American Elephants


Let’s Just Soak the Rich: The Liberal Answer! by The Elephant's Child

 

We don’t really have to cut spending, they say.  Just raise taxes on the rich and on those obscenely rich corporations.  Bill Whittle takes the theory on, with the help of IowaHawk.  Here’s the way the world really works.



Obama Receives Award for “Transparency” in Secret Meeting! by The Elephant's Child

President Barack Obama received a “Transparency Award” from the organizers of the Freedom of Information Day Conference in a secret meeting at the White House on Monday. The award, scheduled to be presented at the White House by “five transparency advocates” a couple of weeks ago, was postponed  because of events in North Africa and Japan, and rescheduled for March 30.

The award was presented to the President—behind closed doors.  The press was not invited and no photos from or transcript of the meeting have been made available.The event was not listed on the president’s schedule. That was the same day when he went on TV to tell us why he had transparently decided to start bombing another country a couple of weeks previously without bothering to tell Congress.

The award is not mentioned on the page on the White House website  that is devoted to transparency and good government.  The only evidence that the award took place was from the testimony of the transparency advocates who delivered the award.  They didn’t know, though, that the White House has neglected to tell anyone about the transparency meeting.

Kevin Underhill, a San Francisco lawyer who blogs about the funny side of the law, had a very funny post at Forbes Magazine.  Gary Bass, who was allegedly part of the alleged meeting  said:

“It’s almost a theater of the absurd to have an award on transparency that isn’t transparent. The irony is  that everything the President said [about transparency] was spot-on. I wish people had heard what he had to say.”



A Tsunami of Debt, and the Democrats Refuse to Pay Attention. by The Elephant's Child

 

You may already have seen this video of the Tsunami ravaging Kesennuma Port.  It seems almost unimaginable, yet it  happened before our eyes.  Japan’s Cabinet Office on Wednesday estimated the cost of the catastrophe  as causing losses between ¥16 trillion ($198 billion) and ¥25 trillion ($309  billion).

At American Thinker, writer Lee DeCovnick made a very important observation:

“Do I understand this correctly; all those coastal cities and towns that were leveled, the tens of thousands of cars and homes that were pulverized, all the stores, shops, factories, warehouses, schools, freeways, roads, ships, aircraft, trains, port facilities and infrastructure reduced to rubble and it will only cost as much as the US Federal deficit for a couple of months.”

First a quick look at the Congressional Budget Office report for February, 2011. Two sentences stand out.

[The] CBO estimates that the deficit in February 2011 was $223 billion, which is very similar to the deficit recorded in February 2010.

[The] CBO estimates that the federal government incurred a budget deficit of $642 billion for the first five months of fiscal year 2011, $10 billion less than the shortfall recorded in the same period last year. [emphasis added]

With a war in Libya, an effort to help the earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japanese, continuing war in Afghanistan, rising gas prices damaging our economy, and a devastating unemployment rate, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democrat leadership are refusing to accept  a modest agreement to fund the federal government through the end of the year. Senator Reid is fussing over possible budget cuts of a mere $51 billion, which amounts to just a few days of government deficit spending.

Democrats in Congress refused to pass a budget (their duty) when they were in charge of both houses. Congress has until April 8 to reach an agreement on a long-term budget (only through the end of the 2011 fiscal year in October), pass another short-term stopgap budget, or face a partial government shutdown.

Last May then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that for the first time since 1974, the House would not pass a budget resolution. Rather than curb government spending, liberals in Congress opted to keep on spending, and borrowing.  They are simply putting politics before the national interest.

House Republicans passed a FY 2011 budget which cut spending by $61 billion.  Yesterday Senator Schumer, on a conference call didn’t realize that reporters were already listening, and instructed his fellow Democrat Senators to tell reporters that the GOP is refusing to negotiate.  Make sure, he said, “to label any GOP spending cuts as extreme.” Democrats hope to engender a shutdown and blame it on Republicans.

