Tag Archives: National Review

Lies. Damned Lies. And Obamacare Statistics

Carnac: The software that knows what you want to spend before you spend it.

Carnac: The software that knows what you want to spend before you spend it.

The latest batch of October statistics from the Obama White House credits me with buying a Mercedes, BMW and an Audi. And the best part is it didn’t cost me a dime! All I did was take three test drives and here I am: A GDP–generating fool.

This flexible interpretation of window–shopping and tire–kicking has great potential for the future. I’m thinking about taking credit for job creation when I get a haircut or have my car washed. With just a bit more attention to my personal appearance I could find states competing to offer me subsidies and tax breaks like Terry McAuliffe got from Mississippi.

And wouldn’t you know it, this conceptual breakthrough started with Obamacare and the HealthCare.dud website.

Some of my conservative colleagues complained when Obama minions began counting people who only visited the HealthCare.dud website and selected a plan, but didn’t pay for it as Official Obamacare Enrollees. These stalwarts contend that until the victim has actually paid for the plan there is no sale and consequently no enrollment, regardless of how much they need the insurance or how many hours they wasted on the website.

What’s more, if we let Obama get away with this, soon people who only thought about health insurance would be counted as part of the system.

The private sector equivalent of this new White House statistical interpretation would be Amazon.com counting items still on shopper’s ‘wish lists’ as being revenue generating sales; and then releasing the information to Wall Street so as to drive up the stock price.

Since he’s not president, the result would be Jeff Bezos facing charges, while Obama merely faces a hostile — make that mildly annoyed — press corps that is having trouble coming up with new excuses for the president’s failures.

The conservative objection, while true, misses the larger point. Based on the Phantom Obamacare Enrollee Precedent, when I buy my 2013 copy of TurboTax and fill out the form, I should be counted as having paid my taxes without sending the IRS a check!

I call it my own private sequester. And when you consider how the number of people who take more from the government than they pay in taxes is increasing, it finally puts me on the right side of history.

The Obamacare rollout — or ground out, if you prefer — does have implications for Obama’s future after the White House. If he’s as smart as the MSM assures us, Obama will steer clear of the private sector. That’s because if he tried the same marketing tactics outside of government, he would be subject to fines and possibly jail time.

As Orson Swindle, a Federal Trade Commission member from 1997 to 2005, pointed out in the National Review the HealthCare.dud website is deceptive, misleading and illegal. Jay Carney’s “wild west” indeed.

You may recall a recent furor over airline websites that were allegedly hiding baggage and other add–on fees until just before the consumer purchased the ticket. “Consumer advocates” and other busybodies complained that by waiting until the end of the purchase process to give the consumer a total price, airlines were trying to pull a fast one.

Airlines responded that where else would you give a total price unless it was at the end of the purchase process?

And besides the Carnac the Magnificent software was not ready for launch. Protests fell on deaf government ears and the FTC required the websites to be reprogrammed to sound a klaxon and flash red lights every time a consumer made a choice that would add more than a nickel to the ticket price.

Soon shopping for a big–ticket airfare came to resemble crash–diving in a submarine.

Yet the HealthCare.dud site is programmed to hide any cost information until after the consumer has created an account and been forced to divulge detailed financial information. And even then the information is purposely inaccurate.

As Swindle says, quoting CBS News, “HealthCare.gov contains a pricing feature that tends to “dramatically underestimate” the cost of insurance. The website’s “shop and browse” feature divides users into two broad age categories: “49 or under” and “50 or older.” Price estimates for the first age group are based on what a 27-year-old could expect to pay, whereas as the latter group’s price estimates are based on what a 50-year-old would pay, a practice that inevitably produces wildly misleading results for individuals significantly older than the base age. In some cases, actual premiums are nearly double the projected amount.”

Swindle concludes, “The bottom line is that no private entity would be allowed to get away with what the Obama administration is trying to get away with.”

And we haven’t even mentioned the “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it” shuffle.

The bad news is we have conservative busybodies, too. Rep. Fred Upton (R–MI) — descendant of Civil War hero Gen. Emory Upton — passed a bill in the House to allow insurers to continue to sell policies that the feds have canceled. What’s more, Upton persuaded 39 Democrats to join him in supporting this “bi–partisan” legislation. (Unfortunately for comity in the House, the bill must have passed on the weekend, because I don’t remember any praise for Upton from the MSM for reaching across the aisle to garner Democrat support.)

