Right Thinking From The Left Coast
You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life - Albert Camus

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Too Little Too Late

Just pursing the thoughts of the “conservative intellectuals” who helped encourage the election of our current administration, and I found some recent thoughts on health care.
First, Peggy Noonan

The first has to do with the doctors throughout the country who give patients a break, who quietly underbill someone they know is in trouble, or don’t charge for their services. Also the emergency rooms that provide excellent service for the uninsured in medical crisis. People don’t talk about this much because they’re afraid if they do they’ll lose it, that some government genius will come along and make it illegal for a doctor not to charge or a hospital to fudge around, with mercy, in its billing. People are afraid of losing the parts of the system that sometimes work—the unquantifiable parts, the human parts.

The third point is largely unspoken but I suspect gives some people real pause. We are living in a time in which educated people who are at the top of American life feel they have the right to make very public criticisms of . . . let’s call it the private, pleasurable but health-related choices of others. They shame smokers and the overweight. Drinking will be next. Mr. Obama’s own choice for surgeon general has come under criticism as too heavy.
Only a generation ago such criticisms would have been considered rude and unacceptable. But they are part of the ugly, chafing price of having the government in something: Suddenly it can make big and very personal demands on you. Those who live in a way that isn’t sufficiently healthy “cost us money” and “drive up premiums.” Mr. Obama himself said something like it in his press conference, when he spoke of a person who might not buy health insurance. If he gets hit by a bus, “the rest of us have to pay for it.”

Since even the dumbshit redneck that the likes of George Will and Noonan mocked for becoming the GOP base already understands this, I can think of only a few words to describe Peggy’s writing. Piss off Peggy Noonan.

Then there is George Will

There are 1,300 competing providers of health insurance. And Roll Call’s Morton Kondracke notes that the 2003 Medicare prescription drug entitlement, relying on competition among private insurers, enjoys 87 percent approval partly because competition has made premiums less expensive than had been projected. The program’s estimated cost from 2007 to 2016 has been reduced 43 percent.

Although 70 percent of insured Americans rate their health care arrangements good or excellent, radical reform of health care is supposedly necessary because there are 45.7 million uninsured. That number is, however, a “snapshot” of a nation in which more than 20 million working Americans change jobs every year. Many of them are briefly uninsured between jobs. If all the uninsured were assembled for a group photograph, and six months later the then-uninsured were assembled for another photograph, about half the people in the photos would be different.

He puts up some interesting arguments, but the only thing that comes to mind is piss off George Will.

Let’s not forget during the election when there was a choice between a sub par GOP candidate and a populist well composed big government leftist, our so called conservative geniuses decided to abandon promoting any conservative principles, and thought it would be wise to jump on the what ‘s popular at the moment bandwagon. They did not like the idea of questioning this guy; they did not like the idea that maybe after the smiles, the charisma, and the prepared oratory, there might actually be a big spending, big government, all intrusive Democrat running for office. These mavens could not think past the two dimensional question of should I be popular and back a Democrat to look smart for the moment, or just back a crappy GOP candidate? In forgetting, or just not understanding the existence of the third option, they abandoned the wise idea of just keeping their commentary at the time restricted to fiscal conservative principles, and just state they are disappointed with both choices. Perhaps at that time if they would have said we risk going way off balance to the left, and shoot more for promoting the few somewhat fiscal conservatives in the GOP running for Congress, there would at least be some stable opposition in Congress right now.

These two should go the way of Palin and quit. The GOP has a base that is out of touch to be sure, but the so called intellectuals provide equally bad stability to conservative principles. You don’t show your disdain for lack of stability in the slightly more conservative party (or I should say slightly less pro government party) by all but rooting for the liberal one. These idiots could never figure that out, and in the end the dumbshits of the party called this way better than these two did, and now it’s too late.

Just go away Peggy, go away George. There is more housecleaning to be had than pushing out the slack jawed ignoramus GOP backer in the Ozarks, or the unstable Palins. The equally dangerous ones are the self proclaimed intellectuals who are more concerned about feeling popular for the moment than standing true to principle. A note to the Noonans and Wills of the world: You don’t have to promote a bad candidate, but you don’t praise the one on the other side, especially when he wasn’t making any secret about leading us to the path that you pinheads are so concerned about now. The “idiots”, and not you two turds were the ones who were correct on this one, the ones that were mocked for bringing up the word socialist, even though their underlying concerns were absolutely justified. So if this thing passes, may your wait time be a long one. You deserve it.

