American Elephants


Government: Is It Ever Big Enough? by The Elephant's Child

Can the government ever be too big? How much spending is enough spending? And if there can be too much spending, where is that point? William Voegeli, Senior Editor of the Claremont Review of Books, explores these complex questions and offers some clear answers.



The American Economy Shrank by 0.7 Percent in The First Quarter. by The Elephant's Child
May 29, 2015, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Economy | Tags: , , ,

The revised figures for the first quarter show that the American economy shrank by 0.7 percent — January through March. The administration did not, however try to blame it on Bush, they blamed it on the harsh winter. It was a brutal winter on the east coast and in the Midwest. It is the third quarter in which the economy has actually contracted (the other two were the first quarters of 2011 and 2014).

This has been the slowest, most sluggish recovery since World War II. The strong dollar has meant that American exports are down. but other economies are not healthy either, including China’s. The Obama administration’s big-government, big-deficit, big waste and big-regulation policies are not a recipe for growth or recovery.

A new study finds that overhead costs are exploding under ObamaCare. Another promise up in smoke. The Health Affairs Blog published a study based on numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that runs ObamaCare and found that ObamaCare increased health care costs by $17 billion last year, and by 2020 will add a total of more than $270 billion.Twenty-two percent of all new spending is going to overhead, paperwork, not patient care.

The United States spends more on regulation than ever before. The amount spent has increased significantly as has the number of people who are employed to write and enforce the increasing number of government regulations. In 1990, total spending on regulatory activity was $20.6 billion. This year it will clock in at $60.1 billion, a 192% increase. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that in 2012 the total cost of federal regulations was just over $2 trillion — 13 5 of that year’s GDP.

Is this unruly Americans who need more careful control? Not likely. It is an administration that sees power and control as a goal. Not a climate in which free enterprise can prosper.



Just a Bundle of Laughs by The Elephant's Child
May 28, 2015, 6:38 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

It’s just Hillary.



HHS Rules Here, FDA Regs There, First Thing You Know You’re Talking Billions. by The Elephant's Child

It is really easy. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) passed three new rules over the course of just four days in January, adding $9.1 billion of regulatory burden during the first month of the new year, a new report claims.

According to a study by the American Action Forum released on Friday, the 797 pages of new regulations will account for $9.1 billion in new costs, and mount up to 10.6 million hours of additional paperwork burden.

One of the major costs came from expansion of Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and the state–based health insurance exchange programs — all mandated under the Affordable Care Act. The total price tag is $2.6 billion, the paperwork burden 518,432 hours. HHS has allowed 17 working days to submit comments on the 500 page overhaul of Medicaid and SCHIP.

The other two rules come from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Their new rules for standard for harvesting and holding produce for humans to consume, is expected to cost $3.2 billion over a 7 year period, adding another 8.8 billion hours of paperwork.

The other FDA ruling is to standardize and modernize manufacturing practices and analysis for “hazardous food” which will cost between $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion. The paperwork burden is not a joke. These two FDA rulings would require 5,005 employees dedicated strictly to red tape compliance.



Ten of the Worst Regulations of 2012—This Is Big Government. by The Elephant's Child

Regulations have flowed out of the Obama administration like trickles of water that make gushing streams and become mighty rivers. The economy is drowning in them. The rules imposed by the government have little to do with health and safety, and much to do with power and whether the government or private individuals get to make basic pocketbook and lifestyle decisions that affect their lives.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the regulators that are to blame. Congress increasingly writes laws that pass off power to unelected bureaucrats to wield broad powers to which they are not entitled. It is Congress’ job to write the bills and determine the regulation for which they are ultimately responsible, not pass it on. Each regulation has big costs for the economy in both economic growth and increased unemployment.

Here are ten of the very worst regulations from 2012, courtesy of the Heritage Foundation:

1. HHS’s Contraception Mandate

The Department of Health and Human Services on Feb. 15 finalized its mandate that all health insurance plans include coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization procedures, and contraceptives. To date 42 cases with more than 110 plaintiffs are challenging the restriction on religious liberty.

2. EPA Emissions Standards

In February, the EPA finalized strict new emission standards for coal- and oil-fired electric utilities. The benefits are questionable, the majority unrelated to the emissions targeted by the regulation. Science is determining that CO2 is not the cause of climate change. The costs are an estimated $9.6 billion annually.

3. Fuel Efficiency Standards

In August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with the EPA finalized the fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, for model years 2017-2025. The rules require 54.5 mpg by 2025. Sticker prices will jump by hundreds of dollars. The climate will not change because of the standards.

4. New York’s 16-Ounce Soda Limit

NY Mayor Bloomberg pushed the NY City Board of Health to ban the sale of soda and other sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces. Those who are thirsty can just buy two smaller size.

5. Dishwasher Efficiency Standards

Even the regulators admit that these DOE rules will do little (nothing) for the environment. Proponents claim they will save consumers money, cutting back on water and energy. Big increase in cost of a dishwasher, few customers will keep the dishwasher long enough to recoup the cost. Please get out of my kitchen.

6. School Lunch Standards

The Dept. of Agriculture in January published stringent nutrition standards for school lunch and breakfast programs. More than 98,000 elementary and secondary schools are affected—at a cost exceeding $3.4 billion over the next 4 years. Students are in open revolt, they hate the food.

7. Quickie Union Election Rules

The NLRB in April, issued new rules that shorten the time allowed for union-organizing elections to between 10 and 21 days. This leaves little time for employees to make a fully informed choice on unionizing. but President Obama advances the union cause at every opportunity.

8. Essential Benefits Rule

Under ObamaCare, insurers in the individual and small group markets are forced to cover services that the government deems to be essential, whether your doctor deems them essential or not. Under ObamaCare, directions will come from unaccountable bureaucrats, not your own physician.

9. Electronic Data Recorder Mandate

The National Highway Safety Administration in December issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to mandate installation of electronic data recorders (“black boxes”) in most light vehicles starting in 2014. Raises the cost of a vehicle, and invades your privacy.

10. “Simplified” Mortgage Disclosure and Servicing Rules

The New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (unneeded agency created in phony Congressional recess) released their proposal for a more “consumer-friendly” mortgage process to simplify home loans. The simplifying rules run an astonishing 1,099 pages which were followed a month later with 560 more pages for rules of mortgage servicing.  That’s what bureaucracy does.

Follow the fascination progress of government moving to control your every move. See Heritage’s funny but sad Tales of the Red Tape series on The Foundry.



Obama Said He Didn’t Get Beyond 7th Grade Math. by The Elephant's Child

A report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently revealed that the United States now spends more on means-tested welfare than any other item in the federal budget — including Social Security, Medicare or national defense. Including state contributions to the roughly 80 federal poverty programs, the total amount spent in 2011 was approximately $1 trillion.  Federal spending on such programs was up 32 percent since 2008.

If you believe that giving a good chunk of your income to the government because they will use it to do good and help the poor is a good thing, you might need to rethink that.

Last year the government spent over $60,000 to support welfare programs for each household that is in poverty. The calculations come from the Census, the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Research Service. That dollar figure is almost three times the amount the average household in poverty lives on each year.

So, if I am doing the math correctly, and $60,000 divided by 3 is $20,000, then it costs the government $40,000 to distribute $20,000 to the poor to keep them poor. So they could just mail a check for $50,000, which is approximately the median national household income, to each poor family, and thus eliminate poverty completely.

Then they would still have $10,000 per household left over to pay for stamps, envelopes and the checks, which would leave a fair amount left over to return to the taxpayers, or have a big blowout convention in Las Vegas.

That’s a fair demonstration of why Republicans oppose big government.



The Blue Model Doesn’t Work: Going Out of Business! by The Elephant's Child

What is it that the Liberals just don’t understand? Free Markets and Free People. So the people are picking up and moving out — heading to where they can be free. Businesses are moving out — heading where there are free markets. There’s a point at which promising more goodies just doesn’t work.




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