Monthly Archives: October 2009

What is “The President’s Health Care Bill”?

In every news cast, presidential speech and health care commercial we hear that the President’s bill will.., or the President’s bill won’t… What is the the President’s bill?

By Constitutional procedure, a bill may be presented either directly by a member of Congress, by a member of the public or the President through a member of Congress. None of the bills being seriously considered originated in the White House. In fact, none of the bills are from the President at all. As many of the things going on in our government, none are actually original thoughts of Barack Obama.

Don’t we all want to know what would be in a Presidential plan? He certainly spent months and months, as well as hours of television time telling us about his plan. Instead we are left looking at Senator Max Baucus’ plan (Finance Committee), or Representative Dingell’s bill (H.R.3200). Congress is choosing to ignore the Republican’s bill (H.R.3400). We still have no idea what the President actually thinks is important in health care. Is this another vote of “Present” for the former rookie Senator? Is he failing to act as he has during the first year of his Presidency? Or is he just too protective of his image to tarnish it with the possibility of failure.

Of Course, with the bailouts of too-big-to-fail institutions, preventing the failure of the auto unions, propping up the mortgages of those that made poor decisions… it’s obvious that he believes no one should ever fail. This type of socialistic thinking has a flip-side, if no one can fail, nor can anyone actually succeed. Everyone is equal – except the political elite and their cronies.

We should ask the almighty to submit his “plan” for Congressional review, debate and vote. If he won’t then whatever passes is Congress’ (Reid and Pelosi’s) bill, not his.

Health Care Reform Close to Becoming Law – How?

The Senate Finance committee has now set a date for their vote – next Tuesday. While the worthless mainstream media talks about “the bill” and there at least five out there, how do we get to a single bill?

Congressional procedures are the same whether we are talking about budget bills, defense bills, or health care reform bills. The major difference being that any bill that raises revenue must originate in the House of Representatives.

A bill is is submitted by a member(s) of Congress in either house and may be referred to committee for review and recommendation if the leader/speaker decides. The bill can be tabled, defeated or recommended by that committee. Bills that make it through committee can be brought up for a vote in whichever house the committee belonged to (House of Representatives or Senate). If the floor vote succeeds it has passed that house. The bill must pass both houses of Congress to be eligible for consideration by the President.

In the case of health care reform, we expect that H.R.3200 will pass the House of Representatives. It looks quite likely that Baucus’ Chairman’s mark will pass the Senate. We have two competing bills that can pass their own houses, but look to stand no chance in the other house. The way Congress resolves this is by bringing the competing bills to Conference Committee and hammering out a compromise bill. This bill must be voted on and accepted by both houses if it expects to see the Oval Office. If the compromise bill makes it to the Executive Suite, the only thing left is for the President to sign it into law.

So what might a compromise bill look like? It might contain the VAT tax from H.R. 3200, the medical business taxes from H.R.3400, a public option, and $300 Billion in Medicare cuts (a middle position between both bills). Because both houses are heavily liberal, it is reasonable to assume that the resultant bill will also be so.

‘Going Galt’ Without Realizing

Going Galt Atlas Shrugged In March of this year, there was a firestorm of libertarians and ultra-conservatives taking up the call of John Galt from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  Galt is a bright inventor/engineer that decides to quit furnishing his skills to the economy when his company goes Marxist.

Several on the right are considering a Galt-like removal from the economy to starve the money-hungry habits of an increasingly-socialist government.  Others are becoming Galtist without even knowing it.

Many conservatives are shedding debt and increasing assets at an historic pace.  By not needing to service debt, they would need anywhere between 5% and 20% less capital than someone living off of lines of credit from banks and credit card companies.  The popularity of get-out-of-debt personalities such as Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard is massive and escalating.  These personal finance empowerment experts are motivating Americans to shed debt and unnecessary purchases.  According to a Wall Street Journal Article, “Total consumer credit outstanding, which includes everything from credit-card debt to loans for recreational vehicles, fell $12 billion in August, or at a 5.8% seasonally adjusted annual rate, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday. It was the seventh straight month of declines”. Conservatives are eating-it-up, the whole thing, all the way.

