Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Time - but living ain't easy

I woke up today thinking about the Tea Party, realizing how we've grown in numbers in less than thirty six months. Realizing the impact we have had already…Realizing the numbers in the polls that are showing the growing number of people who say they have the same conservative ideas and beliefs that we hold. As I try to separate the wheat from the chafe in this political debacle I am truly amazed at what such a small percentage of voters can accomplish once the notion of 'responsibility of the governed' take roots. The Tea Party is not the 'grass root movements' of yesteryear… Most of these yesteryear movements have come into being around certain limited issues and have gone as the problem went away.

The Tea Party is a much older idea and a deeply intrinsic belief, a belief written in a old document that is very much alive in the hearts and minds of many Americans. Our form of government was created by and for the people. It is their government and its sole purpose is to serve the people. The elected employees who serve in their government serve at the will of the people.

We can point to this law or that law, this tax or that tax, but they are simply examples of the current elected employees loosing sight of who they are, who they work for, and not serving the will of the people. These employees are there because we put them there. The Tea Party has accepted that many, if not most, of these elected employees have little or no interest in serving the people. We have begun replacing them with others, others who understand the role of government and the part it is to play in our life. This replacing process is the primary mission of the Tea Party at the State and Federal levels at this point in time.

You know how sometimes things, stories, or memories just pop up in your mind. This morning what just 'popped up' in my mind was the story of the dad finding his ten year old son in the barn shoveling in the horse manure pile. He watched for awhile and finally asked his son what he was doing. The son replied that with such a big pile of horse manure there must be a pony in here somewhere.

This little boy's hope and desire for a pony reminded me of the Tea Party members with their shovels….

For the last few weeks, we have been including articles, letters, and other news from writers outside the Tea Party circles as well as from different parts of the country. Last one was Star Parker's article..(Lots of good feed back on it.) Today the letter is from a home grown Mississippian written to our current Senators. Ms. Yvonne Vance is a retired president of a bank in Water Valley, Mississippi…A lady bank President in Mississippi? This may not be a such a new idea now but back when she became a bank president it was rare and almost nonexistent. She is well known and respected in Mississippi's banking circles which are still mostly made up with men in the positions of presidents.

I'll make no other comments because I feel her letter speaks for itself.

Senator Cochran
Senator Wicker

Yvonne Vance
Water valley, MS 38965-2809

Dear Senator Cochran and Senator Wicker,

Please do everything in your power to bring the Cut, Cap and Balance plan back to the table to be voted on.

We "plain old citizens" are tired of the bureaucrats in Washington spending like there is no tomorrow. All the Trust funds for social
Security have been pilloried and spent and more than that too. I understand those funds are not even counted in the public debt-not even a
treasury bond or bill to show for the funds. You may think that the debt limit is the only thing that affects our credit rating. As a former bank President and lender, let me tell you that is only one part of it and it is a result of the most flagrant spending sprees in the history of mankind. As a
banker, knowing what I do about the wild spending habits (you may say, oh, these are things we needed) I certainly could not justify continuous lending, based on history alone if I were a rater of debt.

It is clear that those with some financial planning sense and some accounting expertise and the old fashioned guts to do the right thing and
the sensible thing need to stand up and be counted and stick with their guns.

President Obama stated this afternoon in his speech that he would take charge and provide the increase in the debt limit until 2015 which is 3 years past the 2012 elections. Are you all going to allow that to happen? I did not think HE alone had that authority, but are you all going to allow him to do that? He has by passed the congress on so many things it is pitiful and no one has done anything about it. What is the problem?

Do we the people count? It is us, our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren that will pay for this boondoggle. Do we deserve what has happened to us, much less too the young ones and even to those who have not even been born?

I do not mind giving to my country. I am 73 years old and have worked all my life and have paid in a great deal of taxes during the 50 plus years that I worked and an stilling paying a lot of taxes. I would not mind paying and of them if I had the comfort that the money being spent wisely and within a reasonable budget. I have to balance my budget and I cannot spend more than I make or can reasonably repay over a reasonable period of time.

It is very clear that the same reasonable restraint that I as a citizen have to lice with does not apply to the federal government. I know what it is like to not be able to make ends meet during our early farming years but I knew that we had to take care of the problem ourselves so what did we do? We went out and got another job to bring in more money. I never asked for welfare even though I had small children but I knew of many who quit jobs in order to 'draw' when the great society welfare programs began. These people cheated themselves out of the opportunity to work and to improve themselves and make more money (or the federal government cheated them. However you want to look at it.) I had one young woman tell me in my banking career that her mother told her at age 13 to have three babies so she could 'draw'. She said that was not enough to live on and she wanted to give them more so she went to work as a certified nursing assistant. I encouraged her to work to become an LPN(Since she liked her work.) Then to work towards being a registered nurse.

I know thee are those of us who do need help but I can assure you there is tremendous abuse in the program. Plus the breakdown of the families can be greatly attributable to the welfare program. If you do not believe it look at the rules of application for the funds. It directly benefits those females who have children without a father to support them. This is not the only abuse in government spending but is one of the worse.

Please stand up for straightening out the mess that has been made and take the right steps to start the process. If you do not it will be too late because this country will be just like a person or company that does not spend wisely. It will fail. Is that what we want?

Yvonne Vance

This is straight forward straight talk…. Neither Senator can confuse or confound what she is saying. If we search our experiences with either of these Senators along with our hearts and minds what do we believe they will do after reading her plea? How many similar letter do you imagine these two men have gotten from people who voted for them?

