Posts Tagged ‘Medicare’

Captain Rick: The Senate and House passed a short-term spending bill that prevented a government shutdown at the end of the week. It has White House backing.

This legislation allows Congress to ‘kick the can down the road’ until after America elects a new President and new members of Congress. With a bunch of ‘lame ducks’ residing in congress at that time, you can bet they will again ‘kick the can down the road’ with another short-term spending bill to fund the government until after a new President and Congress take office in January. That’s when the excitement begins …

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Fights over raising the debt limit broke out between the Obama White House and ruling Republicans in Congress in 2011 and 2013, unsettling Wall Street and foreign investors. The two sides struck a deal in 2015 to suspend the debt limit until Obama left office. The federal debt limit has been suspended since late 2015, but the law is set to be reinstated on March 16, 2017. The current debt limit of $20.1 trillion will be breached and another funding emergency will be at hand to prevent another U.S. government shutdown.

Government shutdowns in the past have become a ‘joke’ in that certain federal employees are told to stay home without pay, until Congress passed legislation to fund the government, which often included increasing the national debt and awarded compensation for all lost pay … meaning their time off was really an extra paid vacation; an insult to hard working employees of ‘Main Street’ America. The ‘Shutdown Game’ can not continue much longer because America is coming ever so close to falling off of the real and pending ‘Fiscal Cliff’. Many federal programs like Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare and even Social Security are projected to implode in coming years without serious spending/taxation reform.

The U.S. National Debt has more than doubled since President Obama took office; from $9 trillion to $19.5 today. It is exploding at rate of $1.35 trillion each year. More than $10 trillion of ‘red ink debt dollars’ have been spent to keep the federal government functioning during the Obama Administration.

About 15% of money spent by the federal government has no revenue to support the expenditure and thus adds to the national debt. Much of this debt spending goes to states and cities in the form of federal grants. Our states and cities ‘drink up’ the grants like it is ‘free money coming from heaven’. Their philosophy is ‘if we don’t get the grant, some other city or state will’. What an awesomely greedy and fiscally reckless way to think. Shame on every city and state in America for slurping up these slush grants which add to the mushrooming U.S. National Debt. Our cities and states are a main contributors to the growing problem of America’s National Debt … debt which will be placed upon future generations to pay back … including our children and grand children. It’s a serious matter to think about.

I hope the next President and Congress will begin to balance the budget and curtail deficit spending. Saving America from falling off of the real and pending ‘Fiscal Cliff’, will not be easy. It will require ‘belt tightening’ by people, cities and states across America and most importantly by the U.S. Federal Government and our elected representatives in the U.S. Congress.

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Captain Rick: The U.S. Economy officially tanked big time in the first quarter of 2014…the first slowdown since early 2011. It is a ‘wake-up call’ that America is heading into ‘Recession’ in spite of the ‘it was just a hard winter’ hype that many ‘blind’ economists have been pumping. 

Last month I posted a report showing the US government’s second estimate of GDP dropped to –1% in the first quarter of 2014…a drop from the first estimate in April of a gain of 0.1%. This third and usually final government GDP report shows that the US economy plummeted soundly into ‘recession’ territory during the first quarter of 2014.

The weather had an effect…but perhaps not as much as other factors like the curtailment of ‘Quantitative Easing’ … the pumping of tens of billions of U.S. debt dollars into the economy each month to make the economy look like its doing OK, when in reality, it is not.

This severe drop of GDP into negative territory (–2.9%) is a sign that another recession might be looming.  A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Overall, the U.S. economy continues in limp along in anemic growth…and now negative growth, as shown in the chart below.

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BLUE LINE: 3.0% GDP Growth is required to keep up with U.S. Population Growth. GDP above the blue line represents real growth that adds real jobs. GDP below the blue line indicates real economic decline that is loosing real jobs. GDP below the blue line, but above zero line (‘Recession’), is what Captain Rick calls the ‘Anemic Zone’.

RED LINE: 2.1% GDP Growth is the average of what the U.S. economy scored in the past 12 quarters (3 years). This demonstrates that the U.S. economy is stuck in the economic ‘Anemic Zone’…not mustering enough growth to keep up with population growth. 

GDP…What is it?

‘GDP’ represents ‘Gross Domestic Product’…a market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a year. GDP performance (increases and decreases) present a broad-based picture of the health of a country’s economy. High GDP growth is typical of a healthy economy. Low GDP growth (below 3%) is typical of an unhealthy economy. Negative growth is typical of an economy in recession. 

