Hey, Obama! “Shovel-Ready” Stimulus Needed for Our Water Supply Problems…(TRILLIONS of $)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

While Barack Obama sells his Republican health care “reform,”  there seems to be some other important work being forgotten.

As economic hard times continue, many towns and cities are losing tax ratables as businesses shut down and an increasing burden is being placed on residents as aging water treatment and sewer construction funds dry up.  Projects are folding and bills are skyrocketing as detailed in the story below:

Strapped Cities Struggling to Fund Water Treatment Upgrades (N.Y. Times via Greenwire)

Excerpt:

Federal assistance declines

As for capital expenditures, Hornback said that almost all of the burden now falls on the local water agency.

During the 1970s and into the 1980s, the federal government provided construction grants to upgrade public drinking water and wastewater systems to meet stricter regulatory standards imposed by Congress. Since then, Congress has put about $2 billion into a revolving fund for loans that Hornback said is not sufficient to meet today’s needs.

There are 16,000 publicly owned wastewater treatment plants in the United States that operate 100,000 major pumping stations, 600,000 miles of sanitary sewers and 200,000 miles of storm sewers, according to U.S. EPA. That system received a grade of D- from the American Society of Civil Engineers in its latest “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.” The society noted that billions of gallons of untreated wastewater is discharged each year because of lagging investments.

Hornback said many communities would be facing a difficult challenge even if the economy were more robust. Communities historically “undervalue” their water and sewer services, charging users less than is needed to keep the systems operating to modern standards.

“The pipes in the ground are in some cases over 100 years old,” he said.

Water has to receive the same priorty as transportation, according to several parties:

NACWA has asked Congress to establish a trust fund — similar to the one used for transportation projects — to help cities and towns upgrade their water and sewer infrastructure.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors Water Council is also calling on Congress to boost federal investment in wastewater treatment plants. A March report from the council blasted Congress for authorizing a “costly and increasing wave of mandates” while essentially abandoning any effort to provide “meaningful financial assistance” to local governments.

What will it cost to repair our critical water and sewer infrastructure?

The conference report, written by senior adviser Richard Anderson, estimates that local governments will have to spend between $2.5 trillion and $4.8 trillion over the next 20 years to fulfill those demands for improved water and sewer systems.

That’s right…$2.5-$4.8 TRILLION added to our burgeoning budget (or non-budget, to be snarky about it.)

Congress seems to think they’ve done all that’s needed:

There is a “vague and false confidence among Congress that they have already addressed the issue by granting $60 billion to cities over two decades ago to build water infrastructure when the cost in a single year (2008) is over $40 billion in capital investments and another $50 billion for operations and maintenance,” Anderson wrote. “A more thorough understanding of how much is spent on public water and wastewater is a necessary first step in establishing a framework for a National Strategy.”

The report advocates adoption of a national strategy that would prioritize the mandates based on comparative risk and direct federal resources where they would have the greatest public impact.

Meanwhile, in Davenport, California, residents are “bracing” at the likelihood of a 74% increase in their sewer bill as one of their big employers has closed and someone has to make up the difference:

Household rates will likely reach $4,000 a year — $2,500 for sewer and $1,500 for water.

Who can afford THAT???

What interests me is how this fits into some of the ideas in Chris Martenson‘s Crash Course, namely, as we go through a massive economic shift, what do we have to prepare for?  Tops on the list is a viable water supply…how many of us living without wells are prepared for water problems?

When I bought my solar oven, not only did I buy it to cook food…it also boils and pasteurizes water in a pinch on a sunny day (and it does more good things, too!).

Let’s hope the Southwest keeps having sunny days…until we have energy problems and we all roast for lack of electricity to run air conditioning!

NM Rep. Let’s It Slip Out of the Bag…”What’s More, Our Unique System of Private Insurance Has Been Preserved”

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

First-term Representative Martin Heinrich, who represents the 1st Congressional District of NM (which includes Central NM and Albuquerque), needs to study up on how he delivers the propaganda message from the Obama borg.

