Recap of Jon Stewart’s Interview With Jim Cramer

March 13, 2009

I really liked Jon’s interview with Jim Cramer. Jon’s questions and video evidence of Jim bending the rules was terrific. But, Jon is pointing his blame at the wrong person. The blame in this are the investigative financial reporters, lies not just at CNBC, but every network that had a chance to expose more of the fraud.

Is CNBC at fault, sure it is. Is it more at fault than the CEO of Bear Stears, Wachovia, or Lehman Brothers? No. Are reporters more to blame than a clueless Federal Reserve or an incompetent Securities and Exchange Commission? Heck no. Those are the people he should be interviewing.

Jim Cramer is not really better than anyone else on Wall Street. He really does not pretend to be. He has taught me and many others a few things about the stock market. I have made money thanks to his recommendations, my research, and working with my financial planner. Anyone who just listens to his advice without doing any additional research is crazy. Could he have known more than he led on? Probably. But, even if he did, few would have listened. You can go back to my youtube clip on Peter Schiff where he was completely laughed at, click on the link if you don’t believe me. Most of us were making money and we were happy and did not care that we were skating on paper thin ice.

The stock market and the economy reminds of me of baseball in 2009. We knew years ago that these players (companies on Wall Street) were artificially juiced, but we really did not make a stink about it until it hurt us in our own pockets, or if someone hit 73 home runs in a single season that we did not personally like. We liked seeing McGwire belt out 70 in a year, even though we knew he was a fraud. He brought us to watch baseball again and the 500 foot homers were really cool. But, when Bonds was doing it, the red alerts went off. Over 100 baseball players, like Wall Street executives were nothing but pathological liars.

The people that Stewart should have asked his poignant questions are the CEO’s, and other executives that are actually in banking, not an entertainer. We can question and learn from the past, but we have to have the right people step forward and be honest. It is 2009, and the damage has been done, it is time for new ideas, honest solutions and never going back to the days of being sold a fraudulent house of cards. Interviewing Jim Cramer is about equal to interviewing Tim McCarver.

By the way, I loved how during the last commercial break there was a commercial for Bank of America. What a double standard, that is! Hey, we can pick on banks all we want, but we will take their advertising dollars! Welcome to the Daily $how!


HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE? YOU BET!

February 24, 2009

HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE?  YOU BET!  

My plan to change Health Care is one that is controversial, it would not be a
perfect fix, but I think we can do more with this plan than we could with the
current tragic climate of health care in America today.  

Health care has turned into Wealth Care.  The health insurance we have
covers us when we get ill, but we have it because we know without health
insurance and should we become seriously ill, there would be no way possible to
pay off the medical bills.  Health insurance has become not only something
to protect your health, but something to protect our wealth, and that is not
right.   

We should be able to take care of people who need health care.  If over
40 million Americans are not covered, this means the system is greatly
flawed.   I am not advocating a national health care plan, that would
be a disaster.  I know in Canada it can take 6 months or more just to get a
colonoscopy and I have heard from Canadians that I know that some come down
to the US to get a procedure like that done, because they cannot afford the wait.  

If you do have insurance, the pitfalls are endless.  Almost everyone I
know and have worked with as a Benefit Administrator has had a problem with
their insurance company denying something that has been authorized by a
physician.  With a majority of large health companies being publicly held;
the insurance companies have to choose between your care and their
profits.   I cannot tell you how many times an employee’s tests for
certain cancers have been denied, many of these tests cost less than
$1,000.  Yet, the insurance company will cover hundreds of thousands in
expenses for cancer treatment.  It is downright crazy.

Employers bare too much of the
burden on health care.  

Employers are baring too much of the burden on carrying health care for their
employees.  The costs to cover a single employee for a company can range
from $300 to over $500 per month.  More employers are increasing the
employee payroll deductions, employee doctor and hospital copays and
prescription copays.  It is their only option to fight off annual double
digit increases from the health insurance carriers.  Employers now have to
choose between giving larger raises or reducing the employee’s health
benefits.  It is not fair that an employee is dependent on their employer
and really does not have a fair say in the matter.  The new term of
employee-driven healthcare is nothing but a way to keep your deductible high and keep you from going to the doctor for something that may appear to be small but could be larger.  

