American Elephants

On the Ninth Day of November, in 1989, the Berlin Wall Fell. by The Elephant's Child
November 5, 2009, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Europe, Foreign Policy, Freedom, History | Tags: , ,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.  She said:

[F]or me America seemed completely out of reach . . . then on the 9th of November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell.

And this border which had divided a nation, for decades, keeping people in two different worlds, was now open. And this is why for me, today is first and foremost a time to say thank you.

I thank all those American and Allied pilots who heard and heeded the desperate appeal of then-Mayor of Berlin Ernst Reuter, in 1948, who said, you, the nations of this world, cast your eyes towards the city.

For months, these pilots flew food to Berlin for the airlift, saving the citizens from starvation. Many of these soldiers risked their lives. Dozens lost their lives. We shall remember and honor them forever…

I think of John F. Kennedy, who won the hearts of the Berliners, when, during his visit in 1961, after the wall had been built, he reached out to the desperate citizens of Berlin by saying, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” I think of Ronald Reagan, who, far earlier than most, clearly saw the sign of the times and, standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate, already in 1987, called out, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” This appeal shall remain forever in my heart.

The 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall is a very important occasion.  Americans, in 1989, didn’t seem to really grasp that shift in the condition of the world, or perhaps the leftists among us didn’t consider it  an event to be celebrated.  There have been books written about the  lack of appreciation for the enormity of the collapse of Communism and the end of the Cold War.

But then Liberals prefer to attribute the whole thing to Gorbachev and Perestroika.  Ronald Reagan, who? Pope John Paul?  Margaret Thatcher?  George Meany? Why do they always try to rewrite history? And once rewritten, it becomes gospel.  Obama has made a major mistake in not attending, but so far he is not doing well with the foreign policy thing.  No character, no class.

Unending Analysis of the Amazing Environmental Benefits of “Cash-for-Clunkers.” by The Elephant's Child
November 5, 2009, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Economy, Environment, Progressivism | Tags: , , ,

Every time I think that there is not another word to be said about  the “Cash for Clunkers” program, another bit of information turns up, demanding to be mentioned:

WASHINGTON — The most common deals under the government’s $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program, aimed at putting more fuel-efficient cars on the road, replaced old Ford or Chevrolet pickups with new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data by the Associated Press.

The single most common swap — which occurred more than 8,200 times — involved Ford F 150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade in their old trucks for new Ford F-150s.  They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F-150 than, say, a Toyota Prius.  The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, and improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.

Well, that worked out well.  You might want to keep this bit of Congressional competence in mind.  It’s not getting better as the bills get bigger.


$2.4 Trillion for the House Health-Care Bill! by The Elephant's Child
November 5, 2009, 3:56 am
Filed under: Economy, Law, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Oh My!  The Republican staff on the Senate Budget Committee has published an estimate of the cost of H.R. 3962 (the Affordable Health Care for America Act) when fully implemented over ten years: $2.4 trillion.

In August, Stephen Parente, a University of Minnesota expert on health-care financing (and former volunteer policy advisor to the McCain campaign) came to the same conclusion.

The biggest player in the health-care debate right now isn’t Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or even President Obama.  It’s the Congressional Budget Office, which is responsible for estimating the costs of proposed legislation.  After the director of the CBO  on July 16 testified that none of the health-reform bills in the house or Senate would reduce the rate of increase in federal spending on health care, congressional efforts fell into disarray.  Many policymakers began searching for a way to get costs below the CBO’s frightening estimate of $1.1 trillion over ten years.  Others attacked the CBO, calling its estimates irresponsible.

This should really worry the Blue Dogs in the House.  The American people are far more concerned about the economy than they are about health care or climate change.  They want unemployment addressed and spending brought under control. Mr. Parente also says:

Over the last few months, my colleagues and  I at the consulting firm Health Systems Innovations have provided cost estimates of health-care reform to both Republican and Democratic members of Congress…We believe that the Democratic bills currently under consideration in the House and Senate would cost $2.1 trillion and $2.4 trillion respectively — much higher than CBO’s figures.

CBO estimates of health care costs have usually vastly understated real costs as the Wall Street Journal demonstrated. Why are the Democrats in Congress seemingly intent on National Suicide?

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