Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Obamacare To Make Doctor Shortage Worse

There I was, minding my own business, when suddenly my television started telling me about all the benefits I could get under Obamacare. Blech. What’s worse, it wasn’t even an Obama campaign ad. Nope. This piece of propaganda was produced by HHS with my very own tax dollars. Grrr. And not surprisingly, they left out a very key detail called a doctor shortage. Let’s discuss.

Grrr. . . Seriously, W.T.F.?: How can HHS put an ad on my television pimping Obama’s “signature” achievement, i.e. the one he won’t mention on a bet? Well, disturbingly, this is legal. Federal agencies are not allowed to engage in partisan politics. This goes back to the 1930s when the Republicans tried to suck the politics out of the federal bureaucracy. Up to that point, the agencies were considered spoils of the process and the parties used them to hand out jobs and favors and to extract favors in return. Laws like the Hatch Act put an end to that.

So how can HHS run an ad that is essentially a pro-Obama campaign ad? Believe it or not, federal agencies are allowed to advertise the kinds of benefits they offer the public. That’s right. They are actually allowed to put out ads telling people to come get “free” stuff, i.e. things paid for by the taxpayers. This falls under the category of performing their mission because their mission requires advising the public about the benefits available to them.

What HHS technically was doing was telling the public about the new benefits being offered so that those of us who qualify could sign up for them. It just so happens that in so doing, they were basically campaigning for Obama by telling everyone about the great new law offering all the free healthcare you can sponge. Grrr.

As an aside, this isn’t the only instance of this during this election cycle. The Department of Agriculture has actually teamed with the government of Mexico to advertise American food stamps to any eligible Mexicans. Grrrrrr.

Is There A Doctor In The House?: Anyway, HHS left out one key point in their expositions on the “virtues" of Obamacare: there aren’t enough doctors. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that without Obamacare, the nation will be short 62,900 doctors by 2015 and 100,000 by 2025. With Obamacare, the number will exceed 125,000 by 2025. That’s an interesting admission. Why would a law that was meant to make everything perfect make the doctor shortage worse? There’s even a part of Obamacare which was supposed to address this! So how can this be? Well, the law only authorizes 3,000 new doctors, not the 125,000+ needed. Moreover, the law itself is driving doctors from the profession.

Further, I think these numbers are vastly understated. According to official estimates, 30 million people are about to get health coverage in 2014. If the system already has a shortage of doctors, how much worse will it get when that happens? The government recommends 60-80 primary care physicians and 85-105 specialists for every 100,000 people. This means, 30 million “new” people will need an additional 21,000 primary physicians and 28,500 specialists by next year. It apparently takes ten years to train a doctor. So unless someone expected Obamacare in 2004 and started cranking up the med schools, we’re going to be 49,500 additional doctors short starting next year because of Obamacare. And all of this is before another 25 million people join the ranks of Medicare, meaning they will need a lot more care than they presently receive, and they will need it on the taxpayer’s dime.

The result of this doctor shortage will be felt in two ways. Some people won’t be able to find care. A good example of this can be seen in Medicaid. In 2008, less than half of primary care physicians were willing to take new Medicaid patients. Why? Because they lose money on each. Obamacare expands Medicaid. In fact, one-third of the 30 million people who will be “covered” will be covered through an expansion of Medicaid. Few of those people will be able to find doctors.

The other way this will be felt will be as “an invisible problem.” This means that patients will still be able to see their doctors and get care, but the process will become slow and difficult because of overcrowding. Some people will need to drive long distances. Many will languish on waiting lists for care. And a lot of people will end up using the emergency rooms as a substitute. In effect, Obamacare will make the very problems it was supposed to cure worse. Imagine that.

[+]

Monday, July 30, 2012

Here Comes “The Republican War On Jews”

Obama has a Jewish problem. That’s been pretty obvious. You just can’t keep attacking people without them eventually getting upset. And Romney is now trying to win over Jewish votees. So it’s time for Obama to whip out the dirty tricks. Here comes the War on Jews.

Let’s start with the obvious. Obama lacks popularity. Anyone who has followed his approval rating knows that it looks like the famous Al Gore “hockey stick” only held the other way around. Check out this graph from Rasmussen, which shows a quick fall followed by remarkably stable unpopularity.
Obama has made this worse with policies that have hurt people and rhetoric that offends them. What this means is that Obama no longer has broad popularity and he needs to spend his time trying to excite his supporters group by group. That’s why we had the War on Women meme, the War on Hispanics/Immigrants meme, the War on Blacks meme, the War on the Poor meme, the War on the Middle Class meme, and a few others I’ve probably forgotten. Now it’s time for the War on Jews.

Obama’s popularity among Jews is fading. He’s down to 68% according to Gallup, though the real number is likely lower. Why? Well, his policies have largely undermined Israeli security in favor of the Palestinian radicals he knew in his youth. ObamaCare threatens Medicare, which is very popular with older Jewish voters in places like Florida. And his attacks on bankers have a distinctly anti-Semitic ring to them, so much so that the Wall Street community has openly complained about his rhetoric and have begun to close their wallets. And with Romney now making a play for Jewish support, it’s clearly time to act.

Hence, Nancy Pelosi fired the opening shots in the new meme this weekend when she claimed that Republican-leaning Jews are “being exploited” and that Republicans are merely “using [support for] Israel as an excuse, what they really want are tax cuts for the wealthy. So Israel, that can be one reason they put forth.” In other words, Jews, like blacks and women and everyone else before them are too stupid to realize that the Republicans are only lying to them about their beliefs and only want their votes so we can cut taxes on the wealthy. This woman is insane.

Interestingly, Pelosi must have realized calling Jews stupid was a bad move, so she quickly added this little contradiction: “And they’re smart people. They follow these issues. But they have to know the facts.” How can they both know the issues and yet not know the facts? That’s like saying, “he understands football, he just doesn’t know how football works.” Then she proceeded to explain some of the facts these silly deluded Jews didn’t know:
“The fact is that President Obama has been the strongest person in terms of sanctions on Iran, which is important to Israel. He’s been the strongest person on whether it’s Iron Dome, David’s Sling, any of these weapons systems and initiatives that relate to Israel. He has been there over and over again.”
Ok, so they didn’t realize that Obama has been pushing sanctions, that he’s been “the strongest person” on various weapons systems being built by Israel, and that he’s been to Israel. Uh... if they don’t know these “facts” then can we really say they know the issues? These aren’t factors anyone who “knows the issues” could have missed. Frankly, I’m finding her whole line of “you’re so deluded but you’re really smart but you don’t actually know jack” a tad bit insulting. Also, I should point out that Obama has not yet visited Israel even once since he's been in office, so she’s lying. . . as usual

Anyway, this weekend also saw Obama using foreign policy for electoral gain. Romney has been talking about Israel. He also just visited. And his speeches have gone down rather well. Said Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu about Romney’s Nevada foreign policy speech, “Mitt, I couldn't agree with you more.” Netanyahu also pointed out this about those sanctions Pelosi thinks Israel wants:
“We have to be honest and say that all the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota. And that's why I believe that we need a strong and credible military threat coupled with the sanctions to have a chance to change that situation.”
So much for Pelosi’s facts. Romney, by the way, said in Israel that he has a “zero tolerance” policy toward Iran obtaining nuclear capability and said:
“Make no mistake: the ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object, and who will look the other way. My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one and the same: I will not look away; and neither will my country.”
One of his advisors even said that Romney would respect Israel’s right to strike Iran unilaterally.

