American Elephants


They Just May Not Have the Votes for Cap-and-Trade. by The Elephant's Child

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the leading climate skeptic in the Senate, said Thursday that upcoming cap-and-trade legislation can muster no more than 26 votes.  Climate change is far down on Americans’ list of concerns.  Only 33 percent believe that human activity is responsible, and 48 percent say global warming is caused by long-term planetary trends.

Evidence continues to appear indicating that cap-and-trade is ruinous for an economy, accomplishes nothing for climate change, and is aimed only at societal control.  President Obama’s efforts to sorta-kinda-maybe suggest that we might have a bit of support for nuclear power  or offshore  oil-and-gas drilling, were offset by all the areas that he put firmly off-limits, so that can be considered as thrown under the bus.

According to a Pew poll released Sunday night, trust in the federal government to do “the right thing” most of the time has fallen to a near all-time low of 22 percent.

How odd.  When the public is concerned about spending, the federal government pursues a health care bill that the majority of the public oppose.  When the public is concerned about spending and jobs, the federal government pursues climate change alarmism.  When the public is concerned about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, the federal government gets an agreement from Canada to send us their enriched uranium.  Why would we conceivably trust the federal government to do “the right thing.”



Dan Mitchell Explains the Health Care Train Wreck by The Elephant's Child
November 20, 2009, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Socialism | Tags: , , ,

The Cato Institute’s Dan Mitchell does an excellent job of explaining the problems and costs of the health care bills before Congress. The Democrats have wanted government-run health care for so long (why I do not understand) that they are willing to resort to all sorts of subterfuges to accomplish it.They are buying votes, reducing the Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimates by raising taxes for five years before the costs start to kick-in in 2014.

They are planning to force a vote on Saturday night when the Senate wants to leave for their Thanksgiving break in order to add urgency.  (Don’t you wish we got all the vacations Congress gives themselves?) The bill just appeared yesterday and they will have to once again vote without reading or understanding what is in the bill.

We have the best health care system in the world.  Their big ideas do nothing to improve it, but only start breaking it down. Do take the time to listen to Daniel Mitchell, you will be glad you did.



Strongarm, Threaten and Bully, Passing Healthcare Reform the Democrats’ Way. by The Elephant's Child
September 22, 2009, 2:02 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Law, The Constitution | Tags: , ,

Earlier this month Humana sent a one-page letter to its customers who were enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plan, which offers extra benefits to Medicare beneficiaries.  Humana explained that because of spending cuts proposed by Democrats (Taking $500 Billion out of Medicare) “millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable.” They also suggested their customers  contact their congressional representatives. Not exactly a startling political communication.

Well.  You have probably noticed that strongarm tactics are definitely on the menu when it comes to the Democrats’ Health Care plans.  Senator Baucus, whose very own health care plan has just been released, not only took offense, he went to war.  He complained to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency in charge, which on Friday ordered Humana to cease and desist.  And opened an investigation to see if the company mailer violated laws about how insurers that manage Advantage plans are allowed to communicate with their customers.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

“It is wholly inappropriate for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject—particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health-care reform,” Mr. Baucus said in a statement yesterday, playing the role of Congressional censor. “The health-care reform bill we released last week strengthens Medicare and does not cut benefits covered under the Medicare program—and seniors need to know that.”

In fact, the Baucus draft legislation slashes $123 billion over the next decade from Medicare Advantage, which Democrats hate despite the fact that almost one-fourth of beneficiaries have chosen it over traditional fee-for-service Medicare. One reason seniors like it is because private insurers focus on quality and preventive care and try to manage benefits, as opposed to simply paying bills.

A new study from America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade group, finds that seniors on Advantage in California spent 30% fewer days in hospitals over fee-for-service patients, based on federal data. Democrats say that insurers are “overpaid,” but the cuts—as Humana correctly noted—mean that seniors may lose this coverage.

What business it is of government to tell private companies just what they may communicate to their customers remains a mystery. The Journal adds: “Mr Baucus and the Obama Administration are out to make [Humana] an object lesson to the rest of the business class, and that means they won’t stop until Humana cries uncle or is ruined.”



Andrew Klavan Makes a Subtle Theological Point. by The Elephant's Child
August 22, 2009, 1:32 am
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Politics, Religion | Tags: , ,

I read about President Obama’s phone call to a group of rabbis to urge them to support  his health care plan; and to send their flocks forth to urge friends, families and neighbors to support ObamaCare. And I was pondering just how to address this uncomfortable idea, when I visited Pajamas Media and found that Andrew Klavan already had dealt with the whole thing most satisfactorily.  Do read more: This is why Andrew writes vast numbers of successful novels and I just blog.



So, These People We Elect to Congress — Do They Have to Read the Bills? by The Elephant's Child
August 5, 2009, 8:06 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Liberalism, Politics | Tags: , ,

Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) had a Town Hall meeting a few days ago.  A citizen asked if he had read the health care bill.  He responded that they didn’t have time to read the whole thing so he divided it up with his aides and each read part of it.  Mark Steyn posted a comment.  An Arlen Specter supporter responded that:

“Every CEO in the country, including Ronald Reagan as President, reads executive summaries of important documents.  The idea that any Senator has to read an entire bill in nonsense.  He needs staff not only to read it but to relate how items on page 3 relate to provisions on page 1009…What is true is that without time there is no way staff could read it and draft the necessary critiques for Senatorial review but this ‘he hasn’t read the bill stuff’  is stupidity not some great insight.”

Mark Steyn responded (and this is the brilliant part):

Arlen Specter is not a CEO: — notwithstanding the vast Gulf Emir-sized retinue to which he has become accustomed.  He doesn’t run anything.  He has no payroll to make, no contracts to fulfill, no deliveries to expedite.  A legislator is elected to legislate — so, if he doesn’t read the law before he makes it law, he’s not doing the only job he has. When you go to see Barbra Streisand, she has an orchestra and a conductor and arrangers and lighting designers and hair stylists, but she’s still expected to do the singing herself.  If she stood up and said, “Okay, I’ve outsourced “People” to my intern Kevin and “You Don’t Bring me Flowers’ to the niece of a friend of mine who needed a summer job and the Yentl medley to some people Kevin met for a breakfast session and said seemed to know what they were talking about,” you’d begin to wonder why anyone needs Barbra.

Why does anyone need Specter?  Why can’t we just eliminate the middle-man and have his “staffers” announce their collective vote like a U.N. Security “Council meeting?  (emphasis mine)

Excellent exchange.  Of course they have to read the bills.  If they recognized that they are required to read every bill in its entirety, bills would be shorter, earmarks would be fewer, laws would be clearer and work better, and they would pass much less legislation — which would benefit the country immeasurably.  Half of the problems in the country are caused by some little provision that someone sneaked into a bill that no one read.  As far as that goes, a lot of staffers would no longer be needed if they didn’t have to read the bills and summarize them for the very people who are supposed to be doing that job, and the budget would be smaller.

Don’t miss the update from another correspondent to Mark Steyn.  It’s priceless.



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.



Once Again, Trying to Understand the Meaning of A Trillion Dollars. by The Elephant's Child
July 28, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Taxes | Tags: , ,

If you speak of millions and billions and trillions often enough, the reality of those numbers fades away.  Here is a reminder, for taxpayers, of just what a trillion dollars represents.  It’s worth reviewing.  Maybe you can comprehend it.  I have trouble.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,733 other followers

%d bloggers like this: