Thursday, September 24, 2009

LOTTO dreaming

If I were to win LOTTO, I would open a bank.

I would pay less than 1% on the money deposited into my savings accounts. I would set 18% as the annual lending rate on items charged to my credit cards. I would have a $2 ATM fee. I would impose an automatic overdraft fee of $35 per occurrence hidden in the fine print of my debit card policy. I would clear deposits in 2 days, but not free them up for 7 days. I would charge a $300 mortgage application fee and the customer must fill out the application. The actual disclosure would be almost impossible to read and the lending process would be extremely difficult to recreate. This would allow me to bump up the originally promised interest rate by a 1/2 % at the closing, as I know that most consumers would be too weary to start the process over again. I would apply 1 point across the board on my loans and list it as an origination fee so that many people would glance over it.

I would be in strict observance of all Federal Holidays. I would fly the American flag prominently on all my properties. I would be an honorary speaker, political donor, venture capitalist and capitalist advocate. I would be a mentor to entrepreneurs, an aspiring example of risk management and a free enterprise model. I would be an enemy to socialism and denounce it at every turn.

I would keep my government bailout applications in the top right hand drawer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

what is it all about?

Over the last several years I have spoken with many people about health care in The United States of America. Dreadfully few of these people expressed happiness with the system. Employers are continually in disdain over the high and still rising premiums. Employees are contemptuous of the high and rising deductibles, coinsurance percentages and out of pocket maximums. Patients boil over with accounts detailing errors on claims, denied claims, appeals, delays, dubious reasonable fee scales, excluded prescriptions, overcrowding, misdiagnoses, infections and poor case management. People in transition, either by job loss or career change, generally fall into two categories. They make exorbitant Cobra payments or go without coverage and white-knuckle it until they get back on their feet.

It seems almost incomprehensible that a large percentage of people would oppose changing the current system. But, that is the predicament in America today. Disdain for the current system and fear of a new system. We fear overspending more acutely than ever as a reaction to our gluttonous feast on bailouts. We fear government control intrinsically. And who among us has sunk back into enough denial to believe that without regulation corporations and insurance companies will do the right thing? Even among the experts there is great confusion and disagreement. Alas-we are stagnant to action.

No action and no change will of course produce the same results. Perfection will not appear as an option. We need to be open. We need to work together. We need to put our best collaboration of plans and ideas forward, take action and take a leap of faith.

‘In God We Trust’ is the official motto of The United States of America. It is a phrase that is proudly presented on our currency. I suppose the phrase has different meanings for different people. I view the phrase as an acknowledgment. In a way, it is a daily reminder that all of our efforts and all of our plans are ultimately beyond our control. Whether we change our healthcare system or not our medical requirements will continue to consume large amounts of our currency. I suspect that it not really about the money-it’s about the trust.

Monday, September 7, 2009

day 1, lesson 1

Two of my late summer tasks this year were a dichotomy. I helped my daughter move out of our house and into an apartment she found near her new job. On the reverse action, I helped my son prepare for first grade. My daughter moved out about ten days ago and so today most of my time was spent with my son.

We reviewed our summer highlights. Learning how to swim, grasping how to ride a bike without training wheels, and tying a worm on a hook to snare a fish were some tops on the list. One of the low points was not being able to attend a birthday party to which he had been invited. I figured that parents of six year olds could strive for more appropriate behavior than mock battles with toy guns in a mixed group of graduating kindergartners. My son still would have preferred the party, but I believe teachable moments are great opportunities and I would rather drive through them cautiously than to steer away from them altogether.

Tonight, as he was becoming familiar with his new school backpack, we reviewed what to expect at his first day of first grade and what kind of behavior we expect of him. He read a couple of short books and dozed off to sleep. Almost simultaneously, our phone rang. Upon answering I was greeted by an automated message from the Superintendent of our school district. The announcement was to inform me that it is okay for me to send my son to school tomorrow and that the district is aware that many parents are concerned about the children viewing President Obama’s address to the students. However, in order to ease those worries, the schools will be previewing the President’s remarks first and then allowing appropriate grades a later viewing.

I chuckled at the word ‘appropriate’. I suppose a teachable moment awaits us in the morning. Day 1, grade 1, lesson 1: tolerance, even in the face of ignorance.