Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Health Care | Tags: Election 2010, Politics, Republican Candidates
Col. Allen West, U.S. Army (ret.) is a Republican candidate for Congress in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District in Florida. Just in case you needed a pep talk for today.
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: Democrat Corruption, Obamacare, Politics
President Obama promised that he could convince a reluctant public that his very own health-reform plan was somehow a good thing after all. Public animosity towards ObamaCare is getting stronger, with Rasmussen showing that 58 percent want it repealed.
More facts emerge regularly as people sort through the voluminous rules and regulations that were forced through Congress on an overly partisan vote. People can see the destructive path ahead. Even members of Congress are not sure that they will continue to be able to keep the health care that they like so much. The Congressional Research Service is dubious.
1. Where is my free health care? eHealthInsurance, the online broker for health insurance, has been flooded with calls from people who ask: “Where do we get the free ObamaCare, and how do I sign up for that?” They are unaware that the new insurance does not begin for four more years, though the massive tax increases will begin right away, but won’t even make a dent in the cost of ObamaCare.
2. There will be shortages of Doctors. At current graduation and training rates, there will be a shortage of up to 150,000 physicians in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
3. People with pre-existing conditions can purchase insurance when they get sick. This may seem “nice” but it negates the whole idea of insurance, which is that spreading the risk over large numbers of people over time, keeps costs down. Legislators react by ordering insurance companies not to raise rates. This will put insurance companies out of business.
4. Poorly written and poorly thought out regulations impose mandates on states that are already in deep financial trouble. Rules require the states to ensure the provision of “the care and services themselves,”opening state liability to floods of lawsuits.
5. Constitutional challenges continue and expand. There is no Constitutional authority for Congress to require citizens to purchase anything.
6. As the clever ways Congress made the bill seem to cost less begin to unravel, the real massive cost increases will kill jobs, depress economic growth, and taxes will continue to be raised. The Bush tax cuts expire, and as the huge tax increases necessary to pay for health care become apparent, public animosity will really increase. Health care does not arrive for four years, but we start paying for it immediately.
7. Congress has made a big bet on “preventative care,”in the illusion that preventing disease will make health care cost less. Multiple studies show that preventative care costs far more, not less, and does not prevent illness. It helps to study consequences before passing the law.
Massachusetts health care was carefully thought out, and it has taken just 3 years for it to fall apart. Many physicians have left the state, some hospitals have closed. Premiums in the state are the highest in the country.
Governor Deval Patrick is in a battle with health insurers. He will not allow them to raise their rates to cover the added costs of the state’s universal coverage law. They will not stay in business if they can’t cover their costs. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is shocked that the new law does not give Congress the power to block increases in health insurance premiums. Basic economics is not a Congressional strong point.
The American people wanted the administration to cut spending and reduce the debt, and cut taxes to encourage growth and create jobs. Instead the administration has forced through, in the most reprehensible backroom deals, a health care plan that nobody wanted. American health care is the finest in the world, with the best outcomes and most innovation. It has been expensive because it is the result of individual choices by millions of Americans, not because of overcharging by insurance companies as President Obama tried to claim.
Creating straw-men to blame is a specialty of this president, but his ability to sell that kind of hype is growing old and stale. The truth, as they say, will out.
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Statism | Tags: Liberal lies, Obamacare, Politics
Now that ObamaCare the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is law, will the uninsured really stop going to the emergency room for their basic health care? A basic assumption about ObamaCare is that once people have insurance, they will stop going to the emergency room and make appointments with their doctors instead.
According to Stanley Goldfarb writing in the Weekly Standard, there are several assumptions involved here.
- Insurance payments to primary care physicians will change the habits of those accustomed to using the emergency room for care.
- There will be enough primary care physicians available to take on these new patients.
- The provision of insurance will reduce subsequent hospitalizations and emergency room visits by the previously uninsured.
- The cost for the care of these patients will decline and “the cost curve will be bent downward.”
All of these assumptions are wrong. Yale University researchers studied emergency room use in New Haven, Conn. and found that there was no difference in subsequent visits to emergency departments nor in the number of inpatient admissions. Primary care physicians are not available 24/7 and patients knew the emergency room would be open. In Massachusetts, in spite of requiring insurance for everyone, emergency room use went up, not down.
It takes 17 years from the decision to increase the physician workforce to actually get more doctors in a community. Thirty-two million newly insured will need a lot of doctors, and we don’t know how many will follow through in their plans to quit medicine. New facilities must be built, students recruited, and physicians trained. It all takes time.