So guess what mysteriously happened this weekend? SOMEONE let slip that Team Obama has presented Israel with a plan of attack for striking Iran. Let’s be honest. Obama’s national security team chose this weekend to leak that they have a plan to attack Israel because Romney’s speech was very well received and his support among Jews is growing. This leak is a disgusting political ploy which risks the lives of US personnel in the event of an attack, and it fits the pattern of leaks Team Obama has been guilty of in trying to make their effete foreign policy seem more muscular. Heads needs to start rolling for these leaks.

This administration really needs to be shown the door.

99 days to go!

[+]

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Romney Blasts Obama’s Foreign Policy

President-pending Mitt Romney spoke at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Nevada this week, and he gave a rather devastating critique of Obama’s foreign policy. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.

Romney began by laying out his standard for what our foreign policy should be, and he did this by ripping into Obama. Consider this the “Romney Doctrine”:
Has the American economy recovered?

Has our ability to shape world events been enhanced, or diminished?

Have we gained greater confidence among our allies, and greater respect from our adversaries?

And, perhaps most importantly, has the most severe security threat facing America and our friends, a nuclear-armed Iran, become more or less likely?
Bingo! That’s perfect foreign policy! That is exactly the test any President should apply to all foreign policy decision. Not coincidentally, this test also proves to be a devastating takedown of Obama’s failures because Obama cannot answer yes to any of these points.

Romney then got specific. He noted that Obama’s policies have strangled the recovery, which weakens America’s ability to project its power. He claimed Obama exposed the military to unjustifiable cuts which threaten the military. He attacked Obama for mishandling national secrets, which endangers our policies and our people. And he pointed out that Obama has “given trust where it is not earned, insult where it is not deserved, and apology where it is not due.” All true.

When our economy is weak, we stop being the shining beacon to the rest of the world. Our enemies see us as in decline and decide the opportunity to strike is at hand. Countries like China have used Obama’s term to bury us in debt, to push for the elimination of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, to become much more aggressive in Asia, to build up and modernize their military, to hoard resources, and to begin the unchecked economic colonization of Africa.

Our military has been stretched to the limit since 2001 and not only has Obama done little to help them, he used their budget as a bargaining chip. To get a budget deal, which the Democrats now refuse to perform, he proposed ripping a trillion dollars in cuts from the military. I don’t believe the military budget is inviolate, but that is obscene. Moreover, he’s politicized the military at all turns, from don’t ask don’t tell, to using the military as a campaign prop, to ignoring abuses by our frenemies like Karzai in Afghanistan while punishing and neglecting the Americans who risk their lives to prop up these failed policies. There is even a report out today that the Army stopped an investigation into a corrupt and horrific hospital in Afghanistan (the Dawood National Military Hospital) in 2010 because the report would have been issued too close to the election for Obama’s comfort.

This administration has been horrible about protecting secrets as well, which is ironic as they ruthlessly go after whistleblowers. They fed classified information to Hollywood so they could make films that are mere propaganda for Obama’s campaign. And now they’ve been leaking classified documents to the New York Times, e.g. documents about US cyber attacks against Iran and “kill lists” Obama has authorized. Even the Democrats admit these leaks are coming from the White House. Said Sen. Diane Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks.” Democrat Pat Caddell has actually accused Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon of being the primary leaker.

Frankly, this has all been done to make Obama look tougher. And of this, Romney told the VFW: “[the administration] betrays our national interest [and] compromises our men and women in the field.” Again, all true.

Finally, Obama has been harsh to our friends and weak to our enemies. As Romney put it, he “abandoned our friends in Poland and the Czech Republic” and he kowtowed to Russia and China. And Romney said this about Israel:
The people of Israel deserve better than what they have received from the leader of the free world. And the chorus of accusations, threats, and insults at the United Nations should never again include the voice of the President of the United States.
And don’t forget, Obama tried to support a coup in Honduras against our friends in favor of a Chavez-like dictator wannabe. He’s been rude to Britain and India. He flooded Mexico with illegal guns. He stopped a needed Canadian pipeline. He’s been useless on the Euro crisis and useless in the Middle East. Heck, he didn’t even placate the world’s sensibilities by closing Gitmo. And he lost control over environmental issues to the BRICS and he managed to make pirating super profitable.

Obama’s record is a disaster. He’s made everything worse and achieved nothing. Is the US better off than it was four years ago? Hardly. But let’s let Romney sum this all up:
This is very simple: if you do not want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I am not your President. You have that President today.
Damn straight!

[+]

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tax Returns: To Release Or Not To Release

Should Romney “release his taxes”? Actually, no. He shouldn’t. It’s a trap and he’s doing the smart thing by refusing. And the establishment Republicans whining that he should really need to shut the heck up. Observe.

This. . . Is. . . SpartaAmerica!: Let’s start with the obvious. Folks, this is America. We’re supposed to be indifferent to what people make and we’re supposed to celebrate success. So why do we need to see Romney’s taxes? What are they going to tell us? That he’s rich? We knew that. That he’s got rich guy deductions? We knew that too. That he’s got rich guy sources of income? Well, duh. SO WHAT?!!

This demand to see his taxes is all about class warfare and conservatives should oppose this on instinct. It’s time we stopped letting people be attacked for their success. It’s time we stopped judging people on their money and instead judged them on their actions and views. It’s no wonder we get crappy presidents if we’re basing our decisions on the deductions they take on their taxes.

Spin v. Reality: This issue is misleading in any event. Romney actually has released his taxes for 2010 and 2011. So where does this idea come from that he won’t release his taxes? It comes from the Democrats demanding that he release 10 years worth of taxes, and they are spinning his “failure” to produce those as Romney refusing to release any of his taxes. Understand the truth, he’s already released as many years as the IRS requires you to keep and he’s released more than John Kerry did in 2004 -- Kerry released only his 2003 taxes. So why should Romney release 10 years worth? According to the MSM, Romney’s father “set the standard by releasing 12 years.” Really? The standard is 12 years? Then why did Obama release only 6 years? Why did Hillary only release 6 years and only after Obama prodded her? Why have only 13 Democrats and 3 Republicans of the 535 members of Congress released their tax returns. Where is this standard Romney is supposedly violating. . . or does it just apply to the Romney family?

The Smell of Desperation: The fact the Democrats are pushing this tax returns issue tells us they are desperate. They need a diversions so they can avoid talking about Obama’s record. But this strategy isn’t working. Why? Two reasons. First, the public ultimately doesn’t care. No one is going to make their decision based on how many years of taxes Romney releases. Secondly, Romney is playing this right. If he releases his taxes, the Democrats will comb through those taxes and will do their best to keep “finding” new information to dribble out week by week until the election. By refusing to release these records, all he’s left the Democrats with is speculation and speculation gets old fast.

Indeed, we see this already. This weekend, there were a series of articles about what Romney could possibly be “hiding.” These articles were less than effective. The new talking points appear to be that Romney won’t release his taxes because he’s afraid it will anger conservatives. Their reasoning? Those taxes might show (1) that he’s worth more than people think, (2) that he gave money to Harvard, his alma matter, and (2) that he gave lots of money to the Mormon Church. You tell me, is any of this news? And how will it turn off the base to learn that Romney gave to his church or his alma matter? And if his income bothers you, then it doesn’t really matter if he’s worth twenty million or thirty million, does it? But this is all they have. . . unless Romney releases more taxes.

That’s why Romney’s smart to refuse to release any more of his taxes. In fact, there’s an excellent article on why it’s a trap for Romney to play this game at the American Spectator (LINK). The point is that the Democrats have always done this when they needed to run away from their records, they try to create mini-scandals to keep the public’s attention on the Republican. And to do that, they take meaningless things and spin them into scandals. As soon as one “scandal” is exhausted, they move on to the next. So all Romney will do by releasing his taxes is feed their scandal machine, which is currently out of ammunition.

