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Ayn Rand as Seer on Health Care Shenanigans

So I’m currently reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (I know, I know… But anyway…).

I won’t go into how it’s killing my mother, the effect it’s having on my prospects for finding a boyfriend, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Point is, I just went through Chapter 11 of Part 2 (“Ellsworth M. Toohey”). Howard Roark had just selected Steven Mallory to craft a sculpture for the Stoddard Temple. After what can only be called an epiphany of spirit, Mallory explains what the commission (and by its nature, Roark’s great understanding of his own demons) helped him discover. Tell me if it reminds you of anything:

“I know that the terror exists. I know the kind of terror it is. You can’t conceive of that kind. Listen, what’s the most horrible experience you can imagine? To me—it’s being left, unarmed, in a sealed cell with a drolling beast of prey or a maniac who’s had some disease that’s eaten his brain out. You’d have nothing then but your voice—your voice and your thought. You’d scream to that creature why it should not touch you, you’d have the most eloquent words, the unanswerable words, you’d become the vessel of the absolute truth. And you’d see living eyes watching you and you’d know that the thing can’t hear you, that it can’t be reached, not reached, not in any way, yet it’s breathing and moving there before you with a purpose of its own. That’s horror. Well, that’s what’s hanging over the world, prowling somewhere through mankind, that same thing, something closed, mindless, utterly wonton, but something with an aim and a cunning of its own. I don’t think I’m a coward, but I’m afraid of it.”

Who knew Ayn Rand could so perfectly describe the Speaker and the “drooling beast” that the Stalinization of Health Care Act of 2010 has become, way back in 1943?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

Obama Supporter: Obamacare a “fiscal disaster waiting to happen”

Megan McArdle, who backed Obama in 2008, took a gander at the CBO numbers and called the House bill a “fiscal disaster waiting to happen.”  Among her six points is this, the most telling:

Ultimately, this rests on the question: are we really going to cut Medicare?  If we’re not, this gargantuan new entitlement is going to end up costing us about $200 billion a year next decade, which even in government terms is an awful lot of money.  There are offsetting taxes, but they’re either trivial or likely to be unpopular–look forward to a 4% rent increase when your landlord has to stump over the same amount for the new tax on rents.

Just read the whole thing.

She’s not the only one to be concerned about the fiscal impact of this hastily assembled reconciliation package.  Others have been poring over the numbers and have voice similar concerns.  Keith Hennessey found it:

Spends money on doctors in 2013 and 2014, but leaves out the permanent fix, as expected.  This means there’s another $300-ish B of Medicare spending that is not counted in this bill.  So much for true deficit neutrality.

H/t:  Instapundit.  (Read that whole thing too.)

Delineating five reasons the CBO figures are phony, Ed Carson observed:

The Congressional Budget Office’s preliminary “score” says the health care overhaul will cost $940 billion over the first 10 years, saving $138 billion over that time. But the CBO must assess legislation as written, rather than whether it will actually be carried out. Or, as the Economist put it, “The CBO is required to pretend to believe many impossible things before breakfast.”

(Another whole thing worth reading.)  And we still don’t know what the Senate is going to do with the amendments the House has passed.  As this bickering carries on and on, people will discover more and more unpleasant taxes and other limitations on our freedom in this behemoth.

So, the best thing to do is not to pass it so we can find out what’s in it, but defeat it to prevent this fiscal disaster from coming to pass.

House Minority Leader: “We’ll repeal this.”

In an exclusive for NRO (Does that mean I’m not allowed to quote from it?), Rep. John Boehner (R, OH, I hope he can pull this out!) promises that if he’s “lucky enough” to get the Speakership after an anticipated Republican take-over as a result of the passage of the Stalinization of Health Care Act of 2010, he’ll work to repeal this monstrosity.

That is nice to hear, Congressman Boehner. And anticipating what you’d do if you get “lucky” with your future position is bold. How about you apply more of those chops to ensuring the bill doesn’t pass in the first place?

– Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

Obamacare: Democrats’ Dream, Americans’ Nightmare

With Democratic leaders are engaged in intense arm-twisting sessions with recalcitrant members of their caucus, the Administration apparently offering federal jobs to retiring lawmakers as the presidents’ polls plummet, it sure doesn’t seem like the latest push to nationalize our nation’s health care system is winning plaudits from the American people or winning votes on the bill’s merits.  If Nancy Pelosi wins this one, she wins it ugly.

And she’s working hard to pass a bill, voluminous though it is, that leaves much to be filled out by federal bureaucrats.  According to Charles Kesler, senior fellow at the Claremont Institute:

This phonebook-sized law that would control a sixth of the U.S. economy cannot be a law by that definition. If you rummage through the text of, say, the House of Representatives’ version of the bill, you find scores of places where power is delegated to administrative agencies and special boards, which are charged to fill the gaps in the written legislation by promulgating thousands, if not tens of thousands, of new pages of regulations that will then be applied to individual cases. Voters sometimes complain that legislators don’t read the laws they enact. Why would they, in this case? You could read this leviathan until your eyeballs popped out and still not find any “settled, standing rules” or a meaning that is “indifferent, and the same to all parties.”

