Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

30 October 2009

The Effectiveness of Federal Government Spending on Education

I am going to keep this very short and very graphic.  Let us examine the relationship between federal spending on K-12 education as shown in this graph:



























This graphic is from an entry posted by Neal McCluskey called Federal Education Results Prove the Framers Right on the Cato@Liberty blog.  He notes that there is no federal government constitutional power and then suggests that this graph of federal government spending on K-12 spending shows that spending to have no beneficial impact upon actual student learning.  Note the very flat test scores generally since 1970 and the huge increase in federal spending on education.  All that meddling and no result!

The Effectiveness of Government Management

I have grown a bit weary of constantly pointing out the nonsensical, idiotic, wrongheaded, uneconomic, unconstitutional, thieving, and brutal aspects of what the Democrats want to do to change our health care system.  I have pointed out that the things they are already doing in medicine are largely unwise.

I have noted that the U.S. government mismanages these functions very badly already:
  • Health care as in Medicaid and Medicare
  • The U.S. Postal Service
  • Amtrak
  • Ethanol production as alternative fuel
  • Subsidies and mandates for wind and photovoltaic electricity generation
  • Crop subsidies
  • The identification of pollutants and toxic substances
  • The forests and wildlands
  • Permitting for oil and gas exploration and field development
  • Gas mileage requirements for vehicles
  • Medical device testing and quality assurance
  • Scientific research and development
  • Energy research and development
  • Climate research
  • Home mortgage lending
  • Monopoly identifications
  • Business accounting rules
  • Business and medical liability torts
  • Education (see my next post)
  • Defense (largely due to too unfocused attention given diffused meddling in everything)
  • Foreign policy
  • Constitutional law
  • Flight safety and route controls
  • Interstate bridge safety and maintenance
  • Airwaves licensing
  • Drug testing and evaluation
  • Anti-discrimination (turning it into discrimination)
  • Business destruction by encouraging labor unions
  • Immigration and border control
  • Taxation and government revenue
  • Economic growth
  • Job creation
  • Interstate commerce
  • International trade
  • Government property
  • Government purchasing and acquisitions
  • Eminent domain
  • Drug use prohibitions
  • Wage controls
  • Price controls
  • Patent controls
  • Alcohol controls
It sure is a strange thing that so many Americans are on a constant search to find some other aspect of our lives to turn over to the federal government.

29 October 2009

Institute for Justice to Fight for Bone Marrow Donor Compensation

The 1984 National Organ Transplant Act makes it illegal to compensate people for donating their bone marrow.  Donating bone marrow is nothing like donating a kidney, part of a liver, or a lung.  It no longer even involves the insertion of a long needle into the pelvic bone.  Nowadays, a donor is given a drug to stimulate blood stem cell production and the cells are collected from the blood using the same equipment used to collect blood plasma, for which donors can be paid.

Because marrow cells produce white blood cells and these cells attack foreign tissues and cells, it is particularly important to get a very close match between bone marrow donors and recipients.  For white people awaiting bone morrow, there is a 75% likelihood for finding a match.  However, for minority members, the probability of finding a match falls to 25%!  Apparently, the restriction on bone marrow donation compensation, which would help address the problem of such limited matches, was added to the National Organ Transplant Act at the last moment and no one really considered what they were doing.  How typical for Congress.  Apparently they rushed proposed legislation to a vote in 1984, perhaps without reading it, much as they do now without understanding its consequences!

The Institute for Justice is now working on a legal case to make it possible to pay bone marrow donors so that the chances of finding bone marrow matches will increase.  This could save the lives of thousands of cancer patients.  The Institute for Justice has done great work already in protecting individuals and small businesses from eminent domain abuse and ridiculous business licensing and regulations.  It is a non-profit organization well worth supporting.

Socialism - My Definition

Recently, a commenter was upset with the way I used the word "socialist" in my blog entry Tides Foundation Screed Against Capitalism in Schools.  The individual with no name and identified only by a negation did point out that
Socialism is defined by The Princeton WordNet as:
1. a political theory advocating state ownership of industry
2. an economic system based on state ownership of capital
 The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) says socialism is
1. A theory or policy of social organization which aims at or advocates the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the community as a whole, and their administration and distribution in the interests of all.
2.  A state of society in which things are held or used in common.
Most Americans reading definition 1. from either to these sources would say, oh, so socialism and communism are the same thing.  I am sure that some or maybe all real Marxists would say, not necessarily.  But let us check out the definition of communism offered by the OED.
1.  A theory which advocates a state of society in which there should be no private ownership, all property being vested in the community and labour organized for the common benefit of all members; the professed principle being that each should work according to his capacity, and receive according to his wants.
This definition for communism is the same as that for socialism, except in the very last part.  Apparently socialism allows for a distribution which may be on a slightly different basis than according to everyone's wants, since it is to be in the interests of all.  Rather subtle difference and actually very academic, since by these definitions, both socialism and communism are impossible!

It is frankly impossible for a community to find any way to distribute production, capital, land, property, etc. in the interests of all.  It has never happened and never will, so socialism does not, has never, and never will exist.  Similarly with communism, no society has ever or ever will be able to distribute enough goods and property to satisfy everyone's wants.  That would be the end of economics.  It would require infinite resources and infinite free pools of labor and genius.

So, Not a Socialist is hardly a surprise.  There is no such thing, unless we allow for those who dream for the impossible, which in the real world we must do.  People are often subject to control by their irrational dreams, or even the irrational Dreams of My Father, in the case of one well-known socialist of our time.

Indeed, many people think they are socialists.  In addition to the Marxists and before Marx, the founders of New Harmony, Indiana, there have been many who have been socialists.  Mussolini and Hitler thought they were socialists, yet they did not advocate the end of all property.  Instead, they sometimes stole property, but more often they used government regulations and just plain commands to force private property owners to do as they were told.  They believed in control of the economy and the means of production, but not necessarily in the need to bother themselves with all the pains of actually owning property.  Besides, people would work harder for you if you allowed them the pretense that they had some control over their property.  But Hitler and Mussolini did claim to be running societies organized for the purpose of distributing goods and services to the people for their best interests.  They actually did redistribute the wealth with such popular aspects of socialism as government-run health care systems.

During and after WWII, it became an embarrassment to many socialists in the West that these fascists had been considered socialists.  It became very important to then try to define socialism in such a manner that the fascists were excluded.  As the Marxists and other varieties of socialists took over most universities, the dictionaries fell more and more into line with this effort to define the fascists out of socialism.  Despite this, in more recent years, many have come to be embarrassed to be called socialists, since almost everyone now understands the terrible evils of socialism in the USSR, China, Cuba, Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, and elsewhere.  Now, these same people and those they have taught are more likely to be environmentalists or social democrats, or some other new fad.  Strangely enough, the policies these people favor are those of fascism.  It is not practical to have community ownership of all property and Americans do not like the idea of that anyway.  So, those who seek major redistribution of the wealth leave most property in the hands of the prior owners, but saddle them with extensive regulations and controls.

A much more practical and useful concept of socialism would be:  A theory or policy of social organization which aims at or advocates the ownership or the extensive control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the government, and their administration and distribution in extensive measure as is favored by the government of the community.

Under this definition of socialism, everyone does not have to share the same toothbrush or at least put them all in one pot and pick one out with one's eyes blindfolded.  Socialism is a broader concept which some people might strive for and achieve.  It is not a desirable state of affairs at all in my opinion, but the concept has some usefulness in describing what people actually might do and can do.  By this definition, Obama, Pelosi, Mao, Stalin, Hugo Chavez, Mussolini, and Hitler are all socialists.

Like it or not.

28 October 2009

Obama's Manufacturing Czar Ron Bloom Admires Mao Too

Jamie Glazov, in a WorldNet Daily commentary, quotes Obama's Manufacturing Czar Ron Bloom as another of Obama's henchmen who admires Mao.  For the quote and the history of Mao's murderous ways, this commentary is well worth reading.

In addition to Obama's Anita Dunn, who I discussed here, he also lists some other leftist admirers of Mao.

U.S. Ground Temperature Record is Very Upward Biased

The global warming data relied upon by the global warming alarmists is surface temperature data.  The satellite and ocean surface data for the latter part of the 20th Century indicated a much milder temperature increase.  But, as I have discussed previously here, the surface temperature records kept by the Climate Modeling Unit at East Anglia in the U.K. did not keep the original recorded temperature data and has only kept the much upward shifted data for the period of warming and the downward shifted data from the 1950s until the last warming period began in the 1970s.  I have also discussed the tree core data bias Steve McIntyre has found with the temperature record in the Yamal Tree Ring Cores from Siberia used by Briffa.  The global warming alarmists have long claimed that the temperature increase in Siberia was especially large and that this is what you would expect given increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.  It turns out that the Yamal data set plays an especially important role in producing a hockey stick upward surge in the surface temperature record, just as the earlier discredited Mann data set still does.  In this entry I want to discuss the problems with the "best" weather station system in the world, the extensive U.S. weather station system.

Anthony Watts has examined a large number of U.S. land surface temperature stations and found that 89% have site problems that produce falsely warmer measurements.  He says that according to the federal government's own site guidance and maintenance criteria, the stations create a margin of error larger than the entire claimed surface temperature warming of the 20th Century.  The IPCC report says that temperatures rose by 0.74 C in the 20th Century.  Watt's study of the U.S. stations, using the guidance of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), found 89% to have a margin of error greater than 1 C, 69% with an error of 2 C, and 11% with an error of 5 C.

NOAA's rules say the temperature sensors should be at least 100 feet away from heat sources and radiative surfaces.  Instead, most sensors are very close to buildings for the convenience of the person maintaining the station.  This is not a very surprising outcome given human nature, so the policing of the stations would have to be very thorough to prevent it.  This policing is non-existent, perhaps because higher temperatures are welcomed by NOAA and the government generally.  Buildings are heated in the winter, when the upward trend in temperatures has been the greatest.  In the summer, many a building's air conditioning units blow out warmed air extracted from the inside of the building.  Buildings and black top areas nearby absorb heat during the day and re-emit it at night.  Again, the surface temperature record has increased more at night than during the day.  Again this is cited as reason to believe that CO2 in the atmosphere has caused the global warming that explains much of the upward temperature spike in the surface temperature data in the late 20th Century in the U.S.

Similar big increases are found at the weather stations in Siberia and the night time and winter increases are the greatest.  If you lived in Siberia and maintained a temperature measurement station, how eager would you be to hike 100 feet from a warm building to read or maintain the station?  Nope, as your prosperity increased from decades ago and you came to enjoy a warmer building, your weather station would be given the same warmer pleasure of being closely sited to your warm building.  This warming of the Siberia surface temperature record is again often said to be just what would be expected given global warming due to CO2 atmospheric concentration increases.

Watts describes a number of obviously warm biased temperature measurement stations.
  • The Forest Grove, OR station is close to a home and directly in the path of the warmed air output of a large window air-conditioning unit, which probably was not around in the 1950s.
  • The Redding, CA temperature sensor is under and close to a large light.
  • The Tahoe City, CA sensor is 5 feet from a trash burning barrel.
  • The Hopkinsville, KY station is shown both now and 30 years ago.  It was once 10 feet from a brick house, but at least it was surrounded by grass.  Now it is closer to the house and very close to a huge brick fireplace chimney which is very wide and extends well above the roof of the expanded brick home.  It is also very near a very wide asphalt driveway.  An outdoor grill is also situated close by.  Prosperity seems to have come to this home in the last 30 years.
  • The Marysville, CA station is beside a large asphalt parking area and the heated air outputs of two very large air-conditioning units.  It is also close to a large brick building, with the massive heat capacity of brick buildings.
One would think that the increase in the U.S. population by a factor of three, the increased urbanization, and the increased wealth with accompanying housing improvements would surely cause the temperature stations to record heat island effects and cause a general upward bias in temperatures.  Despite this obvious fact, NOAA has generally adjusted the temperature records from these stations upward, not downward!  NOAA's upward adjustments alone account for nearly one half of the U.S. surface temperature increase in the 20th Century.  This is in addition to the upward bias already present due to the increased urbanization and standard of living.

It is also in addition to another upward bias to the temperature record.  In 1979, NOAA specified that white latex paint should replace whitewash for the temperature shelters.  This was early in the last warming spurt in the 20th Century.  Watts found that the white latex paint adds 0.31 C to the temperature readings.  This is about 45% of the claimed warming of the 20th Century.  One of the effects of latex paint was a generally thicker and more thermally insulating coating on the stations.  This would have the effect of causing the temperature sensor to stay warmer into the night as the housing retained its daytime heat longer.  Again, the biggest increase in claimed temperatures was in night time temperatures and this was said to be consistent with the CO2 greenhouse gas effect.

In summary, there appears to be nothing reliable about the surface temperature measurements made at ground stations in the U.S. and similar effects are probably influencing stations throughout much of the world, especially those in Europe, Russia, and China where prosperity increased in the late 20th Century.  The much more reliable satellite and ocean surface temperature measurements which cover 70% of the Earth's surface found much less warming in the late 20th Century and are clearly the only reliable temperature records.  The ground surface temperature record was biased upward by rising prosperity, increasing population, human nature wanting more comfort, technology changes, more use of asphalt, latex paint, and flatly dishonest upward adjustments.  These effects especially would have increased winter and night time temperatures in the record.

The large increases in these ground surface records, added to the historic tree ring upward biases of Mann and Yamal data, were the basis for the UN IPCC claims of a man-made global warming catastrophe due to fossil fuel use and the resulting carbon dioxide emissions.  To this was added an exaggerated CO2 lifetime in the atmosphere and a neglect of the primary sources of CO2 in the atmosphere.  The IPCC claims are broadly bogus and clearly the result of unmitigated bias.  The effect of man's CO2 emissions upon the climate have been very small in actual fact and the climate is still clearly dominated by a number of natural effects, some of which we understand fairly well and some of which we are just beginning to have some understanding.

This false record of late 20th Century temperature increases is now being used to justify the huge tax and cost increases for our economy being proposed under the carbon cap and trade bill passed in the House of Representatives and soon to be considered in the Senate.  It is also the basis for submitting the U.S. to the upcoming Copenhagen Agreement and for the present activity in the EPA to regulate CO2 emissions as pollution.  The bogus catastrophic global warming claim due to fossil fuel use is generally a very convenient tool for socialists to exercise much more power over our lives, our comfort, our safety on the highways, our economy, and our freedom of movement.  It is also a way to give far more power and influence to world governing bodies which will try to subject the U.S. to their rules and transfers of our wealth and income to poorer countries throughout the world.  The entire direction of the response to this catastrophic temperature increase lie is in the direction of fascist controls over the rights of the individual and to reduce American's protection by our own great Constitution.  This has been a tremendous incentive to encourage the bias of the ground temperature measurement record.