Posted by on 07/25/09 at 09:00 PM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The CBO Is Not Amused

It’s only a matter of time before the Democrats surround the CBO with torches and pitchforks.  They’re already threatening to break the rules to get healthcare passed.  But their biggest enemy is not the Blue Dog Democrats; it’s the objective people at the CBO who kept dashing the fires of “change” with the cold water of reality.

For the second time this month, congressional budget analysts have dealt a blow to the Democrat’s health reform efforts, this time by saying a plan touted by the White House as crucial to paying for the bill would actually save almost no money over 10 years.

A key House chairman and moderate House Democrats on Tuesday agreed to a White House-backed proposal that would give an outside panel the power to make cuts to government-financed health care programs. White House budget director Peter Orszag declared the plan “probably the most important piece that can be added” to the House’s health care reform legislation.

But on Saturday, the Congressional Budget Office said the proposal to give an independent panel the power to keep Medicare spending in check would only save about $2 billion over 10 years- a drop in the bucket compared to the bill’s $1 trillion price tag.

Orzag is already hilariously backing off from his previous statements, saying, “The point of the proposal, however, was never to generate savings over the next decade. ... Instead, the goal is to provide a mechanism for improving quality of care for beneficiaries and reducing costs over the long term.” By “long term”, Orzage means, “when Obama is no longer in office”.  That’s when he wants cost saving implemented—when it won’t do political damage to his boss.

The unravelling of Obamacare is a joy to see.  For the first time in months, I’m optimistic about this country.  The Blue Dogs are coming to their senses, the Republicans are ... well ... at least not cooperating, the blogosphere and talk radio keep scoring point after point against the plan.  Support for it has already dropped below 50%.  The Democrats are stunned to find that, despite the last two elections, the USA is still a long way away from being a nation of socialists.

I have never been so grateful for the existence of the CBO, which is doing the job our media simply refuses to do.  They providing objective analysis of what the plan will actually fucking do, rather than covering the political horse-race aspects of it.  Kudos to them for doing their job.

So when will it come?  We’ve already had Obama call for an unusual meeting with the head of the CBO (to judge by today’s report, they were unintimidated).  We know that liberals will protest and denigrate anyone who stands in the way of policy—witness their hysterical reaction with the head of NOAA said there was no proven connection between global warming and hurricanes.  So how long will it be before they’re marching on the CBO, assuming they can find it?

Boy.  Reality strings, doesn’t it?

Update: Yet another blow to the libs.  Moveon organizes a protest in favor of Obamacare.  The tea partiers show up in greater numbers.  I’m reminded of Hillary Clinton’s 1993 healthcare bus tour, which was quickly cancelled when it instantly turned into a magnet for protests against her plan.

They really don’t know this country, do they?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/25/09 at 02:40 PM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back In Black

It’s impossible to run an automotive company in this country without government handouts, right?  Wrong.

Ford Motor on Thursday posted a surprise profit of $2.26 billion for the second quarter, ending a streak of four straight quarterly losses.

In recent months, the carmaker has claimed market share from its American rivals, General Motors and Chrysler, while those companies struggled to restructure their operations in bankruptcy court.

Ford executives now say the automaker is on track to return to annual profitability in 2011.

Just to interrupt.  I think Ford is, in some ways, benefiting from the bailouts.  I think this because several people have told me they are going to buy Ford as a protest against the bailouts.  As a relative of mine said, “I’m not buying the same car twice.” This is something the Democrats (and our last President) failed to understand when they handed over sacks of money to GM and Chrysler.  The American people didn’t like it—and they’ve voted against the bailout with their car loans.  No matter how much Obama tells us to support the stricken companies, we simply won’t do it.

Ford’s gains were aided by rapid cost cutting in the second quarter. Ford reduced its debt obligations by $10.1 billion, which will save the company more than $500 million a year in interest expense. It raised $1.6 billion by issuing common stock. The company said it also cut “structural” costs by $1.8 billion, in part by eliminating 1,000 U.S. hourly jobs through buyouts.