Cowards: That brings us to the likes of George Will, Bill Kristol, Karl Rove, and National Review, among others. These people represent the “weak knees” of conservatism. They are so accustomed to surrendering to every Democratic demand that they get nervous whenever Republicans refuse. In their minds, the Democrats are always more clever, are always standing on the high ground, and always have the public on their side. Naturally, they want Romney to play right into Democratic hands in the hopes of “defusing the issue,” which is another way of saying “admit he’s wrong for being rich and beg for mercy.” Forget that!

Interestingly, these are the same people who keep attacking Romney for not fighting aggressively enough. Rove recently claimed Romney is losing because he’s not fighting back against each and every allegation (which is both untrue and is stupid advice). Keep in mind, Rove was the man who ran Bush’s political machine which operated on the principle of never defending itself. . . ever. And Kristol just unbelievably wrote this: “Does this year’s presidential campaign strike you as strikingly petty?” Well Bill, it would be less petty if talking heads like yourself weren’t obsessing with Obama’s distractions. And this is after Charles Krauthammer of Kristol’s Weekly Standard whined that Romney needs to apologize for RomneyCare. . . for no good reason whatsoever.

I think it’s time we handed guys like Kristol and Rove their walking papers. They’ve never been right and now is no different. They are aiding and abetting the Democrats once again and they need to be called on this. Fortunately, Romney has no intention of following their advice. He’s called this a privacy issue and his surrogates are out there counter-attacking Obama for not releasing his college records. Man it’s nice to have a candidate who doesn’t surrender at the first sign of shots being fired!

A Little Mirth: Finally, I leave you with this excellent bit of photoshopping by tryanmax. This was created in response to our desire to see politicians wear more jumpsuits. Yeah, jumpsuits. And why the heck not?! They’re showmen and all good showmen wear jumpsuits. Enjoy!

[+]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Poll-arama: Blow Out Ahead

All right, we know not to read too much into polls this early. We also understand that polls get kind of fuzzy when translated into votes. And we know that electoral college votes are more important than the popular vote, and the electorate is largely fixed. Still, when you start to see so much data going in one direction, you begin to wonder. Things don’t look good for Obama.

Yeah, They Built That: Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line continues to resonate with voters. We know this because people keep talking about it everywhere. Pollsters are even asking the public about it, which means it’s entered “the mainstream consciousness.” And guess what? The public isn’t on Obama’s side. According to Rasmussen:
● 77% believe small business owners work harder that other workers. Only 2% disagree.

● 57% believe that entrepreneurs do more to create jobs and economic growth than big business or government.

● 61% believe small business provides more valuable services to local communities than big business or government.

● And Gallup found there appears to be a fundamental shift in the public’s view of government as 61% now say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and private business.
This is all really bad for Obama, whose campaign strategy is to attack business as a mere outgrowth of government. The public ain’t buying it.

It’s Not Bush’s Fault After All: Nor are they buying Obama's attempt to avoid blame. Riddle me this: who said in 2009, “Look, if I can’t turn the economy around in three years, I will be looking at a one-term proposition”? Here’s a hint: he’s spent the last three years trying to blame all his failures on George W. Bush. Well, according to a new poll taken for The Hill, that excuse has worn thin. The Hill found that 66% of respondents blame the slow economic recovery and total lack of jobs on bad government policy. Of those people, 34% lay the blame on Obama. Only 18% continue to blame Bush. Moreover, 53% of voters say Obama took the wrong actions and caused the economy to slow. None of this is good news for Obama.

What could be upsetting people? How about this. Who said in 2003 that George Bush needed to “fix up the economy” before he did anything else? Here’s a hint, it’s the same guy who decried Bush’s $300 billion deficit as “underscor[ing] the recklessness of the George W. Bush administration and the Republican Congress.” And it’s the same man who has now given us five straight years of budgets with trillion dollar deficits. If $300 billion was reckless, what does that make a trillion five times over?

We’ll Take the Mormon over the Moron!: All of this is adding up fast. USA Today/Gallup asked people who they trust more when it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs. Despite all the time and effort Obama has poured into his Bain Capital attacks, Romney wins this in a blowout: 63% to 29%. And it gets worse. Despite all the attacks Obama has made, including record spending on negative ads, Romney’s popularity has gone up from 53% to 54%, and the number of people who say they share Romney’s views has gone up from 42% to 45%.

But even more importantly, 18% of Republican and Republican leaning voters report being more enthusiastic about voting than normal. This compares to only 4% of Democrats and Democratic-leaners who report the same. That’s an enthusiasm gap of 14%!! Enthusiasm will be key this year because the evidence suggests that less than 10% of voters are actually swing voters. These numbers suggest a blow out in the works.

A Cold Day In Minnesota: Finally, we have this amazing bit of new. Mitt Romney is within striking distance of winning Minnesota. Yeah, Minnesota. Obama leads 46% to 40%, but the key here is that Obama can’t get to 50% and his 6% lead is half of what it’s been in the past. If Minnesota is in play, then Obama might as well quit right now. The last Republican to win Minnesota was Richard Nixon. Even Ronald Reagan never carried that bastion of idiotic liberalism.

How do you say “blow out” in Minnesotan, eh?

P.S. Don't forget, it's Star Trek Tuesday at the film site.

[+]

Monday, July 23, 2012

Leftists Exploit Gun Tragedy. . . As Usual

With the Aurora shooting a couples days removed now and emotions cooling, let’s talk rationally about the issue of guns. As usual, the left has hopped on this tragedy in full exploitation mode. They’ve blamed everything from guns to the Tea Party. They are, as always, wrong. Let’s discuss.

As with Gabby Giffords, the left immediately jumped out and pointed their twisted fingers at the Tea Party. This charge was led by ABC News who decided the shooter had to belong to the Tea Party because they found a Tea Party member with a similar name. Naturally, they never bothered to investigate before smearing the Tea Party. Eventually, they were forced to retract this, but not before every other new outlet repeated the slander. Those outlets never withdrew their reports.

Meanwhile, the usual pack of leftist celebrities took to the airwaves to whine that this proves we need gun control. Roger Ebert even whined that this proved that concealed carry laws don’t work because no one in the crowd had a gun. Think about that. In Roger’s mind concealed carry means that someone in every crowd must be carrying a gun even when the theater and law forbid it. What a twisted turd he has become.

In any event, none of this is working. Almost no one on Capitol Hill has called for gun control laws. To the contrary they are running like scared rabbits. Why? Because polls show the public’s support for gun rights at an all-time high. Indeed, an October 2011 Gallup poll found that 73% of Americans would not support gun bans. This was the highest level in 50 years. Incidentally, the same poll showed 68% approval for the evil NRA.

So why doesn’t the public fall for the blathering of the moronic celebrities and professional tragedy exploiters? Easy, it’s common sense.

As I’ve pointed out many times before, gun tragedies are incredibly rare. The United States has 2.5 million deaths annually, but only 12,000 of those are related to guns (0.4% of all deaths) – many of these are shootings by police. This places gun deaths 43rd on the list of causes of death in the United States, well behind diseases, cancers, suicides, diarrhea related deaths, unintentional injuries, measles, falls, drownings, poisonings, fires, asthma and road accidents.

And mass shootings of the type in Aurora are even more rare. For example, in the last 10 years, there have been only seven shooting sprees at schools in the US that resulted in three or more deaths. Moreover, Europe has a comparable mass murder rate, despite its strict gun control laws. Europe saw six such mass murders in the same period, and the European ones had a higher body count. China too has seen a spree of stabbings at schools that have resulted in a vastly higher number of deaths than American shootings. So this problem the celebrity left is whining about simply about doesn’t exist, and people realize that.

