Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Future of Obamacare & "Liberalism"

We are sitting at the tip of the Obamacare nightmare. Virtually all of the horrible consequences forecast for this obscenity will come to pass.

According to Krauthammer, the Obamacare debacle could be the death knell for "liberalism."

And if the U.S. voters were rational, that would be true. But as 2012 taught us, they aren't. I hate to disagree with Krauthammer's assessment, but don't count on Obamacare or any big government program being killed off until our nation itself is in extremis.

One - no leftie will ever admit that their grand government programs have failed, regardless of the results. They will only go so far as to say that there are a few problems - often blamed on the opposition - and that just some slight tweeking of the laws may be needed to obtain perfection. This is a script replayed in a loop ad inifinitum.

Two - the left is utterly shameless and without a shred of intellectual integrity. What matters for them is only "socialist truth" - those claims, whether or not with any basis in reality, that advance their cause. They will never take any responsibility. They will shamelessly lie. In the vast majority of cases, they will do so with the complicity of the MSM. And the reality is that many, many people will believe them.

Three, the pathological alturism that sits at the heart of the leftwing movement is a siren's song. It paints a picture of rainbows and unicorns - a picture people want to believe.

And lastly, the left has made so many systemic changes over the past century to our form of government that act as safe harbors for them that it is doubtful they can be killed off. The left has found endless ways to funnel tax payer money to interest groups - unions, community organizing groups, Planned Parenthood, etc. - who cycle it back to the party in an endless loop. We are now governed by regulators whose "laws" bypass our elected representatives. And our courts have been used by the left to vastly change our nation for decades, with their decisions becoming effectively unchangable but by Constitutional amendment.

There will be a death knell in the end, but I think it more likely for our nation than the liberalism that will destroy it.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Obamacare: The Mother Of All Market Distortions (Updated)

Market distortion occurs when government imposes artificiality on markets through regulation. Such distortions always - always - always - cost the economy and individuals. I am not talking about laws of contract and fraud which set the parameters of the playing field for the operation of the free market, but rather regulations limiting free market decisions. Some are simply corrupt - i.e., the protection of vested interests. Others are more insidious and derive from the penultimate deceit of the left - that they are more intelligent than millions of individuals making their own decisions on how and what to purchase and sell.

Its hard to top the left's subprime housing crisis that brought our economy to its knees for market distortion. But that was a distortion that took fifteen years to bear its poisonous fruit. The biggest market distortion we are likely to see in our lifetimes and this side of the Soviet Union - one that is already bearing immediate fruit - is Obamacare. Healthcare is one sixth of our entire economy, and Obamacare is just starting to explode it.

The left has taken over our healthcare industry, mandating vastly expanded mandatory areas of coverage, from pregnancy, mental health, pre-existing conditions, "free" wellness checks, and "free" contraception, including the "morning after" abortion pill. They have mandated universal coverage - for supposedly an additional 30 million people - as well as subsidized coverage for lower and lower middle economic class. For this to work without adding to government debt, the middle and upper class are going to have to pay much more for their coverage, the young need to buy into the plans so as to subsidize the old and sick, and there is going to have to be a lot of new tax revenue to take up the slack for subsidies.

There is zero chance that this plan will work as advertised by Obama and the left. It will not save people money. It will not bend down the cost of health care. It will not provide universal coverage. It will not reduce the deficit. And of course, people who like their coverage will not be able to keep it at their choosing.

Some of these claims were knowing falsehoods.

Others seem to be attributable to the supreme conceit of the left, that they are smarter than the free market.

Because Obama has unilaterally put off the employer mandate to 2015, we are going to have to wait one more year to be able to take full stock of the near term impact of Obamacare in all of its 'glory.' But my full expectation is that it will add steeply to the deficit, that it will send the economy into even greater stagnation, if not outright recession, and jobs will further contract. It will be a far left trifecta.

The only good thing about this is that the far left owns this monstrosity. Whatever the right does, it should not agree to anything as a fix. Any attempt to put a band aid on this cancer will only extend out the pain. There is one answer only - repeal.

There will likely never be a greater experiment in socialist and Keynsian economic theory than the Obama administration policies in virtually all areas of government. The only question is whether the American people will ever take realistic stock of the outcomes.

Additional Updates: From Powerline on the higher costs of insurance under Obamacare:

For a succinct explanation of why Obamacare is making health insurance more expensive for millions of Americans, check out this short interview with Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini. Bertolini identifies three main factors: 1) Obamacare imposes a requirement that, on an actuarial basis, insurance cover at least 60% of health care costs. Currently, more than half of Americans who buy individual coverage are below 50%. 2) Obamacare imposes 4% to 5% additional cost in the form of new taxes and fees. Aetna alone will pass on $1 billion in Obamacare taxes and fees to its policyholders. 3) Obamacare mandates many coverages, whether customers want them or not, and requires insurers to provide subsidized coverage to those who are already sick.