This is disgusting.  The nation is in desperate financial straits, and Democrats cannot get beyond their usual political games. The Obama administration tripled the debt left by the Bush administration with useless stimuluses, bailouts, and subsidies for every improbable scheme.  We had a recession, but it didn’t have to be this bad, and we didn’t have to have unemployment this high. They thought that they could fix everything just by spending money—borrowed money.

It’s like the pimply kid you send off to college for his first year with his first checkbook. You were sure he had some sense.  He didn’t.



Morning Cute by American Elephant
March 31, 2011, 7:02 am
Filed under: Heartwarming | Tags:

Just cute — that’s all. Nice way to start the day.



Europeans Are Growing Restive Under the Heavy Green Thumb of the European Union by The Elephant's Child

The European Commission on Monday announced a “single European transport area” aimed at enforcing “a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers” by 2050.

Their list of future wishfulness begins with eliminating all cars and trucks from the future cities of the European Union.  They are getting desperate in their urge to eliminate any emissions from fossil fuels. They mean business.  They will put new taxation on fuel to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.  No cars or trucks in cities. None.  Zero. Zilch.

The European Union Commissioner for Transportation Slim Kallas. said “That means no more conventionally fueled cars in our city centres. Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behavior.”  He has denied that the EU plan to cut car use by half over the next 20 years, before a total ban in 2050 will limit personal mobility or reduce Europe’s economic competitiveness.

Cutting mobility is not an option, neither is business as usual.  We can break the transport system’s dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility.  It can be win-win.

A spokesman for the Association of British Drivers said “I suggest that he goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum.”

Christopher Monckton, Ukip’s transport spokesman said: “The EU must be living in an alternate reality, where they can  spend trillions and ban people from their cars.  This sort of greenwashing grandstanding adds nothing and merely highlights their grandiose ambitions.”

British councils have begun to raise the cost for parking for diesel vehicles. According to a paper  prepared for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, diesel vehicles, which were thought to be more environmentally friendly, may emit too many small polluting particles which damage local air quality. Diesels now account for 1 in 4 vehicles on the roads. A motorist with a typical family diesel faces paying more than £150 a year to park outside his or her house.

Mr. Cameron made a big deal of opening a factory in Coventry to build electric-powered vans.  Last week, after making only 400 vehicles in four years, the firm sacked half its workforce and went into “administration” with debts of £40 million. For every new “green” job, nearly four are lost.

Der Spiegel has a long survey on Environmentalism in Germany. Germans, it seems, are very concerned about the environment and will obey the rules, pay any price, and observe all restrictions faithfully. “Germans usually obediently go along with environmental measures, in fact they’re a model people when it comes to green living.  They carefully sort their rubbish, take their bottles back to the supermarket and put their batteries in special containers.  When they were told to have carbon filters fitted to their cars, they did so without complaining.  And of course they’re at the forefront when it comes to attaching solar panels to their roofs or insulating their homes.”

Germans only rarely question environmental policies. The light bulb ban was one example. Most didn’t see the need to scrap conventional bulbs when the simplest way to save electricity was just to turn off the light. And Germans have been unusually stubborn about the biofuel E10 — the name refers to the 10 percent ethanol admixture. They would prefer to pay a few more cents for a liter of gas than put their car engines at risk.

Many haven’t yet fully realized that E10 is an ecological swindle. People who want to help the environment shouldn’t use it. Nine large European environmental associations recently conducted a joint study which concluded that the bottom line impact of the fuel on the environment is negative. Rainforests are being clear-cut in Brazil and Borneo to make room for sugarcane and oil palm cultivation. At the same time there’s a shortage of arable land for food production, which is leading to the threat of famine in parts of the world. Last year, the price of grain rose sharply in the global market.

A single full tank of bio-ethanol uses up as much grain as an adult can eat in a whole year. In order to cover the German requirement for biofuel, an arable area of around one million hectares would be needed. That is four times the size of the south-western German state of Saarland, which would need to be fertilized, treated with pesticides and intensively farmed. Environmental groups say that across Europe, farming for biofuels would create up to 56 million tons of additional greenhouse gases— an environmental crime they say must be stopped immediately.

