Editor's Note: Looking at the trend of 2012 campaign donations, listening to the 2012 campaign rhetoric, and reviewing the Obama administration's favoritism to giant corporations, CCU History Prof. Bill Watson asked us to publish again the following post by him that originally appeared on this same blog in January 2010. Word for word, unchanged from what he wrote then, it is still on target as another crucial election day approaches. Please read and heed:
By Bill Watson: We so often hear that the Republicans are the party of the rich, the party of the pampered elite, the party of big business. Why do we unquestioningly accept this falsehood, instead of asking why big business is so cozy with the Democrats?
GE, Microsoft, Comcast and Time-Warner gave overwhelmingly to the Democrats. The big Wall Street banks: Goldman Sachs, J.P Morgan Chase, Citigroup, also gave much more to Democrats [opensecrets.org], as did the big insurance companies (MetLife and AIG). [Congressional Quarterly’s Money Line] Of course all the big unions and George Soros front groups gave huge amounts to the Democrats. Even the University of California gave $3 ½ million to the Democrats, money that should have been used to make up for their budget shortfall, due to the financial problems of the state of California. According to opensecrets.org, the only one of the top 38 donors to political parties who favored Republicans was the National Auto Dealers Assn. Perhaps they saw what would happen to them, if the Democrats had control of our government.
Why do the wealthiest regions in the country vote for the Democrats? The prosperous east and west coasts are the strength of the Democratic Party, the poorer “flyover” regions vote overwhelmingly Republican. If there are states in the middle occasionally voting Democrat, it is those states which are playgrounds for the rich: Colorado with Boulder and Aspen, and New Mexico with Taos and Santa Fe. The wealthiest neighborhoods, Beverly Hills and the Hamptons, go overwhelmingly for the Democrats. The three wealthiest states in per capita income (Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut) vote regularly for Democrats, while it is usually the poorer states (like Mississippi, Alabama and Oklahoma) that vote Republican.
So where does the Republican Party get their financial support? It comes from millions of regular people like you and me. Not the rich elite, but we who work hard for our incomes and still believe in an honest day’s work.
It is time for us to speak the truth. It is the Democrat Party which is the party of the rich, the party of the elite, and the party of big business. The Republicans represent regular Americans, the middle class, those who still believe in American values of hard work, family, faith and freedom. We are the ones who pay the taxes, so that the government can give away our hard-earned money as special perks to unions, big businesses, and special interests who line up at the trough of government largess.
('76 Contributor) Now that the DNC pomp and circumstance down in Charlotte is over, it's time to look below the veneer of the crafty speech-writing and words so eloquently spoken by President Obama and former President Bill Clinton. Linked below is an article about President Obama from Newsweek, which is the antithesis of the bastion of conservatism. The true meaning of "transforming America" and his heavy socialist leanings are starting to trickle through the "protective wall" built around him by our liberal media.
I also would ask you to read the recent editorial from the Wall Street Journal, which is obviously all-in for business, the engine of this country.
And here's one more strongly conservative view from Matt Patterson from The American Thinker on August 18, 2011. This was a year ago, but as true as ever today: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/obama_the_affirmative_action_president.html
Additionally, I strongly encourage you to go see the movie 2016: Obama's America. After you see it, it will clearly reinforce those words "fundamentally transform America." It is anything but a hatchet-job. More often than not, the movie uses Obama's words, any times in his own voice. It is a chilling account of his history and will give significantly more meaning to his policies and actions. Anyone who is a patriot and concerned about the future of our country should consider this an absolute must-see for themselves, their children, and their children and grandchildren. For many, hopefully, it will clearly illustrate that Barack Obama's Democratic Party is not the party they thought they belonged to.
At Koelbel and Company, we have professionally experienced how the consequences of government policies over the past 25 years trying to convert home-ownership from a privilege to a right through the Community Reinvestment Act and promoting sub-prime loans was at the foundation of the financial crisis. Its not their continued rhetoric of Bush policies that caused the collapse. Very simply, there is not enough wealth or income, even in the top 10%, to solve the debt and deficit problem. It is entirely disingenuous to say that they are trying to protect the middle-class. The large middle-class is the only place where it will all ultimately fall, in combination with our children and grandchildren. Our parents and grandparents did not do to us what our generation is about to do to our own kids and grandkids. The baby-boomers should certainly not leave this as a legacy.
