American Elephants

More Hypocrisy from the Obama Administration. by The Elephant's Child
April 10, 2010, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education | Tags: , ,

The Obama administration decided recently to go to war over the use of interns by for-profit corporations, which I delved into here.  One of the hardest problems for young people is getting those first few lines on a resume, and they are often happy to work for free just to get some valid experience.

Personnel departments often are not particularly impressed with a diploma; they want some solid evidence that a young person knows how to read, write and how to follow directions and how to work.  If companies are forced to pay these interns, fewer students will be offered internships.  The administration is attempting to create an image of unpaid interns exploited by Big Business, another demographic of victims falling prey to capitalism.

Mr. Obama’s “Organizing for America” offered internships to help elect the president during the campaign, and still are offering unpaid internships today.  The Summer Organizing program doesn’t offer a stipend, food or transportation.  It also notes that “Summer Organizers will be required to work 40 hours a week.”

If an intern volunteers for such an internship it is no less exploitative  if it is in a political campaign than if it is for a for-profit company.  Hypocrisy is hypocrisy, it doesn’t change its nature if it is labor for “the One.”

Out on the Campaign Trail, Trying to Sell a Bill that Is Already Law. by The Elephant's Child

Now that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been signed into law, President Obama has been out on the campaign trail, trying to sell it to an angry populace.  In Charlotte, North Carolina,  Doris Ravis asked him: “In the economy times that we have now, is it a wise decision to add more taxes to us with the health care?  Because it — we are over-taxed as it is.”

The president has a fondness for lists:

Well, let’s talk about that, because this is an area where there’s been just a whole lot of misinformation, and I’m going to have to work hard over the next several months to clean up a lot of the misapprehensions that people have.  Here’s the bottom line:  Number one is that we are the only — we have been up until last week the only advanced country that allows 50 million of its citizens to not have any health insurance, and the vast majority of those folks work.  It’s just that they don’t happen to work for a company that is either big enough or generous enough to provide them any coverage.

The president just said that Ms. Ravis’ question was “misapprehension.” But there is another “misapprehension” here.  “We are the only advanced country that allows 50 million of its citizens to not have any health insurance”

This statement, which turns everything on its head, has been the big excuse behind the drive to redistribute income, which is the true goal.  The idea that we are somehow behind countries that have universal health care simply doesn’t hold water.  Obama keeps implying that anyone who doesn’t have health insurance (and the number was never 50 million, we are only pretending to force 32 million to buy insurance) is going to die as a result.

American health care has been the finest in the world.  It is expensive because of 300 million people’s individual decisions.  We have chosen to see a specialist, get the test the doctor recommends.  And to make sure that there is a safety net, as a country, we have made a law that no one can be turned away from an emergency room.  The only place in our health care system where people are forced to do without needed medical care is in the government-run Indian Health Care Service and in the VA. The failures of our health care system can be laid at the doorstep of government regulation.

Socialized medicine does not work in those “advanced” countries with universal health care. Governments tinker constantly, trying to reduce costs. All are in crisis of varying degrees.  And we need to pay close attention to the failures, because health care doesn’t matter much when you are perfectly well, it matters when you desperately need it.

Point Number Three is attack the insurance companies .  You may think you’re covered, but then when you get sick they decide to drop the insurance right when you need it.  It has been the law for years that insurance companies cannot do any such thing.  Obama’s assumption that people are too dumb to grasp this is insulting. He always likes to throw in “going bankrupt and losing your house.” This is pure demagoguery.

“Because the costs are so out of control, all the programs that we already have — Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program — all those things are completely out of control.  Above all, costs are out of control because of waste, fraud and abuse — estimated as high as $10 billion.  And there is nothing in the bill that will reduce that fraud.

Then he started a new list at number one:  “Most people individually shouldn’t buy health insurance on their own because they have no leverage and the insurance companies take advantage of it.  Instead what we’re going to do is we’re going to set up a big pool, a marketplace, that allows everybody to buy into this pool — that members of Congress, will be a part of so that you know it’s going to be a good deal — because members of Congress, they’ve got to look out for their own families; they wouldn’t vote for it if it wasn’t going to be a good deal.”

