March 2010

Let The Sun Shine In

by Bill O'Connell on March 27, 2010

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In their pledge of openness and transparency in government the House of Representatives takes some pride in putting the health care bill online for 72 hours before voting on it.  Sounds like a good step, no?  Well… that is until you to the math.  If the bill they are voting on is 2,500 pages long you would only have 1.7 minutes to read each page provided you did not eat, sleep, rest your eyes, use the restroom for three straight days!

We have Nancy Pelosi’s famous cry for support, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”.  Turn one-sixth of the economy over to the government, first, then find out what’s behind door number 1, door number 2, or door number 3.  If you remember from that game show, what was behind one of the doors was a real stinker.  The problem here is we got all three doors.

AT&T reports that they are writing off $1 billion to pay for compliance with the new health care bill.  Guess where they are going to get that $1 billion?  That’s right watch your phone bill.  You are going to be paying for this health care monster in places you never imagined.  Caterpillar announced they were writing off $100 million, John Deere $150 million, and AK Steel $31 million.  So look for more expensive roads, farm equipment (food), and more expensive cars.  This is from companies that have figured this out in less than a week.  It will take time for thousands of other companies to tally up the cost.

Henry Waxman to the Rescue

But don’t worry folks, Congressman Henry Waxman is riding to the rescue:

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, said he would hold a hearing next month to investigate the effects of the law on big companies. He asked the chief executives of Caterpillar, Deere & Company and Verizon for financial data to document the projected impact of the law on their companies, and he asked them to explain their accounting methods.

“The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs,” Mr. Waxman said, adding that he would be concerned if it drove up costs.

I’m sorry to have to say this, but he has to be the dumbest man in the House of Representatives.  Members of the House are supposed to REPRESENT  the people.  The people have been screaming their opposition to this for months.  Obama dared his opposition to campaign on repealing his prized piece of…er, work.  Here’s news for you Mr. President, according to a Rasmussen poll 55% of Americans favor repealing this monstrosity.

But let me get back to Mr. Waxman, who is surprised that health care costs could actually increase.  Listen to the American people:

Most voters still believe cost is the biggest problem with health care in America today, but most also think passage of the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats will drive costs even higher.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 54% rate cost as the biggest problem, a finding that has been consistent for months.

If Mr. Waxman got his head out of the sand or wherever else he conveniently parks it, and out into the fresh air, he might have realized that he is among the very few who actually believe this was going to lower costs, because there is nothing in this bill that addresses costs.  It’s all about tweaking reimbursements to health care providers, which will accomplish nothing but drive doctors and other providers out of business, ration health, and expand government control.  Oh, but wait, that is the Democrats plan.

The Silver Lining

But there is a silver lining.  Communist dictator Fidel Castro loves it! 

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform “a miracle” and a major victory for Obama’s presidency

Bill O’Reilly, do you still think President Obama is not  a socialist?

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You Broke It? You Own It

by Bill O'Connell on March 26, 2010

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That was the famous “Pottery Barn” analogy that Colin Powell used regarding the war in Iraq.  Now that ObamaCare + Reconciliation is done, all the ugly details that come crawling out of the health care bill like cockroaches when you turn the lights on, will all come to you courtesy of the Democrats. 

Because they chose to go the reconciliation route, the Senate could not dare change a word in the House bill of “fixes” so they could approve what the House sent them with less than 60 votes.  Here’s a sampling of what the genius of government brings you, wrapped in arrogance, with a bow of disdain for the people, as reported by Kimberly Strassel in the Wall Street Journal:

“Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) offered language to bar the government from subsidizing erectile dysfunction drugs for convicted pedophiles and rapists. Democrats voted . . . No! Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) proposed exempting wounded soldiers from the new tax on medical devices. Democrats: No way! Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) wanted to exempt critical access rural hospitals from funding cuts. Senate Democrats: Forget it! This was Republicans’ opportunity to lay out every ugly provision and consequence of ObamaCare, and Democrats—because of the process they’d chosen—had to defend it all.

And so it went, into the wee Thursday hours. All Democrats in favor of taxing pacemakers? Aye! All Democrats in favor of keeping those seedy vote buyoffs? Aye! All Democrats in favor of raising taxes on middle-income families? Aye! All Democrats in favor of exempting themselves from elements of ObamaCare? Aye!”

Now doesn’t that just make you warm and fuzzy inside? 

