American Elephants

The Wizards of Washington Are Hard at Work To Make Your Life Immeasurably Better. by The Elephant's Child
August 3, 2009, 8:05 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Taxes | Tags: , , ,

Probably many of you have seen videos of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this weekend, appearing on George Stephanopolis’ program “This Week” on ABC, putting out a trial balloon carefully planned hint that they just might have to raise taxes on the middle class, to pay off their outrageous spending binge reduce the deficit so that the economy can start to grow again.  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insisted that no, no it isn’t so, President Obama promised…

The federal budget — not all this extra stuff like bailing out car companies and banks — but the cost of running the government is up 11 percent this year.  The “stimulus” has accomplished nothing so far:  63 percent went to Medicaid, 13 percent to the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, 6 percent to highways, 5 percent to other selected programs, and 12 percent to other programs not in the study — just in case you were wondering why a lot of jobs have not been created.  (GAO figures) The one part of the country where new jobs are plentiful?  Washington D.C.

Now that Congress is spending like the proverbial drunken sailors, news has come in that, um, tax revenues have seen the biggest single-year drop since the Great Depression. And the federal deficit balloons to an unbelievable $1.8 trillion, with $9 trillion coming.


Corporate income taxes are down 57 percent, individual tax receipts are down 22 percent from a year ago.  Social Security and Medicare taxes are sure to drop similarly.  It’s not a pretty picture.

Oddly enough, they claim that they are going to pay for all of this by the massive reductions in the cost of health care.  That is, they are going to pay for health insurance for that 45.7 percent of Americans who they call “uninsured”, and it’s going to cost less?  That must be some rationing that they plan for us.

How about canceling the rest of the “stimulus,” and not dumping more money into “cash for clunkers,” and canceling the insane Waxman-Markey climate bill for starters?  And then put off changing around the seventh part of the economy that is the health care that the majority of Americans like.  But wizards like to fix things, even if it’s all just an illusion.

Well, never mind.  The Great and Terrible Oz will fix things.  He has these pretty green spectacles that fasten on with two golden bands that pass around the  back of your head where they are locked together by a little key that is worn on a chain around the neck of the Guardian of the Gates.

If we can just find those red shoes…

Check Into the Hospital, But Take Your Cleaning Supplies With You. by The Elephant's Child

Britain’s Daily Mail has a story about a hospital patient who was so shocked at the dirty ward around her, that she climbed out of bed, dragging her ‘drip trolley’ behind her, gathered up the antibacterial fluid dispenser and some hand towels from the bathroom and started cleaning.

She said it took her about an hour because she could hardly move her neck from the abscess on her neck that put her in the hospital.

A Colchester Hospital University NHS spokesman said: “In the annual health check ratings for 2007-2008 we scored maximum marks for safety and cleanliness and we have also been praised for our very low levels of infections such as C. difficile and MRSA.

Oddly enough, last night we were watching some reruns of the British comedy series “Yes, Minister,” which if you have never seen it, is based on the worst effects of bureaucracy.  It’s beginning to seem not as funny as it once did.  The idea that “it can’t happen here” no longer seems so remote.

Just another little story in the long, long list of stories about the wonders of socialized medicine.

A Reality Check on Health Care Costs. by The Elephant's Child

Democrats are preparing to address health care again next year, so promises are forthcoming at a furious rate.  When there is a brief note of the reality of the vast expense of “universal” coverage, taxpayers should pay attention.  We need to know just what they are doing, not just “for us” but to us.

Peter Orszag, the former head of the Congressional Budget Office,  has left the CBO to become Barack Obama’s budget director.  The CBO is the office responsible for estimating how much legislation will cost the government.

They recently released two reports on health-care financing that should hit Congress like the proverbial ton of bricks.  The short version is that liberal health care reforms will be extremely costly, while measures intended to save money won’t begin to live up to even conservative estimates.

When the reform proposals are added up, even Democrats concede that their new health programs will cost $150 or $200 billion a year. Perhaps in a year when ‘billions’ and ‘trillions’ are everyday terms, Congressional Democrats have lost their sense of  just whose money they are spending so casually. We need to remind them.

These are only estimates.  The real costs will be higher.  Efforts to cut costs, such as information technology, will result in only modest savings.  Current efforts at introducing information technology in hospitals have resulted in massive cases of identity theft, with no way at present to solve such a problem.

The Wall Street Journal issues a cautionary note. Do read the whole thing.   You cannot afford to be ill-informed on this issue.  Your life may depend on it.

We were speaking of Freedom. There are little freedoms and some very big ones. by The Elephant's Child

KENNETH CITY — Council members caved in to demands from an angry crowd and delayed approving a neatness ordinance until officials explain every word of the 26-page document to Kenneth City residents.

In what was estimated to be the largest crowd to ever attend a Kenneth City Council meeting, an outraged group of residents railed at the proposal that would regulate the upkeep of both the exterior and interior of all property in the town.

The proposal basically sets standards for upkeep and appearance and gives town council officials the right to enter homes.  If the owner refuses to allow the official to enter, the town can go to a judge for an “administrative search warrant” to allow access to the interior of  buildings.  Violations would cost up to $250 a day.