Secondly, guns don’t kill people. There are 250 million guns in the United States. If guns “caused” crimes as the left claims, then there would 250 million murders a year. Even if only one in ten people fell under the evil spell of these guns, we would still be dealing with 25 million murders a year. Heck, even one percent means 2.5 million murders. Yet only 12,000 people are killed annually in the United States by guns. That works out to less than 0.004% of guns being used to kill someone. . . 40 out of every million guns in the country. Guns do not cause crime.

We know this from Switzerland too. Everyone in Switzerland is required to own a gun, yet gun crime is virtually nonexistent. It’s so low they don’t even bother keeping official statistics on gun crime. It is, in fact, lower than the gun crime rate in Japan, which absolutely bans guns. Switzerland ranks as the fourth safest country in the world and its violent crime rate is 1/100th that of Britain, where guns are banned.

Moreover, there is strong evidence that guns actually prevent crime. When Britain banned private gun ownership in 1996, crime rates skyrocketed. According to American Enterprise Institute economist John Lott, an examination of information released by the British Home Office showed that the violent crime rate rose 69% following the gun ban (with murders increasing 54%). Interestingly, in the five years prior to the ban, such crimes had been falling consistently.

A county by county examination by Lott of crime rates in the United States, found that right-to-carry states experienced (on average) lower rates of violent crime (27% lower), murder (32% lower), robbery (45% lower) and aggravated assault (20% lower) than states with more restrictive gun laws. Other studies conducted at Vanderbilt University, SUNY Binghamton, Claremont-McKenna College, George Mason University, and the College of William and Mary, have supported Lott’s findings.

So Ebert’s attempt to prove that concealed laws don’t worry through a bad analogy is proven ludicrous by comparison to these statistics.

The truth is the world is full of nuts. And if they want to find a way to kill people, they will find a way. It is better to let decent people arm themselves so they can defend themselves than it is to disarm the very people who would help, leaving everyone at the mercy of the crazies. It’s interesting that our left thinks this way. Why do you supposed they don’t want you being able to defend yourself?

[+]

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Obama v. Welfare Reform: Destroying What Works

A poll this month by The Hill found that while two-thirds of Americans believe Obama has indeed transformed America, 56% of those voters believe Obama changed the country in a negative way. Only 35% believe he changed the country for the better. And if you want an example of the types of things Obama has done to generate this kind of animosity, consider what he’s doing to welfare reform.

For decades, the Republicans pushed the idea of welfare reform. Specifically, they wanted to encourage people to get off welfare and start working. The Democrats, however, flat out refused to allow any attempt to make such a change. Indeed, any time the issue came up, they would whine that the Republicans were looking to throw single mothers and their children out into the streets to starve.

In 1994, the Republicans finally got control over the Congress for the first time since 1952. Along with a Republican Senate and a weakened and unprincipled Bill Clinton in the White House, they set out to change America. One area they targeted was welfare reform. To that end, in 1996, they passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. This fundamentally changed the way welfare works in America by:
● Ending welfare as an entitlement,
● Placing a lifetime limit of five years on benefits paid from federal funds,
● Requiring recipients to begin working after two years of benefits,
● Encouraging two-parent families, and
● Enhancing enforcement of child support.
This bill also gave the states vast discretion in how to achieve these rules. Clinton signed this bill after vetoing the first two attempts. And while liberals hated the reform at the time, it’s now been recognized as a significant success, having cut the number of welfare cases by 53% and reversing an unabated upward trend which began in the 1960. Clinton even claims it as one of his biggest achievements.

So guess what Obama wants to do now? Obama has started handing out waivers to states to eliminate the work requirements contained in the bill. Unbelievable. He is attacking a bill which everyone except the extreme left admits worked magnificently. And in a perverse bit of reasoning, Team Obama claims this change is intended to help parents “successfully prepare for, find, and retain employment.” So by eliminating the requirement that people find work, we are helping them prepare to find work. Huh?

Fortunately, the Republicans aren’t sitting still for this. Romney said on Friday:
“The success of bipartisan welfare reform, passed under President Clinton, has rested on the obligation of work. The president’s action is completely misdirected. Work is a dignified endeavor, and the linkage of work and welfare is essential to prevent welfare from becoming a way of life.”
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan charged that, “President Obama will make it harder for Americans to escape poverty. He is hurting the very people he claims to help.” Others are calling this “a blatant violation of the law.” Rep. Dave Camp called this move “a brazen and unwarranted unraveling” of the law that “ends welfare reform as we know it.” And Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina said,
“You don’t improve people’s lives with handouts, you improve people’s lives by showing them, as I learned growing up in the inner city in a single parent household, that you can think and work your way out of poverty.”
It’s amazing how Obama keeps trying to refight the battles the left lost in the past and how he doesn’t care that history has proven his side wrong. It’s even more amazing how ready he is to trap a whole new generation on welfare. But keep in mind, there is method here. As we’ve discussed before, almost 50% of Americans now draw their living from government benefits in some form. These people are much more likely to vote Democratic because that is the party who promises to keep the spigot flowing. This weakening of welfare reform is nothing more than an attempt by Obama to add more people to the government dole, much like Obamacare was an attempt to increase the number of people on Medicaid and to hook the middle class on health care subsidies. Obama is trying to snare people into government dependence.

This needs to end.

[+]

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Elective Thoughts

Lots of little things in the news again, but nothing huge. Romney’s VP choice is being discussed extensively, as is Obama’s latest gaffe. A few “conservatives” are still trying to bring down Romney, and there’s more evidence Obama is doomed. Let’s roundup a few campaign thoughts, shall we?

Thought No. 1. Village Grade Idiocy. Obama really is a fool. Check out this quote: “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t built that. Somebody else made that happen.” W.T.F.?? This is the kind of ignorance only a man who never created a single thing could possess.

When you start a business, you take your own risk. Unless you’ve got a crooked financier behind you (like a certain “first black President” and his worthless wife), then you take your own money and your own time and your own labor and you bring them all together to create something that you hope to sell. If you do it right, and there is a market for what you are offering, then your business grows. Soon you hire other people to help expand. But you need to manage them, and everything is still your risk, your money, and your time. Only a man who thinks there are 57 states could suggest otherwise.

This actually gives us insight into why he’s failed as president, because this is how he understands leadership. He thinks you sit your skinny ass in a big leather chair or hide on a golf course as other people make things happen. That’s why ObamaCare became a cluster fudge, why he didn’t get card check or cap and trade, why financial regulation became such a mess, and why he can’t get any budget deals. Pathetic.

Thought No. 2. Just Shut Up Already. I’m really sick of “conservatives” attacking Romney and offering retarded advice. Charles Krauthammer wants Obama to issue an apology for RomneyCare so Obama finally has something to attack. HotAir does too. Bill Kristol is demanding that Romney release his tax returns because that's what Obama wants. This needs to stop. How about these people go after Obama instead of Romney?

Interestingly, of all the clowns in the circus, Donald Trump had the best take on the tax issue. He said that Romney should agree to release his taxes only when Obama agrees to release his college applications and records. Yes! He then said, “I'll tell you what — the Republicans have to get a lot tougher. They have to get down and dirty also, because that's what's happening to them.” I never thought I’d agree with Trump, but this is absolutely right. It’s time that guys like Kristol learn that you can't win by crawling on your stomach to meet the politicized demands of your opponents.

Thought No. 3. VP-arama. Romney is supposedly getting close to naming his choice for VP. I don’t think he can hurt himself with any of the names mentioned so far, but he can waste an opportunity if he picks the wrong person. I’ve said it before that I think he need a minority to send a clear message that the Republican Party has changed. In that regard, the short list includes Rubio, Jindal and Rice. I would prefer Rubio or Jindal to Rice, but I’d take Rice too. Also on the list apparently are Ryan and Pawlenty. I respect both men greatly, but picking either would probably make the ticket easy to lampoon as Dull and Duller. Both would be excellent once in office, however.