Bill O’Reilly and Congressman Anthony Weiner had a debate on O’Reilly ‘s show that was jaw-dropping to listen to.  Weiner said that O’Reilly and others were blatantly misstating the facts about the health care bill.  O’Reilly questioned Weiner about the IRS learning details about people such as whether or not they had health insurance.  Weiner said that was untrue and that if you wanted to get a tax credit for health care, you had to say on your tax return that you had health insurance.  He said it is just like if you claimed a tax credit as a first time homebuyer (I won’t get into all the fraud taking place on the homebuyer credit, even by IRS employees). So according to Weiner it’s all voluntary reporting, just as takes place every year when we file our taxes.  How can Weiner stand there and make such a statement?  A key requirement is that everyone has to be covered by health insurance according to the law and the law provides for hiring 16,000 more IRS agents!  Well what are those agents going to be doing if not following up with you if you don’t say you are covered?  Weiner danced and dodged and at one point stood silently pouting when O’Reilly tried to pin him down.

This is ugly and it is going to get uglier as we learn what is in this cancer on our economy.  But Nancy Pelosi warned us.  “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”  Well, they passed it, now we get all the bad news.

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Alinsky Threatens Democrats

by Bill O'Connell on March 25, 2010

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“What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

So reads the opening paragraph of Saul Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals.”  Barack Obama is a follower of Saul Alinsky taking his first job out of Columbia as a community organizer in Chicago and tutored by a man named Mike Kruglik.  Kruglig described Obama this way:

“He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation, who could engage a room full of recruiting targets in a rapid-fire Socratic dialogue, nudging them to admit that they were not living up to their own standards. As with the panhandler, he could be aggressive and confrontational. With probing, sometimes personal questions, he would pinpoint the source of pain in their lives, tearing down their egos just enough before dangling a carrot of hope that they could make things better.” — “Obama’s Alinsky Jujitsu,” American Thinker, January 8, 2008 

Democrats Facing Threats After Passage of Health Care Reform

While wading through a crowd of protesters carrying a massive gavel, Nancy Pelosi was joined by several prominent black Democrats.  A racial epithet was called out from the crowd evoking a reaction from Pelosi’s companions.  The cameras caught the reaction, but not the provocateur.  Neither the police or any news organization caught the individual, but the “main stream media” immediately started linking Tea Party protesters with racism.

In the following days, CNN and others reported threats to Democrats who voted for the health care bill, including a graphic voicemail to Bart Stupak; an anonymous fax picturing a noose was sent to a black Democratic Congressman James Clyburn; Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter reports a brick being thrown through the window of her district office in Niagara Falls, NY.  Very troubling indeed.

Having walked down Pennsylvania Avenue with thousands of Tea Party protesters last year, I can say they were the most orderly, principled, polite, helpful gathering of people you could imagine.  Naturally the “main stream media” reported nothing of this demonstration other than a sign or two that linked this administration to the Nazis.  So was I surprised to see this vitriol suddenly sprout up?  While I could understand the frustration with this arrogant Congress and President ignore the overwhelming will of the people, I still couldn’t grasp them going that far.

When I heard about the broken window in Congresswoman Slaughter’s district office, I thought of other protests with broken glass.  Protesters smashing windows in Seattle at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in 1999.  The G20 summit in Scotland in 2009 had protesters smashing windows.  These violent protesters represent the left, not the right. Hmmm…

Last night in Ottawa, the police cancelled a speech by Ann Coulter at the University of Ottawa, because the threat of violence became too great:

After Tuesday night, the hatred incited by Francois’ letter is no longer theoretical. The police called off my speech when the auditorium was surrounded by thousands of rioting liberals—screaming, blocking the entrance, throwing tables, demanding that my books be burned, and finally setting off the fire alarm.  

Ms. Coulter received a letter, before her speech, from the provost of the University that she could potentially be criminally liable for hate speech in Canada.  Who else spoke at the University without such admonishment?  How about Communist Angela Davis?  Hmmm…

Rules for Radicals

So what are Saul Alinsky’s instructions to radicals?  Here he outlines the purpose:

In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace…. “Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.’ This means revolution.” p.3                               

“Radicals must be resilient, adaptable to shifting political circumstances, and sensitive enough to the process of action and reaction to avoid being trapped by their own tactics and forced to travel a road not of their choosing.” p.6

“A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage — the political paradise of communism.” p.10

“An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth — truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing…. To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations….”

