A Crazy World?

The Ryan Plan/Obamacare evolution!

For a while the world seemed crazy. But now it seems to be regaining equilibrium.

For example, all of the original talk about the Ryan Plan and the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) seemed crazy and upside down. Mr. Ryan said his plan was aimed at helping “society’s most vulnerable" and was based on Christian values. Of course it was exactly the opposite. It would have a devastating effect on seniors, the poor, etc. (i.e. “society’s most vulnerable”.) Yet at the start no one seemed to be challenging his assertions.

Similarly, with the Obamacare the original attacks were direct, savage, and strange.  Obamacare is a program that was originated in a conservative think tank as a response to Hilary Clinton's 'liberal' health plans, it was proposed by Republican Senators, and it was implemented by a Republican Governor in Massachusetts. (In fact Romney most recently praised a similar system in Israel.) Yet Republicans, like Rep Chris Smith (NJ 4th District), viciously attacked it saying, for example, that it is "the most misguided, unfair and radical health care restructuring law ever"... and "a blatantly unconstitutional policy." Again the original response seemed weak.

But now the Ryan Plan, which is tightly bound to the Republicans' Norquist pledge to never approve any increase in revenues, has been identified for what it is - unchristian like and fiscally unsound. Even Nuns, our most mild manner citizens, have taken it on the road (or on the bus!) against this plan. Simpson Bowles and other studies point out the impossibility of solving the nation’s debt problem without, at some point, increasing revenues. And retiring Senator Coburn admitted that the Republican’s 'starve the beast' strategy was a 'disaster' and their so-called ‘tax cuts’ were actually a “tax increase on the next generation”- since they simply increased the national debt.

Prompted by the initial public reaction to attacks on Obamcare, Republicans rushed to the Supreme Court with full confidence that their appointed conservative majority would deliver the goods. They were shocked when the SCOTUS coalition didn't hold.  Its conservative leader conservatively decided that the constitution and the other branches of government deserved respectful deference and that political disagreements should be solved at the ballot box. Almost as interesting was the coalition that rallied to support Obamacare. Virtually every healthcare, senior, and women's organization supported the act against, essentially, big business. Once the legal dust had settled people began to focus on the realities of the Act and have slowly come to understand and appreciate it.

Most recently prominent financial executives have spoken. The ‘father of megabanks’, Sanford (Sandy) Weill, and other financial industry executives admitted that banks had in fact become too big to fail. They grudgingly suggested that the legislation (e.g. The Gramm-Leach-Biley Act of 1999) unwinding the 1933 Glass Steagall Act was a mistake. My opponent, Rep Smith, was one who voted to repeal Glass Steagall.

I knew Sandy (and some other prominent financial industry executives) slightly from my days at American Express. At the time Amex owned Shearson Lehman which Sandy ran. He was a strong, smart, driven, and accomplished executive with a clear vision of growth for the business. Of course that didn't mean that vision was good public policy.

Sometimes the world still seems crazy. Over the years Rep Smith has voted for multiple wars, financial deregulation, and discredited fiscal plans. He has proudly voted against women's rights and healthcare reforms many times- and even against a resolution to free Nelson Mandela! So it does seem crazy that someone could have been so wrong, on so many big things, so many times, for so long, and still be re-elected. But there is another election coming and, as I said, the world seems to be regaining it equilibrium.



Brian Froelich

Candidate for Congress (NJ, 4th Dist.)



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Brian Froelich August 24, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Jerseyswamps; OK, you caught me at the computer! First, much of the cuts are to insurance companies (for some excess profit they make on Medicaid advantage premiums) and other similar things. On the hospitals, I sat on a hospital board. Many of the people who come to the hospital today have no or inadequate insurance. So hospitals have to depend on the charitable and financial ability of the state to reimburse them for this care. With Obamacare many more people will have insurance and there will be more total reimbursement to the hospitals and less dependence on the state. The issue of what Doctors and others get paid is different and exists today under Medicare/Medicaid. It is an ongoing discussion/issue and not much changed by Obmaacare. But, as a minimum and similar to hospitals, they will have more patients with insurance and some ability to pay. Please remember that the Doctors (AMA), Nurses (ANA) and most hospital associations supported Obamacare. .Hope this answers your question- now for some coffee!.
Peter Koenig August 24, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Mr. F: thanks for your comments. I doubt that profits will accumulate unreasonably in corporate solution: the basic aim of individual investment is to obtain individual profits. A corp. with inflated retained earnings would see its stock price dip in competition with "distributing" corps. If it's a concern, consider a sort of corporate Thellusson Act (preventing unreasonable accumulations, as is now the case for trusts).
jerseyswamps August 24, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I understand supporters of Obamacare say more people will have insurance and so will be able to go to doctor. And hospitals will not get stuck with unpaid bills from treating those with no insurance. All that is nice if true. But, the health care industry that focuses on the elderly and looks for payment from medicare is going to take a huge hit. The doctors, labs, imaging sites, medical supplies, etc. are all going to be paid less. $715,000,000,000.00 less for those who care for the elderly so Obamacare can be given (forced?) on everyone else.
ASimon August 25, 2012 at 05:32 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/new-jersey-tilts-redistricting-battle-toward-gop/2011/12/27/gIQAHmEnKP_blog.html If I am 100% wrong about Republicans winning the redistricting battle, I have alot of company, including every newspaper and blog (left leaning or right leaning). I urge anyone with doubts to do their own research and draw their own conclusions. But I do agree that as a Monmouth County resident I feel "punished" in facing the probablity I will have Chris Smith as a Congressman if residents reflexively pull the "R" level this November. BTW Mr. Froelich, I have seen firsthand the mailer Chris Smith sent out with that over the top language about the Affordable Care Act. For some reason, he chose not to mention, HR-3 and his use of the words "forcible rape" in that legislation which he sponsored. . It's hard to understand why Rep. Akin of Missouri is being pressured to bow out of his race by the Republican party when similar words and thoughts about women's rights are tolerated right here in NJ.
John Jay August 25, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Chris Smith and Anna Little should probably book their flights now and see if they can ride next to each other for when they get sworn in come 2013. ASimon -- Chris Smith is punishment??? How about the two do-nothing Congressmen like Pallone and Holt who have done Z-E-R-O for the Monmouth/Middlesex/Ocean county area?? Name ONE THING Pallone or Holt did -- and not just an opinion -- a DIRECT cause and effect relationship -- name ONE PIECE of legislation they sponsored or co-sponsored that they did to: * INCREASE federal dollars to New Jersey; * DECREASE federal taxes; * SUPPORT the Constitution with respect to the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendment (there all important -- but the horrible record they have will speak volumes in my next post).


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