What does this GDP data mean concerning the future of America?

America is stuck in a land of anemic growth…actually declining in real growth because its economy can not consistently rise above 3% growth … a level required to produce enough jobs and income to keep pace with population growth. In reality, this means that America is declining in economic strength. In the coming few years America faces an astronomical increase in expenditures due to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and welfare programs like Medicaid and Obamacare. America’s relatively level revenue will not be able to cover the mushrooming expenditures. Congress will not be able to address this problem by simply ‘kicking the debt can down the road’ as it has in recent years. At some point soon, the fiscal mess that is brewing will explode as America plunges over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’.  At the bottom lies America as a third world country.

What can be done to better America and other countries?

Lots can be done! Take notice of what our elected officials do. Vote them out…replace them if they do not perform to your expectations. You might even consider running for an office. The world is in extremely short supply of intelligent people who care about our lands and well being of our people. Go for it. Run for an elected office. Help our world from plunging over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’…before its too late.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title at top)

Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

Previous GDP Report

GDP

U.S. Debt Crisis

Economy

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

Captain Rick: The U.S. Economy took a nose dive in the first quarter of 2014…the first slowdown since early 2011. Some economists are blaming the sudden drop in GDP on the cold and snow in the northeast. The weather had an effect…but perhaps not as much as other factors like the curtailment of ‘Quantitative Easing’ … the pumping of tens of billions of U.S. debt dollars into the economy each month to make the economy look like its doing OK, when it is not. Another alarming factor is the stalling of house sales in America. The current real estate boom might be nearing its peak.

This drop of GDP into negative territory is a sign that another recession might be looming.  A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. There is still one more final tweak that will be made to the official GDP number at the end of June. The current –1.0% estimate, a significant drop from the first estimate of .1% last month, could be revised up or down. Overall, the U.S. economy continues in limp along in anemic growth…and now negative growth, as shown in the chart below.

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BLUE LINE: 3.0% GDP Growth is required to keep up with U.S. Population Growth. GDP above the blue line represents real growth that adds real jobs. GDP below the blue line indicates real economic decline that is loosing real jobs. GDP below the blue line, but above zero line (‘Recession’), is what Captain Rick calls the ‘Anemic Zone’.

RED LINE: 2.2% GDP Growth is the average of what the U.S. economy scored in the past 12 quarters (3 years). This demonstrates that the U.S. economy is stuck in the economic ‘Anemic Zone’…not mustering enough growth to keep up with population growth. 

GDP…What is it?

‘GDP’ represents ‘Gross Domestic Product’…a market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a year. GDP performance (increases and decreases) present a broad-based picture of the health of a country’s economy. High GDP growth is typical of a healthy economy. Low GDP growth (below 3%) is typical of an unhealthy economy. Negative growth is typical of an economy in recession. 

What does this GDP data mean concerning the future of America?

America is stuck in a land of anemic growth…actually declining in real growth because its economy can not consistently rise above 3% growth … a level required to produce enough jobs and income to keep pace with population growth. In reality, this means that America is declining in economic strength. In the coming few years America faces an astronomical increase in expenditures due to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and welfare programs like Medicaid and Obamacare. America’s relatively level revenue will not be able to cover the mushrooming expenditures. Congress will not be able to address this problem by simply ‘kicking the debt can down the road’ as it has in recent years. At some point soon, the fiscal mess that is brewing will explode as America plunges over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’.  At the bottom lies America as a third world country.

What can be done to better America and other countries?

Lots can be done! Take notice of what our elected officials do. Vote them out and replace them if they do not perform to your expectations. You might even consider running for an office. The world is in extremely short supply of intelligent people who care about our lands and well being of our people. Go for it. Run for an elected office. Help our world from plunging over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’…before its too late.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title at top)

Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

Previous GDP Report

GDP

U.S. Debt Crisis

Economy

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

Captain Rick: U.S. Job Growth is not keeping up with population growth. The 8.7 million jobs lost during the Great Recession will never return. Despite the ‘glory employment talk’ presented by the Obama Administration, America’s job situation qualifies among the worst since the Great Depression. I present the simple math to expose a monumental economic problem developing that will help deliver America to the edge of the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’.

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BLUE LINE: 185,000 jobs need to be created each year to keep up with U.S. Population growth of 0.7%

RED LINE: 177,000 jobs represents the average number of jobs created during the past year. This demonstrates a negative pattern that is not keeping up with population growth.

