American Elephants

The Liberal Mindset, Often Exposed, Witnessed, and Made an Object of Humorous Derision. by The Elephant's Child
February 28, 2010, 5:44 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Health Care, Liberalism, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

Comments at the health care summit gave a glimpse into the liberal mindset.  Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa),  complained that people whose medical bills are higher have to pay more.  This, he lamented, constitutes “segregating people on the basis of health.”  “It’s time,” he added,” to stop that kind of segregation in our country.”

Well, that is certainly injustice.  People whose clothing bills are higher could have to pay more, which would segregate them on the basis of their fashion taste.  That is surely unjust, as clothing  just provides covering for the body.  Or some people’s housing bills are higher.  They could have to pay more, which would segregate them on the basis of how nice their house is.  After all, it’s just shelter.

Suggesting that people should pay their own way is apparently an injustice.  Perhaps Senators should pay the same proportion of their income for their health care as the rest of the country. And surely they shouldn’t be segregated on the basis of the office they hold.  Equality for all.  No automatic raises.  No overblown retirement schemes.  No foreign junkets. No segregation.

It’s always interesting when the liberals so clearly expose their mindset.

The Object is Not Health, Nor is it Care. The Object is Control. by The Elephant's Child

The aim of the Left for many years has been a socialized health care system like that of Great Britain.  That is what the 2,700 page Senate bill proposes. Their ideal is control.  Simple and straightforward.  They assume that what they are doing is good, because they envision it as giving good health care to the poor.

Uninterested in evidence, uninterested in details, and uninterested in thinking through each mandate they have stuck in, they simply have no understanding of what the bill they so passionately demand to pass will do.  Nancy Pelosi exemplifies this when she announces that their health care bill is a jobs bill.  She claims it will create 400,000 jobs. This may come as a complete surprise to members of Congress, but government jobs are a drain on society.  The fewer there are, the better.

The problem with our current health care system is cost.  We have the world’s best health care, but costs are increasing across the board, and particularly in entitlements — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  The first baby boomers reach age 65 this year.  The numbers increase through the peak year of 2024, when they begin to taper off.

If Democrats get their way,America will adopt a system much like the one that is killing patients in Great Britain.  The U.K.’s health care has been held up as a model by the Left for years.  What they have planned for U.S. health care is not a copy of the British system, but a nationalized plan will soon collapse like other socialist programs.  Government-run health care is unsustainable and deadly.

In Britain the Mid-Stratfordshire National Health Service Trust was the focus of a recent independent inquiry.  According to media reports , the review found that at least 400 and as many as 1,200 patients died because of poor care.

The source of these dreadful problems are hospital managers — bureaucrats — who, according to a  Times of London report, “stopped providing safe care because they were preoccupied with government targets and cutting costs.”

The 455-page report is packed with examples that should be the shame of the British health care system. It documents patient deaths due to what appear to be cases of neglect and misdiagnosis. There are records of patients falling, developing infections, left sitting on toilets and not properly fed.

Author Robert Francis says he heard “many accounts of bad care, denials of dignity and unnecessary suffering” from witnesses during his review.

The inquiry also noted “serious departures from the standard of basic care which every patient is entitled to expect” — abuses of elderly patients, a culture of bullying, low staff morale and concerns about the “attitude of staff to patients” as well as to visitors.

Even staff members “lived in an atmosphere of fear,” in part due to “the managerial styles of some senior managers.”

Judging by the report, the hospital resembled a landfill or sewage treatment plant as much as it did a house of healing. Patients went unwashed, as did their bedding, which was “soiled with urine and feces for considerable periods of time.” There were “cases of patients who had soiled themselves who were dependent on their relatives to clean them.”

If you won’t do the things that evidence shows actually do reduce costs, like tort reform, eliminating fraud and waste, putting consumers in charge of managing their own health care; then you are stuck with consistently adding more rules and mandates in the attempt to bring costs down. That’s where the rules come from that killed so many British people.

The Day After the Health Care Summit. by The Elephant's Child
February 27, 2010, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, National Security, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Forty-three percent of Americans strongly disapprove of the Presidents performance, and only 22 percent strongly approve, the lowest ranking yet.  Only about half the respondents were questioned after the president’s summit meeting.  Those who watched learned a lot about their president, condescending, irritable, dismissive and intolerant of anyone who did not accept his superior wisdom.  It was not a success for the president.Andy McCarthy says today at National Review that “Today’s Democrats are controlled by the radical Left and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles.  They have already factored in losing in November — even losing big.”  He also says:

I’m glad Republicans have held firm, but let’s not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

I’m glad Republicans have held firm, but let’s not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

Of course it is about power.   Americans, however, are not passive Europeans.  They have been standing up to be counted, for over 200 years.  Even with the baleful influence of the baby boomers and sixties radicals, Americans have never been doormats.  I do believe that they have the gumption, should it become necessary,  to dismantle the whole thing.

The British Tea Party Movement is Launched Today! by The Elephant's Child
February 27, 2010, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Socialism, Statism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Do you remember Daniel Hannan?  He is a writer and journalist and has been the Conservative Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England since 1999.  He speaks French and Spanish and loves Europe, but believes that the European Union is making its constituent nations poorer, less democratic and less free.  He is the winner of the Bastiat Award for online journalism.  He is also a terrific speaker.  See here on universal health care, and here for his speech at the Army Navy Club last year.

“What Could be More British than a tea party?” he asks.  British Lefties point out that the original Boston Tea Party was directed against the British Crown.

Yes, it was. But where do you think its leaders drew their inspiration from? The American patriots didn’t see themselves as revolutionaries, but as conservatives. In their own minds, all they were asking for was what they had always assumed to be their birthright as freeborn Englishmen. …

To remind you, Labour has introduced 111 tax rises since 1997. It has taken a trillion pounds in additional taxation. And it has still left us with a deficit of 12.6 per cent of GDP.

Enough is enough. I’m not asking you to throw any chests into the Channel, but at least come to Brighton, drink some tea, and let our leaders know how you feel about their squandering of our property and our heritage.

The first British Tea Party is scheduled for today in Brighton.

Labour has raised more than a trillion pounds in additional taxation since 1997. Yet, unbelievably, Gordon Brown has still managed to run up a deficit of 12.6 per cent of GDP (Greece’s is 12.7 per cent). A far lower level of taxation brought Americans out in spontaneous protest last year.

And he adds “Oh, and this being England, we’ll be serving actual, you know, tea. “

Andrew Klavan, Once Again, On the Culture. by The Elephant's Child
February 26, 2010, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Liberalism, Politics | Tags: , ,

Andrew Klavan’s videos, produced for Pajamas Media are always amusing. Hope you enjoy them as well.

The Administration is Very Anxious to Control More of the Economy. Be Nice if They Knew What They Were Doing. by The Elephant's Child
February 26, 2010, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy | Tags: , ,

Mitt Romney’s new book,  No Apology” The Case for American Greatness apparently makes the claim that “government is calling the shots on every major decision at GM, including which plants to expand and which to close.”

According to long-time Detroit newspaperman and political cartoonist Henry Payne:

White House spokesman Matt Lehrich told the Detroit News: “While the president will continue to monitor the taxpayers’ investment in these companies, he has enough on his plate to have no interest in running them. Decisions and management are handled by the company alone.”

Payne lists the ways in which Washington isn’t running GM.:

  • The Obama administration forced GM into Chapter 11 last March and rejected its first restructuring plan as inadequate.
  • The Obama administration fired GM CEO Rick Wagoner.
  • The Obama administration appointed new GM board chairman, Ed Whitacre.
  • The Obama administration forced GM to reverse a decision to build its new small car in Asia.  To satisfy UAW demands, the car will be built in Orion Township, north of Detroit.
  • Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) strong-armed GM into keeping open a facility slated for closure in his district.
  • Congress has balked at GM’s dealer streamlining plans, passing a law requiring dealer arbitration.
  • And just today, the Obama administration GM announced that it would discontinue the gas-hungry Hummer.

Makes sense to me.  Once again, Obama’s ideology trumps the facts.  He believes firmly that oil and gas are dirty and evil, that “clean green” policies will save the planet, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.  Or perhaps it is just payback for the environmental organizations that supported his campaign.  The Chicago Boys are very big on paying back your supporters.  It’s called “crony capitalism.”  Used to be called “graft.”

The Green Jobs Myth, and Clean Green Energy is a Myth As Well. by The Elephant's Child
February 26, 2010, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

In spite of the hoopla of the Blair House theater summit yesterday, the American people keep trying to remind the President and Congress that health care ranks pretty far down on their list.  They are much more concerned about the economy and unemployment.

“Green jobs” remain a central pillar of the Obama administration’s policy to promote clean energy.  New jobless claims were up by 22,000 this week, over last week.  But how does the administration’s claim stand up? The facts challenge policymakers’ wishful thinking.

The Obama administration has allocated more than $4 billion in funding from the Stimulus bill to the “smart grid,” for its job-creation potential.  Much of this is to be spent installing close to 20 million “smart meters” over the next five years.

Smart meters are digital versions of the spinning electric meter on every house.  Spinning meters haven’t changed in the last century, and must be read by workers.  Smart meters automatically transmit consumption data for electricity to a utility.  By essentially eliminating human intervention, smart meters promise more accurate usage measurement as well as efficient management of energy production resources.

Farewell to meter-readers.

It takes one worker today roughly 15 minutes to read a single meter. So in a day, a meter reader can scan about 30 meters, or about 700 meters a month. Meters are typically read once a month, making it the base period to calculate meter-reading jobs. Reading a million meters every month engages about 1,400 personnel. In five years, 20 million manually read meters are expected to disappear, taking with them some  28,000 meter-reading jobs.

Nearly 40 million smart meters have been installed worldwide, mostly in Europe.  The jobs created in this industry can be broadly classified into four categories: installation, manufacturing, research and development and information technology services.

It takes two certified electricians about 30 minutes to replace a spinning meter.  About 5,000 a year, for 400 installation jobs or 1,600 jobs over 5 years to install 20 million meters.

Manufacturing is highly automated, and mostly accomplished overseas, with American jobs only in the hundreds.  In R&D and IT services, the number of jobs created is forecast to be in the hundreds or low thousands.

So smart metering will result in net job destruction.  The “clean energy” jobs from wind and solar, in Spain resulted in a loss of 2.5 jobs in the private sector for every “green job.” Electric vehicles are a promising green sector, but the technology is not yet there, and jobs would simply be cannibalized from gasoline powered cars.

Senator Lamar Alexander Respectfully Responds to President Obama’s Opening Statement. by The Elephant's Child

Peter Wehner commented succinctly on Senator Alexander’s response to the President’s opening statement:

Senator Alexander was an inspired choice, I think, to respond to President Obama’s opening statement. It is really quite good. For one thing, Alexander’s tone is perfect: reasonable, respectful, and authentic. He doesn’t sound as if he were reading from tired talking points. He was actually engaging Obama as well as the moment we’re in.

Senator Alexander also made excellent use of his own experiences in politics. He used nice analogies (“This car can’t be recalled and fixed,” he said. “It’ time to start over — but Republicans do want to start over.”) He highlighted the sweetheart deals in the Senate bill.

And he made a very important framing point: Republicans aren’t coming forward with a comprehensive plan because “we don’t do comprehensive well.” The nation is too big, too complicated, and too decentralized. And then he had this nice, subtle jab: “Comprehensive may work in a classroom [Professor Obama], but it doesn’t work in our big, complicated country.”

Senator Tom Coburn M.D. Actually Has Real Experience in Health Care. by The Elephant's Child
February 25, 2010, 9:00 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care | Tags: , ,

Senator Tom Coburn, a physician, made a strong case for tort reform. We can cut costs there by 15 percent, he says. That, in turn, will increase access. When health care costs 15% less, more people will find it affordable.

He argues that Medicaid has much higher rates of fraud than private plans, and makes the case for tackling lawsuit abuse, which spurs defensive medicine.

Obama claims that he has adopted “all the good ideas” on fraud and abuse, but that is not true. Democrats will do nothing to offend the trial lawyers who provide so much support for Democrats.

Max Baucus (D-MT) responded to the need for tort reform by pointing out that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius is working to come up with ways to end lawsuits “before they become bad lawsuits.” Whatever that means.
The problem is not simply lawsuits, but the extra tests and extra procedures that doctors and hospitals order to protect themselves from lawsuits.

Senator McCain Responds to President Obama by The Elephant's Child
February 25, 2010, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Speaker Pelosi Provides an Unintended Moment of Hilarity. by The Elephant's Child
February 25, 2010, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Politics

I suppose she actually believes this.  Do you think she ever had a course in economics? Nah.  When you take money out of a taxpayer’s pocket, give it to someone as a grant, oh never mind. You cannot explain to a liberal.

You have one of her compatriots explaining health care by describing some woman who was wearing her sister’s false teeth.

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) Explains Clearly that the Republicans Know Very Well What They Are Talking About! by The Elephant's Child

Paul Ryan is a very impressive Congressman.  The Republicans are “the Party of No?” Not very likely.  The Republicans understand very clearly the ideas that underlie the Democrat Health Care plans, and why they won’t work.  They understand the sleazy budget tricks, the false estimates, and what the bills would actually do to the American people and the American economy.

Jay Nordlinger said at National Review today:

Let me try something out on you: This health-care summit was a bad idea for the Democrats for this reason: They have long benefited from a perception — a perception greatly abetted by the media: The Republicans don’t care about health care, they don’t know about health care, they are the Party of No. All the ideas and caring are on the Democratic side.

It is not so, and it has never been so. And now everybody knows it.

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