American Elephants


If It Sounds Good, It Trumps Truth Every Time! by The Elephant's Child

I shouldn’t do this to myself.  I go to the White House website fairly frequently to read what the president has to say in his speeches and remarks.  I don’t want to judge him by what others have to say, but to read his own words. That’s only fair.

So I read what he had to say on Tuesday at a campaign speech in Austin, Texas. You expect campaign speeches to be self-enhancing, putting one’s best side forward, pointing out successes while ignoring the mistakes, so you have to allow some self-aggrandizement — but there are limits.

But we’ve got more work to do.  Some of you may have noticed gas prices are a little high.  And with all the instability around the world we’ve got to keep making those investments in alternative energy.  And to help pay for it, by the way, because we’ve got to worry about our fiscal situation, it’s time to eliminate the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies that were given to oil and gas companies — (applause) — $4 billion of your money that they’re making for record profits while you’re struggling at the tank.  Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy sources, let’s invest in tomorrow’s energies.

Sorry, that is false. The oil and gas companies don’t get “subsidies.” They get to depreciate their capital investments just like every other business does. If a company buys a big new machine, they get to depreciate it over its useful life, so that they can afford to replace it when they need to. An oil company has a pool of oil or gas that is of finite quantity. They get to depreciate it over its finite extent. In the case of oil companies it’s called a depletion allowance.

Oil and gas are not “yesterday’s” energy sources — they are the sources on which our economy will be dependent for the foreseeable future. Wind and solar energy have nothing to do with transportation, and biofuels contain less energy than gas, are more polluting, and use way too much land.

Because of you we’re putting hundreds of thousands of people back to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges, our infrastructure.  But now we’ve got to make sure America is built to compete in the 21st century — not just new roads and bridges, but high-speed rail lines and high-speed internet.  We always used to have the best stuff.  Texas knows something about that.  But today South Korea has faster high-speed Internet than we do.  China has got high-speed rail.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  We created the Internet.  Austin knows a little bit about the high-tech industry.  We should be leading the world when it comes to cutting-edge technologies and innovation.

Because of you? No, we’re not “putting hundreds of thousands of people back to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges, our infrastructure.”  He loves this idea, but it has never happened, whatever roads were crumbling are still crumbling. Ditto bridges. He admitted himself that there weren’t any “shovel ready” jobs, and it has become very clear that the “stimulus” was a gigantic waste directed largely at payback to the labor unions for their campaign support.

The Labor Department’s current jobs report, indicates that fewer black men now have jobs than at any time in recorded history. If the election of America’s first African-American president was supposed to give blacks an economic boost, it hasn’t emerged yet. Indeed the percentage of African-American men with a job has dropped to it lowest level since 1972, according to the government’s monthly jobs report.

I would urge you to read the speech.  This is what he says to his Democrat supporters, and there’s no truth in it. It’s all fluff at best or gross hyperbole. What it means is that we have to look carefully at candidates’ record of accomplishment, and demand real experience, not good looks.  America fell for showmanship, a deep baritone voice, a dazzling smile and a fraudulent resume.

So ultimately that’s what this budget debate in Washington is all about. it’s  about who we are. It’s not just about numbers.  It’s about our values, what we care about, the kind of country we believe in.

What a colossal load of #*&#! nonsense.  It is about spending. You are deliberately spending more money that you are taking in, and you can’t squeeze enough out of “the rich” to save the country. It is about the kind of country we believe in — responsible, dependable, solvent, able to pay our bills.



All the Republicans’ Fault. Give Me More Money to Spend. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama was in Ohio today, giving another campaign speech.  All, he said, is the Republicans’ fault.  He “inherited” the big federal budget deficits, and he has to “clean up the mess” that Republicans made of the economy.  It’s all the hated Bush”s fault.  Economist Dr. Thomas Sowell points out:

No president of the United States can create either a budget deficit or a budget surplus. All spending bills originate in the House of Representatives and all taxes are voted into law by Congress.

Presidents can request, demand, bribe or ask pretty-please.  Only the House of Representatives can appropriate. Once the bill passes Congress, the president can sign it or veto it.

President Obama hastens to take credit, including for things he didn’t do.  He has a long history of this, even from his days in the Illinois legislature.  Everything else is Bush’s fault.  The Iraq War and “Tax-Cuts for the Rich” destroyed a prosperous economy, and now, although Obama is working so hard in the White House, you will just have to give him some more money to spend so that he can create those missing jobs.

Eight years of the Iraq War, all of it, cost less than Obama’s Stimulus Bill. The Stimulus Bill was signed into law on February 18, 2009, when Obama had been in office for 28 days.  The policy harked back to Keynesian economics, and the idea that if you just dumped a bunch of money into the economy a “multiplier effect” would return 1.5 x whatever was dumped in.  Perpetual economic wonderfulness.  We don’t have to do anything, just spend —and for every trillion— we get back a trillion and a half.  Cool!

