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Inflation Feels So Much Higher Than Official Numbers

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  new inflation numbers were just released for July and they show 3.2% inflation since last year, and 15% higher prices since Biden came into office. But almost no one in the middle class believes these numbers. Why? The CPI measures hundreds of different products and takes a composite of the price changes for all of them.

Continue reading Inflation Feels So Much Higher Than Official Numbers

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The Health Crisis Defeated, but New Jersey is left with an economic crisis

Joshua Sotomayor Einstein
NJ GOP State Committeeman

In his April 21 op-ed, published in Spotlight NJ, Jack Ciattarelli aptly points out that after the health crisis is defeated, New Jersey will be left with an economic crisis unless a non-partisan approach to rebuilding the New Jersey state economy is adopted. The status quo proposal coming out of the Trenton goof troop – State Senate leader Sweeney and his super partisans, as well as failed Governor Phil Murphy, offer the already economically suffering residents of our state higher increased cost of living and greater unaffordability. This leads New Jersey residents to ask, why is there no non or bi-partisan commission to identify cuts to state spending when all across the state New Jerseyans are in danger of a depression? Why has none in Trenton proposed a pay cut for politicians and the politically connected when the regular Jane and Joe who support them are facing a potentially tough economic time? Why is the lessening of the tax burden on working and middle-class families not on the agenda for after the health crisis ends but before the financial one ramps up?

Continue reading The Health Crisis Defeated, but New Jersey is left with an economic crisis

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Wealthy Primary Beneficiaries of SALT Tax deduction


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, You may hear some of New Jersey’s representatives in Washington talking about how the “Middle Class” would benefit from a repeal of the SALT deduction cap.

And then there’s reality. A chart made by Congressman Josh Gottheimer tells the story he probably doesn’t want you to know.

The largest beneficiaries , the rich.

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Assemblyman Robert Auth , “Asking already overburdened taxpayers to pay more to balance this governor’s budget is grossly irresponsible.”

Assemblyman Robert Auth

March 14,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Assemblyman Robert Auth (R-Bergen) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Phil Murphy’s $37.4 billion spending proposal:

“Governor Murphy has something for everyone with this budget whether you’re a business owner or hardworking citizen: taxes, taxes and more taxes. Raising taxes on the state’s job creators and spiking the minimum wage by $2.40 an hour will be devastating to our business community and, ultimately, our economy. Middle class families will also take a direct hit with a sales tax increase. The governor obviously is not listening to the people. Asking already overburdened taxpayers to pay more to balance this governor’s budget is grossly irresponsible.”

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ObamaCare Subsidies Rob the Middle Class


By Alieta Eck, MD

As the controversy rages between those Republicans who want full repeal and those who want to retain what might be “good” about ObamaCare, we are not asking the right questions. While they are arguing whether or not to keep the ObamaCare subsidies (or the equivalent as “tax credits”), is anyone asking what it is we are subsidizing?

Why has medical care in the United States gotten so expensive? Why did the cost of a hospital stay go from an average of $17,000 in 2000 to $33,000 in 2010, while the average length of stay declined? Why do our hospital stays cost three times more than in other industrialized countries?

The dirty little secret is that having insurance might be a guarantee that the insured pays MORE. And because deductibles have risen dramatically along with premiums, a family needs to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket before insurance kicks in. But how does this work?

Most insurance companies have networks of “preferred providers.” One would assume that a “preferred provider” is a doctor or a lab that gives better rates, but the opposite is the case. As an example, one patient spent a day in the emergency room where the total bill came to $12,000. The “preferred provider” rate brought the bill down to $10,000, which happened to be that patient’s deductible. Upon further scrutiny, the breakdown of the bill showed a lab fee of $3,500—labs that would have cost less than 100 cash on the outside.

When the hospital patient advocate was queried, the answer came back, “Your insurance company negotiated $10,000 and, since you have not met your deductible, you are bound it pay it. Paying the cash price is not an option.” She acknowledged that this seemed unfair, but would not budge.

