One Step….Two Step

December 5, 2012

Does everyone know how to do….

 

 

 

The one step….. two step?

 

 

 

Tim Geithner presented the….

 

 

Democratic

 

Reach for the sky

 

Fiscal cliff solution

 

 

 

That landed like a lead balloon

 

 

 

It was the same offer from 2011

 

 

 

I guess it took them a long time

 

 

To come up with that?

 

 

 

The Republicans huddled and….

 

 

Went to their files

 

 

And pulled out their proposal

 

 

From…..

 

 

2011.

 

 

 

That is what I call progress

 

 

 

 

It has been 1 month since

 

 

 

The presidential election….

 

 

 

 

And these are my sins….

 

 

 

 

We are still back in 2011.

 

 

 

 

I have been reading a lot about this topic

 

 

Since Finance is my bag

 

 

 

 

Nobody wants to pay more taxes….

 

 

 

 

But the Government cannot

 

 

Continue to spend

 

 

 

33% more than they take in.

 

 

 

 

 

Raising the taxes from 35% to 39% for

 

 

The 2% highest earners

 

 

 

Is mostly symbolic

 

 

That does not mean they will actually

 

 

 

Be paying higher taxes

 

 

 

 

Without touching the deductions and loopholes

 

 

They will still be paying

 

 

14%

 

 

 

In order to increase revenue

 

 

 

You can’t just increase the rates

 

 

You have to close loopholes

 

 

 

 

That would bring in more revenue

 

 

 

 

Taxing the highest earning 2%

 

 

Will not solve the deficit issue

 

 

It only scratches at the surface

 

 

 

 

 

We are going to have to stick our heads

 

 

Into unchartered waters

 

 

 

 

When social security was started

 

 

The retirement age was 65 years old

 

 

 

 

The average life expectancy was

 

69 years old

 

 

 

The program was set up with the intention

 

 

 

That it had to provide benefits

 

On average for about 4 years

 

 

 

The average life expectancy today

 

 

Is 84 years old

 

 

 

 

That means that…..

 

 

Social Security is now expected

 

 

To cover

 

 

On average

 

 

 

A span of 19 years

 

 

 

 

Not…….4 years

 

 

 

 

Can you see why there

 

 

May be a problem

 

 

With this program

 

 

 

 

We all pay into it….

 

 

 

 

But as the boomers age

 

 

 

 

The support base diminishes

 

 

 

 

 

Where can we possibly look to

 

 

Save money in the budget

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s take a quick look at defense spending

 

 

 

 

1974

 

 

That was the last time we saw…

 

The defense budget under

 

 

$100 billion dollars

 

 

 

 

By the year 2000

 

 

The defense budget grew to

 

 

 

$372 billion dollars

 

 

 

 

That took 26 years

 

 

 

 

In a mere 12 years

 

 

 

 

2000 – 2012

 

 

 

The Defense Budget

 

 

Has more than doubled

 

 

 

And comes in at

 

 

 

$816 billion dollars

 

 

 

 

I think we can possibly find

 

 

 

Some savings there?

 

 

 

 

 

There has been a lot of talk about

 

 

Health Care

 

 

 

Currently the US spends

 

 

About 18% of GDP

 

 

On Healthcare

 

 

 

Other comparable nations spend

 

On average about 12%

 

 

 

A recent study by

 

 

Harvard Business Review states

 

 

 

 

“The proper goal for any health care delivery system

 

 

Is to improve the value delivered to patients.

 

 

 

Value in health care is measured

 

 

 

In terms of the patient outcomes

 

 

Achieved per dollar expended.

 

 

 

It is not the number of different services provided

 

 

Or the volume of services delivered that matters

 

 

But the value.

 

 

 

More care and more expensive care

 

 

Is not necessarily better care.”

 

 

 

 

Studies show that savings in Health Care cost

 

 

Can range from $700 billion to $1 Trillion dollars

 

 

 

Just by increasing the

 

 

Efficiencies of service.