Buz Koelbel is a leading Denver businessman in the field of land development and commercial real estate, one of the founders of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, and a member of the Centennial Institute Business Council
('76 Contributor) Well, well. Steve Rattner is now a spokesperson for the Obama re-election campaign and has specifically been speaking about financial matters. Rattner has appeared on both CNN and Fox. In a July 22 interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Rattner questioned Mitt Romney’s tax returns.
But as Rattner proclaims his expertise as “an equity guy” to Zakaria and condemns Romney for allegedly sleazy financial dealings, it’s an awkward fact that he is fresh off a pair of ugly settlements with the SEC and the New York AG’s office.
Here’s the background: In 2009, President Obama created his own Auto Task Force complete with a Car Czar to head up the auto bailout. The auto task force was full of Wall Street firepower and was led by Steve Rattner and Ron Bloom. Bloom was the head of collective bargaining for the United Steelworkers Union, and Rattner, former equity firm founder, had deep political ties. His wife, Maureen White, was the finance chair for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run, then went to work for Hillary at the US State Department. (See documentation in Tamara Darvish and Lillie Guyer’s book Outraged: How Detroit And The Wall Street Car Czars Killed The American Dream. )
Nobody on this task force had any automobile industry experience. Rattner in particular is person anyone could have expected to be in charge of a managed bankruptcy when his own personal financial situation has come under such intense adverse scrutiny.
As the New York Times reported in a story by Ruth Fremson on 8/23/10, “The Quadrangle Group, the investment firm founded by Rattner, agreed in April of 2010 to pay $12 million to settle allegations that it paid kickbacks to win lucrative business from the New York State pension fund. The firm then issued an unusual public rebuke to its founder saying, ‘We wholly disavow the conduct engaged in by Steve Rattner.’” The story went on to state that Rattner struck a deal with New York’s then-Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, to pay $10 million to settle civil charges that he engaged in a kickback scheme involving the New York State pension fund.
Meanwhile as to Steve Rattner’s troubles with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Times reported in story by Peter Lattman on 12/20/10: “Quadrangle has acknowledged paying more than $1 million in fees to a political consultant, Henry Morris, in exchange for his help in landing a state investment contract.” Rattner and the S.E.C. reached a separate settlement in October of 2010 where Rattner agreed to pay $6.2million and accept a two-year ban from work in certain Wall Street businesses.
Although Rattner’s political ties run deep, I think we could all agree that he has no qualifications to pass judgment on anyone else’s financial ethics.
Yale King is a former GM Jeep Dealer in northern Colorado.
(Centennial Fellow) What’s more frustrating about President Obama – his ignorance of how difficult it is to make a profit in business or his arrogance that there’s so little he doesn’t know?Here’s a man with less business experience than a third-grader with a lemonade stand and who has said that during his one, brief private-sector job he felt “like a spy behind enemy lines.”You need not connect many dots to conclude that his attitude toward America’s businessmen and women is “dismissive, even derisive,” to quote from Obama’s 2009 Apologizing for America Tour.Obama treats America’s job creators like inconsequential punching bags. His recent comment that government is more responsible for a business’ success than hard work, ingenuity or intelligence smacks of someone who – unlike, say, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs – achieved his success not because he’s especially talented or works harder than anyone else but because he’s a smooth talker and knows the right people.“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” Obama said of the business world. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”When was the last time “somebody else” built your business, did your job for you or “made that happen” for your benefit? Unless that somebody else was a business partner, family member or employer, the answer is almost certainly, “Never!”What the President fails to appreciate is that government provided the very same roads, bridges, education and public safety for people whose business endeavors failed – perhaps because they weren’t as smart or innovative or hard-working as their competition.In America, individuals matter; they routinely are the difference between success and failure or between excellence and mediocrity. Obama either doesn’t know this or doesn’t much like it.There’s no “I” in government. Government programs treat everyone as a member of a group and transform individuals into faceless statistics for convenient managing by bureaucrats.For Obama, the measure of success isn’t a growing economy but a growing government. How else to explain Obama telling reporters last month that “the private sector is doing fine … [b]ut where we are seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government”?And why might that be, Mr. President? Perhaps because government relies on tax revenues because, unlike the private sector, government doesn’t produce anything that anyone purchases willingly.When he later attempted to “clarify” his remarks, he said only that “the economy is not doing fine.” He never retracted his assessment of the private sector’s health.This isn’t an aberration; it’s Obamanomics 101.In 2009 as he pushed for nearly $1 trillion in borrowed, spent and wasted “stimulus,” Obama said, “Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy.”Not only is government incapable of breaking the business cycle; government policy is often to blame for creating market distortions that produce even bigger bubbles and busts.Obama backed cap-and-trade energy regulations that, he had previously admitted, would make energy prices “skyrocket.” Somehow America’s employers and manufacturers were expected to simply absorb these skyrocketing costs without cutting jobs or hiking prices. In Obamanomics, profit — like success — just happens.The President still defends ObamaCare as a cost-savings measure despite evidence that it will increase costs and limit choices for employers, for families and for government budgets. That’s yet another reason why employers are reluctant to bring on new hires when they can’t reasonably anticipate how much ObamaCare will add to the cost of each employee.Undeterred by nearly four years of failure, Obama continues these extravagant pronouncements as if simply passing through his lips will create an alternate universe where his wildest economic fantasies actually do come true.It’s hard to imagine why anyone who’s run a business – or worked for one – will give him another four years to try.Mark Hillman served as Colorado senate majority leader and state treasurer. He is now a Centennial Institute Fellow. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.
