A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
A couple thousand Utahns gathered on the steps of the capitol today to show their support for the Second Amendment.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Newly sworn-in Attorney General John Swallow has become the center of controversy after the Salt Lake Tribune published a story linking him to embattled businessman Jeremy Johnson and allegations of a big money bribe to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The following is a very brief overview. Read the articles for details.
Despite this long list of evidence of unethical behavior, many are (rightly) saying, "Innocent until proven guilty!" I agree with that sentiment. The question is, how do we determine if he's guilty? The criminal investigations will surely come, and they'll take months or even years to complete the investigation, indictment, and conviction (if it goes that far). But what if he didn't break any laws? How do we determine if Swallow crossed an ethical boundary that merits a removal from office? That's where impeachment comes in.
The Utah Constitution (Article VI Section 16-18) allows for impeachment of certain state officers (including attorney general). It states that they may be impeached for "high crimes, misdemeanors, or malfeasance in office". Malfeasance is "wrongdoing or misconduct especially by a public official".
"The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment, but in order to impeach, two-thirds of all the members elected must vote therefor." (Article VI, Section 17)
Once the House impeaches someone the "Trial of Impeachment" can begin in the Senate.
"(1) All impeachments shall be tried by the Senate, and senators, when sitting for that purpose, shall take oath or make affirmation to do justice according to the law and the evidence.
(2) Upon an impeachment by the House of Representatives, the Senate shall, if not already convened in an annual general session, convene for the purpose of trying the impeachment.
(3) When the Governor is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside.
(4) No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the senators elected." (Article VI, Section 18)
This is the best way for the people of Utah to gather the evidence, have an investigation, and allow John Swallow to defend himself from the accusations of malfeasance. The impeachment trial can determine if Swallow crossed any ethical boundaries and if he did, he can be removed from office. If he did not, his name can be cleared and he can continue his duties as Attorney General.
If you want to contact your representative and ask him/her to give the people of Utah some closure on this controversy by having an impeachment trial, go here -> http://libertasutah.org/legislator/ - There you will be able to look up your representative's contact info. I recommend calling on the phone first and then send an email.
Utah Attorney General John Swallow
The Daily Herald today released an editorial making the case for the resignation of Utah's new attorney general John Swallow. This comes after the Salt Lake Tribune broke a story of allegations against Swallow from indicted Utah businessman Jeremy Johnson. If you haven't read the entire story from the Tribune, go read it now.
Here's an overview of the story:
Swallow is deeply involved in this scandal. At best, he's guilty of what many would consider unethical behavior, especially when that behavior is done by the deputy attorney general. At worst, he's committed some serious crimes and could see jail time.
So what do you think? Should Utah Attorney General John Swallow resign?
Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on this.
From guest author Christian Rodier, the following doesn't necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Jolley:
Watching a cable news debate over the rising cost of healthcare, I could barely contain my indignation when I heard a pundit claiming the free market had failed us, implying it was now time to unleash the heavy hand of government into our healthcare system. Only government intervention could counter the spiraling costs, and on our own we had failed. It was for our own good. I asked myself, how could this person fail to see the downward price affect the free market has had? Had he not read his history? Has he not seen what has happened to the prices of cars, phones, and computers? In the past, these were only play things of the wealthiest among us but now commonplace household items. I now have the answer and the proof to verify. The solution won’t come from heaps of ineffective federal subsides carelessly tossed at our problems with cult-like vigor and a blind faith in a future that never has and never will be. The answer comes from the bottom-up and the middleman-out and not from the top-down. It comes from the free market. It is from the innovation of our entrepreneurs—something which has been lacking in the healthcare debates. It comes from surgery centers and other medical clinics which don’t accept insurance, be they government or private. It is because they only accept out-of-pocket payment from their patients or their employers. It comes from direct medical expense pay.