Our two Senators hold "Top of the Pork Barrel " award. This pork barreling award has to do with 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' way of political life. More bluntly put, peddling their votes in order to get special projects done in Mississippi for special interest groups. Pork barreling is not a bad thing in and by itself but if it becomes the cornerstone of a senator's governing/voting position then it become destructive. Senators are part of the governing body for the nation and not just their local states. A senator has to do a lot of 'trading' to work his way to the top of the pork barreling heap, which our two Senators have done in spades.

Here is a deal I think we should offer with each of them. IF they will start listening to us, accept the fact they work for us, work and vote in ways that meets the needs, wishes and desires of the people of this state we will let them keep their job. If they don't want to do this deal, which is what they agreed to when we gave them their jobs years ago, we'll just replace them. How does this strike everyone? Will an idea like this work? No….it won't work…It should work... It should be that simple…But voters have been trained so long in this two party political system that our freedom of choice has been lost. The political parties decide who will run, they fund candidates of their choice, they use their organization to assure the turn out of voters for those chosen candidates. This is the foundation of the good-old-boy-system…. So what's new? This is what pork-barreling buys the sitting congressional leaders This is non - news….The shear amount of pork these two men deliver to Mississippi should continue to get them elected till the cows come home. I say should but should it?

Third party candidates never win. However, they do end up dividing the vote. Bill Clinton becoming President is just such an example. So for us to have a voice we need to be in the selection process of candidates. We must get a much higher number of Tea members participating in the Republican Party in this state. This will be difficult because it seems, at least on the surface, the Republican Party in Mississippi is as worried about Tea Party power as the Democratic party worries about us (I could be wrong.)

Move The House/MS Tea Party along with others have vetted candidates and I met four of them In Tupelo last week at a Move The House meeting.
All of them need our support, votes where we can, and always new candidates need money. Running a campaign takes lots of time and lots of money. Move The House on the MS Tea Party web site is the best place to send you check. Check their web site.

A personal note: In a nut shell as I look at these folks running for office of President and setting aside the issue of whether or not they can beat Obama in the election I don't see any leadership qualities. We are in a mess in this country that has evolved over decades. We have government polices and programs in place that generations have now grown up with. Our next president will need to have the hearts, minds, and trust of the people to make the changes that will lead us back to a government of, for, and by the people. That is heavy lifting...None of the current candidates have engendered that level of trust in me.

I happened across the video below and was struck with the incredible difference between what this man (Marco Rubio) is saying and what our current candidates are saying. A number of years ago I saw him deliver a similar speech when he was in the Florida House of Representatives. The Oxford Tea Party supported him in his campaign to become senator from Florida. Also, as long as our Tea Party is active we will look for and overtly support men and women like him. Move the House has begun to do the same with candidates in Mississippi. The Tea Party does not need to hide our support of candidates that have joined us in our mission.

I voted for President Regan for every elected office he aspired to. He may or may not go down in history as one of the great Presidents and regardless of what historians may say I trusted him from start to finish, campaign to campaign and I see in Rubio that same trustworthiness. Rubio is too young and unknown, I think, to run for the office of President at this time. So it is not my purpose to push that as an idea.. I am concerned about our current slate of presidential candidates. ( I may simply be off in left field.) Please watch the video below.


Thirteen months from now Obama will become a two term President or not. IF not it will be because we made it so.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Social Programs - Unintended Consequences