(CCU Faculty) We often hear from President Obama that “the rich should give back.” But what have they taken? Nothing!What have they given?
** Jobs: if you have a job, thank an entrepreneur.
** Goods and services: things we all need to survive are provided by these entrepreneurs.
** More than their fair share of taxes: the richest 20% of Americans pay over 86% of the taxes, while the poorest half of Americans pay no income taxes at all.(Heritage Foundation)
** Charitable Giving: the richgive the lion’s share to charity, while Liberals have a poor record of giving to charity, believing it is the government’s job.(NicholasKristof, N.Y. Times)
Take Steven Jobs, for example. What has he taken from the rest of us? Nothing. What has he given? Tens of thousands of jobs, an expanded tax-base, the latest high-tech innovations making all of us more efficient and driving down prices.
Yet President Obama said recently that Steven Jobs has not adequately“given back”.What has Steven Jobs taken that he should “give back”? The jobs Steven Jobs provided are not the unproductive ones Obama claims he will provide in his many speeches. In fact,these “jobs” have not even been produced, as unemployment continues to rise.
Who are those who have taken?
** Government takes from the paychecks of the productive to fund theirunproductive schemes.
** Politicians take from tax payers to fund their pork projects, which buy them votes for reelection.
** The indolent take “entitlements” from the government. What “entitles” them to take from the rest of us who produce? “Entitlement” means getting what you deserve. What did they do to deserve the money others earned? Call it government enforced charity, not “entitlement”.
On Thursday night President Obama will tell us his plans to provide more jobs. Can he really create jobs? When the government hires someone, where does the money to pay these new government employees come from? From taxing the rest of us, from government borrowing more and driving us deeper in debt, or from printing up more paper money causing inflation down the road.
Each job saved or created by the Obama administration has cost us $533,000. (Dan Farber, CBS News) Jobs created by the private sector cost us nothing. In fact, for each unproductive job the government creates, two productive jobs in the private sector are destroyed. (Rick Santorum)
The best jobs program would be for the government to get out of the way of those who really produce jobs, by no longer punishing the productive to reward the unproductive, by lessening the regulatory burden on the productive, by providing the economic stability so that the real job-creators can anticipate future costs, plan the expansion of their companies, and hire more people.
If a government continually tries to soak the rich, they lose the very people who made their country productive. Millions in recent centuries came to America for opportunity. If our government now limits this opportunity, people will leave in droves. Millions fled the Socialist experiments of the 20th century to seek freedom and opportunity in the West. Why abandon what has proven successful, only to copy the failed policies of failed regimes which we thought were on the ash heap of history?