I would prefer Rubio (Allen West actually), but my money is now on Kelly Ayotte. She represents New Hampshire in the Senate and was previously the state’s Attorney General. She’s strongly conservative across the board. I’ll profile her if she’s chosen.

Whoever he chooses, it’s worth pointing out just how great Romney’s search has been. Rather than do the usual thing of trying to get a couple weeks of national exposure by dropping names, Romney has spent months now going from state to state, being seen each week with a possible candidate from that state. In the process, he’s generated buzz at the state level in key states (for himself and the local Republicans), and he’s used this as a way to deflect all of Obama’s attacks by each time suggesting he was getting close to making his choice. It’s been brilliantly done. Let’s hope his choice is as brilliant.

Thought No. 4. The Bain of Obama’s Existence. I was a little confused this week when Romney strategist Ed Gillespie suggested that Obama’s attacks on Bain Capital were working. This clearly is not the case. For one thing, there’s nothing to attack. Bain bought and sold businesses, big deal. That hasn’t been controversial since the 1980s. For another, once you say the word “finance” people’s eyes glaze over. For yet another, Obama’s attacks have been esoteric, “lost in the weeds” attacks. Indeed, does it matter to any voter exactly what level of control Romney had as Chairman? Hardly. And if you want proof, look at the number of MSM types who have NOT dug into Bain. They know no one cares.

So why suggest these attacks are working, especially as there’s no evidence Romney is working to counter them? The answer is simple: Team Obama doesn’t seem to realize they’re beating a dead horse, and this was an attempt to make them think they were on to something so they would continue with this useless attack. Nice.

Thought No. 5. Money Troubles. Obama made news last week by whining that Big Bad Romney has so much more money than poor little Red Obama. Interestingly, that’s not actually true. Since this election cycle began, Romney and the RNC have taken in about $425 million all told. Obama and the DNC have taken in $550 million.

So why the whining? Because in the past few months, Romney has blown Obama away. In June, Romney took in about $106 million compared to Obama’s $71 million. In May, Romney raised $77 million compared to $60 million for Obama. And apparently, Romney is now getting increasingly bigger checks as GOP whales are starting to give. Obama, meanwhile, isn’t. Obama is worried by the trend and acted desperately.

Thought No. 6. DOOMED!! Finally, we have more evidence that Obama is doomed. One of the key demographics Obama need is young people. They are the one group he carries overwhelmingly and he needs them to make up for all the oldsters who will be turning out to toss him out. But the news isn’t good for Obama on the youth front. Gallup tracks enthusiasm by age group. In 2004, young people (age 18-29) turned out at 6% below the national average. In 2008, contrary to popular belief, they turned out 7% below the national average. If what they told Gallup is to be believed, they will turn out 20% below the national average in 2012!!! At the same time, old people who turned out 1% below average and 2% below average in 2004 and 2008, intend to turn out 7% above average in 2012. That’s the group that hates Obama the most. All of this will crush Obama and suggests that we are looking at a blow out.


[+]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Law of the Sea Treaty Dead Again

We’ve spoken before about Big Business not being conservative. Here’s more proof, along with some very good news. The Law of the Sea Treaty is dead. Good for America.
Why This Is A Dangerous Treaty
I first became aware of the Law of the Sea Treaty when it was conceived during the Reagan years in 1982, and it seemed like a horrible idea at the time. The idea was that the world’s oceans contain a vast amount of mineral wealth, but because only the rich world has the resources to exploit it, a treaty should be passed to divide this wealth equally among all countries.

The way the treaty works is it divides the ocean floor into zones. Internal waters (like a bay) and up to 12 miles from shore are considered territorial water and are treated as if they are dry land. A country’s sovereignty is complete within that zone (the old zone was three miles). The next 12 miles are considered a continuous zone. Within that zone, countries may impose laws related to customs, taxation, immigration and pollution, but cannot stop navigation. The next 200 miles are considered an exclusive economic zone. Here the state has some rights, but foreign countries may lay pipe or cable and navigate freely. Beyond that are international waters.

This may sound harmless, but that’s not all the treaty does. The treaty includes 320 articles and is over 200 pages long. It establishes a complex regulatory regime that applies to almost every commercial and government activity related to the oceans. This includes the regulation of shipping, the regulation of drug interdiction, and even the regulation of manufacturing conducted in coastal waterways. Moreover, it gives the U.N. unprecedented taxing and permitting authority over international waters. Essentially, this is a U.N. takeover of oceans.

Through these regulatory schemes, the U.N. could impose things like the Kyoto Protocol (on global warming) through the back door, could forced U.S. citizens to pay energy taxes to other nations, and the U.N. could claim the power to regulate U.S. military actions.

Ronald Reagan refused to sign this treaty for similar reasons. The extension of the territorial limit from 3 miles to 12 miles meant U.S. submarines and intelligence ships could be put in danger. He felt the regulatory scheme would stop undersea mining as permits to mine require an application fee of $250,000 ($500,000 at the time), plus the corporation must pay an annual fee of $1 millions to the U.N.’s International Seabed Authority, plus they would need to pay up to 7% of profits, plus they would need to share mining and navigational technology. Moreover, the decision on whether or not to grant such a license would belong to the Seabed Authority, which is controlled by Third World countries. This would give them veto power over all such activities. Reagan believed this was set up to discourage deep sea mining to protect the mining industries on land, which tend to operate in Third World countries. He also objected that the mandatory dispute resolution procedures bound Americans to the decisions of foreign judges and harmed American sovereignty.

Clinton tried to pass this treaty and essentially failed, as did Bush II and Obama. John Kerry has been pushing this in the Senate.
Why It’s Dead
Since two-thirds of the Senate must support a treaty before it can become law, it only takes 24 Senators to stop a treaty. Thirty-four Republicans have now come out in opposition to the Law of the Sea Treaty, which means it’s effectively dead. The charge was led by Tea Party conservative Jim DeMint, who was joined by GOP liberal Rob Portman of Ohio, conservative Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, cow-tipper Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, and 29 other Republicans. John “my friends” McCain was on the wrong side, as always. Since the treaty cannot get the two-thirds vote it needs, it’s dead, Jim. . . for now.
Who Supports It And Why
Naturally, only Democrats (and McCain) supported this thing, right? Actually, no. The American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce both supported it. API is Big Oil’s lobbying arm and the Chamber of Commerce is Big Business’s lobbying arm. How could they possibly support this, you ask? Doesn’t the loss of sovereignty, the risk to the US Military, the imposition of international taxes mean anything them?

Well. . . no. Their only concern is profit. And by getting all these minerals safely regulated by an international tribunal, they can then go about making money by extracting them. What about the taxes and fees? Well, that’s really your problem, not theirs, because corporations don’t pay taxes. . . their customers pay taxes.

If you ever needed a more clear example of how little the United States of America and you mean to these companies, this is it. They will happily sell you and your rights to a United Nations tribunal dominated by corrupt Third-World governments just so they can make sure they get the monopoly rights on these minerals. Think about that the next time some oil company or some mineral company or any other multinational company comes to you and says they need some law to help them.

These people are not our friends.

P.S. Don't forget, it's Star Trek Tuesday at the film site.

[+]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Romney's Great Speech At The NAACP

Let’s talk about Romney’s speech to the NAACP. He gave a great speech and I suspect it will serve him well. Interestingly, the race-baiters seemed to have nothing they could counter with, except calling Romney racist, and that’s not really going to work. As with his appeal to Hispanics, this speech was brave and correct.