And via Hot Air, there is Charles Krauthammer:


Monday, October 28, 2013

Sixty Minutes On Behghazi

Sixty Minutes has done an expose on Benghazi - interviewing one of the participants on the ground that night. It might lead one to think that there might be something more to the Benghazi "scandal" than simple partisanship:

There are three legs to the Benghazi scandal - the Sixty Minutes episode dwells on the first and only alludes to the other two. Just as a reminder, those three legs are:

1) The refusal over months to provide increased security in the face of an open and obvious threat, was criminally reckless. There is some evidence that this was part of a deliberate policy to go forward with a light footprint in Libya for political reasons - though the author of that policy has never been identified. Moreover, this failure to provide adequate security shows an administration that completely misunderstands the threat we face from radical Wahhabi Islamists, and indeed, whitewashes Wahabbi Islam to the point of portraying it as benign.

2) The Obama administration refused to send any military assets to rescue our people once the attack started. Our people were left to die - my suspicion, because of domestic political considerations. No assets were scrambled, irrespective of whether they would have been there in time.

3) The complete whitewash and cover-up in the wake of Benghazi. One element of this was Obama and Clinton blaming the attack on a rogue movie review. A second element was an "official investigation" that did not include any interviews of high ranking State Dept. officials, including Clinton herself. The third element is that no one has been held accountable for any of this. Even the four mid-level staffers at the State Dept. who were identified anonymously as the people who had made the security decisions that led to the Benghazi slaughter still have their jobs at the State Dept.



The Past Will Come Back To Haunt Us:

The iconic Halloween monster is undying - whether it be demons, vampires, Michael Myers or Freddy Kruger. They keep coming back to do us harm.

And so it is with the policy of the modern far left - horrifying and undying. In this instance, the same policies that gave us the financial meltdown of 2008 are not merely alive and well, but being strengthened under Obama.

In 2008, I composed a long post, Hurricane Subprime, taking an in depth look at the causes of our economic meltdown. The "but for" cause of the Great Recession was social engineering that eviscerated color-blind credit rating standards. And as I pointed out when Dodd Frank was proposed, the Obama administration, rather than correcting this insanity, actually doubled down on it. Now this from Power Line:

The Obama administration is pressing ahead with its plan to impose racial quotas on the financial industry via the Dood-Frank law. Dodd-Frank requires agencies with financial sector regulatory responsibilities to “establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion” that will develop diversity and inclusion standards for workplaces and contracting.

Accordingly, these agencies have published in the Federal Register a proposed “Policy Statement Establishing Joint Standards for Assessing the Diversity Policies and Practices of Entities Regulated by the Agencies.” As Roger Clegg reports, that Statement, which applies not only to the agencies themselves but also to all those regulated by it, insists on the use of “metrics” and “percentage[s]“ to ensure compliance with the diversity requirement.

In other words it imposes quotas — quotas that will apply to hiring, promotion, and contracting.

There’s plenty of irony here; for it was the imposition of race-conscious lending practices on the banking industry that led to the financial crisis, that led to Dodd-Frank. . . .

This is horrendous. But as bad as it is, it is not the only devastating policy that gave us the melt-down - and which remains ensconced in our financial system. As I pointed out in Hurricane Subprime, the only unknown at the time was how the Credit Rating Bureaus played into all of this. They were supposed to be the backstop which would have prevented the financial crisis. But these agencies were wholly complicit in giving AAA ratings to subprime mortgage backed securities so that they could be traded throughout our financial system - many institutions by law can only purchase AAA rated securities. Clearly these rating agencies did not function as they should have. The "why" was finally answered in a superb article in Rolling Stone, The Last Mystery Of The Financial Crisis:

Thanks to a mountain of evidence gathered for a pair of major lawsuits by the San Diego-based law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, documents that for the most part have never been seen by the general public, we now know that the nation's two top ratings companies, Moody's and S&P, have for many years been shameless tools for the banks, willing to give just about anything a high rating in exchange for cash.

In incriminating e-mail after incriminating e-mail, executives and analysts from these companies are caught admitting their entire business model is crooked.

"Lord help our fucking scam . . . this has to be the stupidest place I have worked at," writes one Standard & Poor's executive. "As you know, I had difficulties explaining 'HOW' we got to those numbers since there is no science behind it," confesses a high-ranking S&P analyst. "If we are just going to make it up in order to rate deals, then quants [quantitative analysts] are of precious little value," complains another senior S&P man. "Let's hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of card[s] falters," ruminates one more. . . .

