Friday, December 14, 2018

#OBAMACARE--Henry Thoreau Examines the Affordable Care Act.--THE MANDATE & THE TAX

CH203.1002//DR S PASQUALINA//UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA/RENO//FALL 2018


 Final Exam Response (Prompt 001)-- by James C. L'Angelle

      In FDR’s State of the Union delivered in 1944 during World War 2, he promised a second “Bill of Rights” which included the following provision:
     “The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health”
The question was, as it is today, at what cost?  What seemed like a lofty proposal in the middle of a major war in the last century had to wait until the first decade in the new millennium for a solution. But it would come at a cost and that cost would be a restriction on freedom itself, and came to be known as “Obamacare.”


     The law required all citizens to declare a health care provider under a tax penalty if the individual didn’t meet the deadline and the rules. However, there were so many deferrals, exemptions, credits and restrictions applied to the penalty that it came under the scrutiny of the judicial branch of government. Were it up to Henry David Thoreau, he would toss the tax out with the government. In Civil Disobedience, 1848, Thoreau argued friction on machinery and the oil to reduce friction was taxation. But if the machine was no good, it was time to dispose of it. Apparently, the Obama Affordable Care Act (ACA) has reached the point of the machine no longer able, after only a few years, to function, as what Thoreau would refer to “oppression and robbery.”
     Further, with Thoreau’s analogy of the parts of the machinery as compared to the whole, various components of the ACA came into focus when one did not run properly and the effect it had initially on the other and finally on the entire machine. Oiling did not help as it had already become obsolete due to the friction created by interaction of its parts. Those parts included the “Individual Mandate” and “Shared Responsibility Payment.” 
     When tax cuts were introduced in 2017 and the second of the two was reduced to zero, a major component of the machine was removed. Many times when a part no longer operates in a machine, certain controls can offset functionality, not so in the case of the payment. Because the Mandate could no longer be enforced by a triggered tax, and due to the fact it was an integral part of the machine, a “linchpin,” then the machine, the ACA, became obsolete.
     Consider that from the outset, disregarding the legalese in the recent Texas court ruling, that a form of coercion was the underlying structure of the ACA from the outset, bolstered by a tax that couldn’t be conceivably enforced due to , as many have, a number of exemptions and deferrals. Add to it political agendas based on tax reduction in order to maintain control of the government, then written into a reform such as the zero shared payment could only spell doom for the entire act. The provisions were so tightly connected, as was the intent of Congress when designing the machine, that, ultimately, it failed altogether.
    
“In every threat and every compliment there is a blunder.” Thoreau


Supporting Documents:
State of the Union, FDR, 1944: https://fdrlibrary.org/address-text
Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau, 1847, Five Hundred Years, Casper, Davies & deJong, Pearson Solutions, 2016’
Texas v USA , CA et al; US District Court, Fort Worth; https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5629711-Texas-v-US-Partial-Summary-Judgment.html

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

ESSAY: Two Men from the Confederacy and Union Bullion--CH203.1002//UNIV NEVADA, RENO FALL 2018

CH203.1002//Dr. S Pasqualina//University of Nevada, Reno Fall 2018
James L’Angelle 11 Dec 18

