American Elephants


Please Let a Crisis Go To Waste. Act Slowly and Thoughtfully Instead. by The Elephant's Child

A Memorial Service was held yesterday for the victims of the Navy Yard shooting. The president gave an emotional speech, sharing the sorrow of the victims families, friends and co-workers.  He is good at that, and his words are usually well-received.

Mindful of his training in Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”, and Lenin’s rules, however, the president is loath to allow any crisis to go to waste. When emotions are high, it’s the best time to push people to get involved in banning guns. And it’s true. An emotional event can get people to want to — do something.

The midst of a crisis is the worst possible time to attempt to decide what to do to stop the next one. Laws made in the throes of emotion usually turn out to be bad laws. Aaron Alexis, the shooter, was apparently emotionally disturbed. People instantly want to make laws to put crazy people somewhere were they can’t hurt anyone. Well, of course. But mental health is not a cut-and-dried situation. We don’t know very much about how to fix people.

The Left always assumes that the answer to any problem is another government program or a new law. And the government seldom does anything well, except for increasing the power of the administrative state. Aaron Alexis passed a background check for purchasing a gun with no problem. Washington D.C. has draconian gun laws. Alexis passed through the special security arrangements at the Navy Yard. The Navy Yard is, as are all Military bases and facilities — a gun free zone. In 1993, one of Bill Clinton’s first actions on taking office was to ban guns at all military installations.

Aaron Alexis had a special secret security clearance that allowed him access to the Navy Yard. He had lied on his enlistment form about prior arrests, and nobody checked. He had quite a number of run-ins with police, but received an honorable discharge and was hired as a defense contractor in 2012. A D.C. Rapid Response team was told to stand down. Is there a pattern of governmental success here?

When an American ambassador and his technology chief were being killed in Benghazi, the workers at the consulate under fire, and the two former SEALS trying to rescue them, another Rapid Response Team was told to stand down. And the rescued workers have been ordered to speak to no one about what happened.

President Obama wants to fix all this by banning guns for everyone — except the government, of course. He could immediately lift the order banning guns at all military bases. That would remedy the situation at the Navy Yard, and at Fort Hood. Oddly enough, gun-free zones seem to create an incentive for shooters. They are inclined to avoid places where people are armed. I am not suggesting that nothing should be done, and clearly when people are a danger to society, they should be removed from society — but did anyone beg that the recent shooters be locked up before they did their shooting? Did anyone know that they were dangerous? Does anyone have sensible suggestions on what to do and how it could be accomplished?

Bureaucrats and demagogues are always ready to do something, but they have way more faith in government’s abilities than I do.



Demagoguery Alert: Look At What Obama Said About Health Care in 2009 by The Elephant's Child

We often say that “hindsight is a wonderful thing”, which essentially means that if we knew yesterday what we know today with our increased knowledge, we wouldn’t have screwed up so badly. But hindsight should not be dismissed casually, it can be remarkably useful.

Today’s biggest issue is ObamaCare. The damage it is doing to the people, to the economy, to business, and to the medical profession is enormous,  and it doesn’t go into effect until the first of the month. People are horrified to find out that the cost of their health insurance is doubling or tripling.

Despite promises that everyone would have the same excellent insurance as members of Congress and government employees — members of Congress and their staffs squawked when they found out what was happening and have been excused from the unpleasantness of changing their insurance. In spite of a law that was passed to assure that members of Congress are governed by the laws they pass, Mr. Obama has exempted them from ObamaCare. Can’t have Congressmen ready to vote for defunding ObamaCare.

The debate is acrimonious. Telemundo, the only news outlet that dared to ask Obama a tough question pressed him this week about polls showing most American oppose ObamaCare. “Is everybody wrong?’ the host asked.

“Yes, they are,” Obama responded. The problem, he said, isn’t his law. It’s those evil Republicans who’ve spent “billions of dollars…misinforming people.”

This week the celebrated Cleveland Clinic announced plans to lay off as many as 3,000 workers “to prepare for healthcare reform.” Last week The Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in Connecticut cut dozens of jobs. Forty thousand members of the Longshoremen’s union severed their relationship with the AFL-CIO because of their support for ObamaCare. Family premiums have not gone down by $2,500 as Obama promised, they have gone up $2,976.

Workers cannot keep the health plans they like, as Obama promised. Obama has himself repealed, changed or delayed portions of the Affordable Care Act (which he cannot legally do) 19 times so far. None of that has anything to do with Republican “propaganda.” I even read today that Obama Care is more unpopular than the Iraq War.

Time for some hindsight:

Obama spoke to the Annual Conference of the American Medical Association, on June 15, 2009. Do note that the AMA does not represent all physicians. The speech was another wonderful example of sheer demagoguery. Phony statistics, unworkable ideas, false claims, and illusions. Obama claimed we were spending over $2 trillion a year and health care costs were in an out of control spiral. [Health care cost growth started down in 2006]. The rise in health care costs reflected new and very expensive technology, and new lifesaving drugs.

Obama  said that the reason reform hadn’t happened was the fierce opposition of “some interest groups and lobbyists” that have painted any effort for reform as an attempt to socialize medicine. You mean like the “Single Payer Health Care that every Democrat wants?”

He promised easing the pressure on business, creating “hundreds of thousands of jobs”, “increasing take-home pay,” and growing the economy by “switching from paper to an electronic system of record keeping.” That has so far cost the medical system millions with a result of more confusion, more errors in histories, and lost patient time as doctors spend more time at their computers than they do with patients.

He was sure that more preventive care would avoid illness and disease in the first place. More tests, more diagnostics? That’s what he said was costing too much. Cutting down on junk food and obesity [Michelle's assignment] and the White House veggie garden.

We spend too much money on things that aren’t making people healthier, so he wants to determine what the correct care is and pay just for that — without the slightest acknowledgment that we are all individuals and there is no one size fits all in medicine.

One of the great new advances is the individualization of medicine — the potential of using your DNA to select the drugs that are specifically right for you. Obama believed the bureaucrats in Washington could determine from collecting all those computerized records just what the preferred treatment would be for the statistically best outcome. Well, these are collectivists — they don’t do individuals.

A recent study, for example, found that only half of all cardiac guidelines are based on scientific evidence — half. That means doctors may be doing a bypass operation when placing a stent is equally effective; or placing a stent when adjusting a patient’s drug and medical management is equally effective — all of which drives up costs without improving a patient’s health.

Look back at what Obama was saying in 2009. The speech to the American Medical Association is the most comprehensive., but he also spoke at an ABC “PRESCRIPTION FOR AMERICA” Town Hall on Health Care on June 24, 2009 in the East Room at the White House. Some of those things sounded plausible back when we hear them for the first time. Hindsight shines a different light on yesterday’s words, and the rot and corruption shows through.



Obama’s “Trickle Down Government.” by The Elephant's Child

For some time in the campaign, Barack Obama has sneeringly referred to “trickle down snake oil” and to “trickle down theory” as something that Romney wants to do and is what caused all our problems in the first place. Democrats have long used the “trickle down economics” claim to denigrate supply-side economics. The latter has nothing to do with the former, which has never existed in theory or economic thought. “Trickle Down Theory is simply a tool,” as economist Walter Williams said yesterday, “of charlatans and political hustlers.”

Last night, Mitt Romney successfully skewered that tool of Obama’s by calling Obama’s policies as “trickle down government.” Wonderful. It is exactly descriptive of the Obama administration policies.  There is lots of evidence about the effect of tax cuts. Way back in the Harding administration, in 1921, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon advocated tax rate cuts, which Congress enacted into law.  As a result there was rising output, unemployment went down sharply, and the resulting higher income produced higher federal tax revenues. When more people are working, more people are paying taxes which means higher revenues even though rates have been lowered. Similar results were obtained in the administrations of John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush when high tax rates were cut.

In 1921 the tax rate on people earning more than $100,000 a year was 73%., the federal government collected a little more than $700 million in income taxes, of which 30 percent was paid by those who earned more than $100,000. By 1929, after the tax rate had been cut to 24 percent on incomes higher than $100,000, the federal government collected more than $1 billion in income taxes, of which 65 percent was collected from those with incomes higher than $100,000. This is all explained in a short paper from Dr. Thomas Sowell from the Hoover Institution: “Trickle Down Theory and Tax Cuts for the Rich.”

One part of Dr. Sowell’s paper is a discussion of what Mellon called the “gesture of taxing the rich.” He tried unsuccessfully to put an end to the tax-exempt securities. Tax exempt securities and other tax breaks are valuable tools in envy and class warfare. Politicians get votes by raising taxes on the wealthy, while at the same time providing the wealthy a way out of high taxes through tax-exempt securities. This explains how President Obama can raise tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions from Hollywood millionaires and Wall Street tycoons. “Tax cuts for the rich” demagoguery is deception perpetrated on the gullible and useful idiots.

