Month: July 2012

Why Does Serving Chicken Have to be Political?

As we all have heard President and COO of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy has openly admitted his opposition to homosexuality.  In an interview with The Biblical Recorder Cathy was quoted as saying “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit.”  That’s okay to have that as your opinion on whether homosexuality is right or not, we all do.  But what Dan Cathy did not only harmed his reputation but his company’s investors as well.

The company has over 1,600 locations nationwide and I’m sure their franchisees aren’t happy about Cathy’s remarks.  Many people are calling for a boycott of the chicken franchise and that hurts not only the corporation but every small business owner invested in Chick-fil-A.  Does Dan Cathy not figure that gays patronize his business?  Any business owner in the right state of mind would understand the concept of not insulting their customers.  Its common sense right?  But apparently that isn’t the case here, what Cathy did was put his personal beliefs before the fiscal health of the company and its investors.

Not only should the LGBT community be calling for his resignation but also franchisees of Chick-fil-A.  And besides who listens to moral guidance from a COO anyway?  Chick-fil-A needs to fire Cathy and focus on what it should be focusing on and that is making a good customer experience for all people, not just heterosexual Christians.

 

 

The Republican Party’s Real Problem

As GOP leaders focus all of their attention on defeating President Obama and the Democrats in the November elections the real problem lies years ahead.  When was the last time you talked to a African-American or Hispanic Republican?  I’m sure you have to think pretty hard to recall one, if you can.  The support for the Republican party is overwhelmingly white and this will pose a huge problem for the party in the years to come.

Sometime around the year 2050 the minority population in the United States will surpass the white population, which is the overwhelming majority of registered Republicans.  In the 2004 presidential election President Bush got 11% of the black vote and in the 2008 race Senator McCain only received 5%.  Blacks are not the only minority to swing left, Hispanics are mostly left leaning.  The gap is huge, 65% of Hispanic and 86% of African-American voters are registered Democrats.

On top of not appealing to the minorities of the country, the GOP also doesn’t appeal to the younger generation like the Democrats do.  In 2008 the largest percentage of support the GOP received was from the 60 and older demographic, meanwhile the lowest support came from the 18-29 age group.  There are many examples showing that the Republican base is dwindling simply because most of its supporters are dying.  These are two demographics that can really hurt the GOP in the long-run if they do not change the direction the party is going in.

White America is a thing of the past and it is something that Republican leaders must adapt to if they want to save the future of their party.  They must find ways to appeal not only the white population but minorities as well.  They should do so by changing their stances on affirmative action, adopting a more lenient immigration stance, and by nominating more minorities to public office.  This is not something that is impossible to accomplish, it can be done, but with the right leaders and a vision that goes beyond appealing to just white America.

 

The Truth About the Federal Debt

It’s no secret, the United States Government over the past decade has accumulated an incredible amount of debt.  Both parties spend more time blaming the other party for the raising debt than actually solving the debt crises.  Regardless of all the political ads you see on television blaming only one party, both sides are to blame.  Let’s take a look at the Federal Debt.

$15.9 trillion is the current estimated debt the United States Federal Government has accumulated.  About 45% of the debt the Federal Government owes is actually owned by the Government itself.  Certain entities within the Federal Government will buy U.S. Treasury Bonds as investments.  The 45% includes entities such as the Social Security Fund, The Federal Reserve, Department of Labor, state and local governments, etc.  In all, over 200 Federal agencies own part of the national debt.  About 1/3 of the debt is owned by foreign countries such as China, Japan, The United Kingdom, and Brazil.  China is the top foreign buyer of U.S. Treasury bonds, owning over 1 trillion in U.S. debt.  The rest is owned by individuals, corporations, private pension funds, mutual funds, etc.

The Romney campaign is trying to label President Obama as an out of control spender and the Obama campaign is on the defense by saying Federal spending is at its lowest rate since Eisenhower.  According to politifact.com Romney’s campaign isn’t exactly correct.  Once inflation was adjusted Obama actually had the second lowest spending increase since Eisenhower, if inflation wasn’t added into the percentage Obama would have the lowest spending increase since the Eisenhower administration.  The debt accumulated under the Obama administration has already passed up the amount of debt accumulated under the Bush administration in 8 years.  That can be a little misleading however.  Most critics of the President include the debt accumulated in fiscal year 2009 in their criticism of the President when in fact President Obama had little control over the fiscal 2009 budget being that he took office 4 months into it and most of the budget was already set for the year.  In 2009 the Federal Debt shot up 17.9% that year and blaming President Obama fully for that increase is not entirely correct.  Obama certainly did add to the debt in fiscal 2009 by approving an economic stimulus package and the auto bailouts, but this is only a small part of the whopping 17.9% increase in the Federal Debt that year.  Even though federal spending is slowing under the President why is the Federal Debt continuing to increase?  First of all tax receipts are considerably low.  As of 2000 tax receipts tallied in at 20.6% of the GDP which was one of the highest in modern times.  In 2011 they fell to 14.4% as spending increased to 25.3% of the GDP. Stimulus spending along with record low tax receipts due to the recession are a huge part in why the Federal Debt continued to get so massive in the later part of the Bush years and during the entirety of the Obama administration.  Do not underestimate the amount of money that the Federal Government lost as a result of the recession.  The government lost tax revenue while at the same time spent records amount of money trying to stimulate the economy.  If the recession did not happen the issue of the Federal Debt would not be nearly as urgent.