Not everything that looks green serves the environment, says der Spiegel. German garbage doesn’t really get recycled, the plastic gets burned and they import more plastic to burn. Extreme efforts to save water is damaging the sewage systems beneath cities, and utilities are forced to pump hundreds of thousands of gallons of water through the system to keep it operating.  This results in high water bills.  The EU made a big deal about fine particulates, ordered people to put filters on their cars,( is that where the EPA got it?) but particulate counts are increasing. Germans don’t like CFL bulbs any more than we do.

The treasured green dreams of environmentalists, as usual, do not take account of unintended consequences. Bright ideas turn out to be not so bright.  Pellet stoves required to replace fireplaces, now require filters to be added.  Major environmental initiatives aren’t just ineffective — they are counterproductive. No one is calculating whether all the billions invested in protecting the environment are actually being spent wisely.  The experts have no interest in shedding light on the problems because it is their livelihood.  It is far worse in the EU because the European Union is not accountable to the people.  Most people want to treat the environment well. The heavy hand of a poorly informed government is not the best guide.  Big Government simply doesn’t work.



It’s “Sustainable” Silly Time at the White House. by The Elephant's Child

Obama’s Green Egg, was the title of a short piece “Sustainability” about the upcoming White House Easter Egg Roll.  The White House e-mailed:

In a continued effort to make the Easter Egg Roll more environmentally friendly, all eggs have again been crafted in the United States from Forest Stewardship Council-certified hardwood. The packaging has also been designed to minimize waste and environmental impact, helping to create a ‘greener’ Easter Egg and Easter Egg packaging.Below is information on the packaging:

Made from Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) – certified paperboard. SFI® paperboard uses no wood fibers from controversial sources. The printed carton is easily recyclable when collected and processed in a municipal or community Paperboard Recycling Program. Features vegetable oil-based inks and a water-based coating.

I really hate buzz-words.  “Sustainability” is high on my list as a nonsense word.  Isn’t the unemployment rate high enough without Obama putting a bunch of poor laying hens out of business? Imagine the energy and work hours, and costs involved in shaping  eggs from “certified hardwood.”

Do the kids get to take home their environmentally friendly Forest Stewardship Council-certified hardwood eggs home with the as souvenirs? I can’t imagine why they would want to, what do you do with a wood egg?  You mean that ordinary hen’s eggs are not environmentally friendly? The hens would be astonished.  This is just sick. They did this last year too, didn’t they?  Almost as silly as “earth hour.”



How Do You Solve a Problem Like the EPA? Here’s a Solution! by The Elephant's Child

The economy is still in the doldrums and unemployment remains at a troubling 8.9 percent, gas prices are high and creeping higher, consumer confidence is falling and nothing is expected to improve anytime soon.  This would seem to be the ideal time to reduce rules and regulations on the economy that might threaten growth and new jobs.  Not this administration.  They simply do not seem to understand the connection.

So, naturally, this is the time that the Environmental Protection Agency has chosen to increase their regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.  Like all EPA rules, the new regulations will adversely affect traditional power plants and prop up administration-favored renewable energy.

According to the EPA we will all be able to breathe easier, while up to 17,000 premature deaths per year will be prevented.  This is absolute nonsense. “Reducing toxic power-plant emissions will cut fine-particle pollution and prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of heart attacks, bronchitis cases and asthma attacks.  The EPA estimates the value of the improvements to health alone would total $59 billion to $140 billion in 2016.  This means that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, we get $5 to $13 in health benefits.”

When economist Christina Romer went back to Berkeley, she must have left her computer programs that came  up with “numbers of jobs created and saved” to the EPA, where they are coming up with all sorts of mythical deaths prevented.  I have never seen a single article that points out an epidemic of people dying from fine-particle pollution.

The EPA says the annual cost to meet the new regulation will be about $11 billion in 2016, and it will only increase customers electric bills by three or four dollars a month. Only.

The American Council for Capital Formation puts the cost of the EPA’s rules at 46,000 to 1.4 million lost jobs and $25 billion to $75 billion in lost capital investment by 2014, along with a $500 billion reduction in GDP, while boosting gasoline and electricity costs by 50%.

