American Elephants

The Good Life in North Korea by The Elephant's Child
April 16, 2011, 5:01 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Movies | Tags: , ,

Liberty, as it is practiced in North Korea. This is a glimpse into the lives of favored North Korean students studying film and acting. They lead privileged lives learning how to act in State propaganda films. They are the ones who get food, along with the Army.

(h/t: Maggie’s Farm)

It’s Campaign Time. President Obama is Doing a Road Show to Lecture Americans on Deficit Reduction. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is going to take his budget proposals on the road, to lecture Americans on deficit reduction. This is somewhat inaccurate since he hasn’t really made any proposals for deficit reduction, other than raising taxes on everyone, especially millionaires and billionaires. His first step is “to keep annual spending low.” (It’s low?) Then he added this exception:

I will not sacrifice the core investments that we need to grow and create jobs. We will invest in medical research. We will invest in clean energy technology. We will invest in new roads and airports and broadband access.  We will invest in education. We will invest in job training.  We will do what we need to compete, and we will win the future. (WTF)

He said he was going to be “honest about what’s causing our deficit.” It’s hard to cut spending. Pay attention to the finely honed distinction here.  This is not “spending.” It is investment. You will probably notice that this is the same old investment that tripled the Bush deficit. Jobs were “saved and created” that still has official unemployment hovering around 9% and unemployment for those who have quit looking somewhere around 15%. They built a new runway for an airport that got only a plane or two a week, and the president had to admit that there weren’t any “shovel ready” projects. All those green jobs — the EPA just admitted that it doesn’t pay any attention to jobs. So that’s Obama”s first step — investment.

His second step is “to find additional savings in our defense budget.” He promised that he would never accept cuts that compromise either our ability to defend America’s homeland or America’s interests around the world. Then he said that “Secretary Bob Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending.” And “we’re going to have to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world.”

In a grotesque display of manners, the president invited Representative Paul Ryan to sit in the front row at his speech, then heaped abuse on him for being willing to think about “changing the basic social compact in America.” Obama equated the welfare state with America itself.

But that is not the choice. Paul Ryan has worked out a way to keep Medicare for everyone who has it now, or is at least ten years from receiving it.  Those under 55 will receive generous vouchers that will buy insurance policies from an exchange like the members of Congress and the administration now have and love. That’s one choice.  The other seems to be sticking around until the whole thing collapses in a few years, and nobody gets anything because there is no money. Here’s how Obama described Paul Ryan’s “Pathway to Prosperity:” (Remember that Ryan is in the front row).

This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit.  And who are those 50 million Americans? Many are someone’s grandparents who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medic aid.  Many are poor children.  Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Downs syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care.  These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.

Can you spell d-e-m-a-g-o-g-u-e? How does Obama plan to keep entitlements from destroying the economy?  He plans “to further reduce health care spending in our budget. …Our approach lowers the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.” Here’s how:

We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid.

Bush’s Medicare Drug Plan already does that. Efficiency from Medicaid? They have  cut back reimbursement rates for doctors so much that it is almost impossible to find physicians who will accept Medicaid patients. There is already a shortage of over 45,000 doctors, and they plan to add another 40 million to the Medicaid rolls. They have taken $500 billion from Medicare to reduce the cost of ObamaCare, double-counting the same $500 billion!

Obama’s fourth step is to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. And of course get rid of those pesky Bush tax cuts—which isn’t raising taxes, but only restoring the more correct tax rates of the Clinton administration. “Most wealthy Americans,” the president assured us, “would agree with me.  They want to give back to their country, a country that’s done so much for them.  It’s just Washington hasn’t asked them to.” Whatever happened to the economic  rule that you just don’t raise taxes during a recession? Nevermind.

One of the features of Obama’s fiscal plan is called a “debt fail-safe trigger.” Sounds good, but it doesn’t automatically cut spending, it would automatically raise taxes if politicians spend too much. According to White House talking points, the automatic tax increase would take effect “if, by 2014 the projected ratio of debt-to-GDP is not stabilized and declining toward the end of the decade. If they overspend, our taxes will go up automatically. Obama exhorted his fellow Democrats:

If we believe the government can make a difference in people’s lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works—by making government smarter, and leaner and more effective.

The error here is the liberal faith in the perfectability of politics.  Liberals believe that the next federal agency, the next law, the next regulation will somehow make up for imperfect human nature. Liberals have never understood human nature, and think they can fix it. America’s founders understood that politics could never be perfected precisely because men weren’t perfect. They created a system with a minimum of bureaucratic and legal regulation in which disputes could be settled by political debate. Not “squabbles’ nor “bickering” as the press would have it, but debate in all seriousness.

Americans remain self-reliant, independent, and probably more determined in their desire and appreciation for freedom than any people on earth. We don’t welcome a government intent on telling us what kind of light bulbs we may use, what kind of showerhead we are to have in our bathrooms, that our children must eat the school lunch instead of the lunch we packed so carefully, that our children’s schoolbooks will no longer be about history and adventure, but about the varying kinds of sex that people practice. When a government wants a Washington bureaucrat to decide what treatment our doctor may give us, or whether we can have any treatment at all,  if it costs too much, it is going too far.

Government is just a bunch of bureaucrats. They think of themselves as “elite,” but there is scant evidence of that.  It is up to us to remind them of their place, their proper duties, and of the Constitutional limits to what they are allowed to do.

Obama’s George Orwell Tour by The Elephant's Child

Back when Obama was just deciding to make a run for the presidency, David Axlerod warned him that he wasn’t used to being criticized, and he was going to have to learn to accept criticism. He doesn’t like criticism, and he doesn’t like being disagreed with. Those centrist statements that he welcomed debate — Nevermind.

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