Monday, October 26, 2009

Those Robber Baron Insurance Companies

I found the following article that confirmed my suspicions.

FACT CHECK: Health Insurers' Profits Not So Fat

WASHINGTON -- In the health care debate, Democrats and their allies have gone after insurance companies as rapacious profiteers making "immoral" and "obscene" returns while "the bodies pile up."

But in pillorying insurers over profits, the critics are on shaky ground. Ledgers tell a different reality.

Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That's anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.

Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. This partly explains why the credit ratings of some of the largest insurers were downgraded to negative from stable heading into this year, as investors were warned of a stagnant if not shrinking market for private plans.

Insurers are an expedient target for leaders who want a government-run plan in the marketplace. Such a public option would force private insurers to trim profits and restrain premiums to compete, the argument goes. This would "keep insurance companies honest," says President Obama.

The debate is loaded with intimations that insurers are less than straight, when they are not flatly accused of malfeasance.

The insurers may not have helped their case by commissioning a report that looked primarily at the elements of health care legislation that might drive consumer costs up while ignoring elements aimed at bringing costs down. Few in the debate seem interested in a true balance sheet.

A look at some claims, and the numbers:


--"I'm very pleased that (Democratic leaders) will be talking, too, about the immoral profits being made by the insurance industry and how those profits have increased in the Bush years." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who also welcomed the attention being drawn to insurers' "obscene profits."

--"Keeping the status quo may be what the insurance industry wants. Their premiums have more than doubled in the last decade and their profits have skyrocketed." Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, member of the Democratic leadership.

--"Health insurance companies are willing to let the bodies pile up as long as their profits are safe." A ad.


Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better -- drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.

The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.

HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That's a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.

The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.

UnitedHealth Group, reporting third quarter results last week, saw fortunes improve. It managed a 5 percent profit margin on an 8 percent growth in revenue.

Van Hollen is right that premiums have more than doubled in a decade, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study that found a 131 percent increase.

But were the Bush years golden ones for health insurers?

Not judging by profit margins, profit growth or returns to shareholders. The industry's overall profits grew only 8.8 percent from 2003 to 2008, and its margins year to year, from 2005 forward, never cracked 8 percent.

The latest annual profit margins of a selection of products, services and industries: Tupperware Brands, 7.5 percent; Yahoo, 5.9 percent; Hershey, 6.1 percent; Clorox, 8.7 percent; Molson Coors Brewing, 8.1 percent; construction and farm machinery, 5 percent; Yum Brands (think KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), 8.5 percent.

I am shocked the Democrats would lie about profits.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Why Keynes Theory Didn't Work

Keynes was an economist who believed that the depression could have been reduced if not avoided if the government would step in and spend money to keep the economy stimulated while the public sector catches its breath and then re-engages the market. This would greatly reduce the fall in the market place and keep the unemployment level down and the economy moving forward.

What went wrong?

First, look at debt load. Our nation was vastly in debt and increasing spending only magnified the debt and the gloom and doom associated with excessive debt. Instead of embracing the spending, the debt and the future payments on it, out weighed the possible benefit.

Second, the government was late to the party. The economy started tanking in 2007 but nothing was done until 2008. To add insult to injury, the key issue that started the negative downturn was debt. Personal debt, corporate debt, state debt and federal debt all these debts and others weighed down our economy. The Bush administration racked up a great deal of debt and the weight and cost of terrorism made the debt more magnified.

Third, Keynes made no suggestion of public bailouts and take overs. These excesses further depressed the notion of the public sector becoming re-engaged in the market place. Companies that have been financial fortresses for decades were suddenly easy prey for an over anxious government system. Big debt was bought and controlled by bigger debt. The actions of our government are stained by the impression of communism and careful review of those who are in charge, furthers the assessment.

Well we are now here and want out. We are seeing the governments lust for power starting to show in its recent encroachment on executive salaries and compensation. When will the government encroachment end and the people restore the confidence in the market. I have been saying that it will take the public at least six months to gain any confidence after the government stops playing around. That will include any hints of meddling. I believe recovery would have happened much quicker if the government would have allowed private business to fail and adaptive. If the strong or the new innovators could have moved in and stabilized the market all would be far better.
With the government constantly changing the business market and picking winners and losers at random, the economy will continue to suffer. No confidence can be created in the marketplace by fictitious propping of the government. Confidence just like respect is earned.

