American Elephants

The Daily Demagogue Report: Obama Says He Doesn’t Have to Offer Anything by The Elephant's Child

Here is Senator Barack Obama explaining his 2006 vote against raising the debt limit.

From Senator Obama’s Floor Speech, March 20, 2006:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

Senator Obama was urging Congress not to tolerate an increase that would bring the debt ceiling to $9 trillion. Under President Obama, the debt ceiling has raised to $14.3 trillion. Without counting most of the unfunded liabilities, the national debt is now calculated to be nearing $16.7 trillion, and increasing by about $1.86 billion per day.  But things often look different from the other side of the fence.

Today the president said:

So Americans who’ve lived for years in some cases with the fear that one illness could send them into bankruptcy, Americans who’ve been priced out of the market just because they’ve been sick once, they’ll finally be able to afford coverage — quality coverage — many of them for the first time in their lives.

Some of them may be sick as we speak.  And this is their best opportunity to get some security and some relief.  Tens of thousands of Americans die every single year because they don’t have access to affordable health care.  Despite this, Republicans have said that if we lock these Americans out of affordable health care for one more year — if we sacrifice the health care of millions of Americans — then they’ll fund the government for a couple more months.  Does anybody truly believe that we won’t have this fight again in a couple more months?  Even at Christmas?

So here’s the bottom line:  I’m always willing to work with anyone of either party to make sure the Affordable Care Act works better, to make sure our government works better.  I’m always willing to work with anyone to grow our economy faster, or to create new jobs faster, to get our fiscal house in order for the long run.  I’ve demonstrated this time and time again, oftentimes to the consternation of my own party.

It would be refreshing if the president could speak honestly, without demagoging an issue. I was curious about the president’s constant repetition of the idea that everyone is only minutes away from medical bankruptcy. This is a difficult subject because bankruptcy laws are different in each state.

An essay from The American magazine from the American Enterprise Institute says : “There is no evidence to indicate that a government run healthcare system in the United States will reduce personal bankruptcies.”

Democrats are trying to push the idea that everybody is going bankrupt because of a sudden immense medical bill. They are also assuming that bankruptcy is a very bad thing. Yet our bankruptcy laws are designed to protect people from going off to the poorhouse, as they once did. There’s a big difference between medical expenses being a factor in a bankruptcy and medical expense being the cause.  When someone has to go through bankruptcy because they cannot pay their bills, medical bills might be just one of the bills. Democrats will always stretch to reach for the scariest statistic. A comparative analysis of Canadian and U.S. statistics suggests that bankruptcy statistics are being exaggerated and distorted for political purposes.

An article by Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute, points out President Obama’s claim that the cost of health care causes a bankruptcy every 30 seconds.

But the alleged link between health costs and bankruptcy is about as real as the tooth fairy. The overwhelming body of research shows that medical costs play little or no role in the vast majority of U.S. personal bankruptcies. …

The study also reviewed Warren’s early research on medical bankruptcies and found that medical spending was a factor in no more than 17 percent of U.S. bankruptcies.

A detailed analysis by The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle further discredited the link between bankruptcy and medical expense. She found that Warren’s team classified a filing as a medical bankruptcy whenever unpaid medical bills were resolved through bankruptcy proceedings — even if other debts were far bigger contributors to insolvency.

“Tens of thousands of Americans die every year because they don’t have access to affordable health care.”  Uh huh. “I’m always willing to work with anyone of either party to make sure the Affordable Care Act works better, to make sure our government works better.” Award that man multiple Pinocchios. Did he not just say that he “will not negotiate with the House?”and “I don’t have to offer anything.” Going to have a big conference with the president of the country that is supporting world terrorism though.

The Federal Government is Cooking the Books by The Elephant's Child

The routine accounting methods used by the administration would land CEOs in jail, says Deroy Murdock. Early in 2002, internal audits found telecommunications company WorldCom was charging operating expenses as capital expenditures, double counting revenue, and undisclosed debt. This is sometimes referred to as “cooking the books.”  The company announced “accounting errors” ($3.1 billion for 2001, and $800 million for first quarter 2002), WorldCom filed for bankruptcy, and CEO Ebbers was convicted in 2005 of securities fraud and other illegal acts.

Bernard Ebbers, WorldCom’s former CEO, is serving 25 years at Oakdale Penitentiary in Louisiana for fraud, conspiracy, and filing false statements, as federal prisoner No. 56022-054.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was grilled before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health by Representative John Shimkus (R-Ill).  Rep. Shimkus wanted to know how the Obama administration could move $500 billion from its left pocket (Medicare) to its far-left pocket (ObamaCare) and somehow finance $1 trillion worth of Medicare and Obamacare.

“Your law cuts $500 billion in Medicare.  Then you’re also using the same $500 billion to say you’re funding heath-care [reform]. Your own actuary says you can’t do both.”

“So, ” the eight-term congressman continued, “are you using it [the $500 billion] to save Medicare , or are you using it to fund health-care reform? Which one?”

Secretary Sebelius confessed: “Both.”

This is illegal. But hardly alone among government examples of the kind of fraud, conspiracy and filing false statements that sent Bernie Ebbers to prison.  There’s the funny business with Social Security, and with government accounting practices as well.  Do read the whole thing.  As Congress is battling over a sea of red ink, it should not be practicing accounting that would send be considered criminal if practiced by business.

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