In fact, that’s the point of such promiscuous laws. They operate not by setting up fences to protect each man’s liberty. They start not from equal rights but from equal (and often unequal) privileges, the favors or benefits that government may bestow on or withhold from its clients. The whole point is to empower government officials, usually unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, to bless or curse your petitions as they see fit, guided, of course, by their expertness in a law so vast, so intricate, and so capricious that it could justify a hundred different outcomes in the same case. Faster than one might think, a government of equal laws turns into a regime of arbitrary privileges.

Please note that he wrote this last week so he’s not referring to the House reconciliation package, so maybe they new bill doesn’t so delegate.  Perhaps, we should just call this the Federal Bureaucrat Empowerment Act.

Oh, yeah, let’s not forget the 16,500 additional IRS agents needed to enforce it.  Wonder if the CBO factored in the cost of their employment in its estimate of the bill’s cost.

So, this is why Mrs. Pelosi calls this a jobs’ bill:  it creates jobs for federal bureaucrats.

About those CBO numbers. . .

While Democrats and their lock-step lickspittles are just plum “giddy” about the CBO numbers saying that the Pelosi reconciliation bill will cut the deficit, more sober analysts are pointing out some uncomfortable facts to the Democrats, you know, like, well, these numbers are based on a lot of estimates.

Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, remarked:

The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that there is currently no official cost estimate. Yet House Democrats are touting to the press – and spinning for partisan gain – numbers that have not been released and are impossible to confirm.

(H/t:  Ed Morrissey.)  And Ryan’s not the only one to wonder how a new federal government entitlement could save money which would mean it would do something a federal social program has never done before.

Our reader Sonicfrog, his head not buried in Iliad scholarship, has had the time to look more closely than I at the bill and the CBO analysis and shows just how it burdens small business.  He also points out something about the CBO analysis that those giddy Democrats just don’t want you to notice:

In the MSNBC article that came out today, concerning the CBO assessment, I noticed this paragraph:

Hospitals and doctors, drug companies and insurers would gain millions of new paying customers, but they would also have to adjust to major changes. Medicare cuts would force hospitals to operate more efficiently or risk going out of business.

Uh Hu. There is already a shortage of hospitals and emergency rooms across the country, and many are currently surviving by the skin of their teeth, operating on a bare bones budget. An increase in medical coverage will increase the demand for these facilities. So the government will allow struggling hospitals to go out of business, especially if the reason they go out of business can be tied to this government regulation?

Read the whole thing.  In other words, to get to the budget savings, Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues plan on cutting Medicare which will burden hospitals now dependent on such government largesse.  So, some will out of business and we have fewer hospitals (thus less health care).

The more people know about this legislation, the less they’ll like this.  No wonder Democrats are rushing to vote on it, trying to get this done on a weekend when most people spend their time spending time with their families and enjoying their favorite past times.

The Health Care Mandate & the End of Freedom

Like many young Americans, for the better part of my 20s and early 30s, I didn’t bother with health insurance.  When I finally got it (as my father’s insistence), I wasn’t aware I could get catastrophic coverage, figuring I had to buy the HMO that Anthem (then-Blue Cross) told me was the best deal for me.  Actually, it was the best deal for them, but unaware of all the choices out there, I went with that.

Of the many, many, many troubling things about Obamacare, the individual mandate (which Obama opposed during his campaign) may well be the most troubling.  It tells individuals what kind of coverage they must have.  A young person must be roped into a plan that may offer more coverage than he is willing to pay for, covering things, like my HMO did, that they don’t really need nor want–but the government says they need.

If, in 2001 when I got my health insurance, I was aware of all the choices out there, rather than dependent on the corporate representative to whom I was directed, I would have opted for something less expensive that covered only serious illness.  I had the choice, but didn’t make myself aware of what was out there.  Now, the Democrats are on the verge of denying young people that choice.

Coburn Throws Down the Gauntlet for Buyable Democrats

WOW!

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Not Just OK; Great!) today threatened those wavering Democrats who voted “no” last November on the House version of the Stalinization of Health Care Act of 2010 and who switch to support it now:

Be prepared to defend selling your vote in the House

In a press conference, flanked by other members of the Legislature, Senator Coburn warned those who flip-flop that if they lose their jobs in Congress and think they’ll just coast into an Administration appointment (promised them by the president in exchange for committing political suicide on his behalf), their nominations will be held up in the Senate. Furthermore, any earmarks or other set-asides for their districts will be scrutinized and publicized by the Republicans.

This is bare-knuckles, and is about as fair as you can get: If Pelosi wants you to fall on your sword to save her and the president’s necks, don’t think we’re going to let you get away with it.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

UPDATE: Here are Coburns actual words, from K-Lo at the Corner:

I want to send a couple of messages to my colleagues in the House.

If you voted no and you vote yes, and you lose your election, and you think any nomination to a federal position isn’t going to be held in the Senate, I’ve got news for you. It’s going to be held.

Number two is, if you get a deal, a parochial deal for you or your district, I’ve already instructed my staff and the staff of seven other senators that we will look at every appropriations bill, at every level, at every instance, and we will outline it by district, and we will associate that with the buying of your vote. So, if you think you can cut a deal now, and it not come out until after the election, I want to tell you that isn’t going to happen. And be prepared to defend selling your vote in the House.

How We Got Here:

h/t: NRO

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

“Fall On My Sword” or “NEXT!”

Posted by Sarjex at 1:01 pm - March 18, 2010.
Filed under: cartoons


Drawn to: “A.I.” by John Williams

No, Virginia, Obamacare won’t poll better if it passes

A few left-wing bloggers have recently come up with data which, they contend, backs up their talking point that were Obamacare to pass support for the big government behemoth, currently flat-lining, would start to increase.  They’re all but giddy at some supposed polling date showing that support for Medicare climbed after it passed in 1965.

2008 Obama supporter Megan McArdle, however, easily shoots down their claims:

Now, Medicare popularity did improve after it passed.  On the other hand, it wasn’t passed despite terrible polling, with a controversial process, by a political party that was tanking in popularity thanks to a grinding recession.

Via Instapundit.  And of those reasons, I think the process stands out as the primary reason why support won’t increase.  The more people learn about the back room deals, the more they’ll wonder at the means the Democrats used to get this passed.  If this were such a good deal, why would they have to pay off so many members to win their support?

I’d add a few more reasons why support for Obamacare won’t increase should it pass:

  1. The public mood has shifted since 1965.  People were less skeptical then of big government programs than they are today.  They were more willing to experiment with increased federal intervention.
  2. There was no significant organized opposition to Medicare in 1965.  No taxpayer advocacy groups.  (Nor an alternative media.) The conservative movement was then only nascent, having recently suffered a humiliating defeat at the polls (Goldwater won only six states in 1964).  Today, the conservative movement in resurgent, reinvigorated through the Tea Party movement.
  3. Even many supporters don’t even know what’s in the bill’s several-thousand pages.  (I mean, heck, as I write this we still don’t have the details of the House amendments to the Senate bill.  There are certain “elements” Byron York observes, ” mandate, penalties, tax — are absolutely critical to the Democrats’ health care scheme.”  They too are part of the plan as well as myriad new federal panels which the bill empowers to intervene in individuals’ health care decisions.  Remember, even Nancy Pelosi said the House needed to pass the bill so we could know what’s in it.

Should the House deem the Senate bill passed this week as it passes its amendments to said legislation, the debate and the legislating won’t be over.   (more…)

The Dinosaur Media in Action

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 am - March 18, 2010.
Filed under: Media Bias

You know, if you’re going to elevate a reporter to host a Sunday morning talk show, he should at least have a record of honest reporting, you know, getting at the truth — and not showing a particular prejudice for one side.  But, if someone shows a particular animus toward one nation and another worldview, it is perhaps not a good idea to put that person in a position where she’d be interviewing Washington’s leading policy makers every week.

Well, that doesn’t seem to be deterring ABC from tapping a biased CNN reporter to replace George Stephanopoulos on This Week:

ABC News is close to concluding a deal to install the longtime CNN foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour as the new host of its Sunday political discussion show “This Week.”

As Donald Douglas reminds us in his post, Christiane Amanpour Would Be Disaster for ABC’s ‘This Week’, this “leftist and critic of the Iraq war is is married to Jamie Rubin, who was Assistant Secretary of State in Democrat Bill Clinton’s administration.”

And she’s not much of a draw either.  Her latest ratings have her capturing barely one-third of the audience of the FoxNews program in the same Sunday time slot as hers; and she’s well behind MSNBC among the coveted 25-54 demographic.

If you want to know why the MSM is in decline, the mere fact that ABC would even consider someone with the record of Ms. Amanpour should help explain things.  She is not known for her even-handedness, but for favoring enemies of the United States and their apologists on the left and being excessively critical of American policies, their defenders and our allies, particularly Israel.

It has been the success of folks like her that accounts, in large measure, for the decline in the MSM.  People know bias when they see it.  And this lady sure is biased.

NB:  I changed the title and revised the first paragraph of this post because I thought my attempt at humor failed.

Moonbeam on the Rocks

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:46 am - March 18, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,California politics

While we’ve mostly had bad news from the (once-)Golden State, there is a bit of good news to report, a chance that California won’t, as of next January, continue down the path of fiscal ruin.  The latest Field Poll shows Republican Meg Whitman besting former Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” “Medfly” Brown by 3 points.

Given that the Democrat is the state’s Attorney General, has served previously as Governor, he has to be considered the incumbent in this race, meaning that undecideds will likely break against him.  To be sure, he’ll be helped by a hefty dose of state-subsidized campaigning when the public employee unions release tens of millions of dollars in negative ads against Mrs. Whitman should she prevail in the Republican primary next June–as appears likely.

Still, right now, the trends don’t look good for Moonbeam.  He’s remained virtually static, in the low 40s, while she’s moving up:

While the unions will spend a lot to defeat her, she should have a nice stash of campaign cash to stand up to their attacks.  As a political outsider, Meg best represents change from the Sacramento status quo.

NB:  I’m aware the charts says Senate, but the candidates are the ones running for Governor.  The heading came with the embed from pollster.