Daily Archives: July 8, 2012

Uh huh

Top Chicago cop blames Pilgrims (!) for black-on-black crime.

 “But this goes back 200-300 years to the time when Pilgrims came here and things developed from that, the African American experience in this country.”

2012 – 1620 = 392 years, not 300, not 200, but mathematical and historical illiteracy are the least of the new Chief’s problems.

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She doesn’t get it – of COURSE ObamaCare will suck and liberals know it

Hadley Heath wonders, “Liberals, why are you celebrating ObamaCare?”

Why, exactly, are they celebrating? Obamacare is far from the liberal ideal. In fact, many of its provisions fly in the face of what liberals say they stand for. The law promotes cronyism, hurts the poor, limits care for the elderly, fails to reach the left’s pet goal of universal coverage, wrecks havoc on government transparency, and raises taxes on the middle class.

Insurance companies supported the law, and in return made out like bandits. Thirty million new customers — like it or not — will be forced into their market. Liberals hated the mandate for this reason just a few short years ago. Remember candidate Obama in 2008: “Well, if things were that easy, I could mandate everybody to buy a house, and that would solve the problem of homelessness.” In 2009, Howard Dean called the Obamacare plan “an insurance company’s dream.”

The mandate isn’t the only way corporate interests will profit from Obamacare. The “minimum essential” requirements for insurance are an open invitation to lobbyists representing each pharmaceutical and medical treatment to head to Congress — or state seats of government — to convince lawmakers their products are “essential.” If you think bureaucrats will be making these decisions fairly, considering only scientific studies or unbiased task forces, think again. There is money to be made.

Liberals are celebrating their victory precisely because they know this mockery of a health care program will fail. “It’s a start”, is a phrase repeated ad nauseum by these people and that’s all they care. The barrier breached, governmental take over of the entire field is next, because centralization of power always advances and never retreats. It’s an inexorable process, as liberals and communists know.

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British upset?

Andy Murray just took the first set at Wimbledon, 6-4. I don’t really watch television but a Brit (I think Murray’s a Scot, but don’t trust my limited knowledge of this stuff) hasn’t won Wimbledon since 1936, it says here, so maybe I’ll go turn on the tellie.

My guess is that one set is all he gets.

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Great fireworks photos by Bob Luckey

Bob Luckey is Greenwich Time’s photographer and regardless of your opinion of the paper that employs him, he’s incredible. Check out a few of his photos from last night here.

Bob Luckey photo

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For 3DB and his socialist lotus eaters

Germany is praised these days by Obama supporters as ” the most socialist in Europe” and TDB claims that “it’s doing just fine”. If so, it’s prospering (some of us think it’s still on the edge of the grave) under a form of socialism unrecognizable by the socialist – Democrat party of America.

Those of us capable of remembering even recent history remember what Germany looked like just a dozen years ago and dismiss the bumper sticker crowd’s delusions as just that.  Gerhard Schröder certainly does.

The Berlin road to economic righteousness is no mere sermonizing. Germany itself has gone down it and grown stronger. Gerhard Schröder, a Social Democrat, was German chancellor from 1998 to 2005, and during his second term his government lowered taxes, revamped unemployment benefits and streamlined labor laws. Mr. Schröder’s shakedown of the welfare state—dubbed Agenda 2010 when it was launched in 2003—has been credited with insulating Germany against the debt mess that would later befall Southern Europe.

Circumstance forced economic reform onto Gerhard Schröder’s agenda as chancellor. When he took office in 1998, Germany’s unemployment rate was 11% and economic growth was close to nil.

Mr. Schröder won the federal election that year by vowing to end the economic misery. But the Europe-wide recession during his first term left him having to explain to voters, when he sought re-election in 2002, why the jobless rate was still nearly 10%. Germans gave Mr. Schröder a second chance, and his government immediately set about making good on its mandate.

The result was a radical reshaping of the German welfare state. To reduce labor costs, Agenda 2010 merged social-welfare benefits with benefits for the long-term unemployed, paring down the total amount and availability of assistance. Employers’ health-insurance costs were trimmed back. Planned income and corporate tax cuts were accelerated: The top personal income tax rate was lowered to 42% from 48.5% and the bottom rate went down to 15% from 19.9%. The corporate tax rate dropped to 19% from 25%.

In the labor market, Mr. Schröder made firing easier with the expectation that hiring would consequently become easier, too. Rules protecting employees against dismissals “for economic reasons” were loosened. Measures were introduced to help employers avoid lawsuits from laid-off workers seeking re-employment. To spur job-seeking among the unemployed, Agenda 2010 cut jobless benefits and strengthened financial sanctions against those who were able but unwilling to accept work.

“And now the results speak for themselves,” Mr. Schröder says. “For a long time we were the sick man of Europe. Now we are the healthy Frau of Europe.” With German unemployment at 6.8%, nearly the lowest level since reunification in 1990, it’s hard to disagree. German GDP growth has so far kept the euro zone from falling into another recession this year.

Mr. Schröder does note that Germany’s present economic vigor isn’t solely the result of Agenda 2010. Work-sharing programs are common in Germany. During the financial crisis, this has allowed employers, with the help of government subsidies, to keep workers on reduced hours instead of laying them off. Mr. Schröder also notes that Germany’s unique system of “co-determination,” under which union representatives occupy permanent spots on corporate boards, ensures that labor and management are able to negotiate terms with both sides’ long-term interests in mind. In Germany, workers’ confidence that they have a say helps keep wages competitive while reducing the incidence of strikes compared to other European countries.

Mrs. Merkel may have kept the spirit of the Schröder reforms alive in Germany, but in most of Europe there has been little evidence, in seven years, that the reform wisdom Germany displayed has rubbed off. French President François Hollande has spent his first months in office raising the minimum wage, lowering the pension age, and standing by his notorious pledge to tax high earners at 75%. Adopting Mr. Hollande’s policies would be “a real catastrophe” for Germany, Mr. Schröder says.

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Death Panels?

 

Here’s looking at you, kid

Their time is coming because the cost is unsustainable. From the WSJ:

Younger patients … were more expensive, representing just 18.5% of the beneficiaries who received hospital care but 23.7% of the total cost. Seniors vastly outnumbered them, however, and consumed 76% of the total hospital costs.

As for Medicare’s long-term cost trajectory, it is relentlessly upward. The program’s net expenditures totaled $486 billion last year, according to the Congressional Budget Office, or 13.5% of all federal expenditures. In March, the CBO projected that Medicare expenditures would grow an average of 5.7% per year through 2022 and equal 16.2% of all federal outlays.

Medicare patients rack up disproportionate costs in the final year of life. In 2009, 6.6% of the people who received hospital care died. Those 1.6 million people accounted for 22.3% of total hospital expenditures, the Journal’s analysis shows.

One logical (to me) approach would be to let people choose whether they want to spend their own and their family’s resources to sustain life for those final six months – it’s their business, after all, and I suspect most would choose acceptance of the inevitable rather than bankrupting their  survivors. But in today’s American society we won’t allow the rich to have what the poor can’t, so we either continue paying for these extraordinary costs for all or for none. When the answer finally comes around to “none”, watch for those death vans to roll up to the dying’s doors.

Not saying that’s good or bad; just predicting.

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