My views

Hey friends, let’s talk about some of the upcoming Republican Policy and what they have planned, and why you should be more concerned than you are. So, every day, I hear another statement about how the Republican Government is planning to make a move on some policy or talking about the policies they plan to adopt. Let’s go through a couple while my mind is still functioning and on this topic.

  • Tax Policy and the Economy

Ok, this is going to get a lot of people really upset and unsettled, but both parties need to make some concessions. They both operate under the Keynesian Model of economics, that spending from the government needs to increase and taxes need to decrease for continuous growth. The problem is, the government needs money from the people (TAXES) to spend them. The Democrats get this, they raise taxes and then spend them, and that is fine and dandy. The Republicans also get this but choose to go the other way, they cut spending and in turn lower taxes…. Unfortunately, the way they cut taxes is wrong. They cut taxes more for corporations and the wealthier part of America, (and these people do deserve the amount of money they earn, let me explain before you just get irrationally angry). The problem with cutting taxes on these people as opposed to cutting taxes more for lower income people is that they don’t spend the extra money they now have. A person who makes a million dollars is less likely to spend the extra one hundred thousand dollars they earn, they would much rather just put it in the bank or invest it in the stock market. Neither of these foster real, solid economic growth because the primary way the economy grows and creates jobs is through consumption. If you cut taxes by ten percent for someone who makes fifty thousand dollars, they are more likely to spend every last penny of that money. This is why we have a progressive tax. The government skims that one hundred thousand from the wealthy to spend it and thus cause the economy to grow. It’s not personal, that is just how the world works, and it is the only way for the government to do it without going bankrupt themselves. This is a fundamental reason why reagonomics has not worked, yet the Republican party continues to implement it as a policy. 

  • Healthcare

With Obamacare (or the ACA, whatever makes you happy) we were destined to have 19 million Americans uninsured or under insured by 2020. (Statistic mentioned in previous post.) The Republicans know that number balloons a lot without Obamacare, and that many Americans will suffer. They thus created a narrative that Obamacare is bad (It is, but also because people don’t know how an insurance plan works along with the bill just being awful.) They want to do away with a government subsidy on healthcare to bring the costs down, because they blame this for costs going up. The real reason is the clause to not discriminate against pre-existing conditions. An Insurance company at the end of the day is still a business, and they look at your medical history to calculate their risks. In other words, if they think you are going to cash out a large part of your Medical plan, they need you to pay more, they don’t really have a choice because if you don’t, then you are not profitable to them. This caused the government to look at two possible solutions which cause people to curse Obamacare. The first solution is for the government to subsidize the daylights out of healthcare which would cause people’s taxes to go up a lot. The second is to force everyone to get healthcare at this higher rate so that Insurance companies are still profitable and capable of making money (Fines). The reason the fines exist is to make it cheaper for you to have insurance than not, and to force you to pay into the system because Obamacare limits an insurance company’s ability to deny you coverage due to an illness. The Republicans are saying now that they will do away with these solutions but keep the clause that makes the bill both valuable and toxic at the same time. The solution they propose, they know is incredibly moronic, and a president who wasn’t aligned with their party would instantly reject it.  This brings us to why they didn’t bring it up in the last two years. If Obama rejected it, and they tried again and we saw the disaster, the narrative would be Obama warned us, and we chose to ignore it. If they do it now, they will say “We did not see the current rate of unhealthy Americans as a likely issue when we passed the bill, the Democrats created this problem with Obamacare, things were fine before that bill was passed.” And people will go crazy and blame Obamacare. The issue is that this system and the institution has been broken long before Obamacare, and the Republicans and their supporters are choosing to forget this fact. The number one reason people have gone bankrupt in America is because they couldn’t pay their medical bills and this has been the case for many years running. This also parlays into why the Republican solution will not work, because we’ve already tried it, it hasn’t worked before. They should try something else.

  • Supreme court

Dear Kentucky,

Why is your Senator a hypocritical scumbag who cares very little for the people of America and the justice which the Supreme Court and the Judicial branch on the whole serves? Why did you vote for a guy who clearly has no respect for the constitution or the powers it gives the branches? Why are you still voting for him?

Vikash

Anyway, let’s talk about Mitch McConnell for a minute. What he did with the Merrick Garland hearing and trial is criminal. I am not overreacting; I am not being “a fanatical liberal”. I am just being a rational person. Are you even paying attention? Merrick Garland never got a trial, never got a vote, and never got a sit down because Merrick Garland was a good candidate, and that would have been something good for the Obama legacy (He needs all the help he can get, if you are saying that I am wrong, go double check the facts, they aren’t as rosy as you would like to believe.). In an unprecedented fashion McConnell said that he would like to ignore his constitutional duty to help pick the right person for the job and instead chose to get party lines involved. Are you wondering what I mean?

