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
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. 

PREVIOUS COMMENTS
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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Freedom cannot be legislated, its restriction can
Mar 31, 2015

Indiana voted in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In his WSJ piece, Gov. Mike Pence claims it was needed to protect the religious freedoms of Hoosiers. Every legislative act by its nature limits someone’s freedom. The only way of increasing freedom is by identifying existing laws that curb personal liberties and then eliminating them.  Hence, if Gov. Pence sees that under some circumstances, the religious freedoms of Hoosiers are not respected, he could correct the situation by eliminating laws causing this problem. We have the Bill of Rights, and it suffices. No “enhancements” are needed.

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Greed-driven health care
Feb 27, 2015

The solution to our health care crisis is in the implementation of more market-driven mechanisms into our health care policy. This is the only way to give patients the freedom to make decisions regarding their care between them and their doctors; not having these decisions made by faceless bureaucrats. The biggest obstacle in implementing a change of this kind is in a deep public conviction that the introduction of the free market into health care will result in doctors, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and everybody else involved being guided by their greed, not the best interests of sick people. The biggest challenge in overturning Obamacare is not in Washington. It is in winning the argument with Americans that free-market-driven health care can serve their needs much better than the government-distributed one.

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Immigration inaction
Feb 17, 2015

Congress could not agree on the immigration reform. President Obama resorted to executive orders. Now he is stopped by a court order. It is sad to see that this legal wrangling substitutes for real discussion on why we have this immigration crisis and what we should do to get it resolved. Most Americans have strong, ideologically motivated views about immigration. If they were right, the policies implemented would work, and we would not have a problem anymore. We have an ongoing problem because most Americans are wrong in their understanding of what caused massive illegal immigration and what we should do to get it corrected. There will be no progress until someone  addresses this problem. For more about why we have this immigration mess go here.  

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Immigration comedy
Jan 26, 2015

The Republicans’ challenge to President Obama's executive orders on immigration is simply comic. We have a President who is clearly a socialist. We have a Republican Congress that declares it is for capitalism. However, on the immigration issue, Republicans are for the purely socialist immigration laws we have. At least on this issue, the President recognizes that socialism does not work, and his executive orders bring a more capitalistic approach. In our theoretically capitalistic country we have a socialist as President who acts to strengthen capitalism. At the same time, the pro-capitalistic majority of Congress acts to defend socialism.   

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A better approach to health care reform

My response to the request voiced by President Obama in his State of the Union address.

Dear Mr. President,

In the State of the Union Address, referring to the health care reform proposal, you said: “But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.”

As a matter of fact, I do. It is life-cycle health risk insurance.

Prof. Ronald F. White, asked me, what exactly is “life-cycle risk insurance?”, LCHI in brief. My short answer was that it is:

1. Insurance, in its basic understanding, as a form of protection from big unexpected losses.

2. Life-cycle, as it would be a contract for lifespan of a person.

3. Common, as various LCHI programs would cover practically everyone.

4. Non-compulsory, as there would be no coercion into joining any particular LCHI plan, or not joining any at all.

Mr. President, it appears that it was your idea that the health care system reform could be accomplished only by a swift legislative action. In result, you became a hostage of the backroom Washington politics. If Washington politicians were capable to have this issue resolved, they would have it done long before you became President. Hence, the pace of the legislative process in Washington is not the pivotal issue. Having Americans involved and understanding what can and what cannot be done, is. I tried to explain this in my open letter, but judging from some of your remarks yesterday, it looks like that you still did not get it. You rightfully noticed that you did not make enough effort in explaining to Americans what you planed to do. I filled this gap by pointing out that you were promising pears on a willow tree, and by expressing my disbelief in lack of scientific methods in preparing the reform, and in debating it.

However, these are not the main reasons that the reform is facing so much opposition. In my view, shared by many Americans, your health care reform proposal had very little to do with health care itself. Your health care reform proposal appears to be an attempt of using health care crisis to change the American political system; it is not about health care at all. I am still puzzled if it was your conscious decision or it just happened this way; nevertheless, this is how I see it, and I am not alone in this perception. I expect you to address this concern heads on.

Life-cycle health insurance is a concept rooted in American political traditions of individuals’ freedoms and limited government. I worked on this concept in my spare time, without resources available to the Federal Government. Hence, my proposal may need some work before it could become a valid alternative to your proposal. However, it provides a concept proving that our health care issues could be addressed in the different way than politicians in Washington conceptualized it.

I am using terms as “politicians in Washington” with the purpose to underline that for someone far away from Washington, differences between Democrats and Republicans are hardly noticeable. I strongly believe that your health care reform proposal did not fail miserably at the very beginning, as it should, only because Republicans did not have any better ideas ; for the same reasons as Democrats prepared a lame proposal.

Mr. President, it is very important issue. Let us not waste a minute, and start from scratch. Let us ask ourselves what the ideal health care system should be. Let us debate what we can afford. Let us have more than one complex proposal on the table. Let us talk frankly about political concepts behind various proposals. Let Americans decide what they want, and tell it to politicians in Washington.

Six months after you presented your proposal, we have nation more divided than ever on this issue. How much further do you want to go on this path?

Sincerely,

Henryk A. Kowalczyk

A version of this text was published by Huffington Post

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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