When I read his  opinion piece/guest column in Sunday’s paper, I found myself focusing on one sentence which seemed to get to the whole point of the debacle last weekend as “health reform” passed.

His piece starts out with some hand holding:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reality: Health Care Had To Be Repaired.

By Rep. Martin Heinrich

Democrat, New Mexico First District

Health care is a very personal issue for all of us, and as a result, it’s sometimes the cause of great concern, confusion and debate.

While we all have our own personal questions regarding health care, ultimately one question gets to the heart of the public debate: Can we afford this? Can we afford our rising premiums? Can you afford this doctor visit or that prescription? Can I continue to afford to provide health insurance for my employees? Can our nation afford to reform the whole system? Can we afford to do nothing?

Then he seques into some facts:

The simple truth is that right now, we spend $1 out of every $5 on our health care. Without the health insurance reform that is now law, this would become $1 of every $3 within the decade. Try to imagine that – $1 of every $3 you have going to health care. This is not sustainable for you, your family, your employer, and definitely not for our nation as a whole. With costs continuing to skyrocket for all of us, there was no doubt in my mind that doing nothing was something we couldn’t afford.

MMM….from what I’m hearing from people already behind the eight-ball, many still will be paying a HUGE hunk of the income for insurance. Heck, speaking personally, my Medicare premiums and supplemental insurance is literally 1/3 of my monthly benefit right now!

He continues:

Last Sunday, I cast an historic vote for health insurance reform that will bring stability to hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans, provide much-needed support to our small businesses and cut the federal deficit by $1.3 trillion – reducing the deficit more than any other legislation passed since 1993.

I ain’t buying this business about all the deficit reduction, are you???

He then talks about how competitive our nation will become (really?) and how some people will have “greater control of their health care.”


The benefits of reform will be large and immediate for New Mexicans, and our nation will be stronger, healthier, and more competitive because of it.
Families, seniors and small businesses will have greater control of their health care.

Well, that sort of glosses over the fact that women’s ability to make their own decisions ranks BELOW that of  a bunch of church guys who seem to be running a worldwide pedophile ring.  Yup, that crew has superior moral authority compared to that of the average woman…

Ah, and then comes the list of goodies:


Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to reject you because you or your child have a pre-existing condition or drop your coverage when you get sick.
Seniors will be able to get preventive services like cancer and diabetes screenings at no cost. By closing the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole, 51,900 New Mexico seniors will be able to afford their prescriptions, year-round. As part of this relief, seniors will receive $250 rebates to purchase medication in 2010, and next year they will receive a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs that fall within the doughnut hole.

Oh, give me a break! If you’re old you can be charged up to 4X someone younger, if you’re a woman, of course, you’ll pay more for less (and don’t forget writing 2 checks), and those free screenings will look pretty inadequate when you’re denied an expensive treatment because you’re too old as the gutting of Medicare begins.  (And that was a cliffhanger when it came to pre-existing conditions with regard to children.)

Heinrich then let’s the cat out of the bag when he says:

What’s more, our unique system of private insurance has been preserved. This reform will create a health insurance exchange of private insurance plans with comparable benefits so consumers can compare prices and benefits to find the plan that works best for them, their family, or their business.

Doesn’t that make you want to rejoice??? Yes, our wonderful, unique way of screwing people out of health care HAS BEEN PRESERVED!!!!   Yippee!

Heinrich closes with another dose of hand holding and comfort:

To some, all this reform may seem scary. Change can do that, even when it’s change for the better. As these reforms start going into effect, and we’re able to separate the reality from the rhetoric, I’m confident that you will be reassured that this reform is something that we could not afford to do without.

“Separate the reality from the rhetoric”??  We will never get the full reality from the propaganda machine until we get ensnared by one of those fine points in our insurance contracts.

Oh, yeah.  I’m so reassured.

Aren’t you?


