Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bravo Google!

Google's decision to stand up to Chinese dictators is bold and deserves the support of free world. In a clever move, Google has moved their uncensored search engine to Hong Kong and has started directing the traffic from its China web site to its Hong Kong web site. Google is thus complying with the Chinese as well as the Hong Kong laws. The Chinese censors reacted by blocking access to politically sensitive information from Google’s Hong Kong site. However this will eventually back fire as the Chinese web surfers who are educated and younger will eventually start resenting Chinese government’s censorship. This may start a mass movement against the Chinese dictators. If that happens, Google might have inadvertently put the first nail in the coffin of the Communist & Fascist regime of China.

All freedom loving people of the world should support Google’s fight for internet freedom by boycotting the products made by Communist China.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

House passes the Health Care Reform Bill

It is not a perfect bill but it is a good start. Hopefully improvements can be done in future with bi-partisan support. After all, no body can dare take Medicare away from seniors now.

One concern is whether it will survive the constitutional challenge based on states rights. We will find it out in due time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mr. Obama’s Predicament

Recently there have been concerns that President Obama still seems to be in the campaign mode. President Obama election was a historic event and he is elected at a time when the United States as well as the World faces great adversities. It is important that he succeeds in his effort to steer all of us through this challenging period. However, after the initial euphoria, troubling signs are emerging in Obama’s Presidency which is of concerns.

The earlier red flag was the stimulus package. Instead of proposing, designing, directing and leading the effort on the stimulus plan, Mr. Obama deferred its design to the House and the Left wing of the Democratic Party. The final package which came out has not been effective in reviving the economy or improving the unemployment situation. A similar situation seems to exist with the Health Care Reform. What is missing is the leadership within the Administration to come up with plans to meet Mr. Obama’s goals and agenda and to coordinate with the Congress to get the required bills passed. While, Mr. Obama’s lack of Executive experience in dealing with the Legislature was known, it was expected that he will fill this gap by appointing competent advisors who have such experience. Unfortunately this is not being done effectively.

This kind of approach in foreign affairs can be risky. It is true that Mr. Obama inherited Iraq, Afghanistan and the financial crisis. No matter whose faults were these, Mr. Obama knew the cards being dealt to the new President and as the new President, he owns them now. Fortunately, with adversities come the opportunities. After all his heroes President Lincoln and later on President Roosevelt faced bigger challenges during their Presidencies and are now revered as Great Presidents.

Mr. Obama has a similar opportunity to reach greatness; the question is whether he can rise up to the challenges. I believe he can if he transcends to the next level and start acting as a President instead of the Candidate. Initially it will be tough as Mr. Obama’s natural aptitude is to be a preacher and a campaigner who wants to be loved by every one. He is also very good at it as his opponents found out during the election. His predicament and challenge is to overcome and control these natural impulses which may impact his Presidency adversely.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

China must listen!

In a recent speech the Chinese Premier has criticized America and has claimed that Chinese currency, yuan, is not too low while around same time, The New York Times exposed how China was using rules of global trade to its advantage. It is time for American and European leaders to realize that China only understands and respects power play. Thus America’s earlier weapon sale to Taiwan was a move in the right direction and despite all the whining by China, its message was well understood by the Chinese dictators.

America and the West must force China to float its currency at the market rate. It is ridiculous that despite a $2 trillion dollars of foreign currency reserve, Chinese currency is still allowed to be pegged to US dollar at an artificially low rate determined by China. There will a lot of support for this action in the world as by keeping its currency artificially low, China is hurting the economies of many other countries.

America should stop worrying that China may retaliate by liquidating its dollar assets. China is smart enough to know that any large scale withdrawal from American bond market will cause a run on dollar and will significantly reduce the value of their dollar assets. After all they are also in a quandary as they have sold real products to America for American paper money.

If China refuses to cooperate and does not agree to float its currency at the market rate, there should be a world wide boycott of products made in China.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

All that glitters is not Gold

The last 10 years have been traumatic period for America and the world. It is time to take stoc of the reasons which have caused these problems. No matter how the partisan crowd wings it the fact that the seed of many problems we face today were sowed during the Clinton Administration. To cite a few examples,

Al Qaeda had attacked USA three times during the Clinton Administration, and Clinton’s only response was to throw a few cruise missiles on Taliban. Also most of 9/11 attack preparation was done during Clinton’s time. The Clinton administration was sleeping.

Further the seed of the current financial crisis were also sowed during the Clinton including the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act which had separated commercial & investment banking and was proven effective for decades. Further the Commodity Futures Modernization Act signed by Bill Clinton had exempted all derivatives, including the credit-default swaps, from federal regulation.

Bottom Line is that Bill Clinton’s Presidency was a disaster for America.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Health Care Reform, the Home Stretch

Although I have criticized President Obama in the past for his tendency to try to do too many things at the same time and his administration’s lack of prioritizing, I do agree that the passage of the Health Care reform is crucial for the effectiveness of the remainder of Obama’s Presidency. What he has to do is to rise up above petty partisanship, include all good ideas which were suggested during the Health Care Summit including the ones suggested by the Republicans and move with the passage of a Health Care Reform bill with or without Republican Party’s support. Hopefully, this will give a fresh start to his Presidency and will allow him to focus on other serious issues related to the economy, job creation, financial reforms and foreign affairs.

Obama and the Democratic Party have spent most of their political capital on Health Care Reform and need to cross the finish line. We do need the Health Care Reform.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Health Care Reform Legislation

After the Summit on the Health Care Reforms, it looks like that Obama and the Democrats are determined to pass a major Health Care Reform bill using the reconciliation process. The Republicans have obviously denounced this approach. However America is spending 17.3% of its GDP on health care and still does not have universal health care. There is no question that America needs Health Care Reform and it is the time to do so.

For the Health Care Reform to be meaningful it is of utmost importance that effective cost control measures are built in the bill including limiting liabilities on the medical profession. The following sensible ideas were suggested by the Republican participants in the Summit.

1. Measures to search for and eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse by Medicare and Medicaid providers.

2. Health courts as an alternative to jury trials in medical malpractice cases using an expert judge to review the evidence and give a final judgment.

Alternately a cap can be put limiting the liabilities of medical profession for malpractice cases. California and a couple of other states already have such a law in place.

3. Health savings accounts for individuals and small business to purchase coverage.

4. Increased reimbursements to Medicaid providers

In addtion to the above, the anti trust exemption for the health care insurers should also be repealed.

Limiting the liabilities of medical profession will face strong opposition from the Trial Lawyers who provide significant funding to Democratic Party. However if Obama and the Democrats are serious about meaningful Health Care Reforms, they need to provide effective cost control measures in the Health Care reform bill.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Financial Reforms

The seed of the financial crisis were sowed during the Clinton administration with the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act which had separated commercial & investment banking and was proven effective for decades. Further the Commodity Futures Modernization Act signed by Bill Clinton had exempted all derivatives, including the credit-default swaps, from federal regulation. Alan Greenspan added fuel to fire by keeping interest rates artificially low thus creating the real estate bubble.

If we want to bring the sanity back, start with the re-imposition of Glass-Steagall Act and bring all derivatives under federal regulations.