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Killing The First Amendment

The first amendment suffered a major blow last night. Perhaps you remember these words:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

They were ratified and adopted into the US Constitution on the 15th of December 1791. Last night these words took a direct hit from the senate as it voted 68-29 to adopt HR1913. It was attached to a military spending bill as a way to sneak it through. This bill attacks freedom of religion, freedom of speech and goes far enough to penalize an individual for their thoughts.
I tried to warn you of the dangers of this bill back in May, when I wrote HR 1913 Needs to be Stopped. We are now about to see this go before the president for his signature. Our only hope is that it is attached to a military spending bill he said he would veto. I can't imagine him not sighing the bill he has dreamed about signing just because of a pesky military spending attachment. His word and the value demonstrated by it in the past offers no hope at all.

Soon all sexual deviance will be allowable under the law with special protections. Your children and animals are no longer safe against these sexual predictors. We can expect a challenge taken to the supreme court but how many will suffer and how many will be silenced in the mean time.

article: Congress passes 'Pedophile Protection Act'

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Choose Your Battle Wisely

That expression has been an important part of my life. Some battles need to be won in a direct and open forum while others can be waged in subtle non confrontational methods. Great care needs to be taken when deciding what method best suits the issue. In many cases, agree to disagree and move on. Future facts and information may better win the issue at hand.

The White House doesn't seem to think the subtle method is the right option for FOX News. They have gotten out the heavy hitters. Apparently meeting the needs of your general in the theatre of operation in Afghanistan isn't as high a priority as battling FOX News. Our economy is in the tank and our unemployment is at near record levels, but which battle is the White House taking on with its full force?

Ironicly, the white house is trying to use FOX's competition as a tool in the battle. They obviously are oblivious of the fact that one day they too could be in the target scope. The second and perhaps even funnier note is the combined veiwership for all the other news networks don't match the outreach of FOX. With that level of reach, FOX is even promoting the White House message and disarming it with finesse.

Looks like another poor choice for our President and his advisors. Add this one to the list. Even liberal Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas on Monday advised the Obama administration to stand down and avoid further fighting with Fox News and its correspondents. Perhaps the Pide Piper of Politics is starting to loose its grasp.

Follow Up Reading:
Thomas to White House: Stay out of Fox News fight
Media Wars: White House Crosses the Line
White House Urges Other Networks to Disregard Fox News

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Friday, October 16, 2009

NY Race To Watch

It is a tight race and one that may change the future game. The race is between Democrat Bill Owens, Republican Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. The key point in this race is where the conservatives are placing their votes. That's right, the Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.

The GOP thought that simply running someone with their tag line would cause the voters to flock to their side. It no longer is as simple as "R" or "D". The people are waking up and they are realizing that character matters. They are pointing to conservative principles. The GOP can't ignore the fact that the people are flocking to a conservative. Dede in no conservative. List a conservative point and you will likely find her on the opposing side.

We can no longer count on a party or group. We need to carefully pick our representatives. We need a moral and just group of leaders who are willing to sacrifice selfish ambitions for true America first values. I don't care who the party of affiliation is. Can they be independent thinkers with the love of America and the determination for her success? That needs to be the standard of measurement.

I think this election in NY could be the waking point of this nation. If Mr. Hoffman wins it will change the perspective of the parties. The question is whether they will turn into an angry two year old and throw a tantrum or accept the clear image of what the people want for their representative.

We could expect to see this same line up playing out across America. I hope we all get a chance to vote for a true conservative. Better yet, I hope we all get the chance to see conservatives with America first values go to Washington DC and change the nation back to what our founders dreamed of.

Update 10/22/09: Sarah Palin bucks the Republican party and throws her support to Doug Hoffman. Keep watching this race, the future of America is riding on this.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

It Isn't Over Yet

The healthcare debate rages on. Plan after plan have been discussed and morphed into crazy schemes. I know I have spent way too many hours reading and sifting through everything I can find on the subject. Let's see if we can break this down to some basics.

Less then 1/3 of doctors like the plan (I am never told which plan.)

The Unions are for the plan because it sets up well for them to unionize the whole group. (They forgot how little control this really gives them to negotiate. Remember when all the flight controllers were fired?)

Drug companies hate the plan. (It will cut research and growth in the industry by 70%. All those future cures that we have been waiting so desperately for, you can kiss good-bye.)