They also point out that Ford is doing very well in the business of ... you know ... making cars that people want to drive.  The Fiesta is selling very well in Europe and a number of their other cars are getting solid reviews and good sales.

It’s almost like, when times are tough, businesses that aren’t getting subsidized find ways to make ends meet.  I know.  Your jaw has hit the floor in wonderment at the notion that a company can survive all on its own.  But there it is, in black and white.  $2.26 billion worth of black, in fact.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/24/09 at 09:13 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sexting Sanity

My take on the whole “sexting” phenomenon—the tendency of young people to send out nude pictures of themselves—is pretty simple.

1) If you send someone a naked picture of yourself, you’re an idiot.  Nothing ever dies on the interwebs.

2) Being an idiot should not ruin your life.  This is America.  I like to think that even the most idiotic person can grow up to become, say, Chairman of the House Financial Service Committee.

It’s nice to see that someone agrees:

Recognizing that teenagers who e-mail nude or sexually suggestive photos of themselves to friends aren’t really child pornographers, New Jersey legislators are proposing alternatives to criminal prosecution that may be more effective in stanching the recent practice.

Pending bills in the state Assembly and the Senate would create a diversionary program, by which minors who are charged with the creation, distribution or exhibition of nude photos can avoid prosecution by completing a course focusing on the consequences of such acts.

The sponsors say teenagers often engage in the practice—sometimes known by the play on words “sexting”—out of a psychological vulnerability, not a criminal mindset, and the law should reflect that.

There is, of course, no way to predict our cultural future.  There is a nagging thought in my mind that Robert Heinlein was right—that the day may come when nudity isn’t a big deal.  After all, my grandparents couldn’t have imagined that a President could admit to getting blown by a 19-year-old intern and stay in office.

But we don’t live in that world.  We live in a real one where it would be difficult, for example, for a lawyer to respect a federal appeals judge who was once on Naked Live Teens or something.  Circulating naked pictures of yourself is a big deal.  This sounds like an imminently sensible way to handle it—far superior to the tactic of arresting people and charging them with sex crimes.

Who knew that New Jersey could be sensible?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/24/09 at 03:34 PM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Gates Business

I’ve tried several times to write something intelligent about the Henry Luis Gates business.  It’s not easy, given the racial aspects.  And I’ve noticed that the conservative blogosphere is conspicuously quiet on the subject.  That’s infinitely preferable, of course, to the liberal blogosphere, which has already made up its mind about What It All Means.

The problem is that we’re getting several different versions of events from people who are not exactly objective.  I don’t know precisely what happened.  I can only throw out some thoughts:

Having helped someone break into his own house only to have the cops show up, I understand both how someone can call the cops in that situation and how a homeowner can be annoyed with trying to prove that he does, in fact, live in his own house.  That annoyance has to be very strong when you’re a distinguished 59-year-old college professor with a driver—hardly the profile of a criminal.

Reading up about Gates, I can understand how he might be sensitive on racial issues.  As a young man, he was told that African literature wasn’t real literature.  Later, the author he wanted to study won a Nobel Prize.  He came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when this nation (and Boston in particular) was coming apart over the issue of race.  For a man of his generation, having a cop barge into your home and ask you to prove it’s yours has to be especially humiliating.

John McWhorter has an outstanding commentary on both Gates and the relationship between black and cops.  You should really read the whole thing.  Ta-Nehisi Coates is also being his usual brilliant self.

But for me, it boils down to this: even if we were to posit that Gates read a racial aspect into the incident that wasn’t there; even if we were to assume that he became belligerent with the officer question—it still seems a monumentally stupid thing to arrest someone in his own house when he hasn’t committed a crime.  If we arrested people for yelling at police, we’d have to arrest every woman on Cops yelling at the men who are dragging her worthless husband off to jail.  I’m fine with charging people with Assaulting an Officer if they resort to or threaten violence.  But even the cops aren’t claiming Gates did such a thing.

I think people should be polite to the men who keep us safe at night.  Think about this: had this been a real break-in, the cops’ response would have kept Gates’ home from being pillaged by a burglar.  But I don’t think that politeness should be entrenched into law.  Even if we assume that Gates’ critics are right and he was being a jerk, being a jerk is not and should not be a crime.  Both of these guys are probably guilty of dickish behavior to some degree.  But in the conflict between man-in-his-own-house and cop, I’m inclined to give a little more leeway to man-in-his-own house.