 

 

 

 

These are just a couple examples

 

 

 

Every program should be reviewed

 

 

 

 

 

I believe there will be

 

 

A lot of finger pointing

 

 

While the Government works

 

 

Towards a solution

 

 

 

 

But it is in the best interest

 

 

Of all concerned

 

 

That a compromise

 

 

Is made

 

 

 

 

 

True saving can be found

 

 

In all programs

 

 

Without effecting

 

 

 

The integrity of any program

 

 

 

 

America is here for the long term

 

 

 

We just have to make smart decisions

 

 

 

To make sure we remain the

 

 

 

Beacon of light

 

 

 

That all other countries look

 

 

To emulate

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Seinfeld

November 28, 2012

Did you ever watch Seinfeld?

 

 

 

                                                        

It was a show about….

 

 

 

Nothing

 

 

 

Just in case you did miss it….

 

 

 

 

All you have to do

 

 

Is tune into

 

 

The Washington fiasco

 

That is currently going on

 

 

 

In a little over 30 days

 

We are faced with

 

Real economic issues

 

That can throw our economy

 

Into a tailspin

 

 

 

 

What are all the elected leaders doing?

 

 

 

 

Posturing themselves

 

 

 

 

We will not allow any

 

 

Tax Increases

 

 

 

Well then………

 

 

 

You cannot touch any

 

 

Entitlements….

 

 

 

 

 

We signed a pledge 18 years ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

We must maintain a strong….

 

 

 

Defense

 

 

 

 

The debt ceiling must be included

 

 

With any final resolution

 

 

 

 

How did Susan Rice end up

 

 

In the budget discussions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does any of this have to do……

 

 

 

About anything

 

 

 

 

We are being Seinfelded

 

 

 

 

As I stated before….

 

 

 

America has survived

 

Because of our ability

 

To work together

 

And reach compromises

 

 

 

 

How prideful

 

Have our politicians become?

 

 

 

 

In plain English

 

They must say

 

 

 

We screwed up

 

 

We spent too much money

 

 

We do not collect enough money

 

 

 

Programs were established…

 

 

Based on information that was

 

Relevant at the time

 

 

 

The demographics have changed

 

 

We have to review these programs

 

So they tie in more closely

 

To the needs of today

 

 

 

Don’t Hold your breath

 

 

 

If you are waiting to hear these words

 

 

 

For politicians are constantly running for….

 

 

Re-Election

 

 

 

 

 

But maybe Washington….

 

 

Should understand….

 

 

 

We are all grown ups

 

 

 

 

We realize these issues exist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We would probably….

 

 

 

Welcome the truth

As reported by Jeffrey Young Huffington Post 112012

 

Health insurance consumers won’t be discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions, can’t be charged more because of gender and will be guaranteed a basic set of benefits under historic new federal regulations published Tuesday.

Think of them as the Patients’ Bill of Rights that eluded former President Bill Clinton more than a decade ago. The regulations carry out the promises of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, which will extend health insurance coverage to 30 million people over a decade and outlaw some of the industry’s most notorious practices.

Health insurance companies, state regulators and consumer advocates have eagerly awaited these rules since Obama enacted the health care overhaul in March 2010.

The details contained within the 331 pages of regulations are crucial for health insurance companies and states preparing for the new options that will be available to uninsured people and small businesses starting in 2014. The health insurance exchanges, online marketplaces where consumers can shop for plans and determine whether they qualify for tax credits to pay for private insurance coverage or Medicaid benefits, are slated to be open for business on Oct. 1, 2013.

“Americans in all 50 states will have access to an exchange and the benefits of the new law,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “Beginning in October next year, families and small-business owners everywhere will be able to shop for affordable, quality health coverage.”

The Department of Health and Human Services published three separate regulations Tuesday. Broadly, the rules restate the health insurance market reforms in Obama’s health care law. But health insurance companies and state officials that aren’t actively resisting the implementation of Obamacare need the details to ensure that health insurance exchanges are ready, and health plans available for sale on time.

One lays out the rules requiring health insurance companies to sell coverage to anyone who applies, prohibits charging women more than men, limits how much people must pay additionally based on age, where they live, family size and whether they use tobacco, and guarantees renewal of health coverage every year.

