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Showing posts from 2008

The Christmas Spirit

You know, it's funny how a small change can sometimes have a huge impact. For example, the giving of gifts on Christmas was originally intended to mimic the wise men who gave gifts to Christ. Now modern society seems to have turned it from giving gifts to getting gifts and created a multi-billion dollar industry around the Christmas season. There is so much pressure to give bigger and better things, to make sure people get better gifts than last year, or to out-do somebody else.

I think too many people ask "what did you get for Christmas?" and not enough care if we actually get closer to Christ on His birthday celebration. It's so close. We try to have the spirit of giving at Christmas and we try to live up to expectations. However, I think that many expectations of the Christmas season are not about Christ at all. Perhaps that is where we got lost.

This Christmas season, in celebration of Christ's birthday, are we giving Him anything? The things He asks fo…

GM Gets Their Bailout

When the bailout bill failed in the Senate, the cynic in me said that it was sabotaged. That's right, deliberately killed. Why? So that the White House would be forced to use the financial bailout money, which would be given with far fewer strings attached. Well, it looks like that's what happened.

I sincerely hope that the cynic in me was wrong and this wasn't deliberately staged, but I still have to wonder. Where are the union concessions? "Laid off" union workers, as far as I know, are getting 95% of their wages for doing no work. That should be stopped immediately. What about the car czar? Will anybody hold them accountable for their actions and/or keep them on the right track. They have until March to prove that they're "viable", and if they can't - will the government let them fail then? I doubt it. From where I'm standing, this bailout has no real teeth. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

It seems to me that the Big 3 sw…

Finding The Balance Between Today And Tomorrow

Do you know anybody who seems to be wasting their whole life waiting for tomorrow? How about somebody so absorbed with today's problems that they're decisions don't anticipate future consequences? Both paths tend to make a person less successful/happy than they could be.

So what's the appropriate balance? OK, that's rhetorical. There probably isn't a general, perfect balance. However, some amount of balance is essential. The nearsighted person is the one who doesn't see the train coming. The farsighted person keeps falling into holes. How do we fix our vision?

The trick is to see both the present and the future (oh, and learn from the past but that's another topic). Have you even seen "The Dead Poet's Society"? That was the first time I heard the term "carpe diem" or "seize the day". We should strive to live today to the fullest, however, we also need to make sure that we can live tomorrow to the fullest as wel…

Could Universities Help Government Be More Effective?

I had a really interesting idea the other day. I'm currently a graduate student in information management at ASU. As part of the curriculum we are required to complete a project that has the students working with a company to "transform a business through information technology." This is a great idea and the project (I'm about half done) has really helped me understand business and technology better. I'm sure other business schools and other universities do similar projects. Well, here's my idea: instead of focusing on private companies, why don't we have some of them focus on government agencies.

Government has become synonymous with waste and inefficiency. Most people extend that into the belief that government employees are lazy and incompetent. However, as I've worked with some of Arizona's government agencies, I've found the opposite to be true. Many of the people I've worked with are dedicated, hardworking people who are try t…

The Irony of the Automaker's Situation

OK, maybe it's just inconsistency but have you noticed the differences between the bank bailouts and the automaker bailout? To me, it seems like our Treasury is writing blank checks to any bank that's big enough to warrant the label "can't be allowed to fail." On the other hand, the automakers are being grilled mercilessly by Congress, forced to prove they're viable long term, and being offered few assurances that they'll get anything.

Some may say that it's not fair to the automakers. I say it's not fair to the taxpayers. All of these financial institutions out there should not be getting blank checks. They should be grilled mercilessly and be forced to prove their viability. Why the double standard?

So here's the irony: the automakers, who actually produce something (cars and trucks), are being asked to justify their existence while financial companies, who don't actually produce anything (they just move money around), are deemed to…

The Irony of Napolitano as Head of DHS

I can't be the only one who sees the irony here. Our governor, Janet Napolitano, looks to be the next head of the Department of Homeland Security. That's right, our governor. The one who has spent the last six years blaming every single immigration problem on the federal government. Now it's going from an issue she's been dodging to her responsibility.

I'm not sure if this is funny or sad.

Do We Bail Out Automakers?

Right now the Big 3 automakers are begging Congress for billions in bailout money. In the Wall Street Journal, Rick Wagoner - President of GM - makes an impassioned plea for the money he says will be a short term bridge to help GM get over this rough patch. He points to some amazing things that GM has done and he's right, GM has done some amazing things. However, the are still bleeding cash like there are no arteries left to cut. In 2006 their net loss was almost $2 billion. Not content with that, their net loss in 2007 was almost $39 billion. Assuming a US population of 300 million (I think that's pretty close), it would take about $103 from every man, woman, and child in the country. Do you like GM that much?

On the other side of the coin, there's the case to let the automakers fail. Mitt Romney, who made his millions turning around failing companies, has written an opinion in the New York Times on why we should let the automakers fail. He points out that it cost…

Our New President

Well, I'm not exactly surprised that Barak Obama won. He had the momentum and a message that really resonated with the American people. I'm actually surprised that McCain did as well as he did (46% of the popular vote when I last checked). This election marks a huge shift in the political direction of the country.

Now I am not an Obama fan. I did not vote for him and, while I expected that he would win, I was hoping for an upset. That said, I think we could have done a lot worse. Yes, I believe that he is a socialist - not in any evil way, just that he believes in expanded government control and more social programs - but I also believe (call me an optimist) that he will honestly try to serve this country to the best of his ability.

I was really impressed with his victory speech. He was very upfront about the work that we have ahead of us. He didn't act like he would be able to solve all of our problems (which may be disappointing to some of his supporters) but calle…

An Allegory About Our Tax System

I stumbled across this neat allegory that compares (in an oversimplified form, of course) the US income tax system to 10 guys drinking in a bar. While some call it right-wing propaganda, I think it is a fairly good representation of our income taxes.

Here it is:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.
"Since you are all such good customers", he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20". Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still …

What Do We Expect To Get From This Election?

Change has been the big theme of this election. Both candidates are promising fundamental changes from the current administration. People are worried and frustrated and the prospect of change seems to be giving them some hope. However, I have to ask, what changes are we hoping for?

It seems to me that we got ourselves into this mess by spending more than we earn and creating a lifestyle that we can't afford. Wisdom says you can't borrow money forever and not expect your debt to come due, but that seems to be what the entire country is doing. Where did this credit crisis come from?

Selfishness and Greed.

Millions of people bought homes they couldn't afford. Now, when they can't pay for them, they blame "predatory lenders" and "greedy bankers". Sure, some were simply victims of circumstance. They lost jobs or had other things happen that rendered them unable to make payments that they could previously afford. That always happens but those ar…

AZ Proposition 102 - Does it discriminate?

For those that have read my earlier post on marriage, it should be obvious that I support proposition 102. What's great is that I can support it unequivically. Why? Because it doesn't have anything else tacked on. It doesn't restrict benifits, it doesn't outlaw civil unions, it doesn't have any of the riders that killed the last attempt. It simply defines marriage to be what society has defined it as for thousands of years.

There may be concerns with some that defining marriage in the State Constitution is somehow an attack on alternative lifestyles. I can't speak for everyone, but for me, proposition 102 is a defensive move. Marriage has been relentlessly attacked for years. It has become progressively weaker as the laws have changed. Marriage now requires less commitment and less responsibility. It has become a more of a selfish than a selfless thing. However, deep down, people recognize marriage and families as the building blocks of society and ye…

AZ Proposition 105 - Does it take away our vote?

Proposition 105 is very controversial.  On the face, it looks to take away the power of the voter initiative by forcing 50% + 1 to pass any initiative that has spending provisions.  We all know that just getting 50% voter turnout is pretty good (some elections have less than 11%) so isn't requiring 50% + 1 the same as taking away the voters' right to approve an initiative?I've gone over it quite a few times in my head.  At first it was obviously bad.  After all, it virtually insures that no voter initiatives pass.  However, as I found out more about it, I found that it only applies to initiatives that raise taxes (like a cigarette tax, property tax, etc.).  OK, so it's not as bad as I thought but still very limiting for any initiative that costs money.  So I talked to my legislators about it.  The result was very interesting.As everybody knows, we're in a bit of a bind on the budget.  However, billions of dollars of that budget can't be touched because it's…

AZ Proposition 202 - Stop Illegal Hiring?