Sen. Max Baucus has introduced a bill to exempt agricultural sources from the rules, which should take care of EPA’s push to regulate farm dust.  Sen. Mitch McConnell’s amendment would strip the EPA of authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  His amendment has a chance of passing the Senate,  but it probably does not have enough votes to override a presidential veto.

Our commenter Rachel Jimenez suggested that the EPA should be defunded and sent to China. That sounded like such a good idea that I went to the EPA website to investigate.  The interactive timeline they have of EPA activities certainly shows a big increase in EPA regulation and rules under Administrator Lisa Jackson, which seemed a little odd since reports of the quality of our air and water have been remarkably positive.

In prowling around a little more,  I found that Administrator Lisa Jackson has a staff of 17,000 busy workers. Seventeen thousand!  Some 30 EPA employees shared a Nobel Peace Prize in October, 2007 for their work with the IPCC on global warming. There are 15 Offices under Administrator Jackson, 10 Regional Offices, 7 Research and Development Labs, 3 Air and Radiation Labs, 4 Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Labs.

There is a Chesapeake Bay Program, a Great Lakes Program, A Gulf of Mexico Program.  There are 10 Labs supporting the 10 Regional Offices.  There are 8 Science Advisory Organizations, and a Columbia River Basin Program, a Puget Sound Georgia Basin Program and a U.S. Mexico Border Program to start next year.  That is a very large organization, and impressive.

Most of our nation’s major environmental problems have been solved.  The EPA  in searching for something more to regulate,  is down to very fine particles in the air, unnoticed up to now, and I’m sorry, but I don’t buy all the deaths they are going to prevent.  Sounds like bureaucratic busywork to me, and pretty ephemeral busywork at that.

China, on the other hand, has enormous environmental problems: thick smog, poisonous air, poisoned lakes, you name it. Their problems are so severe that other nations complain that their own good works hardly matter with China belching out huge amounts  of noxious fumes.

China needs the Environmental Protection Agency to solve their enormous environmental problems. The EPA needs a real job to do.

This is what the EPA was designed for: fixing the environment. They’re good at that. They could go on finding ever more microscopic particles to regulate, but it simply costs too much and is too damaging. Sell them to China.

Our economy improves from reduced debt and the absence of the EPA.  The Chinese economy improves from a cleaner environment and healthier workers.  It is a Win—Win solution for both nations.



You Can’t Cut That! You Can’t Cut That! You Can’t Cut That! by The Elephant's Child

— The Obama budget adds $80,000 per household to the National Debt.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that Obama understated the budget deficits by $2.3 trillion.  Douglas Holtz-Eakin says the best spin that one can put on the CBO’s analysis of the president’s budget—Ugly!   Congress simply must get serious.

Over the three decades just before this recession, federal revenues averaged 18.3% of gross domestic product while outlays averaged 20.8%,  The problem is simply too much spending.  Congress loves to spend and really, really doesn’t like to cut anything.

— Republicans voted to cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. With 500 cable channels , the internet on people’s cell phones, and so many sources of media, public broadcasting is a bit of an anachronism. In 2010 the Corporation for Public Broadcasting received $420 million from the government.  About $90 million of that went to NPR. NPR also gets money form the National Endowment for the Arts and from the Departments of Education and Commerce. You Can’t Cut That!

Of course CPB immediately hauled out the Big Bird defense.  Who doesn’t like Big Bird?  Does the fact that there is a Big Bird on PBS mean that we must have public funding for PBS?

Does it change your mind if you learn that Sesame Street made $211 million from consumer products from the Sesame Workshop? Would it be a bad thing if PBS sold commercial time instead of the endless pleas for money?  I would rather put up with commercials; some of them are quite good.  Does it change your mind if you learn that the Sesame Workshop  CEO and President made $956,513 in 2008? And the PBS President Paula Kerger made $632,233 in annual compensation?  It seems to me that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is always pleading poverty while all sorts of companies are eager for more advertising opportunities.  Dump the poverty pleas, sell commercial time, and stop feeding at the public trough.

— President Obama wanted a Cap-and-Trade-Bill.  Since such a bill is a job killer and damaging to business, Congress refused to pass it. Obama has chosen to go around Congress and have the EPA do a cap-and-trade through the back door by regulating emissions of CO2. This puts heavy ‘taxes’ on everything, from apartments to manufacturers, or simply anything the EPA wants to regulate.  The Supreme Court, in one of their more unfortunate rulings, said that if CO2 was really a pollutant and dangerous to public health, then the EPA could regulate it.  The idea that CO2 is a “pollutant” is absurd.  Republicans in Congress intend to revoke the EPA’s authority to regulate “greenhouse gases”. You Can’t Cut That!

The EPA (in the guise of American Family Voices) is running ads for a week on D.C. cable suggesting that the target audience is Beltway elites and the goal is to “frame the Democrat response in Congress. The ad is offensive, and false. Nobody knows if the Clean Air Act prevented even one death last year. You cannot prove a negative.  The Clean Air Act was intended by Congress to solve problems like smog in Los Angeles, and it has done a fine job. Our air is clean. There are all sorts of things around us and in our diets that could be poisonous in large quantities. Some poisons are used in small quantities in medicine.  Always, “the dose makes the poison.” Here’s the text:

The Clean Air Act prevented 160,000 early deaths last year, including 230 infants, yet Congress is busy working to prevent the EPA from updating and enforcing standards that would limit toxic pollutants that endanger the public health,” Mike Lux, President of American Family Voices, says. “If we don’t curb those pollutants, they’ll end up in our air, water and food and eventually in our children. Congress needs to let the EPA do its job to protect public health.”

The ad is a disgrace.  It is first of all a complete lie, and designed simply to  manipulate feelings.  The EPA  is an out-of-control agency trying to gather power by regulating everything they can get their grubby hands on.  They wanted to regulate farm dust, for heaven’s sake. To assert that someone who disagrees with your policies wants to kill babies is far, far, beyond acceptable.

The EPA is also giving funds to charitable organizations to attack GOP members of Congress.  The American Lung Association has placed billboards in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District— including one outside the office of Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) who heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee—that feature a sickly looking girl with an oxygen mask and read “Rep. Fred Upton, protect our kid’s health.  Don’t weaken the Clean Air Act.”

Again, way out–of-line!  The Republican majority, elected to stop the spending and restore our institutions that are under attack, is trying to restore the Clean Air Act to its congressional intent.  From 1990 to 1995 the EPA gave the Lung Association some $5 million. In the past decade they have given the ALA and additional $20 million.

This is a good demonstration of just how far one side is willing to go to avoid losing either funding or power.  They simply refuse to take the disaster that they have created with their spending, their bailouts, their mindless “stimulus,” seriously.  It’s going to be a battle to restore the economy to some kind of health, and our Congressmen are going to need all the help and encouragement they can get.



1947: Greenland is Melting. Sea Levels Rising at a Dizzy Rate. Seashores Inundated. by The Elephant's Child

(click to enlarge)

The Sunday Times: Perth, Western Australia.  Sunday June 22, 1947

It has apparently been going all this time and nobody told us.

(h/t: Steven Goddard)



The Obama Energy Policy: Destroy Industry, Destroy Jobs, Destroy Economy. What’s Not To Like? by The Elephant's Child
March 26, 2011, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy

The United States has the Earth’s largest energy resources. America leads the world in recoverable fossil fuel resources.  According to a new report from the Congressional Research Service (CSR) our resources eclipse Saudi Arabia (3rd) China  (4th) and Canada (6th) combined.  That is without including America’s shale oil deposits.                                                                                (click to enlarge)

But why hasn’t this been on every front page of every newspaper?  Remember the old rule: if it bleeds it leads.  Attention has been focused on Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, and now on Libya and America’s odd participation in Libya’s civil war.  And the policy of the Obama Administration is anti-drilling and anti fossil fuels, and apparently also anti-doing anything about the economic Red Menace that is our national debt.

