American Elephants

Raise the Minimum Wage, But Beware Unintended Consequences! by The Elephant's Child

McDonalds has added 62.000 employees in the United States. My guess would be that to be their response to ObamaCare, cutting back workers to 30 hours a week or less to conform to the mandate to pay for health insurance for all full-time workers. If everybody gets their hours cut in half, you need twice as many workers.

In Europe, McDonalds is drafting instead, 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to replace cashiers. The touch screens will accept only debit or credit cards, helping to spell an end to cash and coins. The move is intended to boost efficiency and make ordering more convenient for customers. McDonald’s Europe President Steve Easterbrook notes that the new system will open up a goldmine of data. They could potentially track every Big Mac, McNugget and shake in your order. What that information tells them, I’m not sure. A follow up with a mandatory diet program?

People who are sure that we need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour or more, need to be aware that there are consequences. Momentum Machines automates the whole process, and there is a point where a machine that doesn’t demand sick leave and always shows up for work on time is cheaper than paying an undependable person.

The President Is Going to Fix Education By Rating Colleges: by The Elephant's Child

Harvard Economics professor Greg Mankiw recently shared an email he had received from an Adjunct Professor who has been teaching multiple sections of economics for ears at several colleges and Universities in the state of Indiana. This is not just a complaint about the perils of the life of a part-time professor,  and they have reason to complain. Do read the whole thing

With the implementation of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) these institutions are giving notification to their part-time faulty [sic] that their individual teaching schedules will now be limited to three sections. At the college this will likely result in the cancellation of 20-25% of the class sections in economics, and I would assume other areas will have a similar result. The students are not fully aware of the situation and many will be surprised that their desire to get a college education is now being impacted by the need to avoid the full implementation of the ACA.

Because of the huge increase in costs mandated by the ACA, one business after another is making sure that their low-wage or part-time workers work no more than 29 hours which the Obama administration has decided is the dividing line between those who get their health insurance paid for and those who don’t.

The consequences, fewer classes available to the student; more reliance on online classes; as previously mentioned — more reliance on robots, which means fewer jobs for teens, which means more young people living with parents for extended years, which means parents are unable to save as much for retirement, and so on.

The president, meanwhile is out campaigning again on a bus tour about fixing the cost of education: He wants the government to start rating colleges on their effectiveness, and if you are getting financial aid, they want to assure that you are doing your part to make progress towards a degree. Colleges will be rated on their tuition costs, rates of graduation and earnings of graduates. I wonder if he has ever asked himself why tuition coats are so high? For years, every time the government raises the amount a student can borrow in college loans, tuition goes up because the government has said that students can take on more debt.

The liberal assumption that if something needs be done, it must be done by government — is the source of much of the trouble in America today. There are very few things that government can do well — as we can see clearly in current policy.

Liberals Never Think Through The Consequences of Their Policies! by The Elephant's Child

Next year is an election year, so, as naturally as night follows day, Democrats are pushing for an increase in the minimum wage. Whole industries are cutting back the working hours of their employees by more than half because of the requirements of ObamaCare — because they cannot afford to be forced to pay for health insurance for their low-wage workers, and stay in business at all.  It is not because these industries are mean — it’s because businesses actually have to pay their bills and earn enough to stay in business. Perhaps you have noticed, a lot of businesses have closed their doors?

Democrats’ obliviousness to the role of profit and loss might have something to do with the fact that few if any Democrat politicians have ever worked in the private sector, but only in government, where it is quite obvious that nobody worries about such things — there is never enough money to do all the things desired, and who worries about debt? You can always raise taxes on the rich and big corporations. Having cut back employee hours to be able to stay in business, companies are likely to double their salaries?

Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and boost it annually to keep pace with inflation. Ten states make cost-of living adjustments including Washington state where the minimum wage is $9.19 an hour  the highest in the country. Locally, there’s a demand to raise it to $15 an hour. Is the logic “Oh, the economy is bad, and more people are part time — so we have to raise the minimum wage?”

Every assumption Liberals make about the minimum wage is incorrect, as you can see from this quote from the Seattle Times:

Obama’s proposal is renewing the age-old debate between advocates who claim boosting the minimum wage pumps more money into the economy, helping to create new jobs, and business groups that complain it would unfairly burden employers and curb demand for new workers.

“Pumping more money into the economy” is discredited Keynesian economics. It does not help to create new jobs. •Only 2.9 percent of all workers work at the minimum wage. •More than half of minimum wage workers are between 16 and 24, work part-time and after school. •A hike in the minimum wage raises pay for suburban teenagers, not the working poor. •The average family income of a minimum wage worker is more than $53,000 a year. •Few are the primary earners in their families. •Two-thirds of minimum wage workers earn a raise within a year — as they gain skills. •An increase in the minimum wage simply eliminates beginner jobs for new workers.

When it became clear that beginners couldn’t adequately learn to manage a cash register and making change, that job was automated. There’s a lot to learn in a first job. It isn’t meant as a place to stay for a career. When people have skills, they don’t have to settle for a minimum wage job. A beginner who has to be trained to do a job isn’t worth anything to an employer until they learn to do the job..

Liberal compassion is, as usual, misplaced, and their remedies don’t work. Their belief that the minimum wage has to support a family is false. But they thought that forcing employers to offer health insurance to all their workers who worked at least 29 hours would mean that most low wage workers would get insurance from their employers. Instead they have managed to turn an enormous sector of America into part-time workers with no insurance. There are always consequences, intended or unintended.

hamburger robot

A new robot, Alpha Machine, from Momentum Machines serves up 360 hamburgers per hour. And it does it with such quality and efficiency that it will produce “gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices..”

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.

There are always consequences.

A Short Course In The Destruction of the American Middle Class: by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama Takes Campaign Bus Tour Through Pennsylvania

Back on July 30, Obama made a big speech about the middle class. Let me insert here that I have always believed in America as a classless society, but there are surely a lot of other people who are quite determined for us to have “classes.” That’s what Democrats do.

They talk a lot about classes. It’s OK if you are in the “middle class”, that is to be admired, but “the rich” are to be hated as a class, unless you are looking for campaign donations, people’s houses to rent for a vacation, celebrities to hang out with, or talking about those who donate to the other party. “The poor” are to be given stuff, entitlements, benefits, programs, everything but opportunity — which comes in the shape of things like approving the Keystone XL pipeline and its 20,000 jobs.  But I digress.

The president said “what we need to do as a country is to secure a better bargain for the middle class — a national strategy to make sure that every single person who’s willing to work hard in this country has a chance to succeed in the 21st century economy.”

Then he went into his usual line about fighting our way back from the worst recession since the Great Depression that cost millions of Americans their jobs. Sorry, the recession ended in June of 2009. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs on your watch, Mr. President, specifically because of your policies.

Anyone who insists that ObamaCare employer penalties are not having a major impact on work hours simply hasn’t been looking at the evidence. One hundred fourteen million workers are working 34.4 hours a week on average. But some industries have seen an unprecedented drop in work hours since ObamaCare became law: retail bakeries – 27.4 hours; services for elderly and disabled – 27.6 hours; home centers – 30.5 hours; general merchandise stores – 29.8 hours. A lot of folks have seen their hours (and income) cut in half.

Obama and his speechwriters put a pretty face on his speeches. Of course that’s what politicians do, because they want to be admired. But pretty words and well-turned phrases can do a fine job of concealing reality, and the reality is not pretty. The middle class in America is on a collision course with extinction. Here are a few important facts:

  • 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck
  • 27% of American have no savings at all
  • 46% of Americans have less than $800 in savings
  • The conversion of America into a part-time working society and the country’s second largest employer – a temp agency.
  • The college trap and the student loan bubble
  • And of course, foodstamps, foodstamps, foodstamps and the nearly 50 million poverty-level Americans who need them to survive

Here’s a brief 7 minute refresher course. Seven minutes doesn’t begin to cover the decline of the middle class, the failure of an administration that doesn’t know what it’s doing, and the wrongheaded policies that are directing that failure.

Brave New World — Redux by The Elephant's Child

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is an experiment. WordPress lets me make a slideshow. If it keeps cycling over and over, hit the pause button. That seems to allow you to click your way through, without starting the endless cycle. As I said, it’s an experiment.  Sad, though.

Here’s Why There are No Jobs and No Recovery. by The Elephant's Child

Two stories:

Kennewick, Washington —  It took Bob Bertsch 25 years to build his construction business and just one day for it all to go away.  Mr. Bertsch’s Kennewick -based Ashley-Bertsch Group went on the auction block last Friday. By 4 p.m. they had sold off two dozen vehicles and trailers, tons of power tools and supplies, and even the gas-fired fireplace in the office.

Mr. Bertsch, 65, said he is down-sizing because the tax burden got too expensive to stay in business.  “I am tired of carrying all the tax load,” Bertsch said.  “I renew 13 licenses here every year just so I can spend money in this city.”  He makes no attempt to conceal his frustration with the costs government imposes on small businesses like his.  Government is killing small business.  We used to have 24 employees, now all those people are in the unemployment line. He told a friend at the auction that he is selling out because the government was taking more out of his business than he was.

Los Angeles, California — George Will tells this story:  In 1941, Carl Karcher was a 24-year-old truck driver for a bakery. He was delivering huge numbers of buns, so he scrounged up $326 to buy a hot dog cart across from a Goodyear plant, and then the war came. As did millions of defense industry workers. Southern California’s contribution to American cuisine was fast food, which eventually included hundreds of Carl’s Jr. restaurants.  Carl died in 2008, but CKE Restaurants survives. It would thrive, says CEO Andy Puzder, except for the government’s comprehensive campaign against job creation

CKE has more than 3,200 restaurants (Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) with some 70,000 jobs, 21,000 directly and 49,000 with franchises. CKE’s health care advisers said that ObamaCare would add between $7.3 million and $35.1 million to the company’s $12 million 2010 health care costs.  They guess $18 million — twice what CKE spent last year building new restaurants. ObamaCare means fewer restaurants, fewer jobs at about 25 jobs per restaurant., and about 3,5 times that much in the community.

That’s not all — government policies are raising fuel costs which affect everything from air conditioning to the cost of supplies, and the threat that the NLRB will impose something like “card check” in place of secret-ballot union elections.  CKE has stopped building restaurants in California because approvals and permits can take up to two years, compared to six weeks in Texas, and the cost to build is $100,000 more than in Texas — where CKE is planning to open 300 new restaurants.

CKE has 95 percent employee turnover in a year, not bad for this industry. Health-care benefits under their “mini-med” policies will be illegal  under ObamaCare. All sorts of employers will be looking for ways to reduce numbers of employees.  CKE is governed by 57 categories  of regulations.  The administration is quite certain that regulation has nothing to do with the dearth of jobs.  In their world, that’s just what government does — set the rules to control business and the people who engage in it. That’s why they were elected, isn’t it?  To tell employers how to operate their businesses so everything is fair and good.

These are not unusual stories. They are being repeated across America in multitudes of businesses, and have been for the last three years. When you have an administration where no one has ever worked in the private sector, let alone managed anything in the private sector, you have a lot of regulators who have no idea what the consequences of their regulations are.  A job is a cost to an employer.  When you make it cost more, there are fewer jobs.

Oh Swell, Those Twisty CFL Bulbs Linked to Increased Eye Disease. by The Elephant's Child

Liberals seldom investigate the unintended consequences of their good ideas. They do get enthusiastic about new ideas to improve the world, increase control of the bitter clinging masses, and just neglect to look at the details.

Saving the planet has ranked very high on their agenda, particularly since Obama promised to halt the rise of the oceans, so anything that promised to cut down on CO2 emissions, or energy use, seemed like a good idea right off the bat.  Who would have suspected that people would get indignant over changing their lightbulbs to a different kind that would save them money in their electric bills?

Well, as usual, unintended consequences rise up.  CFL bulbs — the twisty fluorescent kind— have not only gotten much more expensive, but now scientists say that they can harm the eyes.  New research from the Australian National University has warned that the global trend toward using fluorescent bulbs may cause a 12 percent rise in UV-related eye diseases like cataracts and pterygia.

So does all the saving on our electricity bills, which energy secretary Steven Chu insists is good for us whether we like it or not, outweigh the cost of all the cataract operations? I have no idea what pterygia is, or what medical attention it might require.

So many liberal solutions turn out to be worse than the original.

Why is Bad Economic News Always “Unexpected?” by The Elephant's Child

I write frequently about unintended consequences.  Michael Barone wrote recently about the frequency with which ‘the word “unexpectedly” or variants thereof  keep cropping up in mainstream media stories about the economy.’The pro-Obama Media is always shocked by bad economic news.  Glen Reynolds (Instapundit) has been noting similar items ever since October 2009.

And so it was today. Unemployment climbed unexpectedly to 9.1 percent. The Obama economy unexpectedly added only 54,000 jobs — the fewest in eight months.  Half of those were at McDonalds. Unexpectedly.

There is little appetite on Capitol Hill for additional stimulus spending.  And the Federal Reserve plans to wrap up its most recent effort to pump money into the economy at the end of this month.

White House economist Austan Goolsbee said the burden is now on the private sector to create jobs, as the days of a government-led recovery are nearing an end.

And the government-led recovery is where? This may actually be good news. If the government gets its nose out of the economy, things might start looking up.

Obama has a way of giving with one hand, and taking away with the other. Take the discouraging climb in the unemployment rate. Obama wants to create more jobs, he speaks about it constantly, and yet he layers more costs, regulations, mandates and taxes on employers so that they are ever more reluctant to hire.

Obama shills for “green jobs” insulating homes and offering subsidies to homeowners to have their homes insulated, yet there are already many firms experienced in the business of insulating homes who don’t need a lot of new workers in a down market. “Green jobs” building wind turbines are created in China.  “Green jobs” building vast solar arrays, are prevented from happening because of a possibly endangered tortoise, and lengthy litigation.

Thousands of jobs have been lost in the Gulf region, not just on idled oil rigs, but in all the supporting industries, and in the local economies. Offshore rigs have left for other countries where they are not idled by misguided regulations. At the same time, Obama supports the Brazilian oil industry and offers to buy their oil.

It is Obama’s strictures on the oil industry that have raised the price of gas at the pump. Higher gas prices weigh heavily on industry, and not only cause inflation, but cost jobs as their expense for transportation and energy go up.

ObamaCare’s main Medicare cost-reduction strategy has already proved ineffective. Accountable Care Organizations aren’t effective and don’t save money. New regulations and mandates impose greater costs on doctors and hospitals, which means that health care costs more, not less. When reimbursement to doctors and hospitals is cut, fewer doctors will see Medicare patients.  If they can’t find a doctor, patients go the emergency room. Doctors who object to meddling government quit and do something else, like run for Congress. (There were 47 doctors running for office in the last election).

There are always consequences. If you raise taxes on luxuries, people stop buying luxuries and the people who create those luxuries lose their jobs, and whole industries go under. When you raise taxes or regulations on businesses, those firms take what actions they can to survive. They may lay off employees, or raise their prices, or take more of their business to somewhere where it is not so highly regulated or taxed.  But Liberals are always surprised when there are bad economic effects.

American’s savings rate is too low, they say. So liberals want to eliminate the “tax expenditures” the money the government forgoes by allowing tax preferences for retirement accounts, employer paid insurance, mortgage payments.  If they just cancel those, won’t the government collect lots more money?

Obama gives with one hand, and takes away with the other, creating, um, “unexpected consequences.” And they never understand. Capital will go where it is wanted, and stay where it is well treated.

The Obama Administration’s Regulatory Nightmare by The Elephant's Child

It’s hard to keep up with the regulatory proposals coming from government agencies. The Foundry, a Heritage Foundation blog, is trying to keep track of the more noxious ones. Today, they are pointing out the excesses of the U.S. Department of Energy.

They already regulate the design of air conditioners, battery chargers, boilers, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, dryers, freezers, furnaces, heat pumps, light bulbs, refrigerators, toilets and washers. We now have washing machines that are several times more expensive and literally do not clean your clothes. Dishwashers no longer clean your dishes, and after the Volt fires in Connecticut, the regulations for battery chargers may need a second look.

The addition for today concerns a return to the shower.  The Energy {Policy Conservation Act of 1992 prescribed a measly 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at 80 pounds per square inch of water pressure.  This was quite a dramatic reduction in showering pleasure from the 5 gpm or even 10 gpm of previous showerheads. The Department stated that: “It has always been the Department’s view that when Congress used the term ‘any shower head’ it actually meant ‘any shower head’.”

