My atrocious math aside, you miss the point of my post. (And really at $0.66 verses $0.02, either makes my point. Okay, we can all get a free band-aid now, woo hoo!)
My assertion was that you cannot provide the same guaranteed level of care that a veteran gets through the VA on a nationwide scale. Your point about everyone not needing the same dollar amount of health care is well taken, but irrelevant. It doesn't matter that some veterans will use more or less, my point was that on average, the VA can afford to spend $40,000 on each veteran before it is in danger of becoming insolvent because you have 20 tax payers supporting the care of 1 veteran.
If you flip the scenario and have 1 tax payer supporting the health care of 3 citizens, as would be the case with universal coverage, you no longer have a subsidized system like the VA. That doesn't mean universal health insurance is not feasible. It just means you cannot guarantee that it will function with the same quality of care as the VA does.
Again, the VA system is not a health insurance system, it is a system of taxpayer subsidized health care for veterans.
And by the way, 100 million is an accurate enough estimate, especially when you look at the fact that out of the 132 million tax returns filed in 2006, 43 million of showed a $0 tax liability. (link).
DO you know what group is alway rated the best health care and service through independent studies?
That right a government run program. Cheaper drugs, better service, healthier people.
Do you know why the VA is so good? Do you know why veterans get such a good deal on health care?
It's because the VA is not universal health insurance, it's government subsidized health care. Veterans get such cheap health care because the all of the taxpayers in the U.S. pay to subsidize their health care.
The VA is not health insurance. It's a service we in the U.S. provide (and rightfully so!) to all of our Veterans in exchange for the invaluable military service they have provided us.
Any comparison of the the VA to any insurance based scheme of coverage is inherently flawed and impossible to make. There is no way an insurer, public or private, could provide the level of coverage the VA does at the same expense rate.
Think about it, it's simple math. Let's say there are 100 million tax payers in the U.S. and they all pay on average $2 in taxes that goes to support the VA. Let's further assume that there are 5 million veterans eligible for VA health benefits. That means you have $200 million to spend on 5 million people or about $40,000 per veteran for healthcare.
Let's assume that we go with universal insurance in the U.S with the same tax burden as the VA. Now that $200 million has to cover 300 million U.S. citizens. That's $0.02 a person. To get that same $40,000 per person coverage you would have need to generate 12 trillion dollars in revenue, or about $120,000 per tax payer in revenue.
Any comparison of the enduser costs of a VA member to the enduser costs of an insurer are impossible. With the VA you have the many supporting the few. With an insurer you at best many supporting many, and in the case of universal insurance few supporting many.
Here, you go buddy: Farmers & Merchants Bank v. Federal Res. Bank, 262 U.S. 649 (1923).
"No State shall make any Thing but Gold and Silver Coin a tender in Payment of Debts"
Yes, exactly, no State can issue currency unless its backed by Silver or Gold. The clause in no way limits the Federal Government from issuing fiat currency.
Remember your civics, state governments and the federal government are two autonomous governing bodies. The Constitution, specifically Article I Section 10, was about delineating the separation of powers between them.
First off, I watched that video, and Peter Schiff's comments, while prescient, did not call "every American stock" a "speculative gamble." His comments mostly had to do with the unwinding of the credit and housing bubbles, and what little reference he did make to stocks were with respect to financial companies, and with respect to those, he was of course right.
Financial companies' balance sheets are notoriously tough to understand and far from transparent. Go look at a company AIG or Goldman Sachs's 10-Q, and then look at a company like Apple or Caterpillar's and you will see what I mean. In part it's due to the nature of the beast because financial companies often hold all sorts of securities, loans, derivatives, and other paper, and they simply cannot line item all of these in even a couple hundred pages. Additionally some of these assets do not have a liquid market to trade in (i.e., they rarely if ever change hands), and thus, their current value has be be calculated based on projections and models.
Now back to your question of a formal method for investing, there are plenty of books out there for that, and it would take more than one post to outline one. However, here are some simple guidelines for a conservative investor to follow:
1) Always invest in companies that pay dividends. There are plenty of companies out there that pay pretty sizable dividends if you look outside the tech sector. I could go on forever about this, but safe to say that dividends are not only an instant return on your investment, but also if they are reinvested they can act like compound interest. Also, make sure the company is earning enough to pay out its dividend.
2) Only invest in companies whose business you can understand. This is for piece of mind, and will allow you to better see how changes in the economic landscape will affect a given company whose stock you own.
3) Always diversify your investments. No one stock or business sector (e.g., tech, health care, oil, materials) can make up more than 20% of your portfolio. Look at the tech bubble in 2000 or the financial crisis this last year. If you were all in tech or financial (respectively) you were probably did really well during the boom but were wiped out by the bust. Diversification helps mitigate this risk. It'll keep you from maxing out your returns, but it'll also prevent you from catastrophic losses.
Fundamentally, any investment involves taking a risk. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. The key to investing is to understand the downside risk and the potential upside of your investment so that you can make an informed choice in your decision.
Real Programmers don't write in FORTRAN. FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies. FORTRAN is for wimp engineers who wear white socks.