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.”    

More
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.

More
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.

More
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.

More
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.  

More
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.   

More
More Comments

Obamacare is not the problem

At the inception of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans were very vocal against it, expressing many lofty and creative ideas, but did not produce any solid proposal that each of us could look at it, and then compare how my particular health situation would play in Obamacare and how it would be in the health care policy proposed by GOP. Six years later, they still do not have a plan. It is puzzling, as GOP politicians criticize Obamacare endlessly and try to repeal it repeatedly. They did not prepare any rock-solid, meticulous alternative because – it appears – that despite all the lofty talk about implementing market forces to lower the cost and enhance patients’ choices, in their understanding of the economy and politics, GOP elites do not differ much from their Democratic colleagues. In other words, if they went into the nuts and bolts of designing a well-functioning health care policy, they would not arrive with anything much different or much better than Obamacare.

When looking for a replacement of Obamacare, one needs to go back and analyze again the original problems that Obamacare tried to fix. About 16% of the population did not have any health insurance. As a nation, we spend on medical care 17% of our GDP, whereas it hovers around 10% in most other industrialized countries. However, despite spending more, in health factors such as life expectancy or infant deaths, we trail behind them. Also, there are huge discrepancies in access to quality health care. For example, an individual who failed society and ended up in prison has access to better health care than an individual following the American dream of working independently, who despite buying health insurance through his whole life, as soon as he encounters some serious health problem, would be priced out of the system expediently due to preexisting conditions.

When trying to find out why we had these problems and how we should resolve them, we should not look at health care. The answer is in the response to the fundamental question as to what America should be all about. It reaches back to the basic ideas of individuals’ freedom and small government, which led to establishing the United States of America in the first place.

In all other industrialized countries, to a lesser or greater degree, health care is a public service. The roots of this concept reach back almost 300 years to the times of the Enlightenment, when wise monarchs decided to treat their serfs better. Since then, this approach evolved into resolute governments taking care of many problems of their citizens, health care being one of the most important. The founders of the United States were inspired by the European Enlightenment, but they rejected the very idea of a good ruler taking care of his or her subjects. In 1776 the people of America decided that they would be better off by freeing themselves from the government handling their affairs. Applying this approach to the health care of today, it would mean that buying insurance, seeing doctors, staying in hospitals and buying medicine should be a matter of independent contracts between individuals needing and offering health care. The role of government should be only in securing that all parties involved would have equal protection from bad market players. In other words, health care should be handled the same way as the sale of other goods and services.

The obvious objection is that a doctor’s visit is not comparable to seeing a car mechanic; hence, the question arises whether the free market can provide an affordable, equal-quality health care. In the report heralding Obamacare, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers presented the shortcomings of our pre-Obamacare situation as a result of failures of the market system, and recommended more government programs. Republicans claimed that market-based solutions would be better. Taking the pro-market approach consequently would require telling Americans that the greed-driven doctors, clinics, hospitals and pharmaceutical industry would serve the public’s needs much better than when micromanaged by the government. Most of the GOP leaders do not believe that this could be done or cannot imagine how it could work. Those who can see this as a valid option have no courage to tell this straightforwardly to their constituents. The reason is simple: The free market does not have a good reputation in the U.S. today. I often hear that people support it as long as it is regulated; ergo, it is not free.

Returning to the diagnosis of the Council of Economic Advisers, the alternative opinion could be that the market forces did not work because they were already stifled by the yoke of government regulations. Consequently, the solution should be not in increased government involvement, but in the opposite, in loosening the government oversight.

Many may object, believing that this would never work. Not ignoring the need for a more complex response, let us focus here just on two aspects: the definition of health insurance and on preexisting conditions.

The lengthy text of the Affordable Care Act details the health insurance market but never defines what health insurance is. The reason is that gradually what is called health insurance had been mixed with health maintenance plans. Comparing it to a car, it is practical, and now legally required, to have car insurance to cover the cost of accidents. But most of us have not been buying maintenance plans that promise to pay for routine repairs. If health insurance had been defined, it would become obvious that it should cover only unpredictable medical needs when the cost exceeds a certain threshold. All other health care needs should be out-of-pocket expense. To secure the ability to pay when needed, people could buy separate health maintenance plans, or have Health Savings Accounts. Just by defining health insurance, one can change the paradigm of the whole health care industry.

Also, current insurance plans are sold for one year. A calendar year is a convenient term for the insurance companies’ accountants. It has no correlation with the human life cycle. In the free market environment no sane person would ever buy a health insurance policy lasting only one year. In its concept, a lifelong health insurance policy is akin to an annuity, a product that insurance companies already sell and for which they know how to calculate the risk. In the present political environment, no sane insurance company would offer lifelong health insurance, as this would mean an obligation that can last for 100 years when, at the whim of politicians, the calculations can change every election. Only with the government staying out of the health care industry, would people be able to buy lifelong health care policies. When selling lifelong health insurance, the insurer would be able to make the most money by collecting premiums from customers living healthily and for very long. Their greed would motivate them to assist us with the best ways to get what we all want, a long and healthy life.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen soon. By the mainstream intellectual and political elites, the proponents of the free market are perceived as weirdos, having very little popular support. This is strange, considering that freedom is the most cherished American value. Somehow the connection was lost that the economic freedom, best manifesting itself in the free market, is the most important one, as it gives individuals financial independence from the government apparatus. After all, this is how America became great in the first place. It is worth noting that the man claiming to “make America great again” sees his role as an enlightened European monarch from the beginning of the 18th century, as someone not yet touched by the American ideas of 1776.

For Republicans attempting to replace Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act is not the problem. Americans’ love-hate relationship with the free market is.

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).

... more