Anyone with a research dependent disease should be against this plan. (New Treatments and medical advancements will be deemed experimental and wont be covered.)

Creating a completely new system and the bureaucracy to run it will exceed all cost estimates. (When has a government program not cost more then originally proposed?)

45% Of Doctors Would Consider Quitting If Congress Passes Health Care Overhaul. (I have already posted the fact that there are more lawyers per capita then doctors. How will things get better with far fewer?)

Cuts in Medicare will help pay for this. (The program that is becoming the most liked is about to be axed causing many to have to change their entire health care system.)

Cutting waste, fraud and abuse from Medicare will pay a substantial portion of the cost. (If the government knew how to do this why didn't they do it up till now? If waste, fraud, and abuse was cut from all areas of government we would probably see a net drop in government spending by 20%. Read the White House Plan to get a good laugh.)


We could go on and on here. The size of the bills and the number of changes they are trying to make at one time is out of control. There is little to no considerations made for what these changes cause and effect will be and what plan if any will be put in place to contain changes that are detrimental to the programs. Very few of the changes are revenue neutral and many will come with increase costs after initial action is taken.

Let's stop fooling ourselves that these ideas have even the vaguest of chance at improving our healthcare system and focus on the known and fixable problems. Go back and read Understanding the Healthcare Debate, and think through the issues. Do we want a whole new system with entirely new problems to fix along with a government program that will be slow and burdensome on the people?

Advanced Reading:
Where in the constitution does the government have the authority to run healthcare?
The Trouble With Health Care Is Paying for It

A Government-Run “Public” Health Insurance Plan: Why Doctors, Hospitals, and Patients Will Lose

Friday, October 09, 2009

Exercise Can Be Fun

What a great idea. I just had to post it.

CO2 Produces -- What?

For years we have been told that all our excessive CO2 emissions were creating Global Warming. We have had regulation after regulation, law after law, all around the world attempting to curb the production of CO2 in order to stop global warming. But Wait.....

White House science czar John Holdren has predicted 1 billion people will die in "carbon-dioxide induced famines" in a coming new ice age by 2020.

Did you get that? CO2 isn't the cause of global warming. It causes global cooling. Ironically, the science does show that CO2 causes cooling. Scientists who have been fighting the Global Warming loons for years have been trying to point this out. All of a sudden, we are right they are wrong, on this one issue only of course, and the world is in extreme jeopardy again. Now everyone is screaming again and running the other way.

If they are wrong, why are we still listening? They run from crisis to crisis with no reality check. They have no basis to build their catastrophic scenarios on but the emotional hype draws everyone in. I predicted this in February when I wrote, Global Cooling is Back. Now here they come and once again their is big money to be had even in a make believe crisis.

Let me set the population question to rest. If we have about 7 billion people on the planet, and science has already proved that it only takes one acre of land with proper gardening to sustain a family of four, then we only need about 1.75 billion acres of farm land to feed all the people on the planet. This acre of land could be managed and maintained by the family of four. According to the CIA Fact Book, there are 3.98 billion acres of arable land in the world. This includes all land that has been used for farm/agricultural purposes for five or more years. Now if we throw in cooperate farming practices and yield increases due to mechanization we can come to a very quick conclusion that we have plenty of food. It has been estimated that the available arable land could produce enough food to feed 33 billion people. The problem is delivery.

Due to poor government management, corruption and political contrivances, millions of tons of food go to waste every year. Most of us can recall stories of food rotting on the docks of nations with death by starvation rampant. The wrong country or person gave them the food and they are either too foolish or cruel to feed their people.

The reality is that we are being duped again by hyped up extremists. We need to gather the facts, look at the validity of what is being suggested and draw real conclusions. We don't need Hollywood over embellished movies to stretch the truth.

Let's take a simple look at the weather. If you were to get out a calendar and mark down every time the weather man was right, one day, one week or two weeks in advance, I think you would come to the conclusion that they can't predict successfully out more then three days. Yet we have all these groups who are giving us doom and gloom tales of weather 10-20 years into the future. If we can't believe a 15 day forecast what makes you believe even a one year one? Tell the nuts to sit down and shut up.

Article that got me started.

