American Elephants

Twenty Thousand Pages of ObamaCare Regulations, And More to Come. by The Elephant's Child


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent out this photo, which shows what it looks like — if you stack every page of ObamaCare regulations one on top of another. This is over 20,000 pages, and the stack measures 7′ 2.5″ in height. The regulations represent thousands of man-hours required just to fill out the paperwork, before they even start in on the cost of what the regulations require of those to whom they are addressed.

Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, said in February of 2011 that ObamaCare could cost 800,000 jobs. More recently, the Federal Reserve has said that ObamaCare is the reason for thousands of planned layoffs, and a slowdown in hiring as well.

The tax on medical devices is particularly disruptive to medical giants like Stryker who makes all sorts of hospital equipment, even hospital beds.  The new tax  raises their costs significantly, and has cut over 1,170 jobs. The new regulations will raise costs for hospitals, and medical bills for patients, and new equipment or improved designs will be slower to come to market. Uncertainty about the full effect of the rules and what may be coming next, makes business unable to plan.  The cost of all sorts of equipment from that used by hospitals to your own crutches or wheelchair is going up. The cost of veterinary care for your pets will go up, as their costs for medical equipment are affected as well.

I have remarked frequently that President Obama does not like disagreement, nor does he like being restrained by Congress or the courts. His instinct is to ignore the rules and do what he wants — by executive order. Regulation slowed to a crawl before the November election, as anything that might have reflected badly on the president was put on hold until “after the election, ” beginning last July.

Many of the most onerous rules have come from the EPA, which is pursuing the climate change agenda with great enthusiasm in spite of changes in understanding of the science of climate change. Proponents, of course, claim that any cost of new regulations are outweighed by public health and the safety benefits they create. This, however is sheer hooey, as the EPA simply makes up numbers of lives saved, deaths caused, environmental damage allayed, wildlife saved. They are sure that no one will ask for confirmation or challenge their made-up numbers. Tom Sowell has suggested 3 questions: Compared to what? At what price? and What is the evidence?

This is an administration that sees regulation as an intrinsic good, and values an increasingly large and intrusive government. It’s about power and control. The regulated will have a choice — obey or take it to the courts, and not many are able to bear the time and resources to fight the government through a long legal battle. Many low-information voters are completely unaware of the burdens that regulation will place on their lives. When I cite “low-information voters” I refer to busy people who do not follow the news much, and are disinterested in politics.They are the people who could not figure out in January why their paychecks were suddenly smaller.

Cass Sunstein has departed from the helm of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) — a position described as a gatekeeper for federal rules. He was considered cautious in his approach to federal rules and put a lot of stock in cost benefit analysis. President Obama’s new selections of advisers suggest that he is choosing those who are as radical as he is, which does not bode well.

Healthcare, Dodd-Frank, and EPA/ Interior promise some serious concern.  Bad law, and overly ambitious administrators looking for power.

Once Again, Obama Can’t Meet Deadlines Required By Law by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration will release its 2014 budget more than two months late — on April 8, according to  congressional sources.

Pentagon officials have informed the House Armed Services Committee that the budget is coming on April 8, and a Democratic congressional source confirmed that as the planned release date.
President Obama’s budget was due — by law — on February 4, the first Monday in February. The April release means the presidential budget will be nine weeks late.

Under the law, the president must submit a budget by the first Monday in February, but Obama has met the deadline only once.

White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest declined to confirm the budget delay. It is, of course, not Obama’s fault. Earnest pointed the finger at Congress when explaining the lengthy delay in producing a budget document.

“The budget has been delayed because some of the impediments that have been thrown in the path of those working on it,” Earnest said, citing the sequester and the “fiscal cliff” as complicating the budget forecast.”

The administration’s budget typically begins the annual budgeting process. It is the president’s request for funds and estimation of administration needs. Congress then shapes their budget resolutions based on the president’s request. This year the process is backwards as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) are planning to release their budgets next week. This will be the first time the Democrats in the Senate have managed to produce a budget in nearly 4 years. We’ve been running on “continuing resolutions,” not the way the government is supposed to operate.

The failure to meet deadlines on the part of the president throws a real monkey wrench into the process, which will be even more of a battle this year than usual. The president wants more money to spend. He is also completely immersed in his attempt to take back the House in 2014. The talk about jobs, deep concern for American workers, a flailing economy, and an alarming rise in international conflict, is to be set aside in the effort to blame Republicans for any and all problems, so that Democrats can make Nancy Pelosi Speaker again.

