Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Socialism, The Constitution | Tags: $10.5 Billion Loss for Taxpayers, Lies And Lawlessness, Pretend it's a Success?
On March 30, 2009, the president of the United States told an anxious nation “Let me be clear: The United States government has no interest in running GM.” Just another whopper from the presidential book of lies. The day before, he had fired General Motors Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner. Where is it written that any president has the authority to take over a private business? This unprecedented hostile takeover of a former American manufacturing giant demonstrated that the basic social contract between the U.S. government and private business was being torn up on live television. Vladimir Putin can get away with this sort of thing. Was the American media so ignorant of the rule of law in this country and such a complete doormat for the president that it was perfectly fine?
Does the wilfulness of this president allow this White House to seize any company that it deems a “systemic risk” without regard to the law, basic economic principles, and simple restraint? The president used TARP funds, (Troubled Asset Relief Program) signed by President Bush in October of 2008, to buy mortgage-backed securities and other “toxic assets” from financial institutions. The TARP law specifically referred to financial institutions, not car companies. American Bankruptcy law successfully allows companies to reorganize, regroup, and might have allowed GM to tackle the basic cause of their problems, out of control union contracts.
U.S. taxpayers no longer own any of General Motors. The Treasury sold the last of its remaining 31.1 million GM shares yesterday. The $10.5 billion loss for taxpayers is supposed to be regarded as a success for the Obama administration. The Treasury had put $49.5 billion of taxpayer money into illegally bailing out GM. It recovered $39 billion from selling the stock.
The administration emphasizes that the loss it took on GM shares is far less costly than had BM been allowed to fail.
Inaction could have cost the broader economy more than one million jobs, billions in lost personal savings, and significantly reduced economic production,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement announcing that Treasury had sold all its remaining shares.
Excuse me, there is a standard procedure called bankruptcy, an enormously successful way of allowing companies to reorganize and regroup free of immediate pressure from the holders of their debt. But standard bankruptcy would have tackled overgenerous union contracts, bondholders would have had first claim on assets according to the law. The union got a big share of ownership of GM because Obama gets big funding from unions. The bondholders got shafted.
It’s no use pondering “what might have been”— there’s no way of knowing. The administration would prefer that you don’t think about it. And what’s another $10.5 billion loss — we have so many, and $10 billion is just chump change in terms of today’s debt.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Progressivism, Regulation, Socialism, Taxes | Tags: Making Everybody Equal, What is The Minimum Wage For?, You Can Be Replaced!
Obama is desperately searching for distractions, any distractions, please, from the rollout of ObamaCare. There’s the maybe/sorta agreement in Geneva which is enough of a disaster in foreign policy and national security to get Republican juices flowing, and now he’s going after “inequality”—liberals are always suckers for the claim that if we really try, we can make everybody truly equal. That’s also a sop to the low information voters who assume it means a raise.
Equality is apparently achieved by increasing the minimum wage. This should already be a major sore spot, because it is ObamaCare that has forced millions of businesses who employ beginning workers at the minimum wage to cut their hours back under 30 hours a week so they are truly “part time,” so they don’t have to pay a large fine per employee for not offering health insurance.
Liberals undoubtedly assumed that employers would purchase health insurance for their people, or pay the hefty fine, and it didn’t occur to them that they would actually avoid both expenses. Liberals in Congress are, in general, fairly unfamiliar with the operation of a business. They think profit is just evil, and most of the leading Democrats have never done anything else but politics — “public service” is the preferred euphemism.
In August, Obama wanted to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, but inflation in the last few months has driven it up to $10. Here in the greater Seattle area, Sea-Tac, the community surrounding the airport, has voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour — for teaching beginning workers how to perform a job?
Jonah Goldberg wondered “Was Obama sent from the future by Skynet to prepare humanity for its ultimate dominion by robots?” This falls under the heading:
……………………………….“You Can Be Replaced”
The restaurant chain Applebees is installing iPad-like tablets at every table so customers can order their meals and pay their checks without ever consulting a waiter or waitress. Chili’s already made the move earlier this year. When businesses found that new workers could not cope with making change and adding up the cost of menu items, they didn’t fire the kids, they rearranged their cash registers to do the math.
In 2011, Anita Lowrey wrote about a startup firm called E La Carte, which makes a table tablet called Presto. Each console goes for $100 per month. If a restaurant serves meals eight hours a day, seven days a week, the Presto costs about 42 cents per hour per table. Cheaper than the most beginning worker, and no one needs to train it, replace it if it quits or offer sick days. You perhaps saw the video of Jeff Bezos’ idea of delivering products right to your door with robot drones.