27 October 2009

Transparent Health Insurance Reform

During the election, Obama promised, very solemnly, that he would do many things that he has not done.  One of the things he pledged was that his administration would make his upcoming reform of health insurance very transparent.


Has anyone seen any indication of any attempt to do that?


No.  Instead we have seen a flurry of bills hastily cobbled together in the middle of a night prior to a vote or maybe only outlined, as in the case of the Senate Finance Committee.  It seems that not only are the People to be kept in the dark, but most of our Congressmen are also.  We have some Congressmen, mostly Republicans, even being locked out of rooms in which bills are being assembled.


Far from any attempt at transparency, the Obama administration is very notable as the most opaque administration since the Clinton health care reform effort.

Good Law Should be Understood and Enforceable by Government

It used to be often remarked that good law must be readily understood by the People.  Perhaps an understated further principle of good law is that it should be readily understood and be practically enforced by the government.  There are other principles of good law, but most of those are covered by our Constitution, so we can summarize them by simply saying Constitutional Law.

At many levels today we have problems with the law being understood by government.  At the very most basic level, it cannot be said that Congress understands the bills it votes on to become law.  First, our Congressmen do not read the bills before they vote on them.  When they do read the bills, they do not understand their implications and effects upon The People in most cases.  In many cases, they rely on government agencies or the courts to give the vague laws meaning.  Finally, many enforcement agencies do not understand the laws either.

The Monday, 26 October 2009 Washington Times has an editorial with an enlightening illustration of how little the government understands the laws or is able to apply them.  In particular, it deals with the tax credit for first time homebuyers of 2008 and 2009.  This case illustrates problems that tax filers had as well, but more egregiously it shows how well the IRS understands the law.

It has been found that the IRS gave the tax credit to 580 taxpayers younger than 18 who could not sign the contracts legally to buy a home.  Some were as young as 4 years old.  The IRS granted $4 million of such tax credits.

The IRS paid out $139 million to almost 20,000 returns to people who had not bought a house, but said they planned to do so in the future.  Then there was the $480 million in tax credits given to those who have previously owned homes as indicated on prior returns by prior mortgage interest deductions, prior deductions for closing points or the residential energy credit.

Because the tax credit was increased from 2008 to 2009 from $7500 to $8000, many people declared only for the $7500 amount in 2009 and lost $500 because the IRS did not want to correct their returns.

This is just one overly complex tax law among many.  Then there are those hopelessly complex laws on pricing in the market.  There are the many overly complex regulations and accounting practices.  All intrusive government means government which deluges citizens and bureaucrats both with too many and too complex laws for them to understand or apply. 

25 October 2009

Bast -- Ask Not If the Science of Global Warming is True ...

Joseph Bast wrote a review of a book published by Cambridge University Press called Why We Disagree About Climate Change by Mike Hulme.  The review is from Environment & Climate News, September 2009 issue.  Mike Hulme is an IPCC report scientific author and a self-described "democratic socialist."  The disagreement he is talking about in the book's title is that between those on the left, such as him, and those even further on the left, who he describes as "eco-anarchists," eco-socialists," and "eco-authoritarians."  The debate is not about global warming itself, but about how that supposed scientific fact is to be acted upon by governments.  It is also about how to lead a scientifically ignorant people to accept climate change as an emergency requiring great government activity.

Far into the book on page 326, Hulme writes "We need to ask not what we can do for climate change, but to ask what climate change can do for us."  He goes on:
We will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilise them in support of our projects."
These 'myths' transcend the scientific categories of 'true' and 'false.'
 This reminds us of Stephen Schneider, another IPCC scientific author, saying
We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts one might have ...  Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."
Is it any wonder the anthropogenic global warming alarmists are paying insufficient attention to the ever-strengthening scientific case that natural forces dominate the climate and its changes?  Is it any wonder that they are unperturbed by the incredible weakness of the science for man-made global warming due to CO2 emissions?  It is clear that the drive for socialism with its control over all aspects of the lives of the People is the real driver for what they claim is the science.  For them, policy dictates the science, not reality.  That policy and wishes take precedence over reality is a common current in socialist dogma.

From Obama, we see the socialist tactic that a lie is not a lie, if the purpose of misstatement is to advance the cause of socialism.  This is why he is such a practiced and at-ease liar.  All his life, he has been trained in the philosophy of socialism.  That cause defines moral action, not reality.

The Magnificently Efficient U.S. Postal Service

One of the relatively few things the federal government does that is actually constitutional, is the operation of the U.S. Postal Service.  One can question whether this function ever should have been a government function, but it was made so by our Constitution.  Now one would think that the government would take its actual constitutional duties more seriously than its unconstitutional actions.  The reverse often seems to be true, though there is also a problem in that Congress' taking something seriously only means that the politics involved is taken seriously, not the actual delivery of any real service.  The Postal Service has come under renewed evaluation as an indicator of how a government-run health care system will evolve, not that we do not have many more direct indicators of that!

John Potter, the Postmaster General, says the U.S. Postal Service is in acute financial crisis.  He has been the Postmaster General for the last 8 years.  In FY 2009, the Postal Service lost $7 billion.  Its mail volume decreased by 28 billion pieces compared to the year before.  The recession economy has reduced its business, as well as the Internet and e-mail.  Its Christmas mail has been way down.  In response, Potter cut $6 billion of expenses and 40,000 employees.  Despite this, Potter expects the Postal Service to lose $5 billion every year for many years.

Potter bragged that the fleet of 219,000 vehicles included 44,000 alternative-fuel-capable vehicles.  I'll bet they cost a pretty penny to buy.  Most people do not buy these vehicles because it is difficult to rationalize on an economic basis.  But if you are a government-run business, where politics is everything, you have to back the government story, however fictional, that man-made CO2 emissions are a catastrophic threat to the planet.

This U.S. Postal Service always had plenty of positions considered to be ripe political plums.  Local postmasters were often chosen by politicians.  Nowadays, that still happens, but also political correctness, rather than on-the-job skills, dictates who gets many of these positions.  White males need not apply in many cases.  Having a relative in the Postal Service, I have heard many a story that would make any real businessman's blood boil.

U.S. Postal Service facilities were also long considered great pork.  No doubt, many a facility is badly located and sized as a result.  Politics still limits the closing of many of these facilities.

It is interesting to observe that the U.S. Postal Service tried competing with Federal Express and UPS on next-day deliveries and found that it could not.  It contracted its next-day service to Fed Ex in the end.  Of course, it charges more than Fed Ex does.

Shades of government rationing of health care services, the U.S. Postal Service is now thinking it will have to cut services.  It wants to cut Saturday deliveries, which it says will save it $3 billion a year.  It also wants to offer new products, as the postal services of Japan and France do.  In other words, it wants to compete more with the private sector, which should be considered unconstitutional.  Evidence would suggest it cannot compete successfully.  But, those long lines waiting for counter service are a tempting market.  They could offer them sodas, coffee, candy and other survival goods to enable their captive customers a chance to survive the long waits.

Will our government-run health service do the same?  Imagine severely ill old folks lined up around the block waiting to see the few tired and bored doctors taking a break for sanity from their mountains of paperwork.  Think of all the unskilled new jobs for union members peddling water, sodas, hot dogs, aspirin, renting wheelchairs, and stealing their money!  Think of all the additional money their SEIU union will be able to give the Democrats to further transform America into a socialist peoples state, which is a misnomer for a socialist leaders state.