Tell me why I’m wrong.

Update: Slate has a good summary of the relevant law.  Bottom line: Gates probably shouldn’t have been arrested.  The Smoking Guns has the cops’ side of the issue (H/T: Aratek).  Neither of these changes my opinion—there was dickishness on both sides, but not enough to warrant an arrest.

Update: Bill Cosby rebukes Obama for talking about the issue when he didn’t have all of the facts (or any, really).  I too was disappointed the the President immediately jumped into the fray here.  That’s a job for dumb bloggers, not Pragmatic Presidents.

Update: Marc Ambinder has some great commentary from his years in Cambridge.  Two recent developments—the officer involved works to stop racial profiling; hardly the model of a racist cop.  And Obama is rapidly backing off from his comments on the case.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/23/09 at 07:57 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

A Nation of Children

Let me be clear.  I think the mom did something questionable.  But isn’t this a bit of an over-reaction?

When Bridget Kevane dropped her three children and their two friends off at a Montana mall in June 2007, she never thought that a few hours later she’d have a criminal record.

But that’s what happened when Kevane let her daughter Natalie, 12, and her best friend of the same age take three younger children—including Kevane’s 3-year-old daughter—to the mall without adult supervision.

“I was definitely in shock,” Kevane told ABCNews.com of her initial reaction when told that she would be charged with a criminal offense because of her decision to let her kids roam the mall alone.

Under Montana State law, a parent can be charged with child endangerment if he or she “knowingly endangers the child’s welfare by violating a duty of care, protection, or support.”

When the two 12-year-olds went inside a Macy’s dressing room to try shirts on and left the three younger children, ages 8, 7 and 3, unattended, an employee called mall security. Police were called to the scene and they summoned Kevane and her husband to the mall and arrested Bridget Kevane. She was allowed to leave the mall with the children, but given a court date for a few days later.

I have no problem with leaving three kids in the charge of two 12-year-olds, positing that they’ve demonstrated the maturity to babysit.  I don’t have a problem with letting two 12-year-olds wander the mall on their own.  It’s the combination of circumstances that seems to have been a problem.  The two baby-sitters fell down on the job—leaving the little kids unattended.

I wouldn’t have done this because I know how difficult it is to keep track of little kids even for an adult.  Expecting a 12-year-old mind to focus on that task with the distraction of a mall is a bit much.  But criminal charges?  I suppose the cops are hoping to “teach her a lesson” or “make an example of her”.  But being charged with a crime has a massive impact on someone’s life, particularly a charge of child endangerment.  And I particularly like the Police Deputy trying to justify their actions by pretending Bozeman Montana is some kind of meth-infested cesspool.

This case has, of course, become a springboard to the much larger debate of how much we should coddle our kids.  The article even includes a quote from Lenore Skenazy; She’s the mother who let her 9-year-old ride the subway.  Yes, “the”.  We’ve gotten so paranoid about our society—even as we’ve slowly drifted down to 1970’s level crime rates—that letting your kid ride the subway is front-page news.  And that’s the comparatively mild form.  I know parents who are shocked that I was allowed to walk home alone from school at age six.  That was a mile walk through an extremely safe suburb.  Although I will let on that it was uphill, both ways, in the snow, even in June and I had no shoes and bullies were chasing me.

At least, that’s the way I’ll remember it when it’s my daughter’s turn to walk home from school.

We’re raising a nation of wusses.  We’re raising a generation of kids who think that a pedophile is crouching behind every tree and a mugger in every alley.  Kids who turn to jelly if a parent is not in view.  It’s one thing to teach kids safe behavior—my mom made sure I knew not to talk to strangers before she let me walk home.  But it’s another to hold kids’ hands 24 hours a day, to never let them out of your sight and to shriek every time a parent leaves some kid on their own more than 18 nanoseconds.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/23/09 at 06:04 AM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

I guess there are wars the left thinks need to be fought

I almost lost my breakfast when I ran into this gem dealing with another John F. Kerry - did I tell you I was in Vietnam? - committee hearing where the church of AGW movement resorted to the usual scare tactics and calamitous predictions to frighten people into accepting their push for a one-world collectivist government that will regulate all aspects of our lives, redistribute wealth according to what the elite feel is fair, and thus save the planet from a made up Armageddon.