Do read the whole article - it will leave you wanting to grab the pitchforks and torches. It should also be noted that Obama has not put a single one of these people in jail. Sure, there have been a few civil suits that have amounted to hitting up organizations for a bit of their pocket change. But countless people who committed outright fraud, albeit almost forced to by Barney Frank and the left, have skated because, to hold them accountable would require that the whole house of cards created by left be exposed.

It should also be noted from the article that a simple fix to this utterly broken credit rating system was actually proposed by Sen. Al Franken. It died - I hate to say this - in the Republican controlled House. It is just beyond belief.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Nothing More Racist (Or Regressive) Than A "Progressive"

Pat Condell hits the nail on the head in his discussion of those who style themselves "progressives," from their complete lack of intellectual honesty to their regressive politics to their racism of low expectations:

Pat's take misses on one point and only alludes to another worthy of more specific citation. Condell describes the world view of "progressives" correctly, even down to their view of the West as imperialists with the stain of original sin (while ignoring that the most imperialist force in world history has been Islam). It is worth noting that this view comes directly from Karl Marx and his theory that all history is a struggle between the oppressed and the oppressors. In the progressive world view, we are the oppressors while anyone who can be shoehorned into a victim group are the oppressed entitled to permanent special treatment.

What Condell misses in his analysis is the animus of progressives towards Christianity. To understand fully the motivation of progressives, one must note their abhorrence of Christianity. Christianity is the foundation of Western civilization; progressive are warring against it. Christianity must be removed from the public square for "progressives" to achieve their goal of remaking society with themselves as the sole arbiters of morality. Thus the "progressive" treatment of Islam is more nuanced than simply that "brown skinned" people are not to be held to the same standards. Muslims also seek to displace Christianity, and thus they are, in many ways, allied with progressives.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Mugged By Obamacare Reality

The schadenfreude is almost worth it. This from a KOS diarist:

My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don't go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.

Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife's rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.

I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any fucking penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don't qualify, anyway, so what's the point?

I never felt too good about how this was passed and what it entailed, but I figured if it saved Americans money, I could go along with it.

I don't know what to think now. This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people.

What am I missing? . . .

And it is not merely the rates. In an effort to keep down skyrocketing premiums across the land, the insurers have been forced to offer plans with massive deductibles and / or much higher co-pays. All of this free stuff is hitting the pocket book of middle America quite hard.

Of all the promises Obama made on his healthcare plan, the two most ridiculous were always was that this would drive down the cost of healthcare and that it would somehow reduce the defecit. We are seeing the first of those promises blow up today, the second is in the offing.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blacks Worse Off Under Obama

I've been pointing this out for two years, but I suppose it matters more when Tavis Smiley says it.

Obama's skin color is, well, skin deep. Those who voted on his skin color still don't want to admit that they've been naive on a grand scale. Beneath the skin - and this the alpha and omega of what all on the right object to - is a far left ideologue. He is a sort of American version of Clement Attlee.

At any rate, for Smiley and the left to at least speak honestly of the economic plight of black America is a big step forward. The biggest step awaits. That would be for them to figure out that they are being manipulated on a historic scale. The left values blacks individually very little. It is only the black vote that counts to the left - and at the top of the left wing steaming pile of dung sits Obama.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

This has got to be the best prank in years.

Priceless. It is a promo for a remake of the horror movie, Carrie.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

AR5 & IPCC Fraud

Who the hell does the IPCC think they are fooling?

In the final draft of the IPCC report, made public approximately ten months ago, the IPCC included the following graph showing the computer models set against the observed temperature (with a meaningless gray background).

This chart clearly shows that observed temperatures (black dots) have fallen outside the projections of each of the computer models used by the IPCC. It is clear and easy to assess.

In the final report, just released, with the IPCC now claiming that the computer models have not failed, we get the following graph:

This goes beyond being a ridiculous attempt at obfuscation - it is outright fraud. Instead of showing an average of temperatures, the IPCC plots so many multiple points on a spaghetti graph as to make it virtually impossible to read. Moreover, the IPCC has shifted the computer model projections downward so that, mirale dictu, all of the plots now fall comfortably within the computer model projections.

Steve McIntyre, in his post at Climate Audit attempting to asses this fraud, notes that:

None of this portion of the IPCC assessment is drawn from peer-reviewed material. Nor is it consistent with the documents sent to external reviewers.

In other words, some people at the IPCC - and we need names for this one - snuck in this fraud at the 11th hour, site unseen even by the IPCC scientists tasked with reviewing the document.

Tar and feathering is simply not enough for these people.