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The Consequences of Democracy

July 09, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Obama

republicAs House Speaker John Boehner prepares his lawsuit against President Obama for excessive and illegal use of executive orders, consider that Obama’s behavior over the past five-and-a-half years reflects his having governed as though this country were a democracy.

As Hamilton Abert Long pointed out in his bicentennial volume The American Ideal of 1776, democracy—not “democracy” as in the feature of many political systems whereby everyone gets to participate in government—but the specific form of government that goes by that name, is not only dissimilar to republicanism (the system we live under) but its polar opposite.

Democracy as a system of government embodies unlimited majority rule, or majority rule without safeguards to protect the rights of the minority and individuals. The majority is omnipotent and can rule however it wants, no matter how shabbily it treats everyone else, so long as it can get fifty percent-plus-one representatives to agree.

In contrast, republicanism is about limited majority rule, specifically majority rule with safeguards built into a written constitution to protect the liberty of individuals and the minority, and with checks and balances among branches of government to prevent the tyranny of a few elite rulers.

The modern-day Democratic Party embodies the principles of a democracy, and the Republican Party embodies the principles of a republic. The unlimited majority rule that characterizes a democracy catalyzes a number of illegitimate governing tactics, all of which have been legion in the Obama presidency. For example:

  • Haste and recklessness

If all that matters is getting a majority to support your position, then why waste time letting people contemplate the implications of major legislation?

The brand-new Obama administration and Democratic Congress routinely broke promises to post bills online for 48 hours for voters to read. Democrats tried to rush Obamacare through Congress without having read it or become familiar with its details, while tossing major provisions in and out of the legislation willy-nilly in an effort to get something passed before the public started to object too strongly. And Harry Reid’s Democratic-controlled Senate refused, for three consecutive years, to pass or propose a federal budget as required by law, which resulted in an endless series of panicky, last-minute continuing resolutions and threats of fiscal cliffs that put Republicans on the defensive.

  • Cheating and rule-bending

If you can convince the public that it’s OK to use whichever tactics are necessary to accomplish an important goal, then why not use that consensus as political cover for actions you otherwise wouldn’t legally be allowed to take?

Democrats tried every maneuver under the sun to pass Obamacare, inappropriately using budget reconciliation to overcome a non-filibuster-proof Senate majority and attempting sleazy schemes like “deem and pass” and the Cornhusker Kickback. Recently Obama has announced endless delays and special breaks for various interest groups in implementing Obamacare, in an attempt to postpone the electoral consequences of carrying out its unpopular provisions.

Consider liberal cheating at the ballot box: Al Gore’s push for hand recounts using loosened standards in select counties in the 2000 Florida Presidential recount, or Al Franken stealing a Minnesota Senate election by finding a judge to approve alternative vote-counting standards. Or liberal double standards regarding appointed seats: Massachusetts Democrats withholding Governor Mitt Romney’s right to appoint a successor to John Kerry in 2004 and then changing the rules so Governor Deval Patrick could fill Ted Kennedy’s seat, or liberal Mayor Mike Bloomberg supporting the law that prevented Rudy Guiliani from serving more than two terms and then pushing to suspend it so he could serve three terms.

  • Usurping other branches’ powers

If other branches of government or private parties won’t cooperate in helping you enact your schemes, then why let checks and balances or limits on rule get in your way?

Consider Obama’s aforementioned inappropriate use of executive powers, including directing the EPA to enact carbon dioxide restrictions after Congress wouldn’t pass a bill doing so; making hiring and firing decisions for automobile manufacturers and banks; capping executive pay for companies that took bailout money; nationalizing the student loan system; appointing dozens of unaccountable czars; and unilaterally and illegally declaring dozens of delays to Obamacare.

  • Hypocrisy

If the integrity of political tactics doesn’t matter, only achieving your desired outcomes, then why bother to be consistent in which behaviors you condemn and which you practice?

Obama decried all of Bush’s post-9/11 security policies as a campaign strategy, then adopted almost all of them as his own once in office. Liberals loudly protested the Iraq War at townhall meetings under President George W. Bush, then denounced voters who attended townhall meetings to confront their representatives about Obamacare. And the left accused conservatives of politicizing the Benghazi attacks after the 2012 election, then got indignant when Republicans produced evidence that the administration had politicized the IRS audit process before the 2012 election.

  • Intimidation

If those out of power aren’t cooperating with your plans, then what’s wrong with reminding them of their place and putting your boot on their necks?

The administration threatened to sic the Department of Homeland Security on Tea Partiers; unleashed the IRS to subject conservative groups to extra scrutiny before the 2012 election; asked supporters to send along “fishy” information on Obamacare and the email addresses of those who sent it; and tried to regulate the Internet and talk radio to ensure “balanced” content.

*

The left denounces Boehner’s lawsuit as folly. Perhaps it won’t prevail in the courts. But a key feature of a republic is that the majority in power can’t just do whatever it wants if its actions violate rights enshrined in the constitution. If they try, officials in other branches of government can step in and try to curb their power. And that is exactly what suing the President is intended to accomplish.

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Democrats: Stuck Between Little Rock and a Hard Place

January 15, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Racism

byrdIn an egregiously dishonest news segment, National Public Radio reporter Debbie Elliott recently commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education desegregation ruling by implying that nothing has changed since then.

Elliott began by recalling the tumultuous integration of Central High School in Little Rock, then reviewed a longstanding, expensive, state-funded program that Arkansas instituted in the 1980s to prevent “white flight” and keep Little Rock’s school district relatively desegregated.  Federal courts oversaw the costly program for decades, but recently Arkansas and the district agreed to a settlement that would phase out the state’s efforts to keep the district racially mixed.

Columnist Ernie Dumas lamented to Elliott, “The Supreme Court said at the time that you’ve got to desegregate, and end these disparities, and take us forward to a glorious day when education will be equal for all Americans.  As we know… it hasn’t really happened quite that way.”  Dumas’s implication is that Brown endorsed, not mere equality of educational opportunity, but equality of results, and that voluntary white flight to better schools has the same legal and moral status as state-ordered segregation.

Elliott concluded with this quote from a local superintendent: “‘I have had a lot of people comment about their kids going to schools where black students are, and not wanting to.  And I believe that’s still, unfortunately, a truth about human nature.’  A truth, he says, that courts don’t have the ability to change.”