24 October 2009

Changes for Doctors and Patients Under ObamaCare

The House bill 3200HR is one of the bills being folded together in some mysterious way in Congress.  The Senate has some Democrat Senators and Rahm Emanuel huddled behind closed and locked doors meshing together the Health Committee bill and the Finance Committee bill, which seems to have become 1500 pages long suddenly after the Finance Committee voted on a conceptual plan a bit under 300 pages long.  We do not know precisely what the ill-chosen provisions of the final passed bill will be, but the way everything is being rushed and so much is being hidden, we have to evaluate as much as we can from the available information, or we will be caught flat-footed when the final version is rushed blindly through Congress.

Here are a few provisions of HR 3200 we had best take note of:
  • Doctors are in the public option unless they opt out.  There is no mechanism for opting out.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a mechanism someday and it may include penalties, fines, taxes, and who knows what other disincentives.  In effect, the plan is to make doctors slaves who may then have some onerous option to buy their freedom, their manumission.
  • The paperwork required of doctors has been increasing rapidly over the last 15 years.  This bill will increase it much more, cutting down on patient time, attendance at seminars and on post-graduate education.  They will have to document all interactions with the many new federal bureaucracies to be set up, as well as the greatly expanded ones.  They will have to document all referrals, determine if there are fraud risks, and continually update quality assessments.  They will be bored to death!
  • The expanded patient records will include copious financial records, medical data, mental health evaluations, and such things as any sexually transmitted infectious diseases.  This data will be available to huge numbers of medical people and to many bureaucrats.  Imagine what the Democrats will do with this information on a Republican running for public office?  Apparently, they will use such information on that Republican's entire family, if we can extrapolate from Sarah Palin's case.
  • If patient's must be readmitted to a hospital after being released, there are fines.  Those with chronic diseases, the disabled, and the elderly are most likely to be readmitted.  Doctors and hospitals will become reluctant to treat such people because they inherently bring with them an increased likelihood of fines due to readmission.  There will be attempts to transfer such patients to other facilities.
  • End-of-life counseling will be required as part of the regular medical practice.  The government will train and approve the counselors.  It will provide the films, brochures, and the data to be given to the patients.  It is expected that this advice will be for them to forgo more than ordinary medical treatments and play upon their guilt in being a burden.  The health czar, Ezekiel Emanuel, believes doctors are obsessed with the Hippocratic Oath.  He serves on an advisory panel for the Hastings Center which states that patients should reject ordinary and extraordinary care and accept death.

21 October 2009

ObamaCare is Meant to Increase Private Health Insurance and Medical Costs

ObamaCare was initially sold as a means to reverse or slow down the rate at which health care costs have been rising in the U.S.  It was always nonsense that this would be achieved, since the federal government has never had much success in managing the costs of any rather complex operation. It has a long history of managing medical programs specifically, whose costs have not only skyrocketed, but have caused the costs of the private health care sector to go up far more than they otherwise would have.  The claim that ObamaCare would bring down costs was simply a political lie told to ease its passage.  The intent, the purpose, of ObamaCare is to increase the costs of private health insurance to the point that most people cannot afford it.  Then, the People will demand that the government rescue them by providing a totally nationalized health care system.  This is the socialists ideal:  create the desperation and then appear as the champion of the suffering little guy.  To do this, socialism aims to pull us all down into economic poverty so that we will all feel we are little guys and helpless without the socialist state.

The initial ObamaCare bill will do a number of things at the minimum, which are designed to force costs upward.  The direct taxes on the health industry discussed are those from the Baucus conceptual plan and are likely to be worse in the final bill.  Among the forces designed to increase the cost of private health insurance are:
  • The individual mandate will force more people to have health insurance, which will increase demand on the limited supply of health care workers, so prices will go up.  That old law of supply and demand cannot be denied.
  • The government qualified plans will require many services to be covered which many people do not need, so they will have to pay more for services they will not use.
  • More young people will have to subsidize older people in larger pools, which will help lower the costs for older people, but will leave younger people, who are usually lower earners, in more strained financial circumstances and prevent them from building wealth.
  • Relatively affordable high-deductible plans will not be allowed.  Co-pays are also to be set at very low values.  Health Savings Accounts will no longer serve a purpose.  Those people who only need insurance for major medical expenses will have to pay more expensive insurance costs to cover almost every penny of their medical costs.
  • Health insurance companies are being taxed $20 billion between 2013 and 2015 to be allowed to issue health insurance and to manage benefit plans for major medical coverage in those years.  This cost has to be passed on in the form of higher insurance premiums.
  • Insurance companies will have to contribute $5 billion to a high-risk insurance pool which will exist until 2013 to cover uninsured individuals who have been denied health care coverage due to a pre-existing condition.  This cost will have to passed on to others these companies insure.
  • Anyone manufacturing or importing prescription pharmaceuticals will have to pay in a share to create a contribution of $2.3 billion annually from 2010 for the Medicare SMI trust fund.  This cost will be passed on to the privately insured.
  • Medical device manufacturer's and importers will have to pay fees totaling $4 billion annually.  Necessarily, medical devices will cost more for the privately insured.
  • U.S. health insurance companies will have to pay fees totaling $6 billion annually.
  • Clinical laboratories will have to pay fees totaling $750 million annually, thereby increasing the costs of medical tests for the privately insured.
It is clear that ObamaCare is trying to drive up our private health insurance costs well beyond the already high rates that Medicaid, Medicare, the regulatory costs of the FDA and NIH, the limitations on the numbers of doctors educated in medical schools, the already high costs imposed by state qualification requirements on health insurance, and the costs of excessive medical malpractice awards have done.

The People should be furious about the Obama and Democrat Congress lies that they are trying to reduce health care costs.  They are not.  They are only interested in causing the private sector of the health care system to fail, so they can force all Americans into medical dependency upon a socialist government.  Forcing the once proud American individual into submission before the ruling state is their purpose! This is clear and undeniable.

20 October 2009

Carol Browner -- Climate Czar and the Socialist International Commission for a Sustainable World Society

Obama's Climate Czar is one of 14 members, as of January 2009 in any case, of the Socialist International Commission for a Sustainable World Society.  She has taken a very active role in turning the EPA into the agency regulating the use of all fossil energy on the fictitious grounds that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.  Does she have ulterior motives in gaining control of American industry, our homes, our business buildings, and our transportation through our use of energy?  Of course, she does.  She will use this power and control to transform America into a thoroughly socialist country dependent upon government approval for any action taken by any private individual or business pertaining to their movement, their comfort in their home or place of business, their use of energy in communications and the exercise of the freedom of speech, and their manufacturing of anything at all.  She also has an agenda to subordinate the United States of American to a Socialist World Government.

Needless to say, this means the complete subversion of the sovereign rights of the individual and of the U.S. Constitution, our great document and the supreme law of the land, intended to protect the rights of the individual.  She was Clinton's EPA Director and now she is Obama's Socialist-in-Charge of Climate.  Is there any doubt of the inseparability of the Democrats from Socialism?  Isn't Obama's strong commitment to its promulgation completely obvious?  I really do not see how this escapes anyone's attention.

Obama has surrounded himself with committed socialists and made many of them Czars or Commissars so he does not have to subject these determined socialists to the Senate for approval.  That is not because the Senate would not approve them.  It would.  But the process of seeking the Senate's approval would have earlier revealed that many of Obama's people were unusually committed socialists.  It would also have been a slight embarrassment to the Senators that they had had to approve of these people.  It could be used against them in upcoming elections.  It is so much wiser to hide their pasts and yet give them great power as Commissars.