What He Said: Romney made several interesting points in his speech, each of which fit into the theme of his policies making the lives of blacks better. This is an interesting choice because it sidesteps all the race-baiting stuff for which Republicans normally fall. Observe.

First, Romney noted that Obama has been horrible to blacks. Specifically, black unemployment is 6.2% higher than white unemployment and the average income and median family income is lower for blacks than whites. He then promised that his goal as president would be the creation of jobs, but he intends to do so without trying to target things for specific racial groups:
"If I am president, job one for me will be creating jobs. I have no hidden agenda. If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him."
This actually got booed, which tells you something about the audience, doesn’t it? Then he said something fascinating. He essentially told the audience that capitalism isn’t their enemy. Check this out:
"I’ve never heard anyone look around an impoverished neighborhood and say, 'You know, there’s too much free enterprise around here. Too many shops, too many jobs, too many people putting money in the bank.'"
This is a brilliantly subtle point. What he’s doing is saying that no matter what other issues blacks may have vis-à-vis race in America, capitalism is not to blame. And subscribing to free enterprise, rather than the spoils system so popular in black circles, will make their lives better without them even having to give up the other issues which concern them. In other words, he’s trying to depoliticize capitalism and wealth.

Then he spoke about education, calling it the “civil rights issue of our era” and arguing that “mediocre schools” are setting black kids up to fail. To fix this, he pointed out that he supports school choice and won’t be beholden to the teachers unions, as Obama is. Here is how he sold this idea:
"If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, black families could send their sons and daughters to public schools that truly offer the hope of a better life. Instead, for generations, the African-American community has been waiting and waiting for that promise to be kept. Today, black children are 17 percent of students nationwide—but they are 42 percent of the students in our worst-performing schools."
Notice that again, he’s telling blacks that this is an issue which they should depoliticize and thus support his education policies, which have proven effective. He’s also tossing a wedge between blacks and the teacher’s unions.

Finally, he made a direct appeal for them to look past the ideology and take an honest look at him:
"I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African-American families, you would vote for me for president."
That’s a pretty solid appeal across the board.

Smart Move: Romney was never going to win over the NAACP because those people have blinded themselves to anything they don’t want and nothing Romney could have said or done would have won him their vote or endorsement. So was it smart to give this speech to a hostile crowd? Well, yes. Winning over the NAACP wasn’t Romney’s goal. Instead, Romney was speaking to several other groups:
1. White Moderates. By speaking to the NAACP, Romney shows himself to be inclusive and willing to hear from everyone, not just his most loyal constituents. That makes moderates comfortable.

2. White Conservatives. By refusing to pander, Romney continues to show that he has strong conservative instincts -- though this point will be lost at some blogs.

3. Hispanics. By being seen appealing to blacks, Romney demonstrates to Hispanics that he’s not a white candidate speaking to white audiences. Following his speeches to Hispanics, this will help soften Hispanic fear that Romney wants to make them second class citizens.

4. Average Blacks. Obama will need every black vote he can get. Last time Obama got 96% of the black vote, and he still polls at 92% now. By speaking to the NAACP and speaking honestly, while making it clear he wants to help blacks, Romney could peel off a few percentage of blacks, which could make a key difference in some states. In other words, he doesn’t need to win them all to be successful, every percentage point counts.
He’s Racist: The moment Romney finished, the race baiters started whining. There was nothing in his speech they could attack so they turned him into an evil genius by claiming he designed his speech so he would be booed, with the intention of using that booing to win over racist whites. Clearly they don’t believe this, but they know that many of their followers are stupid enough and paranoid enough to think this is true. So it’s a decent strategy in that regard. In fact, the smears started yesterday when Romney was called "too white" to speak to the NAACP. But I think ultimately, this speech is the kind of speech which could shift the needle a couple percentage points over time. And if Romney’s message that blacks don’t need to fight us on all issues finds legs, then the race industry is in serious trouble.

Final Thoughts: Romney continues to impress, quite frankly. I have no doubt that if Newt or Santorum were the nominee, they would have told this group about all the laws they passed to give blacks spoils. Santorum would have promised some piece of civil rights legislation -- Newt would have promise seats on the new moon base. And in the process, both would have strengthened the liberal meme that everything related to blacks needs to be seen through the prism of race.

What Romney did here is give a speech which basically laid out how a color-blind agenda will help blacks too, and he suggested to them that it was all right to agree with us on issues like economics and education because they didn’t need to surrender their beliefs on other issues to do that. That’s incredibly smart.


(P.S. Obama sent Biden to the same conference. He said racist things, told a sex joke and insulted veterans.)

[+]

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Smell of Disaster

Ya know, you take a week off to give the world time to refill its collection of news stories and then you come back to find nothing is going on. What the heck? Did the world get lazy? . . or sane? Well, no, not quite. There are a few things worth discussing. It seems things aren't going well on the left.

Uh, Whoops (Part 52): Once again, Team Obama has stepped up to the plate with a new attack on Romney. And once again, it’s failing miserably. This attack involves calling Romney an outsourcer of jobs. The only problem? No one cares. . . if they’re even listening. Moreover, Romney has once again turned Obama’s attack back against Obama and made him look stupid. This time, Romney made the obvious counterattack by calling Obama the nation’s “Outsourcer in Chief” and pointing out that Obama’s policies have encouraged jobs to be sent oversees and resulted in taxpayer money being paid to overseas companies. Indeed, let’s not forget that the president of Obama’s President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, Jeffry Immelt of General Electric, sent 25,000 American jobs overseas in the two years before Obama appointed him. Whoops.

Carolina Dreamin’: Speaking of Obama, here’s proof he’s going to lose North Carolina even though the polls show a neck and neck race. Democratic Representatives Larry Kissel and Mike McIntyre will both be joining the Republicans in voting to repeal ObamaCare this week. Neither will endorse Obama. And Kissel voted to impeach Eric Holder. Neither would be doing any of that if they didn’t think their constituents hated Obama.

Uh. . . no: Carolina isn’t the only place either where Obama has problems. Consider this. Obama has decided to play a little class warfare before the election. Specifically, he’s calling for letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire for anyone making more than $250,000. Sounds like a no-brainer for the Democrats, right? Well, not so fast. Several House and Senate Democrats are freaking out and want to raise that number to $1,000,000. Senators from Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Nebraska and Virginia all have taken this position. Interestingly, three of those are considered “battleground” states, and apparently, Obama is losing the battle.

Turning Up The Hate: With Democratic frustrations mounting, they and their allies are starting to turn up the hate. A former Media Matters executive just put out a racist youtube video in which he says Romney is “too white” to meet with the NAACP, something Romney is doing this week. The ad features an actor pretending to be the man who created the Willie Horton ad, and he says this to Romney about trying to meet with the NAACP:
“You are so white, you are extremely white, you make Wonder Bread look like pumpernickel.”
He then tells Romney to “get all Mormon, Martin Luther King” on the audience. Is anybody really surprised by this? I doubt it. Not when James Earl Jones became the latest celebrity to label the Tea Party “racist.” Joy Behar says it regularly. Also this week, Biden said this to minorities: “Republicans have changed the law so you get arrested if you vote.” He claims he was joking, but how is race-baiting funny? Not to mention, he also told the National Council of La Raza, a race hate group: “Romney wants you to show your papers.” At the same time, Rep. Jim Clyburn called Republican attempts to trim the food stamp program, which exploded since 2008 through an administrative change, an “abomination” and implied Republicans want to starve poor children. David Letterman joked that Romney wants to put gays back in the closet. Barney Frank said something similar. And so on.