What Elliott was doing was perpetrating a crafty little sleight-of-hand on NPR’s listeners.  Her story subtly implied that present-day conservatives—whom outlets like NPR constantly accuse of racism—are the contemporary version of people who refused to send their children to school with black children in the 1950s, and that, since it’s conservatives who are racists today, then it’s their type who were the racists back then.

However, as Elliott surely knows, not wanting your kids to go to school with black children in the 1950s and being leery about having your children attend predominantly black inner-city schools today are entirely different phenomena.

In the 1950s, racist Southern Democrats didn’t want to send their white children to school with black children because of their belief in Negros’ inferiority.  During the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Republican politicians were championing, passing, and enforcing civil rights legislation over the opposition of Democrats, the South was a genuinely racist environment, in which black families couldn’t get a fair shot at equal educational and employment opportunities.

During the 1960s, the Democratic Party realized that the country was slowly embracing civil rights protections, so Lyndon Johnson coopted Republican progress on achieving racial equality and adopted the mantle of the heroic Civil Rights President by loudly announcing his support for civil rights bills (while privately revealing his racist motives for signing them).

Then a funny thing happened.  Instead of simply correcting their racist ways, the left started going overboard in the other direction, no longer supporting equal treatment of races but rather favoring the conferral of material advantages on blacks and insisting on equality of outcomes.

If you draw a graph with time on the x-axis and pro-black bias on top and pro-white bias on the bottom, Democrats cruised along for a century in the pro-white section; then, around mid-20th century, started curving upward; and finally, around 1965, crossed the axis and started trending above the line—thus producing a mirror image of their former racist selves, but against a different group.  (The Republican path, meanwhile, would be a straight, solid line from left to right, from the party’s inception in 1854 to the present day.)

Whether to compensate for perceived guilt or cover their bloody tracks, Democrats started pushing for affirmative action benefits, cradle-to-grave welfare, and a generalized stance of coddling and encouragement of black dysfunction.  By excusing and subsidizing failure, and insisting that educational and employment offerings be untethered from merit, the left set black accomplishment, family stability, and moral accountability back by decades.

To cap off their grand scheme, Democrats fabricated the narrative that they were the ones who had always deeply cared about black people, and that Republicans—many of whom lived in the South—were the historical racists.  Democrats foisted this myth on the public by smearing present-day Republican efforts to deny special benefits to minorities, then inappropriately connecting these efforts with false historical records.  For example, if you don’t favor spending billions on a worthless program like Head Start that serves largely minority children, then you’re racist, aren’t you?  And if you Republicans are racist now, then you would have belonged to the racist Southern Democratic Party in the 1950s, right?

(Wrong.  Virtually all of the Dixiecrat segregationists returned to the Democratic Party after 1964.)

But what about those contemporary parents who don’t want to send their kids to school with blacks, and who move to the suburbs to avoid doing so?

White, Asian, Indian, Hispanic, black immigrant, and even African-American parents in 2014 expressing ambivalence about sending their children to predominantly black urban schools has nothing to do with race.  These parents simply don’t want to send their kids to schools with compromised standards, underachievement, misbehavior, and violence, all of which unfortunately disproportionately exist in majority-black secondary schools.

In other words, parents don’t wish to send their children to school environments that Democrats created via decades of patronizing treatment of the black people they formerly abused.

Democrats obfuscate matters by pretending that government-sanctioned segregation is the same as concerned parents wanting to send their children to schools Democrats haven’t screwed up.

The left today not only lies and claims that we’ve made no progress on racism, they rewrite history to make it seem that Republicans were always the racists, and that Democrats stepped in as black people’s saviors.  The truth is the exact opposite.

How sad that Democrats choose to commemorate the anniversary of Brown, the desegregation of Little Rock, and every other civil rights milestone by pretending that Republicans are still the racists they never were.

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What Obama Could Have Done

August 24, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Obama

woulda

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Liberal hack and annoying twerp Ezra Klein recently posted a lament for the president’s waning popularity titled “What could Obama have done?”

Klein’s query is just an updated iteration of an eternal, intractable, metaphysical question for the left: How can Democrats govern like liberals for any extended period of time and generate good results so they can maintain their favorable ratings?

To conservatives (and Bill Clinton), the answer is obvious: You can’t.  Liberal policies don’t work.  Any goodwill remaining toward you from your base for remaining a stubborn ideologue in the face of contrary evidence is overshadowed by widespread revulsion toward the disastrous consequences of your policies.

In other words: Conservatives are never going to like you, a few crazy liberals always will, but a large number of independents, moderates, and center-left voters will abandon you if you don’t give up on your leftist policies after the public realizes you are not a magician.

Since Klein asked, here’s what Obama could have done to enjoy a successful presidency and retain the sky-high favorability ratings he held in those blissful few minutes after he was sworn in before the trouble began.

Let’s start with the good news—things Obama did and should have done (hurry back from the fridge, right-wingers; this won’t take long!):

He didn’t get in the way of the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden.  He voiced support for the protestors in Egypt’s Tahrir Square calling for the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.  He joined a coalition of nations in materially aiding the Libyan rebels who took down Gaddafi.  He signed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  He extended the Bush tax cuts and argued for their utility during a recession.

Also, a few things Obama shouldn’t have done and didn’t:

He gave up on closing the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay.  He reversed his pledge to hold a civilian trial for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  He supported renewing the Patriot Act, thus abandoning his campaign promise to end warrantless wiretaps of those with terrorist connections.  He never pushed through global warming legislation imposing caps on carbon dioxide emissions.

Much longer is the list of things Obama did and shouldn’t have done:

He shouldn’t have signed the $1 trillion stimulus bill, which had a trivial impact on job growth, did nothing to stop the rise of unemployment, and exploded the national deficit.

He shouldn’t have signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which infringes on individual liberties, raises the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars, and implements none of the free-market reforms House Republicans proposed.

He shouldn’t have signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which gave two of the architects of the subprime lending-induced financial crisis the power to impose massive, vague, disruptive regulations on the banking industry, without even revoking the much-hated principle “too big to fail.”

He shouldn’t have signed Congress’s August 2011 bill raising the debt ceiling, which was both unnecessary and insufficient to prevent an S&P downgrade, and whose spending cuts are miniscule in the short-term, dependent on the caprice of a bipartisan “supercommittee” in the medium-term, and likely to be overturned by future Congresses in the long-term.

