Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

  
Comment of the Day
The Editorial Board should have no opinion

Jul 11, 2020

The WSJ Editorial Board expressed its opinion about the case of Michael Flynn. It does not matter what they said; in my book, the Editorial Board should have no opinion on any topic. Editorial boards’ job is not to lecture, but to facilitate views from individuals who can present valid arguments. The Editorial Board's job at the WSJ is to guarantee to me, a subscriber, that the different opinions presented are fact-checked. I pay a subscription for the WSJ because I do not have the time nor the means to fact-check whatever is written and posted on the internet. I do not pay for the subscription to be brainwashed by whatever the self-anointed authority of the Editorial Board believes is right. I can make my judgment based on the facts and their interpretation by other individuals.

PREVIOUS COMMENTS
More parenting is needed
Aug 01, 2019
Peter Gray in Psychology Today advises for less parenting. The problem is exactly the opposite: There is not enough parenting. In the past, when most of our ancestors lived in self-supporting households, often a farm, out of necessity, children were an integral part of whatever adults needed to do during their daily life, and they learned that way. Now, we do not need to do as much at home. Work is outside the home, food is brought in, heat is turned on and off, and mysteriously magical, colorful screens are the center of most activities. If we leave children free to explore what they find the most attractive, they will play video games. There might be some educational value in it, but one needs to learn much more. Hence, we need more effort in parenting, with parents doing more in the home than is otherwise required, and spending more time with children outside in order to introduce them to the real world. This realization hit home after I witnessed the surprise of a 7-year old seeing apples on my apple tree.
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Less fight more work
Jul 30, 2017

The fight over Obamacare repeal is over, at least for now. The GOP can start to work on a new proposal that each of us can look at it, and then compare how my particular health care solution would play in it, as compared to Obamacare. In a television interview, HHS Secretary Tom Price said that Obamacare “may be working for Washington, it may be working for insurance companies, but it’s not working for patients.” Maybe it is time to consider patients’ involvement in the preparation of an Obamacare alternative? It could be that Obamacare repeal failed just because it has been prepared by Washington with consultation from insurance companies. Let us start with addressing 19 health care issues that politicians avoid talking about.

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How to pay for the wall?
Apr 04, 2017

If you want to build the wall, pay for it with your own money. How much of your own money are you willing to donate? Trump received 62,979,879 votes. If each of Trump’s supporters voluntarily donates at least $1,000, which corresponds to about $42 per month for the next two years, and if we encourage those who are more affluent to double their donations, then Trump can have on hand about $100 billion, which may suffice for a substantial piece of the wall. Hence, all of you who are talking loudly about spending my money on building this wall, stay away from my wallet, but open your own wallet and send money to the “Build the Wall Fund.” Put your money where your mouth is.

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What is wrong with Russia?
Dec 22, 2015

It appears that Russian leaders cannot free themselves from the medieval concept of regional influence, where weaker neighbors were subdued into becoming serf states. Is anyone capable of explaining to them that in these times of a global economy, any influence comes from economic strength? Russia, thanks to its size, natural resources and well-educated labor force, has everything that it takes to maintain a dominant position in the region, just by maintaining free trade with all its neighbors. It can do so without military interventions in Georgia and in Ukraine. Russia has everything that it takes to be a respected wealthier neighbor, to whom everyone in the region would turn for help when needed. Instead, it is a bully and a hooligan. It would take so little to change that. But it is so hard for Russia to do it. 

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Closed mind for closed borders
Nov 19, 2015

Known to some as a libertarian, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. speaks against open borders. His argument is that it is an infraction against private property. He misses the point that most people migrate just because Mr. Rockwell’s neighbors want them on their private property – for picking apples, washing the dishes or writing a computer code. Then, Mr. Rockwell wrongly laments that those foreigners invited by his neighbors violate his private property rights by loitering in the public spaces that he frequents. He wants the government to deny the rights of his neighbors to do on their private property whatever they wish, so he will not need to face immigrants in the public spaces. Mr. Rockwell left the train called “liberty” at the station called “xenophobia.”    