19 October 2009

Some States and Unions Get Breaks Under Baucus Conceptual Plan

Chairman Max Baucus's Mark of the so-called Baucus "conceptual plan" is now available here.  Nice that the People can now read it after the vote in the Senate Finance Committee has already taken place.

Kimberley A. Strassel found some interesting special favors for certain mostly Democrat states in the "bill."  She reported on this in The Wall Street Journal on 15 October 2009.  Among her findings,
  • The states will have to cover an additional $37 billion in expenses, unless the state is Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, or Michigan.  All of these special states will have their additional expenses paid for them for 5 years.
  • Those insurance plans costing more than $21,000 per year will be taxed on the excess above that threshold, unless you live in one of the 17 most expensive states, many of which are most expensive because of extensive state requirements for insurance.  New York and Massachusetts are among these states and tax payments will start at $25,000 in those, mostly Democrat, states.  Charles Shumer (D-NY) pushed this one through.  The higher thresholds for taxation do end in 2016.
  • The pharmaceutical companies will be taxed, but this hits New Jersey hard since 15 of the world's 20 largest drug companies have operations in the state.  NJ Senator Menendez has worked out a $1 billion tax credit for companies engaged in pharmaceutical R&D.
  • Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Kerry (D-MA) clearly expect a large increase in insurance premiums despite the public claim to the contrary, so they required that a $5 billion reinsurance program be included to reduce the added costs to union members.
Most of the senators are still waiting to get their special state goodies inserted into the bill to somehow be  assembled on the Senate floor.  As usual, hypocrisy rules the Senate, and the House, and the Presidency.

18 October 2009

Diane West - First they came for Rush Limbaugh

Diane West's column in the Washington Examiner on Sunday, 18 October 2009, bears some serious thought.  Rush Limbaugh has been demonized by the leftist press and race hustlers such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  But, Keith Olbermann not only has a nightly spot on MSNBC, but he also is co-host of NBC's Football Night in America prior to Sunday Night Football.  This non-distracting paragon of virtue has done the following:
  • Said Rush Limbaugh's claim that he had paved the way for Glenn Beck "is like congratulating yourself for spreading syphilis."
  • Attacked Michelle Malkin this last week by saying "total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it."
Such a man is supported by the NFL, but Rush Limbaugh would be too divisive and inappropriate.  Diane West says that this characterization of Limbaugh by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay marks "the day the demonization of conservatism achieved not consensus, but normalcy, and the day the marginalization of conservatives became not a public sport but a civic duty."

She goes on to say that "Limbaugh's critics were so desperate to make a racism charge stick, to tag Limbaugh as untouchably 'controversial,' that they resorted to demonstrable lies -- statements Limbaugh never made -- and purposely un-documentable innuendo."
But with the successful transformation of Limbaugh the potential team owner into Limbaugh the expendable "distraction," his brand of opposition -- a plain-speaking adherence to a conservatism best described as Reaganesque -- has been judged unfit, unworthy even, for the sports-loving mainstream and sentenced to the margins.
And that is what is most disturbing about this story.  Conservatism in our time has been publicly defined as extremism. 

Government Health Care Insurance Cost Fraud

The Democrats and Max Baucus have pulled the wool over the American people's eyes big time.  Headlines everywhere said the CBO scored the "conceptual plan" of the Baucus Senate Finance Committee "bill" as costing $829 billion and yielding a reduction in the federal deficit of $81 billion.  In these fraudulent numbers they counted only a part of the costs known to be in the "conceptual bill", pretended cost savings for Medicare and Medicaid would occur, which will not occur, and counted tax revenues for 10 years, but cost outlays for only 7 years.  They also ignored the costs being dumped on the American people and the states entirely.

Ex-CBO director Donald Marron believes the Baucus "bill's" uncounted health care new federal spending costs bring the total federal government costs to $904 billion.  New mandates on state spending put $33 billion of additional costs on state governments.  Worst of all, the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study projects the insurance costs we private individuals are going to have to pay will go up by an additional $4000 per family by 2019 and single person coverage will be up by an additional $1500 by then compared to the situation without this bill.  The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has provided a rule of thumb from the Massachusetts health insurance mandate experience: the private sector will pay for 60% of the total costs, while the government books will carry only 40% of the cost, to be passed on to the taxpayer.  So, the private sector will pay 1.5 times as much as the public sector.  Thus, the real cost of the Baucus plan, the lowest cost plan of the many in Congress, is (1.5) ($829 + 33) + $904  = $2,197 billion or $2.197 trillion.

Since 2003 Congress is supposed to have made cuts in Medicare payments to physicians according to law, but every year Congress has refused to allow the cuts, probably because they are very aware that physicians are already underpaid under Medicare.  Such payment reductions are counted on to save $234 billion in the next 10 years according to the Baucus "conceptual plan" and they are very unlikely to happen.  Removing these "savings" leaves one with a government spending increase of $153 billion.  The projected tax increase revenue is also going down from the earlier projections, because Congress is reducing the tax penalty for people who do not have qualified mandated health insurance plans.  Major individual penalties are apparently unpopular!

There are still other reasons that the government costs of this plan are likely to be badly underestimated.  For one thing, taxpayers are supposed to subsidize the costs of those making less than 400% of the poverty level income.  This means 91.5 million people under the age of 65 are eligible for such subsidies.  The CBO estimated that only 29 million of these 91.5 million will become subsidized health insurance plan holders.  The actual number may prove to be much higher, by some estimates, 45 million is a more likely number.

The PriceWaterhouseCoopers study of the costs due to the Baucus "conceptual plan" believes that it will cause health insurance costs to go up an additional 18%.  But, be aware that the costs are very dependent upon which part of the insurance market someone is in.  Those who work for a large employer will see their costs go up by an additional 11%.  Self-insured employers costs will go up by only 9%.  These are the lucky ones.  If you work for a small employer with fewer than 50 employees, the health insurance costs will go up by 28%!  On the other hand, those poor souls in the individual market (non-group) will see costs go up a whopping 49%.  If your employer opts to pay the penalty and to drop out or not offer insurance coverage, those individuals left on their own will see these huge 49% increases.  Of course some will qualify for the government subsidy to offset a portion of that cost increase.

It is always easier to bring on change that destroys than it is to change things for the better.  If you are an empty suit, albeit a well-tailored empty suit, you can promise change and transformation for America easily enough.  If you are a Marxist, the direction your change and transformation will take will prove dramatic for Americans and carry with it mass destruction on a scale most Americans cannot conceive of.  Americans voted for this change, which was hiding in plain sight behind an empty suit and fine, reassuring rhetoric to those who did not think about the meaning of what they were hearing.  In a democracy, even in America given our choice to ignore our Constitution and the sole individual-rights-protection reason for government, the sins of the majority are jackboot visited upon all without discrimination.

17 October 2009

The French, Socialism, and Suicide

In the past, I have written that depression and excessive drunkenness tend to be common in despotic and specifically communist and highly socialist societies.  I wrote about the increase in drinking and health problems in socialist Great Britain.  There I also referred to the heavy drinking in Russia.  I believe heavy drinking, depression, drug use, and suicide tend to increase when people feel little empowered to control their own lives.  Since socialism is the shift of self-control to government control, there is likely to be a tendency for depression, drinking, drug use, and suicide to increase as a nation becomes more socialist.  This tendency is particularly strong for men, who seem to have a greater need for self-control than do women.  This is evidenced in the higher percentage of men who are Republican compared to women in the United States.  The social conservatives are more evenly split between men and women, but the fiscal and defense Republicans are more predominantly men.

