Monday, February 14, 2011

Why are Obama's policies so destructive?

Obama knows that his economic policies are productive of neither liberty as traditionally conceived by Americans nor prosperity. He would have to be, not just the most incompetent president ever, but among the most dense of human beings, for given the extensive exposure that he has had to both Keynesian and neo-Marxian philosophy -- anyone who takes the time to read his memoirs, particularly his first, and who considers the worldview of the people with whom he has surrounded himself for most of his life would know this -- he could only know by now full well the fruits that these policies promise to reap.

But from this it doesn't follow that Obama anticipates the ruination of America as such. There can be no doubt, I think, that he wants to preside over an America that is morally superior and, hence, better, than the country that elected him two years ago. The problem, though, is that the America of Obama's imaginings is radically unlike the America to which most of its citizens have an acquired affection and even more unlike the America within which their ancestors made their home. That is, the "fundamental transformation" that Obama wants to visit upon America demands nothing more or less than the death of America as it is currently constituted; only once America as a living reality is eliminated can America as Obama's ideal be substituted for it.

The philosopher Ronald Dworkin once said that "a more equal society" -- a society the resources of which are equally "distributed" -- is better than the contrary, even if its citizens prefer inequality. Anyone who has paid any attention at all to Obama must know that he couldn't agree more with this thought.

So, our president does indeed think that as a people, Americans will be "better" in the wake of the "fundamental transformation" that he wants to impose upon us. So the O'Reillys and Medveds are correct in this respect. However, neither Rush, myself, nor the large numbers of Americans who love the liberties which our forefathers labored indefatigably to bequeath to us are likely to receive much consolation from this. After all, the fact remains that his intentions aside, our president is determined to see the historic nation that is the real America go the way of the dinosaur.



States Cutting Medicaid, Fear ObamaCare's Mandate

With many states facing serious budget strains, Medicaid programs face some of their toughest cuts ever. But states will have even tougher choices to make in 2014 when ObamaCare forces states to vastly expand Medicaid rolls.

Medicaid already has become a bigger and bigger share of state government spending. So even though the federal government provides about two-thirds of the total funding — the share differs widely from state to state — governors and legislatures still have to pare the program to close big budget shortfalls.

But President Obama's policies are making that harder. The 2009 stimulus package provided short-term cash to states to shore up Medicaid. But in exchange, states had to agree to never cut their Medicaid eligibility levels or risk losing all of the federal funding for Medicaid. That's just the appetizer. When ObamaCare fully kicks in, states will have to expand Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty level.

Medicaid has been slowly eating up a greater portion of state budgets. In 2000, it averaged just over 19% of state spending; in 2010 it was just under 22%. It now exceeds state primary and secondary education spending, which is about 20.8%.

States can cut reimbursement rates to providers. But they are already extremely low. Fewer and fewer doctors and other providers accept Medicaid patients. So states are increasingly looking at ways to cut benefits.

• Arizona recently cut the organ transplants that Medicaid pays for.

• In California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed limiting Medicaid beneficiaries to 10 doctor visits per year and 6 prescriptions per month.

• In Georgia, GOP Gov. Nathan Deal proposed eliminating Medicaid coverage of dental, vision and podiatry care for adults.

• South Carolina will not only do that, but is also cutting back on many other services such as hospice care and insulin pumps for Type 2 diabetes, and reducing annual home health visits from 75 to 50, among others.

• Washington state is reducing home-based health care reimbursement.

• In New York and Florida, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republican Gov. Rick Scott have proposed steep Medicaid cuts. New York's Cuomo has yet to release details, while Scott proposed moving Medicaid into managed care plans.

"States can't reduce eligibility, so they are going to be reducing provider rates and slashing benefits," said Brian Blase, a health policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "When Medicaid expands in 2014, this will get worse for states because it is estimated that an additional 20 million people will be enrolled in Medicaid."

But others see the possibility of even further benefit cuts when ObamaCare's Medicaid mandate kicks in.

"We were already looking, before ObamaCare, at a Medicaid budget that was unsustainable," said Ashley Landess, president of the conservative South Carolina Policy Council. "This has compounded the problem times 10."



Liberals in the Helping Professions

Hopefully no federal grant money was elicited in order to discover that most psychologists and social workers are politically liberal democrats. This was the conclusion posited by Professor Jonathan Haidt at the annual conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and it’s one of those truisms that often get funded as a “study” in order to prove what’s already obvious.

The notion that liberalism is the more compassionate political bent is a classic case of cognitive dissonance. It was after Lyndon Johnson’s very liberal Great Society programs that black family life began to seriously deteriorate. In 1940, the illegitimacy rate among blacks was 40 percent; today that has climbed to over 70 percent and 90 percent in the inner city.

Children being raised without a father is the key prognosticator for failure in school, subsequent un-employment and a host of other problems, notably addiction, crime and incarceration. The unintended consequence of Johnson’s liberal welfare allocations and other support systems was the growth of a nanny state to replace the role of fathers in black families, plunging them into cultural as well as financial disarray. The loss of incentive and personal responsibility has proved to be chaotic and intractable for the black underclass yet the canard that liberals are more caring about minorities remains.

When psychologists and social workers deal with hard core addicts, they understand the benefits of tough love and the hindrance that enablers pose. Yet when it comes to public education, the remedy is usually to throw more money at a failing system. The liberal conception of what has caused the deterioration in our public school systems is a string of excuses such as: insufficient funding, lack of infra-structure, unqualified teachers, bloated class size – everything but the obvious change in the student and parent bodies in the schools and the change in what is demanded of them.