Great Recession Job Losses are Gone Forever

8.7 million jobs were lost during the Great Recession of the late 2000s. It has been stated that 8 million of those have been restored. Simple math proves this to be incorrect. In actuality, none of those jobs have been restored when considering the jobs needed to be added each year to keep pace with population growth. America is running a significant job deficit.

Captain Rick’s Job Numbers Math

317,725,000 U.S Population

0.7% growth rate (*.007)

2,224,075 people enter job market every year

/12

185,340 people enter job market every month

*12 months *5 years

11,120,375 jobs needed to be added in past 5 years since prior to great recession to keep up with population growth

-8.7 Million jobs lost

+8 Million jobs regained

.7 Million jobs still needed to be recovered

+11.1 Million jobs needed to be added to keep up with population growth

11.8 Million jobs short since prior to the Great recession 5 years ago.

At the current pace of job growth, which is not keeping up with population growth, the jobs lost during the ‘Great Recession’ will never be regained.

Where the new jobs were created

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs last month

Construction added 15,000 jobs, restaurants and bars added 20,100 jobs and education and health services added 33,000 jobs.

By far, the strongest hiring came from professional and business services industries, which include accountants, architects and technology workers. This sector alone added 79,000 jobs last month.

Wages are up: Average earnings ticked up 9 cents, to $24.31 an hour in February. It was the largest monthly wage gain in more than two years.

Long-term unemployment and underemployment remain high

Long-term unemployment remains high. As of February, 3.8 million Americans were unemployed for six months or more.

The underemployment rate — technically known as the U-6 — was 12.6%. That includes the unemployed, plus part-time workers who want to work full time, and people who want a job but haven’t searched for one in the last four weeks.

Labor Participation is lowest since 1978

Labor participation lowest since 1978; just over 63% of the population is engaged in the workforce, driven partly by Baby Boomers retiring, but also by workers who had simply given up hope after long and fruitless job searches. It means that a smaller chunk of the population is paying for promised entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. If a smaller share of the country is working, it will also act as a drag on economic growth.

What does this Employment data mean concerning the future of America?

America is stuck in a land of anemic growth…actually declining in real growth because its economy can not consistently produce enough jobs to keep pace with America’s 0.7% population growth. In reality, this means that America is declining in economic strength. In the coming few years America faces an astronomical increase in expenditures due to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and welfare programs like Medicaid and Obamacare. America’s relatively level revenue will not be able to cover the mushrooming expenditures. Congress will not be able to address this problem by simply ‘kicking the debt can down the road’ as it has in recent years. At some point soon, the fiscal mess that is brewing will explode as America plunges over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’.  At the bottom lies America as a third world country.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title at top)

Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Jobs

GDP

U.S. Debt Crisis

Economy

Entitlement Reform

Social Security

Medicare

Medicaid

ObamaCare

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

Captain Rick: Final U.S. GDP for Q4 2013 was a disappointing 2.4%, downgraded from the earlier estimate of 3.2%. Early estimates are notoriously optimistic. This GDP figure sounds a wake-up alarm that America is stuck in the GDP ‘Anemic Zone’ … a place between zero real growth and ‘Recession’. 

GDP (Gross National Product) is the broadest means of quantifying the health of an economy. GDP is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders.

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BLUE LINE: 3.0% GDP Growth is required to keep up with U.S. Population Growth. GDP above the blue line represents real growth that adds real jobs. GDP below the blue line indicates real economic decline that is loosing real jobs. GDP below the blue line, but above zero line (‘Recession’), is what Captain Rick calls the ‘Anemic Zone’.

RED LINE: 2.24% GDP Growth is the average of what the U.S. economy scored in the past 8 quarters (2 years). This demonstrates that the U.S. economy is stuck in the economic ‘Anemic Zone’…not mustering enough growth to keep up with population growth. 

What caused the recent GDP decline?

Weakness in the housing sector is a factor. Investment in residential real estate slowed for the first time in three years. I see that as good, as the previous pace was heading rapidly towards another real estate bubble.  Real estate values have peaked and have begun decline in some areas of the U.S., like Gilbert, Arizona that led the value resurgence a few months ago.  