If the major bread winners in the economy stopped buying a new BMW or SUV every two or three years that means that they need far less cash flow to service their lives.  The real drivers of the economy won’t need to grow their business and some are deciding that enough-is-enough by getting what they get and not going after much more.  These people represent almost half of the job creation in the entire U.S. market.  What is pushing them to consume less, need less, and therefor produce less?

As income increases, disproportionately so do the taxes, bureaucracy, risk, disparagement by the socialist-minded left and responsibility.  An Entrepreneur’s appetite for risk decreases as each of the negatives increase in an increasingly-socialistic atmosphere.  Without a tolerance for risk, these captains of the economy will cease to take out loans to finance their future business growth, cease to hire additional workers, cease to find additional ways to increase revenues that will only get increasingly sent to the government.  Have we passed the risk/reward threshold?  Have the capitalist-hating liberals finally crushed the spirit of the entrepreneur?  I don’t think so, but we are approaching these limits rapidly.

Constantly spouting wealth-hating rhetoric, putting in increasingly anti-capitalistic policies, and taxing out high-earners is focusing the mindset of an already fiscally-conservative crowd.  This drives them into sharing the ideals of Ramsey and Howard, shedding liabilities and only adding fully-owned assets or even worse for our Keynesian approach to money – saving. The savings rate in America increased by almost 5 times to 6% in the second quarter of this year. We’re saving at a higher rate than any time in the last 20 years and many economic experts think that rate could exceed 8%.

If you believe the news, the increased savings and reduction in credit balances are due to a “credit crunch”. Hooey! Consumers aren’t borrowing. On Bloomberg.com, they state that, “only 8% of adults plan to increase household spending…” while 3% will spend less and a little more than half will spend at their current levels.

This not only takes the interest on credit lines out of the picture, but also takes serious private liquidity out of our financial system.  The U.S. uses a fractional reserve system.  Basically, a bank must hold $1,000 to be allowed to loan $10,000 (not the real ratio, but good for demonstration purposes).  This creates liquidity as $9,000 goes into the economy that did not previously exist.

If the major wealth in the country no-longer believes that some margin of debt is o.k., where will this liquidity come from?  The government.  Now the cycle of artificial public liquidity (loaning by the Federal Reserve, a.k.a. “printing money”) requires increasing taxes, more-and-more people either unsubscribe to the idea that debt is fine or increasing numbers of them go bankrupt and won’t be able to borrow.  A liquidity crisis spiral is created until the big-government spending-based economy collapses under its own weight.  That was the goal of John Galt in Rand’s novel and it would appear that it may be occurring not because people are intentionally “going Galt”, but because they are being driven to it by ever-increasing government spending and derision of capitalistic entrepreneurship.

Reagan had it right, you pump up this economy by empowering the hard-working, wealth-creating capitalists. I’m not sure the current administration understands that.. at all.

The Public Option is Alive

There are at least two major pushes left if the public option is to be defeated.  Currently, the administration is using backroom maneuvers to push for Congressional support from the middle.  Why backroom?  The Congressional leadership knows that if it creates the kind of outcry that occurred in October (town halls, massive marches on Washington, etc), they are guaranteed to lose their majority, by an incredible margin.

The democrats know they have political challenges and the closer the 2010 elections get, the more the worry.  Governors in several states are about to lose their seats to Republican opponents due to dissatisfaction, but that’s not the whole story.

While committee votes on liberal bills are being delayed, recent polling data shows that support for government-run health care is rising.  Conservatives should realize that this is part of a calculated strategy.  This must be viewed as a positive for the Congressional majority or they will lose a large number of seats.  With the town halls a distant memory… the delay is working.

Conservatives need to get into the media now.  We need to wake-up and realize that the conniving strategy of the left is waiting for the quiet to push the reform through.  How long has it been since you’ve been part of or seen a protest on television?  How long since we’ve heard about tea parties?  How long since public dissent has been discussed at all in the media?

The right is dropping back to last-gen strategies of calling Congressmen and writing letters.  While I do that on a regular basis… I always have.  We always have.  That’s a small portion of what must occur.  The outrage must be loud, public, and impossible to ignore.  The threat to the livelihood of the liberal Congress must be as real as the threat to our own way of life.

If you hear about a Tea Party, be there.  If there is a call-in campaign, be in it (by the way there is one tomorrow sponsored by Patient’s First ).  Write your Democrat Representatives and Senators again. It’s not over, they still want Europea-style, economy-breaking, socialistic health care.  5% vat taxes in H.R.3200, 40% excise taxes and huge fees in the Finance Committee bill.  Read-up, buck-up and most of all… do not let up.