Memo to Obots & Obot Bloggers Who Thought Obama Was a Feminist…..We Told You So…Here’s the PROOF!! UPDATE 1X– SEGREGATED! UPDATED1X Add This To the List…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

For all of you asshats who believed the great conman back in the 2008 primaries, let me tell you that YOU are to blame for our descent into Stupakistan.

It was all laid out for you, but you bought the hype.

Only the old timer heading NOW gets it.

Seems that NARAL and Planned Parenthood (national) are still not letting go of their adored Obama, since they think he’s being “forced” by nasty conservatives to screw us with a big fat executive order at the behest of the Stupak gang.

Really?  Then how do they explain what Obama was doing back in 2008?

Maybe you’ll get it now…but I doubt it.

June 11, 2008

So, What’s Obama Going to Give Away to Conservative Religious Leaders and Constitutional Law Profs Who Work with Ken Starr??(Just Say No Deal)

June 26, 2008

Part 1: Obama’s Conservative Meeting Guests–Non-Pastors (UPDATED 1x)

June 28, 2008

Part 2: Obama’s Conservative Meeting Guests–The Pastors

July 10, 2008

Matthew 25 Network PAC Hits Christian Radio with Pro-Obama Ad as Christian Conservative Leaders Decide to Support McCain (UPDATED 1X)

UPDATE

February 11, 2009

Hidden Health Care Provisions in the “Stimulus Package”: the Ghost of Daschle Lives On and Will Haunt Us All, Especially Seniors…This is BAD NEWS!! (Link to Bill Language Here)

***

MORE

Women, more than half the population, are now SEGREGATED and now have been officially codified as being unequal by the misogynist in the White House…

I hereby direct the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS to develop, within 180 days of the date of this Executive Order, a model set of segregation guidelines for state health insurance commissioners to use when determining whether exchange plans are complying with the Act’s segregation requirements.

From the first Black president, no less…What a complete PIECE OF SHIT!

Health Justice Predicts the Future of Healthcare…"Goodbye"

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~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Yesterday (Friday, March 19) I sent in my check for my Medicare Supplement insurance, a nice hefty sum well over $4,000.

Just to rub salt into the wound, the full-court press on the Obama Health Insurance Protection Act is in full swing and will be voted on this weekend.

It’s a pile of crap.

For many months I’ve been subscribed to the Health Justice newsletter and have sent my share of emails and faxes in support of a single-payer system.

Yesterday’s missive was entited “Goodbye“; it predicts the future path of health care in this country. Even if half comes true, it’s still disheartening to think about.

Visit Health Justice at the link below for moral support and lots of good material to cry over…

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http://www.1payer.net/

Here’s the email:

Dear ……,

This is a requiem for the idea that all Health Care in America is a Human Right.  The likely passage of Obama’s health reform joke will mean that health care and money are powerfully bound together.  From now on, having money means being healthy and having less money means being less healthy and having no means — well, you get the idea.

You can also say goodbye to America as the world’s greatest power.  We won’t have the money to pay off our debts to the Chinese and we won’t be able to make the money because no one will be brave enough to go it alone — no job will equal no health care.

You can also say goodbye to the power of the vote.  From this point on, it will be received wisdom that money can buy anything, including the White House and the entire Congress.

So folks, say Goodbye.  Don’t look for a brighter future for your American-born kids.  It won’t happen.

What Will Happen to Health Care?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As even the more “liberal” Republicans recognize, the health insurance industry is dying.  There is no way that a family making 100,000 dollars in 2014 can pay a 25,000 premium for health insurance with a 25,000 deductible and a 30% copay.  So the health insurance industry will contract, indeed has even begun to do so.  Insurers will shed their individual policies and compete fiercely only for the largest and most well-heeled companies who can afford to stiff their workers on pay in return for providing what everyone wants but can’t have — health insurance.

At the same time, those who are younger or healthier or bolder will go without health insurance and pay the fine (or not), then will sign up for an expensive policy when they get sick.  Insurers will try every way possible to avoid signing these people up — usually by claiming that they were defrauded when the newly insured person didn’t include a cold that he had ten years before he applied.