A second set of regulations spells out which benefits all health insurance plans sold on the exchanges must cover — 10 categories of medical care, including emergency services, hospital stays, maternity care, prescription drugs and preventive medicine. In addition, the rule explains how states must designate an insurance product already on the market as a “benchmark plan” to serve as a model for what the new insurance products will cover starting in 2014. This regulation also sets up how health insurance companies must prove their plans will cover at least 60 percent of a consumer’s average annual medical expenses.

The cost of health insurance on the exchanges will be subsidized using tax credits for people with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $44,680 this year. People who make up to 133 percent of poverty, $14,856 in 2012, will qualify for Medicaid in states that opt into an expansion of the health program for the poor.

The Obama administration published a third rule on “wellness” programs that employers include in workers’ health benefits, such as discounts to employees who quit smoking, lose weight or lower their cholesterol. The new regulations are designed, in part, to prevent companies from using the programs to set prices to discriminate against workers who don’t meet the wellness programs’ standards.

Publishing these regulations is just one small step toward 2014, however, and major obstacles remain. As of Monday, just 17 states and the District of Columbia had committed to creating a health insurance exchange themselves as the law sets out, according to a tally by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The federal government will have to step in, and partially or completely establish these exchanges in the rest of the states, including those run by Republican governors like Rick Perry of Texas who have vowed continued opposition to the law.

“Now that the law is here to stay, I’m hopeful that states and other partners will continue to work with us to implement the law,” said Sebelius, who offered to meet with governors who have outstanding questions about states’ role in carrying out the health care reform law. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), an ardent opponent of Obamacare, last week wrote Sebelius requesting a sit-down.

The administration hasn’t yet detailed how it will handle the workload of establishing so many health insurance exchanges on its own but Gary Cohen, the director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, vowed that it would get  done. “Absolutely, we will be ready. There will be an exchange in every state open for business on Oct. 1 of next year,” he said on the conference call.

Eight states also already have declared they would not participate in the Medicaid expansion, which will curtail Obama’s goal of extending health coverage to the poorest people in those states. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the health care law in June, it also permitted states to refuse the Medicaid expansion, which the Congressional Budget Office says will result in 3 million fewer people gaining health coverage.

The benefits and consumer protections in the new regulations are in addition to other provisions of the health care reform law already in place, such as forbidding insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, and allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ health plans until they turn 27.

On Your Mark

October 16, 2012

The runners are….

 

 

In their blocks

 

 

 

On your mark….

 

 

Get set…..

 

 

Go….

 

 

And the runners are off

 

 

 

Obama is off to a quick start

 

 

With Romney running

 

Stride for stride…

 

 

About 1 step back

 

 

 

As they approach the first turn

 

Obama is still in the lead

 

 

 

Romney…

 

 

Running strong

 

Has kicked it up a notch

 

Coming off the turn

 

 

And is now a half step behind

 

 

 

Heading into the backstretch

 

 

 

Romney is…

 

 

 

Now pulling even

 

 

 

This is a big race for both

 

Of these men…

 

 

 

Romney…..

 

The elder statesman

 

 

 

Is trying to go out of top

 

 

 

Obama….

 

The current champion

 

Is trying to show that….

 

 

Winning the championship

 

Was not a fluke

 

 

And

 

 

He still has the heart

 

Of a champion

 

 

 

Halfway down the backstretch

 

Romney pulls ahead…

 

 

By a  ½ step

 

 

 

Obama is holding on

 

He picks up the pace

 

 

And catches Romney

 

 

 

Obama

 

Once again

 

Takes the lead

 

 

 

Now it’s Romney

 

 

 

What an exciting race

 

 

These two continue to trade leads

 

Down the backstretch

 

 

 

Obama …. Romney

 

 

 

Romney ….Obama

 

 

They are running

 

Stride for stride….

 

Coming into

 

The last turn

 

 

 

This is going to be a tight race

 

 

It remains to be seen

 

 

How the handoff will be….