With a conveyor belt-type system the burgers are freshly ground, shaped and grilled to the customers’ liking. When the burger has finished cooking, Alpha Machine slices the tomatoes and pickles and places them on the burger, which it then wraps up for serving. Momentum Machines claims that Alpha Machine will save a restaurant enough money to pay for itself in a year, enabling the restaurant to spend about twice as much on ingredients as they normally would. Customers can just put in their order, pay and wait at a dispensing window.
The next generation will add a custom meat grinding feature that could mix different meats — 1/3 pork, 2/3 bison for example — and char the burger while retaining juiciness. The company is planning the first restaurant chain with a cook staff of entirely robots.
Liberals cannot seem to get it through their heads that if a business does not make a profit — it will not exist. It’s that simple. The longer businesses are regulated and directed and controlled and taxed out of the ability to make a profit, the more the unemployment ranks will grow.
We have 4.1 million long-term unemployed. After 4 years of overregulation, over taxation, and interference in business by scores of bureaucrats who have no idea what it takes to operate a business, business is fighting back, finding ways to reduce their costs. There are always consequences. The free market is full of valuable information that the most credentialed bureaucrats refuse to hear. They are doing immense damage in their arrogance.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Socialism | Tags: How We Got Here, The Fraud and the Failure, The ObamaCare Disaster
Democrats have clearly demonstrated their desire to whip people into better order with a raft of government regulations, directives and plain old force. We focus on the regulation and the directives, but let’s face it. The problem is the people.
We are talking about millions of human beings, individuals with their own ideas, their own likes, their own prejudices, their own desires, their own sensitivities, their own knowledge, their own beliefs and their own general resistance to doing what they are told to do. That’s simple human nature. In repressive societies people learn to fear the government and hide their resistance lest they face punishing reprisal.We all know about the societies with the gulags, concentration camps, slave labor camps, where the choice is between facing punishment or facing death.
Democrats have long regarded free health care for the people as the biggest, most wonderful thing they could give to the people, which would endear their party to the people permanently. The problem, of course, was how to pay for it.
Well, nevermind, that can be figured out as we go along. Rich people will just have to pay more. That’s how it all started and bureaucrats started writing rules and regulations, and although there were pages and pages of them, they had three and a half years to finish it up.
Phase One was the big rollout, and the technical failure. It might have been avoided had there been some competence in the management, but it was never tested, the basic code for the back-end was never written, and there was no security for the customer at all. The rollout was a disaster and a great embarrassment for the administration. So they said they would postpone it till the first of December when it would all be fixed. Uh huh. The President ordered up a tech surge to get everything working, but that is apparently only 6 people. Experts say the security is worse than ever.
And it seems that that part for which the code has never been written was the part that told the insurance company that you had signed up and transferred the first payment. They are advising those who think they have signed up successfully to call the insurance company and see if they have confirmed your enrollment and received your payment.
Phase Two was the revelation that the entire ObamaCare enterprise is the largest deliberate fraud ever inflicted on an unsuspecting American public. The promises of “if you like your plan you can keep it” have turned out to be not an accident, but a phony sales pitch that was deliberately deceptive. On top of that ObamaCare forces insurance companies to engage in dishonest practices like selling maternity coverage to men and postmenopausal women, and pediatric insurance to the childless. The worst case scenario could turn up on January 1, as insurance companies begin dropping people who formerly had their insurance through their employers, and there will be a lot of them.
Obama promised insurance that would cost $2,500 less that our previous policies. Another part of the fraud. Medical insurance comes in two kinds: there is indemnification against risk, which is true insurance; and there is pre-payment for expected costs. Risk is a heart attack, or a stroke, a broken arm or broken back. Insurance company actuaries are very well paid because they are very good at math. They get reports on the numbers of heart attacks or strokes in a year, and determine mathematically how many they are going to have to pay off on. The trouble arises when Democrats want to have lots of benefits for everyone, and want everyone to pay for it. Health insurance is usually age related, because the risks are different at different ages, but when everybody has to pay for maternity care, and pediatric vision care, Alzheimers and shingles, it gets very, very expensive.
That bit about people with pre-existing conditions was nice, but the President made it sound like there were thousands of them. Part of the sales pitch. Those who signed up in the first three years for this desperately needed insurance that they’d been denied 107,000 people out of a population of 330,000,000. Looks like 10 million people will lose their employer-provided health insurance. The governments’ goal for next year is to sign up about 7 million people. It was the government that made sure that most insurance policies would get cancelled, not the insurance companies. It is written right into the law.
Everybody knew this, except for ordinary folks. And they’re just stuck. How will this play out? Will the whole thing collapse on its own? Will the people get their backs up and demand that it be repealed? The administration played the insurance companies, promising them many more customers in exchange for their cooperation. The health care industry? Scared? Unorganized? I don’t know. With the president spinning dramatic tales of the blessings of health care for all, and the media completely willing to play along with whatever he said, the evidence of industries destroyed, companies brought to heel, there was certainly in America a real fear of the government.
I think it will come close to collapse but they will tinker and lie and try to keep it afloat, and in the end try to enlist Republicans into saving it for the good of the country. It would be a lot simpler if they would just recognize it as a mistake that cannot be fixed.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Health Care, Immigration, Regulation, Socialism | Tags: Broken Promises, ObamaCare Lies, The Truth Will Out
The promised deadline of December 1 has come and gone, and the “fully functioning” website is still off glimmering in the far distance, with a lot of burnt-out bulbs. Just another addition to President Obama’s long, long list of broken promises, false assurances and hope and change talk for low-information voters. It’s still all campaigning. He talks a good game, but doesn’t notice that no one believes him anymore, and in case they did his words are recorded for later review.
Ezra Klein, the liberal Washington Post reporter, a true believer, notes that “the site still suffers a disastrous outage rate judged by the standards of major retail Web sites — that’s not counting the time it spends down for scheduled maintenance.” The insurance companies who have to deal with the mess the administration is creating are in a panic as the system transmits data that is full of errors, fails to transmit at all, and warns that even those few who have managed to sign up for coverage may show up at their doctor’s office in January to learn that they didn’t purchase the insurance they think they purchased. Oh well, details.
We have learned that at least 30% of the website has never yet been written. It doesn’t exist, including the payment mechanism for subsidies. The effort to fix the website is based on the politics of it — the public, embarrassing part, rather than the serious back-end problems. Subsidies are improperly calculated, consumers are misidentified, relationships are misstated — National Review adds that one customer was surprised to learn that he had three wives instead of one wife and two dependents — and in many cases the information is not being transmitted to the insurers at all. If the information sent from the website to the insurance provider is not accurate or complete — there is no insurance and the website is all a lie as well.
The Washington Post quantifies the enrollment problems — it find that “errors cumulatively have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since October 1.”
The errors, if not corrected, mean that tens of thousands of consumers are at risk of not having coverage when the insurance goes into effect Jan. 1, because the health plans they picked do not yet have accurate information needed to send them a bill. Under the 2010 law designed to reshape the health-care system, consumers are not considered to have coverage unless they have paid at least the first monthly insurance premium.
The “Tech surge”, “team of experts” according to reports consists of 6 people.
The White House, Barack O’Blameless — blames consumers:
Some of the errors in the past forms were generated by the way people were using the system, another senior official on the project said, such as clicking twice on the confirmation button or moving backward and forward on the site.
The primary promise was universal coverage. President O’Blameless emphasized over and over that the country has a “moral imperative” to cover those who could not find coverage on their own. Somewhere around 30 million to 47 million, depending on the numbers of illegals and those who are eligible for public assistance, but do not partake. The recession increased the uninsured by 6 million, number that continues to grow. The CBO’s latest estimate says there will be 31 million uncovered Americans in 2019. So much for the universal coverage bit.
The second big promise was to reduce the cost of health care, specifically the cost of premiums. Bwa-ha-ha-ha. Health Care expert Avik Roy has found that costs for a family of four would increase by $7,450 by 2022. In some states costs will be far higher. The ObamaCare people say that the law will provide subsidies to offset the higher cost, but , of course being liberals, have no idea who is going to pay for it. The rich and big corporations?
The incentives are all wrong. Once they fulfill the dream of universal coverage, they have to figure out how to pay for it. The overriding incentive for government becomes controlling costs. The more they move toward “Single Payer”, the more the cost becomes an overriding problem. The ObamaCare people may have copied the mandates from Romney’s plan for Massachusetts, but the overall dream was Britain’s NHS, which Obama’s advisers really admired.