Angry residents likened the proposal to rules created by Communist or Nazi dictatorships.  One person said the result would be to create a network of spies to snitch on neighbors to council members and other town officials.  Someone suggested the town should change its name from Kenneth City to “Petty City.”

I know that potholes and traffic lights get boring after a while, but city councils, drunk with power, frequently go too far.  The Seattle Parks Department is considering a regulation to ban beach fires on city beaches to prevent their contribution to “global warming”.  The Seattle City Council was advocating tearing down the dams on the Columbia River, until they took a field trip to Eastern Washington and found out how big the dams are.  The Berkeley City Council and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors provide frequent entertainment, but when it is your freedom that they encroach upon, it isn’t so funny.

Bureaucracies, at every level, want to control things that they find annoying.  Since they are in positions that allow them to dictate to others, they assume that they are qualified to do so. They fail to recognize that restraint is their most important duty.

Some inroads upon our liberty are vastly more important than others. Congress, obsessing over the phony statistic about the number of Americans without health insurance that they used to such effect in the recent campaign, now wants to use that statistic to force universal health care on Americans.

Democrats love the idea of universal health care.  As always, they focus on their intent, the goal, and are uninterested in studies and statistics and results of how such health care actually works in countries where it has been adopted.  Tom Daschle, who will be President-elect Obama’s Health Care Czar (if he is confirmed) thinks that a plan just like Canada’s would be a fine idea.  What planet has he been living on?

To a clone of Canada’s health plan (you must belong) he adds the hated NICE from the British plan to decide what treatment you will be allowed to have, and what drugs you will be allowed to have, and what tests you are allowed to have.  Bureaucrats decide, not you, not your doctor. Many Canadian doctors have immigrated to the US.  Many Canadian patients come to the US for treatment. Fewer people enter the profession of medicine.

Reports from other countries are pretty uniform.  It works for a while, but costs so much that government must drive down costs.  It is NOT FREE, you pay for every bit of your own health care and everyone else’s in increased taxes.  Claims that you will save money are false.  Long waits (6 months) for an appointment or treatment are standard in Canada, Great Britain, France, Sweden, New Zealand.  British patients needing serious surgery go to India if they can afford it.  Ordinary care in India is not good, but there is a higher level for those who can pay.  Hospitals in Britain and France are often dirty and infested with “superbugs”.

These things don’t matter too much when you have a simple, common problem — a broken arm, a bad cut.  It’s when you face a serious health problem that it really matters.  We have more diagnostic machines in any major city than there are in Canada.  People are lured by the false promise that the care is FREE.

I have written about socialized medicine here, here, here, and here. This is an enormous attack on your personal freedom, your health, and will drag your country down.  Please do your homework. Read and read some more.

All of the major think tanks have comprehensive studies.  Do not part with your freedom lightly. There are times when you must stand up and be willing to fight to retain your freedom.

Obama’s health care plan? Be afraid, very afraid. by The Elephant's Child

Do you understand that Barack Obama’s health insurance plan will become universal health care ( the euphemistic name for socialized medicine)?  Democrats are committed to converting Americans to some form of universal health care.  They claim it will be cheaper, (it won’t). They claim it will be more efficient (it won’t).  They claim you will be happier with it (you won’t).  It is a power thing.  Democrats want the power over the American economy that the adoption of socialized medicine would provide.

Hawaii has just provided us with an example of how this works.

Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched.

Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program.  A state official said families were dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan.

“People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free,” said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services, “I don’t believe that was the intent of the program.”

I have written often on socialized medicine, for many people do not understand why it is to be feared.  I tried to point out why it is doomed to failure for you here, I have often referred to Canadian universal health care and the British National Health Service, but we recently received a comment from “U.S. Frog” who is living in France and experiencing the wonders of the French version of universal health care:

I live in France and I know all about “socialized medicine”. For one thing it’s NOT FREE. When you work, 12.5 % comes out of your pay check for health insurance. That is just the basic. Then you have to pay for a secondary insurance yourself. If you have income from property, you will be subject to a “generalized social contribution” of 10 % on whatever that income is. Now, none of these payments are INCOME TAX. You pay for income tax in addition to these and that is just YOUR part. Then you have Value added tax which is something like sales tax. That is 19.6 % of the cost of most articles except you don’t see it because it is added to the price of the article before you buy it. (It would be a shock to any French person to go to the cash register and have the cashier ring up another 19.6% in sales tax, so they add it on beforehand). So you see, this system is VERY EXPENSIVE and I haven’t mentioned the tax on interest and dividends etc. Saying it is free is a DOWNRIGHT LIE. And we have the same problems as the British in the state of hospitals: long waiting lists, superbugs, underpaid doctors (so they ask for under the table payments) etc. etc. The US health insurance system definitely needs a reform but believe me, socialized medicine IS NOT THE SOLUTION.Do take the warnings of other seriously.

‘Universal Health Care’ and ‘Single-‘Payer Health Care’ are simply alternative names chosen to be more palatable for socialized medicine. A rose by any other name… There is a reason for all those aphorisms and warnings that our mothers and grandmothers gave us.  They represent the guardrails of life, and we ignore them at our peril.

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