Friday, August 07, 2009
Health Reform and Obama's Tax Pledge
Excerpt from Karl Rove
Public support for his plans shrank when Americans saw the trillion-dollar-plus price tag, recoiled from the intrusive expansion of government into patient-doctor decisions, and came to understand the plan was financed in part by huge cuts in Medicare and large tax increases.
So, after running into heavy opposition among Congressional Democrats and growing public hostility to his plan, Mr. Obama has now recast the debate as an attack on insurance companies, with the president serving as savager-in-chief. This would be more credible if he hadn’t surrounded himself with insurance CEOs and lobbyists when he kicked off his effort in March.
The corrosive effect of basing policy decisions on polls also could be seen in White House handling of the refusals on Sunday of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers to rule out middle-class tax increases. They got disciplined Monday by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who said they’d “allowed themselves to get into a little bit of hypothetical back and forth.”
This dispute pits the economic team against the campaign team. The economic team awakens each day worried about reconciling two irreconcilable realities: The administration’s budget calls for huge, sustained new government spending, which threatens giant budget deficits. Being liberals, the economic team is inclined to raise taxes, not cut spending.
The campaign team is intent upon protecting a pledge driven by its 2008 campaign polls: Mr. Obama promised never to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year to avoid being labeled a tax-and-spend liberal.
Even so, Mr. Obama has already broken his no-new-taxes pledge. On Feb. 4, Mr. Obama signed a $33 billion cigarette tax increase, which fell disproportionately on lower- and middle-income individuals. And the “cap and trade” energy bill, approved by the House on June 26, is a tax on anyone who owns a light switch, uses a car key, or has bought anything manufactured, shipped or sold in the U.S.
The House version of Mr. Obama’s health-care—excuse me, “health-insurance”—reform already has four taxes that will largely be paid by people making less than $250,000 a year. There’s $8.2 billion in taxes for using health savings accounts and other tax-free medical savings vehicles to purchase over-the-counter drugs. There’s an 8% tax on employers who don’t offer insurance: The Congressional Budget Office says workers in those businesses would pay the $163 billion cost via lost wages.
There’s a 2.5% “Tax on Individuals Without Acceptable Health Care Coverage” in the House bill that applies to people who either don’t have insurance or whose policies the government deems inadequate. Finally, there’s a $2 billion “Comparative Effectiveness Research Tax” on all private and “public option” insurance policies.
If some version of ObamaCare is passed, the president will break his tax pledge several more times while adding trillions to the deficit, dismantling the best elements of our health-care system and slashing Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars.
There are no polling data or focus groups on earth that can help Mr. Obama out of this jam. He has set in motion events he appears unable to control and commitments he cannot keep. Great communicators succeed when the ideas they are communicating are sound. Tax-and-spend liberalism doesn’t work, no matter how pretty its package.
Here's an idea: Let's give $50,000 to anyone looking to upgrade to a brand-spanking-new, environmentally friendly home. All we ask in return is that you burn your previous residence into a heap of smoldering cinder. That's the concept behind the bizarre "cash for clunkers" program so many people are deeming a success. It's so successful, in fact, that Congress will increase funding for it by 200 percent.
Then again, in Washington, a place where elected officials are astonished -- astonished! -- when a program doling out free cash is popular, success often translates into higher costs and fewer results.
Now, some of you radicals may have an ideological dilemma with a government handing out thousands of dollars to citizens making an average of $57,000 a year so they can upgrade their perfectly serviceable vehicles. Turns out, though, that by nearly any criterion, including the ones offered up by President Barack Obama, this populist experiment is an unmitigated fiasco.
To begin with, building a new car consumes energy. It is estimated that 6.7 tons of carbon are emitted in the process. So a driver who participates in the "cash for clunkers" program would need to make up for that wickedness. There are about 250 million registered vehicles in the United States. Only a micro-slither of those cars will be traded in -- and a slither of that number could be deemed "clunkers" outside the Beltway.
A survey of car dealerships found a relatively small differential in fuel efficiency between cars traded in and those replacing them. A Reuters analysis concluded -- even with the extended program in place -- "cash for clunkers" would trim U.S. oil consumption by only a quarter of 1 percent.