He shouldn’t have authorized rounds one and two of quantitative easing, which have led to rising inflation.

He shouldn’t have created a botched fund to prevent home foreclosures, one of many examples of his administration’s propensity to reward failure.

He shouldn’t have supported the National Labor Relations Board’s decision to prevent Boeing from relocating part of its operations from a unionized state (Washington) to a right-to-work state (South Carolina).

He shouldn’t have taken over the nation’s largest car companies and signed into law the wasteful Cash for Clunkers program.

He shouldn’t have showily banned waterboarding as an enhanced interrogation technique, insisted that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders, demanded premature troop withdrawal in Afghanistan independent of the advice of generals running the war, or bowed to the British Queen, the Saudi king, and every other world leader he could.

Finally, he shouldn’t have blamed George W. Bush, the Republican minority in Congress, the Tea Party, the BP oil spill, the Arab Spring, the Japanese tsunami, ATMs, corporate jet owners, Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, a butterfly flapping its wings in Tobago—anything but his own policies—for the country’s economic woes.

And here are the things Obama didn’t do but should have:

He should have demanded that Congress pass budgets for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

He should have made the Bush tax cuts permanent.

He should have supported free-market health care reforms, such as allowing the sale of insurance across state lines, expanding health savings accounts, and enacting malpractice tort reform.

He should have voiced greater support for Iran’s and Syria’s pro-reform protestors.

Happy you asked, Ezra?

And one more thing Obama didn’t do but should have.

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Don’t Let the Statehouse Door Hit You on the Way Out

October 27, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2010

English Gubernatorial Elections 2010 in the Un...
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Amidst the embarras de richesses of House and Senate seat pickups Republicans anticipate this midterm election cycle, one plum reward they shouldn’t forget is their likely aggressive gains in gubernatorial contests across the country.

A record-breaking 37 states are holding governor’s races this November—the same number of seats open in the Senate, which has twice the number of positions as the country has governorships.  Republicans hold 24 out of 50 governorships but will probably have at least 30 after November 2.  RealClearPolitics identifies 9 elections as “Safe GOP” and none as “Safe Dem.”  Republicans beat Democrats in the “Likely” category (5 to 4) and the “Leans” category (7 to 5).

Rasmussen Reports notes, “No states with a Republican governor are considered likely to elect a Democrat in November.  But eight states now headed by Democrats—Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming—are seen as likely GOP pickups.”

The allocation of governorships is important in and of itself, but also has implications for the U.S. House of Representatives, given the role of governors in reapportioning districts for House seats based on the 2010 Census.

GOP prospects aren’t universally rosy.  Forget loose cannon Carl Paladino, who was never going to win blue state New York; or Meg Whitman, a celebri-billionaire like Governor Schwarzenegger who doesn’t fit the profile of what voters are looking for in fickle, atypical California.  But in the rest of the country, the map of governorships is turning blood red.

Massachusetts incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick faces a shockingly close reelection race: the latest Boston Globe poll shows him ahead of Republican Charles Baker only within the statistical margin of error.  Patrick has yet to reach 50% support in the polls—typically the kiss of death for an incumbent.  And all of this is happening in the presence of a third-party candidate, Timothy Cahill, who is drawing more votes from Baker than Patrick.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel reports that Republican and even Democratic candidates are pledging to emulate the modus operandi of recently elected New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who has stood up to powerful unions, slashed spending, and vetoed tax increases.

Rhode Island Democratic candidate Frank Caprio has tried to improve his chances by (1) rudely distancing himself from President Barack Obama, (2) being more conservative than former Republican/current Independent competitor Lincoln Chafee, and (3) meeting with Republican leaders in Washington over the objections of state Democratic groups.

In order to complete their gubernatorial coup d’état, the GOP will of course have to beat back the 30% of the populace who constitute the terminally, willfully, irredeemably ignorant—what Mark Levin calls the “drones.”

In the close Ohio governor’s race, voters who favor Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland demonstrated their firm grasp of the issues and fine deductive powers in a series of interviews with the Toledo Blade.  Resident Heather Elliott, who favors Strickland, babbled, “I kind of like everything that he stands for.  I think he’s going to do what we need, and I just have a good feeling about him…  A lot of the [Strickland] commercials I have seen, maybe fair or unfair, they have swayed me against him.”  Fair or unfair—it’s all the same when it comes to recruiting potential Democratic voters!  That’s in the Democratic National Committee bylaws.

In one breath, would-be voter Elliott displays: (1) vagueness about her reasons for supporting the Democrat, (2) a propensity to vote for the Democrat on the basis of emotion, and (3) an admission that the Democrat’s negative ads are unfair.  Remind me: why are we always encouraging people who have no idea what they’re doing to vote?

Fellow Ohio resident Gwen Frisby favors Strickland, despite Ohio’s miserable financial condition, because “It’s almost more that I don’t like how the Republicans are acting toward him.”  Yes, and Frisby probably supports Obama’s destructive policies because it’s almost more that she doesn’t like how the Republicans are acting toward him.

Genius independent voter Lillian Edmondson gushes that she will support Patrick in Taxachusettstan because “I think he tries hard.  He comes across as a very nice man…”  California voter Paula Bennett muses that she will favor Jerry Brown over Whitman because “I like the little guy; he didn’t have the money behind him like she did.”

Ideologically speaking, one has to wonder: are governorships a more natural fit for Republicans, and Congressional offices a more natural fit for Democrats?  In modern political times, Republicans have done relatively better capturing and retaining governorships, whereas Democrats have done better in Congress.  Is this because governors have more of what we shall call, oh, “actual responsibilities”?  Without diminishing Congress’s duties, it’s a fact that governors have to balance state budgets, can’t order the Federal Reserve to print more money while they run up infinite balance sheets, and must make tough and unpopular unilateral decisions without hiding in a crowd.

Though voter discontent this year seems focused mostly on Washington—thus Democratic Senators and Representatives’ perilous election prospects—Republican governors’ elevated chances around the country shouldn’t be surprising.  Christie and Bob McDonnell’s upset of their opponents in special elections in New Jersey and Virginia foreshadowed this pattern last November, when Obama had been in office only 10 months instead of 22.  And that was before Congress rammed through ObamaCare.

