October 22, 2013

The Government is the problem

Prohibition was instituted with ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on January 16, 1919, which prohibited the "...manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States..." Congress passed the "Volstead Act" on October 28, 1919, to enforce the law, but most large cities simply ignored the law and bootlegged alcohol to meet demand, creating a huge black market rife with crime and corruption. Prohibition was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933, essentially acknowledging the exercise had been pointless and counter-productive.

No Child left behind:
Under George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind education plan, federal education spending doubled in eight years. Despite spending among the most per student in the world on education, the U.S. remains far behind most economically developed nations in terms of math, science and other core competencies. As Joel Klein of The Atlantic put it: "On America’s latest exams (the National Assessment of Educational Progress), one-third or fewer of eighth-grade students were proficient in math, science, or reading. Our high-school graduation rate continues to hover just shy of 70 percent, according to a 2010 report by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, and many of those students who do graduate aren't prepared for college."

According to the Cato Institute, "When Medicare’s Part A was launched in 1965, it was projected to cost $9 billion by 1990, but ended up costing $67 billion. When Medicare’s home-care benefit was added in 1988, it was projected to cost $4 billion in 1993, but ended up costing $10 billion." The Washington Times adds: "The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which was created in 1997 and projected to cost $5 billion per year, has had to be supplemented with hundreds of millions of dollars annually by Congress." President George W. Bush heaped another $720 billion cost on top over 2009-2018 with Medicare Part D, which subsidizes prescription drug costs for senior citizens.

As Cato pointed out: "When the Medicaid program’s special hospitals subsidy was added in 1987, it was supposed to cost $100 million annually, but wound up costing $11 billion annually within five years." According to CNN Money, "Medicaid spending is set to double over the next 10 years -- from $253 billion today to $593 billion in 2022 -- and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Medicare spending will do the same."

Immigration Reform:
Immigration reform has become a hot topic, but not everyone knows that Ronald Reagan once signed onto the initiative in 1986, an act he later regretted. Senator Marco Rubio criticized The Gipper in a 2009 speech: “In 1986 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million people. You know what happened, in addition to becoming 11 million a decade later? There were people trying to enter the country legally, who had done the paperwork, who were here legally, who were going through the process, who claimed, all of a sudden, ‘No, no no no , I’m illegal.’ Because it was easier to do the amnesty program than it was to do the legal process.” Rubio added: “If you grant amnesty, the message that you’re sending is that if you come in this country and stay here long enough, we will let you stay. And no one will ever come through the legal process if you do that.”

War on Drugs.
The war on drugs is one of the most glaring failures of government. Since Republican President Nixon launched the anti-drug crusade in 1971, the program has cost over a trillion dollars. The result? Less personal freedom, more criminals locked up for consuming illicit substances, and a global conflict that immerses us in the business of numerous other countries. The lesson of the failed drug war is clear: criminalization leads to a black market, fueling more crime and more victims. The U.S. is currently the number one country in the world in terms of illegal drug use, according to CNN.

Farmer Subsidy:
One of the more perversely amusing failures of government has been the subsidies given to farmers NOT to grow food. The charade has been going on since the eventually constitutionally authorized Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. Because of the way prices react to supply and demand, "successful" farmers find themselves "punished" by the market with lower prices for their produce. Instead of people switching out of growing certain crops or into other productive activities, as the market signals them to do, the government underwrites excessive grain production and consumption, partly explaining America's obesity "epidemic."

Ethanol Subsidy:
According to Daily Finance (AOL), "Over the past 30 years, the federal government has given an estimated $45 billion to the corn industry to help support ethanol production. In 2011 alone, those subsidies totaled about $6 billion, or about 45 cents for every gallon of ethanol." Ethanol subsidies came to an end in 2012, but several states still mandate certain levels of ethanol be used in automobile fuels. Excessive ethanol production (as signaled by the market) has been plausibly connected to pushing prices up on numerous foodstuffs on the U.S. and global markets, leading to the spread of world hunger, and even to particular Arab Spring uprisings.