Hundred of articles a day are written about what our President is doing, saying, and spending…..I have no idea why this latest bus tour, which is clearly campaigning on tax payer dollars, is such an affront…Maybe these daily Presidential affronts are reaching some threshold… Couldn't he have, at the very least, bought a bus made in America? With the economy in such bad shape you would think there would be some embarrassment of this behavior.
"President Obama is barnstorming the heartland to boost US jobs in a taxpayer-financed luxury bus the government had custom built -- in Canada, The New York Post has learned.
The $1.1 million vehicle, one of two that Quebec-based Prevost sold to the government, has been tricked out by the Secret Service with state-of-the-art security features and creature comforts."
So if you read the above news release the writer doesn't say that IF this cost for the busses wasn't enough of a burden for the poor American taxpayer Air Force One plane always must always be following along with the President at a cost of 345,000.00 per hour.
Now the real insult is that these busses were only used for three days…..!
My disappointment with this President is even greater than my disappointment with Jimmy Carter…Is it too much to hope that the voters will deal him in the same way it dealt with President Carter? Certainly the Tea Party members are working to make it happen… IF we can't replace him, hopefully we will replace enough House and Senate people to tether him somewhat. Well maybe.
In our ongoing goal of having other writers on The Oxford Tea Party site today we are including an article written by young black women Star Parker…I had never heard of her before I ran across her article while searching around the country. I liked what she has to say and I hope you will also.
Star Parker
Six years ago I wrote a book called Uncle Sam’s Plantation. I wrote the book to tell my own story of what I saw living inside the welfare state and my own transformation out of it.
I said in that book that indeed there are two Americas -- a poor America on socialism and a wealthy America on capitalism. 
I talked about government programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS), Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children (EANF), Section 8 Housing, and Food Stamps.
A vast sea of perhaps well-intentioned government programs, all initially set into motion in the 1960s by Democrats that were going to lift the nation’s poor out of poverty.
A benevolent Uncle Sam welcomed mostly poor black Americans onto the government plantation. Those who accepted the invitation switched mindsets from “How do I take care of myself?” to “What do I have to do to stay on the plantation?”
Instead of solving economic problems, government welfare socialism created monstrous moral and spiritual problems -- the kind of problems that are inevitable when individuals turn responsibility for their lives over to others.
The legacy of American socialism is our blighted inner cities, dysfunctional inner city schools, and broken black families.
Through God’s grace, I found my way out.  It was then that I understood what freedom meant and how great this country is.
I had the privilege of working on welfare reform in 1996 which was passed by a Republican controlled Congress. 
I thought we were on the road to moving socialism out of our poor black communities and replacing it with wealth-producing American capitalism. 
But incredibly, we are now going in the opposite direction. 
Instead of poor America on socialism becoming more like rich American on capitalism American on capitalism is becoming like poor America on socialism.
Uncle Sam has welcomed our banks onto the plantation and they have said, “Thank you, Suh.” 
Now, instead of thinking about what creative things need to be done to serve customers, they are thinking about what they have to tell Massah in order to get their cash. 
There is some kind of irony that this is all happening under our first black president on the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.
Worse, socialism seems to be the element of our new young president. And maybe even more troubling, our corporate executives seem happy to move onto the plantation. 
In an op-Ed on the opinion page of the Washington Post, Mr. Obama is clear that the goal of his trillion dollar spending plan is much more than short term economic stimulus. 
“This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending -- it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, healthcare and education.” 
Perhaps more incredibly, Obama seems to think that government taking over an economy is a new idea.  Or that massive growth in government can take place “with unprecedented transparency and accountability.”
Yes, sir, we heard it from Jimmy Carter when he created the Department of Energy, the Synfuels Corporation, and the Department of Education.
Or how about the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 -- The War on Poverty -- which President Johnson said, “...does not merely expand old programs or improve what is already being done.  It charts a new course.  It strikes at the causes, not just the consequences of poverty.”
Trillions of dollars later, black poverty is the same. But black families are not, with triple the incidence of single-parent homes and out-of-wedlock births. 
It’s not complicated. Americans can accept Barack Obama's invitation to move onto the plantation.  Or they can choose personal responsibility and freedom.
Does anyone really need to think about what the choice should be? 
Star Parker - Syndicated Columnist
Well writ…If only the black community would read and understand what she is saying about the destructiveness these social programs has had on them... Over decades many black leaders have spoken to the issue in the same way as Star Parker. The older leaders weren't listened to by congress or the black community, nor will Star be listened to.
History, I believe will look back at this time and this mire of social programs as being more destructive to the back community than slavery. The long and short of it is this is not just a black community issue. This social program problem is rapidly spilling over in larger and larger sectors of white communities.
Not long ago, in one of our article, the question was asked, "How many families can one pay check feed?" Every day, on average, ten thousand American citizens enroll in one federal social program or another….
Yesterday our government announced it was raising the monthly food stamp program. So if you will multiply forty million people time X 122.00 per person plus the newly announced increase you will come up with a number that the recipients in Mississippi are receiving. ..(Note: This amount, 122.00 dollars, is the amount each person in the family on the food stamp program in Mississippi receives. (A family of four would be 122.00 x 4 = 488.00 per month or there about. Whose pay check does this money come out of? The answer, of course, is everyone's pay check along with everyone who receive money from any source such as SS, state and federal pensions, business retirement plans, 401 K plans, interest on saving accounts, and IRA accounts.etc. ) To qualify for food stamps your income (if any) only has to be 130% of the current poverty level as set by the federal government.
Also, what was interesting, the person in charge of the Food Stamp Program just announced he was going to do this and didn't need anyone's approval except our president.
When Bill Clinton first ran for president in 1992 he ran against the senior Bush and Ross Perot. The NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) agreement was a center piece of that campaign. Ross Perot warned in every one of his speeches that if NAFTA was passed we would hear a great sucking sound as all of the low end jobs would be sucked out of the country. The American people did not understand what he was talking about and the liberal press pooh-poohed it. The Senate passed the NAFTA agreement 61 to 38…34 Republicans and 27 Dems voted for it and it went into effect January 1994.... These were the jobs that many people who are in our social network programs were working in and could be working today IF the works was still being done in this country. (Lott and Cochran were our Senators at that time. According to the Senate's voting record both voted YEA on this bill. Senator Cochran is still our Senator.) Anyway NAFTA is a done deal, it can't really be reversed. We are left with the mass of unemployed as well as the unemployable. The point of reciting this litany is to remind ourselves that most if not all of the problems we are struggling with as a nation, such as unemployment, were created by our government.

Should we have known what the unintended consequence of these international trade agreements and social programs would have on a large group of our citizens? The answer is yes. Yes, we should have known. In a representative democracy all responsibility rests in the hands of the people. If there is any doubt in your mind about who's responsibility this is just ask yourself who always picks up the tab.
No more, the 'silent' majority.. No more, 'not' making waves… No more, ‘tolerant’ of broken promises … No more, 'good-old-boys.'
It is time for the shout out….
Shout out to all members of the Mississippi House of representatives: The House Movers are coming - pack!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Awakening

One of the numerous things we do at The Oxford Tea Party blog is look around…We try to do searches on as many states and cities as we can to discover how other people and groups of people are thinking about our national government. Low and behold the complaints are out there. More articles showing up in local newspapers written by folks their area. Although not involved in the Tea Party groups, these folks are showing the same worries and concerns as the Tea Party. There seems to be a growing number of discussion groups (almost daily) appearing on blog/web sites focusing on freedom issues, government spending, and national debt. There appears to be ground swell of unhappy citizens all around the country that supports the same values and goals the Tea Party supports.