All across America it seems voters this year will be telling Democratic gubernatorial candidates to take their agenda and shove it.

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Reconcile This

September 02, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Health Care

In anticipation of the humiliating defeat of their socialized medicine scheme, Democrats are feverishly working to get their legislation passed by cheating.

Their plan, known as “budget reconciliation,” works as follows: (1) have Senate committees expand Medicaid, cut Medicare, force individuals to buy and businesses to offer insurance, give subsidies to low-income people and tax credits to small businesses, levy new taxes, and do everything else Democrats wanted to do in their health care bill but knew would never pass; (2) lump it all into a bill; and (3) pass it with 50 votes and no filibuster.

The bill would also contain language to support enactment of a health care overhaul, but because provisions unrelated to the budget cannot legally be included, the Senate parliamentarian will likely strike these from the bill.  According to the New York Times, which favors the reconciliation swindle, it is unclear whether two key elements will be allowed in the bill: the requirement that insurance companies accept all candidates and charge the same regardless of condition, and the creation of a government health insurance exchange.

The Times eggs Democrats on to declare that these two provisions, while irrelevant to the budget, “are so intertwined with other reforms that they are [necessary] for other provisions that do affect spending or revenues.”

If that ruse doesn’t work, the Times notes, then the process could “leave the reform package riddled with holes—perhaps providing subsidies to buy insurance on exchanges that do not exist, for example.”  In this eventuality, Democrats would pass a second bill, subject to filibuster, that fills in gaps where budget-irrelevant provisions were removed.

Ignore for the moment the fact that Democrats’ chess-playing skills obviously aren’t very good: to wit, why would Republican senators support a bill to prop up the reconciliation bill, if the two bills in combination would lead to an outcome they opposed in the first place?

Ignore, too, the stipulation that the reconciliation bill may not legally cause deficits to increase, which a health care overhaul clearly would do.

There’s just the inconvenient detail that reconciliation was never designed to be used for anything remotely like what Democrats propose to use it for.

According to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Rules, the purpose of budget reconciliation is to “fine tune revenue and spending levels.”  Admittedly, in the Obama era, adding a trillion-dollar program here or there could be characterized as “fine tuning,” but I don’t think this is what the creators of reconciliation had in mind.

Democrats have offered the following compelling argument for using reconciliation to socialize health care: Republicans have used reconciliation!

Yes, Republicans have used reconciliation—for things it was supposed to be used for, such as adjusting tax rates and decreasing entitlement spending.  Claiming that reconciliation can be used for health care because Republicans have used it is like claiming that pesos can be used at Taco Bell because Mexicans have used them.

Even the New York Times admits, “The approach is risky.  Reconciliation bills are primarily intended to deal with budget items that affect the deficit, not with substantive legislation like health care reform.”  Note the sneaky, dishonest addition of “primarily.”

As Judd Gregg explained to Norah O’Donnell, who insisted Gregg was a hypocrite because he had favored reconciliation in the past, “Reconciliation is meant to adjust already existing programs.  You adjust tax rates, or you adjust already existing programs at the margin.  What’s being proposed here is, ab initio, a brand-new, major initiative which is the total rewrite of the health care system of the United States.”

President Clinton floated the idea of using reconciliation to pass health care legislation in 1993, but Senator Robert Byrd reminded him that reconciliation was meant to be used to square away budgets, not turn us into Canada.  In 2003, Congressional Republican leaders considered, then rejected, using reconciliation to pass their prescription benefits program.

In 2005, Senate Republicans introduced a provision allowing drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an attempt that failed when the provision was removed during reconciliation.  Whether this attempt was appropriate or not, it should be pretty clear that if we’re not allowed to use reconciliation to drill in a barren wilderness that makes up less than 0.5% of Alaska in the middle of an energy crisis and a war in Iraq, then it’s not appropriate to use budget reconciliation to take over 17% of the economy.

There’s a reason budget reconciliation was introduced as a separate parliamentary process: it was to be used to make adjustments to existing programs, not introduce massive new ones.  The total amount of debate time allowed for reconciliation is only 20 hours—about twice as long as Congress had to read the 1,600-page stimulus bill before voting, but still not very long.

By the way, I don’t fault Obama for threatening to violate the spirit of bipartisanship with the reconciliation maneuver, inasmuch as (1) I don’t favor Republicans in charge having to compromise when Democrats propose screwy ideas and (2) in order to put a halt to bipartisanship, Obama would have had to actually start practicing it first.  But it’s ironic that Congressional Democrats believe they are putting aside their longstanding, magnanimous display of bipartisanship by resorting to sleazy use of a tactic called “reconciliation.”

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Times Turns on Obama; Can Flyover Country Be Far Behind?

August 26, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Health Care

The new test of liberal political ideology seems to be, not whether you favor Obama’s health care plan, but how long it takes you to realize what a disaster it is.

The American people were, as usual, first out of the gate to demonstrate their common-sense conservatism.  Although a slim majority voted for Obama in November, a growing preponderance has been telling pollsters they disapprove of the President and his handling of health care.   On Sunday, Rasmussen reported that Obama had reached a new low in their Presidential Approval Index, with health care one of his lowest-rated issues.

Like a teacher indulging a failing student’s pleas to find a way to give him extra points on his test, the Congressional Budget Office has spent all summer admonishing Obama for presenting legislation that will be more expensive than advertised, produce no savings, and yield expanding and unsustainable deficits for the next 10 years.  (“Now, Barry, I’ve already given you all the credit I can—next time you’ll just have to try harder.”)

The Mayo Clinic, which Obama cites as a model for cost-cutting measures, called the Medicare payment model proposed by Congress a “catastrophe.”

Seven state medical associations banded together with private medical societies and two previous AMA presidents in a letter to the President opposing the legislation.  The American Hospital Association is imploring hospital directors to counter Congress’s bill, as are specialty associations such as the American College of Physicians.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal cataloging the myriad flaws in Democrats’ proposal.

Sixty-thousand AARP members have cut up their cards since July over their leadership’s endorsement of Congress’s approach.  Though AARP supports the President’s general strategy, even they had to smack Obama down for claiming they had endorsed a bill when they had not yet done so.

After Obama insulted the Postal Service in his quest for a bill, the National Association of Postal Supervisors wrote Obama a letter expressing “our collective disappointment that you chose to use the Postal Service as a scapegoat …  [I]t was a kick to the chest to have you take a shot at a group of federal employees who are working hard every day to support this country.”