Certainly all those folks with financial resources who are uninsured will be happy to pay for their health insurance rather than pay the much smaller financial penalty for not having insurance. Won’t they?
They wouldn’t try to sell us a bill of goods, would they? Surely they are sincere. They wouldn’t lie to the American people about something so important. Would they?
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: Democrat Corruption, liberalism, Obama, Politics
Even Democrats recognize that things have gone wrong in this last year. They have two excuses responses. The first is that America has become “ungovernable.” Charles Krauthammer responded to that yesterday.
In the latter days of the Carter presidency, it became fashionable to say that the office had become unmanageable and was simply too big for one man. Some suggested a single, six-year presidential term. The president’s own White House counsel suggested abolishing the separation of powers and going to a more parliamentary system of unitary executive control. America had become ungovernable.
Then came Ronald Reagan, and all that chatter disappeared.
The tyranny of entitlements? Reagan collaborated with Tip O’Neill, the legendary Democratic House speaker, to establish the Alan Greenspan commission that kept Social Security solvent for a quarter-century.
A corrupted system of taxation? Reagan worked with liberal Democrat Bill Bradley to craft a legislative miracle: tax reform that eliminated dozens of loopholes and slashed rates across the board — and fueled two decades of economic growth.
Later, a highly skilled Democratic president, Bill Clinton, successfully tackled another supposedly intractable problem: the culture of intergenerational dependency. He collaborated with another House speaker, Newt Gingrich, to produce the single most successful social reform of our time, the abolition of welfare as an entitlement.
It turned out that the country’s problems were not problems of structure but of leadership. Reagan and Clinton had it. Carter didn’t. Under a president with extensive executive experience, good political skills, and an ideological compass in tune with the public’s, the country was indeed governable.
The excuse that this is a communications problem — interesting for a president who has made more speeches in his first year than any other — is denied by Charlie Cook, mild-mannered Democrat pollster:
This is a reality problem. And I think they just made some grave miscalculations and as it became more clear that they had screwed up, they just kept doubling down their bet. And so I think, no, this is one of the biggest miscalculations that we’ve seen in modern political history.
He also says that” it’s hard to come up with a scenario where the Democrats don’t lose the house.”
There remains not the slightest indication that the Democrats have any intention of changing their approach, or even doing a little soul-searching.
The two-party system was designed to promote discussion and dissension so that the problems of policies could be worked out in debate before being enacted into law.
It wasn’t intended that one domineering party should rule by bullying and closing down argument, and meeting behind closed doors to make secret agreements. Hard to convince those who are determined to get their own way.
Filed under: Blogging, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Humor | Tags: Democrat Demagogues, Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, Politics
From The National Journal’s ” Hotline”, not, as you might suppose, the Onion:
House Dems will spend the Pres. Day recess marking the 1-year anniversary of the $787B stimulus act, embracing a bill that has them in some political hot water.
Wednesday marks the anniversary of the bill’s passage, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is encouraging Dems to hold events touting its success. As polls show the economy still tops voters’ list of pressing concerns, members’ votes on the bill itself could prove decisive.
“The Recovery Act is a hallmark achievement of this Congress,” Pelosi wrote in a memo to House Dems, obtained by Hotline On Call. In the memo, Pelosi says the bill has created or saved 2M jobs and will “support” 3.5M jobs by the end of the year — numbers that GOPers reject as invented.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, Politics, Taxes, The Constitution | Tags: Culture War, Democrat Corruption, Liberal lies, Politics
Tea Parties, as I understand it, grew out of unsatisfying Town Hall meetings, and representatives who wouldn’t listen. People who had never demonstrated before, nor carried a sign joined with others who were similarly disturbed at excessive spending, and irresponsible congressmen.
Demonstrations began popping up all over the country, interest spread all over the internet. The Obama administration claimed to be unaware of the hundreds of thousands of people marching on the mall, and cleaning up after themselves like the nice responsible people they were.
Leftists have sneered and criticized, and recently anti-tea party groups have popped up in opposition. Joseph Abrams of Fox News has conducted a detailed investigation of the independent grassroots groups which have turned out to be part of “a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions and trickling slowly into political slush funds for Democrat activists.”
The biggest benefactor is AFSCME the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which donated $10 million to two front groups. Other unions are SEIU, Change to Win, Communications Workers of America, NEA, Teamsters, United Food & Commercial Workers and others.
Here’s how it works: What appears like a local groundswell is in fact the creation of two men — Craig Varoga and George Rakis, Democratic Party strategists who have set up a number of so-called 527 groups, the non-profit election organizations that hammer on contentious issues (think Swift Boats, for example).
Varoga and Rakis keep a central mailing address in Washington, pulling in soft money contributions from unions and other well-padded sources to engage in what amounts to a legal laundering system. The money — tens of millions of dollars — gets circulated around to different states by the 527s, which pay for TV ads, Internet campaigns and lobbyist salaries, all while keeping the hands of the unions clean — for the most part.
“One of the groups created a web site,” says Daniel Foster, “TheTeaParty Is Over.org, dedicated to stopping tea partiers; attempts to, in its words “undermine…the legitimacy of the federal government in favor of a radical rightwing form of state’s rights,” and “Prevent their dangerous ideas from gaining a legislative foothold.”
Goodness, can’t have people out there with such radical ideas as cutting back on spending, or balancing the budget, or banning earmarks. That’s downright dangerous! What will those crazy radicals think of next?
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: Democrat Demagogues, Politics
It daily becomes ever more clear that Democrats, wrapped in the mantle of their good intentions, have no conception of the long term consequences of their glorious ideas. They hate the idea of profit, for profits are the product of greedy capitalists. Try explaining to a Liberal that without profit, there would be no business, no innovation, and no products and you will likely get a blank stare.
The current theme is that evil Insurance companies make vast profits while leaving their hapless healthcare-denied policy-holders dying in the streets. Doesn’t work. Health insurance companies profits are around 4¢ on the dollar of sales. Hardly admission to the evildoer hall of fame.
American healthcare is about saving lives. Socialist healthcare is about saving money.
When Democrats plan health care for everyone, they want to add (according to President Obama) 30 million uninsured Americans to the plan, paying for their health care, and they don’t know how to pay for it without bankrupting the country.
The big things that actually would save money — tort reform, opening the market to all insurance companies and forcing them to compete for business, health savings accounts, offering individuals the tax benefits heretofore given to employers, catastrophic care policies for those who don’t want to pay for insurance for the small stuff — are nowhere in Democrat plans.
Democrats won’t offend the trial lawyers, they don’t like competition, they reject health savings accounts, which are a proven success. They want the young and healthy, who don’t feel that they need much insurance, to pay to support the rest. They insist, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that “preventative care” will save money, that a “medical home” will save money, and left with vastly increased costs — they cut back on payments to doctors and care providers, slash payments for drugs and medical supplies and cut back on tests and treatments. That is rationing.
When IBD/TIPP sent out a questionnaire to 25,600 practicing physicians from around the country, they asked “Under a government plan do you think drug companies will have incentives to develop as many lifesaving new drugs?” Sixty percent of those who responded said “no.” As well as polling questions, the questionnaire allowed physicians to elaborate on their concerns.
A major concern was that drug and technology in medicine — considered by many to be the most vital part of the U.S. health system — will wither under government-run health care. One physician summed it up as follows: “It will crush medical research because new and innovative treatments/technology cost money initially and the government won’t pay.”
A landmark report by economist Frank Lichtenberg in 2002 looked at the huge increase in life expectancy — from 69.7 years to 76.5 years — during the period from 1960 to 1997.
He found that much of the gain in life spans was due to improved drugs and technology. He further found that investment in new drugs shows an enormous return: For every $1,345 spent on drug R&D, about one life-year is added to the U.S. total.
Given that the average productive value of one life-year for a healthy person is about $150,000, economic gains from new drug innovation would appear to be enormous.
Take just one class of new treatments: anti-hypertensive drugs used to treat high blood pressure. In 2001, according to a study by economist Genia Long and six others, these drugs saved about 89,000 lives — and prevented 420,000 hospital visits.
It costs industry more than $1 billion to develop and bring a drug to market, a 10 to 15 year process. Health care responds to demand, and we demand the best for ourselves and for our loved ones. Will we insist on a health care that is about saving lives? Or will we surrender to a health care that is primarily about saving money?
In America, when we have asked the free market to compete and invent and develop ways to help us to live and yet save money, the market has always responded. All the things that make it cost more, slow growth, discourage innovation and deprive us of care have been the result of government action.
And these— are the very folks who assure us that they can fix it, just as they fixed Amtrack, the Post Office, the automobile industry, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Indian Health Service. Their record of success in fixing things is……..
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: Gas Prices, Politics, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
If you want a serious reason to oppose ObamaCare, take a look at the “Cash for Clunkers” program. Officially it is known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) and it even has its own cute little logo with an automobile symbol in place of the ‘A’. It was initially part of the Waxman-Markey climate bill that was spun off as separate legislation. It was initially intended to encourage drivers to trade in older less fuel-efficient cars for new cars with better fuel economy, bringing car buyers into empty showrooms and lowering the fuel consumption of the American automotive fleet.