In Oklahoma City, the local hospital Integris Medical Center primarily receives its revenue from health insurance reimbursements. It charges $7,542 to perform a routine carpel tunnel surgery. In the exact same city the Oklahoma Surgery Center, which doesn’t take health insurance only out of pocket or out of the employer’s pocket, charges for the same operation $2,750—1/3 the price. In addition, the Surgery center has full price-transparency. The cost for the procedure and all other procedures are posted on their website. The clinic works with the Kempton Group, a health care administration firm. The Kempton Group works with companies that pay their employees’ healthcare benefits directly out of their revenue instead of through insurance. The companies working with Kempton agree to wave all co-pays if employees agree to be treated at the Surgery Center. This is completely unprecedented given that most companies provide their employees’ healthcare through insurance.
Integris as well as other hospitals and clinics, which primarily obtain revenue from private or government insurance, are notorious for outrageous mark ups. For example, the hospital charged over $300 for a steroid that only costs 0.75 cents and over $100 for a pain killer that only costs $1.50 whole sale. Moreover, they are not up front with their prices. The high price inflation puts medical care out of the reach of those who don’t have insurance. Since most Americans receive health insurance through their jobs, it leaves the lion’s share of the 12.3 million unemployed and their families out in the cold.
The reason the traditional health insurance centered care is so expensive is that patients never see the bill; therefore, there is never any sticker shock. There is a whole host of perverse incentives at work. The health insurer wants to pay out at little as possible. They don’t make money when you’re cured. They make money when you pay your premium. The hospital wants to maximize their share of the insurance reimbursement, and the patient wants to get as much service as possible. It is like an employee at a Vegas restaurant with the company credit card. What is his incentive to just purchase a modest meal? What is the restaurant’s incentive to provide it for a reasonable price? The employee doesn’t lose out if the restaurant overcharges him. Meanwhile, the company isn’t the one eating the meal. Their concern is the bottom line. The co-pay spreads around the burden of payment between the employer, employee, insurance firms, and the government. Most employers receive tax credits for providing healthcare insurance to their employees. The shared cost leaves no one fully responsible for the overall price, diminishing the incentive for cost efficiency. Sadly the consumer loses out, and we’re left with massive inefficiencies.
The middle-man in the health care system aggravates the inefficiencies in hospitals and traditional insurance taking clinics. Hospitals already have to deal with in-patient, out-patient, and emergency care. A portion of the emergency and routine care must be provided for free for clients unable to pay leaving the burden of cost on those who do. Instead of specializing and focusing in one particular area, the hospitals are spread thin. The multiple levels of service require expensive administrators everywhere who often earn 6 digit salaries. For example, at Integris the top 18 administrators earn $413,000 a year. The Oklahoma Surgery Center doesn’t have numerous types of services to provide. It only provides surgery and can focus and innovate on their particular facet of the health care industry. It doesn’t have to pay large salaries of administrators to run complex maze of interlocking health care services. Its low prices forced it to streamlined it administrative bureaucracy. It only has one level of service: surgery. The center is so efficient it is often able to perform almost twice the amount of surgeries as Integris Hospital.
Not only does direct pay healthcare bring down the cost but provides an answer to the question conservatives have not adequately answered: What do we do about those who are denied healthcare insurance due to pre-existing conditions? Since the direct-pay cuts out the middle man, there is no longer any need to worry about being denied insurance for pre-existing conditions. The fact that the Oklahoma Surgery Center can save patients 2/3 or more compared to the traditional insurance based healthcare answers the question: How do we provide affordable healthcare to the middle class? For example, a "complex sinus surgery" at Integris hospital costs $33,505 while it is $5,885 at the Oklahoma Surgery Center. Because not every type of healthcare provided requires surgery, the direct pay model could easily be adapted to general physician clinics and specialists. This could even be extended to dentistry and eye care.