The second round of Bush tax cuts helped double economic growth from 1.9% to 3.8%.  Bush always had a bare majority in his first term and halfway through the second, when Democrats took over the House and the Senate.  Remember, it is the House that originates spending bills.  The only direct power that any president has to affect deficits and surpluses is the power to veto spending bills.  Bush didn’t veto enough bills, but Senator Obama and his fellow Democrats passed the spending bills.

There is a business cycle.  When Business overdoes, they have to regroup. Governments make mistakes, big ones.  Laws assumed to solve problems often don’t. Every president has to cope with what transpired in all previous Administrations and all  previous Congresses. That is part of the job, and involves leadership, good management and good relations with Congress.

Obama is now blaming Republicans in Congress for blocking policies with which they completely disagree.  It doesn’t make any difference if the Republicans disagree They don’t have enough votes to block anything. Obama has been not only uninterested in Republican ideas, he has resented the disagreement of those who presented them, and then gone on to claim that Republicans have no ideas.  This is not cool.

Neither the Iraq War, nor Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” (the rich got the smallest percentage tax cut, not the biggest) caused the economic collapse.

Another political fable is that the current economic downturn is due to not enough government regulation of the housing and financial markets. But it was precisely the government regulators, under pressure from politicians, who forced banks and other lending institutions to lower their standards for making mortgage loans.

These risky loans, and the defaults that followed, were what set off a chain reaction of massive financial losses that brought down the whole economy. …

At the heart of these policies were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which bought huge amounts of risky mortgages, passing the risk on from the banks that lent the money (and made the profits) to the taxpayers that were not even aware that they would end up paying in the end.

When President Bush said in 2004 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be reined in, 76 members of the House of Representatives issued a statement to the contrary. These included Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Charles Rangel.

Governments can only create government jobs — the entire expense of those jobs comes out of taxpayer pockets— the economy does not grow.  To create jobs in the private sector, governments must do what they can to make doing business easier.

Right now, business is faced with a government that believes that government bureaucrats can do things better than the people who run the businesses.  They know what business should be doing, what products they should make, how much they should pay their executives, where they should do business and who they should hire, and how much of their income they should pay to the government.

Business doesn’t know what the hell the government is going to do next. That’s the problem.



AstroTurfing in the White House Rose Garden. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama summoned invited 150 doctors to the White House rose garden so that he could give them his 34th speech about health care reform.  They represented all 50 states, we were told, and they were members of all sorts of different medical organizations, mostly Doctors for Obama now renamed Doctors for America.

They were asked to bring their white lab coats for the photo-op, but many simply came in suits.  (Not all doctors wear lab coats).  But the White House had purchased a quantity of lab coats so there would be enough for everyone. Important for the Photo-op.

white coats

President Obama gave much the same speech he has given the previous 33 times.  And it was just as inaccurate.  He said that the doctors have seen what happens when their patients can’t get the care they need because some insurance company has decided to drop their coverage or water it down.

President Obama is an attorney.  He knows that a health insurance policy is a legal contract between the insurance company and the patient.  Insurance companies cannot drop someone because they get sick.  That’s what health care policies are for, taking care of people who get sick.   If the patient has lied or failed to disclose pre-existing conditions, that can void the contract. The attempt to demonize insurance companies so that the ignorant will prefer a government option is transparent.

The two cases that Mr. Obama has used in previous speeches were not exactly as he represented them. In both cases, it seemed that the patients had failed to disclose serious pre-existing conditions, not acne, as Mr. Obama claimed.  In both cases, it was straightened out fairly quickly, and the bills were paid.

Mr. Obama said that insurance companies “will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on how much coverage you can receive in a given year or a given lifetime.  We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses.  And insurance companies will be required to cover, at no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care.

So there will be no limit on how much care you can have, an absolute limit on how much it will cost you, and insurance companies will be required to cover everything at no cost.  We will have fewer doctors, they will have to see more patients, they will be told what treatments they are required to give to any specific patient by a bunch of Washington bureaucrats (friends of the administration), but it will be way more rewarding for doctors (just not financially). Health Care will cost less, so much less that it will solve the financial crisis, not cost one extra dime, serve 30 million more people, and everyone will be healthier. If this makes sense to you, you need some remedial math.  And the administration assumes that the American people are completely stupid.

obama doctors

This is a classic case of “AstroTurfing” that over-used new word devised to describe artificial grassroots.  A survey last fall of 270,000 primary care physicians by the Physicians’ Foundation found that if health care reform passes, 30% expect to see fewer patients, 13% will find something that does not involve patient care and 11% plan to retire altogether.

You would think that an expert public relations man like David Axlerod would recognize that this gathering of lab-coated Obama supporters would look like a bizarre costume party.

Straight talk, transparency, real debate and some honesty would be most welcome.

(ht: Gateway Pundit)




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