POITOU, FRANCE – “GOP reeling after healthcare collapse,” reads a headline on a political website.
From The Hill:
Republicans offered competing ideas for what to do next on healthcare Monday night, now that the current ObamaCare replacement effort has fallen apart.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged late Monday that the chamber’s current approach would fail after two more senators announced opposition to the current healthcare draft.
Yes, the Senate took up its sacred work this week: getting re-elected. In the camera or out of it, the pols face two great threats.
On one side are the zombies, folks dependent on the feds who trade their votes for small handouts. Within the next 10 years, there will be more than 200 million of these people – if they ever rise up, there will be more than enough to unhorse every senator in Washington.
On the other side are the Deep State cronies. Fewer in number but vastly better supplied with cash and connections, cronies are dangerous.
If they don’t get what they want, they could unleash their attack dogs and throw a little red meat (indiscretions… uncovered and traded for favors by America’s 17 different “security” agencies) to the ravenous press.
They could bankroll another candidate back home… or withdraw invitations to speak, lobby, and join cushy boards and think tanks.
Cronies and zombies have more or less the same objective: to keep the medical care bamboozle – which is programmed to double in size in the next 10 years – in business.
Many senators rightly saw that the proposal to tinker with it wouldn’t have made much difference in the big scheme of things. It would only trim spending over the decade from $8.2 trillion to $7.7 trillion.
The system will go broke even with the proposed changes. Better not to touch it at all, they reason, rather than risk the ire of voters or insiders.
Zero for Six
As we get older, we become more sympathetic to the aches and pains of others.
Neck bone to ankle bone, and everything in between, yearns for a solution for what ails it. Surely, spending 18% of GDP on medical care ought to yield some miracle salve.
But it doesn’t work that way. As we showed in our book Hormegeddon, more is only better… to a point. Then the law of declining marginal utility comes into play.
You eat your first cream puff dessert. It is delicious. So you have another. It is okay. By the time you are on your fifth, you are feeling a little sick.
Spending more on medical care doesn’t necessarily make people healthier. On the contrary, it may squander resources, leaving them poorer… and more vulnerable.
Or you may be carried away by one of the estimated 1 million medical errors per year.
That’s at least part of the reason why the U.S. now spends more than any other nation on medical care but has the worst health statistics.
Donald J. Trump won the White House, proposing six changes to the way the empire does business:
Stop America’s losing wars in the Middle East.
Cut back the bureaucracy.
Repeal and replace Obamacare.
Build a wall to keep the Mexicans out.
Negotiate “better” trade deals.
So far, he is zero for six. But it is still early in his administration.
We didn’t think he would do any of these things. His focus was too indistinct, vainglorious, and fleeting. And besides, the Deep State has too firm a grip on Washington. It probably has him by the cojones, too.
Too bad. Because the foreign wars are an expensive disaster. It would have been a pleasure to see the looks on Raytheon lobbyists’ faces had “The Donald” brought them to an end.
Bringing the bureaucracy to heel was another worthy goal. A shame the president couldn’t follow through on it.
And who wouldn’t like to see taxes reduced?
If we had our druthers, we’d repeal Obamacare, too. Tinkering is not enough.
Because the real problem won’t be solved by turning a few screws and tightening a few bolts. Better to throw it on the scrap pile.
The program is badly designed. It suffers from the same flaw as all the feds’ win-lose deals: The one who benefits (or thinks he does) is not the one who pays.
Naturally, the beneficiary wants as many miracle drugs and quack cures as the medical-pharmaceutical industry can invent. At someone else’s expense, of course.
Costs rise. Administrators multiply. Consumers are insatiable. And cronies become richer and more powerful.
The evil genius of Obamacare was to move the bulk of the expense from individuals, businesses, and state governments… where they are subject to more restraint… to the feds.
There, expenses are almost impossible to control because the feds can borrow (and print) all the money they need – thanks to their fake-money system. As far as the zombies are concerned, the drugs and treatments are free.
Expenses can rise almost indefinitely… until the whole system goes broke.
Win-Win or Lose
Which brings us to our simple remedy: Eliminate the win-lose deals.
In medical care, that means abolishing Obamacare… with no replacement.
Let people spend their own money. If they want, they can work out deals with insurance companies or with care providers on whatever terms they choose.
No tax breaks. No restrictions. No mandates. No cronies. No zombies.
Liberate the insurance providers, the medical industry, and consumers, too. Abolish all federal agencies with “health,” “food,” or “drug” in their names.
