Friday, July 31, 2015

Catch 22 Healthcare

A new Nebraska hospital sued the Department of Health and Human Services over the accreditation process for Medicare.

Forty physicians unhappy with the local hospital made their own. However, the ACA delayed them for 18 months due to waiting for a study on the effects of physician-owned hospitals.

Next they were reviewed to see if they could get approved for Medicare. They were denied because during the review they had no Medicare inpatients and yet they can't take in Medicare inpatients without getting accredited.

Seriously. Who writes these freaking rules?


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Road Rage

Roads and transportation are just a rich subject right now. Line one from a blog post at transportation.gov has just set me off.

Today, our Nation's investment in transportation lags behind the rest of the world.

I would like a citation on "lags behind the rest of the world." Do we lag behind the three poorest countries: Malawi, Burundi, or Central African Republic?

The Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation must not be aware of the internet. I did a quick search to see if there was a ranked list of expenditures on roads by countries and one popped up from 2013. Surprise, surprise. Guess who spends the most on roads? Here's the list:

Country $ in Millions
United States $74,164
Canada $20,109
Australia $18,417
France $15,860
Germany $15,503
Russia $11,235
Poland $11,108
Spain $7,893
Turkey $6,918
United Kingdom $6,872
Mexico $5,223
Romania $4,383
Norway $3,637
Netherlands $3,053
Azerbaijan $2,085
Czech Republic $1,727
Finland $1,244
New Zealand $1,121
Ireland $618
Slovakia $576
Bulgaria $459
Lithuania $457
Serbia $452
Latvia $299
Luxembourg $293
Georgia $288
Albania $280
Estonia $210


I've recently posted how broken gas taxes and green car subsidies are. I just finished how California built a road at $130,000 per foot!

We are wasting money on roads left and right through bad policies and inefficiencies. Politicians just make blanket assertions about falling behind the world to squeeze more money out of us. We are only falling behind in smart spending.

This is like a social justice movement that has achieved its goals will say "we have come a long way, but there is much more to accomplish" without laying out what needs to be done or lies through statistics to make it look like they actually have not been successful.

We have been taxed too much. Stop lying to us to justify taxing us more. Spend the money wisely or start privatizing things we can privatize!

It's like they are no longer trying to hide their lies.


$130,000 per foot

What is $130,000 per foot? A new stretch of road in California.

DOT has put up a blog post announcing the completion of a $1.1 billion project for 1.6 miles of road. The Presidio Parkway website says it is 1.5 miles. The $130,000 figure ($130,208.33 to be exact) uses the 1.6 mile figure for the best case scenario in dollars spent per foot.

What's even worse is the subtitle of DOT's post is the following:

Federally funded project exemplifies transportation investment nation needs, officials say

Exemplifies transportation investment? Let's do a little math.

What if we want to build one road that connects one side of the nation to the other? We will use google maps and plot from San Diego, California to Bangor, Maine. That is 3,229 miles.


How much would that cost at $130,000 per foot?

$2,216,385,600,000! Take a quick screen capture of usdebtclock.org and that road would be about one ninth of the national debt. That one road is more than four times as large as the federal deficit!


Exemplifies transportation investment? I think we need to find a way to privatize roads. We can not afford the federal method.


Sending In The Problem To Solve The Problem?

Today's blog post from the Department of State is about a global partnership to combat violent extremism (terrorism). It is mostly a bunch of flowery language making assertions about the goals and idealism that are pretty much counter to observed behavior of the administration. I'm not going to comment on that because it is just talk.

However, there is noted in the post something that just makes my head hurt. Here is the nuttery:

Third, we expanded where we focus our efforts -- from areas on the periphery of active conflicts to prisons in our own countries where inmates can be radicalized. In Italy, where this week’s conference gathers, the Ministry of Justice recently launched a program to have 15 imams and 40 cultural mediators work with prisoners. The initiative has been so successful, they are already looking to scale it up.

There is radicalization happening in jails so they are sending imams to the jail. Really? Am I the only one that sees this might be a problem? Well it says that the program is successful. As of this writing I could not find references to this program so no stats on success. Maybe my search skills are not good enough because I could only find articles about imams being put in jail.

If you can find an article or study about the success of the program please post in the comments.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Peddling the Ethanol Failure to the Philippines

The great ethanol experiment has been a great big failure. It reduces engine efficiency, creates more pollution than gas, and takes more energy to create than it saves. CO2 from the production of ethanol is even being pumped into geological storage potentially creating a deadly disaster in waiting. Even Al Gore said he made a mistake in backing ethanol subsidies.

Should we end the practice of using ethanol? No! Let's get other countries on board!

That's right. The Director of the Las Vegas U.S. Export Assistance Center, the U.S. Renewable Fuels Association, and six U.S. ethanol companies went to Manila to research the potential ethanol market. Presentations were given on different aspects of renewable fuels.

Yes. Let us expand ethanol and grow more corn for a poor fuel choice instead of food. It's not like there are starving people in the world, right?