Pseudo-moderate network CNN recently chronicled “Five Freedoms You’d Lose in Health Care Reform,” including the freedom to negotiate details of your plan, cut costs by living healthier, choose a high-deductible plan, keep your current plan, and select your doctors.

The Associated Press fact-checked Obama’s claims and called him out for continuing to tell the same lies: e.g., if you like your health insurance, you can keep it—the implication being that you can keep it for as long as your employer and insurance company would otherwise have offered it without government health care, which is outlawed in Congress’s plan.

The Washington Post, no friend to conservatives, has been barraging readers with columns opposing ObamaCare.  Columnist David Hilzenrath affirmed that the administration would not be able to ensure that employees can keep the plans they have now.  Martin Feldstein explained that the 85% of Americans who now have insurance would pay higher taxes and receive fewer services.  Maya MacGuineas ridiculed the administration’s pledge that it can add an expensive new health care plan covering millions more Americans that will cost no extra and actually alleviate the budget deficit.

The Post’s editorial board also reminded the administration of the CBO’s harsh projections and warned him not to treat these lightly.  In a separate editorial, they scorned Democrats’ stubborn, mindless fixation on a public option.

Obama’s own Hyde Park doctor suggests that Congress’s legislation is worthless and adds of his patient, “I’m not sure he really understands what we face in primary care.”

In the workers’ paradise to our north, the current and incoming presidents of the Canadian Medical Association recently bemoaned the failures of Canada’s universal health care system, calling it “sick,” “precarious,” and “imploding,” and urged Canadian doctors to support free market reforms to the system.

The artist of the Obama “Joker” poster, Palestinian socialist and Dennis Kucinich supporter Firas Alkhateeb, admitted, “[Y]ou had all of these people who basically saw him as the second coming of Christ.  From my perspective, there wasn’t much substance to him.”

Air America host Christiane Brown decried Obama’s reversal of his promise not to bar negotiation for lower drug prices, then purred, “He’s such a charming liar, though.  He’s such a nice guy when he lies like that.”

On Sunday, Senator Joe Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats, said he’s changed his mind on proposed legislation and urges postponing it until the economy recovers.

Now The New York Times has gotten on the bandwagon; you might say they finally have some “skin in the game.”  Times reporter David Pear reported a few days ago that there is, after all, a legitimate basis for elderly Americans’ fear that legislation will lead to rationing of health care.

Paul Krugman criticized the President’s priorities, belittled his dwindling ability to inspire confidence, and lamented that “his speeches and op-eds still read as if they were written by a committee.”

Bob Herbert scolded Obama for not explaining why a gargantuan new government program is in our country’s interest in the middle of a recession: “Many sane and intelligent people who voted for Mr. Obama… have legitimate concerns about the timing of this health reform initiative…  [He] has not been at all clear about how the reform that is coming will rein in runaway costs…  [P]eople are starting to lose faith in the president.”

I’m glad the Times is finally starting to see the light on Obama’s executive inexperience and his disastrous agenda.  Maybe now millions of Middle Americans who hang on Krugman and Herbert’s every word will develop more confidence in expressing their opposition at all those town hall meetings I keep hearing about.

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Obama Throws House Democrats Under the Bus, Backs Over Them

August 19, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Health Care

The pile of victims President Obama has thrown under the bus in his attempts to get health care reform passed is growing so large that just treating their internal injuries is going to bankrupt the national health care system.

First it was the insurance companies.  When Obama realized early on that Americans weren’t chomping at the bit for socialized medicine, he subtly changed his language to imply that he was merely seeking “health insurance reform.”  Insurance companies, to remind Obama, by definition have a vested interest in not covering costly treatments for people with a 100% risk of having a particular medical condition.  But the administration nobly promised to go after, as the New York Times put it, “unpopular insurance industry practices, like refusing patients with pre-existing conditions”—also known as “providing insurance.”

Nancy Pelosi swore to oppose the “shock and awe, carpet-bombing by the health insurance industry to perpetuate the status quo”—as opposed to the couple, two-three homemade signs proffered by paid armies for Health Care for America Now, Organizing for America, SEIU, and ACORN.  Obama promised to “reform the insurance companies so they can’t take advantage of you.”  Pelosi slandered insurance companies as “villains.”

Surprisingly, insurance executives didn’t take kindly to being called monsters.  Karen Ignagni, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, seethed, “Attacking our community will not help get anyone covered…  We have to… correct the record.”

Next it was the pharmaceutical industry: in June, Obama twisted drug companies’ arms into forking over $80 billion toward health care reform, on the condition that the government would not bargain for reduced drug prices for Medicare or mandate price rebates.  Industry lobbyists, just to make sure they weren’t going to be stabbed in the back like the insurance companies, wrote the White House and secured confirmation from White House officials that these promises would be kept.

Congressional Democrats heard about these communications and had a fit.  The administration subsequently claimed that no such conditions had ever been discussed.  One of the House versions of the bill emerged containing provisions mandating both government drug price negotiations and additional price rebates.

Obama then started sacrificing groups less directly involved in health care but assumed to be shoo-in supporters of his agenda.  First he falsely claimed that AARP had endorsed Congress’s health care legislation: “We have the AARP on board” and “AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare.”  AARP’s terse response: “Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate.”

Then Obama tossed 760,000 U.S. Post Office employees in the street when he argued that private health insurers wouldn’t be threatened by a public option: “If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine.  It’s the post office that’s always having problems.”

The President of the National Association of Postal Supervisors responded to this charming occupational morale booster by sending Obama a letter asking him to rescind his comments: “On behalf of the 35,000 members of our association, I am writing to express our collective disappointment that you chose to use the Postal Service as a scapegoat…  [Y]our negative references to the Postal Services without knowledge of the facts was a disservice… to all postal employees…  [I]t was a kick to the chest to have you take a shot at a group of federal employees who are working hard every day to support this country…  [W]e would like to be treated fairly and not have our current situation misrepresented, especially by the Commander-in-Chief.”