The federal government has no more business meddling in the medical industry than it does meddling in Afghanistan.
Except for security (the only essential business of government is the protection of its citizens, along with their rights and their property), this approach would work for everything.
Want better schools?
Get the feds out of the classrooms.
Want a better trade deal?
Keep the feds away from the negotiating table.
Want a better economy?
Tell the feds and their central bankers to butt out.
Without the feds to boss people around, consumers and producers would be on their own. They would have to work out their own deals on a win-win basis. No force or violence involved.
Win-win works because both sides must cooperate.
The medical industry, for example, would provide the best service it could, hoping to score as much of the consumers’ money as possible.
The householder, wracked by pain and worry, would surrender his money as he pleased in return for services rendered.
Either side could walk away from the deal as it chooses. Neither may get exactly what it was hoping for. But at least it would get what it deserves.
In theory, the test is simple: If no one were forced to support you, would you still have the same income?
If this answer is no, you have been zombified.
Market Insight: “Major Loss Event” Ahead?
BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE, Bonner & partners
Are we setting up for a “major loss event”?
According to one hedge fund manager, that’s the message of today’s chart.
It’s of the ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (SVXY).
Now, that’s a mouthful. But don’t worry. It’s not that complicated.
In a nutshell, SVXY goes up as stock market volatility – aka price swings – goes down. And vice versa.
Apart from a few blips, going back to the start of 2016, SVXY has been steadily climbing higher. Meaning volatility has been falling.
But according to hedge fund manager Brian Singer, that doesn’t mean the stock market is less risky. On the contrary, it means risk is building up in the market. Singer:
We’ve created an environment – for an extended period – where we have a decreased frequency of loss events, an accumulation risk of a major event, and a bias that does not contain the wisdom of navigating any such event. So, market volatility is low. At the same time, this environment is increasing the potential for a major loss event.
What would a “major loss event” look like?
Start with a 20% stock market correction and work up from there.
— Chris Lowe
An Unexpected Player in the Health Care Boondoggle
As Bill showed above, the state of health care in the U.S. is dismal. But there’s another player contributing to the mess that few think about: dentists.
Why Slaying a Tech Giant Could Be Impossible
Creative destruction is the process of new innovations upending established, outdated businesses. But in the world of high tech, that could prove impossible. Here’s why.
How to Crisis-Proof Your Wallet
If the government froze your credit cards, would you be able to make essential purchases? Colleague Nick Giambruno shows how one credit card can help you hedge against a political crisis.
In today’s mailbag, readers consider if it’s embarrassing to be an American…
Maybe I love the U.S. too much. Maybe my memories of growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, among refugees from the oppression of WWII and the children and grandchildren of immigrants from many countries colors my perception. I think back to those days and the years after when I found my old friends were doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, small business owners of all sorts and believe this is an amazing country.
Now I live in a neighborhood that has undergone numerous changes over the years. There are many different immigrant groups who have come. They’ve prospered, moved on, and new ones came to take their place. The cost of a house here is really high and it seems like there are still immigrants coming here, having children, and working towards a better life like the previous generations.
Embarrassed to be an American? No, I’m not embarrassed to be an American.
– Ellen S.
Is it embarrassing to be an American? Yes, it is. But not for the reasons you listed. Rather, it is for the death and destruction that the U.S. has wreaked all over the world for decades and continues to wreak every day. It is the sheer blood lust of America. Think about it.
– Laszlo G.
Are you one of the 75 million American “workers” that carries the economy on his back? Or are you one of those types that has a job but adds no value, one that pours fake money into his own pocket?
– Tea A.
Meanwhile, one reader has a topic he’d like Bill to investigate…
I always enjoy your views of the world. Although I don’t agree with some of them, they certainly can be thought provoking. So I’m not going to indignantly demand the cancellation of my free subscription. But I will suggest one thing that you should look into.
You folks should research the history of the Nobel Prize in Economics. It is my understanding that it has nothing to do with other Nobel awards. Apparently, some enterprising economists decided to make an award for economics and award it under the Nobel banner. Based upon the credibility of many economists, it’s about the equivalent of winning a Nobel Prize in astrology or for proving the Earth is flat.
– Garth P.
In Case You Missed It…
Our colleague, and cryptocurrency expert, Teeka Tiwari just released his second free cryptocurrency training video. Today’s lesson: how to open your very own cryptocurrency account.
Bill has often reminded readers that buying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is more like gambling than investing.
But if you have been curious about trading these little-known assets, then you should start right here.