Most of the big cost in health care was for old people in their final years. Limiting their care was the driving force behind Obama’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), unelected, unaccountable, which will decide what the Government will pay for and what they will not. Sarah Palin referred to it accurately as a “Death Panel.” And Obama has frequently suggested that perhaps the old folks should just get a pain pill instead of any expensive medical treatment.
The Daily Telegraph reports that 1,158 NHS care home residents have died of thirst or while suffering severe dehydration over the past decade. Some 318 died from starvation or severe malnutrition, and 2,815 deaths were attributed to bed sores. This does not include those who died in hospital. NHS’s medical director will spell out the failings of 14 hospital trusts in England who have been responsible, between them, for 13,000 “excess deaths” through poor care, medical errors and failures of management. That’s what you get when the incentives are all about cutting costs, as it is in the liberal dream of Single Payer.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Freedom, Heartwarming, Socialism, The United States | Tags: Advancing Social Welfare, How Do You Pay For It?, With the Free Market
The socialist dream of organizing an economy around the purpose of advancing social welfare, as it is governmentally determined and meted out, seems destined to remain an abstraction irrelevant to the world’s political and economic needs. One strange result of the collapse of socialism, and the absence of any other credible way to avoid relying on markets is that the welfare state is heavily dependent on the health of capitalism. The government cannot disburse wealth that never gets created, and creating the wealth required for modern, prosperous societies without the knowledge conveyed by prices set in markets appears to be impossible.
The liberal response to the question of paying for the welfare state has been a protracted exercise in intellectual dishonesty, borne of a conviction that the question doesn’t need to be answered if it can be made to go away. Liberals have generally been happy to tell people what they want to hear. It’s possible to have a big welfare state without worrying all that much about the costs. The programs will pay for themselves. Or an affluent society can pay for them out of the petty cash drawer. Or, the taxes required for a much bigger welfare state are ones that will be borne largely by the very rich and big corporations. None of these propositions can withstand even gentle interrogation, however, making it difficult to know whether the liberals who put them forward are remarkably cynical or remarkably feckless. In either case, whatever political advantages are secured by telling people what they want to hear about paying for the welfare state becomes ever more incoherent.
This splendid excerpt comes from Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, by William Voegeli. A great Christmas gift for a Conservative friend. Might be too much for a Liberal. It’s also available in paperback, or kindle.
Filed under: Communism, Europe, Freedom, History, Russia, Socialism | Tags: Eastern Europe Again, The Bloodlands, The Ukraine Erupts
Ukraine seems to be caught once again between the West and Russia. The European Union has wanted to establish a more modern policy towards Eastern Europe through the proposed association with Ukraine. The highlight of Friday’s Eastern Partnership Summit was supposed to be the formal signing of an agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, instead put the deal on hold.
Ukraine is a huge country torn between a western portion that looks towards Europe and Brussels and an eastern region that remains highly influenced by Russia. Kiev erupted with massive and bloody protests as hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the Independence Square. But it is not just about Ukraine’s relationship but with Europe’s relationship with Russia, the sensitive former world power. Ukraine was once a part of the Soviet Union, and although few remain who lived through the Holodomor, when the Soviets deliberately starved Ukraine in the 1930s, the national memory is strong.
President Yanukovych was elected promising to smooth relations with the Russians, but had intended to sign the agreement with the EU. EU member states like Poland want to direct the EU’s influence toward the east, in part as protection against Russia. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin plays power politics. The EU has its own financial crisis, as does Russia, but Russia is promising to give Ukraine billions in loans, but without guarantees.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso rejected Russian interference, saying “What we cannot accept is a condition on a bilateral agreement to have…a possible veto of a third country.”
Russia once lorded it over the entire Eastern bloc, but for the last 25 years has had to sit back and watch as one country after another has turned its back on Russia, and looked towards the West. The Soviets gave them good reason to turn their backs on Russia, but it must be humiliating for the Russians. Putin wants to stop what he sees as the West’s advance all the way to Russia’s borders. Lots of sticky problems here. Russia is well-provided with natural gas, and has threatened to blackmail a Europe that is flush with expensive alternative energy that is far more costly than anticipated. Yanukovych is widely regarded as corrupt, and has complained about the International Monetary Fund’s refusal to simply give him billions in loans without conditions.
Police responded violently, leaving many of the 500,000 protesters bloody and beaten, but officials from both Russia and the West were taken aback by the scale of the protests. The battle is now between the street and Yanukovych.
