nobody wants to rehash these issues any further except the liberal chairmen of several congressional committees in the House. The charges have been investigated by far too many politicians and investigators hired by them.

Mueller’s two-year odyssey was a colossal waste of time and money. The Special Counsel worked very hard along with his sycophants to dig up dirt that would be grounds to impeach, but he and his soldiers were unable to do so. Mueller even admitted this fact.

Notwithstanding the costs involved, Democrats investigate onward. My favorite comment was that Democrats stipulated that none of Trump’s specific actions, behavior and rhetoric were sufficient alone to justify impeachment, but taken as a whole, they do provide a path to oust the president. I didn’t know that you could add up crimes to make one big one.

I sincerely hope their constituencies will punish the diehards who are unable to give up their fruitless crusade, in 2020. Their sanctimonious attitude has resulted in very little action taken by Congress to “fix” the country. I’m referring to bridges and tunnels, schools, veteran affairs, bad treaties, health care, immigration, gun control and so on.

  1. The US relationship with Saudi Arabia. It was inevitable that a president would at some point choose to take the side of Saudi Arabia or Iran. Wisely, Trump selected the Saudis in spite of the unfortunate murder of a dissident that was allegedly orchestrated by the Crowned Prince.

Over the years Sunni radicals in Saudi Arabia have created havoc in the Middle East. These terrorists are blinded by their religious fervor. They have paid for and encouraged terrorism that has resulted in many deaths. Moreover, their country, notwithstanding its great wealth, is not interested in encouraging religious and personal freedom.

But Saudi Arabia is the sworn enemy of Iran and all states and groups that are Shiite. Iran is the most vicious member of this group and a fomenter of senseless, religious-driven, violence.

For some reason the Obama administration believed it could negotiate with Iran, make a deal to stem the tide of nuclear proliferation in the area and become buddies with the ayatollahs. All Obama accomplished was a delay in Iran’s dream to have nukes. It was an inane and dangerous legacy ploy by the former president. And, along with Obamacare, the deal fell flat on its face.

Most importantly, Obama disregarded the US policy of no nuclear armaments for Iran that was in place since the early 1980s. He thought Iran would act responsibly with a nuclear bomb in their arsenal. Iran does not act diplomatically without a WMD, why would anyone think it would do otherwise with much greater military power?

The world is safer, although tensions between Iran the US have escalated. Trump is trying to renegotiate the nuke deal by imposing greater sanctions on the Iran regime. It seems to be having great effect.

Democrats have turned against the regime in Saudi Arabia. For the stability of the region, Trump must continue to look away from the distasteful actions by the Saudis. American voters are beginning to understand the importance of Saudi Arabia as a close ally of the US, in spite of recent unfortunate events.

  1. The relationship with Israel. The State of Israel is the most important ally of the US. Israel serves as a watchdog and outpost for the US, as the region becomes more dangerous every day. Since the establishment of the nation, the US has unequivocally supported and protected Israel’s right to exist. This has become a more difficult endeavor every year.

Most Jews in the US, even those that believe the current regime is too aggressive towards Palestine, want Israel to persevere and be available to those that are persecuted. Democratic antagonism towards the Israelis will hurt their chances in the national election. In the end, many Jews will support Trump because of this issue alone.

  1. Trump’s lousy attitude. Many Americans detest Trump’s personality. Yet he’s been getting results. Perhaps this aggressive demeanor is what America needed to stop the unfair arrangements that past president agreed to for diplomatic reasons. Trade deals, nuclear pacts, etc. need renegotiation even if we hurt some feelings along the way. Our determination to protect others is recognized sooner or later when nations are under distress and need a friend. Democrats are wasting their time criticizing Trump personally because a. he doesn’t care what they say, b. Trump’s base is with him to the bitter end and c. criticizing Trump’s personality is not going to turn the election.

Democrats, I know you won’t heed my warnings. After the 2020 elections you will be licking your wounds and wondering why you lost the presidency and so many congressional seats.

 

Epstein Was Plagued By Insects, Rodents And Sewerage

It may not be politically correct, but I cannot ignore the  conditions Jeffrey Epstein was subjected to during his final days.

Articles about Epstein depict abhorrent sanitary conditions in the facility in New York City where he was incarcerated. Insects, rodents, standing water from toilets certainly had an  impact on Epstein’s state of mind and possibly encouraged him to take his life. He arranged to meet with his attorneys all day long to avoid spending time in his filthy cell.

Don’t misread my feelings about Epstein. If even a few of the allegations made against him are true, he deserved to spend the balance of his life behind bars. The man allegedly trafficked scores of young girls in a sex scandal qualifying him as “scumbag of the decade.” Preying on girls, presumably with some of his good buddies, is not an activity that the police and FBI should sweep under the rug. It’s imperative that the entire sordid affair be investigated and made public in spite of Epstein’s death.

It ‘s also extremely important that the horrible conditions that prisoners, American citizens, must endure as they pay their debts to society improve. To say that killers, rapists, kidnappers and other assorted felons are not entitled to humane treatment regardless of their crimes is an injustice.

I can’t help but wonder whether conditions at GITMO, where terrorists are incarcerated, are as horrible as the facility  in downtown New York. Remember the GITMO crowd consists of mostly terrorists who are not American citizens. Reportedly they receive treatment far better than our own convicts. All people incarcerated by the US should have a clean environment as they do their time.

The Epstein affair calls into question the manner in which convicts are treated throughout the US in city, state and federal facilities. Incarceration for serious crimes should mean hard time, but cleanliness and safety must be a  priority if the country is going to claim that we respect the rights and liberties of everyone.

Beto Says America Is Based Upon White Supremacy And Slavery

The age-old adage than politicians must go radical in the primaries is in full bloom.

The latest outrageous comments were made by Beto O’Rourke to a group of immigrants this week. Beto says the US was founded on the concepts of white supremacy and slavery. Further he commented, “ . . . every single institution and structure that we have in this country still reflects the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression, even in our democracy.” It’s no wonder that the boy wonder, who lost to Ted Cruz, is being lapped by the Democratic field of candidates.

Beto made these untoward observations to attract the votes of people of color, plain and simple. His vision of America is warped and completely ignores the progress that has been made as America struggles with being the most diverse country in the world, a proverbial melting pot, if you will.

It hasn’t always been easy adjusting to wave after wave of immigrants over the years and striving to rid ourselves of the stench of racial inequality. But Americans have thrived as Irish, Italian, Polish, Jewish, Mexican and Muslim immigrants flooded into the country.

Every time a new group asked the US to give them a new lease on life, Americans have come through. But there are always roadblocks and minefields to negotiate.

As far as blacks are concerned, the fight continues. But one should appreciate that never have people of color had more influence politically and socially than they do right now. For sure there are laggards, bigots, supremacists and skinheads that despise everyone. These people are not representative of America today.

Beto’s comments are an insult to Americans, and they are totally misinformed. The guy wants votes so he keeps telling minorities and the downtrodden that there is no hope in America, unless they elect him. That would be a frightful mistake.

Beto adversaries, the rest of the gaggle vying for the Democratic nomination for president, are similarly inclined. They are exaggerating the circumstances affecting minorities and degrading many Americans and companies that have done so much to push forward progressive changes. Money spent trying to give people a better life is never mentioned, nor are the good intentions of philanthropists and socially conscious people outside of the Democratic Party.

From time to time our country has setbacks. They are to be expected. The president’s attitudes and perspectives are often interpreted by critics to be sexist, racist and misogynistic. I understand and agree with many of these observations. But Trump’s tenure is just a fleeting moment in history. His missteps will be rectified by his successors.

Democrats are doing themselves a disservice by trying to convince voters that socialism and increasing entitlements without quid pro quo are the solutions to our problems. They would be better off if they encouraged the downtrodden to change their focus to self-improvement. More money, that the country cannot afford, is not the answer. It’s jobs, family solidarity and community that will improve America. The goal should be to get people more work, not more welfare.

Democrats need to take a class in arithmetic. If they did, they would realize that entitlements are going to bankrupt America and exacerbate income inequality, economic conditions and America’s security.

How Trump Will Win Or Lose In 2020

Currently, polls have President Trump losing to all the major Democratic candidates in head-to-head contests. What may happen between now and the Election that would enable Trump to capture a second term?

The first thing to consider is the polls themselves. It appears that Trump’s base continues to be about 40% of the electorate, obviously not enough to win a general election. He needs 10% more support to gain a majority. Keep in mind the winner must win the majority of electoral votes to claim the presidency. But unless another anomaly occurs, the winner of the popular vote will also be the victor in the Electoral College.

The obvious place for Trump to gain a majority is with independents. Because this group is the least vocal, it’s sometimes hard to read their state of mind. A thriving economy will certainly have a positive impact on Trump’s fortunes with independents, especially since economic conditions are already moving forward at a good clip. The opposite, a poor economic outlook, would be a huge problem for the president.

Trump is treading on thin ice in a number of areas diplomatically that could lead to military action. Specifically these might involve Iran, North Korea and any number of hot spots around the world, in particular, the Middle East. A military strike against either of the countries above will not help Trump’s cause in 2020. However, a resolution of one or both brewing conflicts would substantiate the administration’s tough negotiating style.

Economic warfare is another issue that can make or break the president’s campaign. A positive end to the Chinese standoff would be a huge win for Trump. His unwavering strength in conversations with his Chinese counterpart could be a disaster or a monstrous step forward for America. Moreover a win against China will greatly impact other trade confrontations under way with Europe, Mexico, Canada and Japan.

Turnout will be a big factor in the 2020 Election. Certain groups historically have not been reliable at the polls, in particular young people and blacks. Both groups are overwhelmingly supportive of liberal candidates, but they must go to the polls to exert their influence. High turnout will greatly enhance the prospects of Democratic candidates. The bigger question is whether liberal aspirants will inspire millennials and people of color to ensure their participation.

There are a plethora of other possible events that could sway the electorate, one way or the other.

If Republicans effectively label Democrats as socialists, the latter will lose votes. Given the persuasion of most liberal contenders, this campaign strategy should be a winner for the G.O.P. The country is not, nor will it ever be, anything but a capitalistic society that rewards hard work, ambition and creativity.

A terrorist attack is always a big risk for liberals as it validates all of the paranoia of Republicans. Conservatives are much more aggressive in their rhetoric against enemies of America that as of late include unbridled illegal immigrants on the southern border. The right’s desire for a strong homeland has always been an advantage.

Massive protests are occurring regularly around the world. The latest is in an unlikely place, Hong Kong, as it fights against China’s efforts to stem the tide of personal freedom. If unrest grows in the US, it will probably be in support of one or more liberal causes. This form of expression is very powerful and will benefit the left. The likely issues include income inequality, racial inequality, health care and women’s reproductive rights.

Right now the scales are tilted towards Democrats. But their field of candidates is weak and untested. Nevertheless it would be hazardous to place a bet on the outcome of the 2020 Election at this time.

The Pope’s Performance Is Deplorable

Pope Francis has once again proven he is not going to be a proponent of change in the Catholic Church. Consider the following quote from the New York Times: “The Vatican on Monday flatly rejected what it cast as the notion that individuals can choose their gender . . .”

The Church has officially dashed the L.G.B.T. community by declaring, “acceptance of flexible ideas of gender pose[s] a threat to traditional families and ignore[s] the natural differences between men and women.”

Francis is digging in his heels every time he makes a new announcement about non-traditional life styles and age-old unproductive dogma. His promise to be more “tolerant” has not been kept. His supposed crusade to lead the Church out of the dark ages has not commenced. His commitment to clean up the horrible and disgraceful actions of his priesthood has fallen flat. The only thing the leader of the Catholic Church has proven is that he is cut out of the same cloth as his predecessors, and his only concern is the reputation of the Catholic Church.

Perhaps the pontiff is getting bad advice from his advisers and colleagues about what his flock expects of him, or maybe he really is a conservative who has no intention of cleaning up the missteps and sins of his fellow priests. In order to get the pope back into the good graces of his followers he needs to aggressively change many perspectives of the Church. The following are a few obvious examples.

The genie is out of the bottle relating to sexual abuse. Thousands of young boys have been raped and abused over the past century. Many lives have been destroyed. Who knows how widespread this behavior has been since the Church was founded over 2,000 years ago? Additionally, it has become public that even female worshippers and nuns have been the subjects of attacks along with young priests by older priests.

Every one of these accusations needs to be investigated and guilty priests must be defrocked immediately. When possible these criminals should be turned over to civil authorities for appropriate punishment.

The Vatican should form investigative groups around the world that can work on this project full time. Emphasis must be placed on exposing the abusers who are still living, rather than chasing ghosts. This process would surely be a great embarrassment to the Church and take many years to conclude. It is only then that the individuals that were abused will be able to find some closure in their lives.

Related to these crimes are those affiliated to Church leaders who protected sexual criminals. They are equally culpable with the abusers themselves and should be sanctioned similarly. This group will likely include pastors of small parishes as well as bishops, cardinals and even popes. Enablers are guilty of sexual abuse by allowing known offenders to run rampant among innocent churchgoers.

The Church needs to change its holier than thou arrogance and update its tenets. The list of changes that needs to be made is extensive.

Birth control is a perfect issue that demonstrates how antiquated the Church is, and how it does not address the needs of a changing world. To begin birth control is not a sin. Practitioners of it will not be sentenced to eternal damnation. It is a necessary, healthy and effective way to stop bringing unwanted children into the world. Moreover, it’s a critical method in lesser-developed countries to combat excessive population growth, starvation, poverty and disease. Many Catholics in impoverished areas do not practice birth control because their priests have taught them that it is a sin.

Abortion is an essential element of a woman’s basic right to care for her body. Policies (legally and spiritually) that allow aborting fetuses, before they are viable, are a perfect way to end the unproductive abortion controversy. The Church should lead this effort, especially since half its members are women. It’s barbaric to say it is a mortal sin to control the size of one’s family.

The number of gays and lesbians coming out seems to be increasing at frenzied pace. The right to choose one’s sexual preference is not in the domain of Church. There is no conceivable damage to society when two loving people of the same sex want to share a life together. The Church’s dogma on this issue is not empathetic and creates turmoil. The pope’s dismissive attitude towards this group of people is shameful.

It is becoming more obvious every day that many individuals are struggling with their sexuality. They feel they don’t fit into society because neither of the current sexual categories (man or woman) accurately represents their perspectives. The pope’s callous response to people sorting out their sexuality is truly unfortunate and ignorant.

And finally the Church has taken advantage of its status over the centuries to accumulate hundreds of billions of dollars. It has the gall to continue to solicit poor parishioners for more contributions. Just like well-endowed universities and colleges, the Church should begin a program to liquefy holdings and return the proceeds to its needy members around the world.

The Catholic Church is at a crossroads. It will either become a relic of the past or regain its influence. This will be dependent upon how priests interface with parishioners. It will also depend upon resetting antiquated ideas and reconsidering the definition of sin.

 

Millennials And The 2020 Elections

Millennials around the world are clamoring for more responsibility in every aspect of society. It makes one wonder how millenials in the US will respond in the 2020 elections.

Americans are very idealistic in their early years and have grandiose observations about what is wrong with the country. It happened big time in the 1960s when civil rights and the Vietnam War dominated our lives causing massive protests and civil disobedience. Today the issues are different, but just as important to young people.

