American Elephants


How Do You Pass a Bill that The Majority of Americans Don’t Want? by The Elephant's Child
November 19, 2009, 11:20 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Statism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

If you desperately want to pass a bill nationalizing one-sixth of the economy, destroying the best health-care system in the world, raising the costs of health insurance for everyone in the country, and raising taxes on everything that moves — and you have some reluctant blue dog Democrats that might not go along — what do you do?

In the case of Mary Landrieu (D-LA),and you need her vote,  if you are Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), you add a little section on page 432 of your health care bill to increase Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”

The bill takes two pages to define which states would qualify, as those stated during the preceding seven fiscal years have been declared a “major disaster area.” All of which manages to apply to just one state — Louisiana, the home of said blue dog reluctant Democrat Mary Landrieu, and presents Louisiana with a Medicaid subsidy of $100 million taxpayer dollars.

That’s how you buy votes.

ADDENDUM: Mary Landrieu didn’t want to be known as aavailable so cheaply. It cost $300 million to buy her off.



Unending Analysis of the Amazing Environmental Benefits of “Cash-for-Clunkers.” by The Elephant's Child
November 5, 2009, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Economy, Environment, Progressivism | Tags: , , ,

Every time I think that there is not another word to be said about  the “Cash for Clunkers” program, another bit of information turns up, demanding to be mentioned:

WASHINGTON — The most common deals under the government’s $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program, aimed at putting more fuel-efficient cars on the road, replaced old Ford or Chevrolet pickups with new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data by the Associated Press.

The single most common swap — which occurred more than 8,200 times — involved Ford F 150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade in their old trucks for new Ford F-150s.  They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F-150 than, say, a Toyota Prius.  The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, and improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.

Well, that worked out well.  You might want to keep this bit of Congressional competence in mind.  It’s not getting better as the bills get bigger.

 



Coming to America… by American Elephant
August 2, 2009, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Energy, Freedom, Politics | Tags: , ,

lightbulb

Germans hoarding incandescent light bulbs:

As the Sept. 1 deadline for the implementation of the first phase of the EU’s ban on incandescent light bulbs approaches, shoppers, retailers and even museums are hoarding the precious wares — and helping the manufacturers make a bundle.

The EU ban, adopted in March, calls for the gradual replacement of traditional light bulbs with supposedly more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). The first to go, on Sept. 1, will be 100-watt bulbs. Bulbs of other wattages will then gradually fall under the ban, which is expected to cover all such bulbs by Sept. 1, 2012 (see graphic below).

Hardware stores and home-improvement chains in Germany are seeing massive increases in the sales of the traditional bulbs. Obi reports a 27 percent growth in sales over the same period a year ago. Hornbach has seen its frosted-glass light bulb sales increase by 40-112 percent. When it comes to 100-watt bulbs, Max Bahr has seen an 80 percent jump in sales, while the figure has been 150 percent for its competitor Praktiker.

“It’s unbelievable what is happening,” says Werner Wiesner, the head of Megaman, a manufacturer of energy-saving bulbs. Wiesner recounts a story of how one of his field representatives recently saw a man in a hardware store with a shopping cart full of light bulbs of all types worth more than €200 ($285). “That’s enough for the next 20 years.” [read more]

No, it’s not unbelievable Werner, it’s what happens when you ban things that people want. Black markets will follow.

Democrats have passed an identical ban in the United States where incandescent light bulbs will become illegal starting with the 100-watt bulb in 2012, and ending with the 40 watt light bulb in 2014.  The same hoarding will happen here. I know. I intend to buy enough incandescent light bulbs to last a lifetime.

What’s unbelievable is that American’s are allowing the nonsensical ban to begin with.

Addendum: According to a recent Rasmussen poll, only 18% of Americans think it’s the government’s job to dictate what kind of light bulbs people can use, while 72% think its none of the government’s damn business.

Precisely why the GOP should make the dictatorial nature of the Democrat party one of their chief campaign issues — starting yesterday.



