Archive for July, 2014

Those Rich Americans

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

That’s the perception of our country around the world. It’s the perception of our country around America. We created the middle class. We are industrious and entrepreneurial, the land of opportunity. We have anything and everything we could ever want or need, 24 hours a day. We are prosperous. We are wealthy. And … it’s all pretty much a lie. Propaganda. Disinformation. Hype. Brainwashing. B.S.

The new Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report lets us know that the average American adult has a net worth of just over $300,000. Not bad! Puts us fourth in the world behind the Swiss, the Aussies and the Norwegians. Good company to be in, for sure. Then again, there is a caveat — always a caveat. We have millions of millionaires — 7.1 million of them — and nearly 500 billionaires. Their wealth radically skews the average. The real America is vastly different than the $300,000 perception. Median net worth (half above, half below) is far more modest at just under $45,000, placing us barely among the world’s top 20 wealthiest nations, trailing the likes of Taiwan, Ireland and Italy. Yet, we’re among the top five for consumer debt. We lead the developed world in childhood poverty. Nearly 70% of federal spending goes to programs that support welfare payments in one form or another. One of every five Americans is dependent on government for some or all of their income, one of the highest government dependency ratios among advanced economies.

I don’t share these statistics to trash my country. America does a good job of trashing herself in far too many ways to catalog here. Instead, I share them because they speak to the problem of misperception. Too many cling to the belief we live in the greatest country ever. We used to; no doubt. Alas, times change. Just as youth yields to age, the promise of what America was has faded into what America is. We are living on our laurels, the yellowing memories of the America that, at one time, was the wealthiest nation on Earth. We have yielded that title to others. Now, we are a modestly wealthy nation, without a lot of prospects for improvement in the middle. Blame government for that. Politicians — in particular, the bleeding-heart baby boomer politicians who grew up believing everyone deserves a trophy just for trying — have ruined the American ethos that once made us great with a series of laws and mandates over the years that have abrogated the notion of personal responsibility in favor of dependence and the belief that someone else should provide for my well-being. The status quo we think we know is not static. Perceptions might remain, but that doesn’t mean they’re right … and at some point, reality changes perceptions.

As Sovereign thinkers, all of this gives us direction. The decline of America is not the stuff of myth, as too many want to believe. It is a process already underway. – Jeff

Your Doctor Knows What You Are Eating

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

The relationship between a doctor and patient is a sacred one dependent upon trust. But is that trust now threatened when a doctor begins spying on you?

How would you feel if you received this call from a case manager at your local hospital:

“Good Afternoon, Mrs. Jones. We’ve noticed that your gym membership has lapsed and that you’ve increased the amount of ice cream you’re buying. We should discuss how proper exercise and a good diet will keep your diabetes under control.”

Your sense of privacy just vaporized in an instant.

That’s exactly what two groups — Carolinas HealthCare System and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center — have started doing by mixing your electronic health record (EHR) with consumer data they can acquire through companies such as LexisNexis and Acxiom Corp.

Even if a doctor doesn’t see you more than once a year, she knows if you’ve stopped going to the gym, if you’ve started smoking, if you’re eating way too much fast food, and much more based on your spending habits gathered by data brokers.

Why are they suddenly going to such lengths?

Thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — frequently referred to as Obamacare — hospitals and physicians find themselves in a bind. After getting paid big bucks to install flashy new EHR systems that enable them to store all patient information in a central location, these groups are now being hit with demands to bring down readmission rates, control diabetes, and focus more on preventative measures to avoid illness. When they fail to meet specific goals and guidelines, they are fined.

And where does that leave Americans, whose sense of privacy has already become a tattered thing? Isn’t it our right to choose what to eat, drink or smoke? Doesn’t that fall somewhere within the guidelines of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”?

Of course, if you choose to be unhealthy, is it then the responsibility of all United States citizens to help pay for your medical care through ever-increasing medical costs?

Or is this the job of doctors who are paid to keep us healthy and a matter of educating people regarding the dangers of their bad choices?

As a sovereign individual who could be impacted very soon – if not already – I would love to hear what you think about this. Please write in your thoughts on whether the health industry has gone too far monitoring you. We can be reached at

Jocelynn Smith Managing Editor, Sovereign Investor Daily