Too bad this is exactly the wrong thing to do.

If we are to rid ourselves of this Obamacare monstrosity, it will only come after the pressure on Democrats is so great they beg for political mercy. And that will only happen after all those who didn’t take time to read the law, feel the impact of the law.

Interim fix–its to reduce the pain undermine what should be conservative’s long term goal, which is end it, not mend it.

Netroots Blues

Netroots Nation

Netroots Nation, the annual left wing gathering of activists and bloggers, concluded this weekend with a lukewarm response from its attendants.  To say it was lackluster would be generous.  In the wake of the conservative victory in the Wisconsin Recall election, where Scott Walker, the only governor to survive a recall effort, handily beat Democratic Mayor of Milwaukee Tom Barrett, hopes ran low.  According to John Fund, who wrote in National Review, “enthusiasm for Obama was decidedly absent from this year’s gathering. Administration officials weren’t invited to attend (Valerie Jarrett and others have appeared in the past), and President Obama limited his role to an unpublicized surprise video shown to delegates late on Saturday, when many people had already left. Change is hard, but we’ve seen that it’s possible, as long as you’re willing to keep up that fight, I’ll be right there with you, Obama offered. Not exactly a stirring call to arms, and the tepid applause his video garnered can’t have pleased Team Obama.”

Van Jones gave a “rousing” speech demonizing conservatives, but what was I found most amusing was the panel discussion Fund wrote about concerning DINO (Democrat In Name Only) activities.  The panel called “When Democrats Aren’t Democrats: The Story of Rhode Island.  Kate Brown, the executive director of the liberal group Ocean State Action, warned that progressives are in a minority on a lot of issues” they care about, including gay marriage, expanding abortion rights, raising tax rates, and even implementing Obamacare. “We cut tax rates for the wealthy,” she asserted. “So when they tell us there’s no money [for programs], they are lying! There’s lots of money.”  So much that we’re $15 trillion dollars in debt, we’re nearly $60 trillion dollars in the hole with the unfunded liabilities for our entitlement programs, and soaking the rich has been consistently debunked as a viable economic policy.

It’s not the messaging that sucks, it’s the political left that sucks. Gov. Scott Walker is an exemplar of a committed leader who is pushing his state towards fiscal health and economic vitality.  He is the personification of a principled conservative. As a result, he beat Barrett and garnered more votes than he did in the 2010 gubernatorial election.  The recent recall saw the highest turnout ever for a gubernatorial race in Wisconsin history that ended in the repudiation of left-wing economic policies. The types of policies espoused by Ms. Brown and other progressives on the left.  One must ask if liberals are taking notice to the cries of  “hell no” from the American electorate concerning their socio-ecnomic agenda.

Well, if you’ve seen the post-recall footage, you have far left activists convinced they didn’t lose.  In fact, the state director for the Obama campaign, Tripp Wellde stated:

While tonight’s outcome was not what we had hoped for – no one can dispute the strong message sent to Governor Walker. Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites from all walks of life took a stand against the politics of division and against the flood of secret and corporate money spent on behalf of Scott Walker, which amounted to a massive spending gap of more than $31 million to $4 million…it is a testament to all of those individuals who talked to their friends, neighbors, and colleagues about the stakes in this election of how close this contest was. The power of Wisconsin’s progressive, grassroots tradition was clearly on display throughout the run up to this election and we will continue to work together to ensure a brighter future for Wisconsin’s middle class.

This would be meaningful if Barrett HAD WON!

Then, there is the inimitable Howard Dean.

(H/T Guy Benson)

Whether the liberals want to admit it or not, their entire agenda is crumbling.  To combat the stinging defeat of their policies that were soundly rejected by voters of a swing state, they must be increasing their daily intake of Soma, which has to be responsible for the delusional remarks above.  However, I’ve heard when your coming down from the proggie high, the sense of hopelessness can be palpable.  Hence, the Netroots blues exhibited last weekend.  My advice to the left is stay home and let us do the governing for a bit.