American Elephants


Why Can’t Chuck Get His Business off the Ground? by The Elephant's Child

H/T: Carpe Diem)



The Great Repudiation. by The Elephant's Child

Democrats just suffered the worst repudiation at the polls of any political party since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938 (R + 71).  It is greater, according to historian Morton Keller, than Hoover in 1930 (D + 52), Truman in 1946 (R + 55), Eisenhower in 1958 (D + 47), Johnson in 1966 (R + 47), Nixon in 1974 (D + 43), or Clinton in 1994 (R+ 54).

The president acknowledges the “shellacking,” but is sure it is only because economic recovery has not come about fast enough.  He denies that it has anything to do with his policies, such as a wasted stimulus, obscene amounts of spending,  the takeover of the automotive industry, the mishandling of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf,  or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare.

President Obama said:

I am open to any idea, any proposal, any way we can get the economy growing faster so that people who need work can find it faster.

This includes tax breaks for small businesses, like deferring taxes on new equipment, so that they’ve got an incentive to expand and hire, as well as tax cuts to make it cheaper for entrepreneurs to start companies.  This includes building new infrastructure, from high-speed trains to high-speed Internet, so that our economy can run faster and smarter.  It includes promoting research and innovation, and creating incentives in growth sectors like the clean energy economy.  And it certainly includes keeping tax rates low for middle-class families and extending unemployment benefits to help those hardest hit by the downturn while generating more demand in the economy.

Businesses don’t need to borrow more money, they need customers.  They need some kind of certainty about what taxes, regulation and rules  their government is going to impose on their operations.  They need government to get out of the way and stop interfering.

The Obama Team is clueless.



Peter Orzag Recommends “Taylorism?” by The Elephant's Child

With an economy in crisis, Obama compared it, continually, to the Great Depression,and reached back to FDR’s economics for a solution.  Pelosi and Reid pushed through a huge Keynesian stimulus.  Republicans, completely outnumbered, refused to vote for the $860 billion stimulus.

Republicans tried to explain that Keynesian economics had never worked in the past, that incentives matter, and that the “multiplier effect” was a flawed notion, all to no avail.

Reaching back again to Britain’s establishment of the National Health Service just after World War II, Democrats were just sure that Americans would  love government-run health care as soon as they rammed it through Congress.

The proposed economics of the thing made no sense, but Democrats insisted that they had ways to reduce the costs.  Peter Orzag, President Obama’s former Office for Management and Budget Director wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times on the need for medical malpractice reform.  But tort reform has long been a Republican idea.

His approach has little to do with reform of legal practices. “What’s needed,” he says, “is a much more aggressive national effort to protect doctors who follow evidence-based guidelines.  That’s the only way that malpractice reform could broadly promote the adoption of best practices.”

Of course there are doctors who are not quite up on the very latest, but that is not what Mr. Orzag is talking about.  He has the illusion that “comparative effectiveness research” will deliver the best practice, and that all patients are “average” patients.  Sounds to me like another of those “progressive” ideas that they think are new.  Goes back to the “scientific management” of Fredrick Taylor (1856-1916).

It is impossible to develop single authoritative guidelines for every medical condition, let alone to trust any one entity to suddenly become the sole arbiter of what is acceptable medical practice.  Most improvements in the practice of medicine have  come about because some doctor did not follow accepted guidelines, but saw a better way.

Orzag testified before the Senate Finance Committee that “to alter providers’ behavior, it is probably necessary to combine comparative effectiveness research with aggressive promulgation of standards and changes in financial and other incentives.”  Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Medicare will penalize hospitals through reduced reimbursement rates based on their performance on quality measures.

There you go.  This time they’re reaching w-a-a-y back.  Scientific management or “Taylorism” as it was called, said that decisions based on tradition or rules of thumb should be replaced by precise procedures developed after careful study of individuals at work, including time and motion studies.  Fredrick Taylor had  ideas of efficiency that are excellent in the development of specialized machines, but not so much in the control of enterprising, creative, independent, free Americans.

Democrats, or “progressives” as they prefer to be called, like to think of themselves as embracing progress, though they reached back to Woodrow Wilson for that designation. Since they believe that the wise people in government can do a superior job of ordering the affairs of the country, they end up being “control freaks.”

From Obama’s lecturing to the snide remarks of media pundits, examples of their lack of respect for the American people abound.  They love their ideas, and if we were as intelligent as they are, we would embrace them too.  Because their ideas are so good, they don’t need to examine how their ideas have fared elsewhere, nor do studies to estimate how they would work.

So they never realize that their ideas are old, tired and ineffective.



Smashing Pumpkins… by American Elephant

…and other fun ways to dispose of your carved creations apres Halloween.

If you’ve been reading our blog long, or have caught our annual list of the 20 Best Halloween Movies Ever! you know I’m a big fan of Halloween. One of my favorite parts is the annual carving of the squash. Conversely,  one of the biggest let-downs of the holiday is going to all that time and effort to carve a jack-o-lantern masterpiece, only to throw them away, or unceremoniously toss them in the compost just a few days later before they start to rot and grow a thick coat of gray fur inside. There’s got to be a better way!

Problem solved:

The five coolest ways to get rid pumpkins after HalloweenContinue reading




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