Such Obama tactics recall his disastrous health care forum last month, in which he planted a question about Cambridge Police Department Sergeant James Crowley’s arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which gave Obama the chance to change the subject and denigrate blue-collar Massachusetts police officers who support him.  As department member Sergeant Kelly King stated after Obama declared that her department had acted “stupidly”: “It’s unfortunate.  I supported the president.  I voted for him.  I will not again.”

Obama even threw his dead grandmother under the bus—again.  When Sarah Palin charged that proposed legislation would lead to death panels that ration health care and decide which old people are not worth saving, Obama said he had favored his grandmother’s hip operation while she was alive, but could understand how a government panel might have calculated otherwise.

Unlike insurance companies, drug companies, the AARP, the post office, and the police, Obama’s grandmother couldn’t respond to his delightful remarks.  Would Obama have dared use that example if she were alive and in need of the operation?  Why doesn’t he try using it on seniors at townhall meetings who are in need of costly treatments?  “I’d pay for your operation if I were your relative, but I can see how a government panel made up of people you don’t know might feel otherwise.”

The latest Obama special interest group to be Greyhounded is House Democrats.  In June, Obama declared, “Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange… including a public option.”  On Sunday, Obama demurred, “The public option, whether we have it or we don’t have it, is not the entirety of health care reform.”  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insisted that a public option, which House Democrats heavily favor, is “not the essential element” of the plan.  Why, whatever gave you that idea?  Was it perhaps inclusion of the ambiguous word “must”?

Predictably, House Democrats have not accepted this about-face without a fight.  According to New York Representative Anthony Weiner, “Some of us who have gotten roughed up pretty good at town hall meetings and stuck in there because we believe in this, now kind of feel like we have a tire track on our chest where the bus that rolled over us is.”

Fortunately, House Democrats are the one party in all of this who deserve to be thrown under the bus—which is probably why the administration is already backtracking on their disavowal of the public option.

The pile of victims President Obama has been throwing under the bus recently to try to get health care reform passed is growing so large that just treating their internal injuries is going to bankrupt the national health care system.

First it was insurance companies: when Obama realized that Americans weren’t chomping at the bit for socialized medicine, he subtly changed his language to imply he was seeking “health insurance reform.” Insurance companies, to remind Obama, by definition have a vested interest in not covering costly treatments for people with a 100% risk of having a particular medical condition. But the administration nobly promised to go after, as the New York Times puts it, “unpopular insurance industry practices, like refusing patients with pre-existing conditions”—also known as “providing insurance.”

Nancy Pelosi swore to oppose the “shock and awe, carpet-bombing by the health insurance industry to perpetuate the status quo”—as opposed to the couple, two-three homemade signs proffered by paid armies for Health Care for America Now, Organizing for America, SEIU, and ACORN. Obama promised to “reform the insurance companies so they can’t take advantage of you.” Pelosi slandered insurance companies as “villains.”

Surprisingly, insurance executives didn’t take kindly to being called monsters. Karen Ignagni, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, seethed at the criticism: “Attacking our community will not help get anyone covered… We have to… correct the record.”

Next it was the pharmaceutical industry: in June, Obama twisted drug companies’ arms into forking over $80 billion toward health care reform, on the condition that the government would not bargain for reduced drug prices for Medicare or mandate price rebates. Industry lobbyists, to make sure they weren’t going to be stabbed in the back like the insurance companies, wrote the White House and received confirmation from White House officials that their promises would be kept.

Congressional Democrats heard about these communications and had a fit. The administration subsequently claimed no such conditions had ever been discussed. One of the House versions of the bill emerged containing provisions mandating both government drug price negotiations and additional price rebates.

Obama then had to start sacrificing groups less involved in health care but assumed to be shoo-in supporters of his agenda. First he said AARP had endorsed Congress’s health care legislation: “We have the AARP on board” and “AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare.” AARP’s response: “Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate.”

Then Obama tossed 760,000 U.S. Post Office employees in the road when he argued that private health insurers wouldn’t be threatened by a public option: “If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the post office that’s always having problems.”

The President of the National Association of Postal Supervisors responded to this charming occupational morale booster by sending Obama a letter asking him to rescind his comments: “On behalf of the 35,000 members of our association, I am writing to express our collective disappointment that you chose to use the Postal Service as a scapegoat… [Y]our negative references to the Postal Services without knowledge of the facts was a disservice… to all postal employees… [I]t was a kick to the chest to have you take a shot at a group of federal employees who are working hard every day to support this country… [W]e would like to be treated fairly and not have our current situation misrepresented, especially by the Commander-in-Chief.”

Such Obama tactics recall his attempt to change the subject during his health care forum last month, in which he planted a question about Cambridge Police Department Sergeant James Crowley’s arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which gave Obama the chance to denigrate blue-collar Massachusetts police officers who support him. As department member Sergeant Kelly King stated after Obama declared that her department had acted stupidly: “It’s unfortunate. I supported the president. I voted for him. I will not again.”

Obama even threw his dead grandmother under the bus—again. When Sarah Palin charged that proposed legislation would lead to death panels that ration health care and decide which old people were not worth saving, Obama said he had favored his grandmother’s hip operation while she was alive, but could understand how a government panel might have calculated otherwise.

Unlike insurance companies, drug companies, the AARP, the post office, and the police, his grandmother couldn’t respond to this delightful remark. Would Obama have dared use that example if she were alive and in need of the operation? Why doesn’t he try using it on seniors at townhall meetings who need costly treatment? “I’d pay for your operation if I were your relative, but I can see how a government panel made up of people you don’t know might feel otherwise.”

The latest Obama special interest group to be Greyhounded is House Democrats. In June, Obama declared, “Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange… including a public option.” On Sunday, Obama demurred, “The public option, whether we have it or we don’t have it, is not the entirety of health care reform.” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insisted a public option is “not the essential element” of the plan. Why, whatever gave you that idea? Was it inclusion of the word “must”?

Predictably, House Democrats have not accepted this about-face without a fight. According to New York Representative Anthony Weiner, “Some of us who have gotten roughed up pretty good at town hall meetings and stuck in there because we believe in this, now kind of feel like we have a tire track on our chest where the bus that rolled over us is.”

Fortunately, House Democrats are the one party in all this who deserve to be thrown under the bus—which is probably why the administration is already backtracking on their disavowal of the public option.

It Depends On the Meaning of the Word ‘Screech’

August 15, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Health Care

The speaker was Nancy Pelosi.  The date was January 17, 2006.  The setting was a town hall meeting in San Francisco, captured on video and available at Breitbart TV.  The subject was the Iraq War.  The surgery was Botox.