In some ways this is just the continuation of an old story. For the background, I highly recommend Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder. A new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history. Required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Socialism | Tags: ObamaCare Failure, One Size Fits All, Your "Substandard" Policy
The fabled and troubled website for enrolling in ObamaCare is, um, not going to meet the December 1, deadline., but we knew that in the beginning. This is not a plan for improving health outcomes for the American people. It is entirely about social planning and redistribution of income. Forcing everyone to be “equal.”
Obama goes to great lengths to call the private insurance policies that we liked — “substandard”— because they don’t include the generous benefits of the four ObamaCare plans: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. What “substandard” means is that people were free to choose insurance that did not meet Obama’s social equity and income redistribution goals. Some people must pay extra for poor policies so others can pay less and receive extra benefits.
ObamaCare planners believe that they can mandate a rich level of “essential” health benefits that all individual plans must cover — regardless of cost. This year eHealth reported that its data show that individual premiums must be 47% higher than the old average to fund the new categories in the individual market.
The rules imposed by ObamaCare are resulting in a decidedly inferior product. Then new mandates raise costs, so insurers compromise by offering narrower and less costly networks of doctors, hospitals and other providers in their ObamaCare policies. For example pediatric vision care is mandated for all, even those who are childless or have grown children, and in exchange parents cannot take their really sick kids to splendid institutions like Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.
Obama has seemed remarkably uninterested in the details of his health care policies. He simply does not want to be bothered with details. If his project for transforming America is proceeding apace, that is what is important. Providing everyone who cannot afford the higher prices of the most basic plan with Medicaid is not improving health care for anyone. Because few doctors will accept Medicaid patients, wait times will be long, and outcomes are worse than for those going uninsured.
Canada’s population is around 36,137,500, and they are trying desperately to find ways to turn their health care back into a closer doctor/patient relationship. Wait times are far too long, and you can get a CT scan for your dog far sooner than you can get one for yourself. The population of the U.K is roughly 63,705,000, and not only failing, and killing the elderly, but going broke. But the Democrats in Congress are sure they can devise a plan for some 317,000,000 by forcing the entire population into four plans because one-size fits all. No need for diversity, well, except for favored constituencies like Unions, members of Congress, and whatever is the need for the next election. Pete du Pont commented:
ObamaCare embodies the usual hypocrisy of large liberal programs, as the administration bestows benefits and exemptions on favored constituencies and the politically connected. We see waivers for big labor, relief from inconvenient mandates for congressional staff, and decisions timed to minimize harm to Democrats in the next election. Conversely, those who don’t have politically correct views are ignored or mocked. We see lip service given to conscientious objections to abortion and birth control, but ObamaCare policies that run roughshod over these objections.
Perhaps most disappointing, we can observe in the administration’s handling of ObamaCare a now all too familiar subversion of the rule of law, a fundamental precept of our nation’s founding and of democracies everywhere. George Will notes that the administration has apparently decided it can adopt legislation by press conference as Mr. Obama simply announces changes to the law or that he will not enforce certain provisions. His administration then proceeds to strong-arm businesses and demonize critics.
There is the usual governmental failure to anticipate how people respond to economic incentives. Why would the administration expect the required large numbers of healthy, young people to enroll in ObamaCare in response to higher premiums? Why would the administration expect businesses to refrain from adjusting their staffing decisions based on the additional cost of ObamaCare?
It’s “coverage” not care, and if you think your new policy is expensive — wait till you see how much it costs next year — after the election, of course.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Freedom, History, Liberalism, Politics, Socialism, The United States | Tags: America's Colleges and Universities, Eliminating History, Race Class and Gender
I was startled recently to read that “the eleven elite liberal arts colleges that make up the New England Small College Athletic Conference, which includes Amherst, Williams, Trinity and Wesleyan” — not one of these eleven colleges requires undergraduates to take a single course in American history. In fact, most of these eleven elite colleges don’t even require that students who are majoring in history, take any American history courses.”
More than 50% of our new history PhDs are now trained in women and gender history, cultural history, or world and African-American history.
Hoover Institution senior fellow Peter Berkowitz recently noted that the trench warfare between the parties reflects a profound and historic difference of opinion over the size and scope of the federal government.
Because the people are the ultimate source of legitimate power in a liberal democracy, the United States has an interest in a citizenry well-acquainted with the principles on which our political order is based; the nature and development of our economic system; the role of diplomacy and military affairs in securing American liberties; the impact on our manners and mores of religious belief; and the quest for equal treatment of minorities, women, and the poor.
