A Crazy World?

The Ryan Plan/Obamacare evolution!

For a while the world seemed crazy. But now it seems to be regaining equilibrium.

For example, all of the original talk about the Ryan Plan and the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) seemed crazy and upside down. Mr. Ryan said his plan was aimed at helping “society’s most vulnerable" and was based on Christian values. Of course it was exactly the opposite. It would have a devastating effect on seniors, the poor, etc. (i.e. “society’s most vulnerable”.) Yet at the start no one seemed to be challenging his assertions.

Similarly, with the Obamacare the original attacks were direct, savage, and strange.  Obamacare is a program that was originated in a conservative think tank as a response to Hilary Clinton's 'liberal' health plans, it was proposed by Republican Senators, and it was implemented by a Republican Governor in Massachusetts. (In fact Romney most recently praised a similar system in Israel.) Yet Republicans, like Rep Chris Smith (NJ 4th District), viciously attacked it saying, for example, that it is "the most misguided, unfair and radical health care restructuring law ever"... and "a blatantly unconstitutional policy." Again the original response seemed weak.

But now the Ryan Plan, which is tightly bound to the Republicans' Norquist pledge to never approve any increase in revenues, has been identified for what it is - unchristian like and fiscally unsound. Even Nuns, our most mild manner citizens, have taken it on the road (or on the bus!) against this plan. Simpson Bowles and other studies point out the impossibility of solving the nation’s debt problem without, at some point, increasing revenues. And retiring Senator Coburn admitted that the Republican’s 'starve the beast' strategy was a 'disaster' and their so-called ‘tax cuts’ were actually a “tax increase on the next generation”- since they simply increased the national debt.

Prompted by the initial public reaction to attacks on Obamcare, Republicans rushed to the Supreme Court with full confidence that their appointed conservative majority would deliver the goods. They were shocked when the SCOTUS coalition didn't hold.  Its conservative leader conservatively decided that the constitution and the other branches of government deserved respectful deference and that political disagreements should be solved at the ballot box. Almost as interesting was the coalition that rallied to support Obamacare. Virtually every healthcare, senior, and women's organization supported the act against, essentially, big business. Once the legal dust had settled people began to focus on the realities of the Act and have slowly come to understand and appreciate it.

Most recently prominent financial executives have spoken. The ‘father of megabanks’, Sanford (Sandy) Weill, and other financial industry executives admitted that banks had in fact become too big to fail. They grudgingly suggested that the legislation (e.g. The Gramm-Leach-Biley Act of 1999) unwinding the 1933 Glass Steagall Act was a mistake. My opponent, Rep Smith, was one who voted to repeal Glass Steagall.

I knew Sandy (and some other prominent financial industry executives) slightly from my days at American Express. At the time Amex owned Shearson Lehman which Sandy ran. He was a strong, smart, driven, and accomplished executive with a clear vision of growth for the business. Of course that didn't mean that vision was good public policy.

Sometimes the world still seems crazy. Over the years Rep Smith has voted for multiple wars, financial deregulation, and discredited fiscal plans. He has proudly voted against women's rights and healthcare reforms many times- and even against a resolution to free Nelson Mandela! So it does seem crazy that someone could have been so wrong, on so many big things, so many times, for so long, and still be re-elected. But there is another election coming and, as I said, the world seems to be regaining it equilibrium.



Brian Froelich

Candidate for Congress (NJ, 4th Dist.)