Two Men from the Confederacy and Union Bullion

    Valentine Houseworth, also known by the abbreviation “V.A. Houseworth,” was a name little known in circles surrounding the history of the gold rush in Virginia City, Nevada antebellum, but the name does appear infrequently in various documents.  Charles Howard Shinn references V.A. Houseworth’s name in his work titled The Story of the Mine (1):
    “The miners had long before provided, after a fashion, for a recorder of claims, and had elected an honest but illiterate blacksmith of Gold Hill, V.A. Houseworth by name, whose book of records and memoranda is now one of the official treasures of Storey County. It was Houseworth's guileless habit to keep pen, ink, and the old blank book on a shelf behind the bar of an adjacent saloon.”
    On page 123 of “The Story,” Shinn again alludes to the illiterate blacksmith and his tendency to go to the saloon with the miners, leaving his claim book on a shelf where anyone could modify it:
    “Never since the world began were conflicting interests, honest and dishonest, more wildly entangled than in that early Nevada.”
    First mention of the “Kentuck” mine is on page 37 of Shinn’s account of the Virginia City mines. The story of the Kentuck mine becomes central in the rise of John Mackay of the Comstock lode and it is here that the name of Houseworth again appears. In the Reports of Cases Decided in the (9th) Circuit and District Courts, filed by Counselor L.S.B. Sawyer, the following reference is made to the Comstock:
    “On June 10, 1859, Penrod & Co., since called Comstock & Co., of whom Comstock was one, while working on a claim made by them, discovered the Comstock lode. Before that time a number of claims had been taken up in the vicinity as square locations.”
    The very next day, a set of laws governing the Gold Hill claims was set and as a result, Houseman’s system became obsolete. He did have a hand in the enactment of the laws, however:
    "Art. 4. The duty of the recorder shall be to keep in a well-bound book, a record of all mining claims that may be presented for record, with the names of the parties locating or purchasing;”
    Houseworth’s name appears at the bottom of the laws as  both “Recorder” and “Secretary.”
The laws were published in the Territorial Enterprise.


    Jonas M. Walker is the next name that plays an integral part in the development of the Comstock lode.  According to Gregory Crouch’s book, The Bonanza King, (3)  The “Kentuck” mine was originally a claim of John Osborne, who spent most of his time celebrating and in the process, neglecting development of the mine. Houseworth also had a claim in the vicinity but it eventually passed into the hands of Osborne and Houseworth returned to his home in Virginia around the time the Civil War broke out. Walker, who had also migrated out west during the gold rush of ‘49, became indirectly involved in the Kentuck mine, The profligate Osborne died and left no direct ownership to the Kentuck about the time Walker and a rather newcomer on the scene, John Mackay, formed a partnership. It was in 1865, just a few months after Lee surrendered in Appomattox, that Walker tracked down Houseworth in Orange Court House, Virginia and secured a quitclaim for $500, transferring  ownership of the Kentuck to Walker and Mackay. In this first endeavour, the partners managed to secure finance, borrow money and create stock for the mine.
    As time went on, Walker eventually sold out to bankers who bought into the claim, including the Comstock, and eventually died penniless. But there are a couple of missing details to this rather convoluted and fascinating story. The Bloomington Daily Pantagraph reported in 1879, that while Mackay was digging and failing, he eventually “became associated with J.M. Walker, a brother of Governor Walker of Virginia.” (4) Another curious turn in the obscure pre-Virginia City history of Walker can be found in The Plumas Argus in 1859 regarding an insolvency case against “Jonas M. Walker” in Quincy. (5)
Apparently Walker had migrated west, gone broke, moved to Virginia City, taken on a job at the Kentuck, managed to fanagle the original Houseworth quitclaim that gave he and Mackay a grubstake to develop the Comstock, made a fortune, sold out, failed at a railroad business enterprise with his brother back east, and died a pauper in San Francisco.
    The ironic fact in the story is that two men from the Confederate States of America, from Virginia; Valentine A. Houseworth and Jonas M. Walker, were instrumental at a grass roots level in the development of the mines in Nevada that helped finance a Union victory against the South in the Civil War.

Supporting Documents:

(1) The Story of the Mine, Charles Howard Shinn, D. Appleton & Co., New York 1896, pages 71 & 123.
(2) Reports of Cases Decided in the (9th) Circuit and District Courts, Counselor L.S.B. Sawyer, A.L. Bancroft & Co., SF, 1878, pages 394-97
(3) The Bonanza King, Gregory Couch, Simon & Schuster, 2018,
(4) The Bloomington Pantagraph, Nov 25, 1879, Front Page.
(5) The Plumas Argus, 18 Aug 1859, Page 3.