American Elephants


Coming to America… by American Elephant
August 2, 2009, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Energy, Freedom, Politics | Tags: , ,

lightbulb

Germans hoarding incandescent light bulbs:

As the Sept. 1 deadline for the implementation of the first phase of the EU’s ban on incandescent light bulbs approaches, shoppers, retailers and even museums are hoarding the precious wares — and helping the manufacturers make a bundle.

The EU ban, adopted in March, calls for the gradual replacement of traditional light bulbs with supposedly more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). The first to go, on Sept. 1, will be 100-watt bulbs. Bulbs of other wattages will then gradually fall under the ban, which is expected to cover all such bulbs by Sept. 1, 2012 (see graphic below).

Hardware stores and home-improvement chains in Germany are seeing massive increases in the sales of the traditional bulbs. Obi reports a 27 percent growth in sales over the same period a year ago. Hornbach has seen its frosted-glass light bulb sales increase by 40-112 percent. When it comes to 100-watt bulbs, Max Bahr has seen an 80 percent jump in sales, while the figure has been 150 percent for its competitor Praktiker.

“It’s unbelievable what is happening,” says Werner Wiesner, the head of Megaman, a manufacturer of energy-saving bulbs. Wiesner recounts a story of how one of his field representatives recently saw a man in a hardware store with a shopping cart full of light bulbs of all types worth more than €200 ($285). “That’s enough for the next 20 years.” [read more]

No, it’s not unbelievable Werner, it’s what happens when you ban things that people want. Black markets will follow.

Democrats have passed an identical ban in the United States where incandescent light bulbs will become illegal starting with the 100-watt bulb in 2012, and ending with the 40 watt light bulb in 2014.  The same hoarding will happen here. I know. I intend to buy enough incandescent light bulbs to last a lifetime.

What’s unbelievable is that American’s are allowing the nonsensical ban to begin with.

Addendum: According to a recent Rasmussen poll, only 18% of Americans think it’s the government’s job to dictate what kind of light bulbs people can use, while 72% think its none of the government’s damn business.

Precisely why the GOP should make the dictatorial nature of the Democrat party one of their chief campaign issues — starting yesterday.



Here’s What to Ask Your Congressperson About the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill. by The Elephant's Child
August 2, 2009, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Politics

When your congressmen are home for their August break (assuming that they are actually coming home), you may want to tackle them with some questions about their health care ambitions and their climate change fantasies.  The facts about our health care are available here and at the link to NCPA.

Drew Thornley has written a dandy list of questions about the Waxman-Markey Climate bill that passed the House voted upon by large numbers of Democrats who had no idea what was in the bill, but were persuaded by the infusion of plentiful money into their campaign chests.

The Waxman-Markey energy bill will have innumerable consequences, few of them favorable.  It is unnecessary, will accomplish nothing and is a pointless exercise in environmental fantasy that will kill jobs, damage the economy and enrich favored Democrat supporters.

Mr. Thornley said:

As the Senate prepares to take up the bill, opposition is understandably focused on the bill’s content and the economic fallout that will result from the bill’s becoming law. But I’ve got some front-end questions that bill proponents have yet to answer sufficiently. Before it’s too late to put on the brakes, the public deserves some straight answers.

  • What are the reasons this legislation is necessary in the first place? Can you offer anything beyond emotionalism and muddled platitudes? Anything beyond cookie-cutter messages about a better future for our grandchildren? Where are the facts, numbers, and hard data?
  • If this is about saving our planet, where’s the evidence that we’re at risk of destroying it? Why no mention of U.S. environmental successes, particularly relative to other countries? Why not tell the public that we’re breathing cleaner air than we have in decades? How forest area is not in peril? How great of an environmental track record our nation’s oil-and-gas drillers have? As our population continues to grow and adapt, why is the news only grim?
  • If this is about global warming, can you prove the existence of a major threat and that this bill will counter it? Theories alone are inadequate bases upon which to pass legislation, particularly legislation as broad as that before you. Computer models can spit out any projections we want, depending on the inputs. They predict climate doom, yet their drastic projections have yet to be realized or observed in nature.
  • If this is about greenhouse-gas emissions, where is the proof that carbon dioxide and other GHGs are, on balance, bad for the earth and humanity? Any real-world evidence that GHG emissions will lead us to catastrophe?
  • Moreover, assuming CO2 and the other GHGs are, on balance, negative, then why noo acknowledgment that the U.S. controls emissions more successfully than the developing world and that the future emissions from the developing world will dwarf those of the industrialized?

