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The Republicans In Congress Have Betrayed Us Again

I guess by now we should be accustomed to politicians lying to us.

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I guess by now we should be accustomed to politicians lying to us. For years, Republicans have been promising to repeal Obamacare if we would just give them control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. We did that, and now they are breaking that promise. Because even if “Obamacare 2.0” miraculously gets through the Senate, most of the essential elements of Obamacare will survive. If you look at the latest Senate bill, most of the Obamacare subsidies are still in there, many of the Obamacare taxes are still in there, and most of the Obamacare regulations are still in there. On top of everything else, the bill would create an absolutely massive health insurance company bailout superfund, and that is something that the Democrats never even dared to do. The bill being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wouldn’t actually fix much of anything, and it certainly cannot be called a “repeal” of Obamacare.

I have said this before, and I will say it again. The Republicans got a bill to repeal Obamacare through Congress and on to Barack Obama’s desk in early 2016. Obama vetoed that bill, but now the Republicans should take that exact same bill and get it to Donald Trump’s desk.

Of course repealing Obamacare won’t fix our deeply broken health care system. But it would be a giant step in the right direction.

So why won’t the Republican do it?

Instead, they are trying to “fix” Obamacare, and that is about as futile as trying to “fix” a steaming pile of garbage.

In a recent editorial, Rand Paul explained why he cannot support this bill

The Senate Obamacare bill does not repeal Obamacare. Not even close.

In fact, the Senate GOP bill codifies and likely expands many aspects of Obamacare.

The Senate Obamacare-lite bill codifies a federal entitlement to insurance. With the Senate GOP bill, Republicans, for the first time, will signal that they favor a key aspect of Obamacare – federal taxpayer funding of private insurance purchases.

The bill will transfer billions of dollars to people who will then transfer billions of dollars to insurance companies. What a great business model – encourage the federal government to use taxpayer money to buy a private company’s product. Great business model, that is, if you are Big Insurance. Remarkable.

The Senate Obamacare-lite bill does what the Democrats forgot to do – appropriate billions for Obamacare’s cost-sharing reductions, aka subsidies. Really? Republicans are going to fund Obamacare subsidies that the Democrats forgot to fund?

Since it looked like the first version of the bill was destined to fail, Mitch McConnell released a new version of the bill today which includes even more government spending and interference

Seeking to quell a revolt from more than one-fifth of his conference, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to forego two significant tax cuts for the wealthy and instead pour hundreds of billions of dollars back into the proposal he released two weeks ago. There’s now $45 billion to combat opioid addiction and even more funding to help mitigate higher insurance costs for low-income people and to stabilize the individual markets. An additional $70 billion would go to states to to help drive down premiums, on top of $112 billion that was in the original proposal. McConnell’s target was senators toward the center of the Republican ranks, who represented the largest bloc of opposition to his first legislative draft.

This version is almost certainly destined to fail as well, because Rand Paul and Susan Collins have already come out against it, and McConnell can only afford to lose one more vote.

If a Republican bill cannot get through the Senate, McConnell is already talking about a bipartisan effort that would involve cooperation with the Democrats. And of course the Democrats will want to keep as much of Obamacare as they possibly can.

So at the end of the day it looks like we are going to end up with either “Obamacare”, “Obamacare 2.0” or “a new and improved version of Obamacare”.

Did we really spend all of that time, effort and energy getting Republicans elected for this?

Time after time these professional politicians use labels such as “Republican”, “conservative” and “Pro-Life” to get elected, but then once they get into office they betray our values over and over again.

When are we going to start electing real conservatives instead of placeholders? When the Democrats get power, they aggressively move their agenda forward, but when Republicans get power nothing too significant ever seems to change.

If I get the chance to go to Washington, I plan to be a wrecking ball. Party leaders like Mitch McConnell won’t like that very much, but if we can get enough good people elected in 2018 the Republicans will have entirely new leadership soon enough.

Health care is an issue that deeply affects all of us. So many middle class families have seen their health insurance premiums go up by hundreds of dollars a month, and that can be absolutely crippling for a family budget. At one point a health insurance company tried to double what I was paying per month, and so I can definitely relate to what so many others are going through.

We have got to dramatically lower health care costs. That means that we need substantial legal reform so that the cost of malpractice insurance goes way down, we need to remove as many “paper pushers” from the system as possible, and we need to restore as much competition to the system on every level as possible.

The health care system should be built around doctors and patients. There is way, way too much bureaucracy in the system right now, and lots of people that are never directly involved in providing health care are becoming exceedingly wealthy as a result.

Ronald Reagan once famously said that “government is the problem”, and this is another case where that phrase rings so true.

If you take the shackles off, the free market system actually works extremely well, but these days both parties seem to want to constantly drag us toward socialism.

If we do nothing, they will win, and that is why we need to stand up and fight for what we believe while we still can.

Photo: Ania Mendrek Capitol Hill via photopin (license)

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Trump Says He Will Make A “Major Statement” When He Returns To The US

After a 12-day tour through five Asian countries where he discussed the threat posed by North Korea and how America might shrink its massive trade deficits, President Donald Trump is heading back to the US Tuesday. And in true Trump fashion, the president hinted that he would be making a “major announcement” upon his return to the states – but offered no clues about what the topic of said “announcement” might be.

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After a 12-day tour through five Asian countries where he discussed the threat posed by North Korea and how America might shrink its massive trade deficits, President Donald Trump is heading back to the US Tuesday. And in true Trump fashion, the president hinted that he would be making a “major announcement” upon his return to the states – but offered no clues about what the topic of said “announcement” might be.

