Archive for August, 2009
August 25th, 2009 at 3:21 pm
Government-Run = Trouble Free?
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Many Obamacare proponents paint a government-run or single-payer system as some Utopian endgame for health care.   It’s not.  The same debate that takes place here rages overseas as well.

Tuning in to the Prime Minister’s Question Hour is a good way to appreciate (in addition to the unintended hilarity) how a government-run system doesn’t end the debate, it merely changes it.   Instead of asking questions about universal coverage, complaints arise over seniors being denied care because the government offered care to younger patients.

This article from the UK’s Liberal Democratic Party is illustrative:

“When doctors at that hospital have confirmed that they were instructed by their managers to abandon seriously ill patients and to treat people with minor ailments instead in order to meet the Prime Minister’s targets, it is not enough to talk of reviews, inquiries and to blame other people. Will he scrap the mad targets that make hospitals tick boxes rather than look after the desperately ill?”

Full article is here.  Remember, putting Uncle Sam in charge typically raises the cost, reduces efficiency, and introduces severe unintended consequences: see Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Cash for Clunkers, AMTRAK, etc., etc…

August 25th, 2009 at 12:51 pm
$130,000 – Your Family’s Share of the Federal Deficit

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) today released its mid-year long term deficit projections.  While the  2009 deficit estimates came in at $262 billion less than predicted earlier in the year ($1.58 trillion total), OMB’s 10-year projection increased to a whopping $9 trillion, or $2 trillion more than previously estimated.

That’s a lot of money – so much, that it’s hard for the average person to even comprehend.

Fortunately, John Lott, economist and author of “Freedomonics,” has a great opinion piece today on that helps put the figure in perspective.  For starters, Lott writes that the new OMB projection “likely underestimates the deficit by at least another $1 trillion,” which means the real 10-year deficit number is probably closer to $10 trillion.  Elaborating on what that means for you and your family, Lott writes:

Ten trillion dollars simply is a lot of money. Whether it is an individual going into debt or a country, spending the money now means that we have less to spend on other things. In the case of ten trillion dollars of national debt, it comes to over $33,000 per person– $130,000 for a family of four. The $130,000 is the amount of taxes that a family is going to have to pay back, somehow, and people have to ask what their family could have gotten for that much money. Is the benefit they get from the government spending all this money greater than what they could have gotten if they had spent that money themselves?

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August 25th, 2009 at 10:47 am
Quote of the Day

“Accidentally, but relentlessly, America has built a health-care system with incentives that inexorably generate terrible and perverse results. Incentives that emphasize health care over any other aspect of health and well-being. That emphasize treatment over prevention. That disguise true costs. That favor complexity, and discourage transparent competition based on price or quality. That result in a generational pyramid scheme rather than sustainable financing. And that—most important—remove consumers from our irreplaceable role as the ultimate ensurer of value.” – David Goldhill, writing in the Atlantic.

August 25th, 2009 at 10:30 am
Freedom Line Morning Links

WSJ Dealers Get More Time on Cash-for-Clunkers
Government BytesDeficit News
Club for GrowthInfant Mortality and Government Health Care
Political WireObama to Reappoint Bernanke
Cafe HayekHealth Care Wisdom
Cato Institute High Speed Fail
PoliticoGroups Target GOP on Cap-and-Trade
Political WireGiuliani for NY Governor?

Federal Debt: $11.732 trillion

August 25th, 2009 at 10:23 am
Bernanke gets a second term as Fed Chairman

Interrupting his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard today, President Obama announced plans to appoint Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to a second term. 

Here’s the story from The Washington Post:

OAK BLUFFS, Mass., Aug. 25 –With Bernanke at his side in a schoolhouse-turned-briefing room on this vacation island, Obama said Bernanke has helped to steer the country through one of its worst financial crises.

President Obama on Tuesday renominated Ben Bernanke for another term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, citing “his background, his temperament, his courage, and his creativity” as reasons he should continue in the nation’s most powerful economic policy making job.

Read the full WaPo story here.