(Centennial Fellow) Here's what I want readers to do. Put your hands together with fingers interlaced and pointing downwards next to your palms and bring the heels of the palms together. Then stick your two index fingers and thumbs up until the next to last paragraph while I talk to you about corporations, Republican Mitt Romney and a widespread misconception. It's that corporations are reptiles. Recently, when presidential candidate Romney was confronted by Democratic demonstrators, he said taxing corporations is taxing people, that corporations are people. Though he happens to have made millions as a corporate whiz, many responded with derision, including a TV reporter who committed a gaffe by calling it a gaffe. Please. Someone or something has to own those corporations, run them and work in them. The only creatures we know of with enough brainpower are people, unless there is such a thing as corporate-caused Darwinian devolution, leaving these souls with rough, green skin, long tails, sharp teeth and barely more alertness than TV reporters. I don't think so. I do think I can identify two sources of the confusion. One is the legal fiction that a corporation is a person with an accountability of its own. While this device accomplishes vital purposes -- for instance, by making purchases of corporate shares more likely through non-liability for debts -- it's a fraction of the reality, like defining a marriage as only legal advantages instead of the uniting of two people. The bigger picture is that when corporations go broke and close down, lots of everyday Americans (aka, people) find themselves unemployed. Shareholders (aka, people) also lose. When the firms do well in a non-scary economy, they will often expand and hire more workers (aka, people) while stock values go up, giving succor among others to retired baby boomers (aka, people) relying on invested savings. People are absolutely affected by corporation taxes (including those known as consumers). It's also the case that people continue to be full-fledged citizens in an association. Many corporations are small, non-profit and sometimes organized as a means of people having their rightful say in public affairs. Even people in corporations out to make a buck -- thank God for them -- are similarly entitled to free speech and other liberties sometimes undermined by judges and politicians. That thought brings us to the next reason for saying corporations are not people -- the political objective of dehumanizing them, of making it seem that while government is by, of and for the people, corporations are sly, alien and against the people, commonly led by CEOs with marginal homo sapiens ratings. Let's concede some CEOs behave atrociously while adding that you can also find villains among legislators, TV reporters, columnists, you name it. I'll agree, too, that campaign donations can cause corrupt politicians to bow deeply. But you really don't understand American politics if you don't get it that pleasing voters is a more significant determinant of action, that the government delivers considerable pain to corporations and that the main reason for cronyism is intrusiveness. Control too much as an institution vastly more powerful than all corporations put together, and those who are controlled try to influence you back. Corporations are primarily friends, providing us with such desirables as food, clothing, shelter, the highest productivity of any nation in the world and wages (aka, money). Government coercively takes much of that money to spend wastefully. Fiscal recklessness now has us in one of the most threatening predicaments of recent times. Now, let's come back to those two hands of yours, saying first off that some may think of churches as just buildings. Not so. Recall the childhood rhyme, saying, "Here's the church, here's the steeple," and then turn your hands upside down with the fingers sticking in the air and conclude, "open the doors and see all the people." People -- good people, people you know, maybe you yourself, definitely the errant TV reporter -- also constitute corporations.
('76 Contributor) Authors Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner have done the country great service with their book, Reckless Endangerment, recently noted at # 1 on the New York Times hardcover business reading list. If you anguish and puzzle as I do about our country’s future, here’s what you need to know about the mortgage meltdown and the unpunished scoundrels behind it.
In 1992 unremarkable bureaucrats led by Alicia Munnell, authored a lending report under the aegis of the Boston Federal Reserve. It was humdrum reading, except a predisposed reader could have concluded that lending discrimination was rampant in the home mortgage sector. And many did. The grievance industry oxygenated the convenient conclusion into a new affordable lending battle cry and Munnell’s document became the fuse that ignited the home mortgage meltdown. Never mind that more objective thinkers would conclude that banks don’t lavish loans on applicants with erratic and low incomes, negligible cash reserves and poor credit histories.
Voices of reason were quickly drowned out as the press and fairness denizens insisted that social justice be done. Thus was born a new constitutional right: home ownership for all. And the opportunists were legion, just waiting in the wings. Enter Jim Johnson with Fannie Mae and her brother, Freddie Mac.
Some of the misdeeds unearthed by the authors about the high flyers in these “public-private partnerships” and their chum-in-the-water enablers would have landed most of us in jail. The lineup is entertaining not just for the sheer brazenness of their underhandedness, but also for the high profiles these same actors still have today. Should you have opinions about Barney Frank, Angelo Mozillo, Allen Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, Robert Rubin, Jim Johnson, Franklin Raines, Peter Orszag and others, shelve them until you finish the book. “A Team” players all in the credit meltdown, you’ll be shocked to learn the most crooked among them never served a day in jail. The Peter Principle of screw-up and move up seems to work exceptionally well in positions of public trust.
Let’s not overlook Wall Street. For those of you who believe in fat cats, the evidence behind your gut instinct is here too. What fair and not so fair-minded people mucked up and was steamrolled over government regulators and greased by well-moneyed lobbyists, was finally metastasized by the Gordon Geckos of New York City. On this subject Morgenson and Rosner deliver great clarity. They detail how investment banking wonders piled trashy loans into gift boxes, called CDO’s (collateralized debt obligations), and laughed their way to million dollar bonuses while leaving taxpayers on the hook.
Should you genuinely wonder how we have reached our current national economic malaise, you owe it to yourself to read this thoroughly researched and documented autopsy. History may yet judge this calamity the American Waterloo.
('76 Contributor) The burden of sales and use tax compliance, reporting and audits for small business is one of many reasons that a rational person should think twice, thrice and beyond before launching a new enterprise.
My 10-person technical service shop in metro Denver recently received a long-awaited sales and use tax audit report. Tax due was less than a hundred dollars. No business can run completely error free. Confirmation that we were 99.999875% compliant over the five-year period was cause of celebration. My controller received praise and a raise.
Taxpayers beware of the real cost of a sales tax audit. Here is the estimated tab from ours:
· State auditor on site 8 business days ($3,500 borne by the state)
· Estimated report compilation time ($2,500 borne by the state)
· Accounting hours preparation ($2,250 cost to the company)
· Answering questions, research during audit ($1,600 cost to the company)
· Owner time to clean rest room after every “visit” by the auditor ($150 cost to company)
(The hygiene habits of our government guest will not be disclosed in this family friendly forum.)
Ten thousand dollars - when you add it all up, that was the estimated total cost to our Colorado economy! It's true that not all companies comply with sales/use tax complexities as well as we have. The threat of an audit encourages businesses to follow the rules.
But only a state would deem it cost-effective to fully prosecute an eight-day audit of a company that on the first day could be identified as highly compliant. The return on investment of this audit was a minus 98% from the perspective of the state.
Is it any wonder why employment growth is anemic and the state budgets are in the red?
It is increasingly rare to find a report in the media that shows America’s largest employer, Wal-Mart, or any large corporation for that matter, in a positive or even neutral light. A loud minority have waged a cultural and public war against Wal-Mart, referring to and viewing it as an evil corporation, a burden on the economy, and even an oppressor of the lower class. But these viewpoints are erroneous and have been disproved by multiple studies showing that Wal-Mart’s existence is favorable to our country as a whole, while also providing benefits to millions of individuals, especially to those within the lower class.
Despite what is shown in the mainstream media, Wal-Mart has gained the approval of the majority of Americans by being a consistently affordable supplier, employing well over one million Americans -- thereby increasing their purchasing power and (through its prosperity) improving the United States and its economy as a whole.
Peering through the lens offered by the left, one would observe the selective exposés paired with ‘evil’ smiley stickers, and easily fall under the assumption that all level-headed Americans must despise Wal-Mart. However, the not so convenient truth that liberals ignore is that the majority of Americans approve of this supposedly cancerous corporation. A Rasmussen poll in 2006 found that 69% of the adult American public have favorable views of Wal-Mart; this indicates that the vast majority of Americans enjoy the benefits of the low prices and convenience that Wal-Mart provides.
A widely accepted criticism of Wal-Mart is the alleged mistreatment of the corporation’s employees, yet when the Rasmussen survey sample is narrowed to include only employees and family members of Wal-Mart employees, the favorable ratings increase to nearly 80%. Wal-Mart’s employees are satisfied with their jobs at a rate far above the national average- 47% of working Americans have favorable views of their employers as reported by Jenna Bryner of LiveScience.com. Clearly Wal-Mart is well loved, despite poor PR, because of its continued offering of excellent shopping and employment experiences.
The oft publicized notion that Wal-Mart is damaging low income workers, families and communities across America is equally ludicrous. Wal-Mart is the world’s single largest private employer, giving jobs to nearly two million people. This alone challenges any notion that Wal-Mart might harm mid to low income people, as they provide these people with the wages used to feed their families and pursue their dreams.
Speaking of mouths to feed: It is estimated that the lowest quintile of American households spend 26% of their income on groceries. Wal-Mart’s food division posts an average of a 25% discount compared to other large supermarket chains; this percentage saved “is equivalent to a 6.5% boost in household income” through savings, says Slate. The aforementioned Rasmussen report also reveals that “lower and middle income Americans are more likely to have a favorable view of Wal-Mart than upper income Americans”, which suggests again that Wal-Mart does indeed benefit the lower and middle class.
