American Elephants

Time To Get Out The Pitchforks, Folks! Stupid Democrat Tricks. by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2009, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, Taxes

Well.  President Obama is beginning to discover how expensive his health care plans are.  In spite of promises of less costly health care, his administration’s Ezekiel Emmanuel (brother of Rahm) and Peter Orzag (budget chief), are now talking about a 10 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) to — guess what — help pay for health care!  Once again the words of his mouth do not match his actions.

For the uninitiated, a VAT is a tax on every economic transaction at every stage, from raw goods to consumer.  Europe has one, and it is one of the reasons for European decline in standard of living, decline in freedom, economic activity and happiness.

Democrats want more money, now that they’ve spent so much. In Congress, they are pushing a Cap-and-Trade tax (Waxman/Markey), and talking about some kind of internet tax.

Christina Romer, President Obama’s chief economic adviser, has written one of the most careful studies of the economic effects of raising taxes. Going back to 1947, she found that raising taxes by 1 percent resulted in a 2 to 3 percent drop in Gross Domestic Product.

Consequences!  They don’t care about consequences, they want nationalized health care so they can run our lives, because they know best.  They want to save the planet from nonexistent global warming.  Does it occur to no one that they should just stop spending?  Will they never, never learn?

128 Days Later: It Can Always Get Worse by American Elephant
May 27, 2009, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Humor, Politics, YouTube | Tags: ,

Hilarious new parody from the libertarian ReasonTV, the same outfit that brought us, “Real Men of Genius” starring American Elephants‘ very own Joe Depot photoshop. The new video spoofs the hit zombie-flick, 28 Days Later. (No, you don’t have to have seen the original to enjoy the spoof). Be sure to watch through to the end:

Hilarious. Still, I have to disagree that Biden would be worse. Obama is far worse. Yes, Biden is an idiot, but I don’t think he would dare push America as far left, as fast, as Obama is, nor do I think he would be given the complete uncritical pass that has been given to Obama.

(h/t Ed Morrissey)

If We Adopt Obamacare, Where Will the Canadians Go For Their Health Care? Part II. by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2009, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Health Care, Socialism

Democrats are determined to pass a health care bill.  The U.S. already spends $2.2 trillion a year on health care, and stuck something like $150 billion more in the stimulus package to turn towards greater government control over health care.  President Obama is quite sure that by giving the government control over health care that we will save vast amounts of money.

One of the hobbyhorses that I haul out of the barn most frequently, is the idea that the Left is interested in their good intentions — their goals— and uninterested in consequences.  The Right cares about consequences, and wants to know how things will work, how expensive it will be, if there are unintended consequences, and if what is proposed is a workable solution.  The Left cares about the next election and making headlines.  The Right tries to explain the consequences, often to people who pay attention only to headlines.

The current push, on the surface,  is to ensure that everyone has health insurance.  In the fine print, it is intended to move everyone into nationalized health care.  Promoted as free health care because the “government pays for it.” Which sounds enticing until you realize that the government has no money of it own.  Government printing presses are churning out money, but we have to pay for every cent.

First of all, there is no one in America who cannot get medical care.  Emergency rooms are required by law to treat everyone.  We are told that there are 45.7 million people without health insurance, but this is a highly inaccurate figure. (A nice way to say it’s a lie) Keith Hennessey, who was the senior economic adviser to President George W. Bush has a dandy clarification of these numbers on his blog.  There are probably closer to only 10 million who are truly uninsured.

Democrats believe that they will save health care money by having everyone insured (insuring 50 million more people would cost another $2.5 to 3 trillion). They will save by getting everyone’s medical records computerized and available online (studies suggest that the technology is not there yet, and savings are mostly illusory).

They plan to control costs.  Doctors are paid too much, hospitals are too expensive, surgery should be cheaper, drugs are too expensive.  They will squeeze.  (Consequence time.  If doctors cannot get paid for all the years of training and hard work, the best and the brightest will do something else. Hospitals will get dirtier, staff will be more poorly paid, expensive machines will be forgone.  Drug companies will innovate less, expensive drugs will not be marketed and those who needed them will go without).  Over 65?  If it’s expensive, forget it.  Old folks are going to die soon anyway.

These are the good intentions.  They will save money and give you wonderful health care.  But do you suppose that members of the government have any intention of participating in this themselves?  Not on your life.  They are very fond of their own health insurance.

America has the best health care in the world.  No exceptions.  Better outcomes, better survival rates.  70% of the insured rate their health insurance as good or excellent.  So it’s really important that we change it all so the federal government is in charge?  Are the American people that stupid? Government is much of the reason for the high cost of health care.  There are problems, but there are also solutions.

