Friday, September 4, 2009

Reading the next article you will wonder; how is this relevant to where the economy is going?

Coming from Aussie we just don't sue people like they do here in the States. I have met many doctors and they are so risk averse because of the cost of insurance & being sued etc. The whole area of what they call TORT law adds tremendous costs not only in hard cash payouts, but also in reducing the creativity of individuals because of the threat of being sued. What do you think of the suggestions that the doctor makes?

A Doctor's Plan for Legal Industry Reform


Since we are moving toward socialism with ObamaCare, the time has come to do the same with other professions—especially lawyers. Physician committees can decide whether lawyers are necessary in any given situation.

At a town-hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., last month, our uninformed lawyer in chief suggested that we physicians would rather chop off a foot than manage diabetes since we would make more money doing surgery. Then President Obama compounded his attack by claiming a doctor's reimbursement is between "$30,000" and "$50,000" for such amputations! (Actually, such surgery costs only about $1,500.)

Physicians have never been so insulted. Because of these affronts, I will gladly volunteer for the important duty of controlling and regulating lawyers. Since most of what lawyers do is repetitive boilerplate or pushing paper, physicians would have no problem dictating what is appropriate for attorneys. We physicians know much more about legal practice than lawyers do about medicine.

Following are highlights of a proposed bill authorizing the dismantling of the current framework of law practice and instituting socialized legal care:

Contingency fees will be discouraged, and eventually outlawed, over a five-year period. This will put legal rewards back into the pockets of the deserving—the public and the aggrieved parties. Slick lawyers taking their "cut" smacks of a bookie operation. Attorneys will be permitted to keep up to 3% in contingency cases, the remainder going into a pool for poor people.

Legal "DRGs." Each potential legal situation will be assigned a relative value, and charges limited to this amount. Program participation and acceptance of this amount is mandatory, regardless of the number of hours spent on the matter. Government schedules of flat fees for each service, analogous to medicine's Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), will be issued. For example, any divorce will have a set fee of, say, $1,000, regardless of its simplicity or complexity. This will eliminate shady hourly billing. Niggling fees such as $2 per page photocopied or faxed would disappear. Who else nickels-and-dimes you while at the same time charging hundreds of dollars per hour? I'm surprised lawyers don't tack shipping and handling onto their bills.

Legal "death panels." Over 75? You will not be entitled to legal care for any matter. Why waste money on those who are only going to die soon? We can decrease utilization, save money and unclog the courts simultaneously. Grandma, you're on your own.

Ration legal care. One may need to wait months to consult an attorney. Despite a perceived legal need, physician review panels or government bureaucrats may deem advice unnecessary. Possibly one may not get representation before court dates or deadlines. But that' s tough: What do you want for "free"?

Physician controlled legal review. This is potentially the most exciting reform, with doctors leading committees for determining the necessity of all legal procedures and the fairness of attorney fees. What a wonderful way for doctors to get even with the sharks attempting to eviscerate the practice of medicine.

Discourage/eliminate specialization. Legal specialists with extra training and experience charge more money, contributing to increased costs of legal care, making it unaffordable for many. This reform will guarantee a selection of mediocre, unmotivated attorneys but should help slow rising legal costs. Big shot under indictment? Classified National Archives documents down your pants? Sitting president defending against impeachment? Have FBI agents found $90,000 in your freezer? Too bad. Under reform you too may have to go to the government legal shop for advice.

Electronic legal records. We should enter the digital age and computerize and centralize legal records nationwide. All files must be in a standard, preferably inconvenient, format and must be available to government agencies. A single database of judgments, court records, client files, etc. will decrease legal expenses. Anyone with Internet access will be able to search the database, eliminating unjustifiable fees charged by law firms for supposedly proprietary information, while fostering transparency. It will enable consumers to dump their clunker attorneys and transfer records easily.

Ban legal advertisements. Catchy phone numbers such as 1-800-LAWYERS would be seized by the government and repurposed for reporting unscrupulous attorneys.

New government oversight. Government overhead to manage the legal system will include a cabinet secretary, commissioners, ombudsmen, auditors, assistants, czars and departments.

Collect data about the supply of and demand for attorneys. Create a commission to study the diversity and geographic distribution of attorneys, with power to stipulate and enforce corrective actions to right imbalances. The more bureaucracy the better. One can never have too many eyes watching these sleazy sneaks.

Lawyer Reduction Act (H.R. -3200). A self-explanatory bill that not only decreases the number of law students, but also arbitrarily removes 3,200 attorneys from practice each year. Textbook addition by subtraction.

Enthusiastically embracing the above legal changes can serve as a "teachable moment" and will go a long way toward giving the lawyers who run Congress a taste of their own medicine.

—Dr. Rafal is a radiologist in New York City.

Monday, August 31, 2009

For all thise that said that banks where not a good investment

In Aussie during the 90's collapse, the stocks that increased in value the greatest: BANKS!

The Swiss government made in excess of 30% lending money to UBS now the FED has made money.

Aivars Lode

Fed makes $14bn profit on loans provided during financial turmoil

By Francesco Guerrera in New York and Krishna Guha in,Washington

Published: August 31 2009 03:00 | Last updated: August 31 2009 03:00

The Federal Reserve has made a $14bn (£8.6bn) profit on loan programmes that provided hundreds of billions of dollars in liquidity to the financial system since the start of the crisis two years ago, according to Fed officials.

The internal estimate is based on the difference between the fees and interest on the lending facilities and the interest the Fed would have earned had it invested the funds in three-month Treasury bills.

The central bank earned about $19bn in income from charging interest and fees to financial institutions and investors that tapped the new facilities to obtain much-needed funds during the turmoil. The interest the Fed would have earned by investing the same amount in T-bills was an estimated $5bn, leaving a $14bn gain since August 2007.

The Fed assessment underlines the possibility that other central banks could make a profit on their crisis-fighting measures - at least before adjusting for the risk they assumed.

The calculation, which has neither been audited, published nor risk-adjusted, only deals with its liquidity facilities.

Those include discount window and Term Auction Facility loans to banks, currency swaps with other central banks, purchases of commercial paper and financing for investors in asset-backed securities.

The figure is not a complete picture of Fed finances as it excludes its company-specific bail-outs and purchases of long-term assets.

The central bank is still exposed to the risk of substantial losses on its Maiden Lane portfolios - pools of assets financed as part of the bail-outs of Bear Stearns and AIG.

And the estimates do not include unrealised gains or losses on the Fed's portfolio of mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries purchased as part of its $1,750bn asset purchase programme that provides an additional stimulus to the economy.

The central bank earns interest on these securities as it does on its loans. But it could face losses if it has to sell them when interest rates are higher than when it purchased them.

The Fed declined to comment.

Some politicians have criticised the Fed for using billions of dollars of public funds to support the market and stricken groups such as AIG and Bear. The Fed's balance sheet has ballooned from $800bn in 2007 to about $2,000bn.