American Elephants


Dear Congressmen: Are You Sure You Want To Be Exempted From ObamaCare? by The Elephant's Child

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Americans don’t like ObamaCare, and the more they learn about it, the less they like it. Obama promised that their costs would decline by $2,500 for a family of four, and they are learning that is not true. Obama promised that they would have the same excellent health care plan that members of Congress had. So when the Affordable Care Act (the formal name makes me snicker) was passed, a caveat was included that members of Congress and their staffs had to participate, just like everybody else.

Members of Congress squawked, as did their staffs, many of whom suggested they might have to resign rather than bear the cost. So of course Obama ordered an exemption for members of Congress and staffs. But he cannot do that. This the law of the land, as they keep reminding us. Not even the President of the United States can just say nevermind. It doesn’t work that way. Zero legal authority.

The Affordable Care Act requires the 11.000 people who work on Capitol Hill to purchase their health insurance on its exchanges, but many of them earn too much to qualify for subsidies. That’s a financial hit worth about $5,000 for individuals and $11,000 for families. Polls show that over 90 percent of Americans object strenuously to the special privilege the Obama  administration has delivered to members of Congress.

Republicans have voted to defund ObamaCare somewhere around 44 times, but nobody is fooled by the gesture. No member of Congress, especially Republicans, should dare face the voters next year if they have not enlisted in ObamaCare just as they are forcing the rest of the country to do. The Congress are the servants of the American people and serve at their pleasure, and can be removed at their pleasure. Yes, you won’t like it. Yes, it will cost you a whole bunch more. You put this wretched law together behind closed doors with no input from Republicans, forced it through with all sorts of sleazy deals, and passed it without a single Republican vote.

If this represents a struggle between your wallets and your principles, Republicans had better opt for principles. This one is a no-brainier. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has been shopping around an amendment to overturn the opt-out. He is not being well received. Republicans should think again. Senator Vitter is right. And do allow all the Democrats to exempt themselves. The more of them defeated at the polls, the better.

 



The Human Race is Not just Flawed, but Truly Funny. by The Elephant's Child
December 18, 2012, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Humor, Law, Politics, Taxes | Tags: , ,

—Some days one is struck by the absolute absurdity of the human race. John Hinderaker of Powerline keeps close track of the corrections published by The New York Times, The Times dutifully publishes a lot of corrections and their prim recitation of getting everything just about totally wrong gets me right in my weird sense of humor.

—Most people are aware that the much vaunted plug-in electric cars are not exactly selling like hotcakes. Their share of the total market is only a pathetic 0.65%. But that’s nothing to compare to the sales of the used EV market. All new cars lose about 20% of their value the minute they roll off the lot, but plug-ins have some specific problems. You don’t get President Obama’s $7,599 bribe on the used ones. The higher retail price is rarely made up in fuel savings over the life of the model.  The $40,000 Chevy Volt is basically a $17,000 Cruze with a 500 lb., 25 mi. range, eight-hour-to-charge battery. The big question is how much does a new battery cost? GM claims $8,000-$9,500. Ford say between $12,000 to $15,000.  The humor comes in the fact that we’ve wasted more than $6.5 billion in subsidies just since 2008. We are indeed absurd.

—A Muslim country with a 25% slave  population is elected Vice President of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The UN human Rights Council met in Geneva on Dec. 12, and elected Mauritania as its Vice-President and Rapporteur for the next year, the second highest position at the world’s top human rights body. According to a recent report by the Guardian, “up to 800,000 people in a nation of 3.5 million remain chattels,” with power and wealth overwhelmingly concentrated among lighter-skinned Moors,”leaving slave-descended darker skinned  Moors and black Africans  on the edges of society.” Must not criticize a cultural tradition.

—A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that  thirty-six members of President Obama’s executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes. A reminder that the best taxers aren’t always the best at being taxed. Federal employees as a group owe a whopping $3.4 billion in unpaid taxes. This includes 1.181 employees of the Treasury Department who are delinquent on a total of $9.3 million in taxes. Bad example from the boss. Tim Geithner had to pay $42,000 in back taxes before his confirmation as Treasury Secretary. Some of the worst offenders are: the Government Printing Office, The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, and also —the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Among the worst of the small department offenders, with only 77 employees, is the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.



Pay No Attention to This, Look Over There—Under the Tree! by The Elephant's Child

About the “War on Women” — “A group of Democratic female senators on Wednesday declared war on the so-called ‘gender pay gap'”, and urged their colleagues to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act when Congress returns from recess next month. But it turns out that there is a substantial gender pay gap in their own offices according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis of Senate salary data.

Of the five senators in the Wednesday press conference: Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) — three pay their female staff members significantly less than male staffers.

Patty Murray, “who has repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a “war on women” is one of the worst offenders. Female members of Murray’s staff made about $21,000 less per year than male staffers in 2011, a difference of 35.2 percent” — way more than the the 23 percent Democrats claim as a nationwide difference.

The other offenders were Feinstein and Boxer.  Of the 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, 37 senators paid their female staffers less than male staffers. Women working for Senate Democrats in 2011 pulled in an average salary of $60,877. Men made about $6.500 more.

Golly darn, that just makes their “War on Women” even sillier, doesn’t it.



The color of hypocrisy? Green! by The Elephant's Child

Junk Science’s Steven Milloy reports on the latest thing in green travel:

The World Wildlife Fund’s website states that “It is clearly time for all Americans to roll up their sleeves, to take steps to reduce emissions, to prepare for climate change, and to encourage others to do the same.” We Americans must use compact fluorescent light bulbs, reduce hot water use, turn thermostats down in the winter and up in the summer and use low-flow shower heads and faucets.  We should pledge to commute by carpool or mass transit, switch to green power, and get more fuel-efficient cars.  We should make our lives more expensive and less convenient so that the Green elites don’t feel too guilty while jet-setting to exotic locales.

That’s for us.  For their wealthy donors they have something else in mind:

“Join us on a remarkable 25-day journey by luxury private jet,”invites the WWF in a brochure for its voyage to “some of the most astonishing places on the planet to see top wildlife, including gorillas, orangutans, rhinos, lemurs and toucans.”

For a price tag that starts at $64,950 per person, travelers will meet at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, Fla. on April 6, 2009 and then fly to “remote corners” of the world on a “specially outfitted jet that carries just 88 passengers in business-class comfort.” “World class experts — including  WWF’s director of species conservation — will provide lectures en route, and a professional staff will be devoted to making your global adventure seamless and memorable.” Travelers will visit the Amazon Rain Forest in Brazil, Easter Island, Samoa, Borneo, Laos, Nepal, Madagascar, Namibi, Uganda or Rwanda, and finish up at the luxury Dorchester Hotel in London.

According to the calculator on the WWF’s website, it would cost in excess of $44,000 to offset the carbon emissions from the jet travel alone.  But there is some doubt about the whole carbon-offset thing.  it may be just a rip-off.  And so it goes.




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