He adds that, unfortunately, according to a new report by the National Association of Scholars “Recasting History: Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History?,” our colleges and universities are doing a bad job. History departments promote a drastically incomplete and distorted view of America by concentrating on the teaching of race, class, and gender at the expense of nearly everything else.
I have read dozens of articles about the huge problem of enormous college loans, which usually vectors into a conversation suggesting that college in no longer a worthwhile investment. It is not the amount of money involved alone, but the superficial ideas imparted. Are our colleges and universities turning out graduates who are qualified only to work in the world’s human resources departments?
Leftist activists now dominate the study and teaching of U.S. history. The heavy emphasis is on race, class and gender with all the more traditional topics reconfigured to conform to the dominant paradigm. It is about social justice. If we wonder why the players seem not to understand the history behind events, and behind efforts like the Affordable Care Act and why it is such a dismal mess, it is because they are ignorant of history and interested in social justice, which I assume to be some sort of romantic attachment to the idea that everyone should be equal? U.S., diplomatic, military, political and constitutional history are rearranged to conform to the race, class and gender paradigm.
This is beyond absurd. We cannot predict the future, much as we try. Our only guidelines are to be found in the record of what humanity has tried, and where they have succeeded and where they have failed. Noble ideas about all men being born equal with the chance to make of themselves what they will, have been transformed in the intellectual closets of academe to questions of who can use which bathrooms, and those who need the guidelines that were once provided by America’s colleges and universities are left with enormous debts and empty heads.
An ideological movement is a collection of people many of whom could hardly bake a cake, fix a car, sustain a friendship or a marriage, or even do a quadratic equation, yet they believe they know how to rule the world. The university , in which it is possible to combine theoretical pretension with comprehensive ineptitude, has become the natural habitat of the ideological enthusiast. A kind of adventure playground, carefully insulated from reality in order to prevent absent-minded professors from bumping into things as they explore transcendental realms, has become the institutional base for civilizational self-hatred.
ADDENDUM: Here’s Heather McDonald of the Manhattan Institute on the substitution of Western Greats with gender studies. Raise this subject around the Thanksgiving table instead of ObamaCare.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, Humor, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Socialism, Statism | Tags: Elected People Know Better, Regulation Is Good, The People Are Stupid
From the people who took your good shower heads away to save water, and the people who insisted that your toilet should be “low flush” for the same reason (though “twice flush” was fine), then they put restrictors in faucets to save water. New front-load washing machines cost more than twice as much and don’t clean clothes very well.
The much-hyped “energy-star”appliances don’t really save energy, and then they decided to send the lightbulb business to China to raise profits for the big lighting divisions of the internationals. The CFLs give unpleasant light, and contain enough poisonous mercury that you’re supposed to call a haz-mat worker if you drop one; and the outrageously expensively LED bulbs require baffles to attempt to direct their one-directional light. You will probably not be surprised that the price of electricity hit a record for the month of October, and is up 42% in the past decade.
Attempts to ban plastic bags go on apace. Seattle makes you pay for each plastic bag, and forces shoppers to use cloth bags for groceries (cloth bags are dangerous and should be bleached between uses for safety; plastic bags are banned for imagined harm to sea life).
Soon, soon, they will come for your doorknobs. Vancouver, B.C. has banned doorknobs in all new construction, because they might be difficult for old people or those who have disabilities of the hand or arm. It’s levers from here on out. Faucets, ditto. Ergonomics studies, you see. Knobs involve pronating and supinating your wrist. Levers are easier for arthritic hands. Mayors and city councils copy each other, do not listen to constituents. Can’t let people choose. Must legislate.
Filed under: Politics, Domestic Policy, Health Care, Socialism, Democrat Corruption, Law | Tags: Free Markets / Free People, Republicans v. Democrats, Freedom v. Control
What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats? I suspect that most people don’t really know. Republicans are usually pretty clear about what we believe, and can express it clearly — that’s why we argue so much. It’s a big-tent party that welcomes Conservatives, Tea Party people, Libertarians, “mainstream” Republicans, Independents, and all sorts of people who are deeply interested in a single issue. Republicans don’t usually conform to current talking points as Democrats do.
Republicans are committed to principles, Democrats admit that they don’t have any, and react to events as they occur, which they believe is a superior way of thinking.