With this said, here is today's poll from Rasmussen….Obama, liberal Dems, and the liberal press are having a impact on peoples' perceptions of the Tea Party.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Likely U.S. Voters, in fact, say members of the Tea Party are not economic terrorists. (Well that is a good thing.)

A new Rasmussen report that a national telephone survey finds that just 29% believe Tea Party members have been terrorists during the budget debates. (That’s not a good thing.)

Perhaps most telling is while 53% of Democrats view Tea Party members as terrorists, 57% of voters not affiliated with either major party disagree, as do 74% of Republicans.

Still, a plurality (43%) of all voters think the Tea Party has made things worse for the country in the budget debates in Congress. (This is not a good perception either.)

Thirty-two percent (32%) say the Tea Party has made things better for America, and 14% say it’s had no impact. (This 14% needs us to do a better job at educating.)

National shame…...

Illinois borrows money each year to fund the state's pension fund…

New Jersey has gone years without putting any money into its pension fund.

Prichard, Alabama…. Has stopped pay their retired city workers. There is no money in their pension fund….Mayor makes 100K and all the cities officials are being paid their regular salaries. Many of their retired workers have had to go back to work…

In the last new article I talk about the problems in Central Falls , Rhode island. Update: Only 12 out of the 141 city retirees agreed to a 50% cut in their retirement payments. So the town has moved into bankruptcy…

How can a country survive with local, state, and their federal government breaking their word and their trust with the people?

As I come across these individual/groups/or articles from various cities and towns I will try to post them on The Oxford Tea Party blog site. I have included one today from Aspen Times, in Aspen Colorado by Gary Hubbell….In the article Gary has a different way of seeing our president's contributions and the problems we are facing.

Barack Obama has awakened a sleeping nation

Gary Hubbell

Aspen Times Weekly

Barack Obama is the best thing that has happened to America in the last 100 years. Truly, he is the savior of America 's future.

Despite the fact that he has some of the lowest approval ratings among recent presidents, history will see Barack Obama as the source of America 's resurrection. Barack Obama has plunged the country into levels of debt that we could not have previously imagined; his efforts to nationalize health care have been met with fierce resistance nationwide; TARP bailouts and stimulus spending have shown little positive effect on the national economy; unemployment is unacceptably high and looks to remain that way for most of a decade; legacy entitlement programs have ballooned to unsustainable levels, and there is a seething anger in the populace.

That's why Barack Obama is such a good thing for America . Here's why.

Obama is the symbol of a creeping liberalism that has infected our society like a cancer for the last 100 years. Just as Hitler was the face of fascism, Obama will go down in history as the face of unchecked liberalism. The cancer metastasized to the point where it could no longer be ignored.

Average Americans who have quietly gone about their lives, earning a paycheck, contributing to their favorite charities, going to high school football games on Friday night, spending their weekends at the beach or on hunting trips - they've gotten off the fence. They've woken up. There is a level of political activism in this country that we haven't seen since the American Revolution, and Barack Obama has been the catalyst that has sparked a restructuring of the American political and social consciousness.

Think of the crap we've slowly learned to tolerate over the past 50 years as liberalism sought to re-structure the America that was the symbol of freedom and liberty to all the people of the world. Immigration laws were ignored on the basis of compassion. Welfare policies encouraged irresponsibility, the fracturing of families, and a cycle of generations of dependency. Debt was regarded as a tonic to lubricate the economy. Our children left school having been taught that they are exceptional and special, while great numbers of them cannot perform basic functions of mathematics and literacy. Legislators decided that people could not be trusted to defend their own homes, and stripped citizens of their rights to own firearms. Productive members of society have been penalized with a heavy burden of taxes in order to support legions of do-nothings who loll around, reveling in their addictions, obesity, indolence, ignorance and "disabilities." Criminals have been arrested and re-arrested, coddled and set free to pillage the citizenry yet again. Lawyers routinely extort fortunes from doctors, contractors and business people with dubious torts.

We slowly learned to tolerate these outrages, shaking our heads in disbelief, and we went on with our lives.

But Barack Obama has ripped the lid off a seething cauldron of dissatisfaction and unrest.

A former Communist is given a paid government position in the White House as an advisor to the president. Auto companies are taken over by the government, and the auto workers' union - whose contracts are completely insupportable in any economic sense - is rewarded with a stake in the company. Government bails out Wall Street investment bankers and insurance companies, who pay their executives outrageous bonuses as thanks for the public support. Terrorists are read their Miranda rights and given free lawyers. And, despite overwhelming public disapproval, Barack Obama has pushed forward with a health care plan that would re-structure one-sixth of the American economy.

Literally millions of Americans have had enough. They're organizing, they're studying the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, they're reading history and case law, they're showing up at rallies and meetings, and a slew of conservative candidates are throwing their hats into the ring. Is there a revolution brewing? Yes, in the sense that there is a keen awareness that our priorities and sensibilities must be radically re-structured. Will it be a violent revolution? No. It will be done through the interpretation of the original document that has guided us for 220 "FANTASTIC" years--- the Constitution. Just as the pendulum swung to embrace political correctness and liberalism, there will be a backlash, a complete repudiation of a hundred years of nonsense. A hundred years from now, history will perceive the year 2010 as the time when America got back on the right track. And for that, we can thank Barack Hussein Obama.

Gary Hubbell is a hunter, rancher, and former hunting and fly-fishing guide.

OK…Is Obama the Mack Truck we needed to finally get our attention? Is this liberal senates' behavior enough to get peoples' attention? Is the national debt enough to get our attention? Or does the country have to flame-out first?

Where does the shame lie?...Congress?....Where does the finger point?…. Head scratching won't help us answer these question, but soul searching might…When we forget 'them elected folks' govern at our consent they forget….This is not complex idea…We forget - they forget….We forget - they forget…We need to make this into a mantra that each of us repeats first thing every morning….If we forget - they will also forget they serve at and by our consent….This is one of the 'truths' that people have learned not over years and election cycles but over eons.

Federal government must be just that and confine itself to the mission statement in our Constitution and the Bill Of Rights. Each and every time they have strayed or have broadened this mandate there are unintended consequences. Then it is the people who must fix the problems….Never them….

Being a little cynical at this time in my life I don't think it matters who all we help get elected in 2012 because if we blink sooner or later this new group will start down the same road as all the congresses before them. Even more importantly than what they do, our history as citizens/voters is to forget the responsibility of 'the governed'. We must never again forget.

Our future is a not condemnation of our past…Nor does our past condemn our future... We are the masters of this political time and we are the hand that guides this nation…Not government….Not these elected employees…They serve but only so long as we say they can…

Memo: To the President

Dear Mr. President: All of ya'll need to know you have only fourteen months left till the 2012 elections and the people are coming…..

cc: Vice President
cc: United States Senate
cc: House of representatives




Sunday, August 7, 2011


This article below is forwarded to you from The Oxford Tea Party by one of the bible thumping, gun toting, terrorist thugs who, by some means unknown to him, has held the nation hostage for the past few weeks over the debt ceiling show.(vote)... The liberals said that the Tea Jihadist demanded ransom..Was ransom paid?….If so I missed that part…The debt ceiling has gone up…Soon to be followed in November by taxes going up…(Bush tax cuts will expire.)… No significant cuts were made in spending….The liberal talking heads in the media are saying the Dems caved in to the Tea Party demands...Once again - words triumph over reality.

Certainly the whole debacle was not a win in any measurable way for the Teaers..(Nor for the country) and frankly looks a lot like a loss to me…but what would a dumb voter like me know..To me looks like Boehner and group caved in which I'm sure was a 'no-shocker' to most readers.… Only the ones being called the Tea Party 'newbie's' in Congress showed any willingness to stand and be counted and not all of them. None the less, let us send all the new congressman e-mails thanking them for their efforts and reassure them that we've got their backs.

Let us find seventy more just like them in 2012 to add to their numbers..

Over the last week while Congress was thinking about voting on the debt ceiling, etc., the financial markets were sending messages daily to Washington about their concern of our growing debt, taxes, government controls over the economy and the business community by selling off the financial markets. (I assume Washington Dem leaders among themselves refer to the Wall Street folks as financial jihads, thugs, crooks, and terrorists.) Clearly this debt ceiling/spending vote did not fool any of the financial folks....(and I hope they didn't fool to many of us). Wall Street voted again today 'big time' like financial markets vote, they sold off everything….Over 500 point drop in the DOW….The financial markets plummeted...The cost in dollars for pension funds of all kinds suffered hundreds of millions in losses today. (This may be a non-event for some but my pension fund losses were not abstract to me.)

By the time the liberal new media get their stories together for this evening news they will have found a way to blame this meltdown in the markets was really about something else such as Europe's problems, the Oil Cartel, butterflies eating banana crops on some island in the Caribbean…For sure they will not say the sell off had to do with our government's mismanagement, over spending, with huge debt increases which simply adds to a farther loss of confidence…

Standard and Poor's has lost all confidence that our current government will cut spending and lower or national debt. S & P lowered their rating on governments bonds from AAA to AA+…What a shock that was for government. Lets them try and spin that one. (My guess is they will attack S&P real quick.) Last week Moody's had also warned they may cut our bond ratings also. Who can blame them. We have over spent.. Created too much debt…Mismanaged big time...

I don't know how many readers log onto CATO's site… If not, do. Get on its mailing list. I think you will find what CATO does, what they are about, and what they publish to be interesting and very helpful…

This next article from Michael Cannon is simply worrisome. We want and need to have trust in our doctors, hospitals, and medical insurers. These examples in this article aren't something we can simply pass off as 'a few bad apples.' It seems everywhere we look, whether its politicians, lawyers, medical profession, etc., we see corruption….We see lying, cheating, theft, moral degradation…Its like an inoperable cancer that has permeated our entire society.

By Michael F. Cannon

The budget blueprint crafted by Paul Ryan, passed by the House of Representatives, and voted down by the Senate would essentially give Medicare enrollees a voucher to purchase private coverage, and would change the federal government’s contribution to each state’s Medicaid program from an unlimited “matching” grant to a fixed “block” grant. These reforms deserve to come back from defeat, because the only alternatives for saving Medicare or Medicaid would either dramatically raise tax rates or have the government ration care to the elderly and disabled. What may be less widely appreciated, however, is that the Ryan proposal is our only hope of reducing the crushing levels of fraud in Medicare and Medicaid.

The three most salient characteristics of Medicare and Medicaid fraud are: It’s brazen, it’s ubiquitous, and it’s other people’s money, so nobody cares.

Consider some of the fraud schemes discovered in recent years. In Brooklyn, a dentist billed taxpayers for nearly 1,000 procedures in a single day. A Houston doctor with a criminal record took her Medicare billings from zero to $11.6 million in one year; federal agents shut down her clinic but did not charge her with a crime. A high-school dropout, armed with only a laptop computer, submitted more than 140,000 bogus Medicare claims, collecting $105 million. A health plan settled a Medicaid-fraud case in Florida for $138 million. The giant hospital chain Columbia/HCA paid $1.7 billion in fines and pled guilty to more than a dozen felonies related to bribing doctors to help it tap Medicare funds and exaggerating the amount of care delivered to Medicare patients. In New York, Medicaid spending on the human-growth hormone Serostim leapt from $7 million to $50 million in 2001; but it turned out that drug traffickers were getting the drug prescribed as a treatment for AIDS wasting syndrome, then selling it to bodybuilders. And a study of ten states uncovered $27 million in Medicare payments to dead patients.

These anecdotes barely scratch the surface. Judging by official estimates, Medicare and Medicaid lose at least $87 billion per year to fraudulent and otherwise improper payments, and about 10.5 percent of Medicare spending and 8.4 percent of Medicaid spending was improper in 2009. Fraud experts say the official numbers are too low. “Loss rates due to fraud and abuse could be 10 percent, or 20 percent, or even 30 percent in some segments,” explained Malcolm Sparrow, a mathematician, Harvard professor, and former police inspector, in congressional testimony. “The overpayment-rate studies the government has relied on . . . have been sadly lacking in rigor, and have therefore produced comfortingly low and quite misleading estimates.”In 2005, the New York Times reported that “James Mehmet, who retired in 2001 as chief state investigator of Medicaid fraud and abuse in New York City, said he and his colleagues believed that at least 10 percent of state Medicaid dollars were spent on fraudulent claims, while 20 or 30 percent more were siphoned off by what they termed abuse, meaning unnecessary spending that might not be criminal.” And even these experts ignore other, perfectly legal ways of exploiting Medicare and Medicaid, such as when a senior hides and otherwise adjusts his finances so as to appear eligible for Medicaid, or when a state abuses the fact that the federal government matches state Medicaid outlays.

Government watchdogs are well aware of the problem. Every year since 1990, the U.S. Government Accountability Office has released a list of federal programs it considers at a high risk for fraud. Medicare appeared on the very first list and has remained there for 22 straight years. Medicaid assumed its perch eight years ago.

How can there possibly be so much fraud in Medicare and Medicaid that even the “comfortingly low” estimates have ten zeros? How can this much fraud persist decade after decade? How can it be that no one has even tried to measure the problem accurately, much less take it seriously? The answers are in the nature of the beast. Medicare and Medicaid, the two great pillars of Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” agenda, are monuments to the left-wing ideals of coerced charity and centralized economic planning. The staggering levels of fraud in these programs can be explained by the fact that the politicians, bureaucrats, patients, and health-care providers who administer and participate in them are spending other people’s money— and nobody spends other people’s money as carefully as he spends his own. What’s more, Medicare and Medicaid are spending other people’s money in vast quantities. Medicare, for example, is the largest purchaser of medical goods and services in the world. It will spend $572 billion in 2011. Each year, it pays 1.2 billion claims to 1.2 million health-care providers on behalf of 47 million enrollees.

For providers, Medicare is like an ATM: So long as they punch in the right numbers, out comes the cash. To get an idea of the potential for fraud, imagine 1.2 million providers punching 1,000 codes each into their own personal ATMs. Now imagine trying to monitor all those ATMs.

For example, if a medical-equipment supplier punches in a code for a power wheelchair, how can the government be sure the company didn’t actually provide a manual wheelchair and pocket the difference? About $400 million of the aforementioned fines paid by Columbia/HCA hospitals were for a similar practice, known as “upcoding.”

And how does the government know that providers are withdrawing no more than the law allows? Medicaid sets the prices it pays for prescription drugs based on the “average wholesale price.” But as the Congressional Budget Office has explained, the average wholesale price “is based on information provided by the manufacturers. Like the sticker price on a car, it is a price that few purchasers actually pay.” Pharmaceutical companies often inflate the average wholesale price so they can charge Medicaid more. Teva Pharmaceuticals recently paid $27 million to settle allegations that it had overcharged Florida’s Medicaid program by inflating its average wholesale prices, and the Department of Justice has accused Wyeth of doing the same. Merck recently settled a similar case.

Most ominously, how does the government know that people punching numbers into the ATMs are health-care providers at all? In his testimony, Malcolm Sparrow explained how a hypothetical criminal can make a quick million: “In order to bill Medicare, Billy doesn’t need to see any patients. He only needs a computer, some billing software to help match diagnoses to procedures, and some lists. He buys on the black market lists of Medicare or Medicaid patient IDs.” With this information in hand, Billy strides right up to the ATM, or several at a time, and starts punching in numbers. “The rule for criminals is simple: If you want to steal from Medicare, or Medicaid, or any other health-care-insurance program, learn to bill your lies correctly. Then, for the most part, your claims will be paid in full and on time, without a hiccup, by a computer, and with no human involvement at all.” These schemes are sophisticated, so Billy might hire people within Medicare and at his bank to help him avoid detection.

