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Make America Stronger, Smarter and Save Trillions

BY MICHAEL R. FOX PHD - The current economic situation in the United States is frightening.  Horrendous and growing national debt, horrendous and growing government spending,

Social Security in a financial mess, Medicare in a greater financial mess, a Mainstream Media (MSM) which is stunningly uninformative, and so far to the political left it would make the editors of Pravda blush.

When was the last honest article you can recall reading in the MSM about social security, energy, environment, global warming (it’s not about science) nuclear energy, prolific state and national spending, all with little or no regard to the taxpayers who are asked to pay for all of this.

Whether it is the Tea Party Movement or some other hardnosed group demanding excellence from our federal, state, and local governments, providing worthwhile, defensible, cost effective and common sense regulations instead of the exorbitant waste we all can see, remains to be seen.  We are not getting the governments we are paying for and it is difficult to find any of them who have the best interests of the taxpayers as guidance.

There are those among us in America who are opposed to freedom, free markets, capitalism, and our Constitutional form of government, and they exploit current law in their oppositions to this form of government. This weaponry they deploy involves regulations, taxation, and litigation.  It is absolutely false to assume that these groups, or their allies employed in the regulatory agencies and academia, have the best interests of Americans at heart. In throttling our energy sources they wish us harm. Targeted industries are usually attacked using one or more of these legal weapons.

Regulations Re-examined The magnitude of the costs of regulations for example, is staggering.  Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) annually reports the costs of some of the regulations (federal regulations only---the states add billions more to the regulatory burdens) (http://tinyurl.com/26jh9vv).  The title of the report is appropriately “Ten Thousand Commandments”.  For the year 2007, the latest analysis available on the CEI website, the estimated costs for regulatory compliance to federal regulations is $1.157 trillion dollars.  This is the equivalent of a huge hidden tax imposed on the American economy and is not known to those who haven’t seen the costs of compliance.  It doesn’t seem to be common knowledge among our tax and spend Congressmen either.  These compliance costs should anger voters and is an area where Congress could find many billions in savings for American business and to the consumers who always  pay for this.  The voters are eagerly looking for smart ways to cut the spending. Regulations, both state and federal, are great places to begin.

These hidden regulatory costs are more than triple the total corporate income taxes of $342 billion for 2007 which now are the largest in the world.  On top of all of this are the regulatory administration and enforcement costs of $42 billion annually.  This is quite a police force, don’t you think? And it’s a police force which does not generate a dime’s worth of wealth for our nation. Let’s fix this regulatory cancer on our economy. There is a need for common sense, defensible regulations, and a need for enforcement.  But at the current levels of regulations the destructiveness is obvious.

Social Security The current levels of social security expenditures now are larger than the revenues received by the SSA.   Not only larger than the revenues, the expenditures are increasing even more as the 1960s flower children begin to retire.  Even worse the SS system is structured so that taxpayers are required to support the SS system, forcing the younger generations to pay the trillion-dollar bills for SS benefits to the elderly.  This is an insanely costly funding plan for the SS program, and we see little effort to improve this funding strategy, either at the SSA or with the Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles’ Deficit Commission.  Are there better alternatives to such a Ponzi scheme for the suicidal SS funding plan to consider?  Of course there is and it’s not from Bernie Madoff.

Consider the retirement plan for Galveston County Texas.  (http://tinyurl.com/2e5nke5).  In the early 1980s city and government entities could opt out of the federal social security programs. Today people are retiring from the Galveston plan with encouraging results. Depending upon the average salary, length of time participating in the program, and age at retirement, the retirement benefits at all levels are much greater than those expected from the SSA.  See examples in Table below.

Galveston Plan vs. Social Security
Salary Galveston Plan Social Security
$17,000 $1036 $683
$26,000 $1500 $853
$51,000 $3103 $1368
$75,000 $4540 $1645
Upon Retirement after 30 years Assuming 5% Rate of Return

As one can see at 3 different levels of income, the three different retirement benefits from the Galveston plan are all larger than the benefits from Social Security, in the case of the $75,000/yr salaries the benefits are $4540/$1645 = 2.75 time larger.  While these benefits are very impressive the most stunning part is that none of the Galveston retirement funds come the taxpayers.  Younger generations are not stuck with paying the benefits of the retiring generation.   It pays for itself.  The developer of the plan,  Eric Gornto,  is still working productively in Galveston.  Gornto should be named Secretary of Commerce or better the head of the Social Security Administration, which is now trillions of dollars overcommitted and unable to pay its debts, even with the trillions extracted from American workers.  One suspects that our healthcare programs could also be similarly placed on such a self-funding program, without the horrendous authorized theft from the younger generations.

Imported Oil The US now imports from foreign sources about 12 million barrels of oil per day.   This amounts to more than $440 billion per year. This is one of the largest transfers of wealth which the US pays because of its failure to develop our own domestic sources of oil.  Remarkably the Obama administration has gone out of its way too oppose the development of domestic sources of oil, coal, and nuclear energy.

From Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, to the Gulf of Mexico, to the East Coast of the United States, we are forbidden to drill and develop our own domestic sources of oil.  Instead of having $440 billion dollars leaving this country annually, we should spend it in America.  Remarkably while America bans the drilling of oil, the Export Import Bank recently loaned billions to Brazil to further develop Brazil’s new oil field.   Who is looking out for us? We should be developing  our own energy sources including oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy.  We should invest these billions in America making our nation stronger and less dependent upon international thugs.

Nuclear Medicine There have been Impressive advances in nuclear medicine in Europe, America, and around the world.  If the results of clinical trials in the treatment of cancer, for example, were known and used more widely in the United States, we could reduce the costs of both diagnostic and therapeutic uses of these new nuclear techniques drastically. In clinical trials studying cancer the radioisotopes used in this technology are delivered selectively to the cell surfaces of cancer cells, and not to the surfaces of non-cancerous cells. The cancer cells are killed selectively.

Depending upon whether diagnosis or therapy is the purpose, differing isotopes can be selected for delivery to the cell surfaces for these differing purposes. As a rule the diagnostics are very precise showing the stages, locations, sizes, of the tumors.

Both in diagnosis and therapy the cost savings to our medical care would be in the billions annually.  The reasons for the lower costs are:  a.  the cancer remission rates found in clinical trials are very high, often above 85%, the side effects are minimal (boredom being listed as a side effect), and the costs can be reduced drastically, since the treatments may be administered in the doctor’s office and treated as an outpatient.   The costs of such treatments could be as little as 10-20% of the costs of traditional treatments (http://tinyurl.com/29nmdu8).

The technology is in its infancy for a variety of scientific and political reasons.  There is little doubt that huge medical cost savings could be achieved in our nation with the advancement of these technologies into fighting cancer, AIDS, and arthritis, to name a few.

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