Perhaps the decline in federal QE (debt) spending played the biggest role as a result of the $20 Billion reduction QE (debt) spending per month. The latest GDP decline demonstrates the power that debt spending can have on the economy. If the U.S. were to curtail the remaining $65 Billion in QE debt spending per month, the U.S. might slip into recession. The bottom line is that the U.S. QE debt spending helps the U.S. economy look like its only anemic…when it is actually in recession. This will play out as the Fed is forced to reduce QE debt spending to keep the U.S. from going over the new U.S. Debt Ceiling, recently raised to $17.2 Trillion by the U.S. Congress.

U.S. Fiscal Reality Check

U.S. GDP: $16.1 Trillion

U.S. National Debt: $17.4 Trillion (already exceeds new ceiling), ($55,000 per citizen, $151,000 per tax payer)

U.S. Debt held by foreign countries: $6 Trillion

U.S Federal Spending: $3.5 Trillion

U.S. Federal Revenue: $2.9 Trillion

U.S. Federal Deficit: $0.6 Trillion

Source: USDebtClock.org

What does this GDP data mean concerning the future of America?

America is stuck in a land of anemic growth…actually declining in real growth because its economy can not consistently rise above 3% growth … a level required to produce enough jobs and income to keep pace with population growth. In reality, this means that America is declining in economic strength. In the coming few years America faces an astronomical increase in expenditures due to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and welfare programs like Medicaid and Obamacare. America’s relatively level revenue will not be able to cover the mushrooming expenditures. Congress will not be able to address this problem by simply ‘kicking the debt can down the road’ as it has in recent years. At some point soon, the fiscal mess that is brewing will explode as America plunges over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’.  At the bottom lies America as a third world country.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title at top)

Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

GDP

U.S. Debt Crisis

Economy

Entitlement Reform

Social Security

Medicare

Medicaid

ObamaCare

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

Captain Rick: Thomas C. Patterson, a former Arizona State Senator, sees the Compact for America as a test to see if Americans are still able to take their future in their hands or if they are content to see America continue its decline. States have constitutional authority to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget. This is a ‘long shot’ but it offers a ray of hope to save America from pending fiscal decline.

The U.S. Congress recently raised the U.S. National Debt Ceiling to an astronomical $17.2 Trillion, exceeding U.S. Gross National Product … a wake-up call for any nation. The U.S. Congress raised the debt ceiling to accommodate current spending levels and thus kicked ‘America’s debt can’ down the road again for the Nth time to deal with after the fall election.  The sad fact is that with the cost of entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and pure welfare programs like Medicaid, greatly expanded by Obamacare… U.S. spending is mushrooming at an alarming pace, while revenue is increasing at a snail’s pace that can not keep up. I see this resulting in America sailing over the real ‘fiscal cliff’ in the not too distant future… an event that has the potential to reduce America to a third world country.

I invited Thomas, whom I have long admired for his excellence in thinking, to present guest commentary. With his acceptance, I asked him to tell us why his commentary is important to Americans. His reply:

Thomas C. Patterson: “I see the Compact–a constitutional convention of the states–as a test for Americans.  Are we still able to take our future into our hands, like our founders did, to forge the nation we want or are we content to see America continue its decline?  Do we care enough about our posterity, as our founders did, to undertake the most difficult, improbable shared national initiative in our time or will history judge us as standing by while a nation founded in liberty slides into oblivion?”

ABOUT: Thomas C. Patterson is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Nebraska. He was elected to the Arizona State Senate in 1989, serving as minority leader from 1991 to 1992 and majority leader from 1993 to 1996. Patterson was the author of legislation creating Arizona’s charter school system and welfare reform program. Until 1998, he was a practicing physician and president of Emergency Physicians, Inc.. Patterson also served as president of the Arizona chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. In 2000 he became chairman of the Goldwater Institute. Thomas is a retired physician and resident of Paradise Valley, Arizona.

ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL

Guest Commentary

by

Thomas C. Patterson

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More Americans than ever feel our federal government has been permanently taken over by special interests and collectivists.

Dependency on government is reaching ominous levels. Spending that exceeds income has become part of our political culture. We feel like shouting that our debt is dangerously high and that it’s immoral to pass on to future generations the consequences for our self-indulgence.

Yet realistically, there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it. Until maybe, just maybe, now.

The answer to our despair may well lie in the Compact for America, an agreement among the states to come together to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution. This idea is so promising and dynamic that is gathering momentum across the states, including ours, where it is known as HB 2305.