 

 

 

Down the stretch

 

 

 

As they approach

 

 

 

Ryan and Biden

 

 

 

Both are awaiting the baton

 

 

 

Ryan and Biden are…

 

 

Both are good runners

 

 

 

But this handoff is critical

 

 

 

A clean pass of the baton

 

 

Builds momentum

 

 

 

Romney and Obama

 

Are still running

 

 

Stride for Stride

 

 

As they approach the handoff

 

 

 

Ryan and Biden

 

Take off

 

 

The runners approach

 

 

 

Ryan and Biden…

 

 

 

Now in stride…

 

 

Reaching back….

 

 

 

Await the baton

 

 

 

The pressure is on both

 

 

 

Romney and Obama

 

 

To make a clean handoff

 

 

Keeping

 

 

Ryan and Biden

 

 

 

From breaking stride

Just Thinking

October 5, 2012

My wife and I were watching TV

 

Last week

 

 

And she made a very

 

Astute observation

 

 

“How come all we hear about

 

 

 

In the Presidential election

 

 

 

Is the middle class

 

 

 

 

Did everyone stop talking…..

 

 

 

 

About the Poor?”

 

 

 

 

 

We hear about the top 2%

 

 

 

And

 

 

 

The middle class

 

 

 

What are we doing about the poor?

 

 

 

 

Are they now the middle class…

 

 

 

Want to hear some sobering facts?

 

 

 

There have been

 

48 murders…..

 

 

 

In Camden, NJ

 

 

So far this year

 

 

 

Camden has gained the title of….

 

 

 

America’s most dangerous city

 

 

 

Camden is about 7 miles

 

From where I am sitting

 

 

 

Let’s look at some of the facts:

 

  • 13 homicides in July – the most deadly month since a shooting spree in 1949
  • Murder rate was ten times New York City in 2011 — and on pace to be even higher this year
  • More than half of children live below the poverty line as the city is ravaged by drugs
  • Police department forced to cut one third of officers in 2011 and arrests dropped to less than half of what they were in 2009

 

 

 

I am using Camden

 

 

As an example

 

 

Because it is

 

 

Close to home

 

 

 

There are many families hurting

 

 

Not only in Camden….

 

 

 

But in all across…

 

 

The United States

 

 

 

In cities

 

 

And

 

 

 

In small towns

 

 

 

 

There are independent programs

 

 

Set up

 

 

To help these people…..

 

 

 

Mostly non profits

 

 

With Church affiliations

 

 

 

Providing food

 

 

Temporary Shelter

 

 

 

 

Working with youth

 

 

Helping them to

 

 

Believe in their abilities

 

 

 

 

Teaching them

 

 

You can make a difference

 

 

 

 

Aspire,

 

 

 

Don’t settle

 

 

 

 

But there is no grand effort

 

 

 

 

No coordinated

 

 

Vision

 

 

 

To make a difference

 

 

 

 

 

To lift these people up

 

 

 

 

Yes,

 

 

There is unemployment

 

 

Disability

 

 

Food Stamps

 

 

And

 

 

Other Government assistance programs

 

 

 

 

But what are we doing

 

 

As a whole….

 

 

 

To lift the poor in spirit

 

 

 

 

Give them the opportunity

 

 

To live

 

 

To Share

 

 

 

 

The American dream

 

 

 

 

Whatsoever you do

 

 

To the least of my brethren

 

 

 

That you do unto me

 

 

 

 

I think we are all familiar with that line

 

 

 

 

 

What are we doing to help…..

 

 

The poor?

 

 

 

 

We all take our lives for granted

 

 

 

 

What we fail to realize is that…..

 

 

 

Every Day is a Gift

 

 

 

 

 

I am a product of Catholic Schools

 

 

 

They taught the….

 

 

 

 

 

The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy

 

 

  • Feed the Hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Cloth the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Comfort the imprisoned
  • Visit the sick
  • Bury the dead

 

 

 

What have we been doing….

 

 

 

With the gifts that we have been given?