Trying to understand the Federal Debt can be a difficult task if you just read the headlines and don’t fact check certain claims made by either party.  Numbers CAN be manipulated and often are, don’t take either parties claim as gospel because they are just there to push their point across.  The facts are out there and in an election year they can be difficult to come by.  With the intention of keeping this article brief I did omit some numbers and facts to back up certain claims made in the article.  If you finish reading this article with any questions please feel free to email me at colbyscullion@hotmail.com.

A different side of the health care debate.

Human rights are often forgotten when it comes to the health care debate.  This article is questions America’s true view on human rights.  Although the author seems to forget that almost all countries at one point have had a human rights violation but when it comes to health care he does put forth an interesting argument.

http://technorati.com/politics/article/does-obamacare-make-americans-third-world/

Romneycare Versus Obamacare

With all the political rhetoric heating up before the November elections, I find many people ill-informed about exactly what the new health care law would do.  Also I find that many people seem to forget that Mitt Romney enacted a similar law when he was Governor of Massachusetts.  Let us briefly look at the similarities and differences between the two plans.

Finding reliable and credible sources on both health care plans was a bigger challenge than I had thought.  It seemed to me that every source had a political agenda behind it, and I get that but I just wanted the raw facts.  After finding good sources I found that the two plans had many similarities.  First off, both of the plans have individual mandates and both imposed penalties for not having insurance.  Under Romneycare an individual who does not have insurance pays a penalty that is income based.  Obamacare is similar, an individual who does not have insurance pays either $695 per year or 2.5% of their annual income, which ever is bigger.

Both plans create what is called an exchange where citizens can browse different healthcare plans and find the one that meets their own needs.  Also, both plans subsidize people who cannot afford to pay for their own health insurance.  Under Romneycare individuals who are earning up to 300% of the poverty line get government subsidies.  Under Obamacare, individuals who are earning up to 400% of the poverty line get subsidies. I also found that Obamacare and Romneycare both have employer mandates as well.  Romneycare has an employer mandate that states that every small business with 11 or more employees must provide healthcare to its staff or face a $295 penalty per employee.  To be fair to Governor Romney, this was not in the original bill that he proposed to the state legislature, it was added in.  Romney later vetoed this section but was overruled by the state legislature and the bill was passed with this section in the final bill.  Obamacare has an employer mandate as well, under it employers with 50 or more employees must provide healthcare or face a $2000 per employee penalty (for every employee after the first 30).

One of the differences between the two bills is how they are each paid for.  The state of Massachusetts had a fund set up called the Uncompensated Care Pool Fund.  What this fund did was provide hospitals and care centers with funds if they provided care without receiving payment from uninsured patients.  The fund in 2005 was at an estimated $600 million.  The money and assets in this fund was used as a primary source of funding for the state healthcare reform.  Insuring more people in the state could largely reduce the amount of money needed in this account and could then be used for subsidizing low-income citizens for health insurance.  The Uncompensated Care Pool Fund itself cannot pay for health care reform, so the rest is covered using both state and federal tax dollars.  Obamacare is funded much differently.  Obamacare gets a  majority of its funding from broadening the tax base of high income earners.  It gets additional funding from taxing very high cost insurance plans and imposing higher taxes on health insurance providers, just to name a few.

They both allow children to stay on their parent’s plans until they are 26 years old and both do not allow insurers not to insure someone who has preexisting medical conditions.  Romneycare accomplished its main goal, which was insuring more citizens in Massachusetts.  Over 98% of people in the state are insured and its relatively popular with 65-68% approval (depending on the poll) from residents within the state.

After reviewing all the evidence, it seems as if the two plans are more alike than they are different.  They both use the same main ideas and in the end have the same goal.  Health care reform in Massachusetts is something that Mitt Romney should be proud of,  however he seems to be distancing himself from it.  This type of health care reform is very unpopular among the Republican voters and in order to better connect with the base of the party Romney will continue to distance himself from his big accomplishment in health care reform.