The only question is what to do about Americans in poverty? Former Utah State Senator Dan Liljenquist had the right answer. He crafted legislation which provided Medicaid patients with a fixed amount to spend on healthcare. This brought cost as close to home as possible for Medicaid users and their doctors, cutting out the middleman. This would have provided better care for many Medicaid patients who were winding up in the emergency room because of the inability to find doctors accepting Medicare. It would have also saved Utah taxpayer money because paying for an emergency room visit is much more expensive that paying for a general physician. Unfortunately, the legislation depended on a federal waiver request which the Obama Administration denied. Congressional Republicans have long championed healthcare savings accounts which could easily be adapted to work the direct pay system. Healthcare savings accounts need to be more privatized. Employers could easily provide defined contribution healthcare savings accounts. Employees would provide a set percentage of their pay toward the accounts; employers would match, and if the employee wished, he could invest funds similar IRA or 401K. The employee would then choose how risky or safe the nature of his investments would be.
Does this mean that insurance companies will no longer play a role in providing healthcare? No, insurance companies where created to insure against catastrophic events; therefore, they are often good for emergency care but not always good for day to day care given that catastrophic events are uncommon while everyone eventually gets sick. To bring down the cost of insurance, changes need to be made. Health insurance companies need to be able to compete across state lines. Because they can’t, in the majority of states only two major healthcare insurance companies provide the lion’s share of care and that leaves little competition thus driving up prices. Insurance companies also need the leeway to base charges off of their clients’ lifestyle. They should be able to charge the coach potato employee who overeats, smokes, drinks heavily, and exercises little more than the marathon runner employee who takes care of himself, so that the healthy employee doesn’t have to subsidize the healthcare of the unhealthy one. Safeway has done just that, and it has allowed them to keep healthcare insurance rates low and flat, according to the WSJ.
The idea of direct medical pay is already on the table and the proof of its practicality is already out there. The question is now: how do we implement it? The biggest obstacle is that few people know of it. Everyone knows the Democrats’ plan in that Obamacare forces American citizens to buy insurance to pay fines and forces health insurance providers to cover those with pre-existing conditions. Most people know that the Right opposes Obamacare because of the cost, but few people understand what the Right wants to replace Obamacare with. Their ideas are not that clear. We must get the word out about the Oklahoma Surgery Center’s direct pay system. We must tell our friends and family members. This article is based on a ReasonTV video called Oklahoma Doctors vs Obamacare. Share it with friends on Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter. Healthcare Administration Companies must move away from insurance toward direct pay. The political and pundit class must start speaking out in order to win back control of the debate. The worst thing we can do is subsidize it in some form or another such as a tax credit lest we end up in the same place we started.
Christian Rodier is a Political Activist with a BA in Political Science and is currently a student of Economics at SLCC.
Barack Obama thinks he's pretty good at creating imaginary jobs. As you can see below, I'm a whole lot better at that game than he is.
Recently, advocates for economic liberty in Utah saw a small victory as a judge ruled in favor of African-style hairbraider Jestina Clayton. Jestina had the audacity to braid hair for money without first obtaining a license from the state government. The license would have required 2,000 hours of cosmetology training.
This is just one example of many where the State of Utah is requiring licensing for occupations they have no business regulating. The Insitute for Justice has a great video on this issue:
I'm currently doing research into Utah's occupational licensing. If you know of any examples of unnecessary or excessive licensing laws in Utah, please contact me or leave a comment below.
Jim Matheson, Democrat, is the sole member of Utah's federal delegations who voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly known as the Obama Stimulus.
In a press release expressing his support for the stimulus, Matheson said, “The core of this bill deals with job creation and cutting taxes and those are my primary concerns for Utah families right now.”
Matheson claimed the "core" of the Obama stimulus was job creation, the truth is the core of the bill was an expansion in entitlement spending. $230 billion went to increase entitlements and a huge chunk of the "tax cuts" were the expansion and creation of wealth redistribution schemes (EIC expansion and Making Work Pay).
According to Recovery.gov, Utah has been awarded $2,284,205,163 so far from the stimulus (through June 30, 2012). The website also reports the money has created a total of 805.4 jobs. That means taxpayers paid $2,836,112.69 per job created!
