Entitled to Heaven

America has become a nation of entitlements.  Americans are entitled to Social Security, welfare checks, food stamps, health care, Medicare, Medicaid, and, of course, Heaven.  Religion in America must offer entitlements or the congregation will shrink.  Religion must offer an entitlement to Heaven.  All you have to do is believe in God and Jesus, who died for your sins, and you get a free pass to Heaven.  It does not matter what you do after you receive Jesus as your savior; it is a gift from God not requiring any works on your part.

This is called justification, meaning that we are justified through our faith and we are reconciled with Jesus when we receive this gift of grace from God.  It cost Jesus everything, but cost us nothing other than believing in Him.  So what happens after justification?  Many ministers stop at this point because this is where Americans want to stop.  Christians receive a free ticket to Heaven without having to do anything other than saying they believe in God. 

However, there is much more to the story of faith.  If you truly believe in God and Jesus, you will follow the path of Jesus and avoid sinning.  This is called sanctification, which is rarely mentioned by ministers.  Sanctification is hard work.  It requires us to act on our belief in God by going out and doing good works.  And it requires us to fight our sinful nature constantly. 

The majority of Christians are happy with justification.  They console each other on Sunday that they can reach Heaven by just believing.  Since they do not reach Heaven through works or deeds, they can attend church one hour on Sunday and then sin from Sunday afternoon through next Sunday morning.  These Christians go back to church each Sunday, repent, and then start sinning all over again.  But they ignore the most important evidence of truly believing in God and that is avoiding sin and being like Jesus.

In Romans 6:5-7, when we believe in God, we are united with Jesus/God, leaving our bodies of sin behind so that we no longer are slaves to sin.  The Holy Spirit enters us and we become one with God.  It seems very clear that true believers do not believe in God only one hour per week and then repent their actions taken over the last six days and 23 hours.  True believers fight their sinful nature every second of every day with the power that the Spirit provides in a moral and ethical code that is embedded in our conscience.  When we unite with God, the Holy Spirit enters us and guides us.  If we do not follow that guidance, then we are not united with God and are not true believers.

Our actions to please God are the best evidence of our true belief in God.  Those Christians who seek a church for self-serving reasons and use it to wash away their weekly sins without making any effort towards self-discipline are no better than atheists.  They do not believe in God since they do not fight their demons on a daily basis.

Belief in God is your key to enter Heaven, but you are not entitled to the key.  You have to work to earn it.  Your works are the true justification of your belief.  There can be no justification without sanctification.  They are entwined so that you cannot have one without the other.      

What is the Cost of Obamacare?

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s front-page article on August 10th entitled “Who pays health care law’s tax hikes?” asks a great question.  Unfortunately, neither Democrats nor Republicans have answered this question.

Perhaps, it’s because Americans can’t handle the truth.  Or perhaps, it’s because the answer is hidden so deep within the hundreds of pages of complex legislation that nobody really knows the answer.  Or perhaps, nobody really cares until they feel the actual sting.

Quite frankly, I’m amazed that legislation of this magnitude was passed without anybody, especially politicians, having a better understanding of the potential fiscal and physical consequences.  Clearly, somebody is going to pay for the health care law.  And it certainly will cost more than just tax increases.

Obamacare is expected to cost $1.68 trillion of new spending in its first decade, according to Charles Krauthammer’s research.  Who is going to pay this cost for Obamacare?  And what about the increased deductibles that hospitals will charge those on Medicare?  And what about the loss of medical services because physicians will not accept those on Medicare?  How do you measure those costs?

Well, I wouldn’t have any problem with this answer:  We all are going to pay.  How much is it going to cost?  We don’t know, yet, but it’s going to hurt everybody.

America’s Real Federal Deficit

It shouldn’t surprise Americans that their government has not told them the whole truth about our federal deficit.  However, the “USA Today” on May 24, 2012, unveiled a more accurate accounting telling us how deep we are in debt… and it’s about four times deeper than we were told.

According to our executive and legislative branches, our federal budget deficit was $1.3 trillion in 2011.  The actual amount was $5 trillion after counting liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, and other federal retirement programs.  There is no logic in ignoring these large amounts except that it shows that we are deeper in the hole than we thought.  It is interesting that federal law requires companies to report retirement commitments in their financial statements, but the federal government exempts itself from this requirement.

This deficit would equal to $42,054 per household.  The last Census indicated that the median income per household was $49,445, leaving us all a whopping $7,391 to pay for our house, car, groceries, gasoline, utilities, health care costs, and other household expenses.

And don’t blame the Democrats or Republicans.  This is a “twofer” special where both parties share the blame.  Over the years, it hasn’t mattered which party ran Congress or the White House.  Both parties used the same accounting system to avoid counting the retirement benefits.

In case you planned on buying a home or car in the future, you should know that each household in the United States owes $561,254 of the federal debt.  I wonder if we can file for bankruptcy.