Links of Interest:
Overpopulation: Is There Such A Thing?
A Profile of the World
The CIA World Fact Book - Farmed land per country

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

I Found A Need For Regulation

According to the American Bar Association, there were 1,128,729 resident and active attorneys in the United States in 2006 and 1,143,358 in 2007. In 2007 the population of the USA was 302.2 million people. That would be 264.3 people per attorney in the US. If we look at physicians we would find 370.4 people per doctor in the US. Now which would you say needed to be regulated. Seems we never have enough doctors but we have a severe over supply of attorneys.
When was the last time you saw an ad for a doctors office. You know, they just don't have enough patients so they are running ads trying to drum up business. On the other hand, I see ads for attorneys all the time.
So the question is, How many attorneys would be enough? The courts are currently back logged with cases. If attorneys weren't so accessible, perhaps fewer cases would go to court. Perhaps more deals would be worked out among the individuals involved. Perhaps, people's word would have value again.

Attorneys create no product that adds value to society. They simply take something from someone else and then give you part of it. Sometimes they inject others into the system adding to the cost of the event, but reducing the value of the out come.
Now I don't want you to think that we don't need attorneys, because they do help create a channel of communication and restitution when real harm or personal advocacy is necessary. In heated discussions a third party can often bring a resolution to the forefront.
So how many should it take to do that? Do you think one per thousand people would be enough?

To My Congress Critters and Acting President:
Let me make a suggestion here. Push those huge piles of Health Reform Bills aside and create a bill that regulates attorneys. You may be surprised at how fast this could actually fix both problems.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009


This brand spanking new Airbus 340-600, the largest passenger airplane ever built, sits just outside its hangar in Toulouse, France without a single hour of airtime.
Enter the Arab flight crew of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies ( ADAT) to conduct pre-delivery tests on the ground, such as engine run-ups prior to delivery to Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi . The ADAT crew taxied the A340-600 to the run-up area.Then they took all Four engines to takeoff power with a virtually empty aircraft. Not having Read the run-up manuals, they had no clue just how light an empty A340-600 Really is. The takeoff warning horn was blaring away in the cockpit because they had All 4 engines at full power. The aircraft computers thought they were trying to take off, configured properly (flaps/slats, etc..) Then one of the ADAT crew decided to pull the circuit breaker on the Ground Proximity Sensor to silence the alarm. The computers automatically released all the Brakes and set the aircraft rocketing forward. The ADAT crew had no idea that this is a safety feature so that pilots can't land with the brakes on.
Not one member of the seven-man Arab crew was smart enoughto throttle back the engines from their max power setting, so the$200 million brand-new Aircraft crashed into a blast barrier, totaling it!
The extent of injuries to the crew is unknown due to the
news blackout in the major media in France and elsewhere.Coverage of the story was deemed insulting to Muslim Arabs.
Finally, the photos are starting to leak out.

A French Airbus. $200 million dollars
Under trained Arab Flight Crew $300,000 Yearly SalaryUnread Operating Manual $300



Fact or Fiction we don't know. The information of what really happened and how has yet to be fully released. The above story may or may not be true.

It sure makes a great read though.


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Monday, October 05, 2009

Me, Me, ME, It's All About Me.

BO is starting to on everyones nerves. Even our closest allies are starting to worry. I just read an article that brings this into perfect clarity.

The World Wearies of the Narcissist-in-Chief
By Joy Tiz

“The beauty of being a narcissist is that even when disaster stares you in the face, you feel neither doubt nor remorse.” —Carl Vogel, A Field Guide to Narcissism

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are becoming perturbed about the president’s “I - ME” fixation - the manifest hubris of Obama. His opening line at the UN speech was “The world has great expectations of ME…” as though the force of his charisma is enough to tame maniacal despots - that his words are all we need – never mind that they are pure perfidy.

Obama is also causing angst among our allies. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is especially irked with him. On Greta van Susteren, Jack Kelly of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that at the UN general assembly, Obama’s advisors told him not to interfere with his “fantasy about global disarmament” by bringing up the incontrovertible fact that the Iranians were cheating. Kelly’s sources, close to Sarkozy, says Sarkozy thinks Obama is “incredibly naive and grossly egotistical - so egotistical that no one can dent his naiveté” which is making everyone jittery about what that means for the West. “The President of the U.S. is the leader of the free world; and if the President isn’t going to lead the free world, it isn’t going to be led.”

