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The House of Representatives attack the Affordable Health Care Act 2010.

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 07-12-2012 | in Political, Government, Critical Thinking, Economics,

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 244-185 Wednesday to repeal in full the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The news media and many politicians label the House action as a vote to repeal President Obama's health care law or Obama Care. They try to make the vote a symbolic display of opposition to Obama's law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it. In fact, those 244 votes was another example of Congress failing its duty to provide for the general welfare of the people.

Political leaders and news media called the Affordable Care Act ObamaCare since Congress passed it in 2010. This personalized label for the law biased Americans' thinking about it. They also muddled Americans thinking about tax cuts and jobs by mislabeling the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 as (President George) Bush Tax Cuts.

President Obama may have introduced a national health care plan to Congress. Nevertheless, he lacked the authority to pass laws. Only Congress has constitutional authority to pass laws. Therefore, 539 members of Congress help to shape the final Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 as they did the 2001 and 2003 tax relief laws. The restructured Health Care Act passed by Congress in 2010 was the people's law.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio said, "We are resolved to have this law go away, and we're going to do everything we can to stop it." Boehner blithely makes this remark as if his goal to destroy the people's Health Care Act is a noble goal. Instead, it was an ignoble failure by the House majority to consider the best interests of Americans. They have the duty to fix the health care plan, because adequate health care probably is fourth behind people's welfare concerns for food, shelter, and safety.

The House vote would have been reasonable if it settled a dispute over competing health care plans. Even Affordable Health Care Act supporters must recognize flaws in the law. Instead, House members voted to repeal the people's Affordable Health Care Act without a replacement. The House majority asserts that their opposition to the law centers on costs, especially costs to small and medium sized business owners. However, this reasoning is dishonest that selectively considers only one group's costs associated with health care and not another.

Healthcare costs affect workers and their families too. Perhaps workers could pay for health care or buy health insurance independent of employers' contribution if employers paid them adequate wages. Employers incur less labor costs by paying the reduced group rate for employees' health insurance than the costs of paying each employee a living wage. The Affordable Health Care Act makes health insurance for employees compulsory for employers to prevent those that provide it from suffering a competitive disadvantage with American competitors that do not provide it. Nevertheless, small and medium sized employers want to lessen labor costs by paying low wages and by not paying lower group-rate health insurance premiums for employees.

Small and medium-sized business owners may reason that no matter the low pay, the jobs they create is a better situation for workers than the condition of workers being unemployed. Perhaps this is true. However, business owners do not create jobs from selflessness. They employ workers for their labor that creates or that increases value in a product for profit making. Nevertheless, many business owners expect taxpayers and workers with health insurance to subsidize their labor costs and profits when hire workers at low pay and without health insurance coverage.

Employees that receive less than a living wage and without health insurance are one moderate-level illness or medical emergency of a family member away from devastating debt. They will use hospital emergency room service for primary care with or without the ability to pay for the service. Hospitals will spread the costs of unpaid bills for medical treatment to other patients that can pay, to people with health insurance or to government health care programs. Hospitals must do this or go bankrupt.

Millions of voters will cheer and gloat how Congress stuck it politically to Obama by repealing ObamaCare. Few of them will associate the loss of the people's Affordable Health Care Act with the increases they experience yearly in medical costs, health insurance premiums, and taxes that support health care for employees without health insurance.

Presidential candidates' campaign spending to confuse facts

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 06-20-2012 | in Political, Government, Ethics, Democracy, Critical Thinking, Economics,

Campaign spending for the 2012 presidential election moves past outrageous to corrupting our representative government. President Barrack Obama's record is there for voters to see. Romney published a 2011 campaign document titled "Believe in America" of his "Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth." Voters should be able to use those sources of information to evaluate the candidates.

Romney's "Believe in America" opening remarks show a strategy to enhance perceptions of his qualifications for office by unfairly tarnishing the record of Obama's administration. He wrote, "Back in the beginning of 2009, we were told by the incoming Obama administration that a massive federal spending package would keep the unemployment rate from rising above 8 percent. Eight percent is itself a shocking number, far above what was then the post-war average of 5.6 percent. If only President Obama had been right, for he proceeded to borrow nearly a trillion dollars for his "stimulus." And yet the unemployment rate blew right past 8 percent until it hit the high-water mark of 10.1 percent. At the moment that I am writing-three years into the President's four-year term."

Most of Romney's assertions are false. He does not directly claim the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent when Obama assumed office. He plants this number in the mind of voters by comparing instances of unemployment rates under Obama with this meaningless 5.6 percent average of unemployment over 63 years. He does assert the unemployment rate was less than 8 percent when Obama took office saying, "unemployment rate blew right past 8 percent until it hit the high-water mark of 10.1 percent" after Obama approved a trillion dollar stimulus pack.

Romney's remark, "Eight percent is itself a shocking number, far above what was then the post-war average of 5.6 percent" is itself shocking. It reveals mathematical illiteracy of a person that claims superior expertise to set national tax and economic policy. A mean average of 5.6 percent does not mark that rate as the highest or most common for the period. Yearly unemployment rates under President Reagan were 9.69 and 9.61 during this postwar period. An average reports only the balance of values above and below that number.

President George W. Bush signed a 168-billion-U.S.-dollar economic rescue package February 2008 to fend off a possible economic recession. After that, the unemployment rate increased each month from 4.8 percent in February 2008 to 8.2% before Obama took office February 20, 2009 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of unemployment increased to 8.6% in March 2009 a few weeks after Obama took office and before his policies could have affected them. Therefore, Romney's assertion is false that "the unemployment rate blew right past 8 percent" despite Obama's "nearly a trillion dollars for his "stimulus."

Romney likes to compare the status of the economy under Obama to previous times like the postwar era. However, comparing Obama's unemployment rates with a specific president like Reagan would be fairer although still not accurate. President Ronald Reagan faced an unemployment rate of 7.6 when he took office February 1981. His unemployment rate was 9.62 percent in 1982, 9.61 percent in 1983, and 7.52 percent in 1984. The rate had ballooned to over 10 percent during Reagan's first term. Unemployment rates were 7.20, 6.99, 6.19, and 5.51 percent during the respective years of Reagan's second term in office. Not surprisingly, Obama's record shows an identical trend of increasing unemployment rates during the first term before turning around.

Previously, Republicans projected Reagan as their economic authority and the model that all presidential administrations should follow. Why has Romney changed strategy during this presidential campaign to hide Reagan's unemployment rates in a meaningless six-decade national average of 5.6 percent? Perhaps, he acted this way to hide the obvious likenesses between Reagan and Obama's first term results that discredit his negative claims about Obama's first term performance. Similar employment results during Reagan and Obama's first term do not confirm that presidents face comparable economic environments curable by a magic formula. It does confirm that the complex forces of an economy have momentum that needs long reaction times for change. This realty of economic forces contradicts Romney's assertions the economy is immediately amenable to change so that Obama should have cured its problems during his short time in office.

I am disbelieving of someone who tries to convince me to appoint him or her in charge of my affairs with false accusation against my current agent. This is what Republicans and Romney do when they make assertions that conflict with history and fact. Perhaps, many voters do not care how much Republicans falsely disparage Obama's performance and cheer the effort. Nevertheless, they should care that they are the targets of the deception to confuse their ability to decide important personal and national issues. Someone that tells lies to you about another person disrespects you and the other person.


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