American Elephants


Barack Obama: Epic Destroyer of Jobs by The Elephant's Child

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Obama is something like the proverbial bull in the china shop. He may just aim to get through and out the back door, but he’s breaking all the china on his way through the store. The tunnel vision that focuses only on goals and ignores all incentives and inevitable complications is a real problem. Obama cannot seem to do anything without causing major job destruction.

In attempting to transform the American system of health insurance, Obama may be doing irreparable damage to the health care system itself. Obama talks on and on about wanting to create jobs. Grim news for the health care industry, for hospitals, medical practices and related businesses are shedding jobs: 8,000 of them since April, more than any other sector of the economy.

Hospitals were a reliable source of job growth throughout much of the recession. Democrats have a peculiar idea that the costs of medical care can be solved by just paying everybody less. So far this year the health care sector has announced 41,085 layoffs, the third-most behind financial and industrial companies.

•Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies are all reducing reimbursement to hospitals. •Sequestration has cut Medicare reimbursement by 2%. •The ACA law has further reduced Medicare payments to hospitals that provide lower-quality service or have high readmission rates. •The National Institutes of Health reduced funding to hospitals by 5% forcing hospitals to trim research staff. •The number of inpatient days fell 4% from 2007 to 2011 in part because of the economic downturn. • As more baby boomers retire, their Medicare services will be reimbursed at a rate lower than those of private payers, putting more pressure on hospital revenue.

The big idea of ObamaCare was covering an estimated 47 million people without insurance. That would be paid for by the “young invincibles”— healthy young people whose payments would cover the expense of older sicker people. The young invincibles are astounded by how much ObamaCare expects them to pay and may opt for the fine.

Low-income people would be covered by Medicaid, but right now it’s hard to find doctors who will accept Medicaid patients. When you don’t pay doctors enough to cover their expenses, they won’t take on those patients. We currently have a significant shortage of doctors, and the ObamaCare people are already talking about turning patients over to nurse practitioners or pharmacists.

Consider the idiocy of attempting to bring in the ACA health plan by reducing the income of all doctors. Anyone who has had the drive and determination and high intelligence to stick out years of medical school and training has the qualifications to do extremely well in any other occupation. Some of them are even indignant enough to run for Congress, There were over 40 who ran last time. You want well-paid surgeons to be doing your knee replacement or cataract surgery, not physicians assistants.

Why those who want to pay doctors less, yet refuse to accept the blow to their own income that would be caused if they didn’t have a waiver from ObamaCare. The idea that congressmen and their aides are entitled to a government subsidy for their health care that is unavailable to ordinary citizens, should enrage the people, and they might want to keep that in mind in 2014.



Does Obama Intend to Default So He Can Blame It On Republicans? by The Elephant's Child

Obama has taken a no-negotiations stance on the debt ceiling debate, sending the true signal to the market that he is willing to default on debt if Republicans do not fund the government in accordance with his wishes,” according to John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress. Obama lost last time on the sequester, and he has been fuming ever since. He is deeply offended by any limitation on his ability to spend.

Any time you hear the media going on about how the Republicans shut down the government, reread that paragraph. Barack Obama wanted a shutdown. Republicans wouldn’t surrender to Obama’s desire to keep right on spending to excess, and Obama shut the government down and his every speech proclaimed that the Republicans were trying to destroy the Republic with their intransigence, a theme immediately echoed by a compliant media. Obama is undoubtedly the most purely partisan president we have ever had.

The Republican strategy of defunding ObamaCare was doomed from the start. Neither the senate nor the president would sign off on such a thing. Republicans are inclined to think economically. They look at ObamaCare as not just a train wreck, but as wreckage so damaging that it will harm millions of people and do real and serious damage to the economy and the country. Democrats see a shining goal, a system that will care for the poor, and that people will like so much that they can gradually tinker a little to turn it into single-payer insurance that is the permanent political domination of their dreams.

