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General John Kelly was Right Failure to Negotiate Taxes Led to the Civil War

Vera Gilford, J.D. Speaker and Author

JOHN KELLY WAS RIGHT FAILURE TO NEGOTIATE LED TO THE CIVIL WAR

My account of history reflects that White House chief of staff, General John Kelly was right. The Civil War resulted from a failure to negotiate. TO TAX OR NOT TO TAX  SLAVES as property, how to calculate value on slaves, how to APPORTION FAIR TAXES and REPRESENTATION became hotly contested issues. Fierce debates involving these issues pitted southern states against northern and western states.

Since slaves could be used as collateral on loans, they were considered as property and therefore taxed. This was a disadvantage to southern states who had to pay taxes. It benefited northern industrial states that no longer needed slaves. They did not pay taxes until after their industrial goods had been manufactured and sold. Unlike southern  states, they collected income before taxes were due.

A second issue that could not be negotiated involved REPRESENTATION. When it came down to the question of representation in the Capitol, it was based on the population within the various states. Under the U.S. Constitution for purpose of calculating representation, slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person. This calculation gave slave owning states greater representation. The northern industrial states and western agricultural states contested that they were unfairly  treated.

White House chief of staff, General John Kelly was right. Because of a failure to negotiate, bullets of the civil war shot down the American economy and left a huge financial strain on all the states. Taxes on everyone were increased to cover the cost of war and the debt that arose. It took years to repay that debt.

While some things have changed since that time, many things have remained the same. Slaves gained some freedom, but along with it came an obligation to pay various taxes. There was a cost to freedom back then, just like the cost  today. Unfortunately, on issues of revenues generated through taxes and spending that generates massive deficits, lawmakers who do not understand numbers fail to keep accurate score. With regard to the finances, they seem to operate in an unconscious state.

A deficit occurs when you have spent more money than you have. You borrow to make up  the difference. Low interest rates over the last decade have fueled credit card spending. Borrowing nearly “free money” seems like a good deal, but, at some point the bill will come due.

Throughout history,  the cost of wars have always resulted in a need for additional revenue. That revenue comes from the American taxpayer in the form of taxes and more taxes. As a result of World War I,  additional revenue was needed to pay for its cost. The Internal Revenue Code was established in 1916. It added taxes on individuals to cover that cost.

The difference in wars of the past and wars of today is that historically Americans were always given an accounting reflecting the costs of each war.  An accurate accounting lets all Americans know how their money was spent. In some years, refunds were issued back to taxpayers, when the cost was less than anticipated. In addition, their representatives in Washington were caretakers for how that money was spent.

Americans today do not receive refunds for the costs of war, in fact, they do not received any itemized accounting for the costs of individual wars since 911.

ARGUMENTS OVER TAXES CONTINUE TODAY

Today’s tax debates concerning the Trump-GOP 2017 tax plan, fuel similar but less flammable debates. Arguments that the tax plan adds 1.5 trillion dollars to the deficit over ten years is fake news. This argument is ludicrous and
camouflages the real issue of how and why the U.S. spending has caused the U.S. deficit to increase to nearly 20 trillion dollars today. During this time American taxpayers have received no detailed accounting from their representatives
to show the costs of wars and how their tax dollars have been spent.

History reflects how tax increases were directly related to the costs of war. Since 911 American taxpayers have received no accounting, yet, they remain responsible for the mushrooming costs of these wars. A sixteen year period with no accounting would make most businesses become insolvent. Bernie Madoff went to jail for engaging in similar vague accounting.

While the appropriations office has never stopped appropriating funds and the budget office can calculate numbers for the costs of a tax plan or a healthcare bill, neither has provided the American taxpayer with detailed accounting for each war for which the American taxpayer has paid taxes to fund. Americans should know where and why additional revenue was spent to increase the deficit to 20 trillion dollars.

Do the Appropriations Office, the Budget Office or The Library of Congress have these figures? In all fairness and moral decency American Taxpayers have a right to see the costs that have strained their bank accounts.

GOP SENATE AND HOUSE TAX PLANS REDUCE CORPORATE TAXES

The GOP Senate and House plans, seek to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. One plan makes it effective immediately, the other delays the effective date until 2018. History has shown how reducing the corporate tax rate benefits the economy.  Why delay this benefit? When the economy is stimulated it benefits all Americans.