The authors are Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer.  The date is August 10, 2009.  The setting is an editorial in USA Today.  The subject is protestors at health care townhall meetings.  The surgery is still Botox.

Pelosi passionately spoke of free speech rights and the necessity of hearing all viewpoints: “I say to the President, ‘Mr. President [Bush], if you think that our troops in Iraq are there to fight for democracy, do not destroy it at home by cutting off our freedom of speech.’”

She highlighted the critical, historical role of townhall meetings and the importance of face-to-face confrontations between congressmen and the voters they represent: “Democrats and Republicans… are starting to speak out [about the war].  And you know why?  Because they’re hearing from home.  There’s nothing more articulate, more eloquent to a member of Congress than the voice of his or her own constituent.”

Most importantly, she reminded listeners of the strengths of our uniquely American system of representative democracy, and advised them that there is no higher patriotic calling than standing up for what you believe in: “So I thank all of you who have spoken out for your courage, your point of view, all of it—your advocacy is very American and very important…  So let’s not question each other’s patriotism when we have this very honest debate that our country expects and deserves.”

Her words were reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s defense of criticizing the Iraq War and the administration more generally: “Since when has it been part of American patriotism to keep our mouths shut and not raise questions about what our government is doing? That has always been the tradition of America.”  And who can forget: “I’m sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic.  We need to stand up and say we’re Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration.”

Pelosi and Hoyer characterize health care townhall protests as “un-American” attacks.  They portray the protestors as enemies, not just of reform, but of our very way of life: “These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid… of differing views…  Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”

In a related development, the Obama administration asks Americans to send the White House any “fishy” comments or criticisms they hear about the health care bill, and the e-mail addresses of those who send them this information.

When anti-war protestors in the back of the San Francisco auditorium held up signs and loudly chanted, “No more funding the war!” thus drowning out Nancy Pelosi, she gamely replied, “I appreciate that you, as advocates, can say that.  I appreciate that!”  The chair of the event intervened on her behalf and pleaded, “Ladies and gentlemen, please, let’s not dissolve into a shouting match here,” but Pelosi cried, “That’s OK!  That’s OK!”

Later, while in the middle of a sentence, Pelosi noticed a row of Code Pink protestors standing up and holding signs across the front of the stage.  Pelosi jokingly called out, “Hello!”  The chair, getting into the spirit of the thing, jovially observed, “This is the way we know we’re in San Francisco.”  Pelosi laughed heartily and exclaimed, “And we love it!”  The Code Pink protestors beamed.

Soon afterward, a woman in the audience began screaming about some conspiracy theory involving “bulldozing people’s homes.”  Pelosi politely interjected, “Excuse me…” but the woman continued to yell while standing and waving a stack of papers.  While audience members hollered, “Shut up!” Pelosi soothingly reassured the woman, “I understand your anger,” and murmured “Yes… Yes…” as the woman rattled off her points.

Pelosi and Hoyer excoriate health care townhall protestors for their disorderly behavior: “[Their] tactics have included… shout[ing] ‘Just say no!’ [and] drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.”

Pelosi inspiringly ended her address, “Let me close with this on the Democrats and how we see ourselves…  When Franklin Roosevelt died—and I draw great inspiration from him, because he was a disruptor.”  She added, “I’m a fan of disruptors,” and pumped her fists up and down as though agitating a crowd.

Pelosi and Hoyer somberly write, “[I]t is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway… to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue.”

Well, that’s clear, then.

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Democrats Demand Sartorial Handicap in Health Care Reform Debate

August 08, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Health Care

Senator Barbara Boxer recently declared that, before the current round of town hall meetings on health care reform, the last time she had seen such suspiciously well-dressed protestors was during the 2000 Florida election recount.  Well, yes—until Obama’s presidency, that’s the last time Republicans showed up en masse to get really angry about something; screaming and chanting are political tactics more naturally suited to the left.

As for the couture angle—here’s a newsflash for Boxer: Republicans have higher standards than Democrats.  A typical left-wing protest involves twenty-somethings and washed-up hippies in ratty T-shirts and shredded jeans breaking windows at a local Starbucks during the midmorning rush.

The average right-wing protest—invariably held in the evening, since attendees have jobs in the daytime—involves adults who dress as though they would like to elevate community standards, not degrade them.  Participants address their concerns directly to those in power, such as legislators, rather than assailing defenseless third parties, such as coffee franchise employees.  The fact that most conservative protestors come directly from work may explain why they wear suits and skirts, but apparently Senate Democrats believe opinions are valid only if expressed by people sporting Birkenstocks and buttons urging presidential assassinations.

When Boxer and other Congressional Democrats realized that Americans don’t view “well-dressed” as an epithet, they moved in the opposite direction: they claimed that the protestors were scruffy rabble-rousers after all.  House Leader Nancy Pelosi insisted that she had seen demonstrators “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.”  Translation: One protestor had a swastika with a slash through it, and others were displaying American flags and ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ banners—you know, symbols like swastikas.

Saddling protestors with the “brownshirt” label didn’t work, so Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina warned Democrats who were planning town hall meetings, “If you get hit… punch back twice as hard.”

Evidently some representatives took this message literally: at a town hall meeting in Ohio, Representative Russ Carnahan hired union organizers to deny entry to citizens who looked as though they might oppose health care reform legislation, several of whom were promptly mauled by union thugs and sent to the hospital.  Outside, black conservative Kenneth Gladney was racially slandered and physically attacked and sent to the emergency room by an unidentified opponent for handing out ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags.  Protestors were also roughed up at a meeting held by Florida Representatives Kathy Castor and Betty Reed.

Naturally, Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid’s response to this onslaught of leftist violence and intimidation was… to blame Republicans for not minding their manners.  Reid accused protesters of attempting to “sabotage” the process; he said, “These are nothing more than destructive efforts to interrupt a debate…  They are doing this because they don’t have any better ideas.”

Well, yes, actually, we do have one or two, which you may not have heard, because we’ve only been ranting about them for the past, oh, two decades: malpractice tort reform, Medicare reform, health savings accounts, healthcare tax credits, vouchers for private insurance, and pay for performance.  More generally, competition in the private market for health insurance, and individual autonomy regarding level and type of coverage and risk tolerance.  Other than that, we’re flush out of ideas!