The catastrophe of its first days will soon be fixed, they are sure. Democrats do not think in terms of incentives and inevitable consequences. Ezekiel Emanuel, medical ethicist, brother of Rahm, and health care adviser to Obama had a column in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago claiming that all the talk about a “part-time economy” was nonsense. Statistics showed that a majority of part-time workers wanted part-time work. Certainly many part-time workers are young people attending school, but the numbers of restaurant chains, retailers like Home Depot and grocery chains who are moving their part-time workers to 27 or 28 hours belies his notions. The leading job growth has come from temporary agencies.

Republicans made offers to the Democrats that—were they actually concerned about the welfare of the people and improvement in the economy—they should have jumped at. They offered a delay in the individual mandate that matched the delay in the employer mandate that Obama had already illegally granted. Nobody knows how bad the ObamaCare website disaster will be, but knowledgeable IT experts reportedly believe it is   problems with the basic code and design. It will take a long time and be very, very embarrassing.

Republicans also offered to repeal the medical device tax. This is an extremely destructive tax. It has already sent over 40,000 jobs overseas, cost many jobs here, and worst of all — stifle innovation. Medical devices include everything from stents to wheelchair and prostheses to hospital beds and giant diagnostic machinery. If you are trying to drive down the cost of medicine, you don’t put a tax on medical devices. Even many Democrats recognize the negatives involved.

Republicans wouldn’t get any benefits from either of these changes.  They would have been of great benefit to the economy and to Obama, but Obama is intent, as always, on pure politics. He wants to make the Republicans look bad, and he wants to win. He may be willing to default to achieve that — if he can blame it on Republicans.



Notable & Quotable: by The Elephant's Child
October 15, 2013, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, The United States

Eugene Fama, recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in economics, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal from a January 2010 interview in the New Yorker:

The rest of the world got converted to the notion that markets are pretty good at allocating resources. The more extreme of the left-leaning economists got blown away by the collapse of the Eastern bloc. Socialism had its sixty years, and it failed miserably. In that way, Chicago theory prospered. Milton Friedman and George Stigler were fighting that battle pretty much alone in the old days. Now it is pretty general. An experience like we’ve had [in the 2008 financial crisis] rehabilitates the remnants of the old socialist gang. (Laughs) Unfortunately, they seem to be in control of the government, at this point.



The 2013 Nobel Prizes by The Elephant's Child
October 15, 2013, 3:49 pm
Filed under: The United States | Tags:

Nobel Prize medal

The Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded for pioneering work in financial markets that has transformed portfolio management and asset pricing and launched the study of how emotions affect investment decisions, but their findings have implications far beyond financial markets in risk tolerance. It was awarded to Eugene Fama at the University of Chicago, Lars Peter Hansen also at the University of Chicago, and Robert Shiller of Yale University.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded for research that showed how the cell precisely organizes its internal transport system, delivering crucial cargo—substances such as hormones—to the right place at the right time. The discovery has led to better medical diagnostics. It was awarded to James E. Rothman, at Yale University, Randy W. Schekman at the University of California, Berkeley, and Thomas C. Südhof at Stanford University School of Medicine.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for ground work for molecular dynamics simulations which use both classical and quantum physics to understand  and predict chemical processes. Their work is the foundation for the computer programs used b chemists today to map the steps in chemical processes. It was awarded to Martin Karplus at the Université de Strasbourg, France and Harvard University; Michael Levitt, at Stanford University, and Arieh Warshel, at the University of Southern California.

The Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded for a theory to explain how particles acquire mass. In 2012, their ideas were dramatically confirmed by the discovery of a Higgs-like particle at the CERN atom-smashing machine in Switzerland. It was awarded to François Englert at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, and Peter Higgs at the University of Edinburgh.

The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Alice Munro of Clinton, southwestern Ontario, Canada. She is acclaimed for her storytelling which the Swedish Academy says is characterized by clarity and psychological realism. In its citation for the award the Academy called her “the master of the contemporary short story.”




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