Republicans worry about debt and taxes, economic growth, and individual liberty. Democrats’ care about winning. When they win, they have the power to tax and spend which will enable them to win the next time.
Republicans believe in low taxes, because the money belongs to individuals who, on the whole will use it far better than the government would. Free people and free-market capitalism. The decisions of the mass market will usually be far better than the decisions of the enlightened few.
Democrats believe in government money. It is money they are entitled to spend because of taxes which are paid by rich people who don’t deserve it. (At some point you have enough money). When they leave government “service” they will move to lobbying or NGO’s or corporate boards, or other well remunerated positions. It’s a good life.
Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Charles Schumer and Max Baucus have never done anything but government. No private sector experience at all. I haven’t had time to go through the rest of the list, but I would expect a lot more of the same. So they do not understand profit and loss, nor risk, nor meeting a payroll— any of that stuff. They seem a little weak in the math department as well. And economics? Any bets?
So these are the people who believed they could write a successful health insurance program for 330 million people to replace the world’s finest health care system. They believed they could convince ordinary Americans that it will cost less and be a vast improvement over what they had. They knew perfectly well that it would take some convincing. We got a lot of convincing, direct from the President and all his minions.
And there is not any part of it that can be believed. They tell you that they care about you, but unfortunately — they lie.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Progressivism, Socialism | Tags: Accomplishment and Time, Fox News' Bret Baier, ObamaCare Falure
Here is an email that was sent to Bret Baier at Fox News from Bill in Kentucky.
It manages to put things like building a website in perspective:
Mobilization of millions, building tens of thousands of tanks, planes, Jeeps, subs, cruisers, destroyers, torpedoes. Million upon millions of guns, bombs, ammo, etc. Turning the tide in North Africa, invading Italy, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, Race to Berlin — all while we were also fighting the Japanese in the Pacific!!
And in that amount of time —this administration can’t build a working website.
Filed under: Communism, Economy, Health Care, Latin America, Politics, Socialism, Statism | Tags: Lack of Medical Supplies, Shortages of Medical Care, Venezuela
The shelves are bare in Socialist Venezuela. The people are scrambling to find toilet paper, sanitary napkins and disposable diapers. Milk and automobile parts are also in short supply in the country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves.
Now medical care is in short supply. The country’s 1999 constitution guarantees free universal health care to Venezuelans, yet of the country’s 100 fully functioning public hospitals, nine in 10 have just 7 percent of the supplies they need.
Doctors not allied with the government say many patients began dying from easily treatable illnesses when Venezuela’s downward economic slide accelerated after Chavez’s death from cancer in March. Doctors say it’s impossible to know how many have died, and the government doesn’t keep such numbers, just as it hasn’t published health statistics since 2010.
Almost everything needed to mend and heal is in critically short supply: needles, syringes and paraffin used in biopsies to diagnose cancer; drugs to treat it; operating room equipment; X-ray film and imaging paper; blood and the reagents needed so it can be used for transfusions.
Last month, the government suspended organ donations and transplants. At least 70 percent of radiotherapy machines…are now inoperable in a country with 19,000 cancer patients – meaning fewer than 5,000 can be treated, said Dr. Douglas Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation.
Venezuela has a limited private health care system, but even the 400 private hospitals and clinics are overburdened and strapped for supplies, 95 percent of which have to be imported. The private system has just 8,000 of the country’s more than 50,000 hospital beds, but treats more than half of the country’s patients, including the 10 million public employees with health insurance. Insurers, many of which are state-owned, are four to six months behind in payments and they cannot meet payrolls and pay suppliers.
Worse, government price caps set in July for common procedures are impossible to meet, Rosales said. For example, dialysis treatment was set at 200 bolivars ($30 at the official exchange rate and less than $4 on the black market) for a procedure that costs 5,000 bolivars to administer.
“The health care crisis is an economic crisis. It is not a medical crisis,” said Dr. Jose Luis Lopez, who oversees labs at the Municipal Blood Bank of Caracas.
Single-payer health care is socialized medicine. Obama’s health care advisers were uniformly great admirers of the British National Health Service, probably because medical care that was “free” at the point of service has made the British dependent on government for care, and often returned the Labour party to office. It has evolved into a national shame.
There are always some who believe that health care is so important that it should be socialized, that it should be a “right.” When you have a nation of people who are using health care as much as they want with no restraint, you soon do have an economic crisis.