That’s when I gave up.  I don’t know when they amended the bill to take out the exclusion written in for Congress and key staffers.  I suspect that it hasn’t happened, for it would be pretty big news.  I would urge you to read this whole speech  for yourself.  All hopey-changey, say anything that you think the suckers will swallow.  The extent to which the president will go in trying to sell his bill is depressing.  They must be really worried that we will repeal it.

One more: ” We’re going to start encouraging paying doctors not based on how many tests they take, but based on the quality of the outcome — does somebody end up healthy.”  Wow!  I’ve never heard of a doctor being paid based on how many tests they order.  The tests are usually done by a variety of laboratories, who are reimbursed for their work.  And most tests are designed to help a doctor diagnose the state of your health.  And they’re going to save money because you won’t get a test from your doctor, the same test from the specialist. Nonsense. My doctors, at least,  fax test results, have x-rays hand carried.  Nobody repeats the same test.

Ms. Ravis got a 17-minute, 2,500-word response to her question, all over the map, and she never got an answer.

Bastiat’s Broken-Window Fallacy. by The Elephant's Child
April 3, 2010, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Statism | Tags: , ,

Here’s one little lesson from economics that we all need to keep in mind.  On September 14, 2001, economist Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times :

Ghastly as it may seem to say this the terror attack (of 9/11), like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression, could even do some economic good.

Sigh.  There is a basic fallacy in his thinking, what Fredric Bastiat called the broken-window fallacy.  And the Japanese attack on December 7 didn’t end the Great Depression either.

(h/t: Veronique de Rugy)

Big Government Intrudes in Your Life, Part II. by The Elephant's Child

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have set aggressive national standards for fuel economy (35.5 mpg by 2016) and the first ever “greenhouse gas emission levels” for passenger cars and light trucks.

Responding to one of the first major directives of the Obama Administration, DOT and the EPA jointly established “historic” new federal rules that set the first-ever national greenhouse gas emissions standards and will significantly increase the fuel economy of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States.

Essentially, the administration is announcing that the American people are not making the “proper” choices about the cars they drive.  The government is better qualified to make those choices, and you will obey.

Since the only way to increase fuel economy is to make cars lighter, there will be an increased highway death rate.  Decreasing “greenhouse gas emissions” will have no effect on climate. It will have little effect on cleaner air, since CO2 is not a pollutant as claimed by the EPA.  Cars will cost more, at a minimum something in the range between $1,100 and $5,000 per car, which means that people will hang on to their old cars longer, meaning  more jobs  (estimates are 50,000) will be lost in the automobile industry, for car companies will sell fewer new cars.

Taxpayers spent $60 billion to bail out GM.  They now own 60% of the company.  Now they are going to buy its cars.  Obama announced that Washington DC will purchase the first 100 plug-in cars to come off the line, which will have to be Chevy Volts, since they are the only ones available, at $40,000 each, or another $ 4 million from the taxpayers.

Somehow all of Obama’s new directives end up forcing something on Americans that they don’t want, that will cost more, that will accomplish absolutely nothing that it is intended to accomplish, and will destroy another large number of jobs in the process.

If you remember, GM didn’t even want to try to produce the Volt.  It costs too much, will only go 40 miles on a charge (if you’re lucky) and its gasoline engine is wimpy.  Obama insisted.  He knows best.

The Overheated Media Once Again Makes Fools of Themselves! by The Elephant's Child

Progressives apparently thought that the Tea Party Movement was so scary— all those people carrying flags and signs — that the ordinary folk out there would be frightened.  After all,  New York Times reporter Benedict Carey found the country running a right-wing political fever of rage, in a front-page Sunday Week in Review essay.  The online headline said “When Does Political Anger Turn to Violence?”

An archive photo from Getty Images of the late-1960s left-wing domestic terrorist group The Weathermen, with Obama’s friend Bill Ayers sat directly above a picture of marching Tea Party protesters.  Seems to me that the Weathermen were actually responsible for killing and attempted killing.  The photos caption:

VARYING DEGREES OF RAGE The Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, second from right, during the Days of Rage in 1969, and anti-health reform protesters in Washington on Sunday.

Rep. John Lewis, (D-GA)claimed that when he and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus walked through a tea party protest last week in Washington, they heard the N-word shouted at them 15 times.  No video or audio recording — when everyone seems to have a recorder — has shown up to back the claim.  Andrew Breitbart offered a hefty reward for any such recording, but none has appeared, and videos of the Caucus walk have surfaced with a distinct absence of such threats. The only person arrested for threatening violence in recent days was held for threatening Eric Cantor, the No.2 Republican in the House, and a spent bullet hit the window of his district headquarters.

The Tea Parties I have seen videos of, seem cheerful, as if the protesters are having a great time waving their Gadsden ‘Don’t Tread On Me” flags or national flags, and their signs and conversation seem to indicate that they are well-informed, and object to policy. There is an absence of threats unless you consider “Kill the Bill” terribly threatening.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) canceled a town hall meeting on the healthcare law Tuesday because of concerns about the security of the event reported The Hill.

The congressman’s office cited safety issues at the facility where the meeting was to take place and threats to his office, according to a report by News 21.

We just thought it best to cancel it for safety concerns.  This was not meant to be a place where we’re going to talk partisan politics, Pat Lowry, a member of Ryan’s staff told News 21.

Cute idea, fellows, but it just didn’t work. The Tea Party people are angry, but their anger is directed at policy they disagree with, and at the process through which that policy was enacted.  And just as a reminder, this is exactly the way things are supposed to work.

Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Gullible Left-Wing Media Discovers Right-Wing “Hate:”

And a Little Trip Down Memory-Lane:

There are few things so embarrassing as a montage of the media obediently following the talking points, especially when there was no basis for all their excitement, no basis at all.

Not Just a Blunder, but an Immense Blunder! by American Elephant
March 28, 2010, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: , ,

This has been an amazing time.  President Obama, fresh from a victory in passing a very dirty health care reform bill, now feels it necessary to go out to “sell” ObamaCare.  Apparently some 54 (?) speeches before the vote in Congress didn’t succeed in selling it, so he’s now going to give some more speeches — mostly to sneer at and disparage those who cry “Repeal.” This is probably not wise.

The bill passed by a very tiny margin, and passed only because of sleazy backroom threats and bribes, by a Democrat Congress that clearly isn’t  enamored with what they have wrought.  It passed in the face of the vast disapproval of the American public, who expressed themselves very clearly in poll after poll.  The people do not like this bill.  They did not want it, and as the folks who assume that they are getting free heath care wake up to reality, opposition will only climb.

Can it be repealed?  Those who have watched the British and the Canadians passively accept treatment that we would not stand for, because it is “free,”are afraid that it cannot be repealed.  But Americans thought Social Security and Medicare were good ideas at the time. They weren’t demanding ObamaCare, they were demanding jobs and a recovering business climate. Perhaps the greatest lack of communication ever.  Or the most arrogant choice to refuse to listen.

There was a time when we thought Prohibition was a good idea. It was a Constitutional amendment, for we were sure that it was a fine and permanent thing. It wasn’t and we repealed the amendment.

Slavery was the way of the world.  Every society on earth had practiced slavery, and in spite of an angrily divided country, we repealed that too.

The thing that I find most amazing are the folks who seem to think that it is time we imitated the more advanced Europeans. Where did they get the idea that Europeans are in any way more advanced? America has always been a beacon of freedom to the oppressed peoples of old Europe.

Our economy is in dreadful shape, and one business after another is reporting on the disastrous effects the health care bill will have on them.  The “jobs bill” just passed will do little to create any jobs, and Obamacare is a huge job killer.  But rather than directly address any of the real problems, the Democrats are urgently chasing old, tired, unworkable liberal ideas left over from failed administrations, from long ago.

Democrats told us back in 2004 that the trouble was that they didn’t have any ideas.  I’m afraid that for once, they were right.

“Go For It!” he said. Yes We Can! by The Elephant's Child
March 26, 2010, 1:14 am
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law | Tags: , ,

Plumb Bob notes that the Hill reports a speech by President Obama in which he challenges Republicans to try to repeal the health care reform act:

This is the reform that some folks in Washington are still hollering about.  And now that it’s passed, they’re already promising to repeal it,” Obama said.  “They’re actually going to run on a platform or repeal in November.  Well, I say go for it.”

This brings to mind, notes Bob, President Bush’s similar moment of bravado, when on July 1 of 2003 he declared his confidence in US military preparedness for destabilizing attacks in Iraq by saying “Bring it on.”

The most remarkable difference between these two challenges by two Presidents is this:

Obama’s enemies are Americans.