The "Stop Illegal Hiring" proposition (202) sounds great at first.  After all, it makes the penalties more severe for hiring illegals, it gives the money collected in fines to hospitals, and increases the penalties for identity theft.  Doesn't this sound like a great proposition that everybody should vote for?  It sure does and that's the problem.As I understand it, proposition 202 actually makes the employer sanctions law virtually unenforcable.  It makes is harder to prove that a business knowingly hired an illegal which makes it easier for a business to get away with it.  The information I heard from my state representatives and senator is that the law is basically sponsored by low-wage employers that have been profiting from illegal labor and it's purpose is to sound like it's strengthening employer sanctions while in reality, it's hobbling our current law.I encourage everybody to read this one very carefully before voting on it.More information can b…

Some Perspective on the Credit Crisis

I saw a blog today that really got me thinking about the credit crisis and how we're all caught up in worrying about our bank accounts, mortgages, etc.  Sure that stuff is worrisome but, most of us have a roof over our heads, food for our families, leisure time to relax, cars for transportation, AC and heating to keep us comfortable.  How many thousands of families don't have any of that?  How many struggle just to have enough to eat?  How many spend their nights at the mercy of the elements?
My point (and I believe the point of the blog), was that we get so concerned about ourselves that we forget others.  Is our house big enough, are our cars new enough, should I go to restaurant a or restaurant b?  We think we have it tough when we have to waste all that time taking one of our cars in to get an oil change.  We base our votes (we can vote! there's another privilege!) on what the candidate has promised to do for us personally.  I think we get so wrapped up in ourselves, th…

Who Pays for Healthcare?

I know what you're thinking, "We do!!!"  However, that's not exactly true.  You see, I recently did an analysis of the healthcare industry for a graduate course I'm taking and I was surprised at what it showed me.  As I gathered information, one of the things I asked was "why does quality of care seem to be going down while prices are going up?"  That's just the opposite of what a capitalist economy is supposed to produce.  What I found is interesting.Everybody who has health insurance knows that costs are skyrocketing.  Not only that, doctors seem more and more interested in moving you through as opposed to really getting to know you.  Why is that?As I studied how things work, I found out something very interesting.  We (individuals) are not the customers of healthcare (doctors, hospitals, labs, etc).  Sure we go in for treatment but who writes the check that actually pays for the services?  The insurance companies.  Healthcare providers, like all …

McCain Obama Debate

So I just finished watching the second debate between McCain and Obama and I have to say that I'm impressed with McCain.  I'm not a big McCain fan.  While I'm a Republican from Arizona, I really haven't been that impressed with our senator.  He was my last choice in the primary (I liked Romney - who would do really well at dealing with our economy) and it was disappointing to see him win.  But he's getting better.On the other hand, I've always liked Obama.  His calls for hope and change are infectious.  He's smart and charismatic.  He had my vote.  That is, until the specifics came out.  His policies are change in all of the wrong directions.To shore up the economy, he would expand government and increase regulation.  His logic is that any business left to itself will crumble.  However, I have to point out that one of the most regulated economies in the world is that of the former Soviet Union.  When pitted against a far freer economy (the US economy) it co…

Politics, Marriage, and Christianity

There is a lot of misinformation out there about the aims of Christians in politics.  I see opinions from the left who are afraid that devout Christians running for office are simply doing it so they can ram their belief system down everybody's throat.  Unfortunately, there are some people on the far right that feed those fears by responding "You're darned right!"  However, I think the bulk of the Christians in this country (at least from my point of view) are not like that.  We do not want a theocracy.  We've seen the issues in other parts of the world and we've looked at our own history and have concluded that theocracies seem to always end up oppressing their people.  We agree with our Founding Fathers that religion should not control government and government should not control religion.  However, we also feel that religion should be the moral compass of our country.  One of the fundamental tenets of Christianity is to love God and love your neighbor (Luk…

Governor Calls Arizona A State Of Losers?

OK, it wasn't exactly like that but, at the Democratic National Convention, Janet Napolitano (the governor of Arizona) stands up and states that: "Barry Goldwater ran for president and he lost. Mo Udall ran for president. He lost. Bruce Babbit ran for president. And he lost. Speaking for myself, and for at least this coming election, this is one Arizona tradition I’d like to see continue." I know that's only supposed to be a cheap shot at Republicans, but it's hard to listen to that and not hear "Arizona is a state of losers and failures. Let's keep it that way." It just seems that our governor has no respect for the history and accomplishments of Arizona. We've done some great things in this state but all the governor can come up with is that she hopes Arizonans keep losing. Thanks.

That's not even the end of it. She then goes on to criticize McCain on the economy. That's great coming from a governor whose policies put Arizona $2…

Does Your Vote Count?

I was listening to Ron Silver this morning on Sirius (Indie Talk, channel 110) and he was chatting with a caller about how people vote. The crux of the conversation is that many people don't vote for who they think is the best candidate. They vote for a candidate they think can win. It was agreed on the show that this was an awful thing that happens far too often. I agree 100%. People today are being taught that if they don't vote for one of the major parties (Democrat or Republican) that their vote doesn't count. This is patently false and I'll tell you why.

First, you don't have to win an election to influence change. The change may not be immediate but if candidates start seeing significant blocks of votes for people that support specific issues, they will start looking more seriously at those issues. Do you think there was change in the Republican party when Ross Perot caused George Bush to lose his re-election? I guarantee they immediately began tryin…

T-Mobile @ Home Experience

About a week and a half ago, I signed up for T-Mobile's @Home phone service. For those of you who don't know what that is, it replaces your current home phone for $10 per month. Here's how it works: Instead of plugging into your phone line, it plugs into your internet connection. It is a voice over IP or VOIP service similar to Vonage, or the phone service offered by your cable company. It was such a good deal (I was paying $30 per month for dial tone and voice mail, now I'm paying $10 per month for dial tone, voice mail, caller ID, and free long distance) that I decided to go for it.I got my startup kit on Wednesday. It came with a router (plugs into your internet connection and has regular phone jacks as well as internet jacks in the back) and the new Dect 6.0 phones I ordered (these phones don't interfere with wireless networks). It only took two days from order to reciept so I was pretty happy.The installation directions were simple. First plug the rout…

Iraq Officialy Wants US Out - What Do We Do?

I saw an article today that I just have to comment on.  It seems that the Iraqi government is officially demanding for a timetable for withdrawing US troops.  So what do we do at this point?  The current administration has been very adamant that timetables are wrong and will only encourage insurgents, that the government is still to weak to protect itself.  Now it's not just the Democrats but the Iraqi government that's disagreeing.  What do we do?One option is to ignore them.  We are trying to keep the country stable and a withdrawal of US troops could be catastrophic.  It could spark a civil war that kills thousands.  Do we want to be responsible for such slaughter?  For the good of the country, don't our troops need to stay until the job is done?The other option is to submit to their demands.  Are they independent or a US vassal?  Shouldn't they be allowed to determine their own fate?  The government of Iraq was elected by the people of Iraq and, as representatives …

Democrats, Oil Prices, and the Environment

The Democrats have a bit of a problem right now.  Gas prices are shooting through the roof and they want to say they're doing something about it.  Their plan is a windfall tax on oil companies.  This tax (which the Republicans blocked so it probably won't happen anytime soon - if it happens at all) is kind of a "feel good" tax.  Why?  Because it punishes the oil companies for making too much money but it doesn't help the consumer at all.  Think about it, will gas prices drop because oil companies may have to pay more taxes?  I don't think so.  So it's a tax that makes "the masses" happy because our benevolent government is sticking it to "big oil" but doesn't really help the consumer at all.

So who does it help?  It helps the government by giving them more revenue and it also helps the environment because a way to avoid the tax is to invest in alternative energy.  Hmmm... the environment.  Coincidentally, there are a large number of…

Too Much Regulation Hurts A Free Market

Keeping a free market going is a bit of a balancing act.  On the one hand, if it is entirely unregulated, monopolies start to form.  These monopolies will then prevent other businesses from competing by either buying them out or underselling them or something similar.  This in turn stifles innovation and takes choice away from the consumer.  On the other hand, if you have too much regulation it stifles a business.  When a company can no longer choose how it acts and is forced to spend a large portion of it's income on compliance with regulations innovation suffers and barriers to entry are created.  You can't just start an insurance company, there are certain rules and regulations you have to follow.  The same with any other business.

It is government's job to make sure that business stays competitive by creating appropriate regulations.  However, if government goes too far, it runs the risk of having the solution be worse than the problem.

The other thing about regulation …

How Do We Help The Poor in America?