What it does establish is that Americans are not stupid. When they are offered $4500 of someone else’s money — which on some models can be 1/4 of the price — to buy a car, they take it. The $1 billion of taxpayer money appropriated by Congress was exhausted within a week. So Congress has appropriated another $2 billion.
One of the immediate problems is that the cars that are turned in are required to be crushed immediately. Most would be perfectly good used cars for those who cannot afford a new car. But removing them from use will starve the used-car market of inventory, thus driving up the price of used cars and probably bankrupting some small used car dealers. And then there is the parts question, for there is a big market for used car parts. It is not known if there is a market at present for the scrap metal from the crushed cars.
It is also not known if there is any environmental benefit to the program. The amount of carbon dioxide that is foregone by replacing cars with higher fuel consumption may well be insignificant compared to the energy required to crush and process the clunkers. And if the newer vehicles are driven more and farther than the old ones — is there any net reduction in CO2? And even if there is, the affect of lowered CO2 may be insignificant in the atmosphere, since most of the CO2 in the atmosphere arises from the oceans, not our tailpipes.
CO2 is not a pollutant, contrary to a misguided ruling by the Supreme Court. It is a colorless, odorless gas that is natural plant food, and essential to life. The optimum amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 1000 ppm, the current amount is around 400 ppm. CO2 is only a trace gas in the atmosphere.
If all that was not enough, it seems that Dealers are not being repaid for the $4500 they have advanced to car buyers. Congress has supposedly appropriated the money, but auto dealers haven seen any money, and it’s hurting.
Were the people who are rushing out to buy new cars with the benefit of $4500 of taxpayer dollars going to buy new cars anyway? This is crackpot economics. And it’s catching. New Jersey and Vermont are now offering subsidies for those who turn in their old refrigerators and freezers.
Meanwhile, senators are considering a permanent clunkers program. After all, it’s only money and it is so very popular. But then Paul always enjoys the gift of Peter’s money.
ADDENDUM: Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa) has said that the government has only reimbursed 2 percent of dealers , and that 4 our of 5 applications have been rejected for “minor oversight.” The government has only 225 people processing the claims at the Department of Transportation. They need 1,000 said Sestak. Gosh, they cannot handle the original billion dollars worth of claims with two more billion to go. And they are ever so sure they can handle the health insurance claims for 220 million people? Where is the evidence of any kind of success at that, ever?
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Progressivism | Tags: Democrat Corruption, Economics, Politics
The much anticipated jobs report was released today. 247,000 more jobs have been lost, but “the rate of job loss has dropped from 9.5 percent to 9.4 percent”— because 422,000 quit looking. This was heralded across the airwaves as a great sign of economic recovery. This is known as spin.
The economy is still in the doldrums with 6.7 million jobs lost since December of 2007. 14.5 million are currently unemployed, with all sectors of the economy affected.
The president’s agenda, however, is focused not on jobs, but on passing, at all costs, a health care bill about which the biggest questions are how to pay for it, since the Congressional Budget Office has said bluntly that we can’t afford it.
Democrats are talking about a middle class tax hike (Robert Gibbs denies it, but they simply cannot squeeze enough money from “the rich” to pay for it). They are talking about a value-added tax, which just raises the cost of everything. They are trying to think of all sorts of things to tax, apparently unaware that people who do not have jobs aren’t able to pay a lot of taxes, and what taxes they do have to pay only harm them.
Democrats are also considering what taxes and mandates to inflict on employers, apparently unaware that raising the cost of doing business during a recession simply means more layoffs and more business failures. But economics has never been one of the Democrats’ strong points.
And once they get the new airplanes approved, and the cash for clunkers out there to destroy the used car business, and the health care reform bill passed, then they want to pass a cap-and-trade bill which will raise not only the cost of energy, but of everything you buy. They’re estimating that at something like $3,000 -$4,000 per household per year.
But you must take care, because they don’t want any criticism, and they don’t want to answer any unfriendly questions, and they especially don’t want to be told that they have to read the bills.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Latin America, Middle East | Tags: Central America, Honduras, Politics
White House sources have said that President Obama just isn’t interested in foreign policy. People who know him well say that he has never really had any interest in history. It shows.