Although our economy runs on fossil fuels, we have no comprehensive energy policy.  The policy of the Obama administration is incoherent at best, and seems to be focused entirely on expensive, so-called “renewable” sources.  Wind, which represents .5% of all energy consumed,  is subsidized at $23.37 per megawatt.  Solar energy which provides less than 1/10 of 1% of energy in the U.S. is subsidized at $24.34 per megawatt.  On the other hand, the subsidy for petroleum and natural gas is 25¢ per megawatt.  The coal subsidy is 44¢.  The subsidy for hydro is 67¢ per megawatt and nuclear energy is $1.59.  It doesn’t take an advanced mathematics degree to grasp the folly.

The Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition has produced a study demonstrating the nationwide economic ramifications. Vendors are concentrated in 7 states outside the Gulf area, and represent $905.6 million in losses for states from Illinois to California.  The cost in jobs is even more startling.  An analysis from Louisiana State University professor Joseph Mason estimates national job losses at 19,000 from the drilling moratorium, with wage losses at $1.1 billion.  About a third of those losses are outside the Gulf region.  Some rigs have left the Gulf for Africa or South America, and Seahawk Drilling filed for bankruptcy.  Gas prices nationwide are closing on $4, which wreaks havoc on everything that is transported.

The Obama administration has clearly made a conscious policy decision to raise energy prices by restricting access to domestic energy supplies.  Senator James Inhofe, a Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee says: “We could help bring affordable energy to consumers, create new jobs, and grow the economy if the Obama administration would simply get out of the way so America can realize its true energy potential.”

Coal reserves are enough for a couple of centuries of coal use. Natural gas is estimated at around 2,047 trillion cubic feet. enough for a century. And the story of methane hydrates has not been told. The CRS refers to an “immense…possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels. If  just 3 percent of this resource can be commercialized…at current rates of consumption, that level of supply would provide America’s natural gas for more than 400 years.

In the meantime Obama administration energy policy continues to pursue the myth that renewables are a viable energy source.  Things didn’t have to be like this. Unemployment doesn’t have to be at this level. Gas prices don’t need to be so high, and inflation doesn’t need to be so threatening.



ObamaCare Is Not a Patient-Centered System of Health Care. It’s Important to Keep That in Mind. by The Elephant's Child

How should we approach the problem of health care?  We want it to be low-cost, or as low-cost as is possible, and we want high-quality care.  Is it possible to have both?

There are two basic ways of addressing health care: a bottom-up, market-based approach and a top-down command-and-control approach.

  • A bottom-up approach is based on competition, free markets and economic incentives. It gets the incentives right for all of the individuals in the system, but doesn’t try to predict the final outcome. It tries to free people to achieve what works for the individual.
  • The top-down command-and-control version is based on rules and mandates, regulations, fines and penalties to force compliance.  It decides in advance how medicine should be practiced, and attempts to impose those results on the doctors, their patients, and on health care suppliers.
  • In the top-down command-and-control version large numbers of bureaucrats, who will never contact a doctor or a patient, will decide how medicine should be practiced, and what treatments must be used, and what treatments are too expensive and must be denied or rationed.  It depends for its success on a small group of “experts” having all the right answers. It depends for its success on the ability of those in charge to select people who are actually expert, rather than just political appointees.
  • A bottom-up approach does not know how medicine should be practiced. Competition will draw out the best practices and best practitioners. It depends for its success on the training, intelligence, creativity and innovative ability of thousands of doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, and from the industry that supplies the health care practitioners.

In the competitive, free-market world 778,000 doctors, 2.6 million registered nurses and thousands of hospital and facilities personnel get up every morning focused on how they can save or improve another life, and keep the costs down — because in a competitive world that is how they succeed.

In the top-down world, that same number of people get up every morning trying to figure out how they can squeeze another dollar out of the third-party reimbursement formulas. Because reimbursement formulas are the major way of saving money, doctors must squeeze more patients into less time.

The thing is we are dealing with human beings, and they just aren’t all the same.  In two instances of the same surgical procedure, one patient may be frail, allergic, have other problems;  the second , while needing the same procedure, may be otherwise in excellent health. To the command and control bureaucrat  the procedure gets the same reimbursement.