August 24th, 2009 at 4:19 pm
RNC Releases Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights

In an op-ed published in The Washington Post today, RNC Chairman Michael Steele highlighted details of a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights.”    

Protecting Our Seniors
GOP Principles for Health Care

By Michael S. Steele
Monday, August 24, 2009

 Americans are engaged in a critical debate over reforming our health-care system. While Republicans believe that reforms are necessary, President Obama’s plan for a government-run health-care system is the wrong prescription. The Democrats’ plan will hurt American families, small businesses and health-care providers by raising care costs, increasing the deficit, and not allowing patients to keep a doctor or insurance plan of their choice. Furthermore, under the Democrats’ plan, senior citizens will pay a steeper price and will have their treatment options reduced or rationed.

Republicans want reform that should, first, do no harm, especially to our seniors. That is why Republicans support a Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights, which we are introducing today, to ensure that our greatest generation will receive access to quality health care.

Read the full article here.

Read the plan’s six principles here.

August 24th, 2009 at 4:03 pm
Michael Moore on Capitalism
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Michael Moore has another movie coming out this year.  After bashing the 2nd Amendment and praising socialized medicine, Moore takes on what else … capitalism.

Judging by his recent trailer and his comments on YouTube, the movie looks like a tired rehash of past arguments for further redistribution of wealth and government intervention.

Moore will argue that the “market” is too powerful but the trailer includes clips from the bailout fiasco last year and other examples of corporate welfare.  Of course, this is not capitalism.  The last eight years have been an exercise in how the government distorts markets and rewards the politically powerful.

For example, corporate power last year allowed some companies, like AIG , to prosper and receive massive bailouts, while others were left to wither.  Capitalism doesn’t endorse multi-billion dollar transfers of capital from taxpayers to corporations, and I’m not sure why Moore thought the bailout was the perfect example of how the market is evil and corrupt.

On the contrary, the last 12 months have provided a brilliant example of how the government is corrupt.  The government distorted credit markets by keeping interest rates below the market rate and then encouraged reckless lending and borrowing.  Furthermore, the government compounded the problem when it rewarded large reckless lenders with bailouts from taxpayers.  Capitalism has suffered this past year, not government.  Government remains bigger and stronger than ever, poised to consume even larger portions of the market and take on new responsibilities.

Finally, in the comments section, Moore states that the rich “feed” off of the rest of us.  For someone who has made his fortune by practicing capitalism, it’s strange that he would describe himself as a vampire.  People, liberal and conservative, pay money to see his films and either agree or disagree with him, but few would deny that Moore has a talent for film-making; that is why he is rich.

I wish him the best of luck as he continues to pursue his profession, just as I wish the billions of other workers on the planet the best of luck pursuing their vocation.  For some reason, Moore thinks that there is some finite supply of money at the end of a rainbow that the rich and powerful have found and only occasionally share  with the rest.  But, Moore himself found no stash of money.  He created money and personal wealth through his own skill, just like any other talented worker.  And, consumers voluntarily saw his films because they saw some merit in his skill.

Let’s hope Mr. Moore includes some of the true virtues of the free market and capitalism when his film is finally released.

Here is the trailer:

August 24th, 2009 at 3:29 pm
Schumer: Democrats Alone on Health Care
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August 24th, 2009 at 9:41 am
Poll of the Day
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Harry Reid is in big trouble in his home state of Nevada.  A new poll shows the Senate Majority Leader trailing both of his possible GOP opponents by as many as 11 points.  Reid’s approval ratings remains at a paltry 37 percent.

August 24th, 2009 at 9:34 am
Freedom Line Morning Links
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August 19th, 2009 at 12:22 pm
Public Option/Co-ops Will Lead to Single-Payer
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August 19th, 2009 at 11:03 am
Quote of the Day
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“Rationing is bad policy. It forces individuals with different preferences to accept the same care. It also imposes an arbitrary cap on the future growth of spending instead of letting it evolve in response to changes in technology, tastes and income. In my judgment, rationing would be much worse than excessive care.”

-Dr. Martin Feldstein writing in today’s Wall Street Journal.