Americans are beginning to notice that in contrast to presidential claims, the job situation is not really improving. Yes, the economy created nearly 250,000 jobs, but more than 300,000 dropped out of the labor force, gave up and quit looking for a job. A GOP congressional aide said that the delay of the president’s budget is fueling what is already a high level of budget anxiety in the Pentagon, due to the sequester and the lack of a 2013 budget resolution. “It is precisely this kind of uncertainty that the uniformed senior commanders have asked Congress and the Commander in Chief to prevent.”

The increasing conflict in the Middle East does not stop because the president cannot come up with a budget, Iraq does not stop their efforts to develop a bomb, Assad does not stop attacking his people, North Korea continues threatening South Korea, and the military needs to know where the cuts to the military’s budget that the president is using for political purposes, is going to impact their ability to defend American interests around the world.

The Falklands Most Daring Raid, Last Time Around. by The Elephant's Child

Reader Subsidy Eye posted this video in the comments, but it’s too good to miss. The great war for the Falkland Islands in 1982. A little long, but worth every minute. British pluck, daring, and wonderful British humor.  Enjoy the story of the Tin Triangle.

Falkland Islands Vote to Remain British: Will Obama Support Free Elections? by The Elephant's Child

The people of the Falkland Islands went to the polls yesterday and voted in an historic referendum to remain a part of the United Kingdom as a British Overseas Territory.

The vote was not exactly close. There was a 92 percent voter turnout, and 99.8 percent voted to stay British. Only three residents voted otherwise.

When the people in Argentina get critical of their government, as happens under authoritarian governments, the Argentine government stirs up trouble over the Falklands, just 300 miles off their coast. Argentine officials describe the Falkland Islanders as a population, not a people. The Foreign Minister Hector Timerman recently said that Falkland Islanders “do not exist” and refused to talk with their government ministers. He told a press conference in London that the 3,000-off residents of the South Atlantic archipelago are simply British citizens who live there.

As a result of Argentina’s recent campaign of bullying and intimidation against the islands’ inhabitants, and in order to send a clear message to the world, the Falkland Islands’ government decided to put the question of its relationship with the UK to a popular vote.

Argentina, of course said that it will not recognize the outcome of the vote. Sadly, instead of backing America’s closest ally, the UK, the Obama administration has sided with Argentina by supporting its calls for a negotiated “settlement” over the islands. Making matters worse, the administration has repeatedly refused to say that it will back the outcome of the recent referendum.

Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated this embarrassing U.S. policy in London a couple of weeks ago, saying “I’m not going to comment, nor is the President, on a referendum that has yet to take place and hasn’t taken place.”

The Falkland Islanders do not need American support for their referendum, nor do the British. The Islanders are asking for recognition of their right to self-determination — a right guaranteed by the United Nations Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. But President Obama has turned out to be not as expert in foreign policy as he claimed, based on living briefly as a small child in Indonesia. And he’s made it clear that he is irritated by foreign policy matters that keep interfering with his domestic agenda. Nevertheless, as a nation that is a champion of free people and free elections, we should be championing the free choice of an island people to continue their alliance with their parent country.

Last year Jaime Daremblum wrote at PJMedia about Argentina’s Slow-Motion Disaster: massive capital flight and high inflation:

Whenever Argentina starts rattling sabers over the British Falkland Islands, it’s a surefire sign that the South American country is experiencing some type of domestic turmoil. So it comes as no surprise that President Cristina Kirchner has responded to high inflation and massive capital flight by picking a diplomatic fight with London over a sparsely inhabited archipelago that has been a U.K. possession since 1833. …

American observers should not be fooled: The ongoing diplomatic row between London and Buenos Aires is nothing more than a political smokescreen designed to benefit Buenos Aires. Kirchner would rather have Argentines railing against British “colonialism” than railing against their own government, which has become an international embarrassment.


Why We Love Our Cats, Illustrated. by The Elephant's Child

Some are cat people, and this charming video explains why we love our cats so much. Some are dog people and have no understanding of affection for cats at all, and vice-versa, of course. And some of us are cat and dog people, and as far as that goes, horse and bunny as well. I briefly had a pet chicken, but that wasn’t too satisfactory and he ended up as dinner.

We once, against my better judgment, had a rat. Nice spotted one from the rent-a-pet facility at the children’s museum. This was oldest son’s idea, and the rat seemed to be a nice fellow though I can’t get over my problem with rat’s tails. This was before we had a cat, I should add. Anyway, we were transferred, put the house up for sale, and had an interested couple looking at the house with hopes for a quick sale. Which were dashed as the rat dashed out from behind the washing machine. Son had let him out to play. Sigh. Never saw that couple again, though the rat was returned to the children’s museum, and we did eventually sell the house.  We are now more deeply informed about the process of selling a home.

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