Is It True What They Say About Healthcare? No it Isn’t! by The Elephant's Child

househealthbilllongrun_thumb

(click to enlarge)

If you are listening to Congressional Democrat claims, or the claims of the administration: No, it’s not true.

The House Democrats unveiled their plan on July 14, with the aim of passing it by July 31, the last day before their August congressional recess.  There had been months of vague claims, but despite promises of “transparency” all legislation was drummed up behind closed doors.  The bills were introduced as close as possible to the date of the expected vote.  The majority wanted to minimize the time available to actually read and consider the bills, so there would be little time for debate, and perhaps the momentum would be enough to carry it through.

Things have not gone as intended.  The public is concerned, with much justification.  The Democrats want to spend $1.5 trillion over a decade, impose an $800 billion tax increase during the worst recession in many years, increase federal borrowing by at least $239 billion (added to the $11 trillion that the Obama budget already imposes on us). Taxing “the rich” will not raise enough money, so the language on not taxing the middle class is becoming increasingly squishy.

In making his case for a government takeover of the U.S. health care system, President Obama has made a number of frequently repeated pledges:

“If you like your current health-care plan, you can keep it.” White House spokesmen say that this pledge” isn’t meant to be taken literally.”  Most Americans will be forced to change insurance plans.  House bill, page 145, Line 15-17, An employer MUST automatically enroll employees into a public option.  No choice.   Page 149, Lines 16-24, ANY employer with a payroll $400,000 and above who doesn’t provide the public option pays 8% tax on all payroll.  Page 150, Lines 9-13, A business with a payroll between $251,000-$400,000 pays a 2-6% tax on all payroll.

“You will pay less.The Congressional Budget Office has made it clear that the “reform” plans now being debated will significantly increase overall health-care costs. Nancy Pelosi said “We will have a cap on costs, but we will have no cap on benefits.”  Page 50, Section 152 in House health care bill,  health care will be provided to all non U.S. citizens, illegal or otherwise.  You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and ‘free’ care for all. Simply doesn’t work.

The Director of the Congressional Budget Office testified that none of the health plans coming from Capitol Hill would control long-term spending.  The administration’s latest money-saving proposal of a “Independent Medicare Advisory Council” has already been turned down by the CBO as increasing Medicare spending instead.  Obama’s had a bad week.

Laura Meckler of the Wall Street Journal said “After his TV appearances [White House Budget Director Peter Orzag] went straight to the Senate Finance Committee, where he spent three hours with committee aides brainstorming about how to pay for the trillion dollar legislation.  At one point, they flipped through the tax code, looking for ideas. (Now there’s a statement to give you pause).

“Quality Will Improve.” How could any sentient being think that this mess of mandates, and commissions, councils, offices, departments. corps, programs and boards will make health care improve?  We have the highest quality health care in the world. 85 percent of Americans are quite satisfied with their health insurance.

Putting more decisions in the hands of Dr. Eziekel Emanuel (Rham Emanuel’s brother) who has been advising Congress?  Dr. Emanuel has written that he favors rationing for older Americans,  favors abolishing the Hippocratic Oath,  thinks private rooms should be abolished, and hates fancy waiting rooms. For him the way to cut Medicare costs is simply to pay doctors and hospitals less. The only problem is that many doctors will not accept Medicare patients now because they cannot afford to. Seniors will have an increasingly harder time finding a doctor.

Our survival rates for cancers are better, our patients are happier.  Our health care costs are not “spiraling out of control”, but have risen very much in line with the rest of the world.  We have some people who do not have health insurance, but far fewer than the Democrats claim. It’s probably somewhere around 1o million, not the 45.7 million claimed, and a good percentage have just chosen not to buy insurance because they are young and healthy.

The costs of emergency room treatment are not excessive.  There is nothing whatsoever in the House Democrats health care plan that will improve quality in any way.

What you will lose is your freedom.  Your freedom will be served up to members of Congress who will meddle constantly, while not participating in the health care plan they’re sticking us with.  If you plan on getting old, old age will be less comfortable because Democrats have found one way to cut costs.  The last years of life cost the most.  The remedy is just to ration the care.  Over 65, if it’s expensive, forget it.  If you are young and healthy this will be of no concern to you unless you have parents and grandparents, or plan on getting old yourself.  Since proposed cuts in elder care will not pay for the plan, there will be more cuts and more rationing.



They Lie, and Lie, and Lie in a Raw Grab for Power. Are You Going to Let Them Get Away With It? by The Elephant's Child
July 16, 2009, 2:51 am
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Progressivism | Tags: , , ,

President Obama is trying to push ObamaCare through Congress before the House and the Senate go home for the August recess. In 15 days?

Mr. Obama has tried mightily to make us think that the Democrats’ Health Care Plan must be passed right now. That it is so urgent to control spiraling costs that we really don’t have time to discuss it or debate it, or even find out what the hell in in the bill!   But “urgent” is a lie, and “spiraling costs” are a lie as well.

They are trying to do it again.  The Stimulus Bill was so urgent that nobody had time to read it– Congress had to get those funds out into the economy to keep the unemployment rate from reaching 8 percent. It’s now over 20 percent in Oregon, Michigan and California.  There were all those “shovel ready” infrastructure projects just waiting for a “go”.  Except that was all a lie.

There weren’t many shovel ready projects, and the jobs were reserved for the union members who financed Obama’s campaign.  Only a small part of the stimulus funds have been spent — there wasn’t any rush, since most of the funds won’t be spent until next year, just before the mid- term elections.  $787 billion!

Then there was cap-and-trade, the utterly stupid climate change bill that had to be passed in a big rush to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, except that was a lie too.

Wind and solar produce electricity, a very small amount of electricity, which has nothing whatsoever to do with foreign oil — which powers our transportation. The bill will enrich some large corporations, kill millions more jobs and raise the cost of living for all of us.  It’s about QUICK!! LOOK OVER THERE!!!  As they try to distract you from what they are really doing — which is just a raw grab for power.

Now they want to push through the biggest change Americans have ever seen in their health care, from a consultative relationship with your doctor, to a socialist relationship ordered and determined by faceless bureaucrats in Washington.  The House’s  “Health Care for All Americans” bill appeared yesterday when the 1,018 page bill first appeared in public.  As Investor’s Business Daily says: “Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.” So that whole thing about ” If you like the health insurance you have, you’ll be able to keep it” that Obama promised —that was a lie too.

The nonpartisan Lewin group estimated in April that 120 million or more Americans could lose their coverage at work, and would end up in a public program. Which would cause the market for private insurance to gradually die out.  “What wasn’t known,” IBD says, “is that the bill itself will kill the market for private individual coverage by  not letting any new policies be written after the public option becomes law.”

The legislation will also probably mean the end of health savings accounts — something that has been a Democrat aim for years.

This is a straightforward advance of soft tyranny.  Free people should be outraged.  And Congress has excused themselves from participating in it in any way.

Michael Moore claims at the beginning of the video that Canadian Health Care is free. That, like most of his other pronouncements, is just another lie. We’re only beginning to realize the extent and consequences of all the lies.



There’s a Lot The Media Isn’t Telling You About ObamaCare. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has had two “Town Hall” meetings to promote ObamaCare.  These are carefully stage-managed events featuring ‘the One,’ with only enthralled supporters, and no dissenting voices.  There was apparently an ‘event’ in our town earlier in the week to sell the president’s health care plan, featuring MoveOn.org activists with bullhorns.  I didn’t attend.

Progressives have long, long wanted to inflict Universal Health Care on Americans.  Since members of Congress and the government exclude themselves from any part of it, they know very well that it is not what they claim for it, and does not live up to the exclusive plan they all subscribe to. That indicates to me that they are not interested in the health care, but in the power that controlling our health will bestow upon them.