Before we introduced instruction of English as a second language, children from other countries were immersed in English and usually learned it within the year. The policy of allowing Hispanic students to remain in ESL classes indefinitely has been an abysmal failure, doing nothing more than guaranteeing overpayment to adjunct teachers who would not qualify for any other academic instruction.

Our standards of acceptable schoolwork have plummeted to below failure as students get promoted from grade to grade without proficiency in rudimentary English or math. Yet the very liberal Teachers’ Union insists on maintaining the status quo as if the current annual Dept of Education budget of 21 billion dollars is not an outright insult to every taxpayer who pours his hard-earned money into a slough of despond.

Liberals are responsible for the abandonment of the core curriculum and rote learning in favor of progressive, more creative approaches such as team work instead of individual accountability. Liberals favor portfolios and projects over tests, though recent studies have shown that testing is the most effective way to solidify the retention of information.

Liberals stress students’ rights over teachers’ rights and have made it overly complicated, if not impossible, to discipline both students and teachers. The traditional pedagogic methods incorporated by parochial schools drawing from the same poor neighborhoods of New York produce an almost perfect graduation rate whereas our public high schools graduate less than half of their student bodies. Is this a boon to the disadvantaged?

Aside from Catholic schools, the institution that has probably done the most to turn around the lives of poor, unskilled young people is the Armed Services which for the past fifty years has provided education, training and transformative lessons to empower young men and women to build their own lives.

Yet this is the institution most maligned on elite campuses which profess concern for countering the forces of discrimination and leveling the playing field through affirmative action.

Unions, a liberal concept designed to protect the workers are now sometimes the most hostile to including minorities so that certain trades that would be within their reach remain closed to them.

Professor Haidt was able to persuade the psychologists and social workers that they should set a goal of being more welcoming to conservative thinkers within their fold so as to encourage true diversity of thought.

I would add that giving credence to successful precepts of religious insititutions, the military and conservative political thought would be a welcome addition to all the professions comprising our lopsidedly liberal, often unhelpful, helping professions.




Egypt sets six-month target for elections: "Egypt's new military rulers tried to reassure protesters they were sincere about political reform, announcing they were suspending the constitution, dissolving parliament, and setting a six-month target for full elections. But after the army sent shock waves through the remaining protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square by sending in troops to clear them away early Sunday morning, the Council also reasserted that it had seized power only to give it up. It announced a new constitution would be drawn up and subjected to a referendum. The current constitution, effectively set aside on Friday when Hosni Mubarak's resignation left the country without a president, made it virtually impossible for independent political parties to challenge the ruling National Democratic Party."

All aboard the money train: "The reality of the grand plan for high-speed rail, packaged with all of its 'helping hand for the worker' rhetoric, is very much at variance with the Vice President’s statement today. Although a meaningful transference of wealth will accompany this prodigious public works project, it’ll manifest as the same kind of regressive redistribution that the state’s intervention consistently creates. Billions will be siphoned from the average worker, and, sure, some will go card-punching, construction union wage-earners, but on balance the managers will reap the windfall of our contemporary patronage."

The death of bookshops?: "Stricken US bookseller Borders, which has struggled with a long-term shift towards digital sales in the publishing industry, is poised to declare itself bankrupt after failing to reach a deal with bankers over liabilities of more than $1bn (£625m). Shares in Borders dived 32% on Wall Street on Friday as reports emerged of a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing as early as [Monday] or Tuesday. The prospect of insolvency at the chain, which has 674 US stores employing 19,500 people, comes 14 months after Borders' UK arm went bust, with a loss of 1,100 jobs."

Japan eclipsed by China as world’s second economy: "Japan lost its 42-year ranking as the world's second-biggest economy to China in 2010, with data out Monday showing a contraction in the last quarter due to weak consumer spending and a strong yen"

GOP propose cuts to US State Department, UN: "A Republican budget plan would cut billions of dollars in spending on the State Department and foreign programs, including US contributions to the United Nations. The proposed cuts, announced Friday, are part of an overall Republican effort in the House of Representatives to reduce spending by $100 billion over the next seven months. Leaders in the Democrat-controlled Senate say the proposals are unrealistic. The planned cuts to State Department and foreign operations amount to $3.8 billion, or an eight percent reduction from last year."

Ron Paul popular among conservatives: "Texas Rep. Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll Saturday, taking 30 percent of the vote in a huge and divided field for his second victory in as many years. In second place was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who took 23 percent of the vote. ... After Paul and Romney, no candidate received more than 6 percent of the vote. Former New Mexico Gary Johnson and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie both hit that mark, tying for third place."

“Paranoid Lawyer Syndrome” or, how tort liability is destroying America: "Tort liability is the biggest problem in America that is almost never mentioned. On the rare occasion that it is, it is considered a 'side issue' instead of recognizing that it is the mountain of lawsuits, and the insurance needed to 'protect against them' that America’s economy and society are being smothered beneath. Our economy, our open society and our basic Freedom is either threatened, already damaged or destroyed by this nightmare."

Federalism in action: "One of the benefits of federalism is that it allows the various states to experiment. If Texas wants to try fiscal discipline while California engages in fiscal incontinence, the rest of the states can watch and judge which fiscal policy is most productive of wealth and happiness for citizens generally. We see this happening now before our very eyes, as most of the states grapple with budget deficits."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


No comments: