American Elephants

We Need a Lot of Governmental Pink Slips! by The Elephant's Child

Bob Kerrey, former Nebraska senator and former governor of Nebraska, has recently been president of The New School, in New York City.   He served as a SEAL in the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam War, and received the Medal of Honor.

Political insiders are speculating about who President Obama will choose to permanently replace Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff.  It is one of the most important jobs in Washington, but the chief of staff has no statutory power, only influence.

The president, said Bob Kerrey in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, is left to manage a federal enterprise of more than 4 million employees, occupies more than 1 billion square feet of office space and purchases more than half a trillion dollars worth of goods and services.  The president is left to manage these responsibilities through innumerable departments and agencies.

The county’s chief executive officer  needs to borrow a page from corporate America, and hire a Chief Operating Officer to run the day-to-day government, to cut through budget battles and inertia to keep the country moving.  Let the president’s chief of staff manage the White House and hire a chief operating officer to manage everything else. So the president can be just decorative?

The president has a cabinet, every cabinet secretary has a deputy secretary and an assistant secretary and the deputy secretary has an assistant deputy secretary and so on, and so on.  The president also has 35 or so advisers who didn’t have to get confirmed, who we have called “Czars” who seem to run something.  I assume they have assistant Czars and the assistant Czars have deputy assistant Czars and each has a staff .  Those 141,000 people that the Obama administration has hired are somewhere, apparently getting six-figure salaries.

Mr. Kerrey assumes that a COO would be a super competent person to straighten out the  the executive branch.  But the administration’s record of hiring super competent people is not especially good.  Perhaps much of the fumbling in the White House is due to having way too many people trying to advise and administrate, and the crowd needs thinning out.  Or perhaps the incompetence lies elsewhere.

The chief operating officer idea is well-intended, but we spend months and months evaluating presidential candidates before we decide which one we are going to hire, and that doesn’t always turn out too well.


Insurance Costs Rise for AARP Employees. Reason is a Mystery. by The Elephant's Child

Whenever the media needs to talk to someone about our senior citizens, they call on the AARP, the American Association for Retired People.  I have never had much use for the AARP, for I think that seniors believe that they are joining a club that lobbies and does nice things for older people, and offers some nice benefits like insurance.  With my cynical nature,  I think they are an insurance company that lobbies for leftist causes that will keep seniors dependent on them, but that’s just me.

AARP, I assume, buys lists from the Department of Motor Vehicles of people who turn 50 or 55, and you will get regular solicitations from them from then on.  Quite a shock to those who are just recovering from reaching their 50th birthday.

In 2009, the AARP argued that ObamaCare was a good deal for seniors.  That dubious proposition remains to be seen, but Obama’s chopping $500 billion out of Medicare is not a good start, nor is putting one Dr. Donald Berwick in charge of all Medicare without hearings, without confirmation, with absolute authority for all Medicare decisions — with no recourse if you don’t like the decision.  Berwick is also a great admirer of Britain’s failing National Health Service, and if that doesn’t concern you, you need to read some British newspapers regularly. Britain is trying to turn their system back to doctors and their patients — a novel idea.

Around 60,000 seniors told the AARP that ObamaCare was not a good deal for them, and tore up their membership cards.  Now it seems that ObamaCare is not such a good deal for AARP employees either.  The seniors’ lobby is telling employees that their insurance costs will rise partly as a result of the law.

In an email to employees, AARP says health care premiums will increase by 8 percent to 13 percent next year because of rapidly rising medical costs.

And AARP adds that it is changing co-payments and deductibles to avoid a 40 percent tax on high-cost  health plans that takes effect in 2018 under the law.  Aerospace giant Boeing has also cited the tax in asking its workers to pay more.  Shifting costs to employees lowers the value of a health care plan and performs as an escape hatch from the tax.

The AARP insists that the law only accounts for a small part of the hike in premiums, possibly because HHS  Secretary Sebelius said she would go after any company that claimed that a premium rise was because of the law.  And so it goes.

%d bloggers like this: