American Elephants

Americans Want a Do-Over! by The Elephant's Child

The president’s post-electoral press conference was noted for his complete refusal to recognize what had happened.  “We got a shellacking,” he said, but he didn’t mean it.  He insisted that the American public was just worried about the economy and jobs, and impatient to see results.

Spending went up only because he and his team were forced to deal with a crisis.  The election merely convinced him that his priorities will not change. The American people do not want to re-litigate the past, he said. Yes they do. That is exactly what they meant.  They want ObamaCare repealed. That was their number one issue.

Democrats were determined to push health care through, without the inconvenience of anyone actually reading the bill, because they were convinced that it was something Americans really wanted, and as soon as they passed it, people would be pleased.  They regarded the objections to ObamaCare as simply Republican obstructionism paid for by Big Pharma and Big Health-insurers. Once health-care reform was actually put into effect, people would quickly come to love it. The American people don’t want some ninety-odd agencies standing between them and their doctor.

Democrats, including Max Baucus — who supposedly wrote it — admitted frankly that they hadn’t read the bill.  Oddly enough, a significant number of the dumb peasants out in flyover country did read parts of it, and they didn’t like what they read. And they discussed it and thought about it and discussed it, and became convinced that it simply would  not work.

Obama paraded a group of doctors in white coats, but in this election 42 doctors (35 M.D.s, 5 D.D.S., an optometrist and a psychologist) were running for national office.  That tells you what the doctors think.  34 oppose ObamaCare.  When the AMA came out in support of the health-care overhaul, the AMA lost approximately 21,000 members.  I know of 2 physicians who were running for the legislature here.  An earlier survey by Investors showed that over 40% of doctors would seriously consider leaving the profession if health-care reform became law.

“Nothing soured voters on Obama’s big-government agenda as much as the health-care bill,” said Cato’s Michael Tanner.  “Democrats who supported Obamacare went down to defeat in disproportionate numbers.” Democrats seem bewildered by the public’s lack of enthusiasm, but a little questioning makes it clear that they don’t know what is in the bill, and upon hearing what is in it, quickly admit that there are things that need to be fixed.

Too many. Big ideas, ill-considered, unworkable, with what seem like unlimited unintended consequences already afflicting us all.

“How to Fix the Economy” by Nancy Pelosi. by The Elephant's Child

On Wednesday night, September 29th, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi cast the deciding vote when the House voted, 210 – 209, to adjourn.  By custom, the speaker doesn’t ordinarily vote except on issues of special importance.  Over the past four years, Pelosi has shown an impressive ability to deliver Democrat majorities on one roll call after another, by a sheer display of brute power.

This time, it wasn’t routine, for the Republicans wanted a roll call vote on extending all of the George W. Bush tax cuts which are set to expire on January 1.  There were enough Democrats on record for that move to give them a majority, and 39 Democrats had joined Republicans and voted against adjournment.

Pelosi had lost control of the House, so she decided to shut it down and let Democrats go home and try to rescue their seats.

In the furor of an election campaign, with blame flying around like shrapnel in a fire-fight, it’s helpful to correctly apportion responsibility. We can learn from history and ask the founders.  From Federalist 62:

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

Somebody is responsible for 2,700 pages of a health care reform bill that creates all sorts of bureaus and agencies and departments and offices who will issue thousands of pages of as-yet-unknown regulations and rules.  President Obama demanded a health care reform bill, communicated some specifics and then left it up to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to push through Congress, so he could take all of the credit, but none of the blame.

But the President can only propose.  Congress controls the purse strings.

Here’s what our economy looked like in 2006, just before the Democrats took over both houses of Congress.  Unemployment was 4.4%.  Real GDP growth over the previous four years averaged 3% a year.  The S&P 500 stock index stood at 1418, 84% higher than its 9/11 low and more than 7% higher than when Bush took office.

Every year of Bush’s presidency, real (inflation adjusted) disposable income per person went up.  By the end of 2006, the average person was making 9% more in real terms than before Bush became president.  The last election in 2006 was considered a referendum on Iraq, where the war was not going well.  55% of Americans said the economy was in good shape.  Harry Reid said the Iraq War was lost, and Senator Barack Obama introduced a bill in the Senate to prevent the Surge.  Granted, Mr. Bush signed many of those laws that he should have vetoed.   But TARP did just what it was supposed to, and is paying back American taxpayers — except for the portion that Obama used to bail out and take control of the auto industry. There is little likelihood that will ever be repaid.

In January 2007, the CBO projected a $379 billion surplus over the next decade.  After four years under Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, and two years of Mr. Obama in the White House, the 2007–2016 projection is a deficit of $7.16 trillion.  We have  41.8 million Americans on food stamps.  Participation has set records for 20 straight months.  According to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said this is great news.  At a press conference in her home town of San Francisco, Mrs. Pelosi explained:

[T]he program’s multiplier effect — the amount of money generated in the local economy as the result of the subsidy — far exceeds the nearly $60 billion spent this year by the federal government and is a sure-fire way to stimulate the economy.  For every dollar a person receives in food stamps, Pelosi said that $1.79 is put back into the economy.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture cites an even higher figure of $1.84.

“It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance.  The biggest bang for the buck” she said.

See. You can fix the whole economy.  Just have the government spend $2 trillion on food stamps and we will get back $3.58 trillion, or if we use the Agriculture figures $3.68 trillion.  We’ll all be rich, just like magic, it will all come back and the economy will fix itself.  It will all come back, just you wait and see,  just you w-a-i-t  a-n-d,  w-a-i-t   a—n—d      w—a—–i  …

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