Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Truth About Obamacare, Thoughts on Corporations, Guns, a Cell Phone Reminder and Sid Waxes Poetic


The Truth About Obamacare

Those who unsuccessfully fought the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and are embittered by the Supreme Court’s affirming that it is constitutional are doing their best to hamper its implementation by (1) Congressional efforts to deny the Act the funds it needs to operate (defunding) and  (2) individual state efforts to prevent the Act’s “educational” provisions from being carried out by “navigators.”  Meanwhile, Obamacare’s opponents are spreading lies designed to confuse people and make it unpopular.  HERE IS THE TRUTH ABOUT OBAMACARE!

Medicare Enrollees: If you are covered by Medicare, you do not have to do anything!  Your Medicare coverage continues, and in fact is improved with the addition of free preventive benefits, cancer screenings and an annual wellness visit along with discounts on brand-name prescription drugs for those in the Part D "donut hole."  Any Medicare Supplement programs you are purchasing are not changed by the Affordable Care Act. Similarly, if your Medicare comes via a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) or you subscribe to a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan, there are no changes other than the improvement mentioned above.  In short, Obamacare does not require Medicare enrollees to do anything. 

If you are not enrolled in Medicare, however, you have some important choices to make.  For a clear and understandable explanation of what course of action would be most beneficial to you and your family, I urge you to visit www.healthcare.gov.   If you have relatives who are not enrolled in Medicare, please let them know about this very informative website.  And of course, do not fall prey to unsolicited telephone calls from those interested in selling you coverage supposedly required by the Affordable Care Act.  Visit www.healthcare.gov.
Jack Lippman


In some synagogues, the service for Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of Atonement, includes a section of prayers devoted to what is called the Martyrology, where stories are told of those who, throughout history, gave their lives for their faith.  That portion of the Martyrology devoted to those whose lives were lost in the Holocaust is marked with the simple listing of the names of the death camps where those lives were sacrificed:  “Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Treblinka, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Therisenstadt” … the tearful litany continues on.

We are developing a similar litany in our country memorializing those whose lives have been lost because of the availability of weapons here:  “Blacksburg VA, Austin TX, Killeen TX, Columbine CO, Aurora CO, Newtown CT,” and now, “the Washington Navy Yard.” The tearful litany continues on.  The Second Amendment to the Constitution preserves the right of citizens to bear arms, and in doing so, makes them available to the unbalanced and those with evil intent.  I hope, and pray, that this litany of massacres comes to an end, just as we hope the litany of the names of concentration camps has ended.  

Unfortunately, legislation to bring about improvements in gun control will not come about until Representatives and Senators are able to vote for them without fear of losing in the next election because of the vast number of gullible voters in their districts who mindlessly believe the poisonous lies spewed out by the National Rifle Association. 

Is "Corporation" a Dirty Word?

Whenever I hear someone, usually a liberal left-winger on a TV channel other than Fox, complaining about the ills of our economy, they tend to use the word “corporation” or the word “corporate” in an almost pejorative way.  They talk about “corporate greed” and the bad things corporations do such as closing plants, overpaying executives, underpaying employees, charging as much as they can get, outsourcing jobs, etc.

  Sometimes, such critics give you the feeling that making money, making a profit at whatever you do, is immoral.  If you make a lot of money, you must have taken it from the pockets of others, and that somehow makes you a bad person.  No it doesn’t.  You were just trying to make a profit.  But more about that later.  Let’s get back to the unjustified pejorative use of the word “corporation.”

First, let’s get it straight!  “Corporation is not a bad word.”  A business usually takes one of three forms:  It can be a sole proprietorship owned by one person, it can be partnership of which there are several varieties (such as limited or general partnerships) or it can be a corporation, of which there also are several varieties (sub-chapter C or S corporations, limited liability corporations, etc.).  There are other structures businesses can take on such as that of a professional association, usually designated by the letters PA appearing after the names of banks or medical practices taking this form.  For legal reasons, most large businesses operate as corporations.  This makes it possible for them it to have many shareholders owning it and operate as an entity separate from its ownership interests.  Okay?  Enough of Business Law 101.

Regardless of what form any business takes, its primary objectives are to maximize its income and minimize its expenses, and that applies to non-profit enterprises as well.   

Make no mistake!  Profit, the difference between income and expenses, is good!  It is what makes a free enterprise economy work in providing jobs as businesses grow and giving financial benefits to those who have risked their money by becoming shareholders or lent the business money as bondholders.  

As I have said, most large businesses operate as corporations.  It is the most efficient way for them to succeed.  Despite their frequent efforts to be good “corporate” citizens, their primary objective is to maximize their bottom line, their profits.  There is nothing immoral about their doing so, and this includes utilizing any and all advantages in regard to taxation and otherwise, that the laws provide to businesses, including corporations.  Ask any businessman if he can do anything he wants in the name of maximizing his profits and he will laugh at you, pointing out the vast number of government agencies dedicated to regulating businesses of all kinds, particularly corporations, to assure they are run in a fair and honest manner.  

We do not live in a communist state where all businesses, the means of production, are owned by the government.  We do not live in a fascist corporate state where all businesses are tightly regulated so that they operate solely for the good of the state.  The profit motive is absent in such scenarios.  That is why they fail.  The capitalist free enterprise system which we have works.  And maximizing profit is the key to its operating successfully. As I have said, “Make no mistake!  Profit is good!”  And “corporation” is not a dirty word.  It’s just the structure in which most large American businesses have chosen to operate.

    The big guys                                                                           

  Mom and Pop

To some critics, the word “corporation” conjures up an image of expensively-suited businessmen in a wood paneled board room making ruthless decisions directed at maximizing their business’ profits at any cost. 

But really, how different is this from the owners of a mom and pop grocery store, however it might be structured, making the same kinds of decisions directed at maximizing their business’ profits?   If such critics want “corporation” to be a dirty word, then all forms of businesses trying to maximize profits, be they corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships or PAs, are equally subject to condemnation. Then the “dirty” word is no longer “corporation,” but rather “business” in general.   I doubt that critics of corporations want to go that far.  So when you hear someone on TV or radio condemning “corporations” or making the adjective "corporate" sound like something evil, take what they are saying with a grain of salt … and try to focus on the criticism itself rather than the offending business’ structure.

Your thoughts on this subject are appreciated, for publication or otherwise.

Cell Phone Reminder

Years ago, when I got my first cell phone, the primary motivation for my doing so was to make sure I had a means of communicating if I encounted car trouble somewhere other than in my driveway.  That remains a good reason for keeping your phone with you when you leave your home, driving off somewhere.  All too often, however, my phone remains in the house, perhaps being charged, or just sitting on my desk, when I leave. Sometimes I just forget to take it with me. This is particularly true when my outing is a short one, perhaps to a golf course or to a nearby store.  But an automobile mishap is just as likely to occur on a short trip as on a long one.  So, to remedy this, I have affixed a reminder to my steering wheel, pictured below.  Maybe it will help.


Sid's Corner 

(See the photos of Oliver and Isabelle in the blog's last posting on September 13.  They moved Sid to take pen in hand and wax poetic.)  JL



Sid Bolotin

They met as youngsters

On my son’s farm

Romping through fields and gardens

Chasing the chickens

Becoming good friends, good buddies

Morphing into lovers when Izzy came of age

And now in her first pregnancy

Giving birth

Blind, deaf, wet, rat-like

Adorable puppies

Sans instruction she knew what to do

Each placenta, embryonic sac, and cord

Innately dealt with by her tongue and teeth

Ten teats for thirteen hungry mouths

From huge to runt vying for nourishment

The four foot square birthing box big enough for now

Room for her to lay down for eager access by her pups

A miracle to watch

And Oliver the sire looking at his progeny

Lacking only a lit cigar in his grinning mouth 

Proud papa that he is

Of thirteen new-born Golden Retrievers


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Jack Lippman



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