ELIMINATING ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX

Under the Trump/GOP Tax Plan, the alternative minimum tax is eliminated. The alternative minimum tax was initially introduced as a tax intended only for wealthy taxpayers. Because that figure was never indexed for inflation, it remained fixed, however,  incomes continued to rise. As a result, the alternative minimum tax now applies to millions of taxpayers that were never intended to pay it. The Trump/GOP Tax Plan finally rights this wrong by relieving the
middle class taxpayer from this tax. High income taxpayers also benefit in this area, however, they also pay the highest tax rate (39.6%) for other income.

An interesting question is who is contesting this provision? The high income and middle income taxpayers benefit so why would they contest it? It does not apply to the lower income taxpayer so why would they contest it? Could it be that whoever is contesting this provision is not a taxpaying American? Or, is it politically motivated such that failure of any tax plan is the real motivation?

REDUCING TAX RATES FROM SEVEN TO FOUR

The Trump/GOP tax plan simplifies the code from 7 tax rates (10, 15, 25, 28, 35, 39.6) to 4 rates (12%, 25%, 35%, 39.6%).  Over the years, many Americans have urged the Joint Committee on Taxation and Congress to simplify the tax code.  Along that same path, others including Libertarians, have argued for a flat tax which is the simplest of all.  This provision of the Trump/GOP Tax Plan negotiates a method of simplification without a flat tax.

INCREASING CHILD TAX CARE CREDIT

Some argue that the increase in the child tax credit is not enough. A credit is more valuable than a tax deduction because it directly reduces taxes dollar for dollar. This means that each dollar of tax credit reduces taxes by one dollar as opposed to a deduction that only reduces taxes by a percentage depending on your tax bracket. In addition, a portion of the credit allows a refund even if you do not owe taxes. Factoring in the child tax credit along with the increase in the standard deduction will make more entitled to this refund.

INCREASING THE STANDARD DEDUCTION FROM $6,300 TO $12,000

The standard deduction starts the bar for who has to file a return or pay any taxes at all. This benefits those with lower incomes and middle incomes taxpayers who do not itemize. They now gain an additional $6,000 for which they owe no taxes. This benefits all taxpayers who do not itemize.

REDUCED OR ELIMINATION OF MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION

Under the Trump/GOP tax plan, the deduction for interest on real estate is cut for properties valued over $500,000. Only about 5% of mortgages obtained between 2013 and 2015 were greater than $500,000.  A good majority (about 81%) of properties over $500,000 are located in ten states. 43.8% of these properties are located in 48 counties within those ten states.

Generally, mortgage interest and property taxes make up a good portion of itemized deductions for the average taxpayer. Thanks to the mortgage foreclosure crisis that started in 2004 and continues today,  at least 7 million homes have been foreclosed and over 5.5 million people have lost their homes. Many of these were middle income homeowners. A vast majority of middle class taxpayers who once itemized their deductions, now take the standard deduction after being forced out of their homes. For sure, the 5.5 million Americans who lost their homes no  longer have these itemized deductions.

Increasing the standard deduction to $12,000 gives them back, some of what they lost. And some dignity especially in cases where lost homes were not due to failure to pay the mortgage, but were lost due to mortgage scames like Ditech that continues today.

These scams refuse to give homeowners accurate accounting of their escrow balances, commingles figures for taxes, interest, and principle, adds vague fees that keep homeowners scrambling to pay more,  sells the mortgage every 90 days to a different mortgage company with the homeowner receiving notice 45 to 60 days later, fails to transfer proper balances to the new mortgage company, leaving homeowners behind on their payments to the new mortgage company, refuses to accept mortgage payments that are mailed, leaving homeowners behind on their payments, mails statements to the wrong address, claims they never received the mortgage checks that were mailed, requires mortgage payments to be paid online, then locks out access to online accounts, causing payments to be late, charges late fees that come out of the escrow leaving insufficient funds to pay property taxes or property insurance when they come due, then cancels  insurance and obtains forced placed insurance policies at much higher rates. All of these scams are done in an effort to put the homeowner behind on their mortgage. When the homeowner loses their property the mortgage company acquires it back then resells to the next homeowner and the process starts all over again.

Many middle class American taxpayers have lost their homes due to scams such as these. Eliminating or reducing mortgage interest and property tax deductions no longer applies to these 5.5 million Americans so they are not contesting this provision. Again, who is doing the complaining?

ELIMINATING DEDUCTION FOR STATE AND LOCAL TAXES

Eliminating portions or all of the deductions for state and local taxes applies mostly to the segment of taxpayers mentioned above in ten states. Increasing the standard deduction to $12,000 moves some in this group from itemizing to taking the standard deduction.

Taxpayers in this category whose taxes are not reduced are likely paying alternative minimum taxes. Eliminating the alternative minimum tax offsets what they lose in state and local tax and/or interest deductions.

State taxes, like federal taxes are paid to cover the costs of operating the government. Maybe an accountability issue applies to the states. The question is, how effective is your state or local government operating.

ELIMINATING DEDUCTION FOR INTEREST ON STUDENT LOANS

Many students have taken out student loans and sacrificed time in college in anticipation of getting a job. For those who have not been successful in gaining employment, this deduction would not apply since they have little, if any income. Even if they are making payments on their student loans, if they have less than the required income  they are not required to file a tax return. This provision would not affect them.

For those college graduates recently out of school who have jobs, they generally do not yet have a lot of deductions and therefore, tend not to itemize. The increase in the standard deduction to $12,000 will off-set some, if not all, of what they lose in student loan interest wiped out.

If the Senate or GOP Tax Plans do not pass due to failure to negotiate, no one gets a tax benefit. It certainly will not lead to a civil war, but it would be a tragedy not to give back to the American taxpayer some of what they have lost in taxes.

ELIMINATING THE HEALTH CARE TAX CREDIT TENDS TO INCREASE MEDICAID FRAUD

If taxpayers with incomes less than $10,000 get totally free healthcare, while those with incomes above $10,000 pay increased prices for healthcare premiums, the GOP tax plan will create a penalty for having income greater than $10,000. This  tends to promote what is already rampant Medicaid fraud.

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Dear Mr. President

Dear President Donald Trump

When I heard you say , “…the actions of North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong un would be met with fury like the world has never seen,” it made me wonder. There have been many wars throughout history. No matter who won or lost, common denominators for them have been many lives lost, enormous debt, costly resources, massive destruction, and a plethora of injured bodies;

The greatest destruction the world has ever seen? Do you really want that to be your legacy?

You hold the power to leave a legacy as the greatest at whatever you choose. I wonder if that is what you really choose or is it simply a response to Kim provoking an emotional button (the bully button) inside of you?

Each war has left enormous destruction to the masses, while others have reaped gains from the dead caucuses, the debt, or the survivors who suffered irreparable harm to their bodies.

I think it would make North Korea’s Kim very happy (and wealthy) to be able to push your button and provoke you into a war of words that leads to a nuclear war. North Korea appears to be a poverty ridden nation, but today’s wealth is in poverty. (i.e. medcaid).

Kim’s wealth is not in natural resources or territory. As I see it, Kim stands to acquire wealth from the injured bodies in need of blood.

Research currently underway is creating something called, “artificial blood.” In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved it. It is expected to be a seven trillion dollar industry. This “artificial blood” is promoted as a solution to the world’s shortage of blood caused by soldiers and others injured in war. It is also being advanced to solve the shortage of blood needed for blood transfusions.

It is unclear how it is being tested around the world, but consider how Kim could benefit from its use. Cancer patients today are being aggressively urged to get blood transfusions when the chemotherapy, depresses the immune system causing the white and red blood cell counts to drop below normal range. In a blood transfusion, your blood is withdrawn and mixed with other blood (ie artificial blood) then injected back into your body. When this “artificial blood” mixes with your original blood, it interferes with your blood’s ability to create normal blood cells. Imagine a feeling of stiff blood, less flexibility, and less movement. I believe the future will show that this “artificial blood” does to the body what opioids have done to the minds of millions of people around the world.

It may seem that North  Korea’s Kim has loose marbles that are not very tightly wrapped, I would say, do not let appearances fool you. Why a man who reasons well with and enjoys the company of Dennis Rodman suddenly becomes activated to provoke nuclear war when you are elected.

Kim could not provoke other world leaders to war because they saw no benefit to them (either their legacy and resources or the cost of destruction was too great.) For them Kim was insignificant.

However, when you became president, Kim studied you. He seems to believe that a war of words is sufficient to provoke you into a nuclear war. I believe he would enjoy nothing more than to help you start a war that will reap him billions of wealth as the bodies of soldiers and others are injured and in need of “artificial blood.”

What you may see as poverty in North Korea, he sees as a tremendous pool of wealth. (One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.)

Kim  knows that the survival of his regime is limited as tougher economic sanctions are imposed from countries around the world. This forces him into a race to provoke you into a “war of words.” A tactic he hopes will lead to a quick war. I believe war with North Korea’s Kim will bring billions into his pocketbook. I suspect that if you look closely you may find that those urging you into war also stand to gain economic benefits that the masses will not enjoy.

I believe Kim sees a way to reap billions by simply pushing a “bully” button that challenges your manhood. It is unfortunate that some people have little concern for the health or welfare of human life, other than seeing them as bodies in need of “artificial blood.”