Look at this for a minute:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nominations_to_the_Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States

Each of the previous candidates got a hearing or a nomination, and some of them had some questions to be asked about their character which led to them needing some time to come to a verdict on the trial. Sort that list by the most days which they were waiting for the results. Merrick Garland stands alone for the number of days which he was waiting, almost 200 more than the next guy. That is not even close to OK. It would make sense if Merrick had a sketchy history which the Senate needed to explore like Robert Bork. Nope, that isn’t even remotely close to the case here. The Senate was majority Republican, and if Garland was too liberal he would for sure be rejected. They instead chose to do the worst thing, something that Republicans hail as a “smart move”, they ignored the nomination and pretended like that vacancy could wait. This led to a precedent which the Republicans proceeded to use whenever it came for any vacancy in the judicial branch, they chose to wait. This caused the Judiciary branch to slow down by a significant margin, violating the fifth amendments to a speedy trial. Is that a good thing? So that the party could get a narrative, they chose to risk the stability of American Justice. Who is at fault here?

Now I am going to close this with a request to people on both sides of the aisle. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, do me a favor, PAY ATTENTION. Obama was not a knight who solved all the problems, and the Republicans are not perfect and going to solve all of his problems. Trump and his policies are not perfect, they aren’t remotely close (I will make a post about that as soon as possible, likely before the inauguration, I am dealing with some other stuff right now which are much more important and urgent than this blog.) A lot of people try to only look at the stuff that is either told to them, or makes them happy. I know it takes time, but verify everything. Most things in the world are not black and white, they are usually grey. If someone is making a very black and white conclusion, try to see if there is something wrong with that conclusion. If you can’t find anything, they might be right. I know that is a lot of work, but in this day and age with the President-Elect issuing statements which are not rooted in fact and people believing them, we are staring at a dark path which steers clear of the democracy which the founding fathers built. Polarization is going to cause people to do things with emotion, not fact. Parties aren’t important in the large scheme of things. They aren’t, ignore them. Please, for the love of America and Freedom, don’t make statements because of Party Lines, make statements because you believe them. This will help your senators and representatives to make the right decision, not the one that is motivated by parties.

Stay Skeptical, Stay Cynical,

Vikash

P.S. I recognize this is as a rant and a free flowing stream of thoughts that needed to be put down because people don’t listen to the things I say and keep talking over me. Now you know where I stand, if you think I am wrong and should correct my stance, please feel free to message me and explain to me all the ways that I am wrong, but do it with facts, statistics and conclusions based on those things. If you start saying things based on emotion or go Ad Hominem, I will not honor you with a response and you might get blocked.

About the election.

I, like many other people, am extremely upset about the outcome of this election, and I know it is partially my fault because I didn’t vote. Before you discount my opinion based on that fact, the reason was more than just not caring (Fulton County didn’t send me a ballot till less than three business days before an election and I couldn’t send in my ballot in time to vote.) Anyway, the election happened, and it is over, the election results are set in stone. You can’t change them. Don’t try to protest for this purpose, you are not “exercising your first amendment right,” much rather, you are showing a blatant disregard for Democracy, which is the ultimate pillar for our political system. In 1800, America set a precedent when it handed power over from John Adams’ Federalist party to Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican party. That election was the first time in history where Democracy actually worked. Is this election a good reason for you to prove that America isn’t great?

If you are still upset, here are 3 things to help you cope with this election:

  • The TOTAL number of votes was 119,500,978. To put that number in perspective, there are 318.9 million people in the US. You know what percentage of America voted? 37%. Trump got less than half of that, and less than Clinton. Trump doesn’t represent the majority; he represents a sliver of America. Next time, it doesn’t matter what the polls say, get out there and VOTE!
  • The legislation which is passed does not start with Donald at the top, it starts with Congress, which has been held by the Republicans over the last 2 years. Guess what, they actually lost 2 seats in this election from 53 to 51. Some of these people do not reflect Trump or his ideology, so even to pass some of his legislation, the Republicans are going to need to be all on the same page, one person faltering on either side could lead to things not passing. Here is to hoping that Republican leaders who denounced Trump during the election don’t do a full 180 on their morals.
    1. The Republicans also lost 5 seats in the House of Representatives.
  • The Supreme Court. (Before I go further, all of my conservative friends who are reading this and are thinking the last 8 years of government were Obama’s fault, I can blame the last two on Mitch McConnell, the man threw a tantrum and refused to do his job because he is a pansy. Please Kentucky, vote this man out of office, he has shown multiple times that he isn’t capable of respecting the structure of our government, and the power of the people who are in power with him.)