The French are coddled.  They are provided health care, long holidays, protected jobs, free college educations, and welfare galore.  There are problems, however:
  • There are few permanent jobs for the young, since job-protection rules keep employers from hiring and young people are only brought onto projects as contract workers.
  • Permanent workers cannot be let go, so they are often given meaningless work, sometimes in the hopes that they will leave the company.
  • Competitive pressures are increasing , due to foreign competition and the privatization of some French government operations.
  • Only 32% of French employers have confidence in their workers, while German employers have a 47% confidence level and Americans a 54% confidence level.
Perhaps this kind of society is just too eviscerating for men.  Perhaps they need a challenge and they even need the insecurities of life that make the personal achievement of security rewarding and makes life more interesting.  Boredom is more depressing than challenge any day.

According to an Editorial in the Economist of 10 - 16 October, the French suicide rate is 14.6 per 100,000 people, with men having a rate of 22.8 vs. a rate of 7.5 for women.  Only the suicide rates of Finland and Belgium exceed those of France in Western Europe.  In Eastern Europe, the Russians had a suicide rate of 32.2 per 100,000 people in 2005.  The suicide rates in Lithuania and Ukraine are also very high.  The French suicide rate is twice that of Great Britian and 40% higher than in Germany and the U.S.

Two out of five French people have a case of serious depression at some period in their lives.  The French use more anti-depressant pills than the British or the Germans, with public health insurance paying for anti-depressant drugs for one in ten of the French people.

This is the direction Obama is taking the United States in.  We can anticipate higher rates of depression and more suicides, especially among men.  We can also anticipate smaller cars and increased rates of highway deaths and injuries due to his demands for ever lighter cars to meet higher and higher gas mileage requirements.  He will also lead us to rationed health care and the added deaths that come with fewer future medical innovations and less aggressive treatments due to health care rationing.  We need to keep track of the death toll in each of these categories as we travel the deadly road to ever more intrusive socialism.

16 October 2009

The Missouri Domestic Terrorist Report

The Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) issued a report in response to a request by the Department of Homeland Security in which they profiled as possible terrorists those individuals who were concerned about taxes, unemployment, illegal immigration, border security, gangs, abortion, gun restrictions, the high cost of living, the IRS, FEMA, and the Federal Reserve.  To this, MIAC added concerns about people who were attracted to gun shows, shortwave radios, action movies, movies with Rambo-like white action heroes, Tom Clancy novels, and Ron Paul, Bob Barr, or Chuck Baldwin.

Americans for Limited Government requested the report under the Missouri Sunshine Law and were told that the state of Missouri only had a draft version of the report, they did not know who had written it, and they had no documentation of the sources used for the report.  The report did directly cite the Southern Poverty Law Center and it lifted some information from the website of the Anti-Defamation League, which was not cited.  These two organizations also played a major role in the highly foolish Department of Homeland Security "rightwing extremism" report of several months ago as well.

Neither report is very reassuring with their inference that agents of the government view the exercise of free speech, use of the press, assembly, and petition of grievances guaranteed in the First Amendment with such suspicion, largely informed by the viewpoint of the far left.  As we can see on college campuses across the nation, where the left enjoys unchallenged power, there is no freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, or of petition in their docile domains.  We also see the very thin skin of the Obama administration already developing and their frequent put-downs of Fox News and conservative and libertarian radio commentators.  We hear Mark Lloyd, the Diversity Czar on the FCC, seeking taxes and fines to suppress our freedom of speech unless that speech furthers the aims of the left and who openly admires Hugo Chavez's suppression of freedom of speech, press, and assembly in Venezuela.  We hear Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director, telling us she admires greatly and thinks constantly about Mao, who killed tens of millions of dissenters and millions who were not even dissenters, but who he suspected might become dissenters.

It has become clear that the socialist left has declared itself an enemy of our First Amendment rights in addition to many of our other individual rights.  Americans who believe in the Constitution and the sovereign rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must start taking this threat of the socialists and Marxists very seriously.

Let's Find a Reason Not to Repair this Man's Broken Arm!

The NHS of Britain has four times canceled operations to repair a plumber's fractured arm which occurred 10 months ago.  Look at this horribly disfigured and useless arm in the picture accompanying the British newspaper account.  I shuddered.

This man has 3 children, cannot work, has been denied unemployment insurance, is about to lose his home, and he cannot get the NHS to operate on his arm.  They say they will not operate because he is a smoker and has high blood pressure.  Well, it sounds as though he is willing to take the chance of complications due to his high blood pressure.  Apparently being homeless on the streets and alive is less acceptable to him as a way of life than the risk of an operation.  But the NHS has to look for reasons to ration care to save money, so the fact that he is a smoker makes him of less value to society.  The fact that he has high blood pressure means there is some chance the cost of the operation will not bear the fruit of a happy outcome.  So, this plumber has no choice in how he will live out his life in Britain.  It is all up to the whims of the state.

We can follow a path which will lead to the same outcome by passing ObamaCare.  After a few years, we will also be powerless to make our own choices with respect to the quality of our lives too.  When we cede our responsibility for our own health care, we also cede our right to life.

Should We Allow Granny to Die?

Stories are now widespread in the newspapers in Great Britain about people, usually elderly, being put on the Liverpool Care Pathway.  The plan is intended for people very close to death, or at least it was originally claimed that that was its purpose.  More and more stories are emerging about people who are not so close to death being put on this euthanasia plan.  Here is another such story.

At around 4am on Monday, a friend of mine was woken by a call from the private care home in south-west London where her 98-year-old grandmother is resident.
"Mrs ------- has breathing difficulties," the night manager told her. "She needs oxygen. Shall we call an ambulance?"
"What do you mean?" my friend responded. "What's the matter with her?"
"She needs to go to hospital. Do you want that? Or would you prefer that we make her comfortable?"
Then, the chilling implication of the phone call filtered through – she was being asked whether her grandmother should be allowed to die.
"Call an ambulance now," my friend demanded.
The person at the other end persisted. "Are you sure that's what you want? For her to go to hospital."
"Yes, absolutely. Get her to hospital."
Three hours later, her grandmother was sitting up in A&E, smiling. She had a mild chest infection, was extremely dehydrated, but was responding to oxygen treatment.
Her granddaughter was wondering how her grandmother, whose major health problem is a badly calcified knee, had been allowed to become dehydrated in the first place.  Dehydration is one of the steps in the Liverpool Care Pathway when the NHS decides that an elderly patient will be allowed to die.  Now the granddaughter is worried about the care her grandmother is getting in the private care home.

As costs rise in a nationalized health care system, the average taxpayer inevitably does not have the same incentive the loving family members have for the preservation of grandma's and grandpa's lives.  Naturally, they are going to refuse the higher taxes to support the health care system and that system will have to respond with bureaucrats creating rules that will ration health care.  Generally, the value of your grandmother to society is weighed against her value, not to you, but to society.  When that happens, your rather expensive grandmother is going to receive less care than a younger person and less care than you want for her.  There is every incentive to put your grandmother on the Liverpool Care Pathway, or in America on the Chicago Care Pathway a few years down the pike after we adopt ObamaCare.  Some death panel of bureaucrats will promulgate the rules that save the system money.