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Dentss Dunnagun August 21, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Don't worry, the 'fiscal cliff' will all be taken care of; have no fear, The Heritage Foundry blog reports, in that change, there are 18 new tax hikes on their way via Obamacare. Not only did the President and his partners in Congress take $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, but they also raise taxes by $836.3 billion to pay for it, with $36.3 billion hitting Americans in 2013 alone. Here’s the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation‘s (JCT) updated cost of the Obamacare tax hikes and penalties.
Brian Froelich August 22, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Dear Dense, a) You forgot to mention that Obamacare will reduce the deficit and the Republican plan to repeal it will increase the deficit. b)Of the $800 billion tax/revenue increase about $300 billion comes from a tax on payrolls amounts over $250K (like the little people pay), $100 Billion tax on Cadillac (expensive) health plans for executives, $100 billion on companies that don't provide health insurance,and $55 billion tax/penalty on individuals that don't buy health insurance. Which part makes your eyes tear? c) The $700 billion "out of medicare" come from suppliers (not individuals' benefits) like the excess profits of insurance companies on Medicare Advantage, and lower hospital reimbursement (since they will be getting more fees from the fact that more people will have insurance who didn't before), etc. These are the same savings that Paul Ryan claimed in his plan and, FYI, the hospital associations supported Obamacare. Also some of the money went back into better Medicare benefits- like no copay exams- that will produce better and lower cost health. I hope you are now a little less frightened and can go back to sleep.
ASimon August 22, 2012 at 01:56 AM
I am supporting Brian Froelich for Congress in the upcoming election. His opponent, Chris Smith sponsored H-3, a bill which distinguished between "rape" and forcible rape" in extending the Hyde Amendment which banned federal funding for abortions. This is not too different than the nonsense spewed by Rep. Akin of Missouri, and for which the entire Republican establishment has deemed him unfit for office. A woman's word is not good enough for Chris Smith when it comes to rape. Apparently you don't have to travel to the red states to find Congressmen with bizarre opinions about women's bodies.
So Much to Say August 22, 2012 at 02:18 AM
ASimon August 22, 2012 at 02:53 AM
We can't re-elect Smith if we didn't elect him to begin with. Many of us in Middletown have lost a great Congressman after the Congressional map was gerrymandered to favor Republicans and are now faced with the prospect of having a man who speaks of "rape" vs. "forcible rape" represent us in Congress. Wonder why Christie slammed Akin as reprehensible today for his views, but never a peep about Smith and his "forcible rape" comment? Too close to home?
Peter Koenig August 23, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Although a staunch Republican, I do not support the R&R health care proposals, and (because I'm a staunch Republican) I do support increased marginal income tax rates on high-income individuals. Here's an idea that neither party seems to have broached: abolish the corporate income tax, and replace the lost revenues with increased marginal rates on high-income individuals. (1) corporate taxes are regressive because they are independent of the income-level of individual shareholders; (2) corporate taxes and cognate deductions/credits/exemptions distort economic decision-making; (3) corporate taxes penalize the corporate form, whereas other business entities are not subject to separate taxation; (4) corporate taxes deter and penalize investment through double taxation. It's far more fair to tax dividends in the hands of individuals, at their respective marginal rates, than to tax corporations at a rate unrelated to the wealth of their shareholders, and tax the dividends again upon distribution. GOPers should agree because corporations create jobs; Democrats should agree because taxes should be based on individual ability to pay. Anybody?
J Bas August 23, 2012 at 04:41 PM
You're making too much sense for the masses to comprehend. Can you imagine the push back from the perception that the Evil Corporation doesn't pay taxes. I like it though.
John Jay August 23, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Armed IRS Agents Will Enforce Obamacare. Maine Governor calls them the new Gestapo: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/07/maine-governor-calls-obamacares-irs-agents-the-new-gestapo/
John Jay August 23, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Healthcare system administered by a LOADED GUN? What is wrong with you people? Are you going to have the same opinion when the IRS hunts down your friends and family, Brian?
John Jay August 23, 2012 at 05:16 PM
How about DEPORT the 30 MILLION ILLEGALS and then use the savings to fund a healthcare system for the poor?
Lisa August 23, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Mr. Froelich, I am wondering if your reply to "Dentss" was accidentally misspelled as "Dense?" Also, where in his/her post did he/she mention anything about insomnia? This is not trivial. I do not like insulting and demeaning posting behavior from anyone, much more so from a political candidate who we all want and need to try to trust. Such insulting posting behavior, I believe, kills or at least maims potential for illuminating and valuable, educational conversation.
