Thursday, December 27, 2012

Going to church in a foreign language

I regularly attend Mormon services in both English and Spanish. My native language is English, and I did not take a real Spanish class until January 2012, when I was in my twenties. I had only taken Spanish 101 when I started going to Spanish Branch (branch being the word Mormons use for a small congregation), and it was a difficult (albeit fascinating) experience when I started going.

Spanish church building

Monday, November 12, 2012

The American Veteran

The picture is of my Marine grandfather (1921-2011), who saw intense combat in the Pacific in World War II. He never had loss of life or limb or mind, and no letters came to his family with tidings very sad, but all of the other things in this poem apply to him.

Beautiful country, sacred land,
With freedoms we hold dear.
A Constitution at its heart,
Without a foreign peer.

All of it was bought, you see,
With blood and sweat and tears.
In battlefields and trenches,
With conquest of great fears.

The soldiers, sailors, airmen too,
Have worn the uniform,
Made sacred by great sacrifice,
In shell and bullet storm.

In the nether world of terror
That seems to have no end,
With loss of life and limb and mind,
And scars that will not mend.

Sorrow for a comrade lost,
A perished, gallant lad,
And letters come to family
With tidings very sad.

And many nights for years to come,
They dream of those who fell,
With strangers made of family,
Who once knew them so well.

They suffered for their country,
And for loved ones back at home.
They did their duty faithfully,
With great deeds oft unknown.

No words of men or angels, ev'n,
Can ever be enough
To thank the veterans who endured
Through struggles hard and tough.

But words there must be nonetheless,
For they who fought the fight,
To let them know our gratitude
For defending what is right.

For giving us the freedoms
That we hold dear to heart.
For a Constitution kept alive
By those who did their part.

Thank you, Grandpa Wells. God be with you 'til we meet again.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Obama's admissions to broken promises

I was just reading the text of Obama’s Inaugural Address of three years ago, and it’s interesting to compare some of its text with that of his State of the Union Address from last January:

Inaugural Address, 2009

“We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.” – Inaugural Address, 2009

State of the Union Address, 2012

“We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges; a power grid that wastes too much energy; an incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.” – State of the Union Address, 2012

“We will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.” – Inaugural Address, 2009

“At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced states to lay off thousands of teachers.” – State of the Union Address, 2012

“We will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.” – Inaugural Address, 2009

“It is time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.” – State of the Union Address, 2012

“We can’t bring every job back that’s left our shore.” – State of the Union Address, 2012

“Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” – Inaugural Address, 2009

“The divide between this city [Washington, D.C.] and the rest of the country is at least as bad -- and it seems to get worse every year.” – State of the Union Address, 2012

“The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote.” – State of the Union Address, 2012

Obama’s own words of last January indicate how poorly these promises of three years ago have been kept. To see the broken promises of this administration, you need go no further than the White House’s own website, where the text and videos of these two speeches can be found.

Links to these telling portions of the White House website can be found here:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Debunking the myth of Obamacare making healthcare cheaper

Our healthcare is about to cost a lot more, thanks to the new taxes in Mr. Obama’s bill. (The bill was passed a while back, but it doesn’t take effect for some time.) You can see several new taxes, fees, and miscellaneous other “revenue provisions” in p. 10 of the bill’s 906-page text (in the 12-page table of contents), as reported on the Senate website at this link. Below is a summary:

  • “Excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage” (Title of Section 9001). 
  • “Excise tax on elective cosmetic medical procedures” (Title of Section 9017). 
  • “Increase in additional tax on distributions from HSAs and Archer MSAs not used for qualified medical expenses” (Title of Section 9004). 
  • “Limitation on health flexible spending arrangements under cafeteria plans” (Title of Section 9005). 
  • “Elimination of deduction for expenses allocable to Medicare Part D subsidy” (Title of Section 9012). 
  • “Additional hospital insurance tax on high-income taxpayers” (Title of Section 9015). 
  • “Imposition of annual fee on branded prescription pharmaceutical manufacturers and importers” (Title of Section 9008). Taxing anyone who makes or imports pharmaceuticals is guaranteed to discourage making or importing them, thus reducing the supply of these needed pharmaceuticals. Some “cheaper” healthcare. 
  • “Imposition of annual fee on medical device manufacturers and importers” (Title of Section 9009). Taxing anyone who makes or imports medical devices is guaranteed to discourage making or importing them, thus reducing the supply of these needed medical devices. “Cheaper” healthcare, indeed – if you can actually have access to the dwindling supply. 
  • “Imposition of annual fee on health insurance providers” (Title of Section 9010). Taxing anyone who provides health insurance is guaranteed to discourage its being provided, thus reducing the supply of health insurance. “Cheaper” healthcare, my rear end. 

