American Elephants

The CBO Report Was Planned to Show that the Stimulus Was a Success. Are You Surprised? by The Elephant's Child

Oh, the Stimulus again!  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has delivered a new report that estimates that the $862 billion stimulus has so far created or saved 1.5 million jobs.

The CBO’s calculations are not based on observations of the economy’s recent performance, according to the Heritage Foundation’s Brian Riedl.  Rather they used an economic model that was programmed to assume that stimulus spending automatically creates jobs.

Mathematicians, Riedl says, call this assuming what you are trying to prove.

The CBO model started by automatically assuming that government spending increases Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by pre-set multipliers:

  • Every $1 of government spending that directly purchases goods and services ultimately raises the GDP by $1.75;
  • Every $1 of government spending sent to state and local governments for infrastructure ultimately raises GDP by $1.75;
  • Every $1 of government spending sent to state and local governments for non-infrastructure spending ultimately raises GDP by $1.25; and
  • Every $1 of government spending sent to an individual as a transfer payment ultimately raises GDP by $1.45

Mr. Reidl goes on to explain where they went wrong.  I am no mathematician, so please read the whole thing (it isn’t long) for a complete explanation.

To me it sounds suspiciously similar to recent revelations involving temperatures, sea levels, glaciers, African crops,  emails and computer codes.  That sort of thing.

The President Who Gave Us a Failed Stimulus, Doubled Unemployment, Now Wants to Guide the Economy. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama spoke yesterday to the Business Roundtable.  Businesses could use a pep talk.  Janet Yellen, President of the San Francisco Fed, speaks of a jobless recovery with no economic recovery until 2013.

The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger notes that:

…instead of giving a speech about reviving business confidence in the economy, Mr. Obama gave a speech about reviving business confidence in him.

The previous evening, Mr. Obama held a small dinner for some CEOs from really big business, such as AT&T, Xerox, State Farm, Verizon, PepsiCo, and GE.  The White House has concluded that it is wrongly seen as antibusinessHenninger says:

I agree.  This White House is pro-business.  In fact , it’s so pro-business it’s proposing a virtual merger with the private sector.  Ladies and gentlemen of the business community, meet your new partner — Uncle Sam.

Answers, Mr. Henninger says, hark back to Obama’s first budget statement— “A New Era of Responsibility.”

“A New Era of Responsibility” describes the years before Mr. Obama as “an era of profound irresponsibility that engulfed both private and public institutions.” From this emerged the two core themes of the Obama presidency.

The first is that “government,” which Mr. Obama identifies as “we,” must “transform our economy for the 21st Century.” Thus, the now-familiar initiatives on carbon auctions, a green-jobs economy, and health care. “At this particular moment,” Mr. Obama said a year ago, “government must lead the way.” This isn’t just an antirecession patch, but something new and permanent. …

He is proposing that the U.S. government both guide the economy (“the right balance between the private and public sectors,” he said yesterday) and do so with a new, aggressively redistributive tax policy, which was made explicit in his just-released budget. Guide and redistribute.

Charles Krauthammer explained today that Obama “believes ideologically in this deeply.  Obama sees himself as a world-historical figure, not just as the first African-American president, but, like Reagan, a man who changed history.  He wants to be the father of national health care.”

Obama said today: “I am an ardent believer in the free market.”  Uh huh.

Michelle Bachmann Had a Little History Lesson for Her Listeners. by The Elephant's Child
February 24, 2010, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, History | Tags: ,

Minnesota’s Republican Representative Michelle Bachmann spoke at CPAC, and quoted from We Hold These Truths, by Heritage scholar Matthew Spalding on America’s founding principles.  A little history lesson for these perilous times, to remind us of just what is really important.

Want Health Care Summit Success? Start Over! From Scratch. by The Elephant's Child

The Health Care Summit is tomorrow, Thursday.  President Obama has set up the usual straw men, (some say), (there seems to be a set of people), (there are those who), and shot them down with the usual broad rhetorical flourishes. What exactly he hopes to accomplish with this summit remains unclear.   It is clearly not any bipartisan anything.  It seems to be a little theater to say my way or the highway.

Jennifer Rubin comments at Commentary magazine;

This is the essence of Obama: filled with grand plans and a grandiose conception of  himself, but short on workable plans, legislative prowess, and strategic thinking.  And underneath it all is a deep contempt for the wishes and concerns of average Americans.

Michael Gerson, in the Washington Post:

Americans have taken every opportunity — the town hall revolt, increasingly lopsided polling, a series of upset elections culminating in Massachusetts — to shout their second thoughts. At this point, for Democratic leaders to insist on their current approach is to insist that Americans are not only misinformed but also dimwitted. And the proposed form of this insistence — enacting health reform through the quick, dirty shove of the reconciliation process — would add coercion to arrogance.

Here are the most recent public opinion polls on support/opposition for the health care bill, according to assorted pollsters. (From Jim Geraghty)

Rasmussen: 41/56
Newsweek: 40/49
Public Policy Polling: 39/50
Pew: 38/50
Quinnipiac: 35/54
Ipsos/McClatchy: 37/51
NBC/WSJ: 31/46
CNN: 38/58
NPR: 39/55

With all the talk about “ramming it through,” “reconciliation,” President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are telling the American people that they are uninterested in their opinions, and just shut up.

Coercion, Mandates, Rules, Subsidies and Price Controls too! by The Elephant's Child

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama had posted his Health Care Reform Proposal online, and sneeringly said that with the Health Care Summit approaching, it might be useful if the Republicans posted theirs if they had one.  (I paraphrase). Which was more than annoying since Republicans have been posting plans for months.

But now and then one hears someone complain that the Republicans aren’t doing anything.  This is not a bipartisan Congress.  The Democrats control the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House.  Until the election of new Senator Scott Brown, Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  That a Health Care bill that is opposed by a significant majority of Americans has not passed, is due to a lot of hard work by Congressional Republicans., and they deserve our gratitude.

The President’s proposal is simply the same-old, same-old, with the addition of price controls, which always fail.  But this is not an administration that learns from experience.

Republican proposals are “Common-Sense Health Care Reforms Our Nation Can Afford”.  Representative Paul Ryan  presented “The Patients’ Choice Act” and Jeffrey H. Anderson, director of the Benjamin Rush Society, was speechwriter for HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, has proposed “The Small Bill.”

John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis has “Consumer Driven Health Care.” If you object to ObamaCare as much as I do, you should take a look at the alternatives in order to understand why the majority of  Americans are so opposed, and why Democrats’ policies are so abhorrent.

The Wall Street Journal comments:

“The President’s Proposal,” as the 11-page White House document is headlined, is in one sense a notable achievement: It manages to take the worst of both the House and Senate bills and combine them into something more destructive.  It includes more taxes, more subsidies and even less cost control than the Senate bill.  And it purports to fix the special-interest favors in the Senate bill not by eliminating them — but by expanding them to everyone.

Compassion is Not Always What it Seems. by The Elephant's Child
February 24, 2010, 12:46 am
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Terrorism, United Kingdom | Tags: , ,

The “terminally ill” Lockerbie bomber,  who had only three months to live, is living the good life six months late in Libya.  Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was granted his release on August 20, last year on humanitarian terms as he was a dying man, and had served eight years of his 27 year sentence.  According to the Telegraph:

Megrahi is now living in a spacious two-story villa with his wife and their five grown-up children in a prosperous suburb of Tripoli. …

The Megrahis, who are part of a prominent tribe, are well off and it is understood that his family was paid substantial compensation by the Libyan Government after he was jailed for life.

President Obama was outraged by the decision of the  Scottish government, and loudly condemned the action. Some prominent Democrats called for Senate hearings.  There were suggestions that the Scottish government may have released the Lockerbie bomber because of a desire to improve commercial ties between Britain and Libya.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill received much of the blame.  CNN reported:

He had talked to families of British and U.S. victims, US. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, British authorities, Libyan officials, and al Megrahi himself, declassified Scottish government records show.

No hearings, no inquiries,  Senate unanimously voted condemnation and moved  on.   270  people (189 Americans) still dead.  Old news.

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