Where was I? Right, the Supreme Court. Trump will nominate a justice, but remember that balance I mentioned in the Senate? Those guys need to approve Trump’s nomination. It takes just one Republican to say no, and the person doesn’t get appointed. Also, the Supreme Court is shielded from public opinion, so they will make the right decision for the American people, biases partially aside. Whether or not they do, is up to them. (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/barack-obama-on-5-days-that-shaped-his-presidency.html Interesting piece from Obama about how different it is when politics is not in the hands of the crowd.)

Now, what should you do for the next four years if you aren’t happy about this election? Here are some steps:

  • Stay aware of social and political issues as they unfold, don’t go from being an online political expert to not caring. Stay woke, know where you stand.
  • Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion on issues as they come to Congress, send letters to your congressmen or congresswomen and local leaders who don’t support your opinion. They are a letter or an email away. You can impact the world if you care. (If you can’t get your congressman to vote in your favor, start a movement, i.e. a protest to get the
  • Don’t be afraid to show support publicly. I don’t mean taking to the streets and protest, I mean talk to your friends about a policy that you support or don’t support. Have healthy discussion on both sides of the issue. This could change your viewpoint and show you that you are wrong, or change their viewpoint or bring awareness to this issue. I mean donating or volunteering for an organization which has similar viewpoints to you and the means to make the change happen.

This is what you can do to improve society. Don’t protest the election, work for the future.

As for the people who think Trump is good, and will be the greatest president ever…. Boy, I have some words for you…

Here are some things in America which make me feel unsafe or that I don’t belong:

  1. Having to shave before I board a plane so “I don’t look like a terrorist”
  2. Having to explain to someone that I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, not India.
  3. Hearing from a car salesman tell my mother who has been in America for almost half her life that she doesn’t understand how America works
  4. Getting bullied in elementary school because “my skin looks burnt” or the food my mom packs for lunch is “gross”

The Donald has said rhetoric which helps to allow people to think stuff like this is OK. It isn’t. Having Trump as the face of our country enables these people, because they know(/believe) the leader of this country has a similar opinion.

Here is a list of very AMERICAN THINGS Trump said he is against:

  • Freedom of speech (1)
  • Democracy
  • Giving Muslim Americans normal treatment. (He wants to treat them the way we treated the Japanese during World War 2)
  • Separation of Church and State (Religious test at the border)

Here is a list of things which Trump has refused to deny (When I say refuse to deny, I mean in an allegation which contains strong evidence against Mr. Trump which was presented to him. Many of these he either said “no comment” or said “That makes me a good business man”):

  • Not paying taxes
  • Not paying his workers
  • Using illegal immigrants in his many construction projects.
  • Dodging the draft

That’s a red flag…

Ooh, here is a fun one! Things Trump said which would violate the Geneva conventions (keeps conflicts cold, not hot.):

  • We should use our nukes.
  • We should carpet bomb the Middle East and kill everyone

Trump on international Security:

  • Take away military support from countries such as Japan which we disarmed following a war and haven’t allowed to rearm.
  • Pull support from Israel until they pay for it
  • Pull out of the UN because they don’t pay for our troops (but they also make sure we don’t use them most of the time.)

Furthermore, Trump is a climate change denier, and while multiple countries are making the move to more renewable sources of energy, Trump vows to add more value to coal and coal mining to bring jobs back to America. These are not jobs that people want, they are often dangerous and destroy entire communities due to lead and other toxic waste poisoning. The sad part of this situation is those people have nowhere else to turn to, and Trump is enabling them now, instead of for the future, when he says he wants to bring those jobs back.

I can make 5 or 6 more of these lists and back all of them up with statements from Trump and his campaign. Trump has said and done things which would have gotten any other candidate much more criticism. We gave him a pass. This is on those of us who didn’t speak up, but if you support him after he put all of that up and know he said and did all of these things, please, I want you to go out and learn about who you just put in the White House, because I don’t think you truly understand.

