American Elephants

First You Need A Few Balloons… by The Elephant's Child

Here’s a time-lapse video of how a 20-foot acrocanthosaurus is made. The Airigami team assembled the dinosaur and its ecosystem, including plants and some crawly insects at the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Ancient Life. It took them four days, but it looks like they didn’t have to blow up the balloons, at least not there.

That is without question the best balloon accomplishment I’ve ever seen.

Promises, Promises: Obama Doesn’t Understand His Own Bill by The Elephant's Child

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law what he billed as a triumphant reform of America’s health care system. Two days later in a speech at the University of Iowa, the president declared:

From this day forward, all of the cynics, all the naysayers — they’re going to have to confront the reality of what this reform is and what it isn’t. … They’ll see that if Americans like their doctor, they’ll be keeping their doctor. You like your plan? You’ll be keeping your plan. No one is taking that away from you. … It wasn’t Armageddon.”

“If you already have insurance, this reform will make it more secure and more affordable. … Costs will come down for families, and businesses, and the federal government, reducing our deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades. That’s what reform is going to do.”

Last week. President Obama responding to Max Baucus’ comment that ObamaCare was a looming “train wreck,” He claimed it’s all much ado about nothing. “A huge chunk of it’s already been implemented.”

Well, no. All that’s been implemented so far are a mandate to cover children up to the age of 26, and a more generous Medicare drug benefit. Democrats have put off the bulk of the law — the massive market regulations, the government-run exchanges, the mandates to buy coverage and all sorts of taxes and fees — until 2014, both to hide the true cost and to keep the public ignorant before the 2014 election.  Polls have shown that well over 40% of the public don’t know anything about ObamaCare. They probably think it’s free health care.

For the 85% to 90% of Americans who already have health insurance…they don’t have to worry about anything else

The Congressional Budget Office expects 7 million workers to lose their employer coverage because of ObamaCare, and perhaps as many as 20 million. Small businesses now offering coverage face huge rate hikes because of ObamaCare’s regulations and benefit mandates.

“The other stuff’s been implemented and it’s working fine. We’re going to be able to drive down costs…and that will save the country money as a whole over the long term.”

The high risk pools have been a disaster, attracting only a third as many people as predicted while costing far more than was budgeted. HHS had to issue more than 1,200 waivers to companies who said the laws initial insurance market rules would have forced them to cancel coverage for millions of workers. The small business tax credit has also been a bust. Obama’s own number crunchers say ObamaCare will force national health care spending up by at least 7.4% in 2014, and add billions more cost in the next decade.

It was built on lies in the first place, but the reality is turning out to be far worse than even its detractors believed. Seven to twenty million workers will lose their jobs or their jobs will become part-time — less than 30 hours a week. And the cost of their health care will go up dramatically, while they have less money to pay for it.  Forced onto Medicaid? There aren’t enough doctors to go around.

“Reach” — Problems and Solutions by The Elephant's Child
May 7, 2013, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Freedom, Heartwarming, Humor

Reach from Luke Randall on Vimeo.

Always just out of reach, but keep on trying. I liked this little video.

The April Jobs Report Was Threatening. by The Elephant's Child

Over the past five years we have been engaged in a test of progressive economic policies. The media happily tell us that we are recovering and offer up the 165,000 payroll jobs that were created in April. This is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Establishment Survey, or the U-3 unemployment report which showed the rate declining by 0.1 percent to 7.5 percent. So that sounds good.

The Household Survey numbers looks a little deeper into the economy, and that’s where it gets a little more uncomfortable. Also known as the U-6 rate the unemployment figures increased by 0.1 percent. While total employment rose by 293,000 during April, part-time jobs increased by 441,000, meaning that full-time jobs actually declined by 148,000. The April jobs numbers describe a mass replacement of full-time workers with part-time workers, and a drop in the length of the average workweek. Which means that the BLS report was bad news, not the happy day portrayed by the media. And the results of the roll out of ObamaCare are as expected, as more full-time employees are reduced to part-time hours.

But wait, it gets even worse. During April, the Full Time Equivalent jobs ratio fell for the fifth month in a row, and to statistics-watchers this hints of a new recession.

Progressive economic policies involve Keynesian fiscal stimulus (intentionally increasing government spending to boost domestic “demand”), monetary stimulus (deliberate action to weaken the dollar in order to increase demand for our exports), higher marginal tax rates on “the rich” (they can afford it), and increased regulation to control more of just about everything. They have also expanded alternatives to actually working, including Social Security Disability, Food Stamps, and extended unemployment benefits.

What you get with progressive economic policies is pessimism. America is just in decline, not going to get better, everything is changed, we need to be more like every other country and stop thinking we’re something special. No exceptionalism here.

Supply-side economics has specific steps as well. Tight monetary policy, a strong dollar, incentive cuts in marginal tax rates, and a reassertion of American optimism and creativity with confidence in what government policies will be.

Jared Bernstein, who was Vice President Joe Biden’s economic adviser, wrote in the New York Times about the slowly improving job market (?) that persists in spite of ‘an economic expansion continuing since mid-2009.’

For decades in postwar America, the maintenance of full employment, defined as an unemployment rate below 5 percent, was enshrined in law, beginning with the Employment Act of 1946 and revisited in 1978 in the Humphrey-Hawkins Act. It was a central goal of the Democratic Party, labor unions and advocates of social and racial justice.

And it usually worked. While conservatives and businesses pushed back — tight labor markets meant more worker bargaining power, higher wages and less profitability — between 1949 and 1979 the market was at full employment over two-thirds of the time.

I’m not an economist, but Mr. Bernstein’s nostrums don’t pass my common sense smell test. The problem is those darn ATMs that are replacing bank clerks (?), our large trade deficits have exported too much demand (I thought trade was by definition always in balance. If we sell them too many apples, we get the money), the sequester, which he calls “austerity”and the “economic version of medieval leeching.” (can’t cut back on the increase in the budget from last year?), and the Federal Reserve continues to apply high doses of monetary stimulus (which is why the stock market is doing well). We need more investment in “the areas where clean energy intersects with production.”And we need a new subsidized jobs program. (The WPA returns). The Great Recession continues to imitate the Great Depression.

I have no confidence in progressive economic policies. They didn’t work for FDR, and they have not worked for Obama, nor are they going to. It’s scary to start a new business, and you need, at the most basic, confidence in what the government will do next, and the belief that government is on your side — encouraging start-ups . A country that celebrates achievement and risk-taking is likely to see more economic success than one that does not.

History shows that the money that individuals and businesses invest and spend, if left alone to do so generates far more wealth and new jobs than any government-directed spending. The most successful cities and states dedicate their resources to creating the kind of conditions that attract private investment, rather than pouring public money into centrally planned visions of economic development.
………………………………….Brian C. Anderson: City Journal



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