What are some of the most important issues to millennials?

From an individual perspective, young people have been complaining on end that they are saddled with significant debt, in particular loans used for higher education. Not many colleges have done much to rein in ever-higher tuition costs in recent years. However, some institutions have taken dramatic steps to give more scholarships in lieu of loans that must be repaid. For some schools, huge endowments have made entitlements readily available. Other wealthy institutions should be encouraged to do more, rather than increasing investment assets.

The irony is that some students are breezing through college taking courses that have little relevance to the jobs they ultimately apply for. It would be wise for students to take courses that are affiliated with areas they wish to pursue after graduation. History majors are soliciting administrative positions, for instance. It would also be beneficial for schools to offer more classes that teach students trade skills.

The pressure of high debt has impacted the number of marriages among millennials (they are less and later in life), the timing of having children and the ability of young people to buy homes (and move away from their parents). It’s unfortunate that some life decisions are directly related to the amount of money one has in the bank.

More generally, young people think the previous generation has been screwing up things for them prospectively. Many believe the government is too intrusive, and there are too many restrictions and laws that impede their lives. Prohibition of the sale and personal use of marijuana are major items for a large number of young people. Additionally this same group feels the government is spying on them and invading their privacy.

Scores of young people are sympathetic to the plight of the downtrodden and to income inequality, more so than their parents, or so they think. Somehow being successful and becoming well to do is considered evil and all Americans in this category (the 1%ers) are not paying their fair share. Note: the definition of “fair share” is debatable and highly elusive.

Related to the life styles of the rich and famous are young people’s concerns for those who need assistance. What they believe is that every conservative either does not want to help Americans that ask for support, and that Republicans purposely elect leaders and lawmakers that perpetuate poverty in the country.

In fact most rich people are inured to paying an oversized share of taxes in the US. The frustration for 1%ers is more related to irresponsible government spending and the inability of free-spenders to creatively fund entitlements.

Over time young generations must assume responsibility and take over the government. America is at a crossroads, as older politicians are unable to pass the baton. Ironically, Democrats that include most millennials, have three seventy year-olds seriously contending for the presidency. And, in the House of Representatives, the top leaders are all significantly over seventy. In the meantime, several young (and mostly female) neophytes defeated incumbent Democrats during the mid term elections.

What has been the response of the Democratic establishment? They have threatened anyone who assists a Democrat in an effort to replace an incumbent Democrat.

Our Congress is chock full of old white men whose time has come to retire. Both parties are suffocating because old dogs don’t do new tricks, and old incumbents don’t want to give up their seats. Term limits are desperately needed on Capitol Hill and throughout all government.

Let’s discuss Democrat presidential candidates. The old adage that you must be radical in the primaries and moderate in the general election has already come into play. Every Democrat has either overtly or implicitly espoused socialism- that’s how far left the group has come. Their proposals are idiotic, too expensive and totally pie in the sky. They’re promising new entitlements that cannot be delivered.

Increasing taxes on the wealthy is the only source of new revenues for Democrats. There has been no thought given to abrogating entitlements that are no longer productive or doing what they were intended to do.

There are plenty of young people in the Democrat’s mad rush to regain the presidency, but none of them are leading the group. The Democrats are headed towards a real catastrophe next year that will become more obvious in the impending debates.

Young people have some important decisions to make. Many may just stay home on Election Day as they have done historically. Let’s hope not.

 

College Application Scandal And Moral Compass

Is the college application scandal evidence of an erosion of the moral compass of America? Not really, but there are many other larger and more important activities that could lead one to believe that America’s ethical standards are crumbling.

The outrageous and brazen actions taken by wealthy parents to assure their children’s acceptance at elite schools has been branded by the press, social media, politicians and scholars as an egregious form of behavior. But, how many people have actually been harmed by bribes and felonious activities? The answer is not many.

To date, 50 incidents have been documented although more are expected. Therefore 50 deserving students were denied a coveted acceptance to a college. Even if the number increases tenfold, the scandal is minute by any standard given that 2 million new freshmen enter college each year.

Of course the individuals who perpetrated the scam including professional college advisors, college admissions officers, sports coaches and even university presidents are going to pay a huge price. Many will be indicted and lose their jobs for taking bribes, forging documents and/or turning a blind eye.

It’s clear that the American public has been provoked by the press. They are salivating over the fate of the parent offenders. It’s tabloid news at its worst. Unfortunately, too many Americans love to read about the untoward and felonious acts of movie stars and wealthy people. You can be sure this highly charged atmosphere is going to have a meaningful impact on the wealthy, colleges and students in the future.

For sure liberals in Congress will indict the wealthy 1% for the measly, stupid and illegal acts by the aforementioned parents. They will say that the behavior of a few is a result of the entitlements and advantages bestowed upon the rich. It’s likely that perspectives relating to income inequality and taxation will be used to justify efforts to punish the group.

Further, efforts by universities and colleges to clean up this public relations disaster will be under a microscope.

Many educational institutions need to encourage big donors to give more to offset higher operating costs. Unfortunately critics of this practice only focus on the significant endowments at the most elite schools. Not every college has a billion dollars in a bank account.

The solicitation of large gifts will surely be a target of liberal lawmakers. They may try to end or decrease the deductibility of donations to colleges and even rescind tax exemptions affiliated with interest income generated by endowments. These actions could exacerbate the financial problems at smaller “non-elite” schools.

Liberals should appreciate that large donors subsidize scholarships given to needy students and even to middle class enrollees. Making it less attractive to donate to higher education would be tragic.

The moral compass of Americans should not be measured by the college scandal. It is but a microcosm of the real problems facing the country.

The liberal press is greatly responsible for diverting focus from more important issues to a scandal involving 50 students for the sake of readership, ratings and sensationalism.

It would be more productive if the press would look at the severe damage caused by cheating in other areas. One of the most obvious activities that greatly diminish our country is tax evasion.

Regarding tax evasion, the federal government loses more than $400 billion each year because of cheating. It occurs in many forms including failure to report income, phony deductions, failure to report tips and gifts, paying people off the books and hiding gambling earnings.

The press should spend more time investigating these types of misdemeanors and felonies. The payoff of uncovering cheating could be monumental.

 

Universal Health Care Is Not Feasible

Democratic socialism is all the rage across the country. Liberal presidential candidates are stirring up the electorate by proposing entitlements that are not financially feasible. Unfortunately the associated costs of these types of giveaways are never revealed. This essay will address the costs of the largest proposed entitlement- single payer health care.

How much will universal health care cost? Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts estimates the program will cost $1.38 trillion in the first year. On the high side is Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University who believes the figure will be more like $2.4 trillion. For this exercise I will use the midpoint of these high and low estimates, or $1.9 trillion.

Proponents of universal health care say that it is prudent to assume savings from lower prices the federal government will negotiate with doctors, hospitals and pharma companies.

I would challenge this assumption only by saying that the federal government is not and has never been capable of effectively controlling costs. Certainly it is not more efficient than private industry. Consider the abuses in defense spending and cost overruns for all types of federal projects.

The program being proposed will provide health care coverage to every American, and so, current plans paid for and/or subsidized by companies will end. This will create any number of serious consequences. Some include an inability to choose doctors, waiting for services, poor quality of service and huge start up costs. Additionally thousands of people currently working at insurance companies that are providing health care coverage will lose their jobs.

Assuming efficiencies in a federal government operated system is folly. The program will be bureaucratic and many Americans will be impacted. Moreover increases in the aforementioned costs are indeterminable. Certainly they will increase, so saying that the cost of the program over ten years will be $19 trillion ($1.9 trillion times 10) is a low-ball number.