Here’s the skinny. The U.S. Constitution gives the states the power to call a constitutional convention, as a protection against central government overreach. The framers’ expectation was that once every generation or so, states would need to convene and tweak the Constitution to respond to evolving conditions and to protect the rights of people from the inevitable tendency of power to centralize.

The framers were prescient in understanding that the states would need this privilege, but for one reason or another the states have never called a convention. Every amendment proposed to the Constitution has come through Congress, the other authorized pathway.

It is said that the founders didn’t include a balanced budget provision in the founding documents because they thought it unnecessary. Now that incomprehensible levels of fiscal recklessness have become the norm, the potential need for the states to intervene is clear.

The problem is that, since the states have no experience with a convention, several concerns have arisen over its execution. How would the convention delegates be selected, how would votes be apportioned, how would leadership be chosen? More importantly, what about a runaway convention? What would stop interest groups from taking over the convention and bending the Constitution for their own hot-button issues?

It’s worth remembering that any proposed amendment would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the state Legislatures. But these are serious questions asked by serious people and they deserve answers.

Here’s the genius of the Compact for America. It allows states to know the answers to all the pertinent questions, including exactly which amendments may be considered, before they sign on. When state Legislatures pass a resolution agreeing to the contact, they become part of a constitutionally recognized organization of states created for the express purpose of proposing constitutional amendments. The selection process for delegates, convention logistics and even the text of the amendment would be in the compact document itself.

Would this be difficult? Would there be opposition from all sides? Are there still questions to be answered? Yes, yes and yes. Vast private and government interests are heavily invested in business as usual. Moreover, compacts require the blessing of Congress, although this has been previously granted.

But the Compact for America isn’t constitutional craziness, like annulment or secession. This isn’t some sort of redneck revolt. It’s an opportunity for states to use the clear intent and language of the Constitution to rein in the federal government and put the republic on a more sustainable course.

Unquestionably, the Compact for America would represent change and innovation on a scale many may find unsettling. But this is our challenge. Are we, the political descendants of founders who risked everything to create the most free and prosperous government in the history of the planet, now so timid that we are afraid to use the tools they gave us to defend ourselves from tyranny and decay?

The risk larger than the Compact is the continuation of politics as usual. If we continue doing the same thing, it’s highly probable we’ll get the same results.

Our present predicament was anticipated by the founders. It is precisely the reason they gave the states the power to amend the Constitution. They would very much urge us to use it.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Tom’s previous ANJ Commentary: “Look behind the Obamacare Curtain”

Captain Rick: Walmart, the world’s largest corporation turns everything it touches into gold, whereas  the U.S. government has succeeded in breaking almost every good program created … and the U.S. economy.

I suggest we hire Walmart to fix the mess that our President and Legislature have demonstrated they are totally incapable of accomplishing.

My email to President Obama:

Mr. President,

I have concluded that you and the 535 members of our legislature are ineffective and incapable of fixing our economy and the many good programs that have been broken. I have a solution, but first I want to remind you of some facts which relate to the many failures of your administration and those that preceded:

a. The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. You have had 238 years to get it right and it is broke.

b. Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 78 years to get it right and it is broke.

c. Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 75 years to get it right and it is broke.

d. War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 49 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor” and they only want more…and it is broke.

e. Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 48 years to get it right and they are broke.

f. Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 43 years to get it right and it is broke.

g. The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 36 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure…and it is broke.

You have failed to fix any of the many government service failures, while overspending our tax dollars to drive America $17 trillion into debt, an amount exceeding the combined debt of all other nations on earth.

AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM?

Lets pause and examine an American corporation that has a track record of turning everything it touches into gold.

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Photo above shows Walmart’s current logo used since 2008

Walmart was founded by Sam Walton in 1962…when I was in high school, just before the birth of Medicare and Medicaid. Since then the Walton family transformed it into the world’s largest corporation with $469 Billion in revenue, 8500 stores in 15 countries with 2,200,000 employees.

If Walmart were a country it would have the world’s 26th largest GDP…but more importantly, it would be the world’s most profitable country…unlike the U.S. which goes $1 Trillion farther into debt each year, with all of its programs on ‘death row’.

I love my country and hate to see you and our legislature destroying it. With all sincerity, I respectfully urge you to consider hiring Walmart to manage America’s failing economy and programs. But, I think that if that were to happen, the Walton’s would fire you and most of the legislature.

Captain Rick

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Economy

U.S. Debt Crisis

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

President Obama

Obamacare

Entitlement Reform

Corporations