We’ll see if Romney’s “trickle down government” has ended Obama’s use of the deceitful tool. Great term for Republicans to use at every opportunity.



Obama delivers what may very well be the worst speech in history! by The Elephant's Child

Obama delivered a luncheon speech today to the Associated Press.  It was so absolutely dreadful that you just have to laugh.

Obviously the White House is in full panic mode after the president’s perfectly awful week last week. It hadn’t occurred to them that it was possible that ObamaCare could possibly be struck down. Nobody expected Obama to be selling out the country in a whispered conversation caught by a hot mic. And the president’s budget request was shot down without even a single Democrat vote.

Obama has railed against the Supreme Court, reminding them that they must observe precedent and not go ruling against him. Now he’s taking on Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity. The nasty Republicans are threatening to “spend $4.6 trillion on lower tax rates.” This reveals the president’s mindset. Allowing people to keep more of their own hard-earned money is “spending.” Government taking more of the peoples’ hard-earned money to spend on current government enthusiasms is “investing.”

“Investments in clean energy technologies that are helping us reduce our dependence on foreign oil would be cut by nearly a fifth. ” Be still my beating heart! A fifth is not nearly enough. All our clean energy technologies are not reducing dependence on foreign oil one whit.  Our “clean energy” technologies are wind and solar which make small amounts of electricity, Foreign oil gets refined into gasoline for transportation. There is no reason for us to be dependent on foreign oil. We have plenty of our own. Perennial lie.

Medicare and Social Security are both on a path to destruction. Both programs were devised in the expectation that rising birthrates would always supply the country with a larger crop of young workers to support the old folks when they reached the age for Social Security and Medicare. And the great increase in the number of babies following World War II made that seem like a good bet.

But the Baby Boom was followed by the baby bust. Now the 76 million Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age, and Medicare is already running in the red. The very first Boomers began retiring last year, and their numbers will increase dramatically every year until 2025. Boomers represent 26% of the American population.

Democrats’ approach is to pretend all is well and accuse the Republicans of “trying to end Social Security and Medicare as we know them.” It’s not easy to totally ignore 26% of the population, but Democrats are working on it. If we address the problems now, we can save the programs. As Paul Ryan says:

For four years the President has refused to honestly confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history. Instead, he has accelerated the nation toward this looming debt-fueled crisis with reckless budgets, always accompanied by partisan speeches that seek to divide the nation in order to distract from his legacy of broken promises. If he thinks there is no political price to pay for this total abdication of leadership, he is due for a rude awakening.

The president says early in his speech “So I believe deeply that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history.” which he immediately modifies by saying that “through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.”He falls back on what seems to be his campaign theme: “Or are we better off when everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.”

Consider that last statement.  How does that work? How do you give everyone ‘a fair shot?’ Much as Obama wants to imply that government can guarantee that everyone be treated equally — it can’t be done. The Soviets claimed they were going to do that and ended up killing 25 million of their own people. How do you insure that everyone does their fair share, make all those slackards work harder? And everyone play by the same rules? You cannot say that on the one hand and then demand that the rich who pay most of the taxes pay even more. It’s a contradiction in terms. We have the most progressive tax system in the OECD. Pretty, persuasive propaganda, but complete nonsense.

Obama even hauls out the old canard about “trickle-down” economics — the name Democrats gave to Supply-Side economics, the successful program that gave the country nearly 30 years of prosperity. Or don’t you remember 20% interest rates? Obama said “In this country, broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few.” I wonder if he ever had any class in economics.

When free people are able to keep more of their own money the result is prosperity. Government has never made anyone prosperous —except for those favored few who are rewarded by government “investment” in their programs, like the millions that have just happened to flow to Obama’s bundlers who have an interest in those renewable clean energy companies that Obama is “investing” taxpayer money in. I would urge you to buy John Steele Gordon’s An Empire of Wealth, a book that should be in everyone’s library. It is an economic history of American prosperity, and an exciting, rewarding read.

Here’s the transcript of the President’s worst speech ever. You really should read it to understand the depth of his demagoguery, and what we can expect in the upcoming campaign. Guy Benson takes on the speech and inserts a few uncomfortable facts that Mr. Obama would prefer to ignore.




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