Brian Froelich August 23, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Not a loaded gun. It is just a monetary penalty when you don't pay the bill for the cost of your health insurance. It was not considered crazy when it was proposed by the Republicans (Think tanks, Senators, Governor, etc.) and its not crazy now.
Brian Froelich August 23, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Peter, while some points are valid, I think it would also create distortions since it would create incentives to generate and maintain profits in corporate shelters rather than as individual or partnership (i.e. current) income and thus defer the tax- perhaps indefinitely.
John Jay August 23, 2012 at 07:48 PM
You are 100% wrong, Brian Froelich. The IRS has ARMED AGENTS that are charged with enforcing the tax laws in this country. Are you aware that the administration has also, via executive fiat, ordered that person(s) not paying their taxes on this or anything else for that matter, have their passports revoked. That revocation will be immediate based on ACCUSATION, not CONVICTION. What the heck kind of due process is that? If you think I am making this up, I will be glad to supply the exact law information.
John Jay August 23, 2012 at 07:52 PM
http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/5655 A new analysis by the Joint Economic Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee minority staff estimates up to 16,500 new IRS personnel will be needed to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses in the ‘reconciliation’ bill being taken up by the U.S. House of Representatives this weekend. ...
jerseyswamps August 23, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Mr. Froelich, so there is no chance doctors and other providers to those on medicare will simply stop taking medicare? Maybe a hospital can't turn down grandma who's in their E.R. but maybe she won't be able to to find a doctor or lab or an imaging site willing to take her if they can't make a decent profit to pay rent, staff, malpractice ins., etc.
Brian Froelich August 24, 2012 at 01:25 AM
JohnJay, most of the IRS agents I know have pens not guns. But I guess if you are planning to break the law, not pay money due to the US, and resist enforcement then you may have a concern. Re the passport issue, I believe you are talking about a bill passed by the Senate but not yet the House, not an executive fiat. In addition you have to be deliquent on a debt of more than $50,000 (a lot of insurance!), have been served a levy or lien (whose collection has not been suspended pending a due process hearing), and not have requested relief etc. In total, there is a proposed administrative process and it doesn’t seem a particularly unreasonable regulation.
John Jay August 24, 2012 at 08:26 AM
Brian: I know of you and your background. You are very intelligent and classy man. No debate there. Your support of these Obama healthcare laws laws and related pending bills is very alarming to me. Obama declared the healthcare plan was not a tax -- the Supreme Court said otherwise. I knew better because I read the bill -- he didn't fool me. The IRS enforcement provisions were there from DAY ONE. Obama and his minions knew this was a tax from day one. The power to tax is the power to destroy. Considering the Obama Administration is silent on the Department of Homeland Security buying 1 BILLIONS rounds of bullets that are banned under the Geneva Convention -- and has asked for 16,000 MORE IRS agents -- what am I to believe? I believe it will be enforced by the threat to use armed federal agents. If Obama is williing to violate the legal use of Excutive Orders in an unconstitutional move to "legalize" the children of illegal immigrants, then I can expect him to do that same if he is denied his Pelosi-sponsored IRS legislation. You're a businessman -- you could have easily have lien of $50K and not be a criminal -- but under the provisions of the bill, the IRS can seize your passport? What ever happened to due process??? (See: http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2012/04/07/forget-travel-if-you-owe-the-irs/)
John Jay August 24, 2012 at 10:01 AM
ASimon is 100% WRONG that redistricting favored Republicans. If anything, the recent redistricting PUNISHED Monmouth County because we were the PRIMARY FORCE that defeated Corzine's bid for governor. (By the way, Monmouth County is now THE Republican power base in NJ.) As for your specious claim: the recent redistricting of congressional districts was NOT the one favored by the Republican delegation that presented its case to the New Jersey Redistricing Commission.(http://www.njredistrictingcommission.org/default.asp) As far as "great Congressmen" go -- if you are claiming someone like Rush Holt is/was a "great Congressmen", your definition of "great" must mean you expect little to nothing from a congressman (as in Holt). Like I said before, I have nothing bad to say about Mr. Brian Froelich. He's a smart businessman and did a lot of good things for people in this area. I just find it hard to believe that Mr. Froelich, a man who gained so much from being a businessman in New Jersey, would support people that want to raise taxes and restrict our liberty. So in the marketplace of political ideas, I can't support Mr. Froelich political ambitions. I certainly wish him well in his business pursuits. RE: "ASimon 10:53 pm on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 We can't re-elect Smith if we didn't elect him to begin with. Many of us in Middletown have lost a great Congressman after the Congressional map was gerrymandered to favor Republicans"
Brian Froelich August 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM
JohnJay; First, thanks for your kind words. I appreciate that you are well informed and have some concerns. But I think you are taking some small facts and (unnecessarily) projecting large and dire consequences. I know that Obamacare is not a perfect piece of legislation. And it will be modified over time as most large legislation is. But everyone agrees that the current system doesn’t work. It is too expensive for the results we get and too many people are uninsured and at risk to themselves and society. So Obamacare is an effort and a step to deal with these issues in a reasonable way. (Remember it was originally a Republican idea.) While I don’t agree with everything that Obama does or with every piece of Obamacare, I don’t believe that the President has a malevolent intent. Similarly, while I disagree with much of what Romney and Ryan are saying and proposing, I don’t presume that they have malevolent intent. Nonetheless I think some of their vision and plans could be hurtful to society- or parts of it- or ineffective. Thank you for being interested, involved, and concerned about our government and our people.
John Jay August 24, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Thank you Mr. Froelich, this has been a good dialog.
jerseyswamps August 24, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Mr. Froelich, I see you are awake on this Friday morning. What about my comment above? What good is medicare if there are very few providers willing to accept the cuts Obamacare will force medicare providers to accept? Grandma will have to wait weeks or months to see one of the few doctots willing to accept her payment from medicare.
Brian Froelich August 24, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Jerseyswamps; OK, you caught me at the computer! First, much of the cuts are to insurance companies (for some excess profit they make on Medicaid advantage premiums) and other similar things. On the hospitals, I sat on a hospital board. Many of the people who come to the hospital today have no or inadequate insurance. So hospitals have to depend on the charitable and financial ability of the state to reimburse them for this care. With Obamacare many more people will have insurance and there will be more total reimbursement to the hospitals and less dependence on the state. The issue of what Doctors and others get paid is different and exists today under Medicare/Medicaid. It is an ongoing discussion/issue and not much changed by Obmaacare. But, as a minimum and similar to hospitals, they will have more patients with insurance and some ability to pay. Please remember that the Doctors (AMA), Nurses (ANA) and most hospital associations supported Obamacare. .Hope this answers your question- now for some coffee!.
Peter Koenig August 24, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Mr. F: thanks for your comments. I doubt that profits will accumulate unreasonably in corporate solution: the basic aim of individual investment is to obtain individual profits. A corp. with inflated retained earnings would see its stock price dip in competition with "distributing" corps. If it's a concern, consider a sort of corporate Thellusson Act (preventing unreasonable accumulations, as is now the case for trusts).
jerseyswamps August 24, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I understand supporters of Obamacare say more people will have insurance and so will be able to go to doctor. And hospitals will not get stuck with unpaid bills from treating those with no insurance. All that is nice if true. But, the health care industry that focuses on the elderly and looks for payment from medicare is going to take a huge hit. The doctors, labs, imaging sites, medical supplies, etc. are all going to be paid less. $715,000,000,000.00 less for those who care for the elderly so Obamacare can be given (forced?) on everyone else.
ASimon August 25, 2012 at 05:32 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/new-jersey-tilts-redistricting-battle-toward-gop/2011/12/27/gIQAHmEnKP_blog.html If I am 100% wrong about Republicans winning the redistricting battle, I have alot of company, including every newspaper and blog (left leaning or right leaning). I urge anyone with doubts to do their own research and draw their own conclusions. But I do agree that as a Monmouth County resident I feel "punished" in facing the probablity I will have Chris Smith as a Congressman if residents reflexively pull the "R" level this November. BTW Mr. Froelich, I have seen firsthand the mailer Chris Smith sent out with that over the top language about the Affordable Care Act. For some reason, he chose not to mention, HR-3 and his use of the words "forcible rape" in that legislation which he sponsored. . It's hard to understand why Rep. Akin of Missouri is being pressured to bow out of his race by the Republican party when similar words and thoughts about women's rights are tolerated right here in NJ.
John Jay August 25, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Chris Smith and Anna Little should probably book their flights now and see if they can ride next to each other for when they get sworn in come 2013. ASimon -- Chris Smith is punishment??? How about the two do-nothing Congressmen like Pallone and Holt who have done Z-E-R-O for the Monmouth/Middlesex/Ocean county area?? Name ONE THING Pallone or Holt did -- and not just an opinion -- a DIRECT cause and effect relationship -- name ONE PIECE of legislation they sponsored or co-sponsored that they did to: * INCREASE federal dollars to New Jersey; * DECREASE federal taxes; * SUPPORT the Constitution with respect to the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendment (there all important -- but the horrible record they have will speak volumes in my next post).


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