Here’s a decent set of sites if you’re trying to figure out how to get involved:

Please add other great conservative events in the comments section so I can update the post with them.  Get active or get ignored.

U.N. Believes U.S. Worse Place to Live Now

Under Bush, the United States was ranked as the 12th best place to live in the world.  Barack has taken the reigns with a promise of increasing our status in the world.  Well, similar to Saturday Night Live, the U.N. may believe he has done nothing to manage that.

This year, the U.N. says that the U.S. is 13th in the world behind Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan.

The rankings are published annually by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and ranks 182 countries on factors such as education, GDP, and life expectancy.  The United States seems to have been bumped down a rank by … France which made a return to top of the list at number 8.

The report does not take into effect the global recession and is supposedly based on data from as far back as 2007.  Why publish a report annually based on 2 year+ old data?  Who knows, but they are the U.N.

Conservatives Losing Heart? New Poll Shows Increasing Support for ObamaCare

In a Rasmussen opinion poll released today, the latest figures show that support for the big-government style of health care is on the rise.  Last week, the opinion poll found that while 41% supported the plan, 56% opposed it.  In today’s release, 46% support the liberal tax-and-spend approaches that the President and the Congressional majority prefer while only 50% oppose.  What is even more striking, is that this “bounce” came without appearances on late-night T.V. or a public address from the seat of government.  It came seemingly, on it’s own.

What caused the bounce?  The only real coverage today that might have affected the poll was the appearance of 150 white-coated doctors on the White House Lawn.  The appearance of so many doctors supporting health care reform may have influenced the votes in the opinion poll, but did they realize that the entire thing was a charade.

The invitation-only list was populated by only supporters of health care reform and drawn heavily from the Doctors for America – a shadow group from Doctors for Obama.  No one from the Mad as Hell Doctors association was permitted an invitation, but then again, they don’t want the public option.

The President is meeting with folks and interviewing with T.V. programs that agree with him.  A true leader meets with everyone and seeks the best solution.  This kind of behavior is what one expects from elitists.  Unfortunately, the public may be getting more used to it.

Obama Education Policy Review

School busBarackobama.com published the President’s three-part vision for education: Improve K-12, expand access to higher education, and preparing children for kindergarten.   Is this more talk from a blow-hard or is this at least one area where Obama has put some substance behind his style?

The website says that K-12 will be improved through aggressive recruiting of new teachers, new ways to reward effective teachers, and by lessening the severity of actions against schools that fail to meet standards.  20% of existing teachers are expected to retire in the next five years.  While several news articles talk about things like scholarships for “Teacher Service” and “Teacher Residency Programs”, no bill has been enacted that would provide for them.   Another portion of Obama’s teacher recruitment/retention strategy is merit pay.  However, the idea of financially rewarding good teachers does not resonate with the National Education Association (NEA) and the powerful group seems to have prevented Obama from accomplishing this portion of his plan.  Barack would also like to send teachers to lower-income areas as stipulation of subsidizing their college costs.  It is my opinion that a teacher that is forced into an area where he/she does not want to live and work will surely get them to retire quickly.  As an aside, the President’s budget for 2010 also cuts funding for classroom technology by $169 million.  Grade on k-12: all style – no substance: F.

So how is Obama doing on his push to make higher-education more accessible?  The President’s budget does have provisions to increase funding of Pell grants.  Barack’s plan will increase Pell grant maximums from $5,350 to $5,550 and indexing the grant maximum to inflation.  There is controversy in how the President intends to pay for the increase in grants.  The administration is going to cut-off subsidies to lenders that provide student loans.  The reason the subsidy is necessary is government regulations that make the student loans bring in less money than it takes to administer them.  This will most-likely result in the government take-over of the student loan market.  While the grant increase will make education more-accessible to low-income households, it will also have the affect of making college less-affordable for middle-class families that rely on student loans to finance the trip through a University.  Grade on higher-education access: he’s taken action, but appears misguided: D.