It’s amazing how consistently the Democrats try to bait minorities with false claims of racism or other –isms. It makes you wonder how they sleep at night spreading so much hate?

Lost Faith: Finally, the MSM has hit another all-time low. In the days of Edward R. Murrow, the MSM was the undisputed arbiter of the truth. If they said it, Americans believed it. But like anything else liberals infest, the MSM has lost its way. And as alternative methods of staying informed have become available, people have started discovering just how biased our liberal friends in the MSM have been. That, in turn, leads to a huge erosion of trust.

That brings us to Gallup. Gallup has been asking people about their level of confidence in the MSM for years now. And surprise surprise, this year’s result shows that the American public’s confidence in the MSM is at an all-time low. How low? In 1993, 46% of the public said they trusted the nightly news. In 2012, only 21% trust the nightly news. In 1979, their peak year, newspapers were trusted by 51% of the public. In 2012, only 28% trust newspapers.

A lot of this is the result of liberals, whose trust in the news and newspapers fell from 30% last year to 19% this year. But even leaving that aside, it’s clear that something is very wrong with the MSM if only one in five Americans trust them. But maybe the better question is, what’s wrong with the one in five?

[+]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Braaaaains. Braaaaains. Our leaders have no braaaaains, and that’s the problem. And the evidence is coming through loud and clear from the economy, which the scurrilous wags as CNBC have declared a Zombie Economy. This is gonna be ugly.

In normal times, an economic recovery following a recession will produce real economic growth of around 4-5% and will restore all the jobs lost plus add a few more. That’s not happening this time. Instead, growth has been an anemic 1-2%, and the economy has come close to dipping back into recession three times now. In effect, the economy is stumbling along at the edge of recession. How bad is it? Well, it’s the weakest recovery since 1948!

Moreover, the jobs numbers are horrid. Just to keep pace with population growth, our economy needs to produce 120,000-125,000 jobs each month. In June, this “recovery” produced only 80,000 jobs. In May, this was 77,000 jobs. In April it was 68,000. All told, only 2.6 million jobs have been created since June 2009, for an average of 72,200 per month. That means for the last three years, 50,000 people have joined the workforce each month without finding a job. And that is on top of the millions of people who lost their jobs when the recession began. Indeed, we still have about 5% fewer jobs than we had before the crash.

And it gets worse. As people are running out of unemployment benefits, they are trying to get onto permanent benefits like disability. Remember how the economy produced 80,000 jobs in June? Well, 85,000 workers left the economy that same month to go on disability. That’s right, and that wasn’t an unusual month. Since June 2009, the economy has produced 2.6 million jobs, but 3.1 million workers have gone on disability! That’s unsustainable.

These problems are going to get worse too. To get a genuine recovery, an economy must reach “escape velocity.” That’s the point where economic conditions become strong enough that the recovery sustains itself. In other words, the point where there is enough production that enough new workers must be hired that their incomes begin to spur demand, which requires more production and creates more jobs: a virtuous circle, where good things lead to more good things. If an economy can’t hit that point, then it will slip back into recession or stumble along at the edge of recession, like Japan has done for the past couple decades.

Right now, there are four things preventing the economy from reaching escape velocity:
1. There’s just not enough good news to make people believe the worst is over. Housing and factory orders are up, yes. BUT they are weak and consumer confidence is falling at the same time. The rental-market has hit an all time high in terms of number of people renting, meaning people aren’t buying. And China has slowed its buying.

2. Uncertainty more than anything keeps people from acting, and right now everything is uncertain. Right now no one knows how much of ObamaCare will ever kick in, and until that’s clarified, people won’t hire. Add in the fact that a business would be foolish to act before the election, and you have a recipe for inaction. Inaction means recession.

3. Business has gotten hooked on handouts from the Fed and the other central banks over the past four years, and they are waiting for their next hit of free junk. Ditto on the continuing “stimulus” bills. Why buy anything when Santa keeps coming back to your house?

4. Finally, those banks Obama fixed. . . the ones who now control so much of the economy. . . well, they aren’t fixed. Dozens of them are being caught up in an interest rate manipulation probe across several countries. JP Morgan lost $2 billion in bad trades. Many of them still hold debt that will never be paid. And Greece and Spain and Italy hang around their necks like an inflated albatross.
This is a recipe for stagnation and collapse before the election, not a recipe for growth and happiness. And that’s really bad for Obama. Now the Republicans need to work to make sure they know how to fix this once they take over. For that, I would recommend:
1. Stopping the continuous stream of handouts through stimulus bills and Fed “quantitative easing.”

2. Repealing unnecessary regulations. But this needs to be done in one shot so business won’t keep waiting for more.

3. Killing ObamaCare with any means possible as quickly as possible.

4. Breaking up the big banks into component parts and keeping people’s savings (the money taxpayers guarantee) from being used for speculation.

[+]

Monday, July 9, 2012

Killing ObamaCare From the Inside

Sometimes, evil can’t be killed. It can just be buried somewhere until the next generation of teenagers stumbles across it. Some suggest that’s the case with ObamaCare. Frankly, I see no reason why it can’t be killed with reconciliation, but let’s assume arguendo that the Republicans somehow don’t capture the Senate or can’t get it through reconciliation. Is there another way to drive a stake through this unearthly terror? Actually, yes.

There are four or five ideas being battered around right now on how to kill ObamaCare without a full repeal. I think a couple of these are excellent temporary measures, but a couple others would be disastrous. Here are my thoughts.

Method One: Starve It. Most federal laws require funding to function. Without funding, they cannot hand out cash, award contracts or even assign government workers to perform tasks. In some instances, this won’t matter because the law is enforced by private individuals who can bring suit to make it happen or, in the case of criminal law, it can be used by DOJ without specific funding. But ObamacCare isn’t that kind of law.

ObamaCare requires the creation of federal exchanges, requires enforcement officials, workers to process paperwork, inspectors, etc. It requires the payment of money to insurance companies and states, funding for the creation of demonstration projects, etc. It even requires money for IRS agents to be able to pursue the penalties. Without money, none of that can happen.

Usually, when laws like ObamaCare get passed, the Congress appropriates (assigns) money in advance to make the law happen. Those appropriations then become line items in the federal budget and take on a life of their own because they become part of each subsequent budget unless they are specifically voted down.

But in this case, the Democrats got careless (or more accurately tried to hide the price) and didn’t appropriate any money. To make up for this, Obama has been funding the law from an HHS slush fund meant to pay for the Federal government’s general health care expenses. Romney can stop this on day one and effectively kill the implementation of the bill. And unless the Congress decides to force funding on Romney, the bill will be dead until Romney is out of the White House.

This could kill about 90% of the bill for up to 8 years.

Method Two: Ignore It. An offshoot of the first method would be that Romney could simply tell his agencies not to enforce the law. Thus, the IRS would not collect the tax, HHS and Medicare would do nothing to implement the law, etc. Obama has done this with laws he doesn’t like, like many related to immigration.

The problem with this approach is that once money is obligated by Congress for a specific purpose, the President must do that. Until Nixon, Presidents often impounded such money rather than spend it, but a weakened Nixon administration gave up this power. So while Romney could ignore the law for a little, the courts would eventually force him to act. Although, that could take a couple years.

This could kill about 90% of the bill for up to two/three years.

Method Three: A World Without Rules. To implement a law, the Executive Branch issues rules which tell everyone how the government will enforce the laws. In most cases, these rules are written by the agencies on behalf of the White House -- though a few are handled independently. A new President has the power to re-write any regulations which prior Presidents have issued. Thus, in theory, Romney can wipe out or re-write all the rules related to ObamaCare to neuter it.

