Tuesday, May 27, 2008

O-Surance (Insurance based on Obama's understanding of economic principles)

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Ammendments I'd like to see to the "OPEC Accountability Act"

Some ammendments I'd like to see to the "OPEC Accountability Act"


2d Session

S. 2976
To require the United States Trade Representative to pursue a complaint of anticompetitive practices against certain oil exporting countries members of Congress.


May 6, 2008
Mr. LAUTENBERG (for himself, Mr. DORGAN, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. CASEY, Mr. SANDERS, and Mrs. CLINTON) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance


To require the United States Trade Representative Department of Justice to pursue a complaint of anticompetitive practices against certain oil exporting countries members of Congress.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `OPECCongressional Energy Accountability Act'.


Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Gasoline prices have more than quadrupled since January, 2002, with crude oil recently trading at more than $119 per barrel for the first time ever.

(2) Rising gasoline prices have placed an inordinate burden on American families.

(3) High gasoline prices have hindered and will continue to hinder economic recovery.

(4) The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC ) The House and Senate of the United States (Congress) has formed a cartel and engaged in anticompetitive practices to manipulate the price of oil, keeping it artificially high.

(5) Eight member nations of OPEC --Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela--are also members of the World Trade Organization. Algeria, Iran, Iraq, and Libya are also Observer Governments of the World Trade Organization. Members of the Democratic Party in Contress are also United States citizens.

(6) The agreement among OPEC member nations to limit oil exports is an illegal prohibition or restriction on the exportation or sale for export of a product under article XI of the GATT 1994. The agreement among members of the Democrat and Republican parties to limit production of United States resources is anticompetitice in a free-market society.

(7) The export quotas moratoriam on domestic drilling and resulting high prices harm American families, undermine the American economy, impede American and foreign commerce, and are contrary to the national interests of the United States.


(a) Definitions- In this Act:

(1) GATT 1994- The term `GATT 1994' has the meaning given such term in section 2(1)(B) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 3501(1)(B)).

(2) UNDERSTANDING ON RULES AND PROCEDURES GOVERNING THE SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES- The term `Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes' means the agreement described in section 101(d)(16) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 3511(d)(16)).


(A) IN GENERAL- The term `World Trade Organization' means the organization established pursuant to the WTO Agreement.

(B) WTO AGREEMENT- The term `WTO Agreement' means the Agreement Establishing The World Trade Organization entered into on April 15, 1994.

(b) Action by President-

(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the President shall, not later than 15 days after the date of enactment of this Act, initiate consultations with the countries parties described in paragraph (2) to seek the elimination by those countries parties of any action that--

(A) limits the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product;

(B) sets or maintains the price of oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product; or

(C) otherwise is an action in restraint of trade with respect to oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product, when such action constitutes an act, policy, or practice that is unjustifiable and burdens and restricts United States commerce.

(2) COUNTRIES PARTIES DESCRIBED- The countries parties described in this paragraph are the following:

(A) Indonesia.

(B) Kuwait.

(C) Nigeria.

(D) Qatar.

(E) The United Arab Emirates.

(F) Venezuela.

(G) Ecuador.

(H) Saudi Arabia.

(A) Democrat.

(B) Republican.

(c) Initiation of WTO Congressional Dispute Proceedings- If the consultations described in subsection (b) are not successful with respect to any country described in subsection (b)(2), the United States Trade Representative Department of Justice shall, not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, institute proceedings pursuant to the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes with respect to that country member of Congress and shall take appropriate action with respect to that country member of Congress under the trade remedy criminal code laws of the United States.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Want O-surance

Health Insurance

Something I don't get about Obama's "Health Insurance" program. He said that he wants everybody who wants to buy insurance to be able to buy it. He also said that insurance should cover pre-existing conditions. So, if I'm healthy, I don't want to buy it and I won't. But if I get cancer or need a heart transplant, guess what, I'm buying it and the good news is that it has to cover my cancer or transplant. Am I missing something -- the only organization that would take on a scheme where they are guaranteed to pay out more than they take in is the government. oh. . . wait. . . I get it now.

Auto Insurance

I also want to be able to buy auto insurance from the O-surance company. You don't have to have it to drive. But if you do buy it, it has to cover pre-existing accidents. So I won't buy it until I have an accident, which the insurance then has to cover.

Homeowners Insurance

And I want to be able to buy the O-surance homeowners policy that pays for pre-existing tornado, hurricane or earthquake damage.