Last year, the feds indicted 44 members of an Armenian crime syndicate for operating a sprawling Medicare-fraud scheme. The syndicate had set up 118 phony clinics and billed Medicare for $35 million. They transferred at least some of their booty overseas. Who knows what LBJ’s Great Society is funding?

And there are other forms of fraud. An entire cottage industry of elder-law attorneys has emerged, for instance, to help well-to-do seniors appear poor on paper so that Medicaid will pay their nursing-home bills. Medicaid even encourages the elderly to get sham divorces for the same reason. It’s all perfectly legal. It’s still fraud.

Medicaid’s matching-grant system also invites fraud. When a high-income state such as New York spends an additional dollar on its Medicaid program, it receives a matching dollar from the federal government — that is, from taxpayers in other states. Low-income states can receive as much as $3 for every additional dollar they devote to Medicaid, and without limit. If they’re clever, states can get this money without putting any of their own on the line. In a “provider tax” scam, a state passes a law to increase Medicaid payments to hospitals, which triggers matching money from the federal government. Yet in the very same law, the state increases taxes on hospitals. If the tax recoups the state’s original outlay, the state has obtained new federal Medicaid funds at no cost. If the tax recoups more than the original outlay, the state can use federal Medicaid dollars to pay for bridges to nowhere. As Vermont began preparations for its Obamacare-sanctioned single-payer system this year, it used a provider-tax scam to bilk taxpayers in other states out of $5.2 million. In his book Stop Paying the Crooks, consultant Jim Frogue chronicles more than half a dozen ways that states game Medicaid’s matching-grant system to defraud the federal government.

Since 1986, the GAO has published at least 158 reports about Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and there have been similar reports by the HHS inspector general and other government agencies. In 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno declared health-care fraud America’s No. 2 crime problem, after violent crime. Since then, Congress has enacted 194 pages of statutes to combat fraud in these programs, and countless pages of regulations.

Yet federal and state anti-fraud efforts remain uniformly lame. Medicare does almost nothing to detect or fight fraud until the fraudulent payments are already out the door, a strategy experts deride as “pay and chase.” Even then, Medicare reviews fewer than 5 percent of all claims filed. Congress doesn’t integrate Medicare’s myriad databases, which might help prevent fraud, nor does it regularly review the efficacy of most of the anti-fraud spending it authorizes. Many of the abuses noted above, such as those of the Brooklyn dentist, were discovered not by the government but by curious reporters poking through Medicaid records. The amateurs at the New York Times found “numerous indications of [Medicaid] fraud and abuse that the state had never looked into,” but “only a thin, overburdened security force standing between [New York’s] enormous program and the unending attempts to steal from it.

The federal government’s approach to fraud is sometimes so inept as to be counterproductive. Sparrow testified that a defect in the strategy of Billy, our hypothetical criminal, is that he doesn’t know which providers and patients on his stolen lists are “dead, deported, or incarcerated.” But Medicare’s anti-fraud protocols help him solve this problem. When Medicare catches those claims, it sends Billy a notice that they have been rejected. “From Billy’s viewpoint,” Sparrow explained, “life could not be better. Medicare helps him‘scrub’ his lists, making his fake billing scam more robust and less detectable over time; and meanwhile Medicare pays all his other claims without blinking an eye or becoming the least bit suspicious.”

Efforts to prevent fraud typically fail because they impose costs on legitimate beneficiaries and providers, who, as voters and campaign donors respectively, have immense sway over politicians. At a recent congressional hearing, the Department of Health and Human Services’ deputy inspector general, Gerald T. Roy, recommended that Congress beef up efforts to prevent illegitimate providers and suppliers from enrolling in Medicare. But even if Congress took Roy’s advice, it would rescind the new requirements in a heartbeat when legitimate doctors — who are already threatening to leave Medicare over its low payment rates — threatened to bolt because of the additional administrative costs (paperwork, site visits, etc.).

Politicians routinely subvert anti-fraud measures to protect their constituents. When the federal government began poking around a Buffalo school district that billed Medicaid for speech therapy for 4,434 kids, the New York Times reported, “the Justice Department suspended its civil inquiry after complaints from Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and other politicians.” Medicare officials, no doubt expressing a sentiment shared by members of Congress, admit they avoid aggressive anti-fraud measures that might reduce access to treatment for seniors.

It’s not just the politicians. The Legal Aid Society is pushing back against a federal lawsuit charging that New York City overbilled Medicaid. Even conservatives fight anti-fraud measures, albeit in the name of preventing frivolous litigation, when they oppose expanding whistle-blower lawsuits, where private citizens who help the government win a case get to keep some of the penalty.

Sparrow argued that when Medicare receives “obviously implausible claims,” such as from a dead doctor, “the system should bite back. . . . A proper fraud response would do whatever was necessary to rip open and expose the business practices that produce such fictitious claims. Relevant methods include surveillance, arrest, or dawn raids.” Also: “All other claims from the same source should immediately be put on hold.”