Everything is relative and changing.  Doesn’t that sound like the left’s view of a “living and breathing” Constitution?  The Constitution is not what the Founding Fathers intended when the wrote it, but what the words mean in today’s context.  In other words, there really is no Constitution, because the Constitution means whatever you say it means today.

“The tenth rule… is you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.… It involves sifting the multiple factors which combine in creating the circumstances at any given time… Who, and how many will support the action?… If weapons are needed, then are appropriated weapons available? Availability of means determines whether you will be underground or above ground; whether you will move quickly or slowly…” p.36

Clothe it with moral garments.  Did the Democrats argue the merits of health care or did they continually fall back to stories of, for example, “a woman who had to wear her dead sister’s dentures,” said Louise Slaughter.  Or, they said that when people were asked about the details of ObamaCare, the public overwhelmingly supported it, so they are not opposed to the whole package.  Really?  I’m sure that if you picked through the programs of Hitler, Stalin, Castro, and Mao you could get similar reactions: lower unemployment, self-respect, prosperity, etc., but the full package doesn’t work, it’s a lie.

Rules for Radicals: Tactics

9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

Can you say racism?  How many times has this trump card been played?  The epithet hurled from the crowd immediately sparked cries of racism and the “main stream media” tied them to the Tea Party protesters.

13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

The Democrats squeaked through an ugly health care bill.  The next hurdle is to get this far behind them and try to salvage the 2010 election before they are thrown from office.  Recent polls show a significant uptick in Obama’s approval, but it is all coming from Democrats.  Republicans haven’t budget and Independents are even worse.  Hmmm… what do Democrats do now?  Read Rule 13.

Pick the target: The Tea Party protesters are the most energized potent force in politics today.  They must be stopped.  Freeze it:  Have some left wing radicals, maybe some SEIU members mingle among the Tea Party protesters and shout the racial epithets and melt away.    Pelosi’s parade route was known among the Democrats.  They staged it to look like a Civil Rights march from the 1960s.  They knew the media would be there and they could see, once on site, where to stand to be heard by Pelosi & co., but not be caught on camera.  The lap dog media would immediately launch into grave concerns of the Tea Party turning ugly, “as we knew they would.”  Freeze them.

Personalize it.  What is more personal than racism?  How do you defend against a charge of racism?  Polarize it:  Paint the Tea Party as a bunch of hateful, racist, violent rednecks with guns and fair minded people will not want to associate with them.  They will drift away from the Tea Party and in the absence of another group to organize them, they hope these folks will become dejected and not turn out in November, and Nancy Pelosi can dodge a bullet and tighten her grip on the Speaker’s gavel.

Battle Back

The executive branch is responsible for enforcing the laws.  Press them to find out who did these things.  Put forth the theory that it is the left trying to discredit the Tea Party people.  After all, which is the more plausible explanation, radicals being radicals or law abiding citizens becoming crazed and dangerous?  Make them disprove the case.

This appears more dangerous and grave every day.  It’s eight months to November.  Stay vigilant and don’t let up.

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Shut Up Stupid, and Take Your Medicine

by Bill O'Connell on March 22, 2010

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“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” Nancy Pelosi 

The White House claimed, incredibly, that most Americans support ObamaCare.

“If you take the last 12 independent polls, and you throw out four by Rasmussen, whose results the White House doesn’t like, and you throw out six others that show a wide margin of opposition, then you have two polls with results consistent with the Washington Post poll showing a fairly small margin of opposition to the Democrats’ national health care plan. And that is Benenson’s case. By the way, the headline of his article? “Most Americans want health care reform.”  – Byron York, National Examiner

Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, gushed on Fox News last night, about how ObamaCare was good for Pennsylvania.  Why?  Well, he said, today Pennsylvania is only reimbursed 50% for Medicare while under ObamaCare Pennsylvania will be reimbursed 90%.  Very cool.  Er, who’s picking up the tab for that extra 40%?  That question goes to the heart of the Liberal/Progressive movement which is basically you are too damn stupid to recognize a shell game when you see one.