Now they want to make it clear that the regulation applies to the total from multiple shower heads in any one shower. The department recently fined 4 showerhead makers $165,104 for failing to demonstrate compliance with the shower head mandate.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 prohibits even minute levels of lead in any product intended for children 12 years of age or younger. That includes millions of children’s books printed with leaded ink.  Lead in ink was phased out in the late 1970s, but the CPSC deems any children’s book printed prior to 1986 to be potentially toxic and thus unfit for library circulation , the Goodwill store, or your neighbor’s garage sale.

The EPA is now hard at work increasing fleet-wide fuel efficiency standards for cars, and at the same time expanding the amount of ethanol in gasoline from 10% to 15%, (an amount damaging to the engines of all but the newest cars) which will dramatically decrease fuel efficiency.  Corn-based ethanol has been shown to nearly double greenhouse gas emissions over 30 years.  The spike in food prices from more ethanol will increase government spending by $1 billion a year, according to studies.

Obama policies are destroying jobs as fast as new jobs are created. Regulations accomplish nothing but unnecessary interference in peoples lives, and often simply make things worse.  There are always consequences, often unintended ones, and they seldom improve anything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Time to Find Out What’s In ObamaCare. by The Elephant's Child

More than half of all states are now suing to stop ObamaCare.  Maine became the 23 state on Wednesday, and Kansas the 24th to join Florida’s multi-state lawsuit.  Thirty-three  Republican governors and governors-elect have signed a letter to the White House and Congress making an emphatic appeal that ObamaCare’s Medicaid provisions be repealed.

Medicaid pays health care and long-term expenses for certain categories of individuals.  It costs taxpayers almost $400 billion a year without providing Medicaid recipients with a high quality of careNational spending on Medicaid has nearly quintupled over the past twenty years, and about 16 percent of the population is currently covered.

A recent study from the University of Virginia has found that Medicaid patients have worse surgical outcomes than people without insurance.  In spite of this, ObamaCare relies heavily on the Medicaid program to cut the number of individuals without health insurance.  So the Obama administration can claim (correctly) that more people are covered — they just can’t get any care.

Obama’s Medicaid mandates include a requirement that states maintain current program eligibility along with a required expansion that will increase national enrollment by about 20 million.  States can’t afford the current program, nor can they attempt to cut costs.  Most states have balanced budget amendments that prevent the kind of creative financing the federal government uses.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels explains how ObamaCare will probably kill Indiana’s “Healthy Indiana Plan”, which relies on health savings accounts for 50,000 low-income people.  The program has been hugely successful and popular, but ObamaCare mandates eliminate health savings accounts.  Governor Daniels explains in the video below how ObamaCare is affecting his state.

ObamaCare has burdened states with all sorts of mandates, penalized them for not conforming, and as a solution wants to bail out the states most adversely affected by increasing the national deficit.  They are unwilling to tackle the structural problems.  Many doctors refuse to accept Medicaid patients now, and the situation will only get worse with the increasing shortage of doctors.  Medical schools cannot keep up with the need, and the nation faces a shortage of 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years — not counting the 40 percent of physicians who say they may leave the profession.

Nancy Pelosi’s comment about having to wait until we could read the bill and figure out what is in it becomes ever more irresponsible as time goes on and we do find out what is in it.

ObamaCare rewards friends of the administration, and punishes enemies.  In September, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius began granting waivers to those companies that provide low-cost plans with low annual limits on what the insurance will pay out.  This followed the announcement by some employers that they would have to drop the plans because they did not meet the mandate that 85% of premium income be spent on medical expenses.  By early December, HHS had granted 222 waivers covering 1,507,418 employees, more than a third of which are union members.  Then she announced that companies looking for rate increases of 10% or more would have to justify the hikes to her department.  Insurance regulation has traditionally been a state responsibility.

Democrats are planning to mount a vigorous defense of ObamaCare.  Paid television ads, phone banks, scheduled events. They are assuming that you don’t love ObamaCare because they just didn’t do a good enough job of telling you how wonderful it is.  The trouble is that they don’t even know what is in the bill themselves, and have no understanding whatsoever of the unintended consequences they have set in action.


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