Here’s the tweet, sent around 1 a.m. Eastern Time:

Of course, there’s a lot happening in Washington right now, and Trump’s hinted-at announcement could be in reference to one of any number of issues. Will he deliver an update on the administration’s position regarding tax reform as two bills that differ in dramatic fashion wend through Congress? Perhaps some type of security announcement? Or the revelation that the US has finally entered into talks with North Korea after Trump adopted a notably softer tone toward his favorite Asian antagonist over the weekend?

There’s also the possibility that he could deliver an official statement about Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who Trump previously said should “do the right thing” and step aside if allegations about him having inappropriate sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl turn out to be true?

Shortly before his teaser tweet about the upcoming announcement, the president hinted that he had made some major breakthroughs on behalf of the US’s trading relationship in the region, claiming that the US’s regional partners now understand that trade deficits “most come down”?

The president also took the time to thank the staff of the US embassy in the Phillipines for doing such “GREAT WORK” during his visit. Strangely, similar praise for other US embassies in the region was not forthcoming.

He also took a swing at polls that reflect a presidential approval rating below 40%, pointing to a Rassmussen poll that puts his approval rating at a reasonable 46%…

With the House gearing up to pass its version of the tax reform program on either Thursday or Friday, it’s possible Trump could be taking to the bully pulpit to try and whip up votes among intransigent blue-state Republicans. Or the announcement could be on any one of a number of topics. North Korea, trade, tax reform, the upcoming Alabama special election – all are priorities for the White House and the Republican Party right now.

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The Price Swings In Bitcoin Are Making Me Sick To My Stomach

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Well, that de-escalated quickly…

All the hopes and dreams of Bitcoin Cash officianados have been dashed in the last 24 hours. After its mega spike from $600 to over $2400, the forked cryptocurrency has crashed back to around $1000 overnight as traders switch back to the mainstream Bitcoin branch, sending it surging back above $6600 – erasing all the weekend’s “the end is nigh” losses…

As CoinTelegraph reports, cross-exchange data for Bitcoin Cash, which describes itself as “the best money in the world,” shows a swift turnaround in the altcoin’s fortunes through the weekend.

The result of a giant publicity effort from its proponents, BCH saw mass investment as it heads towards a potentially contentious hard fork set for just after 7 p.m. GMT today.

The failure of SegWit2x, coupled with endorsement from the soon-to-be-defunct Bitcoin Classic team meant BCH became the major ‘competitor’ to Bitcoin overnight.

Its rapid rise has ignited the community, with widespread condemnation of lead supporters Roger Ver and Jihan Wu coming in tandem with public praise from Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.

As BCH approached its highest-ever point Nov. 11, Buterin delivered his “congratulations” to Ver on Twitter, adding it was a “key reason why he is now so confident in crypto.”

Criticism meanwhile has focused on the ‘corporatized’ nature of BCH in contrast to Bitcoin’s decentralization, while figures involved insist the altcoin is an improvement on Bitcoin.

The project even has a CEO in the form of Finnish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge, who released a statement aimed at harmonizing its structure.

“…As Chief Executive Officer of this disorganization with made-up titles, where every document is as official as people pretend it to be, I further emphasize that we cannot resolve social disputes by voting, for two reasons: first, there is no boundary on the electorate that determines who gets to vote, which creates winning by trickery rather than by argument, and second, we don’t want to vote anyway.”

But that is all over for now…

As Bitcoin soars back above $6600…

Leaving Bitcoin Cash about half the market cap of Ethereum once again…

So what happens next?

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7 Quotes That Sum Up Buffett’s Entire Strategy

Unlike other highly successful value investors, Buffett spends a large amount of time doing interviews. There have also been thousands of articles written about him and possibly hundreds of books.

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Warren Buffett is the world’s greatest and most prominent value investor.  Unlike other highly successful value investors, Buffett spends a large amount of time doing interviews. There have also been thousands of articles written about him and possibly hundreds of books.

Not only is Buffett the world’s most successful investor, he is also the investing world’s biggest celebrity. In some ways, this success has been a doubled-edged sword.

Since Buffett is a larger-than-life celebrity, his interviews stray away from the topic of investing. At the same time, he has produced so many sound bites on the topic of investing, many have lost their true meaning. For instance, almost all investors know Buffett’s first two rules — “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” More often than not, however, I have seen this interpreted as “If I don’t sell, I don’t lose money” — clearly not the right viewpoint at all.

So considering all of the above, in this article I have tried to pull together seven quotes I believe best describe Buffett’s investment process and give essential insight into how the average investor should look for value and high-quality investments. These are not one-liners, they are specifically picked to give as much detail as possible.

How to pick the best businesses:

“I like businesses I can understand. We’ll start with that. That narrows it down about 90%. There are all kinds of things I don’t understand, but fortunately, there’s enough I do understand. You got this big, wide world out there. Almost every company is publicly owned. You got all American business, practically, available to you. Now, to start with, it doesn’t make sense to go with things you think you can[‘t] understand. But you can understand some things. I can understand this (picks up can of Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)). I mean you can understand this. Anybody can understand this. I mean this is a product that basically hasn’t been changed much since 1886, and it’s a simple business. It’s not an easy business. I don’t want a business that’s easy for competitors. I want a business with a moat around it with a very valuable castle in the middle. And then I want the duke who’s in charge of that castle to be honest and hard-working and able. And then I want a big moat around the castle, and that moat can be various things.

The moat in a business like our auto insurance business at GEICO is low cost. I mean people have to buy auto insurance so everybody’s going to have one auto insurance policy per car, basically, or per driver. And I can’t sell them 20, but they have to buy one. What are they going to buy it on? They’re going to buy it based on service and cost. Most people will assume the service is fairly identical among companies, or close enough, so they’re going to do it on cost, so I gotta be the low-cost producer. That’s my moat. To the extent my costs get further lower than the other guy, I’ve thrown a couple of sharks into the moat.”

 



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