American Elephants

Take Off The Green Glasses, Mr. President. The Emerald City Was Just Another Fraud. The Wizard Was a Fake. by The Elephant's Child
January 14, 2010, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

Rising unemployment, record-breaking deficits and guess who gets a $541,184 grant from the Stimulus plan?   Dr. Michael Mann, under investigation at Pennsylvania State University, a central figure in the ClimateGate scandal,and the author of the discredited “hockey stick” graph on which the misleading IPCC assessments were based gets over a half a million.

Professor Mann is under investigation by the University because of his activities with a circle of climate scientists who appeared to be engaged in falsification of data in boosting their case for global warming.   Emails, documents and computer code released from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, revealed discussions about manipulation of data, and efforts to stifle opposing views and interfere with their publication.

The Obama administration apparently believes that it doesn’t much matter where the money goes in the economy.  The simple fact of spending taxpayer money and newly borrowed money will somehow fix everything, and if spending some doesn’t work, they’ll just spend more.

Far too much money has gone to reward campaign contributors, carved out special favors for the favored, and now has rewarded loyalists in the climate change debate.  (Environmental organizations were big donors too).

All very nice politically, but it is not surprising that Obama’s stimulus plan has failed to create jobs.  The stimulus was not sold to the public as a way to promote the administration’s position on global warming theory.

To be fair, the grant was initiated in June 2009, but after the ClimateGate scandal broke, one would assume someone would say oops! not a good idea. The White House has not grasped that the scandal puts the whole global warming  theory into the reconsider basket.

The administration announced Friday the awarding of $2.3 billion in tax credits — from last year’s stimulus bill — to companies that create “green jobs.” The announcement was obviously timed to counter the bad news that the country lost another 85,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained in double digits.

“Building a robust clean-energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future — jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced,” President Obama said Friday.

He says the grants will create 17,000 clean tech jobs.  That’s $135,294 per job.  The experience of Spain, Britain, Germany and Denmark with “clean energy” and “green jobs” suggests that not only will this not work, but that 2.5 jobs will be lost in the regular economy for every “green job” created.

Liberals are never interested in evidence or experience. More money always solves the problem.  The administration wants Congress to approve another $5 billion for “tens of thousands” more “green jobs.”

Aid is Arriving in Haiti, But it Is Difficult to Deploy. by The Elephant's Child
January 14, 2010, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

The situation in Haiti remains dire.  The Haitian government had asked the FAA to keep planes from landing as the airport could not handle the load.  That seems to be under control, though confusing.  U.S Special Forces have reportedly reopened Haiti’s airport in Port-au-Prince, restored the quake-damaged control tower, provided lighting,  and the airport is now able to conduct round-the clock operations led by the Pentagon’s Southern Command.

The aircraft carrier  USS Carl Vinson was due to arrive by Friday, but the port sustained heavy damage, so unloading may be a problem.  The Carl Vinson has a fleet of 14 helicopters.  Another amphibious ship with

U.S. Teams have set up a reception center for disaster relief personnel now entering the country.  There are more pictures here.  There have been around 45,000 Americans working in Haiti, and the U.S. is evacuating survivors as rapidly as possible, often to nearby Santo Domingo or Nassau.

Troops from the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne are due to arrive Friday. There is complete chaos as people try to dig survivors out from the rubble, water and food are desperately needed. People are searching out open areas away from the rubble for fear of the continuing aftershocks.

The first priority is search and rescue, for time is the enemy for trapped survivors.  Huge weights can be lifted by specialized balloons, but the teams have to get there.  Many have already been over 48 hours without water or food.

This Wall Street Journal blog has real-time updates and new takes on important news stories.  The Haitian government is barely functioning, which makes rescue efforts more difficult.

Relief Efforts for Haiti. by The Elephant's Child
January 14, 2010, 1:26 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

The devastation in Haiti is just unimaginable.  Rescuers are having a hard time getting in, and the death toll is terrible.  The Boston Globe has chilling pictures here.  The Anchoress has a summary of organizations where you can help.  The people of Haiti are perhaps the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.  An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale is a big one.  Things are very bad. Many, many buildings have collapsed including hospitals, and whole neighborhoods.

ADDENDUM: If you can only give $5 or $10 to the relief effort, don’t be embarrassed.  Small amounts go a long ways in Haiti, and if 100,000 people gave $5, it adds up to a whole lot of help.

Driving Full-Speed, Right Off the Cliff. by The Elephant's Child

The closed-door, backroom effort to pass a health care bill — by any means necessary — continues.  Democrats have gone through all kinds of gyrations to make the health care bill cost less than it actually does.  Taxes and fees go up immediately, but benefits don’t begin until 2014.  Since the cost-effectiveness is measured over a decade, collecting income  for 4 years before they have to start spending money,  makes the decade look better.

Another way they can raise taxes, they decided, is to tax “Cadillac” plans — that is the highest priced, most elaborate plans.  [Can’t have anyone having a much better plan] But that’s just what unions have — Cadillac plans.  Obama owes an enormous debt to the unions who financed his campaign. So the unions won’t get taxed on  their plans. In other words “collectively-bargained plans” won’t be affected.  So two Americans who are receiving the same benefits could be taxed differently if one of them was a member of a union and the other was not.

Richard Foster, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reports that under his analysis national health spending will rise under the Senate or House Bills by $222 billion over the next ten years.  ObamaCare “bends the cost curve” up — not down.  ObamaCare is “paid for” only in the sense that Medicare payments to doctors are assumed in the bill to be cut by 20% this spring, and even deeper after that.

Many providers will stop accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients.  Medicaid patients already have trouble finding doctors who will treat them, and it is beginning to be more difficult for Medicare patients.  Providers cannot run their practices at a loss.

The Medicare Drug Benefit is the only entitlement program that has come in under estimates. Seniors choose from among a variety of plans as to deductible, co-pays and so on.  Generics cost significantly less than brand-name drugs, and the out-of-pocket costs are less.

When costs reach $2,830, there is a coverage gap.  When the patient has spent $4,550 ($1720 more out-of-pocket) then catastrophic coverage begins with only a small co-pay.  Trying to avoid the “coverage gap” has been an incentive for seniors to use generic drugs if they are satisfactory, and to keep costs down.  If seniors need help, Extra Help is available.  And seniors have responded to the incentive.  So of course, the Democrats intend to eliminate the coverage gap.

There are two possibilities here: either Democrats want seniors to be fully dependent on government for their ability to live, or Democrats just don’t understand incentives and saving money.  Or perhaps both?

There is a new entitlement program for long-term care, which is only included because it will start collecting premiums five years before it starts paying benefits. Mr. Foster estimates the program will be bankrupt by 2025.

I keep remembering the certainty that the Massachusetts health care plan was going to be the model plan for the rest of the country.  It’s been in business for 3 years, and Massachusetts health care costs are the highest in the country, it is close to going bankrupt, all sorts of doctors have departed the state for greener pastures. Essentially, it’s a flop.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll (Jan 8-10) shows that just 37 percent of those surveyed approve of the president’s job on health-care policy while 56 percent disapprove.  A new Quinnipiac poll on Obama’s first year in office shows only 35 percent of those surveyed approve of the president’s handling of health-care in his first year, while 58 percent  disapprove.

Democrats in Congress have to decide what is more important.  Leaving future generations of Americans a legacy that is even remotely fiscally sound, or giving President Obama  an “achievement” to talk about during his State of the Union speech.

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