You Need Feminism Because You Don't Know How To "Rinse"

Geez! If you're a guy you might not ever want to date a woman again after watching this. Truly the worst sort of people.


Get a bit of hope and watch Feminism LOL tear into these ladies.




Saturday, July 25, 2015

Centralized Waste from the Department of Education

I can always count on the Department of Education to waste money. A recent post touts $270 million awarded to 978 programs to support students.

Why is this waste? Centralized bureaucracy is costly. Let local municipalities take care of local concerns and cut their federal taxes. 282 of the schools (manual count of "Community College" in the name of the program list; could be miscounted) in the list of 978 are local. That is over 1/4 of the programs should be considered local programs. But first we had to send the money to D.C. and wait to get the money back.

What does the money go to?
  • academic tutoring
  • assistance in course selection
  • information about financial aid and economic literacy
  • support and resources to help students transfer from two-year to four-year colleges or from undergraduate to graduate or professional studies
  • individualized counseling and career guidance
  • exposure to cultural events
  • mentoring
  • housing assistance during school breaks for students who are homeless or in foster care
All of these items except for the last one sounds like it should be a basic service already available in any school. Maybe the first one could be considered an extra. Otherwise it is all services and information that should be available.

Except, maybe, "exposure to cultural events" which sounds like a party slush fund. Aren't you glad there is a centralized party fund?

The really weird thing about the last item is it is about housing for students when they are not in school instead of when they are in school. That seems like the focus on housing is counterproductive to when the student needs housing the most.

Only in centralized thinking do you get funding for services counter to the time of need.


Gas Tax : Punishing the Heretics of the Green Movement

There is a gap between funding for the highways and roads and the revenue coming in for it. The gas tax hasn't been raised for 22 years and you are going to hear calls for raising it.[1][2]

End the Gas Tax


USA today calls for phasing out the gas tax because of the cost of bureaucracy. Anything government driven has this problem so this reason is moot.

Forbes calls for reform of the gas tax but gets the reasoning wrong. Forbes lays out the history of the gas tax and how funds in are tied to projects directly related to the road, however, in the 90's this relation was temporarily severed to pay for other things; this is blamed for the unpopularity of the tax and why reform is needed.

Bloomberg actually gets part of problem correct, ... fuel efficiency and less driving.

Government Created the Problem


CAFE standards demand better fuel efficiency in vehicles which means when the goals are met drivers buy less gas to go the same distance. So it stands to reason that less money is collected through taxes.

Fuel efficiency is nice but the government has no place dictating it; this is legislating physics which is a very arrogant thing for man to do.

The next problem is a double blow to the gas tax and funds for roads; the government's push for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Tax credits to buyers of the green vehicles is paid for by all tax payers. The first punch is these drivers don't use gas or only a little thus evading the gas tax and yet they still put wear and tear on the roads.

The double punch is the subsidy money could instead be put towards road construction and repair, but no. Instead we are going to continue to subsidize these vehicles and look to taxing the drivers that use gas more.

Last I checked only churches and non-profits were supposed to be tax exempt. (Yeah, the Volt lost money but that doesn't make it a non-profit organization.)

The subsidies don't go just to the people that buy the cars but companies within the pipeline that make the car or parts of it. There is an article that "debunks" Volt myths and fails on the government money myth. It frames the myth as "#5 It’s made of government bailout money." That is not the myth; the myth is "the Volt is a government subsidized car." In fact the debunking of the myth admits to the subsidies and blames Bush for the subsidies; whether this is a Bush subsidy or an Obama subsidy it is still a government subsidy. Supposedly the 2016 Volt will be profitable.

There's no telling how long these subsidies will continue. A subsidy is per model per model year and does not phase out till 200,000 units of it are sold. Even then the subsidy phases out to 50% after two quarters, 25% at four quarters, and no credit after six quarters after hitting the 200,000 mark. By then the car will be on to the next model year and a new set of subsidies.[1][2]

To be fair there was a discontinued subsidy. It was replaced by a new one.

What's the Solution?


End the gas tax, end the green car subsidies, and budget the roads like any other part of the government.

Ending the gas tax will make the cost of the transportation of goods cheaper thus making them more affordable. This can lead to an increase of consumption and leading to the need for more production. In the end there could be more tax revenue through increased income tax revenues; in addition this enriches the lives of the citizens.

Ending the subsidies will also correct the car and energy market to use what is truly economical choices. Also, it is immoral to make one person to pay for part of another person's desired purchase. Can you imagine if the government subsidized the purchase of yachts? Subsidizing the purchase of a car because of the type of motor it uses is no different.

Budget the roads like other parts of the budget. Make the importance of running shrimps on a treadmill compete with the importance of good roads. Hopefully we can expose wasteful projects by making them compete with critical projects.

Or we can raise the gas tax making products more expensive due to transportation costs while we give money to people who buy cars that do not contribute to the road fund.


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