The Congressional Budget Office and Department of Veterans Affairs indicated the federal budget includes about $1 trillion for Medicare and Medicaid. This cost would be eliminated so that the net impact in the first year on the budget would be $900 billion, excluding startup costs, which would easily top $100 to $200 billion. If the cost of the program increases by 5% annually, the total incremental increase in health care costs would be $12 trillion.

Liberals, too often, suggest major structural changes that include unidentified increases in costs. Why wouldn’t the average American want free health care, or a free house? Naturally when politicians promise more giveaways the electorate is stoked.

But this is only one side of the analysis. One must consider the current level of budget deficits and the total debt of the country. A new entitlement that increases the need to borrow more money is a ridiculous proposal for our country. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren understand this, yet they continue to push their crazy ideas.

Michael Bloomberg and Howard Schultz have said the universal health care proposal is not feasible. The electorate should listen to these knowledgeable men.

 

Will French Unrest Spread?

The riots in France are directed at the administration of President Emmanuel Macron. They are emanating from the political left, right and middle class.

The French people have lost confidence in Macron. Two thirds of them believe the government will not be able to unite France.

To date there have been four deaths and 4,000 arrests among the “yellow vest” demonstrators. The original riots were inspired by an increase in fuel taxes, which significantly impacted the middle class and poor of the country. Macron rescinded the tax hike after violence and protest broke out throughout the country.

The beleaguered president also agreed to cut taxes on pensions and promised to “increase wages” for struggling middle class and poor workers in an effort to end civil protest.

The actions of the government have not make a dent in the negative polling of Macron. Fifty seven percent of the people are “not wooed by the young leader.” Sixty percent said the president is not listening to the people. Seventy three percent back the yellow vest movement. Fifty four percent want protests to continue.

The French unrest is reminiscent of the Occupy Wall Street disorder a few years ago. The movement is leaderless and disorganized. It is destructive to property and commerce in the big cities, which is impacting many of the people that, ironically, are supporting the demonstrations.

The poor, the right and the middle class all have gripes with Macron, which account for his horrible polling numbers.

The poor reacted violently to the gas tax hike and have not backed off in spite of the Macron’s actions to rescind the tax and call for higher wages.

The right wing demonstrators are angry about Macron’s progressive perspective towards illegal aliens. This group is encouraging a more nationalistic approach by the government to protect jobs that are being taken by interlopers.

The middle class is in an uproar that the demonstrations have not been controlled. This is resulting in huge losses for merchants and the destruction of stores and vehicles during the holiday sales period.

How does all this violence impact other neighboring countries? In Europe dissatisfaction is growing every day. The poor are protesting difficult economic conditions, while right wing groups are resenting illegals more each day.

Nationalistic fervor will continue to spread to other places. Already we have seen the announced resignation of Angela Merkel in Germany, chaos in the Italian and Spanish governments and an unsuccessful but significant no-confidence vote in Britain. The later situation has all the same issues as France but is exacerbated by problems relating to Brexit.

Is Trump culpable for the growing unrest in countries around the world? The left in the US would say yes. I would disagree and suggest that what is happening was inevitable.

Trump’s nationalistic sentiments are far different than in other places. For one thing the American people are not losing jobs to illegals. Illegals are straining the resources of federal and local governments, but that is of little consequence to lower and middle class Americans.

The US economy is cruising along seemingly immune to the issues in other parts of the world. Unemployment is low, inflation is virtually nonexistent and wages are increasing. Even fuel costs are temperate aided by a seemingly orderly oil market.

Americans have little to complain about. Yet many continue to be focused on income, gender and racial inequality.

The morale of this story is that the US is in relatively good shape, notwithstanding the absurd actions and commentary of our president. Average citizens and politicians disagree about immigration security, disparities among different groups and continued gains made by the affluent.

The US should continue to prosper in 2019, although political strife will not subside. But most importantly we probably won’t experience the kind of nationwide discontent that is overwhelming many other countries.