LIGHTING UP FOR CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE

The first bill signed by President Obama into law on February 4th, was an
expansion of the SCHIP(State Children’s Health Insurance Program).  This bill allows an extra 4 million uninsured children to take part in the program.  The addition $32.8 billion to SCHIP is coming via the funding of the largest cancer-causing related death in men, and the second largest cancer-causing related death in women.  That cancer is lung cancer.  The government will receive that
$32.8 billion through just one method.  That method will be a 62 cent per pack increase in federal taxes on the purchase of a pack of cigarettes.  You
certainly will not hear these words ever uttered by a politician but, "The government needs smokers".  With the new federal tax on a pack of cigarettes, if you live in New York, the state with the highest per pack tax on cigarettes, the total amount you pay in taxes on a pack is $3.76, $1.01 to the
Federal government and $2.75 to the State.  If you are smoker, the government does not have the words to thank you enough.  If you see a smoker, do not look nasty at them, thank them for supporting the government’s plans better than any way possible besides the income tax.  

My question is how come cigarettes are the only item that gets overtaxed?  

I found a very good website on what each state government receives ingasoline, alcohol and tobacco tax revenue. Here is another good website to look
at just alcohol I wanted to get a closer look at the alcohol
taxes
.  The numbers are in gallons.  This is about the equivalent of a 12 pack of beer.  The state of Wyoming has not increased its $.02 per gallon of beer cost since 1935.  It would take 533 six-packs of beer to equal the tax revenue on a carton of cigarettes.  Only a handful of states have raised the beer tax this decade.  For every 12 pack of beer sold in the United States the average tax is about 20 cents. Now, I know what the critics will say, I pay enough taxes, are you suggesting that I pay more? 

First, the governments need to balance their budgets and cut wasteful spending, but that rarely ever happens.  We do pay our fair share in taxes and then some, but what I am saying is if we can generate more revenue without raising income taxes can we all have health care too?

What if the beer I am drinking not only quenches my thirst, but also helps pay for my medical coverage?  Now, that sounds like a pretty good deal, yes.  

LEGALIZE MORE GAMBLING AND THAT MARIJUANA, TOO

Last week, Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, a Democrat proposed to give
establishments with a liquor license the right to put video
poker machines
in their establishments.  Governor Rendell said that
this could generate about $550 million in revenue for the state.  Now, whether that is true in a struggling economy, remains to be seen.  There are critics to this, but I love it.  The one problem I have is that the bill will only benefit students from families making $100,000 or less.  I think that number should be increased to at least $250,000.  More residents should reap the benefit, and it would keep more students in the your own state, which in turn would mean more state revenues within the borders. 

There are millions of people who like to gamble, some of whom, only get to do it at casinos every so often.  My solution, legalize gambling online, and
legalize sports betting in all states.  Why is Nevada the only state where sports betting is legal?  

In 2006, Americans wagered an estimated $12
billion
wagered in the online gaming industry.  After 2006, broadband internet access became more prevalent and those who now had high-speed Internet
and wanted to gamble online, were either too afraid or did not really know how.  

As we have seen in the last few months, putting your money in the stock market may be the biggest risk of all. You have a better chance of getting struck by lighting 7 TIMES, before you can win the Mega Millions lottery
jackpot.  The odds of winning are over 175 million to one.  But, this form of gambling is completely legal!  Here are the complete lottery odds
for MegaMillions.  I guess because the state really does not mind that you have a better chance of marrying a multi-millionaire than you actually becoming one through their lottery.  

If we are allowed to play the lottery, a game with absolutely horrendous odds, why should we not be able to gamble online.  If the government can
reap the billions in revenue from online gaming

Oh, I know, this will lead to more gamblers becoming addicted and that would be unfortunate.  But, you know what there are hundreds of millions of addicted gamblers in America today.  It is each and every one of us who has any money in the stock market.  I tried to find a website or a toll-free number for support in assisting me in consoling me for my losses in my stocks
and retirement plans.  

I would make a fair wager to say that if someone was given a $1,000, to wager on sporting events, odds are pretty favorable that they would not lose most of
it, or would have a better chance of coming back with a nice return on their investment than if they used that money in the stock market or lottery in 2009.  If the government could receive not only the revenues from someone winning from online gaming, but by taking a percentage of the action (like a vig)
at the time of the bet, the amounts that would be coming into the coffers of this new health plan could be staggering.  