12 Days of Accomplishment for Nobel Peace Prize

Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize are due on 1 February.  On that date, Obama had usurped the office of the President for only 12 days.  Can anyone remember anything he did in those 12 days that was so noteworthy on the international scene?

Or did the Nobel Peace Prize Committee break its rules and take a much later nomination for this Messiah on the international scale?  Did he accomplish some great transformation of the world in the next month or two after the nominations were due?  I cannot remember anything.  Perhaps you could make suggestions.

Obama's Mao-Loving Interim Communications Director Anita Dunn

Glenn Beck's 15 October 2009 show put on a clip of Obama's Interim Communications Director Anita Dunn addressing high school students in June 2009.  In her speech, she said that the two people she turns to the most are her favorite philosophers Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa.  Now, I am not enamored of Mother Teresa and I believe her outlook is very deeply anti-life, but no one should be so bloodthirsty that they cannot see Mao Tse Tung as an unmitigated monster.  Mao killed 70 million people.  He killed between 16.5 and 30 million people in peacetime during the Great Leap Forward.  He said he was prepared to kill 300,000,000 Chinese for the sake of the Communist Revolution.

And he is Dunn's favorite philosopher.  She said she thinks of this man Mao all the time!  There was no indication that thinking of him all the time was a source of continuing nightmares.

Yet this woman is very close to Obama and has been for some time.  What is more, she has long been close to major figures in Washington in the Democrat Party.  She is a central figure herself in that party.  She started as an intern in the Carter White House working for White House Communications Director Gerald Rafshoon.  She then worked for Carter's Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan.  She worked on John Glenn's (D-OH) campaign and then for him as Senator.  She was a top adviser for Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) and a chief strategist on his presidential campaign.  She worked on the staff of Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) and the staff of Senator and former Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD).

In 2006, Senator Obama hired her for his The Hopefund, which was to prepare for his run for President.  She was to direct communications and strategy.  She helped launch Obama for America, his presidential campaign organization.  She recruited many of the staffers she knew from the staffs of Senator Bayh and former Senator Tom Daschle.  Her husband, Robert Bauer, has been Obama's general counsel since January 2007.  She trained Press Secretary Robert Gibbs during the transition period.  60 Minutes called her a top adviser in an interview.  Newsweek said she and her husband were a "power couple" in 2008.

Anita Dunn has spent many years working for Democrat Presidents and Senators, while thinking constantly about her favorite philosopher Mao Tse Tung.  She has helped these powerful politicians select their staff and suggested ideas to them.  She has been constantly close to and influencing those in power.  It is highly unlikely that she ever reminded them of their limited power under the Constitution.  Indeed, she was surely very inclined to help them find many rationales for ignoring the Constitution.  What is such a pitiful piece of paper if it would stand in the way of the Communist Revolution?  Mao would not let any such paper stop him in his tireless efforts to transform China.  Why would Anita Dunn allow the Constitution to stop her and Obama from transforming America?  Neither of them would do that.  Obama sought out Marxist professors in college and Dunn reads her Little Red Book.  Obama complains about the Constitution and I am sure Anita Dunn agrees with him.

Van Jones and Anita Dunn and the Suppression of Free Speech Czar at the FCC, Mark Lloyd, and Obama are all deep admirers of Marxism and violent socialist leaders.  There really is something seriously wrong here.  When our Senators and Representatives and Presidents do not have time to write or read the legislative bills they vote for or sign, who do you suppose did write them?  In many cases, it was the people that Anita Dunn recommended be hired and other similar people.  In all the time that Dunn was associated closely and given very responsible tasks by these Presidents and Senators of the Democrat Party, do you really think that they were unaware that Anita was thinking about Mao all the time?  Yet, that was OK with them.

Anita Dunn has had many opportunities to influence the wording of legislation and to make arguments in favor of legislation which would further her agenda, which appears to parallel that of Mao in many significant ways.  This is a very serious matter.  It is no wonder that such people are working so hard to eliminate the private health sector in America or to cripple our economy with drastic and absurd energy reductions.  This is Revolution!!!  The destruction of the American economy and the hardship that will bring upon the American people is no more a terrible price to pay for communism and socialism than was Mao's Great Leap Forward.  You have to break some eggs to make an omelet.  You have to be prepared to kill a few hundred million people.  After all, there are plenty of people.  The Environmentalists even tell us there are far too many people.

Obama is full of apologies for America abroad.  He believes our past is little but arrogant impositions upon the rest of the world.  I am sure Dunn agrees.  In fact, if someone is obsessed with Mao and present in offices full of state and military secrets, can we have any confidence at all that these secrets are not being shared with the likes of the Chinese leadership, the Castros, and the Hugo Chavez's of the Marxist world?  It is a farce of a tragic nature that we have put such power hungry and bloodthirsty people into the bowels of the great American federal government.  Some of you may think I reach too far to say bloodthirsty, but no one can be an admirer of Mao who is not bloodthirsty.  Indeed, anyone who understands Marxism and where it must lead men must be bloodthirsty.  If they do not understand Marxism, then they are too naive to be present in the halls of the American government.  We must choose our leaders and their advisers better.

15 October 2009

September Employment Fell Again and by More than in August

Non-farm employment fell by 263,000 in September.  This was a greater tumble than that in August by 62,000 people.  The acknowledged unemployment rate is up to 9.8%, which is somewhat higher than the 8.0% maximum Obama promised us if he and the Democrat Congress were allowed to pass the Stimulus Bill.  Perhaps he forgot to calculate the fact that most of the money would not even be spent until 2010 and that spending large amounts of money on non-productive government programs is hardly the way to encourage businesses to hire.  Some businessmen understand that larger government means more government mischief interfering with the private sector.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy lost 824,000 more jobs in the first quarter of this year than they had earlier reported!  This recession has therefore cost Americans 8 million jobs and 5.8% more of the workforce is unemployed now than was at the start of the recession.  The worst previous loss of jobs since WWII was in 1948 when unemployment rose 5.0%.

CFO Magazine reported that a September survey they did with Duke University found that half of the businesses polled did not expect to return to their pre-recession employment levels until 2012, if then.  43% of company CFOs plan to further reduce their payrolls in the next 12 months.

Nancy Pelosi's talk of adding a value added tax (VAT) is hardly likely to encourage employers to hire again.  Of course the new taxes and regulations to accompany the Democrat health care insurance system will strongly discourage businesses from hiring.  So too will energy use restrictions and taxes in the form of cap and trade.  Ditto the end of the Bush tax cuts.  Ditto the ever-present anti-business rhetoric in the Democrat Congress and White House.  Ditto the on-going desire to make it impossible for employees to avoid being roped into a union.

The health insurance industry sure learned the consequences of trying to cooperate with this government.  They are bleeding profusely from a knife plunged deep in their backs.  Those companies who think they have come out well in the early round one period under the Waxman-Markey carbon cap and trade tax will soon feel the same knife in their backs.  Their subsidies will be revoked soon enough.

No, a wise businessman will be very wary about hiring in this political climate.  Every added employee is a further political liability.  Every employee will cost more than ever in health care benefits, unless they are dropped from health care benefits entirely.  If the employees are unionized, they are also a direct threat to company ownership and creditors.  Of course they were always that in that they made the company less productive and nimble, but now they are also a threat to investors and creditors should a company go bankrupt.  It is hardly surprising that rational businessmen are united in not wanting to hire and even in shedding still more employees.  Any employee who can reasonably be replaced with improved equipment will eagerly be replaced.  This mostly means lower paid workers.  These are the workers that the Democrats pretend to champion, but who their anti-business commitments are actually most hurting.