Unless the plan is to have ObamaCare paid for with the profits from GM and Chrysler, the only thing the government does for a profit, it is all a giant shell game.  The giddy governor of Pennsylvania knows that this is a shell game and that extra 40% will either come out of Pennsylvanians federal tax pocket instead of their state tax pocket or it will be subsidized by citizens in other states through their taxes.  Oh wait, no, there is always those evil drug and medical device companies to tax.  But where do they get their money?  That’s right taxes are built into the price of their products, so expect drugs and medical devices to cost more.

The Evil Health Insurance Company Myth

Obama & Co. jumped all over a 39% premium increase by Anthem Blue Cross in California as Exhibit A justifying their takeover of the health care industry.  This is not going to be fixed with ObamaCare but only made worse.  An example is given by a doctor who says for the last seven years he has been reimbursed $50 for an office visit under Medicare.  In that time his expenses have risen 30%. (Quick check — if the good doctor gives his staff a 4% raise each year for 7 years that comes out, compounded, to about 30%).  Under ObamaCare they are proposing a 21% reduction in Medicare reimbursement, so the doctor will now get a $40 reimbursement for an office visit.  The doctor can do one of two things.  He can stop seeing Medicare patients, or he can charge his other patients more to make up the difference.  If he chooses the latter course of action, then private insurance companies, like Anthem, will have to pay for the increase.  How do they recover their costs?  That’s right by increasing premiums.

Just like you never hear statists blaming government polices of HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac for the housing bubble that triggered the financial crisis and recession (it was all those greedy, evil bankers), you won’t hear them mention their policies regarding Medicare as triggering the premium increases.  It was all about greed.  So government will need to step in and make sure those greedy insurance companies cannot increase prices like they have.  So expenses rise, premiums are capped, insurance companies fold, and voila you have a public option, which becomes the only option.  Next to keep expenses from rising, health care will have to be rationed because there are no market mechanisms in ObamaCare to actually reduce costs.  No tort reform.  No elimination of 3rd party payers.  No true insurance that protects against catastrophic costs while you pay for the routine, like all other insurance.  Just government fiat.  Obama can no more order health care costs to decline than he can turn off gravity. 

News flash to people around the world living under socialized medicine who travel to the United States for critical care when they need it, that door will soon be closed.

Who Is Really Stupid?

Statists believe the average American is too stupid to make decisions, or should I say the right decisions, about their lives, health, safety, etc.  We need the really, really smart people in government to tell us what is good for us and follow their instructions.  Or…in November we can send them the message that they were really, really stupid to ignore what the American people were screaming at them, STOP!!!! If Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Adams, Hamilton, et al, thought Americans were smart enough to look out for their own best interests, who are Pelosi, Reid, Waxman, Boxer, Rangel, Schumer, Dodd, et al, to say otherwise?

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The Gathering Storm

by Bill O'Connell on March 7, 2010

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If we manage to escape the economic catastrophe that is ObamaCare, we may breathe a little easier, but watch the horizon for a storm is brewing that makes the health care monstrosity look like pin money.

Unions have long been in decline in private industry, but recently for the first time union membership in the public sector surpassed that in the private sector, and it is still growing.  We all know the stories about municipal workers working for 20 or 30 years, then retiring at 50% to 90% of their last year’s pay which is often inflated with heavy overtime, and then they go out and get another job where they work until retirement and a cushy life of a public pension, a handsome private 401k, and Social Security.

It used to be that it was a trade off that government workers (teachers, cops, firefighters, sanitation workers, clerical) got great benefits because they were paid poorly when compared to the private sector.  However that is no longer the case as reported in USA Today:

 USA Today reported that nearly one in five federal government employees now earn over $100,000. The paper also reported the average federal salary rose to $71,260, almost $31,000 more than the comparative average private-sector wage. 

If that doesn’t get the hair on the back of your neck to stand up as, after all you are who pays for these salaries and benefits, then perhaps this will from National Review’s March 8, 2010 issue:

The highest-paid municipal employee in Madison, Wis., is bus driver John E. Nelson, whose salary last year totaled more than $159,000. Half a dozen of his fellow drivers also earned in six figures. How is this possible? The Wisconsin State Journal explains:“A high base salary and other benefits for drivers were largely set in the 1970s and 1980s, when the city took over the bus company.” Combine that with generous, federally mandated leave provisions that make for lots of overtime, and it’s not unusual for a bus driver to out-earn the mayor (and with much better job security). In the 1950s, Ralph Kramden of The Honeymooners was paid $62 a week by the skinflints at the Gotham Bus Company; he was constantly hatching schemes to strike it rich so he could quit. Today Kramden’s dreams of avarice would have been a lot simpler: get a government job and join a union. — The Week, “National Review,” March 8 , 2010

$159,000 for driving a bus.  Imagine.  I wonder what the private bus company was paying their drivers before the city took them over?  I am sure, like ObamaCare, the takeover was a cost savings measure.  After all, those greedy private companies are out to make a profit. 

Who was the most frequent visitor to the White House  at the time the White House released its visitor logs?  It was Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (government workers), which should tell you where this is going.  Remember, as well, that when the federal government took over GM and Chrysler they gave huge percentages of those companies to the unions.  So when it comes time to negotiate the next contracts the union will sit on both sides of the bargaining table, as management and labor.  How will that turn out?  It will be one of two ways, either the union will have an epiphany and realize that profits are important to staying employed, or the unions will pick the bones of GM and Chrysler clean, driving them out of business and leaving you and me, brother, holding the bag.

The Ticking Pension Bomb

The killer, however, is unfunded pension liabilities.  All those pensions that we will be paying for with retirees being retired for longer than they worked in many cases, will be like nothing we have imagined before from a fiscal crisis standpoint.  In private industry as businesses learned to appreciate the value of their human assets, they treated them accordingly and the unions withered.  However in the public sector we have elected officials writing laws, e.g., Davis Bacon, that heavily favor or require union labor.  Unions in turn, pour millions into making sure those same politicians get re-elected.  Who is looking out for you and me?  As the ultimate employers of government employees, how about a law that union contracts must be ratified by the public at the ballot box?  Too cumbersome?  Okay, how about a law that government employees cannot receive salaries and benefits that exceed what the average private employee (the public employees’ bosses) receives in that geographical area?

Tea Party Members, are you listening?

It is clear from the present administration that the statists believe that it is their destiny to rule, not govern, over the masses who they believe are their intellectual inferiors.  Keep piling it on, but don’t worry we can always tax the rich to pay for it.  But as you board that bus in Madison Wisconsin, ask yourself if Mr. Nelson behind the wheel, is the rich guy picking up the tab or is it you?  Watch out folks, if we don’t do something soon, the rich won’t be rich enough to pay for it even if we tax them at 100% and there is no law to stop them from taking their wealth and moving somewhere else where taxes are lower.  And at this rate there are a lot of places in the world where the taxes are lower.

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Stiffing Stupak

by Bill O'Connell on March 5, 2010

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Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak stood next to Greta Van Susteren on her program last night with several small stacks of paper.  Each one of those stacks represented an existing federal law that banned using public money for abortion.  He said anyone of them, pick one, is acceptable to him to get him to vote for the Senate version of the health care bill.  He said President Obama signed a law, just ten weeks ago that had similar language.  He was baffled as to why he could not get an answer from the President or his committee chairman, Henry Waxman, why they would not just continue existing federal law.  Let me put forth my hypothesis.

The Real Healthcare Objective

President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of the statists have as their goal one, national health care provider, and that is the federal government.  I know that the “public option” has been in and out of the bill, and that the stated plan is for private insurers to continue to provide heath care insurance, but here is what I see as the real game plan:

  1. Do whatever it takes to cajole health insurance companies to sign on or at least shut up.
  2. Make sure that individuals do not take control over their health care purchasing decisions through high deductable plans and Health Savings Accounts.  Keep the 3rd party payer as the primary choice, which will allow health care costs to continue to rise.
  3. Put in a federal oversight panel to make sure health insurance providers do not make “excessive” profits.  In other words, price controls.
  4. With steps 2 and 3 in place health insurance providers will eventually leave the business or go bankrupt.  The federal government will have no choice but to step in so that all Americans continue to be covered.
  5. Eventually, the federal government is the last man standing and the de facto public option, or should I say, public mandate is in place. Voila.

The Stupak Problem

If the scenario unfolds as I have described, then the only way to pay for an abortion is through your federal health care insurance provider.  If the language Mr. Stupak wants is in the bill, abortions will be near impossible and Roe v. Wade will be dead.  Do you think President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, NOW, or other pro-abortion groups are going to stand for that?  Not a chance.

So the Democrats have to find a way to either hoodwink Stupak into voting for the bill without the language he wants or find a way to peel off the 29 or so other Democrats who agree with Stupak.  Watch closely what happens.