Obama signs "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," 2010

So these new taxes and fees translate to reduced supplies of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health insurance, not to mention the costs of the other taxes. The last three mentioned taxes alone make healthcare more expensive, either by causing people to bid up the price of what supplies are left, or by having long lines for them at artificially low prices set by government; so there’s either a money price from your wallet, or a time price in a long line – and needless to say, both hurt.

Barack Obama

So if you want healthcare to be more expensive – if you like higher prices, longer lines, and bigger taxes – vote Obama.

But if you want healthcare to be cheaper – really cheaper – vote for the free market by voting Republican, and get rid of this awful bill.

The price of being dumb (and voting for Obama)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why I am against a minimum wage (or a maximum legal price for healthcare)

It seems like the most charitable of things to do: to legally set a minimum level of earnings for workers, or a maximum price of healthcare for consumers. These two things might not seem connected, but they are each a form of the same thing: price controls.

If people understood the laws of supply and demand, I wouldn't have to explain why price controls are bad. But because our education system has been so deficient in teaching this concept, I feel I must do so now.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Obama on maximum healthcare prices and minimum wages

Obama favors both a maximum price for healthcare and a minimum wage for labor. The evidence for his favoring a maximum price for healthcare can be found in these two quotes, from pages 707 and 709 of the text of the Senate healthcare bill (the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”) that Obama signed into law, as shown on the Senate Democrats’ website at this link.

Obama signing healthcare bill into law, 2010

“The imposition of sanctions in the form of CIVIL MONETARY PENALTIES, which— ‘‘(I) shall be assessed according to standards established in regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; ‘‘(II) shall not exceed $5,000 for each instance of overcharging a covered entity that may have occurred; and ‘‘(III) SHALL APPLY TO ANY MANUFACTURER with an agreement under this section THAT knowingly and intentionally CHARGES a covered entity A PRICE for purchase of a drug THAT EXCEEDS THE MAXIMUM APPLICABLE PRICE under subsection (a)(1).” (Source: Text at Senate website , p. 707 – text unchanged from original source, except to have some parts changed to all-caps for emphasis).

‘‘Each such agreement shall require that the manufacturer furnish the Secretary with reports, on a quarterly basis, of the price for each covered drug subject to the agreement that, according to the manufacturer, represents the MAXIMUM PRICE that covered entities may permissibly be required to pay for the drug (referred to in this section as the ‘CEILING PRICE’), and shall require that the manufacturer offer each covered entity covered drugs for purchase at or below the APPLICABLE CEILING PRICE if such drug is made available to any other purchaser at any price.’’ (Source: Text at Senate website , p. 709, – text unchanged from original source, except to have some parts changed to all-caps for emphasis).

Note the bill requires that civil monetary penalties “shall apply to any manufacturer that knowingly and intentionally charges a covered entity a price for purchase of a drug that exceeds the MAXIMUM APPLICABLE PRICE” in the one quote, and also has maximum permissible prices and “ceiling prices” for drugs in the other quote.

And video proof of Obama’s support for periodic increases to minimum wage can be found at this link, where he says: “I believe that we have to value work once again. It means that we raise the minimum wage, not once every ten years, but all the time.”

So Obama favors both above-equilibrium and below-equilibrium price controls. The country already pays a price in unemployment because of the minimum wage for labor (a portion of our jobless are unemployed because no one can pay them the “guaranteed” wage – some guarantee), and we will soon be paying a price in long lines and waiting lists for our healthcare because of the maximum price for healthcare (stopping many of us from getting healthcare at this “guaranteed” fair price – some guarantee and some fairness).

None of this nonsense would be passed if our education system taught people effectively about supply and demand. But more of this nonsense will be passed if we elect Barack Obama and those like him.

So vote for the free market in 2012. Vote Barack Obama out.

Why I am against a minimum wage (or a maximum legal price for healthcare)

9 taxes in the Obamacare bill you probably never heard about

The price of being dumb (and voting for Obama)

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