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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Archive for December, 2012


Monday, December 31st, 2012

Well, it’s New year’s eve and we continue toward the “fiscal cliff.” If anything stops this  event, one can be certain that the Republicans will cave in and taxes will be raised on the so-called wealthy. Obama’s next battle with Congress will come in late January or early February. It will be about the debt ceiling.

Congress must not surrender its power over setting the debt ceiling. That’s why H.Res. 826, was introduced. It’s a resolution that gives the House of Representatives the ability to reject any attempt by Obama to control the debt ceiling.

We’re in our fifth straight year of trillion dollar annual deficits, and the president believes that – despite the Constitution – the power of deciding how much more debt the government can accumulate belongs to him instead of Congress. The president is asking for a blank check, and he wants Congress to abdicate power to him so he can raise the debt ceiling as he pleases. H.Res. 826 affirms the value of our three-part government, and the checks and balances that keep the pendulum from sticking in the liberal position. Giving the president the ability to raise the debt ceiling– without congressional authority– would be giving him power far beyond anything the Constitution intended. H. Res. 826 must be passed to remind the president that Congress will not surrender its power.

So, more political drama will occur in 2013. HAPPY(???) NEW YEAR !!!!!

A “ Fiscal Cliff” Deal? Not Likely

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

We’re  approaching the so-called fiscal cliff, a stupid label, but something the morons in the media and the electorate at large can understand ––– avoid automatic tax hikes for everyone and deep budget cuts that would scuttle our military.

Action is necessary in less than 72 hours to avoid the “cliff ” (although avoidance might not be the best thing to do at this point. In the past, a so-called “grand bargain,” a broad bipartisan compromise between the White House and Congress, has only resulted in higher taxes with promised spending cuts (except in national defense). But, deficit reduction never materializes––resulting in higher taxes and higher spending, but little or no deficit reduction.

The spend now, save later approach is one of the ways these grand design deals hide their actual costs. And it’s necessary to examine the gimmicks used when spending cuts are allegedly obtained. For example, Obama claims he’s cooperating in savings by using an outrageous gimmick. His savings come from winding down the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of winding down those operations and not spending the money “saved,”  he claims that this “saved”money can now be spent on something else. Another gimmick is declaring a need for “emergency” spending.

All these practice must be stopped!  But this isn’t the time for a complete budget overhaul. To prevent a devastating tax increase and an equally devastating defense sequestration,  current tax policies must be temporarily extended. Then, Congress and the President can fight over a “grand budget” that can set us on the road back to fiscal sanity and away from the “insolvency cliff.”

Heroes and Villains: 2012

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Now that the end of a dreadful year, 2012, is upon us I thought it would be appropriate to select the top hero and the top villain of the year.

Top hero (s). That’s easy. I would nominate Dawn Hochsprung, Principal of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and Nancy Sherlach, the school psychologist, both of whom confronted the killer in an attempt to prevent him from firing on the children. They were both shot dead. And of course, there were other heroes namely the teachers at the school who tried bravely to protect their students. Their actions likely saved innumerable children.

Top villain (s). There are so very many that it’s almost impossible to pick just one. I have to select Adam Lanza who killed his mother in their home and then promptly went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed twenty children and six teachers before committing suicide.

However, I need to add a second person, a political/judicial villain ––– Chief Justice John Roberts, who allowed the ObamaCare law (the so-called “Affordable Care Act,” which is neither affordable nor caring ) to be found Constitutional and thus inflicted the most egregious wound on the American body politic ––– destroying the American healthcare system, destroying the profession of medicine, and delivering a crippling blow to our economy ––– all in one irrational High Court decision. This act and his part in allowing it to pass will go down as an action which will live in infamy.