Too often in today’s culture, ‘wealth envy’ hardens society’s views of the successful. However, even giving consideration to of this growing sociological trend it seems odd that a company as universally beneficial as Wal-Mart might be hated. Because Wal-Mart has been able to succeed, they are now in the position to give generously to various charities and community development programs. Wal-Mart has given over two hundred and seventy million dollars within the US, making it the “country’s largest donor of cash,” says an AP dispatch.
Wal-Mart can also be credited with much of the economic dominance that all of America has enjoyed over the past fifteen years, as Wal-Mart and corporations of its breed account for a large portion of our international financial activity. Harvard economics professor Kenneth Rogoff claims that “together with a few sister ‘big box’ stores (Target, Best Buy, and Home Depot), Wal-Mart accounts for roughly fifty percent of America’s much vaunted productivity growth edge over Europe during the last decade.” It is difficult to imagine the privileges and luxuries we as American’s would be forced to relinquish if Wal-Mart and its parallels were to be disbanded.
Thanks to innovation and resourceful development, Wal-Mart has been able to grow into a thriving corporation that serves as a haven for many Americans who rely on the company for its affordability, valued employment, and its advantageous affects on America as a whole especially the lower and middle classes. With growing volatility in the economy we should be thankful for corporations like Wal-Mart, which afford us so much for so little. Their originality has granted America several luxuries we have grown accustomed to, while demanding no sacrifice in return.
If Wal-Mart were to part from its current ways of operation, the nationwide effects on Americans would be difficult to stomach. For the lower twenty percent the fall of Wal-Mart would effectively mean a 6.5% pay cut, while the adverse effects would ripple throughout the rest of America in varying ways. It is easy to demonize a company with such incredible wealth and accomplishment; however, it is important to not be consumed by resentment or envy towards the triumph of others. We must, instead, view the accomplishments of our fellow Americans in a positive way, using their success as inspiration for our own pursuits.
('76 Contributor) It seems to me that in spite of the near-paralysis of government at all levels on meaningful reforms for health care, our runaway costs need someone’s attention. Fewer and fewer small businesses can now afford anything but an insurance package that has a huge deductible. So as a totally inexperienced drafter of such proposals, but with my share of business experience in the real world, I am so bold as to offer the following simple start: 1) Tort Reform (obviously a difficult area to get passed due to connection of Dems with Trial Lawyers)
a) Lost case the loser pays the opposition attorney's fees
b) the settlement for "pain and suffering" be capped at $250,000 (I believe that is the present cap in Colorado)
c) maximum for plaintiff attorney to participate in award for "pain and suffering" make it 5%. (be willing to settle for 10%)
d) 3 successful suits where malpractice has been adjudicated makes the Doctor uninsurable from any state authorized insurance company.
e) More than 5 unsuccessful suits within one year (from initial filing) bars the lawyer personally from any participation in this type of litigation for 3 years anywhere USA (purpose is to put that lawyer permanently to pasture).
f) Excess reserves accumulated by a “malpractice” insurance company (est. 2X annual Claims) shall be rebated to Doctors as a refund.
g) Standardize accounting for insurance companies so Administrative costs can be tracked and limited to 30% (Make total revenues less 30% to equal the definition of reserves for claims. If the balance accumulates to 2 X annual payout rebate back to Doctor) 2) Unrestricted marketing across state boundaries.
3) Mandatory posting of prices by the doctors for ALL specific procedures - to enable consumer to shop prices and judge if premium is worth going to a "high" reputation Doctor. That does not imply that any price controls would be enacted.
4) One ought to be able to buy a “Cadillac Medical Insurance policy for an “appropriate” price without government penalty to cover the higher priced procedures. Let the market work it out.
5) Standardize “Basic” mandatory electronic medical records - Doctors and health institutions may maintain more detailed records, but those need to be electronic by 2012 and compatible so that if requested by a third party (proper permission) they can be delivered electronically without delay.
6) Medical savings accounts for all and ability to purchase health insurance with PRETAX dollars. This is probably just a start, but keep the "bill" to less than 10 pages and if it requires more, prioritize the items and only pass some with the understanding that there will be another opportunity. Focus should be on cost reduction without destroying the healthcare system.