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Your Tax Dollars Hard At Work

by Bill O'Connell on March 3, 2010

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The US Postal Service is contemplating increasing postage rates and eliminating Saturday delivery.  Really?  They lost approximately $4 billion last year.  But don’t worry the CEO got a bonus.  It is reported that their labor costs, heavily unionized, exceed 80% of revenues.  Did you know that the only place where unionization is growing is in the public sector?  Union representation in the public sector surpassed the private sector for the first time this year.

But don’t worry, President Obama has a handle on it.  He appointed Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union to the board to figure out how to reduce the deficit.  Do you see a problem between these two news items?  Can you see a problem with the objectives of an Andy Stern and you and me?

As a side note, Rick Perry just won the Republican primary for governor of Texas and in his campaign he used no yard signs, no phone banks, and no direct mail.  As one commentator said “paper is dead.”

I know this is completely anecdotal, but my local post office just completed an expansion project increasing the size of the building.  I have noticed more than one post office being expanded as well.  Again, this is just my limited, personal observation, not a scientific study, but with the drop in mail volume, “paper is dead”, $4 billion in losses, performance bonuses for lackluster performance, heavy unionization, am I being unreasonable in thinking the government couldn’t handle health care even if it was a good idea?

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Pass the Lipstick, Mr. President

by Bill O'Connell on March 3, 2010

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As President Obama said while campaigning to be President of the United States, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig!”  How true.  Yesterday President Obama reached for the lipstick to dab on four proposals suggested by the Republicans to the massive pig of a health care proposal clinging to life.  The four proposals are:

  1. Use undercover medical professionals to conduct investigations to fight waste and fraud in Medicare, Medicaid and other Federal programs.
  2. “Demonstrations of Alternatives” to the current malpractice mess.
  3. Increasing doctor reimbursement for Medicare.
  4. Expanding Heath Savings Accounts (HSA).

The pig smiled.  She thought she looked beautiful.  Just don’t try to put a bikini on her because, as President Obama famously said, she’s still a pig.  Let’s look at the President’s magnanimous attempt at bipartisanship in detail.

1)  Undercover Medical Professionals to Uncover Fraud

It is estimated that somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 billion is lost or stolen each year from Medicare and Medicaid.  This program has been in place for 40 years.  If those numbers are consistent over that period, that’s $4 TRILLION.  Gone. Stolen from you and me.  How much better shape would we be in if we had that money back?  That’s government efficiency for you.

The President of the United States is the chief law enforcement officer in the country.  The amount of Medicaid and Medicare losses each year are four times the entire budget of the Department of Justice.  How’s this for a proposal?  Create a Medicare/Medicaid fraud unit within the FBI and fund it so that we can stop these losses.  If you stop the fraud, it’s free money.  What you save in fraud should more than pay for the FBI funding.  Why take medical professionals and give them law enforcement duties.  Are you going to ask police to operate on you?  Mr. President it’s your job to enforce the laws and prevent this widespread fraud.  You don’t need a new act of Congress.  Just Do It!

2) Tort Reform –No; “Demonstrations of Alternatives” — Yes

Trial lawyers are one of the biggest contributors to the Democratic Party.  Do you think such “Demonstrations of Alternatives” will amount to anything other than hush money?  “Shut up , we’re looking into tort reform.”  The counter argument is that Americans have a right to their day in court when they have been injured.  True enough, and I am reluctant to arbitrarily limit their awards through a fixed dollar limit.  I would take aim squarely at the lawyers.

John Edwards, one-time Senator and presidential candidate, was involved in about 63 cases as a personal injury attorney and amassed a fortune of about $70 million.  In one particular case, he stood before the jury and took on the persona of a child in the womb crying out for oxygen to appeal to the emotions of the jury and win the case.  Oddly enough he voted against a ban on partial birth abortion.  Gee, in the once case it’s a child who can actually speak while still in the womb!  But on the other hand it is just a mass of tissue at birth that can be disposed of with the trash.  We have learned a lot about the moral character of John Edwards.  He is the poster boy for the old joke, “How do you know a lawyer is lying?  His lips are moving.”

