- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 17, 2016

Belleville News-Democrat

Obamacare loses another limb in Illinois

The Affordable Care Act is again proving itself to be the Unaffordable Care Act now that Illinois has moved to close its health insurance coop, Land of Lincoln Health, after it lost $90 million last year.

There were 24 state health insurance coops set up with $2.4 billion of your federal taxes to provide consumers with a “cheaper” alternative to the big insurance companies. Illinois just became the 16th to fail, and most of the remaining eight are struggling. Land of Lincoln Health’s demise will leave 49,000 Illinois customers searching for a new health insurance provider, and you can bet it won’t be cheaper for anyone.

While you likely feel bad for those consumers and the $1,837 that taxpayers lost just last year on each of them, the real crisis is to come. Bernie and Hillary and Barack - and it’s worth noting all three spent their formative political years as Chicago Democrats - are again leading the march to the “public option.”

The public option is where Medicare expands to do what the coops are failing to do. Government provides a plan for those too sick or poor to buy insurance, but like a black hole the gravity of the “free” government plan sucks in all the customers until private companies can’t compete and the government winds up running all the health insurance. In black holes that total collapse is the “singularity” but in health insurance it is the “single payer.”

Government doesn’t worry about free market concerns such as premiums generating less than the health care costs because government just taxes and prints more money to remain solvent as it destroys the health insurance industry and exerts more price controls over the drug and other health care industries.

Coops are failing because you can’t get more out of a system than you put in. The costs will remain the costs, but if the liberals drive us to the single payer those costs will be hidden within higher taxes or fewer dividends or fewer jobs - all of which builds to a crescendo as the Baby Boomers continue to age and continue to need more and more expensive health care.

We started Obamacare in 2010 with about 15 percent of the population lacking health insurance. Despite this massive government intrusion, there’s still about 11.7 percent of the nation without coverage.

The president wants more of your blood to keep it from flatlining.


July 16, 2016

Crain’s Chicago Business

Chicago biz tired of the Chicago Way

In a city as divided as Chicago, it’s rare to find unanimity on any issue. That’s what makes the results of a first-ever poll of Chicago’s business leaders on the subject of crony capitalism so striking.

In a survey conducted by Crain’s Custom Media in conjunction with the Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board, 428 local business leaders spoke out in remarkable unison about the corrosive effect that paid lobbyists and fat-cat political contributions have had on the city’s civic and business life. Yes, they agree, the Chicago Way still works for those who can afford the cost of admission to the pay-to-play political game. But, most also say, it’s bad for business.

Among the findings: 91 percent believe companies using paid lobbyists or making big political donations have a business advantage, while 88 percent believe the ethical behavior of elected or appointed officials is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” issue.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pledged to combat Chicago’s long-standing corruption problem, and when it comes to patronage, he’s done more than talk: He’s managed to get the city out from under the Shakman Decree, the court-mandated federal oversight of City Hall employment practices designed to bar the hiring and firing of government workers on the basis of political loyalty.

That said, there’s still the problem of pay-to-play: the perception, justified or not, that in order to get anything done within city limits_from winning a government contract to getting permission to hang a sign outside one’s shop_it’s necessary to funnel money to the right political campaign funds, starting with your alderman. In a city that’s taken sort of perverse pride in its reputation as the corruption capital of the U.S., businesspeople once seemed willing to account for palm-greasing as a cost of doing business in Chicago. But Crain’s survey is a strong signal that they now seriously question the bargain.

The government we’re paying for isn’t delivering, even for those who are writing the checks. In fact, our government has become an enormous competitive liability, as the city and the state founder under the weight of unfunded pensions, dysfunctional schools, rampant crime and crumbling infrastructure.

Businesspeople need to do more than shake their heads as they answer surveys, however. They have the power to end pay-to-play. All they have to do is stop paying.


July 15, 2016

The (Kankakee) Daily Journal

American men are falling behind

The headline on the front page of the June 21 edition of the Daily Journal read “Why America’s men aren’t working.”

The story detailed some of the reasons why many of the nation’s men are sitting at home without jobs. In their prime working years, the ages between 25 and 54, as many as one in six men are not in the labor force at all. That means they are not seeking work. They are, thus, hidden in the job statistics as the official unemployment rates count only those who are seeking work.

There is more:

. Women have come to increasingly dominate college life. By the time people reach their late 20s, there are now only three male college graduates for every four female graduates.

. It begins earlier than that. The National Bureau of Economic Research notes that one in 10 girls will be suspended sometime during elementary school. The figure is one in four for boys. Boys now fall behind early, and in many cases, stay behind.

. Women have been much more successful, in recent years, in breaking barriers in men’s professions, than men have been in carving out new careers in women’s professions. Women now constitute one-third of new doctors and lawyers. Yet men are only one-tenth of all nurses and one-fifth of elementary school teachers.

There are some definite reasons for school success. Again, the National Bureau of Economic Research notes that girls simply do more homework. They develop sooner, are more realistic and work harder.

The National Fatherhood Initiative notes that one in three boys now grow up without a father at home. About Parenting notes homes without fathers account for 71 percent of high school dropouts and 70 percent of children in juvenile detention.

It’s not popular to talk of troubled youth who grow up to be unemployed men. It is, however, important that the discussion begin.

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