August 19th, 2009 at 10:05 am
Freedom Line Morning Links
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PoliticoAxelrod’s Health Insurance Ties
WSJGOP Rejects Co-Ops
Cafe HayekA Mind Made Clearer by Experience
Republican Study CommitteeTom Price on Public Option
John StosselCapitalism in Cuba
Chris CillizzaIs California Competitive?
Martin FeldsteinObamacare is All About Rationing

Federal Debt: $11.707 trillion

August 18th, 2009 at 4:58 pm
Is the Public Option Really Dead?
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According to the Wall Street Journal, President Obama is trying to reassure his closest allies that the Public Option (government-run health care) is still on the table.  As we noted yesterday, dropping the Public Option could mean losing over 100 votes in the House.

From the story:

“The government-run plan does not have the votes to pass in the Senate, and it never has,” said Michael Mahaffey, spokesman for Sen. Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.), a Finance Committee member. “So while Sen. Enzi is pleased to see the White House backing away from its insistence on including a government-run plan, the fact is this doesn’t change the dynamic in the Senate very much.”

The President no doubt has a difficult balancing act to walk in the next few months.  The fall of the Public Option could spell the demise of his health care overhaul and even possibly other heavy-handed legislative goals like Cap-and-Tax.

Perhaps most troubling, however, is that government control could be re-branded under new names like co-op or individual mandate.  Taxpayers should still be on the lookout for whatever derivation of government control that the White House conjures in the next few weeks.

August 18th, 2009 at 3:29 pm
R.I.P. Rose Friedman and Robert Novak
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Lovers of freedom lost two strong leaders today as both Rose Friedman and Robert Novak passed away.

Rose, wife of famed Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, was a renowned economist in her own right and co-wrote several books with her late husband, including Free to Choose, Capitalism and Freedom, and Two Lucky People.   Reason’s Brian Doherty imparts a few kind words over at Hit & Run.

Robert Novak, who covered Washington politics since the Eisenhower administration, rose to fame when he published the Evan-Novak Political Report with his longtime friend Rowland Evans.  Here is a nice piece about Novak’s long life over at the WSJ.

August 18th, 2009 at 9:15 am
Freedom Line Morning Links
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August 17th, 2009 at 4:54 pm
Democrats to Lose 100 Votes if No Public Option?
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Could the end of the public option mean the end of Obamacare as we know it?

August 17th, 2009 at 4:29 pm
Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY): “I will vote adamantly against the interests of my district!”

When it come to health care, Representative Eric Massa (D-NY) says definitively that he will vote against the wishes of his district, which he labels “one of the most right wing Republican districts in the country.” Massa supports a single-payer, government-run system.

Here is the video of Rep. Massa, care of the Washington Times:

August 17th, 2009 at 4:05 pm
Majority of Voters Say Passing Nothing is Better Than Passing Congressional Plans

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, a majority of American voters (54%) believe doing nothing is better than passing the health care reform proposals currently making their way through Congress.

  • 60% of Democrats support the Congressional plans
  • 80% of Republicans say passing nothing is better than passing the plans in Congress
  • 66% would rather the legislators take no action vs. 23% who would like to see the Congressional plans passed
August 17th, 2009 at 3:42 pm
White House Aide: Obama Still Favors Public Option

The extreme Left, led by Former Dem Party Chairman Howard Dean, is up in arms over the Administration’s hint that it may willing to forgo a government-run public insurance option in an attempt to strike a deal on health care reform.  And it appears the Deaniacs are having an impact.

CNN is reporting that White House Aide Linda Douglass has sent out a written statement making clear the President still supports the “public option.” 

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The White House sought to reassure jittery supporters Monday that President Obama is not abandoning the fight for a public health insurance option.

President Obama “believes the public option is the best way” to reform health care, a White House aide says.

The assurance came amid a media firestorm ignited over the weekend by administration officials seeming to indicate a willingness to drop such an option in order to secure congressional approval of a health care reform bill.

“The president has always said that what is essential is that health insurance reform must lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans, and it must increase choice and competition in the health insurance market,” White House aide Linda Douglass said in a written statement.

“He believes the public option is the best way to achieve those goals.”