In an effort to quell dissatisfaction among constituents, Democrats in Congress finally decided to listen to town hall participants’ ideas and give thoughtful responses that address their concerns.  Just kidding!  The latest tactics being employed by congressmen across the nation are: (1) showing up at town hall meetings, reciting a few talking points, claiming the crowd is too boisterous when they open their mouths, and leaving; (2) announcing meetings at the last minute in the hope that no one will attend; and (3) holding “virtual” town hall meetings.

For example, Representative Kathy Castor’s spokeswoman defended Castor’s abbreviated appearance in Florida by stating, “We said all along our role was to come and give an update on the bill in Congress…  [T]hat’s what we did.”  And that’s what websites are for.

Michigan Representative John Dingell waited to announce last Thursday’s 6pm town hall meeting until Thursday morning.  Word of mouth spread throughout the day, however, and that evening Dingell faced hundreds of constituents who were not impressed by his deceitful maneuver.

At least Castor and Dingell showed up in person; other congressmen, such as Representative Brian Baird of Washington, are planning virtual meetings with constituents.  According to The Columbian, “If you happen to be sitting near a publicly listed Clark County telephone line on the right day at the right time, your phone will ring…  [T]he exact date and time will be kept secret from the public…  [A]n automated message will ask whether you have a question…  Sitting at his own telephone at an as-yet-undisclosed location, Baird then will choose a name based on its location and the topic…  After the call is over, the recording will be posted on his Web site.”

Baird helpfully notes that this system will allow for “a much better cross-section of the public,” by which he means “a cross-section of the public that is not knowledgeable or concerned enough to attend a town hall meeting.”  Note to Baird: There’s a reason they’re called “town hall meetings,” not “prescreened anonymous secret one-way teleconference recordings.”

In the end, some congressmen have decided to simply give up on their constituents.  New York Representative Tim Bishop chose to suspend town hall meetings in his district until late August—you know, when just everyone will be around—because he concluded there was no point in facing an “unruly mob.”  Senator Claire McCaskill similarly issued a last-minute cancellation of a scheduled event due to “safety” concerns.

In the same way that Democrats denigrate protestors who adhere to a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” standard, they have sunk to a new low: projecting their party’s historic propensity for mob rule and violent agitprop onto frail, elderly grandparents in bowties and cardigans.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed, Fail, Fail Again!

July 08, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy

Five months after the stimulus bill was passed, we can now say that we’ve witnessed the following under-stimulating results.

Payrolls are falling more than forecast, with employers having cut 467,000 jobs in June, following a 322,000-job decline in May.  Factory jobs fell by 136,000 after dropping 156,000 in May.

Unemployment is at 9.5%, the highest level in 15 years, and is projected to exceed 10% by the end of 2009.  Some economists expect it to remain at historically high levels for years.

The average workweek is at 33 hours, the lowest in 45 years.

Average weekly earnings are down to $611.

The national debt is $11.5 trillion.  The Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit for 2009 to be almost $2 trillion and for 2010 to be more than $1.4 trillion.

The Treasury is increasing its sale of debt to pay for spending.  Treasury offered $1 trillion in notes and bonds in the first half of 2009 and plans to offer another $1 trillion by the end of 2009.

Colin Powell, of all people, is alarmed that Obama’s spending orgy may be swelling government and the national debt: “I’m concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them…  [We have] a huge, huge national debt that, if we don’t pay for [it] in our lifetime, our kids and grandkids and great-grandchildren will have to pay for…”  Now he tells us!

Jared Bernstein, chief economic advisor to Joe Biden, whose office is managing the stimulus, says, “It’s working, it’s demonstrably working.”  According to Bernstein, $200 billion in stimulus money has already been obligated or spent.  Case closed!

Note to Bernstein: In order to demonstrate causality, you have to show that: (1) there was a cause, (2) there was an effect, and (3) the cause influenced the effect.  Defenders of the stimulus bill are still stuck on #1: as of June, only 10% of all stimulus funds had been distributed.  Bernstein’s $200 billion “obligated or spent” figure—eerily reminiscent of the administration’s “jobs saved or created” trope—is untrustworthy, because the administration has already been caught lying about money committed to spending projects.

Given the miserable failure of the stimulus bill, naturally Congressional Democrats want… another stimulus bill!  According to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, “We need to be open to… further action.”  Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said that another stimulus would “probably take place towards the end of the year.”  Second-ranking Senate Democrat Dick Durbin said he would leave any decisions on passing another stimulus bill to “the president’s evaluation”—and we all know how cautious Barack “Fiscal Restraint” Obama will be.  Stan Collender, former Congressional budget analyst, said that another stimulus bill may be possible if the economy gets worse: “Right now it doesn’t seem to be justified…  Come September, it might be.”

The first stimulus package was “a bit too small,” according to Laura Tyson, member of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times, “O.K., Thursday’s jobs report settles it.  We’re going to need a bigger stimulus.”  Biden advisor Bernstein says, “There is no conceivable stimulus package on the face of this earth that would fully offset the deepest recession since the Great Depression.”

Let’s see: the stimulus bill committed a record $787 billion in spending.  Tyson says it should have been “a bit” bigger.  Congressional Democrats and Krugman wanted it much bigger.  Bernstein admits it would have to be infinitely big to work.  Can we give Bernstein the award for inadvertent honesty on this one?

The clincher that the stimulus bill was an abject failure—and that another stimulus bill would be a repeat failure—is the fact that Wall Street has just hit a 10-week low after talk of a second stimulus package recently began.  Amateur analysts suggest that chatter about another stimulus bill is making investors nervous, because—get this—it shows that the economy might not be recovering.  According to Hugh Johnson of Johnson Illington Advisors, “When there’s talk about another stimulus plan, that adds fuel to that fire, it intensifies the concerns about the timing and strength of the recovery.”

Is it possible, just possible, that investors are nervous, not because Congress’ hinting at a second stimulus package implies the economy is not recovering—which I think they can figure out on their own—but because Congress is hinting at a second stimulus package?

If Democrats aren’t persuaded by Republicans’ argument, backed up by ample historical data, that spending vast quantities of wealth not yet created does not stimulate the economy in the long term, could they at least admit their little experiment failed and try the Republican option for a change?

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