Obama also intends to improve the preparation of pre-k children for school.  The President would like to reform No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  Other than speeches on the campaign trail, speeches from the White House, and speeches by other members of his administration, there appears to be no action on this part of the Obama plan.  Barack felt that NCLB was underfunded and put too much emphasis on preparing students for standardized tests.  No mention is made in the President’s budget about NCLB, instead it talks about creating a new program based on the “Harlem Children’s Zone” initiative.  This new “Promise Neighborhood” program does not appear to have funding in the budget, so it is unclear how or if it will even be implemented.  Grade on pre-k: all talk, no walk: F

So far, all we have seen is the Obama administration doing what has been done by every previous one – throw more money into a failing system.  $8.6 Billion was given to California alone to make up for education budget shortfalls, but no new programs came with the money and no new behavior has resulted. Obama’s final grade: D-.

World Opinion Worse Now: Obama Cost Chicago the Olympics

During his campaign run, Barack Obama disparaged past leaders for having created an atmosphere in which the rest of the world despised America.  Obama had promised to, “renew the nation’s promises” because he believed that we had, “a unique opportunity to reboot America’s image around the world”.  Our image has been reshaped, but not positively.

Obama now has a public image of someone that talks big but does not deliver.  This is the fear that many expressed during the campaign.  He is an effective cheerleader, but not so much a quarterback.

We have spent America’s political collateral talking to Iran, ignoring England, talking to Hammas and the Palestinians while brow-beating the Israelis, ignoring the success in Iraq and failing to support Afghanistan, talking to Russia while screwing Checkoslavakia and pushing Georgia away.  We have not gained a single new ally or friend, but have managed to distance ourselves from the ones we used to have.

Is it any wonder that the International Olympic Committee dropped Chicago onto the trash-heap in the first round?  Those who held America in contempt before Obama, still do.  Those who used to consider us stalwart allies, can no-longer count on us.  Anyone that might consider a partnership with us sees a weak leader that goes back on his commitments and has achieved exactly nothing.

In the end, the President has had almost a year since his inauguration.  If he decides to blame world opinion, it’s actually the world’s opinion of him now.  It won’t stop him from somehow blaming Bush, or the liberals calling it racism, but it should.

As an article on NBCWashington.com put it, “it wasn’t right-wingers at a town hall meeting, or even the loyal opposition in Congress who said “no thanks” so emphatically to Obama.  It was the world.”

Conservatives Turn Liberals Into Pillars of Salt

I went into the gym yesterday and was overjoyed to see that no one was there.  That allows me to pick what is on the television whilst I sweat-away.  I chose Fox News. About 10 minutes into my routine a young woman asked me if I was watching what was on the television.  Naturally, I said yes.  She immediately responded with, “You are going to turn me into a pillar of salt!”.  I asked what she meant and she responded, “making me watch Fox News.”

Of course I let this go, because salt or not, we were going to watch Fox until I was finished according to the gym rules.   That doesn’t mean that I didn’t think about her irrelevant biblical reference at all.

Christian cross

Christian cross

By no means am I the foremost expert on Sodom, Lot or his wife, but I have a pretty decent understanding of the story.  I have no idea what that has to do with watching a news story on a cable channel.  I did not ask to have sex with an angel, a child, or anything else.  I certainly did not say that this woman should envy material things or long for some other immoral action….I just wanted to watch stories on the recent earthquakes.

I’m uncertain as to how my affinity for a certain new channel made this a right or wrong thing, but she certainly felt that watching something that did not kowtow to the liberal agenda was akin to a mortal sin. This woman probably even thought she was being a good bible scholar, was saving me from damnation, or something like that.. unfortunately, she got it wrong.  Lot’s wife did not meet her fate simply because she looked at something, she was condemned to be a condiment because she coveted an immoral life…

But, what do I know…

Ford Succeeds Where Government Motors Fails

In a set of reports today, it became apparent that GM and Chrysler were not keeping up with Ford… at all.

Both Chrysler and GM borrowed billions from tax payers thanks to the current administration. We were even told that a great return on our investment would be forthcoming. Not so. Instead, the companies that have received taxpayer dollars are seeing a 41%+decrease in car sales while Ford, who asked for and received nothing, only saw a minuscule 5% reduction.

The government has broken social security, medicare, medicaid, screwed up the public school system, and not taken care of our broken infrastructure.  At what point did we believe that they could run a car company (let alone two)?

Imagine where we’ll be once the government owns health care…. just imagine.