 

 

 

 

Many years ago

 

 

As man evolved

 

 

They realized

 

 

The only way

 

 

They could sustain

 

 

Continue to grow

 

 

And Survive

 

 

Would be by

 

 

Helping each other

 

 

 

There was no….

 

 

Bigger

 

 

Better

 

 

Stronger

 

 

 

 

They all worked together

 

 

They Realized that they….

 

 

 

All needed each other

 

 

 

 

The world calls us to be engaged

 

 

 

We are all one

 

 

 

 

“For I was hungry and you gave me food

 

 

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink

 

 

I was a stranger and you welcomed me

 

 

I was naked and you gave me clothing

 

 

I was sick and you took care of me

 

 

I was in prison and you visited me.”

 

 

Mathew 25:34-36

Caught Up

October 4, 2012

Everyone has been caught up

 

With the idle chatter

 

 

Each minute……

 

 

Hour…..

 

 

Day….

 

 

 

The press is shooting out more ……

 

 

 

Gotchyas……..

 

 

 

 

Do you believe what Romney said?

 

 

No, but did you hear what Obama said?

 

 

 

All this,

 

 

To what end

 

 

I still do not hear anyone

 

Addressing the real issues

 

 

 

I want to give a 20% tax cut to….

 

 

Everyone

 

 

 

More trickle down

 

It did not work

 

 

 

 

By the way we have a $16 trillion deficit

 

 

 

What are your plans to deal with that!

 

 

 

Obama want to only raise taxes

 

On those making over $250k

 

 

 

How much will that actually impact

 

 

 

Our $16 trillion deficit?

 

 

 

 

 

I saw a great presentation recently

 

 

 

The US Government collected in 2012

 

 

$2.470 trillion in revenue

 

 

 

The Government spent

 

 

 

$3.8 trillion on expenses

 

 

 

Hence the $1.3 trillion deficit for 2012

 

 

 

Here is how the Government spending is broken down

 

 

Expenses are broken into 3 categories:

 

 

  • Interest -$225 billion

 

  • Mandatory programs / Entitlements – $2.250 trillion

 

    •  Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

 

  • Appropriated Discretionary Spending – Federal Government Expenses –     

$1.3 trillion

    • Security – which include       military etc. – $868 billion
    • Non Security – which       includes education, energy etc. – $450 billion

 

 

 

 

Cross out the Discretionary spending of $1.3 Trillion

 

 

And you have $2.5 trillion in expenses between

 

Interest

 

And

 

Mandatory programs

 

 

 

 

The Government did not even collect

 

$2.5 trillion dollars in revenue

 

In 2012

 

 

 

 

That means they did not have

 

$1 available to run the government

 

 

 

 

Remember the discretionary spending?

 

 

We had to borrow that

 

 

 

 

 

My math mind starts saying

 

 

 

 

Let’s try a 5% cut across the board

 

 

 

On all expenses

 

 

 

5% of $3.8 trillion is $190 billion

 

 

 

That is not gonna do much

 

 

 

10%

 

 

Although better

 

 

 

Is only $380 billion

 

 

 

 

We want to cut taxes

 

 

 

 

We want to cut expenses

 

 

 

I have not heard any clear cut answers

 

 

 

What expenses are going to be cut?

 

 

 

 

 

We will have an open discussion about that

 

 

 

Once we get elected…..

 

 

 

 

Or

 

 

 

Once I get re-elected

 

 

 

Take your pick

 

 

 

 

What is being done to

 

 

Correct this issue

 

 

 

 

Do you remember playing

 

 

Kick the can…..

 

 

 

 

When you were growing up

 

 

 

 

That is what is being done in Washington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Presidential debates start next week

 

 

 

Be sure to listen

 

 

 

 

This election offers 2 distinct choices

 

 

 

On our future

 

 

 

But……

 

 

 

So far

 

 

 

No one is offering any

 

 

 

Real answers

 

 

 

 

The wait and see

 

 

 

And trust me

 

 

Have brought us to where

 

 

We currently are

 

 

 

For more insight contact george@hbsadvantage.com