Let’s Kick the Can Down the Road

I remember a saying when I was younger, “Let’s kick the can down the road.”  When I was older, I heard leaders say, “Not on my watch!”  Both of these quips have the same mean meaning.  They refer to the propensity of leaders to find ways to just get by today, and let somebody else solve the really hard problems sometime in the future.

The latest news on Social Security is that it will run out of money in 2033.  Medicare is in worse shape.  Its hospital insurance fund will run dry by 2024. With lower payroll tax receipts, both of these insolvencies probably will occur even sooner.

Is the current President or Congress going to take any action?  Don’t count on it.  Are they going to kick the can down the road?  Count on it.  Most of our leaders, if you want to call them that, hope they can reach retirement before any of this happens.  They want to make as much money as they can before this nightmare hits our country like a Yellowstone mega-volcano.

Is it smarter to take action now before our funds are exhausted?  Of course, but then that would require real leadership… the type of leadership that America found in George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson… the type of leaders that don’t exist anymore.

 

Retirement in 2050?

What will retirement look like in 2050?  I wrote a futuristic movie script about this very subject.

The following shows the plot of the screenplay.

My generation will be dead.  The middle class will be dead.  Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid probably will be dead.  Will the economic landscape look anything like today?  Probably not.

Taxes on estates, income, real estate, personal property, sales, gasoline, state income, and municipal income will all increase to such an extent that most of people’s income will go to taxes.  Gasoline prices will escalate, causing all other consumer costs to increase accordingly.  Inflation will reduce the value of the dollar.  Printing more currency will further reduce the value of the dollar.

There will be no stock market since the government had to take it over after its crash.  There will be no IRAs or savings accounts because most banks will be closed and people will need every penny just to pay for necessary items.  Malls and businesses will be closed because non-food and non-essential items will be rarely sold in stores.

There will be three classes:  (1) government rulers and the elite, (2) government workers, and (3) the  poor.  World leaders will form a totalitarian block that controls everything, consisting of:  (1) the Americas, (2) the Eur-Af-Asia, and (3) the Islands.  Anybody disagreeing with this united totalitarian system will be killed.  Anybody over 50 disappears and is never seen again.

In effect, there will be no retirement.  You will work until you die or you disappear, whichever comes first.

Does this sound surrealistic?  It was good fodder for my science-fiction movie.  Does it sound similar to “A Brave New World” or “1984″?

Moral of this movie:  only intelligent people rising up and refusing to accept “Big Brother” government and it fraudulent purpose can prevent this from happening.

Fraud in Federal Programs

Fraud, fraud ... everywhere!  It is rampant within the federal programs.

I was an attorney working fraud cases for both the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Office and the Navy’s Office of General Counsel for over seven years.  I found fraud committed not only by government contractors but also by government employees.  I argued to the Department of Justice that they should hold senior executive service (SES) and military officers to a higher standard than anybody else, but that fell on deaf ears.  Unfortunately, many of these higher ranking individuals were never prosecuted at all.

And this was just fraud in the Department of Defense.  Medicaid and Medicare fraud are much worse.  In 2010, Dr. Jacques Roy, a Dallas physician, referred more than 5,000 Medicare recipients for home health services.  The average that year was about 100 per doctor.  Dr. Roy allegedly certified more than 11,000 patients as being eligible for Medicare home health services over six years.  He was the only doctor in America who certified this many for home health care.  He also was billing the government for unnecessary services.  Dr. Roy was recently indicted for committing health care fraud to the tune of $375 million dollars.

How did this happen?  How did this slip past federal regulators?  The number of Medicare beneficiaries alone should have put somebody on notice.  No other doctor even came close to him with these numbers.  And home health care is an area ripe for fraud and should have been monitored closely.

Unfortunately, the federal government was asleep at the wheel, allowing major fraud in both Medicare and Medicaid practices.  Dr. Roy had about $350 million in bogus billings to Medicare and about $24 million in fraudulent claims to Medicaid.  How many others are out there?  Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Is Federal Government a Communist Organization?

In order to determine if the federal government has become a communist organization, we must first define communism.  According to Wikipedia, communism “is a movement to create a classless, moneyless, stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political, and economic ideology that aims at establishing this social order.”  That’s a mouthful, but in short, communism is the opposite of capitalism, since it has no incentives or rewards for those who work hard and excel in their chosen fields.  Communism is its own reward.  In effect, everybody but the communist leaders share in the country’s poverty.

Many Americans believe that the federal government has been moving toward embracing socialism for years with such programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and many federal grants and disbursements.  The income tax structure is set up to tax the wealthy at higher tax rates.  Social Security is set up so that if you make more than a certain amount of money, you will receive less social security payment and you may have to pay higher premiums for your Medicare.  You receive dental benefits on Medicaid, but not on regular Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, or Tricare. Continue reading