WASHINGTON—Massive crop devastation, melting glaciers, water shortages, millions of displaced people—all of these will drag the US military into conflict if global climate change goes unchecked, a Senate panel was warned today. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, convened by Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, focused on what so far has received only modest attention in the climate change debate: the effect it is bound to have on national defense.

“Addressing the consequences of changes in the Earth’s climate is not simply about saving polar bears or preserving the beauty of mountain glaciers,” retired Navy Vice Adm. Lee F. Gunn, president of the American Security Project, told the panel. “Climate change is a threat to our national security.” Gunn and other military specialists said that climate change could have broad effects on how the US military operates. It will likely expand the number of humanitarian missions the Pentagon will have to undertake, they said, and even change how it deploys its fighting forces.

When are we going to have the panel meeting discussing how the alien invasion will affect the use of our military and all the fanfare surrounding that, huh? What about the panel that discusses the impact of the actions of the leftist military hating twits that are about to gut our military and leave it unprepared to deal with a rising and imperialistic China? Or the one about how our military will end up like that of the USSR after the collectivists destroy the US? I seriously believe there is more chance of one of these scenarios coming about than this ridiculous AGW pap.

At least we found out that the collectivists don’t really hate the religion, military, war, national interests and certainly not imperialism. They just hate it the religion, military, war, and national security issues when they don’t coincide with their ideological movement. And imperialism seems to actually a great thing to the libs, if you use force to make others bow to your cultist AGW beliefs. That communist movement seems to be alive and well.

Posted by AlexinCT on 07/23/09 at 05:10 AM in Decline of Western Civilization   Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Revenge of the “Taxmasters”!

Well can’t say I didn’t expect the angry politicians, deprived of the means to rob the people of California, well, the productive ones at least, of more of their hard earned dollars, to strike back at the ones demanding cuts. Forced to not use the only tactic they care to – increase taxes – these politicians, beholden to the people that survive by sucking the productive dry like vampires do their victims, the politicians have decided to sour the milk. If they need to cut spending to balance the budget, then what they will do is cut the spending that will cause the most harm and displease the most people, not cut the waste. Hence the threat to release 27,000 felons; to cut costs of course!

It’s not that these politicians don’t get it. They get it just fine. And they are pissed that the peasants have revolted and denied them their power. Instead of cutting the bloated bureaucracy and the waste, especially in the massive and ridiculous entitlement programs that cost Californians a fortune, they will cut critical services! That way the angry populace, fearing the effect of 27K felons released from prison – admit that the first thing that springs into the mind of normal people is that they are going to cause mayhem – will break down and allow them to do the only thing they really want: raise taxes. In that entire article I didn’t see a single effort to roll back the bloated social spending. The 3 day monthly furlough of unionized state workers isn’t even close to a solution: it’s a band aid over a stab wound to the carotid artery.

Californians better be aware that the people supposedly serving them see them as nothing but ATMs. The current tantrum is akin to that thrown by those that get mad that the bank dared to impose a fee on them taking out their money. Before you say that this analogy is off, remember that these politicians already believe that your money is theirs. That’s why they always feel the solution to any kind of budget gap is to tax you more. This is where the rest of the country is heading to. Only we do not have the protection of a Prop 13. Of course the people driving us over the cliff are saying they saved the day. They have to. Public opinion has turned as more and more people realize we are heading from the frying pan right into the bonfire. And since the America hating politicians in charge are not done pouring gasoline on the fire yet, to get it real hot and ready, so it can burn up the America they so hate and allow their collectivist banana republic to be born from its ashes, they need to snow the masses, for just a little bit more, to give them time to drive in that final nail or two into the coffin.

Cross posted at Wasting time with Alex

Posted by AlexinCT on 07/22/09 at 06:23 AM in Cullyforneah   Health Care   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Audacity

When I was 14 years old, my mother had a kidney transplant. The year before that, my aunt had one. Chronic renal failure is one of the hereditary gifts on that side of the family, but my brothers and I figured we would at least reach our 40’s before having to worry about dialysis and donor lists.