A family health insurance plan in New York costs more then $12,000 a year.  A family health insurance plan in Wisconsin costs around $3,000.  What is the difference?  In many states, regulations force people to buy coverage for certain conditions or treatments.  In 11 states, it must cover acupuncture.  In 46 states, it must cover chiropractic service.  Many states demand that no one be refused insurance, and that everyone pays the same price — makes it easy for people to take advantage, waiting until they are really ill before getting insurance.  Regulators feel that if competition is allowed, insurers will grab the healthiest and refuse those with lont-term conditions like heart disease or cancer.  But there could be “Health Status Insurance” that is saved up to pay for the cost of higher insurance in the case of health shocks.  Well before it was required by law, insurance companies started offering “guaranteed renewable” policies.  There has never been an industry, a business or a product that competition has not improved.

Making insurance available nationally, across state lines, tort reform, making insurance policies portable, there are all sorts of  workable ideas for actually reducing costs.  I have written about health care frequently because I have read about nationalized health care in Britain and Canada, and I pray that we do not go down that path.  Here is one of my earliest posts.  And here is Daniel Hannan MEP (Member of the European Parliament) emphasizing why we should not choose to follow England’s example. For others, simply enter “health care” in the search function in the sidebar.  Part I is to be found here.

A free society, if it is to remain free, requires citizens who take the risk of standing up to be counted on the issues of the day. (Walter Wriston)

Chicken Little in Full Cry, Oh My! Oh My! by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2009, 2:30 am
Filed under: Environment, Politics, Science/Technology

Chicken Little

How did we get here?  Seems like life was going along comfortably and then suddenly, the sky was falling.  The rain forests were dying, the seas were rising, the globe was heating, there was the ozone layer and acid rain, pollution everywhere, the water was bad, the air was bad, species were endangered, the bald eagle — our national symbol, for heaven’s sake — was endangered, and whatever was happening was clearly all our fault.  Chicken Little in full cry.

Rachel Carson, well-meaning but deluded, wrote a book denouncing DDT.  One thing led to another and the newly created EPA banned DDT, as did the World Health Organization.  After 25 years and 50 million preventable deaths from malaria, in 2006 the WHO  lifted the ban.  But now, the UN has reversed itself and plans to cut back use of DDT by 30 percent by 2015 and a complete phase-out by 2020.  This is politics, not science, and certainly not caring for the children of the poorest people in Africa.  Spraying huts with DDT is the most effective protection against malaria.  Environmentalists just don’t like pesticides in any form.

Well, the seas aren’t rising, or rising so slowly you’d never notice.  There has been a 91 percent decrease in lead in air quality, a 76 percent decrease in carbon monoxide, 68 percent decrease in sulfur dioxide, and the air is really quite clean.  Scientists have discovered that the rain forest re-grows, even in drought.  The substitute for the asthma inhalers that they forced on asthmatics don’t work well.  The bald eagles and the polar bears are just fine. We had a pair of bald eagles sitting on a tree in our front yard last year.

What is it that convinces this generation of people that they are so important that they, and they alone are causing the decline and death of the planet.  If the earth has warmed by one degree, one degree from what?  What is the “right” temperature, and how do we know that is right?  It has been far warmer in the past, and far colder too.  It’s 54° here right now.  It was far colder this winter, and it will probably get up into the 80°s this summer.  What is the right temperature?

Congress is depending on the UN’s IPCC projections of future climate.  The weatherman doesn’t do very well past 7 days in the future.  What makes the IPCC think they can tell us how much warmer it will be in 50 years?  It is their computer climate models, which they program with what they know about today’s climate, add some guesses for what they don’t know, and—poof — out comes the future climate.  Simple.

Except those things they know, like the U.S. temperature record which is the oldest and most reliable of any world temperature record, turns out to not be reliable at all, but falsely warmer because some doofus put the thermometers right next to air conditioner vents or trash burners.  The Arctic is not melting, and they just discovered that ocean currents don’t work the way they thought they did. The IPCC was all set to make the Medieval Warm Period vanish from history, because Michael Mann’s computer climate model didn’t include it.  Unfortunately, real people living in medieval times wrote about the climate and it’s flowering in the finest climate known to man, and artists painted the climate they saw.  The obsession with climate models and the confidence that whatever a computer says is correct, is baffling.  GIGO.

Besides, I understand that the climate models were derived from financial forecasting economic models, and you know how well that worked out.

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