I believe that unlike those people, you have a heart that wants to do the right thing, not just for the money or economic gain it may bring. Mr. President, right now, what you control is the power to choose how you respond in this matter. Once made, your decision in the words you speak or the actions you take will be difficult to withdraw. Consider your legacy. For the sake of your children and all the future generations that may suffer needless injury and pain, do not fall into Kim’s trap. Why give him that pleasure?

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Dear President Donald Trump

Dear President Donald Trump,

Recently the news showed a lady walking along the sidewalk texting. In front of her was a hole about three feet wide and over three feet long. Maintenance workers had lifted the grate that covered the hole and left it up while they worked in the hole. The lady walked toward the hole not noticing the grate raised about three feet high.  As I watched her walk toward it, I was sure she could see the gigantic hole and would not fall in it. Her mind was so focused on texting she never saw the hole, flipped right over the grate and fell into the huge hole in the ground.

The reason she did not see the big hole was because her attention was somewhere else. Similarily, when two people are in a room talking they may both hear or see something different, depending on where their attenton is focused. What either saw or heard  is simply a judgment that may or may not reflect what actually took place.

Awareness is focusing on a single thing. Without awareness we are unconscious to our surroundings. During these times we are only vaguely aware of our actions or of the details of our work or of the feelings of our family. Actions that we take when we are unaware or unconscious, generally are not part of our plan  and were not intended. Too often, when we reflect back on these periods of “unconsciousness” we regret the actions that we took. We are lucky if  those actions did not cause too much damage.

The reason I am writing Mr. President is because I see a gigantic hole ahead and it seems you are about to fall in it.

It seems rare that a CEO voluntarily goes under oath, attempting to prove or disprove a perception of what one heard another say, where only two people were in the room. You are the CEO of the United States of America.  You are the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. You hold the power to get significant things accomplished.

Going under oath is a grueling, tedious process that takes time for parties to prepare. No matter how much you attempt to prepare, you can never be adequately prepared for the angle of an opponent’s question. Statements under oath are very different from statements on a campaign trail. There are lasting consequences to the words that are spoken.

The significance of what will be accomplished by going under oath is not very clear. Americans who voted for you and those who did not will continue about their daily lives clinging to their same perceptions. I doubt that what they hear will change their perception of you or who said what in that room.

When the purpose of an action is not very clear, it may indicate an act taken in a state when awareness was lacking – a state of unconsciousness that could leave regrets.

After Prime Minister Teresa May was elected by the voters in Britain, she called a special election. Her reasoning was not very clear. What do you achieve by calling a special election after you have already been elected. It may indicate an act done in a state of unconsciousness. Now she (and many others) are left with regrets that cannot be undone. Unlilke her predecessor, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher never read what was written about her in the media and never cared whether people liked her. This may be the reason Thatcher’s confidence grew so strong.

Mr  President, I see a gigantic hole ahead. I pray that you  do not fall in it.

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The Real Reason American Healthcare Fails to Get Repaired Is More About Business Than Politics

The real reason American Healthcare fails to get repaired is more about business than politics. When you analyze the setbacks, especially of that first Healthcare Act that never made it for a vote, it is more about dollars than votes.

Congressional representative Billy long (Missouri) was a devout Trump supporter. He  had calculated that President Trump would pick up 40 Freedom Caucus votes by  amending the Healthcare Act to please the Freedom Caucus. Their first amendments had excluded emergency room visits, mental health, prescription drugs, pregnancy and defunded planned parenthood. The second amendments essentially wiped out pre-existing conditions and cancer treatment.  Long who ultimately did not support eliminating pre-existing conditions had calculated that without his vote the Republicans still had 39 votes to Trumps favor.  Technically, that math was correct. But in reality when the time comes for an actual vote, voters at the polls and in congress weigh their business interest against their political loyalty. The math does not exactly add up.

SUPPORTERS OF THE HEALTHCARE ACT

The major advocates pushing the American Healtcare Act were President Donald Trump in the White House, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan and Republicans who now control both the House and Senate. With about 246 Republicans and 180 Democrats in Congress, a united Republican Party, could have easily voted to pass that first Healthcare Act. However, they did not succeed. That bill was not loss due to votes, it was lost due to billions of dollars that would have been taken from the bottom line.

President Trump and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan had relied upon input and support from conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation and The Freedom Caucus. In addition, moderate Republicans such as the Tuesday Group offered support and were expected to support the bill. Late, in the negotiation process a few ultra conservative republicans made changes that deleted essential coverage causing the bill to get derailed.