BONUS ROUND:

REASONS YOU DON’T WANT TRUMP TO BE IMPEACHED:

  • MIKE PENCE IS AN ACTUAL POLITICIAN WHO HAS EXPERIENCE IN WASHINGTON TO MAKE THE POLICIES GO THE WAY HE WOULD LIKE THEM TO
  • MIKE PENCE THINKS WE SHOULD REMOVE ALL MONEY FROM ANY CAUSES WHICH SUPPORT LGBTQ CAUSES AND MOVE THEM TO CONVERSION CAMPS
  • MIKE PENCE PASSED STRONG ANTI ABORTION LEGISLATION WHICH WAS SO STRONG, IT WAS MET WITH STRONG OPPOSITION ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE

So, to the guy who told me protesting should be supported, the possibility of this guy coming into office scares me more than a Trump presidency.

In conclusion, to close out my long rant, Trump is not a good choice for President, and I would be fully amenable to him being viewed as a failure in the White House. On the other hand, I would implore you not to take to the streets and protest this election. Our Democracy for the present and for the future means significantly more than the self-satisfaction you get from hitting the streets to get that deplorable man out of an office he doesn’t currently occupy, for policies he might not be able to pass. With that, COMING TO YOU LIVE FROM NEW YORK! Oh wait, this is real. Ouch, here’s to the next 4 years hopefully not stripping us of our freedoms and rights, and our country not going bankrupt.

https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19/sponsors/new
Also, that’s something, I guess. 

Sources:

 

Healthcare

Yesterday night, there was a story in the New York Times about a man who killed his wife because he could no longer afford the medications which would allow her to lead a comfortable life. According to the article, he knows what he did was wrong, but couldn’t bear to see her suffer anymore. With healthcare costs rising because of a multitude of reasons, and find a plausible solution to the complicated issue of healthcare.
When I was growing up, I lived in a household where both my mom and dad had health insurance for me and my brother. Going to the doctor was not an expensive endeavor due to insurance, and my parents would always pay their bills. I know now how many Americans cannot afford to go to the doctor because they lack a similar insurance coverage. According to an article from PBS, 44 million people are uninsured, and 38 million more are underinsured. The problem with Obamacare is people who work in places which pay close to minimum wage and fail to give healthcare are still not benefitted. To add to that, people who are insured through their employers sometimes have to pay premiums which are greater than 10% of their annual income, a figure which qualifies them as underinsured. Moving to a single payer system as Bernie Sanders supports looks more and more like an effective solution since it allows many Americans the right to healthcare, but almost 60% of Americans have healthcare, which should by many metrics satisfy their needs. If we move to a single payer system, we will have those people also paying more for Healthcare which they tend not to use. Funny enough, we have almost the exact same problem with people going in to a completely privatized healthcare plan such as what Mr. Trump proposed.

With the old system we ran into a plethora of problems, but the primary one was people not willing to go to the hospital do to their inability to pay the hospital. The reason why healthcare expenses were so high came from the people who went to the hospital and didn’t pay. Every year hospitals write off on average 5% of their accounts as unrecoverable. If you think about that, it means for every 20 people who go to a hospital, one doesn’t pay. The hospital is a business, and even though they need to take care of the patients who walk through their doors, (IT IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY, THEY CAN NOT SAY NO TO A PATIENT HIPPOCRATIC OATH, LOOK IT UP.) they still need to keep their ledgers out of the red. To compensate, they take the one person who doesn’t pay, and they split their bill over the 19 people who actually will pay. These astronomical rates have led healthcare to be the #1 reason in America for a person to file for bankruptcy.

Funny how both of the extreme solutions lend to people losing money, but both of these solutions also cause hospitals to go through tough times. If we move to a single-payer system, the hospitals will get paid less for the service they provide, since the government is the only one who is paying. If we move to a fully private service, people will try to avoid hospitals due to the high costs incurred, causing more people to be in dangerous health situations. This leads to the grey zones, one of which is filled by Obamacare. Under Obamacare, the government subsidizes healthcare plans, allowing people to get a policy. One of the many reasons why Obamacare has failed, is even though the government is subsidizing the healthcare, the insurance policies they offer are still more than many Americans can pay. According to some pundits, if we maintain Obamacare, at least 100 million Americans will be either uninsured or underinsured by 2020. Furthermore, the policies provided by Obamacare create deductibles (How much you have to pay before an insurance company covers the rest of your healthcare expense for the term.) which people are not educated about, leading to them not paying doctors for services which they provide.