“Approximately one in five hospitalized Medicare patients is readmitted for a problem related to the cause of the original surgery.  The readmissions are costly and can be life-threatening.  The Medicare bureaucrats have decided, on their own, that there are 10 readmission conditions that it won’t pay for, including catheter-associated urinary tract infection and stage III-IV pressure ulcers. This has saved Medicare something less than 1/300 of 1% of all Medicare spending that year.”

Barack Obama’s stated vision of health reform is to find out what works and then go implement it. The Affordable Care Act is making millions of dollars available for pilot programs and demonstration projects. This is misguided. We know what works, the problem is replicating it.  There are examples of high-quality low-cost medicine.  If everyone went to Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake, the nation could reduce its health care spending by one-third, according to studies.  If everyone went to the Mayo Clinic , we could reduce spending by one-fourth. But we don’t know how to copy either one and spread it around the country.

This post is derived from John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog at the National Center for Policy Analysis.  John Goodman is the “father of health savings accounts,” a money-saving policy that has been extremely  popular with both participants and employers.  Dr. Goodman is the president and CEO of NCPA , and has been a tireless expert in the campaign to communicate patient-centered alternatives to a government-run health care system.  This blog is an excellent source for informed, thoughtful studies on the problems and potential of health care.  You can subscribe, as I do.



Why Would Anyone Support ObamaCare? by The Elephant's Child

Yes, I know that this video looks gross and uninteresting. The picture is of a badly burned hand. The story is not gross, but a story of miraculous medical innovation, fostered by the free market. Something that would disappear under ObamaCare. It is a re-post. I posted this once before and hardly anyone watched it. It is an uplifting, exciting story, please take a few moments to watch it.

ObamaCare is a collection of failed liberal ideas meant to funnel everyone eventually into single-payer, government-run health care, like, well, Britain and Canada who are desperately trying to reform their health care to be more like ours. They are trying to restore the doctor-patient relationship that has long been the basis of our current health care — the best in the world.

The impetus behind transforming our health care has supposedly been the rising costs of care, but the idea that a government takeover can make it both more excellent, more equitable, and cost less should not pass the laugh test.  I can remember the 3¢ stamp and the 1¢ postcard. The government does not make things cost less.  The costs of American health care which were growing so fast that we just had to “do something,” were growing largely because of government interference in the marketplace, government mandates, government regulation.  The fact that HHS has issued over 1.000 waivers  from ObamaCare should tell you something, if  you are paying attention.

Until now, America has been the world’s leader in medical innovation, but the regulatory government with time-consuming, burdensome, regulation creates an uphill battle for innovators. The FDA has proposed a new approval pathway for medical devices that would accelerate the process, and reduce costs for medical device companies.  At the same time, ObamaCare is placing new taxes on medical device makers which will discourage innovation.

At a recent hearing,  Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) noted that companies in European markets are able to make their products available to patients as much as two years faster and at a significantly lower cost. ObamaCare is riddled with unintended consequences that make things worse.  The new tax on medical devices is supposed to raise $2.3 billion to help foot the bill for ObamaCare; but what it will actually mean is lost jobs in the industry, and higher costs for devices— such thing as stents, crutches, wheelchairs.  Massachusetts is a center for the life sciences, and manufacturers are already talking about moving production overseas if they cannot pass their increased costs along to the customer.

Democrats were sure that as people found out about the health care bill  it would gain broad acceptance. But its “benefits” haven’t worked out to be beneficial.  Several of the mandates on insurance companies have already been implemented. No insurance plan can now limit lifetime benefits.  Group plans cannot have annual benefit limits.  All plans must offer coverage for dependent children under the age of 26.  One year later, mandating benefits has raised the cost of providing insurance and those costs have been passed on to policy holders in the form of sharply higher premiums.

At Heritage, Brian Blase has published a one-year checkup on ObamaCare.  Its unpopularity is growing, the hodgepodge of regulations and mandates have reduced competition and increased the cost of coverage.  ObamaCare has already increased government control of American’s health care choices and limited consumer choice. Americans support repeal by double digit numbers, as they have consistently done since the day the bill first passed.

It is worth listening once again to Representative Paul Ryan’s impassioned speech to Congress when ObamaCare was about to be passed.  He got it right.




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