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

The End of 2012––– November and December Redux

November and December, 2012, have been dismal, dreary months. November can be claimed (by at least some of us) as “d” and “d” because of the reelection of Obama and a failure to win the Senate. December is “d” and “d” primarily because of the hideous tragedy in Newtown/Sandy Hook where, on December 14th, twenty elementary school children and six teachers were killed by a twenty-year-old lunatic who started his day of slaughter in murdering his mother by shooting her in the face! He used several automatic weapons in his awful rampage. This gruesome event has called forth the anti-gun lobby who wish to ban all guns (can’t do as long as the Constitution is in force ––– although might not be long if our government continues to grow and control our lives) and the NRA idiots who continue to forster guns, hiding behind the Second Amendment, despite that no one can explain the need for automatic weapons for hunting deer.
A new committee has been empowered by the president to investigate gun violence and come up with recommendations. Both sides will chatter, some inconsequential, ineffective bill will be passed, and the mayhem will continue. Why? Because our government is made up of ill-educated ideologues ––– liberal and conservative ––– who don’t give a hoot and a holler about the fate of our nation, but rather how to get reelected and continue to make lots of money so he/she can retire in luxury.
Thus, the other crucial elements in this grotesque episode at Sandy Hook are neglected ––– the need for thousands of new beds for the lunatics that inhabit our society; the gross coarsening of our culture with its objectionable films/plays/games glorifying mayhem with firearms, knives, poisons, blunt instruments; the loss of courtesy in our dealings with our fellow citizens; the absence of dignity in our clothing, our speech, our music; the burgeoning drug culture in our society; and the abysmal lack of knowledge about our history and our traditions.
Perhaps 2013 will be a better year. I doubt it. I think there is no turning back from the debasement of our culture, the heavy hand of our government, and the dangers of the world beyond our borders.
More to come. I’m going to try to fill  up this blog before 1/1/13.

Businesses Cutting Hours, Bracing for Costs of Obamacare

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The following is an important post from The Heritage Foundation morningbell@heritage.org  12/06/2012

It seems that every day now brings another business owner in the news talking about cutting workers’ hours or making other cost-cutting moves in anticipation of Obamacare’s impact in 2013.

Here are just a few of the business owners’ comments on the health care law:

•    “We’ve calculated it will [cost] some millions of dollars across our system. So what does that say—that says we won’t build more restaurants. We won’t hire more people,” Zane Tankel, chairman and CEO of Apple-Metro, which runs 40 Applebee’s restaurants.    •

•    “There’s no other way we can survive it, because we think it will cost us 50 cents a sandwich. That’s just the actual cost. If you have 40 or 50 employees at a restaurant, and the penalty is $2,000, and you’re going to pay $80,000 or $100,000 penalty, there goes the profit in your restaurant.”—Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of Jimmy John’s subs, who said he was considering cutting workers’ hours to come in under the Obamacare mandate threshold.

•    “It’s a great concept. We want to have everyone insured. The problem is, who is going to pay for it and how are we going to accomplish this?” — John Metz, who operates roughly 40 Denny’s locations and five Hurricane Grill & Wings franchises in Florida, Virginia, and Georgia, and has said he may have to add an Obamacare surcharge to his menus. >>

•    “New unit construction will cease if we have to allocate moneys for that construction to the [Affordable Care Act]. And building new restaurants is how we create jobs.” — Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

Heritage’s Alyene Senger explains that these businesses are responding to Obamacare’s employer mandate, which has a job-killing effect:
Obamacare requires all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health coverage for their workers or pay a $2,000 penalty for each employee after the first 30 workers. The employer mandate creates incentives for businesses to avoid higher costs by, for example, hiring part-time employees instead of full-time employees, since businesses will not be penalized for failing to provide health insurance to part-time employees….Businesses can also avoid penalties by keeping the number of employees under the mandate threshold of 50, which further discourages creating new jobs.

These businesses’ plans are only the effects based on what we know about Obamacare. There are still many, many crucial details that we don’t know. Health and Human Services (HHS) just released some of the new rules that will govern what kind of coverage insurers must offer —and Heritage’s experts are still going through the 300-plus pages of regulations to sort out what they mean.

In the meantime, forget President Obama’s “if you like your plan, you can keep it” promise. Two government agencies have estimated that more than 11 million people will no longer have their employer-sponsored health coverage once Obamacare is fully implemented. Other studies have put that number much higher.

With employers dumping employees into government-run insurance exchanges or Medicaid (which are still unsettled proposals), the future of health insurance will be taxpayers footing the bill. This is a huge money problem on top of the skyrocketing entitlement programs that already exist. But on a personal note, it’s not the best solution for the under-employed or under-insured.

Take Dave Willingham, a 32-year-old interviewed by Huffington Post after taking a job at a community college cafeteria in Washington State. “When he recently accepted his job after a bout of unemployment, he was told up front that he would not be getting more than 19 hours per week. That’s because workers who average 20 hours per week qualify for benefits like health care, vacation and sick pay, he said.”

In his cafeteria job, Willingham earns a little more than minimum wage and receives food stamps. But this isn’t the situation he wants for himself:
“That subsidy is a huge blessing for me,” Willingham said. “But at the same time, I’d rather have the agency and dignity that would come with actually having more money coming in and getting to make that decision for myself….Ultimately, it would be nicer to feel more in control of my own life and destiny.”

Becoming dependent on the government for health care is not a step toward personal control or an improved life situation for workers like Dave Willingham. But sadly, that is exactly where Obamacare is taking hourly workers.

William S. Frankl, MD, All Rights Reserved