Poverty is a tough issue.  Unfortunately, it's an issue that has been oversimplified.  Granted, it's really easy to oversimplify.  The conservatives tend to think that the poor should get jobs and work for a living like everybody else.  The liberals think it's unconscionable that a person starve and/or live on the street simply because they don't have the means to take care of themselves.  Therefore, it's the government's responsibility to feed and house them (or at least provide them with the resources to feed and house themselves).So who's right?  I admit that I side more with the conservative view.  People need work, not handouts.  However, I recently learned that the issue is more complicated than that.  My original idea was to eliminate welfare and have that money go toward employment.  So, if somebody qualifies for welfare, instead of giving them money, you give them a job.  Doesn't matter what the job is - they can clean up the streets, paint ove…

The Party of Opportunity

Thanks to the leadership of Barak Obama, the Democratic Party has been effectively positioning themselves as "The Party of Hope".  However, when you look at their policies, it seems to really be the party of security (as in social security/social programs) or the party of entitlement.  I don't want to be too negative because I know many democrats and they sincerely believe that government intervention is the solution.  Personally, I don't agree with that point of view (which is why I'm a Republican).  However, it seems that my party has lost its way over the last few years and it's time to come back to our roots.Here are some of the values that have drawn me to the Republican Party:Lower Taxes:  Most everything we buy has been taxed two or three or more times by the time it get's to us (not even counting sales tax).  It's too much.Smaller Government:  Of course our high taxes are paying for a huge, bloated government.  Government needs to be smaller, …

New Political Direction

You know, knowledge is a funny thing. No matter how much we think we have, there's always more out there to get. No matter how well we think we understand something, there always seems to be more to it than that. Political issues are much the same; at least with me.

When I first look at an issue, I see the surface of it. Usually it's fairly simple which makes it easy for me to see a solution. However, as time goes on and I learn more about the issue, sometimes my "solution" turns out to me not as much of a solution - in fact, sometimes it makes the problem worse in the long run. This is one of the reasons I blog, I want people to see my ideas. Not because I want to be famous, but because I want the good ideas to be implemented and the bad ideas to be corrected. As fun as it is to think that all my ideas are perfect, I know they aren't. However, what I don't know is which ideas are wrong and where they go wrong. If I did, I'd fix them.

Recently I&#…

A Little Perspective on the Abortion Debate

Representative Warde Nichols of the Arizona State Legislature gave an impassioned floor speech supporting a ban on partial-birth abortions.

He tells the story of a baby who was born prematurely to a drug addicted mother in 1969 (pre roe v wade). This baby was adopted and went on to live a very successful life.

All children have the potential to be great. Who are we to deny them that based on their circumstances before birth? Read the speech, it's very good.

More Help for Health Insurance Reform

I can't help it. Maybe it's because our health insurance system is so broken. Maybe it's because the proposals from the left sound a lot like socialized medicine (not good). I don't know what it is but every now and then I get more ideas for how to fix the insurance system. Here's my latest thoughts.

Let's get rid of the overhead from all of that massive paperwork. How? Let's turn insurance cards into something akin to credit cards. You go to the doctor and the front desk runs your insurance card just like a credit card, inputs the code for your visit, and the insurance pays its amount. At this point you can either be done or pay a co-pay.

For this to really work, we would also need unified billing codes so that a physical for one doctor's office doesn't show up like brain surgery for another. Once all of the codes are the same, you run the card, input the code, and it shows you how much the insurance covers. Subtract that from what the doct…

How do taxes affect us?

I was commenting on a blog entry about a property tax repeal that the Arizona Legislature just made permanent but which the governor is likely (in my opinion) to veto and it got me thinking about how much we really pay in taxes. After all, almost every product we buy is from a taxed business that employs taxed laborers. So guess who is paying those taxes? That's right, it's us!

A lot of people mistakenly think a tax hike that doesn't affect them directly is ok. In fact, many get a sense of satisfaction if they see the government sticking it to "big oil" or "big business" but who is really paying that tax? That's right, we are. Businesses that have to pay higher taxes will do one of two things (usually):

1) Raise prices to cover the cost. This means that the tax that was affecting businesses is being paid by you and me when we make our purchases.

2) Move their business to a less expensive environment ( different city, different state, or even a di…

Idea to help FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has come under a lot of fire for it's response to Hurricane Katrina. Now I'm not an expert, but it seems to me that FEMA's issues were not simply poor management but a fundamental issue with its setup. What I mean is that throughout its history, FEMA's response to disasters has been money. For example, if you're hit by a natural disaster, FEMA gives you money to help get you back on your feet. Yes there's a bit more to it than that, but that is the gist of it. At least that's how it seems to me. If I'm dead wrong, please let me know.