OPPONENTS OF THE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE ACT

It was anticipated that Democrats would oppose the bill designed to repeal parts of Obamacare. They argued that according to the Congressional Budget Office that initial bill would cause 14 million Americans to be uninsured by next year and 24 million to be uninsured by the year 2026. They argued that repeal took one trillion in Obamacare tax credits and made $880 billion dollar cuts in medicaid. The repeal would have taken from those in need by reducing tax credits needed to pay health insurance premiums or get health coverage. It would have transferred that money to Americans with higher incomes. Instead of a healthcare bill, opponents viewed it as a strategy to transfer wealth from those in need and give it to wealthier Americans to fuel their wants. Democrats opposed the views of conservative Republicans as too conservative. Despite their opposition, democrats alone did not have the votes to stop the passage of the American Healthcare Act.

THE ADVANCED PREMIUM TAX CREDIT UNDER OBAMACARE

Generally, a tax credit is received at the end of the tax year when you file your federal income tax return. It comes in the form of a tax refund. However, the Premium Tax Credit under Obamacare that helped Americans obtain health insurance came in the form of an ADVANCED CREDIT paid directly to the health insurance company to pay a portion of the monthly health insurance premiums. At the end of the year, when federal income tax returns are filed, adjustments are made that may require that taxpayer to repay a portion of those credits received. This repayment is in additon to other federal income taxes due.

For Americans with limited incomes, seniors with fixed incomes who did not yet qualify for medicare, and small business owners with cyclical incomes or rural Americans where job opportunities were limited, this Advanced Premium Tax Credit helped them to maintain health insurance coverage throughout the year. It paid a portion of their monthly health insurance bill. Without it their monthly health insurance premiums would not be paid causing their health insurance coverage to terminate. The reason the first American Healthcare Act got derailed was not because of these people, they could not vote in Congress.

The first American Healthcare Act that Paul Ryan worked so hard to get passed reduced the maximum amount of the Tax Credit from $6,000 per year to $4,000 per year. This reduction meant that the monthly credit received each month that went to pay the premium to maintain health insurance coverage would drop from a maximum of $500 to $333 a month. Taxpayers in this income category would need an additional $167 cash each month to make up the loss in order to maintain their same health insurance coverage. As lower income taxpayers lose coverage they end up with no coverage or may end up on medicaid, which takes away options to see doctors of their choice – doctors who are more concerned about their health rather than simply pushing prescription drugs that have side-effects or cause worst health problems.

SUPPORT FROM THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION

That first Healthcare Act had the support of The Heritage Foundation, a non profit 501(c ) (3) organization founded in 1973 to promote free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and strong national defense. With more than 500,000 dues paying members, it’s primary audience includes, members of Congress, key Congressional staff members, policy members in executive branch, the nation’s news media and the academic and policy communities. It accepts no government funds and performs no contract work. Heritage experts appear on television dozens of times each week. It has offices 1,000 steps from the House and 500 steps from the Senate, giving it access to law makers and public officials.

SUPPORT FROM THE FREEDOM CAUCUS

The first Healthcare law to repeal and replace Obamacacare also had the support of The Freedom Caucus, a group of about 36 far right Republican Congressional members. They are the youngest members elected to Congress. As of October 2015, Congress was made up of 435 members; 47% had served 1 to 3 year terms; 32% had served 4-9 year terms; and 20% of Congress had served more than 10-year terms. The members of the Freedom Caucus came from safe districts.  Unlike many Congressional representatives who get voted into office, they did not feel threatened by a “no compromise brand of conservatism” or taking anti-establishment positions.

The Freedom Caucus was chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows, (NC). Other members include or have included, Justin Amash (MI), Joe Barton (TX), Brian Babin, (TX), John A. Behner (OH), Rod Blum (Iowa), Jim Bridenstine (OK), Mo Brooks (AL), Ken Buck (CO), Warren Davidson (OH), Ron Desantis (OH), Scott Desjarlais (TN), Jeff Duncan (SC), Trent Franks (AZ), Tom Garrett (VA), Paul Gosar, Jr. (VA), Morgan Griffin (VA), Andy Harris (MD), Jody Hice (GA), Tim Jordan (OH), Raul R. Labrador (Idaho), Thomas Masscre (KY), Alex Mooner (W. Va), Gary Palmer (AL), Steve Pearce (NM), Scott Perry (PA), Ted Poel (TX), Bill Posey (FL), Mark Sandord (SC), David Schweikert (AZ), Randy Weber (TX), Ted Yoho (FL).

With Paul Ryan’s experience as former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and former chairman of the House Budget Committee, plus with sixty-six more republican than democratic votes, mathematically the bill seemed certain to pass. However, behind close doors what appeared to be politics as usual, was trumped by business interest that was more valuable than party loyalty.

After the Freedom Caucus amendments were made to that first Healthcare bill, the second version eliminated pre-existing conditions and treatment for cancer. House and Senate voting representatives had to consider to what degree their consituency would be pleased (or displeased) with these changes to Obamacare. This  position could leave voting Congressional members stressed between the interest of their constituency that vote them into office and other financial interest that keep them in office. Some wonder why there is such a wide discrepancy between expected outcomes and the actual votes (in Congress and at the polls). The reason may be that voters (in Congress and at the polls) are not honest about how they really intend to vote because it may conflict with other interests. (To see how sabotage is a mirage read Business Leadership and Success). The real reason the first American Healthcare Act got gutted, before reaching a vote in Congress was more about business than politics.

ELEVENTH-HOUR CHANGES DEMANDED BY THE FREEDOM CAUCUS

Just days before Congress was expected to deliver the necessary votes allowing President Trump and the Republican party to gain their first major victory in passing the American Healthcare Act, the Freedom Caucus demanded essential changes to the bill. This demand was in order to keep their support. However, the extent of these changes reduced “Essential Coverage.” The Freedom Caucus’ position offered no negotiating room what-so-ever, rather it came with a firm take-it-or-leave-it position. Their demands included, (1) excluding mental health coverage; (2) excluding emergency room coverage; (3) excluding prescription drug coverage; and (4) excluding maternity benefits and defunding Planned Parenthood.

FREEDOM CAUCUS CHANGES CREATED A FIERCE FIRE OF OPPOSITION ACROSS AMERICA

When these changes to that first American Healthcare Act hit the media they fueled a fierce fire of opposition against the Healthcare Bill. Opposition mounted on both sides from groups, including AARP representing over 35 million members over 50 years of age, women’s groups, The American Medical Association, and various other  medical organizations.

The eleventh-hour changes made tempertures rise and opposition mount. Even middle-of-the-road Republicans suddenly felt uncomfortable supporting that bill. As time approached for that first vote, the mood of opposition escalated.

ELIMINATING MENTAL HEALTH COVERAGE WOULD HAVE SHAVED BILLIONS FROM THE BOTTOM LINE

The Freedom Caucus’ position appeared to be that of a proponent of excluding mental health coverage. However, this outcome would have resulted in drug companies losing billions of dollars for drugs that would no longer be paid for by insurance companies. This would have taken away billions from the bottom line of pharamaceutical companies. Strategically, the Freedom Caucus seemed to propose a measure that they really wanted to fail, while making it appear to be Ryan and the President’s failure.

When Obamacare was passed, the real party of interest for mental health benefits were the pharamaceutical companies whose drugs were mandated to be paid for by insurance companies. Mental health benefits help 70 percent of Americans who use them daily to cope with life and/or may have substance abuse issues. The math and the bottom line seem to indicate that more important than politics were the billions of dollars in sales gained by the pharamaceutical industry. Stripping mental health coverage from health insurance plans would have resulted in a huge market loss. That market loss converted to a big financial loss, if drugs were no longer mandated to be paid under health insurance plans.

Freedom Caucus member Jim Jodan of Ohio, had the support of the Ohio Tea Party. Ohio was one of the few states with more than one health insurer remaining, but Ohio ranked 37th out of 50 states with the worst provisions for mental health. Damage from drug use, substance abuse, and addictions has negatively impacted many states, some more than others. Ohio Govenor John Kasich had recently reported that a major coverage utilized in Ohio was the mental health coverage. If this was true, how could Freedom Caucus member, Jodan have possibly intended to support the very amendments he proposed in that first Healthcare Act. The Freedom Caucus’ take-it-or-leave-it position created a show down that shut down the votes needed for that first Healthcare bill to pass.

ELIMINATING EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS WOULD HAVE SHAVED BILLIONS FROM THE BOTTOM LINE

Eighty percent of emergency room visits involve drug therapy. Two hundred ninety-six million drugs are ordered or provided through emergency rooms. Removing emergency room visits from mandatory health insurance coverage would have damaged the bottom line of drug companies. Eliminating this coverage from that first Healthcare Act would have caused a substantial drop in ER visits, and in turn caused a loss to the profits of pharamaceutical companies. Again, strategically, it seems that the Freedom Caucus proposed a measure that they really wanted to fail. They appeared to support it but let it appear to be someone else’s failure.