14 October 2009

Bill Whittle: We pay farmers not to farm, let's pay Congress not to legislate.

Bill Whittle of PJTV suggests that just as we pay farmers not to farm, we should pay Congress not to legislate.  He assesses Congress and makes his modest proposal to induce long-time Senators and Representatives to retire and generally to limit the mischief they do.

Note that the Socialists are not Bemoaning the Projected Higher Costs of Private Health Care Premiums Under ObamaCare

Though Obama pledged to save the average family $2500 a year in health insurance premiums during the presidential campaign, his Baucus conceptual plan will increase the costs by 2016 by $2900 relative to what they would otherwise cost.  What is more, given only 3 more years, to 2019, the projected added cost of ObamaCare to private health insurance premiums, in the milder Baucus form, will be $4000.  These figures come from the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study of the Baucus plan on private health insurance premiums.

The Socialists made a big to-do about the CBO calculation that the conceptual plan was revenue neutral, despite the huge increase in government spending, the huge new taxes, and the elusive nature of the cost reductions promised by the plan.  Their only response to the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study was that it was funded by the health insurance companies.  Well, someone had to pay for it.  Duh!!!  But the socialists have not come back with a rational argument against the findings of the study.  There is a reason for this.  Though Obama pledged his cost reductions for insurance premiums, the plan all along was really to bring about a huge cost increase in private plan premiums through government dictates on what those plans would have to cover.

Why would they do such a nasty thing to the American people?  Simple.  This is the easy route to the total control of American health care that the socialists see as the central and most fundamental way to make Americans all dependent upon the government.  Sure, gaining control of our use of energy is way up there in their sights also, but the socialists have hungered for total control of our bodies for many, many decades, while the idea of control over our energy use is relatively new.

So how does this work?  Force the cost of private health insurance to be so high that most Americans cannot afford it and you can make them turn desperately to government to provide the insurance to almost everyone and allow no one to have access to any other than government-run and controlled medical services.  It is the classical case of causing the problem which government will later blame on the private insurance companies and then offer to solve.  Their solution:  outlaw the private insurance and take over the medical system entirely.  All of the 5 bills now in Congress will do an admirable job of killing off private health care insurance and gaining total control of the medical system.  He who pays the bill, calls the tune.  It is government that will be calling all the tunes now.

For at least 80 years, the socialist philosophers have been claiming that the truth is that which advances socialism.  Obama does not think he told us a lie when he promised that he would decrease the cost of health insurance premiums for the average family by $2500.  That statement helped put him in power to advance socialism, so the statement was truthful in the deeper, socialist philosophical sense.  Those of us who are unenlightened in our commitment to socialism may think it an obvious lie, but we must take notice of the fact that Obama is in no way embarrassed by his statement.  From early childhood he was trained to be a good socialist and he is without peer in terms of his commitment.  He literally cannot see the world through any means but the worldview of the socialist.

Daughter Saves Mother from Euthanasia in the Clutches of Britain's NHS

In another heart-rending story of the horrors of government-run health care systems, a daughter had to work diligently to force Britain's National Health Service (NHS) to end their effort to dehydrate and starve her mother to death.  This is the same road ObamaCare is planned to take the U.S. down, so pay attention to the British who are further down the road and well into the consequences of their past health care choices.

Hazel Fenton was admitted to a hospital with pneumonia.  Her daughter Christine Ball had been taking care of her and knew her to be ill, but did not think she was dying.  Then a young doctor told her that her mother was going to be put on the Liverpool care pathway plan to ease her last few days.   A nurse asked Ball what she wanted done with her mother's body.  Ball said her mother was not dying, but she was ignored.  Fenton's antibiotics were cut off.  She was put on painkilling drugs and nutrients were cut off.  Then, on Fenton's 80th birthday, she was feeling better and talking with her family.  Ball worked hard to get her mother nutrients again, but she was ignored for another four days before her mother was put on artificial feeding.  Now, 9 months later, her mother lives in a nursing home near Ball's home.

Ball, from Robertsbridge, East Sussex, says:
My mother was going to be left to starve and dehydrate to death.  It really is a subterfuge for legalised euthanasia of the elderly on the NHS.
Deborah Murphy, the national lead nurse for the Liverpool care pathway plan says that 3% of the patients put on the plan recover.  Yes, I suppose if you put an elderly person who is in compromised health on heavy painkillers, deprive them of antibiotics if they need them, and cut off nutrients, you can quite successfully kill off 97% of them.  One has to wonder how many more of the elderly would survive if you did not actually try to kill them.

There is a pattern showing up here.  The NHS in Britain is trying very hard to get rid of those elderly patients who cost it money now and may cost it more in the not too distant future.  The family members of those elderly patients who are saved from the government-run health care system in Britain have to be very determined fighters!

Since Obama and his fanatic followers are determined to go down this same socialized medicine road, it makes a father and mother wonder how hard their children will fight for them.  Heaven forbid you are elderly and you have no children at all to fight for you.

Come to think of it, so many Objectivists never had children, that this may be a plan to preferentially kill off Objectivists!  After all, the socialists have never had as effective an enemy as the few, but determined, Objectivists.  We are like the Continental Army during the American Revolution, while those who have at least read Ayn Rand are the better state militia troops who may reload their weapons at least once before fleeing, and the remaining conservatives are the militia you hope have the strength of conviction to at least fire their muskets and rifles once before fleeing the despot's highly trained legions.

13 October 2009

The U.S. Debt Clock

Stop in now and then for some great entertainment at US Debt Clock.org and watch the U.S. federal debt increase along with other liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare.  You can also watch how each citizen's portion of the debts and liabilities mount ever higher.  You can also see the annual figures on the GDP grow and check out the assets of small businesses, big businesses, and households as they change.  You can monitor the assets per citizen and the government liability per citizen.  You can also monitor such things as mortgage debt, personal debt, credit card debt, and debt per citizen.  You can watch the state and local government debt sums also.  You can watch the population estimate and the number of illegal aliens as they change.

Replicating Britsh Health Care Cost Controls

With the Baucus "conceptual plan" for government control of the health care insurance in the U.S. passing the Finance Committee of the Senate, so it can be meshed with the other 4 draconian health plans in the Congress, we are heading in the direction of ever-increasingly expensive health care.  This will put greater burdens on the taxpayer, who will finally demand the kind of government cost controls being used in the more mature government-run health system in Great Britain.

As I have noted before, it is those whose health is deteriorating in their final few years of life who cost the most to a government-run health care system, so the only effective way to save money is to ration their care.  The British have found they can save a lot of money by putting the ill elderly in a hospice on painkilling drugs and by denying them food and water.  They die soon and stop costing money to treat.  It is very effective way for a socialized medical system to control costs.

Here is the story of a man who had stomach cancer and whose treatment stopped it.  Later, he became ill and the British doctors said his cancer had come back, though they did not do tests to prove this.  Tests cost money.  He was put in a hospice, and ignoring his family, they put him on painkiller drugs and denied him food and water.  He died in two weeks.  The post-death autopsy revealed that he died of pneumonia.  He did not have cancer.  The pneumonia was very curable.  His wife had insisted they check him for pneumonia before they put him in the hospice, but they would not do it.  It was apparently too expensive to check him for pneumonia.