So where's the problem? Well, if a natural disaster affects a couple hundred of fewer people, it's not a problem. There are enough nearby resources that simply writing a check can take care of food, water, and shelter for those affected. However, in Katrina's case, there were thousands affected and no nearby supplies that were sufficient to help. So the pro…

Do Term Limits Help or Hurt Government?

I used to be a staunch supporter of term limits. Get 'em out of there! We don't need career politicians! However, the more I've learned about how government works, the more I've had to question whether the benefits of term limits outweigh the drawbacks.

Pros:
Gets rid of corrupt politicians - The main advantage to term limits is it keeps individual people from having too much power for too long. You don't have the "entrenched" politicians to try to deal with. You have less corruption because the corrupt politician doesn't have enough time (hopefully) to do any real damage. No matter how good the bad guy hides his true nature, eventually, he'd kicked out.Brings in fresh ideas/perspectives - By insuring that you constantly have new people in government, you get a constant influx of new ideas, new ways of solving problems, and new perspectives. This can create a more vibrant government that really is concerned with helping the people.Cons:
Throws…

Why Good People Don't Run for Office

Everybody sees what wrong with politics. Some see more than others. However, what good is seeing the problems if you don't/can't fix them? If everybody running for office is corrupt, why don't honest people give them a run for their money? Here are some of my thoughts:

Money - No I'm not talking about raising enough money to campaign, I'm talking about feeding your family while you're in office. In Arizona, the annual salary for legislators is $24,000. Sure a lot of people say that since the State Congress is only is session half the year, the salary should be low. However, if legislators were really fulfilling their responsibilities, they would (and some do) spend their off time researching issues, getting feedback from their constituents, planning for the next session, etc. So how does someone afford to be a legislator on that salary? Well, the middle class is out; that salary probably wouldn't pay most middle class mortgages much less buy food, p…

Volvo's BLIS

A while ago I blogged about my new favorite car being a minivan - more specifically, the new Chrysler Town and Country. While it's an excellent car, it is more suited for hauling around the family than for use as a commuter. My current commuter, a two year old Chrysler PT Cruiser, is great and I hope to have it for another eight years or so before I start thinking about replacing it. However, after a friends wife got into a car wreck (she was not hurt) and the friends response was "Thank goodness she was in a Volvo!", I started to wonder.

When I purchased my PT Cruiser I was basically thinking about how cool it looked, how roomy it was, and how fun it was to drive. What I wasn't thinking about was safety. So, after hearing about my friend's wife, I started thinking more about safety. For hauling the family around, I'm really happy with our Honda Odyssey. We've had one totaled and everybody in the car was fine (just bumps and bruises). However, what…

The Levels of Motivation

I have this emerging theory on how to motivate people. Looking at the greatest world leaders, how did they get people to follow them? How do we get people to follow us? How do others get us to do things? When you do something, what is your primary motivation? Is it fear? love? duty? Which is the most powerful?

The following is a list of common motivators in order from least to most powerful.

5. Guilt - Guilt is a lousy motivator. I promotes slothful action and can even engender resentment. Although it may work for short-term tasks, those looking for long term results would be better served to look elsewhere.

4. Fear - Fear is only an effective motivator in the short term. When people act out of fear, it builds resentment and animosity. They will look for ways not to complete (i.e. to escape) their tasks. Granted this may not be universally true, but in general fear is a lousy long-term motivator but an excellent short term one. I also think that fear's effectiveness is …

Healthcare: Part II - More Insurance Reforms

About a year and a half ago, I blogged on healthcare or, more specifically, insurance. Looking back, I still agree with my main ideas but there's more. As I have learned more about the insurance industry and government regulation of it, I've learned more about some of the limitations that could be fixed. So here are some more ideas on fixing insurance in America:

1) Extend insurance deductions to all of the insured. Right now, if you get insurance from your employer, your premiums are taken out pre-tax. However, if you're buying your own insurance, you are taxed on the money you spent. Yes there are tax deductions for insurance, but I don't think it's the same (I actually hope I'm wrong here but I assume I'm not). Therefore, ALL insurance premiums should be untaxed, not just ones through your employer.

2) Eliminate employer contracted insurance policies. Insurance isn't a free market. I don't get to choose my insurer. I have the choice of th…