As an economic stimulus, the plan is equally impotent. As James Pethokoukis, a columnist at Reuters, succinctly explained, "The program gets much of its juice via stealing car sales from the near future rather than generating additional demand."
Obama hires another crook
Today, the Free Enterprise Project calls on President Obama to dismiss General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt from the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board because of the findings revealed in a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and GE. The SEC said, "GE bent the accounting rules beyond the breaking point" and "GE misapplied the accounting rules to cast its financial results in a better light." The SEC complaint cited four separate accounting violations one of which "allowed GE to avoid missing analysts' final consensus EPS expectations." Importantly, all the accounting irregularities occurred while Jeff Immelt served as CEO.
"It's outrageous for President Obama to keep Immelt as an advisor when the SEC charged that GE engaged in a series of efforts to manipulate earnings to mislead investors. The pattern of corruption raised by the SEC is deeply concerning and during a time of economic crisis, the last thing America needs is a Bernie Madoff type CEO giving advice to the president," said Tom Borelli PhD, Director of the Free Enterprise Project.
GE agreed to pay $ 50 million to settle the fraudulent accounting charges without admitting or denying any wrongdoing.
"The deliberate manipulation of financial data to mislead shareholders about earnings, if true, is fraud and Immelt must be held accountable. Not only should Obama dismiss Immelt from his advisory capacity but GE's board of directors should immediately seek his resignation from the company," added Borelli.
"Given the nature of the SEC charges, Obama should question the motivation and truthfulness of everything Immelt says including the company's support of cap-and-trade legislation. Immelt's support of cap-and-trade has nothing to do with a concern for the planet but everything to do with setting government mandates to purchase renewable energy products such as GE wind turbines."
"If Immelt misled shareholders about earnings he could easily mislead the president on everything from climate change to health care."
Barack Obama, through his spokesman, claimed that he was unaware of the tax day tea parties. Granted, the MSM has done a good job in suppressing any sort of coverage ahead of time (and the little coverage they did provide was derisive at best) but how out of touch is the Community Organizer in Chief, really This much:
* He was unaware that he was attending a church (for 20 years) with a racist pastor who hates America.
* He was unaware that he was family friends with, and started his political career in the living room of, a domestic terrorist.
* He was unaware that he had invested in two speculative companies backed by some of his top donors right after taking office in 2005.
* He was unaware that his own aunt was living in the US illegally.
* He was unaware that his own brother lives on pennies a day in a hut in Kenya.
* He was unaware of the AIG bonuses that he and his administration approved and signed into a bill.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Commerce was under investigation in a bribery scandal.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services was a tax cheat.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of the Treasury was a tax cheat.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be the U.S. Trade Representative was a tax cheat.
* He was unaware that the woman he nominated to be his Chief Performance Officer was a tax cheat.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be #2 at the Environmental Protection Agency was under investigation for mismanaging $25 million in EPA grants.
* He was unaware that his own private plane (Air Force One) flew over New York "very low" just to take pictures along with the Statue of Liberty, which cost the tax payers $328,000.
There are people in comas that are more aware of world affairs than this guy. Who knows what else Chairman Zero is "unaware" of, that his enablers in the media have been making sure we really are unaware of?
SOURCE (See the original for links)
“Cash for Clunkers:” Success redefined? “‘Cash for Clunkers’ is being called a great success. Politicians are scrambling to fund an expansion of this program. Let’s do a little math and see if we can agree. The reports have been rolling in and we have heard repeatedly that showrooms were filled with people looking for new cars because of the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program. The Senate is working hard to fund this program for a whole month. They desperately need to tie themselves to a successful, popular program. My non-scientific drive by of the dealerships near my home last weekend left me a bit suspicious. I saw no unusual activity. They did not even look busy. I saw few customers walking around the lots. So, let’s look at the numbers.”