ELIMINATING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WOULD HAVE SHAVED BILLIONS FROM THE BOTTOM LINE

The National Center for Health Statistics, an agency of the Center for Disease Control reported that in 2015 the number of Americans that have used at least 1 prescription drug in the last 30 days included: 52 percent of whites; 36% of Hispanics; and 43% of Blacks. This amounts to a large profit to the bottom line of pharamaceutical companies. Losing coverage for prescription drugs  in that first Healthcare Act would have eliminated this market share and wiped out a huge profit for pharmaceutical companies. Again, it seems that strategically, the Freedom Caucus proposed a measure that they needed to fail, while appearing to be someone else’s failure.

Paul Ryan opposed these changes advanced by the Freedom Caucus’s amendments to that first Healthcare Act, but Ryan and the GOP needed their votes. Paul Ryan believed their votes would be forth coming. From his experience Ryan believed that the substative nature of these changes would likely cause the bill to be rejected procedurally before making it to the Senate floor. Ryan preferred a more stripped down version as a restoration of Obamacare than stripping it of essential coverages. Ryan and President Donald Trump were willing to accept the changes insisted by the Freedom Caucus on short notice in order to get the bill passed.

Senator Ted Cruz argued that even if rejected, Vice-President Pence, who serves as President of the Senate could overturn the parlimentarian of the Senate. This likely would have created more friction between the executive branch and the legislative branches of government. This outcome could have resulted in a court battle to determine whether fifty-one senators and the vice-president can redefine the law.

WOMEN’S ISSUES INVOKE SENSITIVITY FACTOR

Each member of the Freedom Caucus represented a state with a majority of women in the population. Whether Republican or Democrat, stripping essential coverage for Planned Parenthood and maternity benefits caused a mood of “familiarity” to be stirred as sensitivity gained value in the hearts of mothers, sisters, and daughters who could relate. Issues that previosly were not relevant suddenly were perceived differently and became substantively meaningful. This caused women’s sensitivity meter to heighten. In turn, it drove up the pressure for the masses to oppose the bill. Probably, the very proponents of these measures to strip both maternity and Planned Parenhood benefits, felt uncomfortable voting for it. One could easily assume that the Freedom Caucus had calculated that removing their 36 votes from the table would certainly cause that first Healthcare Act to fail if it went for a vote in Congress. If you publicly support a bill that you secretly really want to fail, this is a convenient way to do it.

Proceeding to a vote on the first Healthcare Act would have been far more disastrous than removing the bill from the table. It would have been convenient to blame the loss on Paul Ryan for failing to deliver, if that Bill had gone for a vote and failed. That outcome would likely have damaged President Trump’s reputation as a master negotiator, especially since he authored Art of the Deal. In addition, proceeding to an unsuccessful vote may have severed Paul Ryan and the President’s relationship, an outcome possibly designed to leave a vacant seat for The Freedom Caucus to fill with one of their own. All along, a deeper strategic plan behind the failure of the American healthcare system seems to be more about business than politics.

When Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump agreed to include the non-negotiable demands of the Freedom Caucus into that first Healthcare Act, they expected  36 votes in exchange. In the end, the Freedom Caucus got their demands added into the bill, then withdrew their support, causing the bill to sink. Summing it all up, the real reason that first American Healthcare Act failed to obtain the necessary votes is the same reason amending or repairing healthcare legislation in America today is so contensious – it is more about business than politics.

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President Donald Trump Reigns – Melania Shines

As President Donald Trump reigns Melania shines at his Inaugural Address. First Lady Melania Trump added blue skies to President Donald Trump’s historic day and what a day it was. January 20, 2017 is known historically as the day power is transferred in the executive branch of the United States government. On the morning of January 20, 2017, Barack H. Obama was President and Michelle Obama was First Lady. By afternoon, Donald J. Trump was President of the Unied States and Melania Trump was First Lady. The world watched as Donald Trump the newly elected 45th President of the United States was officially sworn in to began his term.

Mike Pence was first sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas followed by music and prayer. Donald Trump was sworn in by U. S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Melania Trump stood confidently next to her husband, the newly sworn in President of the United States. Melania Trump wore a breath-taking sky blue, Ralph Lauren, body fitting dress that complemented her curves, style and grace. In blue high and narrow heal pumps and long matching blue gloves, Melania Trump stood with the elegance of Jackie O, as she was formally introduced to the world as the First Lady of the United States.

World renown US designer and businessman Ralph Lauren has dressed First Ladies of various political affiliations. Ralph Lauren’s unique gift as a designer makes them sparkle without regard to their political party.

As Donald Trump started to deliver his Inaugural Address, slight rains began to fall. The skies above remained bright, while misty rains enamored is words then went away. His words were true to his campaign promises. As confidently as he had promised that he would win, he confidently spoke of bringing power back to the people.

