American Elephants

The American Dream? He Doesn’t Understand What It Is. by The Elephant's Child
August 18, 2012, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Election 2012, Freedom, History, Liberalism, Politics

President Obama is out on the campaign trail, much of this week in Iowa, where he told listeners that  he “has fond memories of the last campaign, and he is reminded of what makes Iowa so special and how this is where our movement for change happened. It was because of you. It was because of your stories and your strength and your spirit that I had the strength and the spirit to go through that campaign. And it’s because of you that I’ve had the strength to do the job over the last three and a half years.

Does anybody believe that kind of soft soap? I guess they do.

When we came together in 2008 — and it wasn’t just Democrats, we had independents and some Republicans, too — it was to restore the basic bargain that built this country, the basic bargain that made us the most prosperous economy in the world.  It’s a bargain that says if we work hard, we should be rewarded.  It’s a deal that says if you put in enough effort, you can find a job that pays the bills.  You can afford a home that you call your own.  You won’t go broke when you get sick. You can retire with dignity and respect.  (Applause.)  And, most of all, it’s a bargain that says your kids will get a great education and they’ll grow up safe and healthy.  And they will have opportunities that you couldn’t even dream of; that they will be able to achieve things that you could have only hoped for.

That’s the basic promise of America.  That’s the American Dream.  And we knew that restoring it wouldn’t be easy, that it would take more than one year, or one term, or even one President — because we had just gone through a decade in which the middle class had been taking a lot of hits.  (Applause.)  Jobs had been getting shipped overseas.  Incomes and wages were flat or even going down, while the cost of everything from health care to college were going up.  A few folks at the top were doing really well, but the average family was struggling.

And this was before we saw the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  And so many more of our friends and neighbors and family members lost their jobs and lost their homes, lost their savings and pushed that American Dream even further out of reach.

The basic bargain that built this country didn’t promise anyone success if they worked hard, it didn’t promise a job, it didn’t promise an affordable home, it didn’t promise free health care and a dignified retirement. Hard-core socialists promised all sorts of stuff like that, and delivered misery instead. Socialism has always promised utopias, and it has failed everywhere. Always.

America promised liberty, and the opportunity to make of yourself what you can. No government can promise success, nor free homes, nor free health care. Government has no money of its own, and gets its money only through the accomplishments of the free private sector, the part of the economy which holds little interest for Mr. Obama.

This was not, as Mr. Obama surely knows, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the recession that Jimmy Carter left for Reagan was much worse. The similarity with the Great Depression is the floundering around of FDR whose “experimentation” made the depression much worse and last much longer than necessary. Instead of addressing unemployment, lack of business confidence, Obama counted on a Keynesian stimulus program which went to friends and cronies, and turned his attention to government-run health care which nobody wanted, an auto bailout that did nothing to save the car companies, and big investments in alternative energy and green jobs. Failures, every one.

I wish you would take the time to read Obama’s Dubuque, Iowa campaign speech. It is so dishonest.  He has pat lines that he likes: “They have been trying to sell this trickle-down snake oil before. And guess what, it didn’t work then. It won’t work now.” It has worked every time it has been tried, Mr. President. And 400 economists say it will create jobs, reduce the deficit and move the economy forward.

He goes on to claim he has saved Medicare, he just needs a little more time to bring the economy roaring back, he brought the auto industry back when Mitt Romney wanted it to go bankrupt (it’s reported that GM will soon face bankruptcy again), Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut is all going to the wealthiest Americans, and other claims even more outrageous.  No lie is too big, no kernel of truth too small to be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d into something new and different. It makes me angry. He thinks the American people are so stupid, so ill-informed that they will fall for anything. He has utter contempt for the citizens who naively elected him. He will say anything.

Remember back in 2004, when a young personable, liberal  young African-American told the nation that:  “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and white America and a Latino America and an Asian America—there is the United States of America.” That worked out well.

Obama’s reelection strategy is driving America apart. And he talks about “snake oil?”


MediScare: Democrats Are Trying to Scare Seniors Again. by The Elephant's Child

Democrats are returning to the playbook that has always worked for them: scare the seniors. Older Americans vote more reliably than most other groups, so those who divide people into groups pay particular attention to seniors.

So now they are saying that Republicans are planning to “End Medicare As You Know It”, with the accompanying suggestion that if the Republicans were to win the election, all seniors would be “thrown off the cliff,” as they suggested with a particularly egregious commercial about Paul Ryan.

Most people probably don’t know Paul Ryan yet. The percentages of those who just don’t pay any attention to politics is fairly high. Democrats depend on this, assume that the public is stupid, and they can say pretty much anything and it will be believed —because they care.  That’s always been hooey — they care deeply about getting reelected. So they do nothing, and kick the can down the road, and Medicare will collapse anyway.

Republicans understand that “Medicare As You Know It” is, essentially, over. In its present form, it is unsustainable. The bills get bigger than the country can pay. Medicare as a share of the economy is five times what it was in 1970, while all other federal spending  combined  (excluding interest) is 1.1 times what it was. By 2025, CBO expects Medicare costs to be nearly twice what they are today as a share of the economy, while other spending will decline.

Seniors presently on Medicare will see no changes, and everyone down to age 55 will see no changes.We have an excellent example in the Medicare Drug Program of the extent to which competition can bring down costs. The Medicare Drug Program trusts senior Americans to make sensible decisions about their own medications. When a doctor assures them that a generic drug performs just as well as the name brand, they opt for saving money every time. The drug program has come in costing significantly less than the most optimistic estimates.

Most of us with employer-provided health insurance have no idea what anything costs. Can you tell me the cost of a visit to the doctor, the ordinary bunch of diagnostic blood tests, a CT scan, a mammogram or a visit to an orthopedic surgeon — any of them? Everything else we buy, we get to look at the price tag and that plays a big part in our decision. I have no idea what it costs. That’s one of the biggest reasons that health care costs rise.

The $716 billion that Obama has taken out of Medicare, to save the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)  does not cut any benefits for current seniors— it takes it entirely out of what Medicare pays doctors and other medical providers. When doctors don’t get enough reimbursement to cover the cost of your office visit or the other services that entails, they won’t accept you as a patient. Doctoring is a business too, and increasingly more difficult. Doctors are leaving the profession in droves. We will be 90,000 short by 2020.

But this is liberals only idea about how to make Medicare, or health care in general cost less. You just pay the providers less. Under Section 3403 of the PPACA, Congress established the Independent Payment Advisory Board” which consists of 15 members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Their stated responsibility is to develop proposals to reduce the growth of Medicare spending.

The Secretary of HHS will implement the board’s recommendations unless Congress enacts an alternate set of proposals that would achieve the same savings. (In other words Congress can’t just say no). The board is prohibited by law from proposing any structural reforms. It an only cut providers’ reimbursements, profit margins, administrative costs. This is even more protective of Congressional Democrats because they can’t be blamed for cuts — the board did it.

Real Medicare reform,” says Robert Moffit, PhD, Senior Fellow at Heritage,” would require precisely the kind of structural change the board is legally prohibited from considering.

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