(h/t: Ron Spins)

It’s Not Going to Work, Three Reasons Why! by The Elephant's Child
March 25, 2010, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Politics, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Nick Gillespie of the Reason Foundation notes three reasons why Healthcare Reform isn’t going to work.

Another Very Bad Day! by American Elephant

Sorry that I have been missing.  My computer is in the shop with an as yet undiagnosed ailment. I am suffering from the first cold I’ve had in years –and who suffers more (visibly and loudly) than someone who has contracted the common cold?

This is not a good day to be afflicted with Democrat gloating that they have managed, by foul and dishonest means, to pass an appallingly bad healthcare bill that will damage the economy even more, kill more jobs, and fail to achieve any of the benefits attributed to it by either the president or Congressional leaders.  A pitifully disgraceful effort.

As he signed it with some twenty different pens (keepsakes) the president said: “Insurance companies will no longer be able to drop someone because they got sick!

My point exactly.  It has been illegal for an insurance company to drop someone “because they got sick” for years, both by state law and by federal law.  This is just another one of the false claims Democrats made to influence people who don’t know any better.  The president in full campaign mode,is, as usual, unconcerned with accuracy, but only with getting his way.

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) Explains Clearly that the Republicans Know Very Well What They Are Talking About! by The Elephant's Child

Paul Ryan is a very impressive Congressman.  The Republicans are “the Party of No?” Not very likely.  The Republicans understand very clearly the ideas that underlie the Democrat Health Care plans, and why they won’t work.  They understand the sleazy budget tricks, the false estimates, and what the bills would actually do to the American people and the American economy.

Jay Nordlinger said at National Review today:

Let me try something out on you: This health-care summit was a bad idea for the Democrats for this reason: They have long benefited from a perception — a perception greatly abetted by the media: The Republicans don’t care about health care, they don’t know about health care, they are the Party of No. All the ideas and caring are on the Democratic side.

It is not so, and it has never been so. And now everybody knows it.

President Obama’s Closing Statement. by The Elephant's Child

Closing arguments from an irritated, arrogant president.   The Blair House Summit was intended to display Republicans as the party of obstruction and lack of understanding.  Republicans, they thought,  just don’t know about health care.  The reason that Democrats are so far in the tank in the polls is more than apparent.

From George Will:

Today’s health policy “summit” comes at a moment when, as happens with metronomic regularity, Washington is reverberating with lamentations about government being “broken.” Such talk occurs only when the left’s agenda is stalled.

Do you remember mournful editorials and somber seminars about “dysfunctional” government when liberals defeated George W. Bush’s Social Security reforms?

Texas is Suing the Federal Government. by The Elephant's Child

More on the Environmental front.   Texas Republican governor Rick Perry is suing the federal government, challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s CO2 endangerment finding. From the governor’s press release:

The state’s legal action indicates EPA’s Endangerment Finding is legally unsupported because the agency outsourced its scientific assessment to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been discredited by evidence of key scientists’ lack of objectivity, coordinated efforts to hide flaws in their research, attempts to keep contravening evidence out of IPCC reports and violation of freedom of information laws. . . .

“With billions of dollars at stake, EPA outsourced the scientific basis for its greenhouse gas regulation to a scandal-plagued international organization that cannot be considered objective or trustworthy,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Prominent climate scientists associated with the IPCC were engaged in an ongoing, orchestrated effort to violate freedom of information laws, exclude scientific research, and manipulate temperature data. In light of the parade of controversies and improper conduct that has been uncovered, we know that the IPCC cannot be relied upon for objective, unbiased science – so EPA should not rely upon it to reach a decision that will hurt small businesses, farmers, ranchers, and the larger Texas economy.” (emphasis added)

The press release goes on to point out that Texas’ $106 billion agriculture industry, which represents 9.5 % of Texas’ total gross state product, would be disproportionately damaged by the proposed regulations, as well as the effects on business and the energy sector.  Ordinary Texas families would face an estimated $1,200 in increased annual living costs during a depressed economy.

In a sane world, the lawsuit should succeed. “Regulation” of CO2 would accomplish nothing except to destroy more jobs and deepen the recession. Carbon dioxide is not the cause of global warming, but one of the building blocks of life. The globe is not warming, but cooling, as finally even CRU’s Phil Jones has admitted.


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