Monthly Archives: July 2017

Issues and solutions (con’t)

51 b) Issues and solutions (con’t)

 Issue: The Obesity Epidemic

Solutions: Obesity is a decision and one that is a burden on the healthy tax payer. The simple solutions are exercise and lower calorie consumption. Each individual has the right, in my opinion, to choose obesity as long as they are willing to pay the price in terms of health insurance premiums. Health insurance premiums, including supplemental Medicare, should have a sliding scale for any person falling into the obesity range. The higher the obesity ratio the higher the premium would be.

Issue: The Two Party System

Solutions: The two party system, while doing an effective job of controlling us, is not providing effective representation of the populace. The founding fathers (most especially Washington) warned us. The recommendations in last week’s posting on the election process will make it easier for other parties (libertarian, green, etc.) to be more impactful. One additional step is required. That would be a process, similar to forming a parliamentary government. If a party fails to secure 50+% of the popular vote for their representation then the majority body must consist of a coalition of parties that represent at least a majority of the voters, if not 55 or 60%.

more issues and solutions next week

Amending our system

Chapter 51

Amending our system

51 a) In past postings I have addressed issues and possible solutions. The following is a summary of many of these (will continue for several weeks’ postings):

Issue: Elections are determined more by dollars than the will of the people

Solutions: 1. Term limits (no more than 3 or 4 combined congressional & senate) 2. Eliminate the EC, popular vote rules. 3. Limit campaigning to only the 90 days prior to elections. 4. Limit individual and company and organizational campaign donations to $1,000. Remarks: Elected Public office should be about “service”, not career.

Issue: The budget deficit and the alarming national debt (not to mention the unfunded liability)

Solutions: The initial challenge is to require a budget that is close to being balanced. That is the deficit, if any, cannot exceed a rate in excess of the prior year’s rate of price inflation. Any Congress that fails to pass this form of a balanced budget would not be allowed to stand for re-election. A private auditing firm would be contracted to audit all governmental administrative functions with a stated goal of improving any audited area’s productivity by a minimum of 10%.  Documented adjustment recommendations would be binding and the audit would be funded out of savings. Since this process might well take many years or even a decade the process needs to be binding on all future administrations. Civil service wages need to be frozen at current levels and need to stay that way until they equate to levels for comparable positions in the private sector. Future incremental spending for new projects needs to be funded out of savings achieved through cost containment.

Issue: The extremely high cost of health care and relatively low quality of care.

Solutions: The simple solution is to study the healthcare systems of those countries that are doing a good job in both per capita cost and quality of care. I’m not suggesting that we copy a system, but rather am suggesting that we look at a hybrid system that incorporates the best features of those that are doing a great job in this area. The answer is not to require that everyone a government mandated form of insurance and penalize those who do not. Good examples of countries that do a great job of quality are: France, Italy, Spain, Austria & Japan.  Good examples of countries that do a very efficient job in this area are: Spain, France, South Africa, Australia & New Zealand.

more on issues & solutions next week

Just how fast have higher education costs risen?

50 b) Just how fast have higher education costs risen?

For the 2012–13 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board were estimated to be $15,022 at public institutions, $39,173 at private nonprofit institutions, and $23,158 at private for-profit institutions. Between 2002–03 and 2012–13, prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions rose 39 percent, and prices at private nonprofit institutions rose 27 percent, after adjustment for inflation. The price for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at private for-profit institutions decreased 7 percent between 2002–03 and 2012–13, after adjustment for inflation.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Digest of Education Statistics, 2013 (NCES 2015-011), Chapter 3.
Average total tuition, fees, room and board rates charged for full-time undergraduate students in degree-granting institutions, by type and control of institution: Selected years, 1982–83 to 2012–13

Year and control
of institution Constant 2012–13 dollars1 Current dollars
All
institutions 4-year
institutions 2-year
institutions All
institutions 4-year
institutions 2-year
institutions
All institutions
1982–83 $9,138 $10,385 $6,396 $3,877 $4,406 $2,713
1992–93 12,097 14,216 6,830 7,452 8,758 4,207
2001–02 14,775 17,708 7,424 11,380 13,639 5,718
2002–03 15,262 18,344 7,943 12,014 14,439 6,252
2003–04 16,104 19,276 8,336 12,953 15,505 6,705
2004–05 16,647 19,925 8,563 13,793 16,510 7,095
2005–06 17,014 20,289 8,412 14,634 17,451 7,236
2006–07 17,547 20,934 8,461 15,483 18,471 7,466
2007–08 17,737 21,160 8,346 16,231 19,363 7,637
2008–09 18,421 21,996 8,879 17,092 20,409 8,238
2009–10 18,839 22,515 9,109 17,649 21,093 8,533
2010–11 19,355 23,118 9,323 18,497 22,092 8,909
2011–12 19,741 23,409 9,461 19,418 23,025 9,306
2012–13 20,234 23,872 9,574 20,234 23,872 9,574
Public institutions
1982–83 $6,941 $7,534 $5,632 $2,945 $3,196 $2,390
1992–93 8,731 9,772 6,166 5,379 6,020 3,799
2001–02 10,415 11,940 6,670 8,022 9,196 5,137
2002–03 10,800 12,434 7,116 8,502 9,787 5,601
2003–04 11,496 13,270 7,474 9,247 10,674 6,012
2004–05 11,905 13,790 7,694 9,864 11,426 6,375
2005–06 12,154 14,077 7,547 10,454 12,108 6,492
2006–07 12,522 14,503 7,723 11,049 12,797 6,815
2007–08 12,647 14,675 7,623 11,573 13,429 6,975
2008–09 13,209 15,371 8,156 12,256 14,262 7,568
2009–10 13,667 16,027 8,223 12,804 15,014 7,703
2010–11 14,194 16,657 8,460 13,564 15,918 8,085
2011–12 14,616 17,084 8,715 14,377 16,805 8,572
2012–13 15,022 17,474 8,928 15,022 17,474 8,928

If we just focus on public, four year, schools for the 30 year period from 1983 to 2013 we see that the annual cost of this form of higher education has risen at an average annual rate of almost 7%, compared to the overall average rate of inflation, during that same period of just under 3%. This is another area, like the cost of health care, which has risen at unjustifiable rates! The reasons for this were discussed in last week’s posting.