Democrats do have trouble recognizing who our friends are and who are the bad guys. Jimmy Carter was astounded when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and still can’t get over his love affair with Hamas. All sorts of Democrats were sure that Ho Chi Minh was the good guy, and a number even went to N. Vietnam to visit. Castro is idolized for his communist paradise with its 15,000 imprisoned enemies of the state. You have seen the tee shirts and posters featuring that bloody killer Ché Guevara.
Two weeks ago, President Obama refused to “meddle” in a totalitarian country where unarmed, peaceful students demonstrating in the streets were being beaten and shot for opposing the election that they believed to be fraudulent. He didn’t want to take sides. Now he’s eager to “meddle” in the situation in Honduras. And goodness, is he meddling! National Review’s Andy McCarthy says:
Now that the president has decided it’s okay to meddle in Honduras (where they are fighting to preserve their democracy against the Chávez-style thug who Obama wants to re-install) but not Iran (where thousands of Iranians who seek democracy are being killed, maimed and jailed by a regime which has been at war with the United States for 30 years), the president’s tack is to say that Honduras’s action in removing Zelaya is ”not legal.”
What on earth makes Obama think he knows better about what is legal under the law of Honduras than the Supreme Court of Honduras and the law-writing legislature of Honduras? The Honduran military acted after Zelaya defied an order by that nation’s highest court which pronounced his coup attempt illegal; he has been replaced under a Honduran legal process by that nation’s Congress, which essentially impeached him and democratically voted in a successor. That sounds pretty legal to me. I am the first to admit I am not an expert in Honduran law, but I’d bet the Honduran Supreme Court has a better grasp on it than President Obama. On the issue of what is legal in Honduras, as between Hugo Chávez and the Honduran Supreme Court, our president has decided to go with Chávez.
Secondly, as IBD notes, the Obama administration is now “threatening to halt its $200 million in U.S. aid, immigration accords and a free-trade treaty if it doesn’t put the criminal Zelaya back into office.” Can someone explain to me how it is that Obama is willingly giving $900M to Hamastan (i.e., the jihadist-controlled Gaza strip) but would pull back a comparative pittance of aid in order to penalize a poor country in our own hemisphere for trying to preserve its democracy against a would-be left-wing dictator?
The Obama administration is about to release their plan for meddling in the “peace process” between Israel and Hamas-controlled Palestine. He is not impressed that Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East, but wants to bully, arm-twist and demand that Israel agree to his proposals. Obama seem to be interested in a feather in his cap rather than peace on the ground. His lack of knowledge about the history of Israel, as demonstrated in his Cairo speech, leads him to the false conclusion that if Israel just gives up more land, more security, and more settlements then the Arabs will make peace, for all they want is their own state.
Unfortunately the Palestinians have already turned that one down. Every one of the Islamist Mullahs’ rallies is led with cries of Death to Israel, and Death to America. It would seem sensible to assume that they mean it.
Obama seems to have a gift for picking the wrong side.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Middle East, National Security, Politics | Tags: Democrat Demagogues, Politics, Terrorism
It is baffling to consider President Obama’s vapid reaction to the uprising in Iran. Even Congress was a embarrassed and pressed him to condemn the Iranian government’s response to the insurgents. Both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly to condemn the actions by the Iranian government against demonstrators and moves to shut down the internet and cell phone communications.
The Iranian regime is a nuclear-obsessed tyranny that has threatened regularly to exterminate Israel and to re-establish a world-wide Caliphate including American soil. Gosh, if we respond firmly, we might be accused of interfering, or imperialism. Oh, wait, they already did. The cry from Iran is always “Death to America.” If we were firm, who knows what the Iranian government might say. And the Europeans and the media, what would they say? And why would we care?
Why is it necessary after 230 years to remind anyone in our own government that Americans stand for liberty? We have a principled stand for freedom, democracy, free and fair elections and human rights. It was true in 1776, when a good many Americans put their lives on the line, and over and over again. It has been true in many parts of the world: in the Philippines, in France, in Berlin and Poland, in Kosovo and Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. On Friday, President Obama spoke up to say that the huge demonstrations all over Iran “are not something that has to do with the outside world.” Yes, that’s why so many of the signs that the brave, unarmed protesters carried were in English.
Obama did call, Saturday, on the Iranian government to “stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people.” He is supposedly trying to preserve the possibility of negotiating directly with the Iranian government over its nuclear program, its links to terrorism and presumably its interference in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and elsewhere in the Middle East. The Iranian government has said it has no interest in meeting with President Obama, but hope, as they say, springs eternal.
Victor Davis Hanson has some wise suggestions for Obama, and some possible answers as to why Obama is avoiding the opportunities for supporting freedom that this rebellion has offered.