American Elephants

Paul Ryan Explains the Case for Repeal. by The Elephant's Child

Paul Ryan (R–WI) is the new chairman of the House Budget Committee. He knows his economics and his math, and has a very sharp pencil.  We are in a terrible budget mess, and he is working hard to find a way out.  He is one person you really want to listen to carefully.  President Obama is not unaware that his party received a huge rebuke in the last election. Whether his moves to the center will be only cosmetic or substantive remain to be be seen.

John King of CNN also notably apologized for accidentally using the term “crosshairs.”

The House Voted to Repeal. What Does It Mean? by The Elephant's Child

The United States House of Representatives has voted 245–189 to repeal The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — ObamaCare — with every Republican and three Democrats.  This draws a bright shining line in the sand, and clearly states the difference between the two parties and their objectives.

Democrats want to create the perception that ObamaCare is inevitable and that the American people want it.  It is not inevitable and the American people, by large margins, do not want any part of it.  Democrats plan a vigorous campaign to try to regain the public trust; but fall short in everything from their methods of passing the bill with backroom deals and exclusion of Republicans, to the gimmicks in the bill to hide how much it will cost, and the suborning of insurance companies and pharmaceuticals to side with ObamaCare until they found out what was in it. It has been a remarkably sleazy effort, and simply a grab for power.

The latest in embarrassing efforts to sway opinion is HHS’s report yesterday entitled: “At Risk: Pre-Existing Conditions could Affect 1 in 2 Americans; 129 Million People Could be Denied Affordable Coverage Without Health Reform.” Sheila Jackson Lee famously announced that Repeal  would kill Americans.

If the report’s assertion that over 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions risk being denied coverage if ObamaCare is repealed, then why weren’t 100 million Americans being denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions?  Very few individuals face such a risk today.  The principal reason for spending nearly a trillion dollars on ObamaCare was supposed to be the huge problem of uninsured people with pre-existing conditions.  So they eliminated the problem. Anybody with a pre-existing condition could get coverage, and only 8,000 people signed up.

It was only a case where a small problem which could have been fixed with a sensible solution was ginned up to be justification for an ideologically motivated, sweeping and disruptive policy change that creates huge problems ahead.

The damage has already begun, in little ways and big ones: people can no longer use their tax-free Health Savings Accounts for basic over-the-counter drugs.  Instead they must pay for a doctor’s apointment–and then get a prescription for a pharmacist-dispensed drug.  There is a new $2.5 billion excise tax on pharmaceutical companies. That cost will be passed on to consumers in higher prices.

Forty percent of doctors have said they will drop out of patient care in the next one to three years.  Sixty percent said ObamaCare will compel them to close or significantly restrict their practices to certain categories of patients— those on Medicare or Medicaid. And in all the 2000+ pages of the PPACA. there is not one dollar for the increased numbers of doctors that we will need.

In Massachusetts, health insurance premiums , prior to reform, were increasing at a rate 3.7% slower than the national average.  Since reform, premiums are increasing 5.8% faster than the average nationally. Emergency room use has gone up, not down, and private employer insurance costs have continued to increase.

People are beginning to find out what is in it.  Premiums $2,000 higher, a vast shortage of doctors, long waits, higher taxes, less innovation, fewer new drugs and so on and so on. The British warned us.  The Canadians warned us.  But those were only “scare stories” — weren’t they?

Bill Whittle Summarizes President Obama’s Accomplishments at Halftime. How’s He Doing? by The Elephant's Child

Free Speech, Controlled and Regulated — Isn’t Free! by The Elephant's Child

Simon Jenkins who is apparently a columnist for the leftist British newspaper The Guardian, has written an interesting column.  The column is titled “Free speech can’t exist unchained.  US politics needs the tonic of order.”

The column illustrated that the British Left’s love affair with Barack Obama has definitely cooled.

When Barack Obama addressed a shocked nation in Tucson , Arizona, …he deployed the only weapon left to a crippled presidency; the power of rhetorical cliché.  He deployed it brilliantly.

“Together we thrive,” he cried meaninglessly.  “For all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness.” While American hearts were broken, “yet our hearts also have reason for fullness…The forces that unite us are stronger than the forces that divide us.” Despite pleas to keep war jargon out of political discourse, Obama asked: “How can we honour the fallen?”