Then a few weeks ago, a doctor told me that I may have a problem with my kidneys. I’m 24 years old.

It’s why I haven’t posted in a while. I decided to head back to NYC for the time being, taking a job with a city school and continuing my columnist gig. Hopefully there turns out to be no serious issues. Part of me feels like this is just a good time to finally go back. I’ve been busy packing stuff up and canceling utilities, but for obvious reasons, I’ve also been thinking a lot about health care. Here is an enlightening segment from an AP article:

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama pushed back hard against Republican critics of his health care overhaul plan Monday, vowing to fight “the politics of the moment” and press for passage of legislation by the end of the year.

“We can’t afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care,” Obama said after meeting with doctors, nurses and other health care workers at Children’s National Medical Center. “There are too many lives and livelihoods at stake.”

Without mentioning his critic by name, the president recounted South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s comment that stopping Obama’s bid for health care overhaul could be the president’s “Waterloo,” a reference to the site of Napoleon’s bitter defeat.

“This isn’t about me,” Obama responded. “This isn’t about politics. It is about a health care system that is breaking American families.”

The president said it was time to “fight our way through the politics of the moment” and pass legislation by the end of the year, a shift in his repeated timetable. Obama had said previously that he wanted the House and Senate to vote on legislation before lawmakers leave town for their August recess, with a comprehensive bill for him to sign in October.

I look at an article like this and I feel excited at the prospect of working with native English-speaking New York high schoolers again. There is much about it that is instructive and useful for a lesson on examining premises. What exactly are the politics of “the moment” or “delay and defeat”? What does the fact that Obama’s rhetoric is becoming more obviously empty than it already was suggest? Obama cannot offer a single substantive reason as to why the congress must rush to pass this overhaul according to his timetable; instead he tosses out some slogans and insinuations praying his image will do the rest.

Stop and think about it for a spell. This isn’t some minor esoteric bit of tax policy; his intention is to completely reconfigure our entire health care system. Whatever bill the congress passes will alter the medical care, insurance, hospital standards, training, and very livelihood of hundreds of millions of people. The extraordinarily modest trillion dollar price tag will be paid for decades to come, likely by our children and grandchildren. This is absolutely not the sort of thing that should be cannon blasted through the congress after a couple of weeks of debate where none of the members even have time to read the bill. Someone needs to ask this guy exactly who the hell he thinks he is. “Audacity” is precisely the word for it.

Richard Lowry of National Review made several good points on this topic:

Why else the mad dash? Obama noted in an interview with ABC News the other day that his health program won’t be phased in until 2013. That’s four years from now. The problem that Obama describes of rising health-care costs bankrupting the government is also a long-term issue, one that needn’t be addressed in pell-mell fashion over the next two weeks.

But the longer Obama’s health-care program marinates in the sun, the worse it smells. Obama’s signature line that anyone who likes his current coverage gets to keep it has been shown to be untrue in recent weeks. His rationale of passing a $1 trillion program to reduce costs is undermined every time the Congressional Budget Office analyzes a real Democratic proposal. No wonder Obama wants to close down the debate before his rating on health care — down to 49 percent in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll — drops any farther.

Ramming through legislation without any assurance that it will work doesn’t seem pragmatic or farsighted. But for Obama’s purposes, it is. His goal is nothing short of an ideological reorientation of American government. Putting in place the structures to achieve this change in the power and role of government is more important than how precisely it is accomplished.

The stimulus might not do much to stimulate the economy during the recession, but its massive spending creates a new baseline for all future spending. The cap-and-trade bill might not reduce carbon emissions during the next decade, but it creates a mechanism for exerting government control over a huge swath of the economy. Obamacare might not work as advertised, but it will tip more people into government care and create the predicate for rationing and price controls.

I seriously hope that I don’t have any serious issue with my kidneys. Like the rest of the economy, I think our healthcare system is going to get worse before it gets better. The best thing that could happen now is that the blue dog democrats delay long enough for support to drop below 40%, forcing Obama to renegotiate. Really, anything that slows this shit sandwich of a bill down is a good thing. Ideally the 2010 elections would happen first, during which some good republicans would get into office and start kicking some ass, but who’s really optimistic about that happening? It’s likely that the congress will eventually pass something just to make themselves feel important.

But if the consolation prize is that Obama is left permanently crippled politically, I’ll take that with a smile. Hopefully this really will be his Waterloo. If the abstractions of financial markets and banking regulations didn’t hit Americans hard enough after hundreds of billions in stimulus spending, hopefully the specter of government rationed health care will spook enough to give the tea party movement some teeth. 

Posted by The Contrarian on 07/22/09 at 06:10 AM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Our Grandchildren Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For

Dammit.  I’d written a draft blog post about how the Democratic plan for healthcare financing was “starve the best” in reverse.  And then McArdle beat me to it:

For a long time, Republicans, and conservatives, and libertarians, embraced a strategy known as “starve the beast”.  The idea was that you pass tax cuts now, and the resulting budget deficits will hold down spending increases.  Eventually, it will get so bad that they’ll have to cut spending, because tax increases will be so unpopular.

Hrm.  Didn’t work out as planned.  Arguably, in fact, it made things worse:  by assenting to budget deficits, Republicans took a price tag off new spending.

On health care, it seems to me that many Democrats want to do the same thing in reverse.  Pass programs now, and figure out how to control costs later.  That was the strategy behind the Massachussetts health plan, which more than one liberal pundit has earnestly praised as a strategic model for a federal proram.  Instead of starve the beast, we stuff it.  Hell, we stick a tube down the federal beast’s throat and gavage the sucker.

Perhaps the most offensive aspect of recent politics has been the foisting of troubles onto future generations.  It show up on the small scale—Bush illegally using TARP funds to kick the automaker problem down the road to Obama—or on a massive scale—trillions of dollars of debt foisted onto those who haven’t even been born yet.

Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than the tendency of administrations to set programs to explode in the out years.  As I noted before, the CBO has estimated that Obamacare will not start up for a few years.  But by the time Obama leaves office, it will be running $200 billion deficits—at which point it will be Someone Else’s Problem. This is exactly the situation Massachusetts finds themselves in right now—trying to find a way to control the exploding costs of Romneycare.

We can’t reform healthcare without either cost controls or tax hikes on someone other than “the rich”.  But Obama can’t put any of those idea forward without scuttling the whole thing.  The plan is already in trouble.  The governors are worried about unfunded mandates.  Blue Dogs are bailing.  Even the Mayo Clinic has questioned the bill.  The frustration is bringing out his arrogant side.  Admitting that ... someone ... is going to have to cut spending or raise taxes just isn’t on the table.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/21/09 at 06:43 PM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Nuff Said…

Check out the latest WH scam:

The Obama administration is delaying release of a congressionally mandated report on the nation’s economic conditions, spawning speculation that it is trying to tamp down bad economic news to avoid further complicating the already fraught legislative debate over health care reform. The report, which is normally published by late July, is being delayed by several weeks, the administration acknowledged on Monday. Officials said the hold-up is not unusual in presidential transition years, noting that Presidents George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton each published their initial budget updates weeks late.

Translation: The economy is being wrecked by the collectivist dimwits in power right now. But they are not done destroying the economy or the country yet. So they are hiding any news that would make the obvious irrefutable in the hopes they can still pound the healthcare poison pill down our throats.

And that’s not the only thing being delayed. See the patern yet? I wonder how much regret the many people that voted for Hopey-Changey thinking he was going to “fix” everything are feeling these days. Don’t worry peops. It is gonna get a lot worse!


Posted by AlexinCT on 07/21/09 at 05:49 AM in Health Care   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   The Press Machine   War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, July 20, 2009

Banks Pass “Go,” Collect Over $23 Trillion

I saw this on Karl Denninger’s Four Horsemen blog before other sites started picking it up, and I still can’t believe it.  Linked from The Hill, at Market Ticker:

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general over the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), will tell lawmakers on Tuesday that taxpayers are being left in the dark about what banks are doing with bailout money, don’t know the value of the government’s investments and will not know the full extent of how the money is invested.

Barofsky said that while the TARP program that Congress passed amounts to $700 billion, the total federal government support since 2007 for the economy and the financial sector could reach a far higher figure of $23.7 trillion. The government has committed significantly more money through a variety of other federal agencies and programs.