But there’s a catch with this method: wiping out rules isn’t as easy as it sounds. For one thing, once rules are promulgated, the agency must go through the whole rulemaking process to change them. That means the rules must be issued in proposed form, the public must be allowed to comment, the rules must be issued in final form, and then dozens of lawsuits will be filed before the rules go into effect. Until that point, Obama’s rules would still apply. This wouldn’t apply to any rules Obama hasn’t finalized yet, but it would apply to all the rules he has finalized. Thus, most of his rules could stay in effect for two to three years.

The other problem is the legal review. As unbelievable as it sounds after Obama’s term, the Executive is required to enforce the laws as reasonably written. So it would be nearly impossible for Romney to just change the rule to “just kidding.” He could cleverly sabotage much of it, but not all of it. Also, the next administration could simply redo his rules.

This could eventually wipe out most of the law, but it would take time and it would only last until the next administration changed the rules.

Method Four: Misimplementation. Because the law was written with the idea that Democratic administrations would handle all the dirty details away from the sight of the voters, the law gives HHS a lot of discretion in terms of how to implement the law. Romney could exploit this by certifying that people, businesses and states are in compliance when they aren’t really. This could defang the law.

Personally, however, I don’t like this option at all. This wouldn’t wipe out any of the law and it runs the risk of turning into cronyism. It also wouldn’t stop liberal states from taking advantage of the law to demand massive federal subsidies.

That leads me to another method of misimplementation. When the Democrats drafted ObamaCare, they made an interesting mistake. The way the law is written, it doesn’t allow the Federal government to give subsidies for buying insurance except through state insurance exchanges. Thus, if states refuse to set those up, the federal government can set up alternate exchanges but it can’t provide subsidies.

Some conservatives are saying this would be a good move. I completely disagree. This does nothing to kill the bill. It also allows the establishment of federal control, which can become rather oppressive, especially if the Democrats manage to sneak funding into a bill somehow. In effect, this would be like letting a robber hold a gun to your head just because you think it’s not currently loaded. Moreover, this would allow liberal states to implement the law and get subsidies from taxpayers all across the country, while people living in conservative states would not get the subsidies. In effect, conservatives states would be subsidizing big rich liberal states, and the bill would appear much cheaper. This is a bad solution.


[+]

Monday, July 2, 2012

Some Final Thoughts On Obamacare

I’m taking the week off until next Monday. But before I go, here are my final thoughts on the ObamaCare ruling. Basically, while this is a legal disaster for the country, I think politically this is a very good thing. Also, by way of a bonus, at the end of this article, I’ve included some links to the CommentaramaCare proposal which outlines the reform we really need.

The Supreme Court Fails: Legally speaking, the ObamaCare decision is horrible. Some conservatives have latched onto the fact Roberts made a lot of great points about how the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause don’t extend nearly as far as the statist would have you believe. Sure, that’s nice. BUT then he turns right around and opens an unlimited window for Congress to use its tax powers to do anything! There may eventually be limits on this power, but as it stands right now, this is one of the five or six biggest power grabs in Constitutional history.

It is also troubling that this decision is based on verbal semantics: punishing someone for non-compliance is not the same thing as forcing someone to comply. Really?! That’s nonsense! That’s a distinction without a difference -- a verbal game -- and it’s disturbing that the Supreme Court would accept this double-speak as reasoning. This will lead to a whole new world of control once Congress realizes it can just “tax” you into compliance without ever triggering the limits on its power to “punish.” That’s troubling.

The Conservative Opportunity: Politically, however, this is a very different story. Politically, I think this decision is a Godsend for two reasons.

First, this decision will destroy the Democrats, and not just Obama. Human nature tells us that people forgive and forget misbehavior if it stops before the negative consequences kick in. So long as people assumed the Supreme Court would rein in ObamaCare, the public was very likely to forgive the Democrats and consider this a non-issues. Now that assumption is gone, and this decision revives the possibility of negative consequences. That will wake up the public and end its forgiving mood. Indeed, I would suspect this will endanger another 3-5 Democratic Senators in flyover country and could ultimately give us another 2-3 seats. And while I don’t think that will give us enough seats in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, it will be the difference between a majority (52-53 seats) and a solid majority (54-57 seats), which should be all we need under the new scorched-earth Senate.

Secondly, I think this ruling saved us from a disaster. If the Supreme Court had struck down the mandate, but left the rest, I have no doubt the Republicans would have declared victory and just moved on. That would have left a plethora of horrible things ensconced in law, including trillions in taxes, dirty deals with drug companies, anti-competitive requirements on hospitals and doctors, new entitlements, the unfunded expansion of Medicare, the creation of these insurance exchanges, etc. In effect, the least damaging part of the law would have been struck down and the other 99% of the harm would have remained. Now the Republicans will need to address the bill itself, and the pressure will be to repeal and replace the whole thing. That means they will actually need to fix much of this. That is the real reason this decision may ultimately prove to be a saving moment for the Republic, because it means the Republicans can’t ignore the real problems.

Repealing Stupidity: Repealing ObamaCare should be simple. Passing it by reconciliation means that by definition it can be repealed by reconciliation. And reconciliation only needs 51 votes. Naturally, the Democrats (and some weak Republicans) are whining that somehow the bill can’t be repealed by reconciliation, but that’s nonsense.

Building A New Crisis: There is an economic crisis built into ObamaCare and it will be interesting to see what happens. The law expands Medicaid to the point that it will shatter state budgets. But states don’t need to sign up for this. Indeed, the Supreme Court ruled that the states can refuse to expand Medicaid as the bill requires, and the Federal government cannot withdraw Medicaid funding if the state so chooses -- it can only withhold the additional funds intended to cover that expansion.

But just because states don’t need to sign up, doesn’t mean they are smart enough to refuse. A few Republican governors have said they won’t sign up, but most see this more as an opportunity to negotiate a lot of freedom from the requirements of Medicaid. It will be interesting to see what they obtain. The problem, however, lies with the Democratic states. . . as always. These idiots are rushing to sign up as a show of support. This will result in a dramatic increase of their Medicaid costs, which will bust their budgets. At first, the federal government funds this expansion, but within a couple years, that subsidy vanishes. That’s when states like California and New York will find themselves in budget hell (as if they weren’t already). Without federal money, I don’t see this as sustainable, but how will they cut off so many people once they sign them up? Watch out if you live in a liberal state which accepts this expansion!

Death to the Middle Class: Conservative economist and Senior Economics Writer for the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore, just made an interesting statement. He claims that 75% of the cost of ObamaCare will fall on the middle class -- people making less than $125,000 per year. That’s not at all surprising because that’s who always pays for these programs. Still, this is unwelcome news for a middle class which has been hit with falling incomes, falling asset values, falling home prices, massive inflation, an ever-higher tax burden, and fewer job prospects. At some point, this rubber band will break.


To sum up my thoughts, this bill is a disaster. It will crush the stupid states, it will crush the middle class. It will damage our healthcare system a lot. The Supreme Court’s ruling has damaged our Constitution. BUT this will wake up the public and will help to finish off the Democrats. It will also force the Republicans to act. In the end, this decision may prove to be the moment which spurred the Republicans to actually fix the healthcare crisis, and thereby save the country. Let’s hope.

Finally, by popular demand, here are some links for you to consider:
First, here’s what’s wrong with our healthcare system: Out of Control Costs, Out-of-Control Costs II, Access, and Quality Control Problems.

Secondly, we have a report card on why ObamaCare fails to address these problems: FailureCare.

Lastly, we have CommentaramaCare, a proposal on how the system should be fixed: Com-Care Tort Reform, Com-Care Medical Reforms, Com-Care Coverage Reform, and Com-Care Summarized and Priced.
Have a happy and free Fourth everyone!

[+]