But it is completely legal that I can invest thousands and thousands of dollars every year into the stock market only to have it get shredded by some greedy pigs and by financial investors whom you could not trust with a dollar,
let alone billions.  You would not even want them to pick your lottery numbers, because with their knowledge they may not be intelligent enough to
understand how to even pick 6 numbers!  

I have not smoked pot since 1996, and I will never smoke pot again.  It is very addictive and can lead to other drugs.  But, then again so can
cigarettes and alcohol.  There are millions of Americans who enjoy as Adam Sandler would say, "Their marijuanaca", unfortunately this is still
deemed as an illegal activity and we do not reap much money in revenue from the pot smokers of the country.  The only revenues that come in, come from arrests and the fines that the local governments receive because of pot.

I have never paid for pot, and I would have no idea what a dime bag now costs on the street.  If it did cost $10, and the government made $2 on each dime
bag, how much revenue would that bring in?  If we taxed marijuana like we do cigarettes the windfall of money that would come in to each state would
likely be staggering.    

The money that would be received by the federal and state governments from these ventures would ONLY be used to fund our health care system.  There
would be no taking from Peter to pay Paul like our governments love to do. 

WILL THIS NEW HEALTH CARE PLAN BE FREE FOR EVERYONE?

Chances are, if you are still reading this; I have your attention.  So will this new plan be free for all?  The answer to that is no.  While
it would be nice to have a free health care system; it is not prudent. 
There needs to be at least a small hurdle to prevent this system from being completely ravaged by abuse.  The new plan will cost each American $50 per
month.  Children will be $25 per month per child.  A typical family of four is covered for $2,400 per year.  The money can be directly taken out
of your paycheck or it can be sent directly via the government, online or through the mail. 

Doctor visits will be a copay of $20. 

Prescription drugs will be $20 for a brand name prescription, and up to $10 for generics. 

Emergency Room visits are $50.   Overnight hospital visits up to a max of $200 per night.

A minimum of 75% of the hospitals and doctors in each state would be part of the network.  Pre-existing conditions will be extinct. 

If each person goes to the doctor twice a year for $40 in copays and has an annual prescription bill of $100 in copays per year, (these are very generic
figures), the amount money that would be collected would be $30 billion. 

Let’s say their are 200 million adult Americans who subscribe to the plan.  That would be a total of $120 billion in premiums.  If 50 million children are signed up in to the system that adds another $15 billion.  We would recoup the money from SCHIP, which we no longer be needed, that would be another $60 billion into the new system.  If you add in the costs that would be saved from each state having its own health care, and then the additional revenues from tobacco, alcohol, gambling, marijuana taxes; I think we could have a pretty good health care system taking shape and about as much money as was in either "stimulus" package to get this much needed
plan rolling.  

After one year on the plan, your account will be evaluated and depending on usage the monthly amount that you pay may increase or decrease.  The new
annual amount cannot exceed more than 50% of the prior’s year premium.  If you do not use the plan much, your premium will be decreased by an amount not to exceed 50%. 

WHAT IF I WANT MORE HEALTH CARE?

Opponents will say, oh great, public health care, you have just destroyed the system.  Actually, no.  It makes it fair for everyone.  There are
no free rides, but no one left out in the cold. Private companies will still be in business.  You would be fully eligible to purchase a plan with benefits
tailored to your needs in addition to the standard American plan. 
Insurance companies would be in the same situation they are with Medicare. 
There are many millions of Americans who have additional coverage through Medigap plans.  You would have the option to increase your coverage and be able to see any physician in that network you chose. 

Medicare will still exist. 

Employers will no longer bear the burden of health care and can save millions a year, which hopefully can lead to bigger raises for you and for me. 

There you have it.  Health care for everyone.  I did not even have to raise income taxes to get it.  In fact, I may have saved you some money,by not having to pay for health insurance at work where your deductions can be hundreds of dollars a month, alone.

I just gave you more of the things you wanted to do, but could not do legally in the past.  If this behavior makes you sick, you paid for your health
care and helped many more people along the way than what the system used to be.  Used to be you just ruined your life and did not help anyone else.