Mortgage Insurance

Can I also get a mortgage insurance policy that will pay my mortgage if, for some unforeseeable reason (like, say, a change in market conditions). This should also cover pre-existing conditions. And I don't think I should even have to pay a premium for this insurance. oh. . . wait. . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why "Gay Marriage" will lead to "Universal Health Care"

The main problem I have with the California Supreme Court redefining marriage is the slippery slope arguement. On TV we have seen gay relationships portrayed as normal. Now on HBO, the series Big Love treats polygamy as normal.

So since there is no state interest in denying gay marriages, what is the arguement for denying other definitions of marriage? Why shouldn't a man be allowed to marry three women? Why cannot three men marry five women? I predict a court case soon that will challenge the polygamy rule and that based on this precident, polygamy, in all its forms and fashions, will be allowed. And just think of the work for divorce lawyers! What if one person wants out of the marriage, but the others do not. How do you go about determining who gets what in a divorce settlement? Oh what fun!

Now, lets move to work-place benefits, specifically healthcare. My healthcare insurance plan has a family option that allows me to claim my wife and my children. (Note, my employer's plan also allows for "domestic partner" benefits already).

If I had three legal wives and ten children, would my company be compelled to provide insurance to all of them? My wife's sister does not have nearly as good of a medical plan as I do, so can I marry her also so she and her kids can benefit from the better insurance? I suppose these insurance plans already have restrictions in place that only allow one named spouse or domestic partner, but would that not be discriminatory? Insurance companies will begin dropping family coverage policies pretty darn quick, I would think. Luckily the government will be there for us so it can provide coverage for those who are dropped by evil Big Insurance.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Increasing Taxes on CEOs -- Who will it Hurt?

Saw this little bit on Townhall:


(I don't remember exactly where I heard or read the following supposition, but it is not original to me. It's also a very, very simplified look at corporate boards, but it is usefull, nonetheless).

But, lets look at how CEO salaries get set. Many corporate boards are comprised of CEOs (and other corporate bigwigs) of other companies. The Boards typically set the CEOs salaries. And, finally, the whole CEO/Board relationship tends to be a bit incestuous, corporately speaking, that is.

Imagine five companies named A, B, C, D & E. It doesn't matter what industry these companies are in. Now each company has a CEO coincidently named CEO-A, ... CEO-E.

For simplicity's sake, let's say each company has three members on its Board. So Company A's Board consists of CEO-B, CEO-C & CEO-D. Company B's Board consists of CEO-C, CEO-D & CEO-E, and so on. S Company E's Board consists of CEO-A, CEO-B & CEO-C. Thus, each CEO sits on three other Companies' Boards.

Now, when it's compensation time, Company A's board meets and agrees that CEO-A is doing at least an average to better-than-average job, so his new compensation should be about or slightly more than his peers. So round-and-round it goes and each CEO gets their "reasonable" compensation.

Let's throw in the new Obama Tax. Company A's Board (who's members are also CEOs and know that the tax will hit them also) meets and decides that CEO-A's compensation needs to be increased to pay for the additional Obama Tax. The other four companies' boards (comprised of the same CEOs) do the same for their respective CEOs.

One of the major complaints against CEO's is that the make many multiples of the "lower" earners in their companies. But, the Obama Tax will actually increase this multiple! You can bet that the average worker will not get the same percentage compensation increase as the CEO -- after all they're not affected by the Obama Tax, so why would they? What are the other consequences of the increased CEO Salary to offset the Obama Tax? The company will either have to cut costs (i.e. people) or increase the cost of their product or service.

Does Obama think through his positions or does he just throw 'em out there like a rider on a Mardi Gras float? (Sorry, being from New Orleans, I have to use analogies that are cogent to me).

Now let's throw in some numbers to make it more real. Let's say that CEO-A's before tax compensation is an even mil. And Joe Worker at Company A makes $50 grand. That means that the CEO makes twenty (20) times what Joe makes. Now we'll put the CEO's tax burden at 25% (given all of those darned rich-people loopholes) and Joe's tax burden at 15%. So their respective take home pays are $75o,000 and $42,500. Company A's Board wants to make sure that the CEO's take home remains the same with the new Obama Tax rate of, say 35%. So the CEO's pre-tax pay becomes $1,154,000. Now, lets give both the CEO and the employee a 5% COLA raise. New before tax salaries are $1,212,000 and $52,500, respectively. But look at the ratio -- instead of being 20 times, its 23 times. Won't this increase the resentment of the common folk even more?

Monday, May 5, 2008

My kind of green

Just enjoying the backyard on a spring afternoon yesterday. Look at all of the shades of green in the trees
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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Less Global Warming, More Climate Change

An update to a prior post. The number of media references (per Google News Archive Search) of the term "global warming" alone is down to 25% of those articles that contain the term "global warming", "climate change" or both. But those that mention "climate change" alone is up to 50%.