Former Senator Rick Santorum added, “The international community now is beginning to become aware that not only is [Obama] naive in his pursuit of a whole bunch of things including complete nuclear disarmament, but that his ego gets in the way of him learning anything about why he’s wrong on these things. That’s a very dangerous combination - to not know anything and to think you know everything.”

This is all seen by our allies as just a president who is incredibly naïve

He went on to describe “the fantasy of Obama foreign policy” in Iran: “Obama, we now know, knew about this other nuclear facility, which in all likelihood is developing a nuclear weapon, and stood on the sidelines and allowed that movement which would have taken away potentially a regime that was going to develop nuclear weapons that can reach Israel and parts of Europe… at the same time they’re doing that, he’s pulling out anti-missile defense shields… inciting further anger among our European allies. This is all seen by our allies as just a president who is incredibly naïve, that somehow his persona, his aura will convince people to do things that are not in their interest or not in their history of doing. This is scaring our allies away and at the same time making our enemies look at us as feeble and weak.”

“I think the ‘narcissist in chief’ is in over his head and is detrimental to our national security.
Former CIA official Michael Scheuer called Obama a perpetual adolescent and a dishonest man. Foreign policy expert Lawrence Eagleburger said he has no faith in Obama as a leader. Lt. Col. Jeff Addicott said Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing, that they need strategic clarity from him in Afghanistan. Another expert on FNC said he wishes Obama would make a decision about Afghanistan, saying, “I think the ‘narcissist in chief’ is in over his head and is detrimental to our national security.

A less qualified presidential candidate would have been hard to find. Yet Obama was not only a serious candidate and ultimate victor, but during his campaign, he pranced around, acting as if he already was president and the election was merely a ceremony to formalize his taking of the crown… even displaying his own seal which looked remarkably like the president’s official seal.

For the narcissist, nothing matters more than maintaining his narcissistic supply. From Obama’s perspective, being chided by a cable news commentator really is a more pressing exigency than the reality of Iran amassing nuclear weapons. Obama is already showing the truculence typical of narcissists when they sense a threat to narcissistic supply.

The current leader of the free world is not in touch with reality. The toady press gleefully accepts his fabrications and denials. And mental health professionals have shown a remarkable lack of curiosity about the mental health of the president of the United States.

This came out of Canada. Few in America are willing to criticize the president. The world has a clear perspective on our leader and nearly half of America seem to be under his spell. No wonder why so many Democrats think the American people are dumb.

Thanks Heavy Handed for Pointing this out to me.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Play to Win - Talking About Iran

Perhaps not understanding what is really going on is part of the "problem". This isn't some low impact casual event that we can walk away and disagree, knowing that everything will be okay tomorrow. This is a world altering seismic proportion event that could change the lives of millions. It is a life or death action that needs to be dealt with before it goes that far.

Some serious action needs to come to bare on this issue and a "victory" is indeed in order. It would be nice if they would stop their actions and return to peaceful activity but the words that come out of Iran say that isn't a possibility. The actions both in and out of their country say this isn't a possibility. Perhaps having to sit through repeated conversations and lectures from BO may indeed help.

"Please, if you just stop talking to us we will stop making nuclear bombs. We can't take another speech from you. We'll give up anything."

I know that sounds pretty realistic given the number of speeches we have had to endure here in America, but I don't think it is going to turn out that way.

We need real results. And yes, we need a Victory.

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Humor and History

For those that don't know about history . Here is a condensed version:

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

1. Liberals, and
2. Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can was invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlie-men. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth.... the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food is standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Bud. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police offi cers, corporate executives, athletes, members of the military, airline pilots and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America . They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history:

I had to share this. It was to funny not to put here.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Notice: Language Change Coming

If you can't get your ideas past the public, change their name. That's right find a name with no baggage and start building it up. Give it a feeling of improvement and significance. Use words that already have a positive perception. If people have a positive reaction you can move ideas and legislation forward.

How do you feel about "pollution reduction and investment"? Pretty flowery and very positive is the first reaction you may get. I mean who wouldn't want to reduce pollution? And, who wouldn't see the value in investing at a time like this to help move our economy forward? Sounds nice doesn't it?

This is the new name that will be replacing cap and trade. Cap and trade has taken such a beating that it currently needs a new name. They don't think it needs to be tossed or is not what Americans want. They instead think it needs a name lift. The bill and the ideas in it are still horrible but the new name sounds great doesn't it, Pollution Reduction and Investment.

Article of interest.

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