Some of the implausible claims will be honest mistakes, such as when a clerk mistakenly punches the wrong patient number into the ATM. And sometimes the SWAT team will get the address wrong, or will take action that looks like overkill, as when the Department of Education raided a California home because it suspected one of the occupants of financial-aid fraud. How many times would federal agents have to march a handcuffed doctor past a stunned waiting room full of Medicare enrollees before Congress prohibited those measures?

“It seems extraordinary,” Sparrow said, that the HHS Office of Inspector General recommends “weak and inadequate response[s] . . . to false claims and fake billings” and that Medicare “fail[s] . . . to properly distinguish between the imperatives of process management and the imperatives of crime control.” Extraordinary? How could it be any other way? Anti-fraud efforts will always be inadequate when politicians spend other people’s money. Apologists for Medicare and Medicaid will retort that fraud against private health plans is prevalent as well, but this only drives home the point: Since employers purchase health insurance for 90 percent of insured non-elderly Americans, workers care less about health-care fraud, and have a lower tolerance for anti-fraud measures, than they would if they paid the fraud-laden premiums themselves.

The fact that Medicare and Medicaid spend other people’s money is why the number of fraud investigators in New York’s Medicaid program can fall by 50 percent even as spending on the program more than triples. That is why, as Sparrow explained in an interview with The Nation, “The stories are legion of people getting a Medicare explanation of benefits statement saying, ‘We’ve paid for this operation you had in Colorado,’ when those people have never been in Colorado. And when you complain [to Medicare] about it, nobody seems to care.” The Ryan plan offers the only serious hope of reducing fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. Its Medicare reforms, especially if they were expanded later, would make it easier for the federal government to police the program, and its Medicaid reforms would increase each state’s incentive to curb fraud.
To see how the Ryan plan would reduce Medicare fraud, imagine that the proposal really were what its critics claim it is: a full-blown voucher program, with each enrollee receiving a chunk of cash to spend on medical care, apply toward health-insurance premiums, or save for the future. Instead of processing 1.2 billion claims, Medicare would hand out just 50 million vouchers, with sick and low-income enrollees receiving larger ones. The number of transactions Medicare would have to monitor each year would fall by more than 1 billion.

Social Security offers reason to believe that a program engaging in fewer (and more uniform) transactions could dramatically reduce fraud and other improper payments. As a Medicare-voucher program would, Social Security adjusts the checks it sends to enrollees according to such variables as lifetime earnings and disability status. The Social Security Administration estimates that overpayments account for just 0.37 percent of Social Security spending. Overpayments are higher in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program (8.4 percent), a much smaller, means-tested program also administered by the Social Security Administration. But total overpayments across both programs still come to less than 1 percent of outlays.

In reality, the Ryan “voucher” is much closer to the current Medicare Advantage program, through which one in four Medicare enrollees selects a private health plan and the government makes risk-adjusted payments directly to insurers. Skeptics will rightly note that, judging by the official improper-payment rates, Medicare Advantage (14.1 percent) is in the same ballpark as traditional Medicare (10.5 percent). Therefore, the Ryan plan should be seen not as a solution to Medicare fraud in itself, but as a step toward a vastly simplified, Social Security–like program in which the task of policing fraud is less daunting.

The Ryan plan would also vastly increase the states’ incentive to curb Medicaid fraud. Just as a state that increases funding for Medicaid gets matching federal funds, a state that reduces Medicaid fraud gets to keep only (at most) half of the money saved. As much as 75 percent of recovered funds revert back to the federal government. In a report for the left-wing Center for American Progress, former Obama adviser Marsha Simon noted that “states are required to repay the federal share . . . of any payment errors identified, even if the money is never collected.” The fact that Albany splits New York’s 50 percent share of the spending with municipal governments may explain why the Empire State is such a hot spot for fraud: No level of government is responsible for a large enough share of the cost to do anything about it. The result is that states’ fraud-prevention efforts are only a tiny fraction of what Washington spends to fight Medicare fraud.

Ryan would replace Medicaid’s federal matching grants with a system of block grants. Under a block-grant system, states would keep 100 percent of the money they saved by eliminating fraud. In many states, the incentive to prevent fraud would quadruple or more. Block grants performed beautifully when Congress used them to reform welfare in 1996. They can do so again.

The Ryan plan would not reduce Medicare and Medicaid fraud to tolerable levels, but neither would any plan that retains a role for government in providing medical care to the elderly and disabled. What the Ryan plan would do is reduce how much the fraudsters — many of whom sport congressional lapel pins — fleece the American taxpayer. And that is no small thing.

— Michael F. Cannon is director of health-policy studies at the Cato Institute and co-author of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.
Adapted from the July 4, 2011, issue of National Review.

What has happened to us? What can we do? We can't fire doctors but we can take away their license to practice and we can vote out the politicians…That’s what we can do... The trick here is who to replace them with? At least with the politicians we'll have an option soon.

Two Democrats on our Board of Supervisors in Lafayette county were turned out in Tuesday's voting…In the last few election cycles this board has turned over twice…I hope we are seeing a trend in our voters with their willingness to rethink the 'always to be reelected good old boy system.' Historically speaking, in this county, once you were elected to this board you could, more or less, stay on for life or until you decided to quit.

Memo: President of the United States

Dear Mr. President all of ya'll need to know there is no absolution or forgiveness from the voters for what you have done to this country and all of you need to know the people are coming…..

cc: Vice President
cc: United States Senate
cc: House of representatives


I have stuck in a link to a short video of Ray Stephens newest song….After reading all this bad news a little laugh might just be a good thing.