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
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.

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.

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. 

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.”    

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.

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.

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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Crowd funding and lotto – which is worse?

Securities and Exchange Commission is finalizing its work on implementation of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on April 5, 2012. Concerns that common folks will lose money if they invest in crowd funded ventures are one of the main issues.

Let us assume that the proverbial average Joe has a $50 weekly budget for discretionary expenses. He may spend it on a night out, some gadgets he does not need, or lotto, the only high risk, high reward investment opportunity available to him. Let say that Joe is willing to cut his discretionary expenses at half; hence, he will have at his disposal $50 every other week, or about $100 per month. What is wrong with letting Joe to invest this money in a business? For many startups or small businesses, anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000 is plenty to get going. With the help of the internet, a business should have no problem finding hundreds or thousands people like Joe willing to risk their $100.

If Joe makes twelve $100 investments per year for a total of $1,200, he will likely lose everything on half of his deals, he might do so-so on a few, and he might have some meaningful gain on one or two. He will be much better off than had he spent that $1,200 on the lottery; he might have more fun, learn something, and reap greater benefits than by spending his money in bars.

If 10 million Americans like Joe (the number is arbitrary; it could be as many as 100 million – after all, there is that famous 99%) invest $100 per month in a business of their choice, that is $12 billion dollars diverted yearly from consumption to investments, to entrepreneurship, and to economic growth. What is wrong with that? Among these 10 million of $100 per month investors, at least a few will learn how to do it well, and in a few years, become millionaires themselves. This is a better way for the 99% to narrow the gap between them and the remaining 1%, than by occupying Wall Street.

Entrepreneurship is the essence of success in a capitalist society. Not everyone has the talent and willpower to learn to play the piano, but most of us like music. Not everyone has the talent and willpower to become a successful entrepreneur but most of us like to be part of our society’s success. By investing his $100 in several small startups every year, eventually Joe will see a product made by a company he helped some years ago at Wal-Mart; he will see a prosperous small business in his community that he assisted from the start. This pride and sense of belonging to society will be reinforced by dividend checks coming every year. Letting the government limit Joe’s ability to invest just because he is poorer than the big Wall Street boys is legalized discrimination based on wealth status.

We have to allow Joe to play the same investing game the big Wall Street boys are playing, but on a level he can afford. However, it is up to Joe, not to the government, to decide what investment he can afford to make. If he makes a wrong decision, he will suffer the same consequences as if spending his money unwisely at a bar, on lotto, or on gadgets. Capitalism is about making risky ventures. If we want Joe to vote for a presidential candidate who opts to keep the U.S. as a capitalistic country, we have to give Joe a way to participate in the system. We feel no compassion for rich people losing money on their investments. Why should poor people not have the same freedom? Putting the government in charge of protecting the average Joe from risk is socialism. The irony is that by limiting the freedom of average Americans to invest in risky ventures, the government of the supposedly most capitalist country in the whole world institutionalizes the message that capitalism is bad, socialism is good. Lenin is cackling in his Mausoleum.

Government is about certainty. If making small risky investments would be legal, people would complain that they lose most of the time. In lotto, the risk is clearly defined: people expect to lose most of the time. No one is complaining.

The government wants to protect the public from losses arising from risky investments in crowd funding. I see some inconsistency here, as it is the government itself who runs the lottery, the only low stake, high risk, and great return investment available to the public. One may speculate that if crowd funding will become as popular as lotto is, people will spend less on lotto, more on risky business ventures. In result, the government will lose meaningful income coming now form lotto. We can only hope that this does not affect decision making process of the government employees now in charge of making crowd funding successful.

A version of this text was published by Huffington Post

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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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