As the price rises for health insurance, fewer and fewer people will buy it and more and more will take the bolder approach.  The price will rise faster.  The insurers will consolidate because only the biggest will survive.  Eventually there will be three health insurers nationwide who will only insure people that work for Microsoft or Google and will have figured out a way to avoid insuring anyone else.

Those on Medicare or Medicaid will not be able to find a specialist, although there will be plenty of impecunious pediatricians, internists and family practice docs who are trying to scrape by on the measly payments by Medicare and Medicaid, which have cut year by year to pay the insurers to insure the middle-class employed person at ever higher prices.

Eventually, this will cut into the hospitals’ and the high-paid specialists’ bottom line and they will gradually start to see fewer and fewer patients, limiting their patients to those who can pay by some guaranteed manner.  Only the most infected and infested practices will be left for those who cannot guarantee payment.

And through all of this, Mitt Romney and fellow Republicans will be telling Americans that everything will be fine if they just eat right and exercise more.

But by that time (prediction: 2020), the Chinese will have essentially foreclosed on their loans to the US and will own most of our industrial base.

Another prediction:  buy Wellpoint/Anthem — it will own one-third of the market by 2015.  But wait to buy until the stock hits bottom after the Obamination passes.

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HealthJustice | 57 W. 200 South, Suite 101 | Salt Lake City | UT | 84101

First Rumblings About Retirement Savings Plan in the State of the Union Address Tonight?

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I won’t be watching the SOTU address tonight…sort of got out of the habit during the Bush years because I found him unbearable to watch and these days, the same thing applies to Obama…

A few days ago on an NPR report on the possible content of the SOTU speech I heard a passing reference to something about “retirement.” Having just completed two posts on the subject of IRAs and the talk about “encouraging workers” to sign up for a new savings program, my interest was piqued.

The New York Times also offered a preview of the speech and lo and behold!  there was a similar reference…in the first paragraph and later on (my bolding).

Obama to Offer Aid for Families in State of the Union Address

Published: January 24, 2010

WASHINGTON — President Obama will propose in his State of the Union address a package of modest initiatives intended to help middle-class families, including tax credits for child care, caps on some student loan payments and a requirement that companies let workers save automatically for retirement, senior administration officials said Sunday.

snip

Another of the president’s proposals, a cap on federal loan payments for recent college graduates at 10 percent of income above a basic living allowance, would cost taxpayers roughly $1 billion. The expanded financing to help families care for elderly relatives would cost $102.5 million — a pittance in a federal budget where programs are often measured in tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars. And the automatic paycheck deduction program would simply be a way to encourage workers to save, and would include tax credits to help companies with administrative costs.

Might one of those companies be AIG?   See the previous posts on the matter, links below.

Now, of course, the reporter follows up this paragraph immediately with this (which sort of sounds like a bit of editorializing, no?):

Such programs are, notably, much less far-reaching than Mr. Obama’s expansive first-year agenda of passing an economic recovery package, bailing out the auto industry, overhauling the health care system, passing energy legislation and imposing tough new restrictions on banks. That agenda has left him vulnerable to criticism that he is using the government to remake every aspect of American society.

Well, it remains to be seen whether this “encouragement” will be “much less far-reaching” than the New York Times writer assumes.

As I mused in the last post I did on the subject, the idea may be a good one in theory, BUT…the devil is in the details. And those details involve how much money is involved and which companies will be getting all those tax credits.  It seems to me that we might be looking at lots of nice credits being passed around as well as lots of fees that will cut into the amount of money that actually gets saved.    Sort of like Medicare Part D wound up…companies charging a bundle so we can have the honor of a prescription “plan” that often winds up charging about the same than what someone paid with a discount card and no premiums before Big Pharma got involved!

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this in the future, unless it’s stuck in another bill somewhere where the sun don’t shine…

RELATED POSTS

The Next Shoe to Drop: IRA Grab Being Set Up NOW–Heads Up! (UPDATE 1X) January 14, 2010

More on the Possible IRA Grab–What the Vision Is and Who’s Behind It January 19, 2010

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