Utah could do a lot better than Jim Matheson. Learn more about his opponent, Republican Mia Love, by visiting her website - www.love4utah.com.
A new public policy organization was launched today in Utah, Libertas Institute. I have joined the institute as the director of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies. I am excited for this opportunity to work with a wonderful organization in advancing the cause of liberty in Utah. I will continue to blog here at michaeljolley.net but will be spending most of my time working on Tenth Amendment issues with Libertas.
Here is an introduction to the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies, as found on LibertasUtah.org:
The federal government is the creation of the several states and exists as their common agent and arbiter. The powers delegated by the states to that government are, as James Madison said, “few and defined.” All other powers are reserved either to the states (where legitimately delegated to them), or to the people themselves.
Accordingly, the Tenth Amendment was passed. In it, the states clearly proclaimed that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Utah legislators should use all available and appropriate methods to resist and deny the federal government’s usurpations. History has proven that the federal government will not fix the problems it created; the state of Utah must interpose itself between its citizens and a national government run amok.
Areas of focus for the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies:
President (220,999 total votes)
Mitt Romney - 93.05% (205,643), Ron Paul - 4.7% (10,388), Rick Santorum - 1.52% (3,349), Newt Gingrich - 0.49% (1,074), Fred Karger - 0.25% (545)
U.S. Senate (220,101 total votes)
Orrin Hatch* - 66.52% (146,414), Dan Liljenquist - 33.48% (73,687)
Attorney General (210,396 total votes)
John Swallow - 68.03% (143,126), Sean Reyes - 31.97% (67,270)
State Auditor (195,967)
John Dougall - 53.9% (105,635), Auston Johnson* - 46.1% (90,332)
State Senate 24 (11,844 total votes)
Ralph Okerlund* - 61.22% (7,251), Patrick Painter - 38.78% (4,593)
State Senate 28 (10,379 total votes)
Evan Vickers - 63.71% (6,649), Casey Anderson* - 36.29% (3,730)
State House 04 (2,520 total votes)
Edward Redd - 58.85% (1,483), David Butterfield* - 41.15% (1,037)
State House 06 (2,188 total votes)
Jake Anderegg - 56.86% (1,244), Seth Moore - 43.14% (944)
State House 16 (2,939 total votes)
Steve Handy* - 65.63% (1,929), Chris Crowder - 34.37% (1,010)
State House 21 (1,798 total votes)
Douglas Sagers* - 53.95% (970), Alison McCoy - 46.05% (828)
State House 27 (3,970 total votes)
Mike Kennedy - 55.09% (2,187), Sarah Nitta - 44.91% (1,783)
State House 29 (3,727 total votes)
Lee Perry* - 61.36% (2,287), Brad Galvez* - 38.64% (1,440)
State House 48 (4,493 total votes)
Kevin Stratton* - 53.73% (2,414), Taz Murray - 46.27% (2,079)
State House 56 (3,204 total votes)
Kay Christofferson - 59.3% (1,900), Christy Kane - 40.7% (1,304)
State House 57 (3,283 total votes)
Brian Greene - 55.86% (1,834), John Stevens - 44.14% (1,449)
State House 60 (4,034 total votes)
Dana Layton - 54.29% (2,190), Brad Daw* - 45.71% (1,844)
State House 68 (3,644 total votes)
Merrill Nelson - 52.36% (1,908), Bill Wright* - 47.64% (1,736)
State House 72 (4,000 total votes)
John Westwood - 66.98% (2,679), Matthew Carling - 33.02% (1,321)
* - incumbent
Incumbents' Win-Loss Record: 6-5
Which winner received the most votes? Mitt Romney, 205,643
Which winner received the least votes? Doug Sagers, 970
Difference between total votes in Presidential race and State Auditor's race (even though they were on the same number of ballots): 25,032
Most total votes in House race: 4,493 in HD 48, Stratton vs. Murray
Least total votes in House race: 1,798 in HD 21, Sagers vs. McCoy
(All info comes from http://electionresults.utah.gov/main.html)