I pointed out in an earlier post that Great Britain has a population of 33 million, and their National Health Service is a mess.  Canada has a population of 66 million, and they send their difficult cases down here, and many of their doctors have moved here too.  Massachusetts has a population of 6.5 million, and enacted MassCare in 2006.

What has actually happened with Massachusetts’ plan has simply not received the media attention that it should in the light of the current debate.  Sandy Szwarc reports on the reality.

Massachusetts was to be the nation’s test ground for universal health insurance. MassCare has been held up as the model for similar policies on a national level. Its key elements are part of the national healthcare reform measures being proposed for all of us.

It is newsworthy what the experiment has learned and how things have been working. Yet, national media has been quiet on news about what is happening… even when the most anticipated benefits have not been proved out, and in fact, have been made worse.

As readers remember, Massachusetts enacted MassCare in 2006 and made it law that everyone must buy health insurance — but only state-approved managed care plans with coverage mandates focused on prevention — and that the State would provide coverage under a government program for growing numbers of people unable to afford insurance. About three-fifths of residents now receive free or subsidized health insurance, according to the Massachusetts government — 16% paid through MassHealth and 41% through the subsidized Commonwealth Care.

It had been sold to the public as saving money through a medical home model with care management focused on prevention, pay-for-performance measures and integrated electronic medical records. Instead of costing less for residents and the government, as we’ve learned, nearly one-third of residents report that their individual healthcare costs have increased, and public spending on health insurance this year are expected to have increased 42 percent since the program was enacted. Government spending on the free and subsidized insurance has doubled just in the past two years and is expected to reach $1.3 billion this fiscal year.

Our tax dollars — $1.35 billion per year in federal funds — are now going towards trying to keep Commonwealth Care, which provides free or subsidized insurance for low- and moderate-income residents, solvent. But the costs are even greater for patients and healthcare providers. These are the costs — to lives and quality of care — that we never hear about on the national news.

Read the rest of this important article here. Sandy Szwarc is the proprietor of the excellent website junkfoodscience, which I have found invaluable.  It’s a good one to bookmark.

To repeat, MassCare is such a flop that the rest of us are already paying for it to the tune of $1.35 billion, it isn’t covering everybody, it costs way more than expected and doctors are leaving Massachusetts in droves.  MassHealth denies more claims than regular insurance, and it does not, as claimed,  reduce the public’s use of emergency rooms.

If Massachusetts can’t make the plan that was supposed to serve her 6.5 million citizens work;  the plan that was to prove how wonderful universal health care could be when administered by caring Progressive bureaucrats, then God help us when the Progressive bureaucrats in Congress try to fiddle up a plan for over 300 million of us (excluding Congress and the administration, of course).



Don’t Tell Me You Thought Waxman-Markey Is About Reducing Our Dependence on Foreign Oil! by The Elephant's Child
July 10, 2009, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: , ,

Representative Steve King  (R. Iowa) is absolutely correct about Waxman-Markey.   Do you recognize just how preposterous is the idea that we can set the earth’s thermostat 100 years from now 2 degrees cooler?  In the last century, it only warmed one degree, and now it’s cooled again.

“Just two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey climate bill,” Al Gore said….”President Obama has pushed for the passage of the bill in the Senate and attended a G8 summit this week where he agreed to attempt to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than 2 degrees C.”

Gore praised the Congressional climate bill, claiming that “it will dramatically increase the prospects for success” in combating the “crisis” of man-made global warming.

“But it is the awareness itself that will drive the change and one of the ways it will drive the change is through global governance and global agreements.” Oh.

Former French President Jacques Chriac said in November, 2000 that the UN’s Kyoto Protocol represented “The first component of an authentic global governance.”

Former EU Environment Minister Margot Wallstrom said: “Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide.” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once dismissed the UN’s Kyoto Protocol as a “socialist scheme.”

“A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth.

They keep telling us what they have in mind.  We really should pay attention.




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