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They do not know…
Sep 14, 2015

Mr. Trump says: “A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct.” I prefer that our President would make decisions based on systematic due diligence. The instinct that guides Mr. Trump in his professional life arrives from his vast experience, starting when he was growing up under the mentoring of his successful father, followed by a solid education and years of practice. Mr. Trump's confidence is misguiding, as it gives his supporters the illusion that someone who mastered real estate dealing can be equally skillful as President. It is similar to the illusion surrounding Dr. Carson, that he can be as good a President as he is a brain surgeon. If both gentlemen were humbler, they would realize that they qualify to be President equally as much as Mr. Trump qualifies to conduct brain surgeries and Dr. Carson to run Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. The problem is not that they do not know many things they should; the problem is that they do not realize that.

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The only preexisting condition that matters

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It was the summer of 2008.  A few of us were sipping a beer on a patio of the new house the hosts bought a few days prior. They had just sold the family business they started about 20 years earlier. It was a small company. Despite knowing that they did not get a fortune, we tried to imagine their next major purchase. They surprised us by saying that in America, no one was selling what they wanted to buy.

They were in their late 40s and envisioned their future in doing gigs from home. Having expertise and business contacts, they did not worry about getting moneymaking projects. They were anxious about health insurance. Still in good health, they feared that any severe illness could skyrocket their health insurance rates. Financially they were better-off than most, but a sickness requiring ongoing care could bankrupt them like anybody else. Hence, they were looking to buy outright health insurance to the end of their lives. No one offers it.

They argued that insurance companies have on hand all the data needed to estimate the possibility that both of them would stay healthy for many years and then one day die in their sleep, incurring no significant health costs. Equally well, insurance companies can calculate the risk that soon they can develop conditions needing expensive care for decades, or any other possibility anywhere in between. Why does no one offer health insurance covering the lifespan of a person? 

We noticed that the health insurance covering them for potentially half of the century could end up costing more than their new house; few people could afford it. It is the same as most people not affording to buy a house for cash, they answered. They can buy it in monthly installments. Even those on government support, instead of payments for their medical care, could get government-funded life-term health insurance.

We felt as though we had found the solution for our health care crisis before finishing the first beer. It sounded strange. It was 2008, Barack Obama just won the Democratic nomination for president, and the need for fundamental reform of our health care system was on the agenda. Politicians and pundits made it an overly complicated matter, hard to comprehend by us mortals. Preexisting conditions were the key issue then, and they are now.

For many years one can pay the insurance premium and, enjoying good health, barely use any medical services. But, when sickness strikes, on the next yearly renewal, the rates go drastically up. It affects mostly small businesses and individuals, as rates do not grow as radically for large organizations. As a result, many people who could afford it did not buy health insurance because it made little sense. Without the contributions of healthy people, the rates for those who were buying insurance were higher.

During the tumultuous months of debating the Affordable Care Act (ACA) proposal, commonly known as Obamacare, none of the major media outlets or leading politicians asked the most obvious question: Why is our health insurance on a yearly contract? It would make sense if we knew we would die by the end of the contract. But the purpose of health insurance is precisely the opposite, to keep us alive. The only health insurance that makes sense is the one covering us to the end of our days. Yearly contracts are good for insurance companies. But, as we pay for the service, should we not get what is right for us?

In my blog posts, I envisioned that a portion of our health insurance premium should go to a cash-accumulating account associated with an insured individual. Those contributions should amount to the outright cost of the life-term health insurance. I found a similar approach in a Wall Street Journal article by John H. Cochrane, an economics professor from the University of Chicago. But voices of this kind did not resonate in the mainstream political debate.

Instead of eliminating the yearly contracts for health insurance, the key absurdity of our health care, Obamacare legislated mandates upholding this nonsense. Privately, I consulted the concept of life-term health insurance with a top insurance industry executive specializing in risk assessment. In the expert’s opinion, this concept is not feasible in the current political environment.

When worrying about preexisting conditions, we have in mind our hearts, kidneys, or livers. We are wrong. The only preexisting condition is in the political reality that made us believe that we must have yearly health insurance contracts. The politics that made it unfeasible for insurance companies to offer us life-term health insurance is the only preexisting condition that matters.

It is time to ask politicians why we have yearly contracts and why we cannot buy life-term health insurance.  

Originally published at https://www.datadriveninvestor.com.

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About me

I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I live in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

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