Obama Threatens Freedom of the Press: "On July 22, 2009, President Obama held one of the most boring news conferences in the history of televised presidential events. For nearly 50 minutes, he blathered on about private and public health care plans, red pills and blue pills, costs and benefits. In the last five minutes of the conference, he made his controversial comments about Henry Louis Gates and the Cambridge, Mass., police department -- but by that time, everyone watching was either drifting into sleep or totally comatose. So why did ABC, NBC, and CBS broadcast this atrocious, narcolepsy-inducing ode to arrogance in the midst of prime time? It turns out that President Obama and his hatchet man, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, are not averse to using their bully tactics on political allies as well as political enemies. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post reports that when networks began fussing over broadcasting yet another Obama snoozefest, Emanuel called not the programming chiefs, but the heads of parent companies in an effort to pressure networks to greenlight his boss’s show."
Fraudulent claims on taxpayer dollars finally noticed by Medicare : “Fueled by massive fraud, home healthcare providers in Miami-Dade County are raking in more Medicare money than their colleagues in the rest of the country combined — thanks to bogus billings for patients with diabetes, authorities say. Now, Medicare is taking tough steps to stop agencies from filing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in false claims.”
Obama returns to Indiana with $39 million electric cars grant: “President Obama told a grateful audience of recently-re-employed RV builders that the government will give a $39 million grant to build electric batteries and car components here. It’s part of $2.4 billion in grants for electric batteries and other innovative technologies that Obama and his cabinet are announcing in stops around the country today.” [More of that amazing taxpayer generosity]
Obama sends stimulus aid to foreign firms: "Nearly half of the $2.4 billion in federal grant money awarded Wednesday to stimulate the U.S. economy and boost the production of hybrid and electric vehicles went to six companies with ties to places as far away as Russia, China, South Korea and France. President Obama announced the grants during a visit to Indiana and said the funds would create domestic jobs and instigate more "green" manufacturing in the United States. But because so few American companies have the necessary technology, much of the money will initially go toward manufacturing electric vehicle batteries overseas." [What an ill-informed clown the man is!]
"Cold cash" Jefferson convicted: “Former [Louisiana] Democratic Congressman William Jefferson [above] was found guilty of 11 of 16 corruption charges today by a federal jury. The jury of eight women and four men returned a guilty verdict following five days of deliberation. In the 16-count indictment, Jefferson was charged with soliciting bribes and other crimes for a series of schemes in which he helped American businesses broker deals in West African [sic] in exchange for payments or financial considerations to companies controlled by members of his family, including his brother Mose, his wife, Andrea, their five daughters and a son-in-law.”
You must bow to the King in Florida: "A Deerfield Beach city employee’s two-day suspension without pay has been lifted after Mayor Peggy Noland contacted the Acting Director of Parks and Recreation. Cassandra Moye, a five year maintenance worker with the city’s parks department, was suspended for reportedly not saying hello to the mayor when she passed her while working on the beach Monday. Moye admitted that when she passed her supervisor, acting parks director George Edmunds, and Mayor Nolan engaged in a conversation on the sidewalk, she didn’t address them. The 44-year-old, who earns $12.33 an hour keeping the beach area clean including the public restrooms, said less than an hour later she was called to Edmund’s office and reprimanded for her actions. Moye said Edmunds then presented her with an official memo of suspension and said she could face termination.”
The unintended consequences of rent control: “Suppose that you want to destroy a city. Should you bomb it, or would it be sufficient just to impose rent control? It’s a bracing question at first, but some economists have argued that the two are roughly equivalent. When the price of rent is held below the market-clearing level, shortages emerge and the housing stock rapidly deteriorates. Those who advocate price controls often do so on the basis of their views on distributive justice.”
Don’t bank on it, Prime Minister Brown: “The huge bailouts and government guarantees might have acted as a life-support machine to keep some of the UK’s biggest banks technically alive, but they have not been revived. This week’s figures from the state-owned banks confirmed that if something is shooting up in the finance section, it’s not green. … These results from the state-owned banks were widely described as disastrous. An even bigger disaster, however, is the obsession with banking as the be-all and end-all of the UK economy. If it was rash of Brown to claim that he had rescued the banking system, it is ridiculous now to claim that the banks can somehow magically revive British and Western capitalism.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:39 AM