For the 8 remaining unanswered questions of 13, go here. If your congressman holds a Town Hall meeting, you may want to take the list with you.

None of them have read the bill. They didn’t have time.



Keith Hennessey’s Health Care Plan, Version 1 by The Elephant's Child
August 2, 2009, 5:47 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law | Tags:

One of the most valuable websites for understanding the economic effects of the Obama administration policies is Keith Hennessey’s blog.  Mr. Hennessey was President Bush’s Senior Economic Adviser, the position now occupied by Lawrence Summers.

Mr. Hennessey has posted his own health care reform plan:

Do:

  1. Replace the tax exclusion for employer provided health insurance with a $7500 (single) / $15K (family) flat deduction for buying health insurance.
  2. Allow the purchase of health insurance sold anywhere in the U.S.
  3. Make health insurance portable
  4. Expand Health Savings Accounts
  5. Aggressively reform medical liability
  6. Aggressively slow Medicare and Medicaid spending growth, and use the savings for long-term deficit reduction

Don’t:

  1. Raise taxes
  2. Create a new government health entitlement
  3. Mandate the purchase of health insurance
  4. Have government set private premiums
  5. Create a government-run health plan option
  6. Have the government mandate benefits
  7. Expand Medicaid

Results:

  • Lower premiums, higher wages
  • Portable health insurance reduces “job lock”
  • +5 million insured (net)
  • 100 million people will pay lower taxes
  • 30m with expensive health plans pay higher taxes
  • No net tax increase overall
  • Reduces short-term and long-term deficit
  • Fair to small business employees & self-employed
  • Incentives and individual decisions “bend the cost curve down”
  • More individual control & responsibility for medical decisions

This is his first version.  Version 2 is available at his website, and is a little longer and more comprehensive.  I post this because it’s worth thinking about, and will help you understand what’s wrong with the versions now before Congress.  Looks like a pretty good plan to me, but don’t miss version 2.

Most of what is wrong with our health care currently, is due to excessive government meddling at both the federal level and the state level.  Congress likes to mandate things for the states to do, and seldom appropriates the necessary finances to carry out the mandates. But the states have a long record of messing up as well.

If Congress is going to give away money, they want to use it to ensure that they get reelected, so the money goes to supporters or to things their supporters favor.  Once you have a government-run system, it doesn’t matter what is in the bills.  If they take out some clauses to help get their health care bill  passed,  they can just put them back later.  Meddling and tweaking and reforming are eternal and political, not beneficial.

We have a Constitution which the people established, and which enumerates the things that each branch of the government gets to do.  They take an oath, but remain unfamiliar with its contents, and they’re certainly not going to let some 222-year-old piece of paper cramp their style.



The Democrats Clarify What They Have in Mind for Your Health Care, In Their Own Words. by The Elephant's Child

(ht: Hot Air)



Can We Insert a Few Facts Into the Health Care Debate, Please? by The Elephant's Child
August 2, 2009, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Health Care | Tags: , , ,

The claims of those attempting to promote a government takeover of the American Medical System grow ever more strident.  Now Nancy Pelosi and her crew are attempting to blame the insurance companies for whatever is wrong.  They’re very sure that “envy” is the key.  If they portray the CEOs of  health insurance companies as “greedy” people making too much money, then you will want to turn everything over to those clever folks in Congress.  “Class envy” is a favorite Democrat trick.  You will note that Congress itself never does anything wrong, and all congressmen are sincere and  honest people who read every word of each bill they vote on, and understand all of the economic consequences of what they have decided.

President Obama seems to believe that his charisma and mellow baritone will offer veracity to his increasingly false pronouncements.   At every “Town Hall Meeting”  he makes more claims that are contradicted by the very words of the bills before Congress.

Some things need improvement, but the American medical system remains the best in the world. Here are a few facts about our health care system from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom.  Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway.  The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.  By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians. Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:

  • Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).

Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent).  Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

The whole list of 10 Surprising Facts by Scott Atlas is available at the National Center for Policy Analysis, with sources as well as a list of the 10 Most Important Recent Medical Innovations (with the country of origin).

Do read the whole thing.  It will open your eyes a bit and give you terrific arguments when you talk to  your congressmen while they’re home in August.




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