Knowing the shitstorm that would undoubtedly ensue, Barofsky tried to soften the blow and keep Obama from firing yet another inspector general.  From ABC:

That figure, Barofsky notes, is designed to “suggest the scale and scope of these efforts and not to provide a firm financial statement.” It is not a figure that has been evaluated to give an estimate of likely net costs to the American taxpayer. “The actual potential for losses,” he says, “is likely to be lower.”

Of course, this is entirely beside the point.  No way in HELL should the American taxpayer EVER be on the hook for $23.7 trillion to the banks or any other institution, regardless of whether it’s a doomsday figure or not.  As Karl pointed out, that is 33 times what was authorized for TARP and twice the national GDP.  And keep in mind that these programs have been in place since 2007, not just when TARP was implemented.  In other words, the “most ethical Congress EVER!” and the “most transparent administration EVER!” have practiced neither proper ethics nor transparency.  And why should they--most of these guys in Congress are in bed with the very people they are supposed to be regulating.  Consider Obama, who just appointed a VP of Goldman-Sachs to the State Department.

And in the midst of all this very clear handwashing with special interests, what did President Eephus Pitch have to say about health care?

Speaking at a children’s hospital, the president said, “Now, there are some in this town who are content to perpetuate the status quo, are in fact fighting reform on behalf of powerful special interests. There are others who recognize the problem, but believe—or perhaps, hope—that we can put off the hard work of insurance reform for another day, another year, another decade.

You might want to start looking in the damn mirror, asshole.

Update: A hilarious comment on the ABC article distills Obamanomics down to its essence:

Posted by on 07/20/09 at 04:18 PM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Damage Control!

It looks like the NYT has decided they better take Murtha down - sort of make him the scapegoat and lay all the blame for this massive pay-for-play defense scandal at his feet - to help protect many other democrats involved in this scandal from the same fate. In fact, this article, throws Murtha under the bus, even while in passing pointing out that there are many more democrats involved, but never points out that there is an entire “culture of corruption” thing at work here. Must be because the NYT progressives are realizing that the country is seeing the democrats for what they are, realizing they were had, and are very likely to turn on them hard in 2010, especially if they find out that the democrats are involved in scandals that make those they hyped about the other side look like chump change. This article reeks of damage control to me. Make Murtha the fall guy, protect the many other democrats involved, and hopefully prevent the American people from taking the lot of them down in the next election cycle. Oh that liberal media…

Cross posted at Wasting time with Alex

Posted by AlexinCT on 07/20/09 at 10:42 AM in Left Wing Idiocy   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tranquility Base Here. The Eagle Has Landed.

At 20:17:40 UT today (that’s 4:17:40 PM on the East Coast), it will be forty years exactly since Neil Armstrong said that words, marking the most amazing event in human history.  Let’s hope that at 20:17 July 20 2019, we will have taken a few steps closer to returning.

Update: Discovery Channel is re-running the Mythbusters episode on the moon landing.  It’s one of the best episodes they’ve ever done.  Hopefully, you’ll catch it.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/20/09 at 09:07 AM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Bottoms Up

Apparently, liberals are shocked shocked! that critics of Obama are using expressions such as “Bend over, here it comes” to reference Obama’s policies.  Apparently, this reflects some sort of nascent gayness, lingering racism and/or extreme rage among the Right.

Christ on a crutch, what cocoon do these guys live in?  I’ve been hearing sodomy metaphors used in politics for as long as I’ve been aware of politics—longer, in fact, than I’ve understood what the metaphors meant.  For the last eight years, liberals insisted that various sexual acts described what Bush was doing to the middle class, the Middle East, the economy, the environment, endangered species, science and the spacetime continuum.  Now it’s suddenly some ugly gay-bashing racist metaphor?

Ok.  Whatever.

Update: One wonders what these ignorami would have done had they been around in 1800, when John Adams’ opponents said he was a hermaphrodite and Thomas Jefferson’s said he was going to fill the White House with prostitutes.  Sexual insults are nothing new guys.

Update: The laziness of the linked blog post still annoys me.  Google is a wonderful thing.  If you search or “Bush bend over”, you will find 743,000 hits.  Yeah, Stephen.  It was evil racist homophobic conservatives were the first ones to come up with this metaphor.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/20/09 at 07:38 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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