Among the family, friends and dignitaries surrounding him on the platform were Donald Trump’s five children, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Tiffany Trump and youngest son, Barron Trump. Tiffany and Ivanka Trump both wore white pants suits, Ivanka’s made by Oscar de la Renta.

The bright white worn by Ivanka and Tiffany Trump and also that worn by former secretary Hillary Clinton helped to brighten the dark moods on the platform as Trump began to talk about the few who had prospered while jobs left and factories closed. “This,” he said, “has given the American people little to celebrate. What truly matters” Trump said, “is not what party controls but that the people control.”

Trump shined a light on the poverty trapped in the inner city, education funded with cash while students are deprived of knowledge, and the carnage left from gangs, drugs and crime. Trump talked about America defending other nations around the world, while refusing to defend our own. Trump pledged to fight for Americans to bring back jobs, safe neighborhoods, and transfer power back to the people.

Trump’s Inaugural was lined with an array of half-dozen clergy without regard to a single religious doctrine. The program included Jewish, Catholic and Prostestant evangelicals. One who saw rain as a sign of God’s blessings upon this administration.

Earlier that morning, the Trump family attended services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington DC, where the Revern disucssed God picking a leader.

After the Inaugural Address, Donald and Melania Trump escorted Barack and Michelle Obama to a presidetial helicopter, which flew the Obama’s to Andrews Airforce Base, where they were greeted by a thousand friends and staff to wish them farewell. The Obama’s took their last flight on Air Force One to vacation in Palm Springs as private citizens.

Trump then went to the President’s room in the Capitol where he signed his first Executive Orders as President. Trump’s Cabinet pick General James Mattis has been approved by the Senate as Secretary of Defense. General John Kelly has been approved by the Senate as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Standing by President Trump’s side as he signed Executive Orders were his young grandchildren, his five children, son-in-law and Senior Advisor, Jarred Kushner, and First Lady Melania. President Donald Trump, a father first, demonstrates that children are never too young to learn.

The Trump family attended a luncheon in the Capitol with dignitaries and elite. President Trump was presented with an official picture of his Inaugural Address where President Donald Trump reigns Melania shines.

After lunch, President Trump rode in a new specially designed black Cadillac nicknamed “The Beast.” His family followed in black cadillacs along Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House. Near Trump Tower the Trump family exited their vehicles and walked. Staff of Trump Towers expressed appreciation and shared in their pride.

Holding the power as President of the United States of America, Donald Trump walked pass his real estate investment, surrounded by his chidren in whom he has invested tons of love and affection. Trump’s “Wisdom of Solomon” and hard work has truly paid off.

At the viewing platform in front of their new house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue the Trump family enjoyed festivities as bands marched in the parade. President Trump’s pride swelled as the band from his former school, New York Military Academy passed.

Later in the evening, the Trump family dressed for an evening of dancing that included three balls. Melania Trump wore a gorgeous flowing cream colored gown with straps off-the-shoulders made by Herve Pierre. Pierre was a former designer for Carolina Herrera but now designs under his own name.

On stage President Trump talked about the last four weeks of the election and how hard he had worked. He has not forgotten his promise, “I will be fighting for you.” He stands on stage with recognition from the world as he absorbs the glory of triumph. Trump acknowledges it was an amazing experience. A man that produces with perfection and rarely smiles, now smiles as the fun begins. Decked with bounds of glory President Donald Trmp reigns Melania shines.

With the eyes of the world upon them President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania confidently danced to the words, “I did it my way.” Later joined by Vice-President Mike Pence and wife, Karen. Trump’s family members also joined in step. A champagne-colored sheer-lined gown by Carolina Herrera flared to the floor drapping Ivanka Trump like Cinderella. What seemed like a fairy tail written especially for the Trump family, they danced the night away.

Earlier predictions of rain in the forecast and slight volatility from some standing off afar did not stop hundreds of thousands from coming out in support to witness this historic transference of leadership at the United States White House.

Twenty-two thousand attended the Freedom Ball downstairs in the Washington Convention Center. Thousands more attended the Liberty Ball upstairs. On the other side of town, thousands of active military, friends and family celebrating at the Armed Services Ball, were later joined by President Trump, First Lady Melania and family. Three balls were enough for one night.

Away from the nation’s Capital, others popped champaign corks to celebrate. Across the shores of America citizens shared Trump’s feelings of pride.

For those who were fortunate enough to witness the services, the crowds, the festivities, and energy in the nation’s capital, January 20, 2017, will likely be a day that sketched indelible memories in heir minds. Many will remember January 20, 2017 as the day that President Donald Trump reigns and Melania shines.