Another patient discovered that his insurance had lapsed and was given a cash price of $75 for an office visit. Once insurance was restored, the submitted fee was $275. Since he had not met his deductible, he was expected to personally pay the higher fee.

Since 92% of people will not incur more than $5,000 per year in medical expenses, the middle class has been fleeced under ObamaCare in so many ways. Many patients have received subsidies. But this just means that taxpayers are forced to pay part of their premiums, and the patients are still stuck with those deductibles and the higher negotiated fees.

So what is really happening?

Insurance premiums have soared, and the insurance companies love it. They keep a percentage of the bloated premiums for “operating costs.” Hospitals are buying physician practices, and Medicaid and Medicare have agreed to pay the hospitals higher fees for the same service in the same location. No government official has been able to explain why.

The ratepayers and taxpayers are the “forgotten men” in our medical system. Hospital and Insurance executives are now commanding compensation that exceeds $1 million. One CEO of a consolidated hospital system in central New Jersey receives $9 million per year. What exactly does he do to merit this high salary? The usual reason for lavish executive pay is that the official brings lots of revenue into the business. The big hospital systems are businesses that profit massively at the expense of patients and taxpayers—although the excess might be called something other than profit if the hospital is tax-exempt (allegedly “nonprofit”).

Our politicians are complicit in this heist, as last year insurance companies and hospitals were among the ten greatest contributors to the campaigns of legislators who allow this scam on the middle class to continue.

The best recommendation would be for patients with high deductibles to hide any connection with an insurance company and negotiate the best cash prices for services. Find a physician who is in no network and who can help navigate where to find cash-friendly sources of medicines, labs, and x-rays.

Patients with their doctors need to take control of medical care once again.


Dr. Alieta Eck graduated from the Rutgers College of Pharmacy and the St. Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.  She studied Internal Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ and has been in private practice with her husband, Dr. John Eck, MD in Piscataway, NJ since 1988,  She has been involved in health care reform since residency and is convinced that the government is a poor provider of medical care.

Dr. Eck testified before the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress in 2004 about better ways to deliver medical care in the United States. In 2011, she testified before a Senate Health Committee chaired by Senators Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul– about ways to avoid non-urgent visits to the emergency rooms.
In 2003, she and her husband founded the Zarephath Health Center, a non-government free clinic for the poor and uninsured that currently care for about 300 patients per month utilizing the donated services of volunteer physicians and nurses. It is only open 12 hours per week.
She is working to pass NJ S239, a bill that would provide medical malpractice protection for the private practices of physicians who donate 4 hours per week in a clinic like the ZHC.
Dr. Eck was the 2012 President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and serves on the board of Christian Care Medi-Share, a faith based medical cost sharing ministry.
She was the Republican nominee for the US Congress for NJ12 in 2014.
In March, 2015, she chaired a meeting of the National Physicians Coalition for Freedom in Medicine, about 30 physicians, who gathered in Washington, DC to draft a “One-Page Plan” to restore affordability, promote patient choice and retain quality in medical care.
Dr. Eck spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, DC in June, 2016 to help unveil the Wedge of Health Freedom, an initiative of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, with President Twila Brase.


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Raise a Nobel Laureate

Milton Friedman

5 Tips For Success That Nobel Laureates Can Teach Us

November 28,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

The scientists, artists and peacemakers who win the Nobel Prize every year are as diverse as the work that ultimately brings them to the world’s attention.

That makes it a daunting task to try to glean any secrets they might have for reaching the pinnacle of achievement.

“Their personalities and paths to accomplishment are so varied that generalizations are elusive,” says David Pratt, author of “Nobel Laureates: The Secret of Their Success” (

Though the typical laureate is from a professional or academic family, and grew up in the relative privilege of the middle class, that profile doesn’t hold true for all.

Some spent their childhood in absolute poverty, in poor health or were on their own from an early age. Others were eccentric loners or late-bloomers.