The process also involved “debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future.” Americans had to hake sure that they speak to each other “in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” Mr. Simon is apparently a reader of the New York Times, and swallows the leftist line whole.

Sorry.  A paranoid schizophrenic who had presented all sorts of signs that he was dangerous; who had been expelled from community college because he seemed psychologically dangerous; and had many interactions with the police department, was not taken seriously by the authorities. His obsession with Congresswoman Giffords preceded Sarah Palin’s appearance on the political scene,and the creation of the Tea Parties, and his actions were completely unrelated to Conservative politics.  The Left saw a chance to blame the Republicans for an unnecessary tragedy and went for it, just as Bill Clinton attempted to blame Republicans for the Oklahoma bombing. Whose hate speech?

The violent rhetoric on the part of Republicans has been to demand repeal of ObamaCare, to express anger at the obscene spending by the Obama administration, the huge increases in the national debt to no purpose, and the kind of crony politics being practiced. In America that is protected political speech, and the way it is supposed to be.

“Hate speech” is more accurately practiced by the Left, and a “proud Democrat” called in on a radio show today to express her hatred for Vice President Dick Cheney and the hope that he would die.  That is hate speech.

Europeans have never understood our “Freedom of Speech.” The First Amendment to the Constitution instructs the government that it may make no law abridging freedom of speech.  “Freedom of speech, like freedom of traffic, can only be defined by the curbs and regulations that make it real,” says Mr. Simon, meaninglessly.  What he seems not to understand is that our Constitution was written to make us not British. And the freedoms we have served us well. Again, Mr. Simon:

The vitriol and inaccuracy of the campaign against Obama’s public health reforms last year were like those against abortion and homosexuality.  to many Europeans, the echo across the Atlantic came  from a people isolated from the outside world and unable to handle today’s social and scientific progress.  The debate was infused with nastiness and xenophobia as if the U was a land composed of tribes bred only to hate the outside world, and often themselves.

Sorry, Mr. Simon.  We don’t like the NHS, and we don’t like NICE  We want no part of it. We have the best health care system in the world.   Most of the scientific progress comes from those people isolated from the outside world over here.  And today’s social progress — in Britain?  You are perfectly welcome to criticize us, and we’ll feel free to return the favor.  But do try to get your facts right.

Is The Era of Big Regulation Over? Don’t Bet On It! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has written an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal editorial page.  He announced a new executive order to restore “balance” to federal regulation and search out rules that impede job creation and economic growth.

Not his regulations, mind you; but for example, he mentioned the defunct EPA rule that treated saccharin as hazardous waste. After a political voter rebuke largely based on regulatory overkill, he needs to show some willingness to take his foot off the gas.  He is, he says, willing to concede that he dimly hears the screams of anguish from the business community.

Liberals have refused for years to hear the complaints from the business community that their agenda created uncertainty and harmed the economy. Today, they woke up to discover their leader on the hated editorial page of the Wall Street Journal — saying that there might be “unreasonable burdens on business — burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.”

President Obama goes on to tell us how effective all his regulation for the auto industry was.

The EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto makers, labor unions, states like California, and environmental advocates this past spring to turn a tangle of conflicting rules into one aggressive new standard [on the fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks].  It was a victory for car companies that wanted regulatory certainty, for consumers who will pay less at the pump, for our security, as we save 1.8 billion barrels of oil, and for the environment as we reduce pollution.

There is so much wrong with that statement that it is breathtaking. Singling the EPA out as an example of “smart” regulation is telling.  There is no agency of government that is more busily issuing useless regulations that do incalculable damage.  But it helps to make it clear that any moves toward reform of regulation will be tactical and cosmetic, rather than substantive.

President Obama believes in regulation. He believes in lots of regulation.  You simply cannot have ordinary people and businesses acting without the heavy hand of wise government to keep them from making foolish decisions and taking unfortunate actions.  Government knows best.  Obama is demonstrating a measured cosmetic move to the center, and a new cosmetic civility. Pay no attention to his words — pay attention to his actions when Congress tries to temper the administration’s regulatory overreach.

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