Here is a simple solution to tort reform.  Fixed fees for attorneys and loser pays.  The lawyers should set their hourly rate and bill according to hours worked, not how much they can squeeze out of the jury.  The award should be for the benefit of the injured party, not the lawyer.  The second part is to prevent frivolous lawsuits.  The loser pays the legal fees of the winner.  The argument here will be that the tables will be turned and no one will sue corporations for damages because of the risk of paying their legal fees.  Right now lawyers are running a lottery fishing for lawsuits of any kind because they know that most corporations will settle for less than it would cost to defend the suit, even if they know they are right.  All customers of that corporation pay more for their products (e.g., drugs, medical devices) and the lawyer gets rich.  I am sure that if such a proposal as this gets passed a new market for “legal fee insurance” will open up where a plaintiff with a strong case can buy insurance to cover the cost of the other sides legal fees if they do lose.

3) Increasing Doctor Reimbursement for Medicare

So much for bending the cost curve down.  The real way to curtail spending on health care is to eliminate 3rd party payers.  (see It can be done).

4)  Increase Health Savings Accounts

These plans exist today, however, they are not all available across state lines (see It can be done).  I had such a plan in New York while employed by a company, but when I went out on my own I could not buy the same plan in New York State.  We don’t need ObamaCare, we just need states to allow these plans to exist within their borders or allow individuals to buy across state lines.

The Pig Lives!

Three of the  four Republican proposals that President Obama likes don’t cost anything.  But he $1 trillion to $2 trillion health care catastrophe is still alive and until we slay that beast and start over we will go from a serious health care problem to a fiscal crisis and end up with both.  If you don’t believe me, read how the model for ObamaCare is working in Massachusetts.

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Bunning Throws a High Hard One

by Bill O'Connell on March 2, 2010

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In baseball they call it a brush back pitch, a high hard one.  It lets the batter know that they don’t own home plate, and if they try to get too comfortable there they may be inviting a little “chin music.”  Jim Bunning, Republican Senator from Kentucky and a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher with a perfect game on his resume, just gave the Democrats a brush back and they don’t like it one bit.

Out of Control Spending

You would have to be Rip Van Winkle not to know that spending is out of control  and America is speeding toward bankruptcy.  President Obama and Nancy Pelosi have tried to hoodwink the country by implementing what is called “Paygo” short for Pay As You Go.  The idea is that you cannot spend money without first funding it either through cutting spending somewhere else or raising taxes.  The last element is the real reason Democrats support it, so that they would be “forced” to raise taxes.  Here is how the Wall Street Journal described Paygo back in June.

The truth is that paygo is the kind of budget gimmick that gives gimmickry a bad name. As Mr. Obama knows but won’t tell voters, paygo only applies to new or expanded entitlement programs, not to existing programs such as Medicare, this year growing at a 9.2% annual rate. Nor does paygo apply to discretionary spending, set to hit $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2010, or 40% of the budget.

The Democrats passed Paygo to appear fiscally responsible.  Jim Bunning merely called them on it.  He is not opposed to spending the money.  He has the courage, though, to stand up and say, Mr. President we’re broke, and we are accountable to the American people to be good stewards of the money they give us to run this government.

“If we can’t find $10 billion to pay for something that we all support, we will never pay for anything on the floor of this U.S. Senate,” he said. – Jim Bunning, Floor of the U.S. Senate, 3/1/2010

Immediately was heard much wailing an gnashing of teeth, that the lone Republican, had the temerity to challenge the “flexibility” of the Democrats to apply their rules willy nilly to tighten their grip on their power while trying to appear like the kindly nannies they really are.  Rules are passed to much fanfare in front of the cameras and then ignored with a scoff or a sneer, when they really mean something.

Gimmicks Instead of Guts

Democrats have proved incapable of controlling their spending.  With the mad push of profligacy that came with winning the Presidency and both houses of Congress with large margins, they now find themselves unable to dial it back without an intervention or a rehabilitation program.  So they pass Paygo, and ignore it; convene a debt reduction commission and name Andy Stern of the SEIU union to it.  If that is not a clue to what’s coming I don’t know what is.  What does a labor union president know about reducing debt?  All they know how to do is take someone else’s money and put it in their own pockets, so you can bet their solution to the debt problem is taxing you to the eyeballs.

Rather than the scorn that is being heaped upon him, Senator Bunning deserves our thanks.  Find the money first, then spend it.  Enough of the IOUs.  We cannot afford this liberal spending binge.

Stand strong, Senator, the Tea Party Patriots hear you and help is on the way.

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