But even if their backgrounds aren’t that revealing, Pratt says, there are lessons to be learned from how they pushed and challenged themselves. He says ways to emulate them include:

• Seek out good teachers/mentors. The advantages of being born into an academic family are obvious, Pratt says. Family friends and relatives provide intellectual stimulation and emphasize scholarship and achievement. But laureates also cite the value of finding a good mentor along the way – a teacher, boss or patron who generously cleared the path to success and gently (or not so gently) prodded them down it.
• Be a teacher/mentor yourself. “There is no better way of getting a good grasp of your subject, or one more likely to start more ideas for research, than teaching it,” said Daniel Tsui, who won the prize in physics in 1998. Pratt says many laureates, including novelist Toni Morrison, take their teaching as seriously as their award-winning work, because it allows them to share their passion with others and keeps the fire burning.
• Persevere. Pratt notes that President Jimmy Carter, who won the Peace Prize in 2002, was the first American politician to be awarded for work undertaken after his presidency. Though he failed to win a second term, and many of his policies were reversed during the Reagan administration, Carter was determined to keep working on the causes that were dear to him. Groundbreakers have to be prepared for push-back, Pratt says. “Great discoveries are rarely made by people who are averse to risks.”
• Be ready to be lucky. Many laureates have spoken of the role luck played in their discoveries and successes. Some do it with humor, some with humility. But always there is the understanding that, to be lucky, you have to recognize what you have when you see it.  “As Louis Pasteur said, ‘Fortune favors the prepared mind,’ ” Pratt says.
• Be passionate about what you do. Again and again, the laureates show that zeal is the key to achievement, Pratt says. They work very hard. They take many risks. But their work is their joy.

That final characteristic may be the most important.

That passion for their work comes close to obsession, Pratt says. It leads to a level of industry that’s extraordinary, a near-total immersion in their field of endeavor and a dedication that makes their work supremely fulfilling. That may be the true secret of their success.

About David Pratt

David Pratt is the author of “Nobel Laureates: The Secret of Their Success” ( A long-time teacher and freelance writer for scholarly and literary publications, he has published eight books. Pratt was born in Britain in 1939 and moved to Canada in 1962. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oxford and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

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Rep. Scott Garrett : Washington-first policies are not working for America’s Middle Class

Scott Garrett Bergen County
August 26,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, According to Rep Scott Garrett (NJ CD5) ,”Washington just can’t stop spending your money”. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report this week that confirms our national debt is spiraling out of control even faster than previously thought. This new projection paints a bleak picture of the United States’ finances as the CBO estimates that deficits will grow for the next ten years, starting with an additional $56 billion in 2016 alone.

Rep. Scott Garrett lays the blame for slow economic growth and slipping standards of living that are hurting the middle class on deficits, “Lack of economic growth and ever-growing deficits are yet more indications that Washington-first policies are not working. Every year the government spends more money than it takes in, adding more money to our national debt and increasing the threat of a fiscal crisis. We already feel the effects of a sputtering economy in towns across New Jersey’s Fifth District as families struggle to get ahead and create a better life.”

Democrats argue that we need tax increases to balance the budget. In reality, hardworking Americans shouldn’t shell out another penny while Washington continues to spend with no regard for the future of our country. Garrett reminds us ,”The problem isn’t that Americans don’t send enough money to Washington; the problem is Washington spends too much. ”

Garret goes on , “I support balancing the budget like every family has to. To start paying down the debt, we need to cut wasteful spending and hold the government accountable.  As a senior member of the House Budget Committee, one of my biggest priorities in Congress is making sure the government lives within its means.  My amendment to the Republican Budget calling for sensible spending reforms was the only amendment to gain the support of the full Budget Committee.”

Rep. Garrett summarized , “Spending more money than we have is dangerously short-sighted and continues to stifle the economic future of our country. I will continue fighting to rein-in Washington’s out-of-control spending so our children and grandchildren can have an opportunity to achieve their own American Dream.”

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Trump breaks with GOP stares down globalization threatens to renegotiate trade deal


June 28,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Monessen, Pennsylvania , Donald Trump breaks with GOP stares down globalization and threatens to renegotiate trade deals . Trump repeatedly attacked Globalization  in his Monessen, Pennsylvania speech on trade,

“Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache”

Donald J. Trump spoke at the Alumisource Factory in Monessen, Pennsylvania. Mr. Trump’s speech focused on how to rebuild the American economy by fighting for fair trade. The middle class has collapsed because of the failed policies from Washington, D.C. that benefit the politicians, but not the American people.

Trump said, “The all talk, no action politicians have promoted globalization at the expense of American workers.”

Trump declared he will fight to put the country and its workers first in order to Make America Great Again. A transcript of the remarks can be viewed via the link below:

Declaring American Economic Independence


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Middle class takes financial hit in most US cities this century


Sam Fleming and Shawn Donnan in Washington

More than four-fifths of America’s metropolitan areas have seen household incomes decline this century, according to new research that exposes the politically charged reality of middle-class decline at the heart of this year’s presidential election.

The research on urban centres that are home to three-quarters of the US population shows that median household incomes, adjusted for the cost of living in the area, grew in just 39 out of 229 metro areas between 1999 and 2014.

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Poll: Majority of Americans Believe Obama has ‘Done Little or Nothing’ to Help the Poor and Middle Class

US President Obama waves from a golf cart in Kailua

US President Obama waves from a golf cart in Kailua

Poll: Majority of Americans Believe Obama has ‘Done Little or Nothing’ to Help the Poor and Middle Class

By Barbara Boland | 24 hours ago

Most Americans believe the government of President Barack Obama has helped the rich, and believe it’s done “little or nothing to help” the poor or middle class, according to a Pew Research Center poll released yesterday.

72% believe the government’s policies have “done little or nothing to help middle class people;” 68% believe Obama’s policies have provided little or no help for small businesses and 65% say the same for the poor.

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Less cash in the tank, more in the bank: Lower gas prices boost N.J. drivers’ bottom line

file photo By Boyd Loving

Less cash in the tank, more in the bank: Lower gas prices boost N.J. drivers’ bottom line

NOVEMBER 28, 2014, 11:30 PM    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2014, 11:40 PM

Lissette Mendez got so fed up with high gasoline prices over the summer that she started looking for a new job with a shorter commute. Now, not only is the job search less urgent, but she can also set a little money aside for her daughter’s education.

Joseph Christ was able to splurge on a nine-day motorcycle trip to the Grand Canyon in October, just months after he stopped using his beloved 1996 Ford Bronco, whose appetite for gas cost him $120 per fill-up, in favor of a fuel-efficient sedan.

Aaron Carr hadn’t filled the tank of the family car to the top in more than seven months, buying just $20 at a time, hardly enough to budge the fuel gauge. But now, for the last few weeks, he’s been putting unspent gas money “on ice,” saving it for a rainy day.

Just as the holidays arrive, so has a measure of relief for New Jersey drivers. At an average of $2.71 per gallon as of Friday, state gas prices are at their lowest point in nearly four years and about 50 cents less than they were just three months ago. If they remain there, drivers are expected to save roughly $400 annually, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“It’s like going back in time,” Frank Cappiello, 62, of Elmwood Park said as he and his wife treated their 2½-year-old granddaughter to a morning ride Thursday. “There’s money left over in the checkbook.”

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Men Who Work Full-Time Earn Less Than 40 Years Ago


Men Who Work Full-Time Earn Less Than 40 Years Ago

April 28, 2014 – 12:48 PM
By Terence P. Jeffrey

( – The real median income of American men who work full-time, year-round peaked forty years ago in 1973, according todata published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 1973, median earnings for men who worked full-time, year-round were $51,670 in inflation-adjusted 2012 dollars. The median earnings of men who work full-time year-round have never been that high again.