Two countries, which seem to have a working healthcare system are Canada and England. These are two popular examples when people argue for the single payer system, but their system is a little more complicated than the basic single payer system. They have government facilitated hospitals, where anyone can go free of a charge. For people who are willing to pay more for better coverage, they can go to private hospitals. With this system, people get the best coverage they can afford, and everyone is healthier. (I know what the media says, but both the English and Canadian populace have shown their satisfaction with the healthcare which was provided to them.) Maybe this won’t work in America, maybe it will. More importantly, it is progress, which is something our healthcare system direly needs.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/31-million-people-cant-afford-healthcare/article/2564763
http://www.pnhp.org/facts/what-is-single-payer
http://www.acainternational.org/products-healthcare-collection-statistics-5434.aspx
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100840148

Free College

I would like to clarify a misunderstanding I read tonight on The Odyssey. The author was arguing against why college shouldn’t be free to all students. I see the argument as fundamentally flawed. In an ideological society we would say there is enough scholarship and financial aid to go around, and go for everyone who wants it. As a current college student who is on campus, and living with people who are in financial need and apply to hundreds of different scholarships, I have watched some of these people be forced to turn down better opportunities due to financial reasons. I would like to clarify the misunderstandings about getting a free education regarding the psychological and economic aspects of it.

Before we begin, let me address the elephant in the room. If we have free college, it is going to be expensive for the taxpayers. According to The Atlantic, providing free college would cost the government approximately 62.6 billion dollars. This money constitutes an investment, which the government is making on the students in this country. Our populace, however will be more capable of paying into this system, since people will be making more money, and they will be moving up in tax brackets. This 62.6 billion dollar number also considers that every college loan is paid for, however, this will likely not be the case. The size of our yearly income is approximately 3525.2 billion dollars. Considering that sum of money, I feel we could find money somewhere, and prevent us from closing schools.

First, let us discuss the economics of this situation. Marginal Social Costs and Marginal Social Benefits are the costs and benefits people other than the consumer get from a product. Well the MSB of having every young person in America have a college degree is a drastic increase in our economic productivity. If you look at countries like Finland and Sweden, yes they are “socialist”, but they invest more money than anyone in the world into their kids, and it is paying dividends for them as they now have some of the best growing economies in the world. By creating a system where we invest into our workforce, our students, we create a stronger, and smarter America. If we are speaking in economics terms, we are going to shift the productions possibilities curve outward, allowing us to be a more productive economy and increasing our GDP.

The demand line for college has always been really high, which is why college acceptances to the top universities in the country have always been very selective, because people are going to apply to them and want to be part of the best education systems in the world however, our current university system has a limit to the number of students it can take in, making it supply inelastic. Due to this, we will have smarter people going to college. In the state of Georgia, they have a program called HOPE which provides college education to students who have earned it. The state pays 80-100% of the tuition of students who earn a GPA. Due to this, acceptance for state schools in Georgia is highly competitive. (As an aside, Georgia has some of the lowest test scores, but it also has the most students who take these exams, a testament to how much people value education.)

If College was free for everyone, the admissions would become increasingly more difficult since money is no longer a factor. You know that supply and demand I mentioned earlier? Well, this situation is considered supply inelastic, or the supply will not change. The demand on the other hand will go through the roof, so now colleges can take who they want, and good universities in the United States would be able to take only the best of the best. College then would definitely be something you “earn.” Another added point the article completely decided to ignore is the now heaps of people who are vying for your spot at these universities and waiting for you to fail out. If you look at Universities such as Harvard or MIT, they put students on a wait list, since they know their college will always be full since people want those top spots. They give students “after one year” or “after one semester” acceptance so they are free to kick people out, knowing they will always have a full university. If you made college free for everyone, then this would be spread to more universities. People who disrespect the opportunity they are given, lose it after their first semester or first year.

By saying we make college free, I am not saying we create a system where everyone gets a free college education regardless of which university they go to. Every state has one or two large universities which are renowned and well-known throughout. If we limit the opportunities for a free education to these universities, the supply I mentioned earlier will be even lower. This will leave smaller universities and private institutions as avenues for people who can afford them, and allowing people with money to have the ability to gain access to a good education system. In this system both parties, those who can afford it and those who can’t, are better off for it.

I know I mentioned earlier how scholarships are available to those who are in financial need, but the current system we have in place has dozens of loopholes which don’t allow people to gain money from it. Instead of creating a heavily discriminatory system which doesn’t pay out like it should, let us create a system which allows for people to gain the support they need. Scholarships are also not plentiful enough to allow students to graduate from college without staggering amounts of debt, and into a market which does not have readily available jobs for them.

Provide people an opportunity to get a better future, and don’t put a price tag, but allow them to get there with their own hard work and dedication. We will all be better for it.

 

Vikash

University of South Carolina

http://theodysseyonline.com/west-florida/college-isnt-meant-to-be-free/307016

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/heres-exactly-how-much-the-government-would-have-to-spend-to-make-public-college-tuition-free/282803/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_United_States_federal_budget