Green Jobs:
As The Examiner explains about the president missing his green jobs targets since 2009: "As part of the Obama green energy program, the goal was to train 124,893 people, and place 79,854 (64%) in new green jobs. After 17 months, the results of the green jobs program indicate that only 52,762 were trained, and only 8,035 got green jobs – each job costs tax payers about $62,000." (U.S. Dept. of Labor Inspector General, Jan. 2012) The article points out: "President Obama’s first re-election campaign ad boasts of 2.7 million green energy jobs. But, nothing in the Departments of Energy, Labor or Commerce justifies such job claims."
War on Poverty:

DDT Ban:
The ban on the malaria-fighting chemical DDT since Rachel Carson published "Silent Spring" (1962) has been connected to the horrific death of tens of millions of Africans, including millions of children. Michael Arnold Glueck and Robert J. Cihak, both M.D.s, sum up the health policy disaster such: "That DDT prevented 500 million deaths by 1970 and that the banning of its use in poor countries has resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths holds no sway with true believers in this doctrine. This current 'beggar thy neighbor' approach reflects a kind of Western imperial arrogance - and ignorance - that would rather let people suffer and die than face the fact that some secular pieties may be wrong."

War on Terror:
The ‘war on terror’ has led to over a trillion dollars expended on nation-building overseas. The cost in terms of human life, spending, and civil liberties has been extremely high. Billions are being spent on a police organ under the control of the executive branch known as “The Department of Homeland Security,” whose practices have been questioned by many civil rights groups. Not only has the TSA, a branch of the DHS, been engaged in random screening and inappropriate, documented harassment of ordinary, law-abiding citizens, it has been proven to be extremely wasteful, even going so far as to shelf over $184 million in security equipment that sits in a Texas warehouse.

Social Security:
When Social Security was passed in 1935, it was a safety net program that taxed only 1% of income. Now it is over 6.2% and growing. People understandably feel like it is an entitlement program, since they pay into it their working lives. But the program is not liquid. The Social Security program is financed like a Ponzi scheme, where younger generations pay for the retirement of older generations, who are ironically wealthier in terms of net worth. Because of baby boomers retiring and a much smaller workforce to finance the system, the program (along with us) is slated to go broke over the next 75 years, racking up an estimated $45 trillion in unfunded liabilities. (Peter G. Petersen Foundation)

Cash for Clunkers:
According to a recent TriCities op-ed from Mike Smith of Ralph Smith Motors in Virginia, CARS created a dearth of used cars, artificially driving up prices. For those who needed an affordable car, but didn’t qualify for the program, this increase in price meant affordable transportation was well out of reach. It also meant used-car dealers, most of whom are independently owned, small-business owners, had little to no stock. According to Smith, 122 Virginia dealers chose not to renew their licenses after that year.

Not what it was promised, not costing what was stated. Screwed up at every possible instance.

October 18, 2013

The new top topic of every election from now on.

Americans are intent on being the stupidest nation on earth. Just look who we elect to represent ourselves...

Obamacare is the law of the land. To hope to stop this huge burden on the taxpayer is not only racist but seditious!  Look for the 2014 elections to be about the train-wreck before us.

Just in case you are missing the greatness of Obamacare here are some highlights:

Thousands of Doctors Fired. Next we will see the debut of the IPAB board — that group of individuals who will objectively, in a machine-like manner, decide the cost-benefit value of allowing surgeries, care or medicine for patients.

White House wanted half million ObamaCare signups by November.  Their target by the end of the year was 3.3 million.  The most recent estimate is that - 51,000 people had actually registered - most of them via state exchanges in California and New York.  Granted, that number was released last week so.

Now, we're learning that the problems don't end if you manage to claw your way through the healthcare.gov registration process.  In fact, a new CBS News report indicates that's just the beginning of the federal system's troubles.

"CBSNews has learned these problems are more than just people trying to sign up.  Insurance companies now are reporting problems once people manage to complete their applications.  They say the website is generating duplicate and incomplete enrollment forms, suggesting the problems are pervasive."

So, 20,000 people have managed to register via the federal exchange and the system is so badly designed that it can't keep the data straight. Just imagine if the feds actually had gotten the traffic they expected.

We paid over $500 million for the Obamacare sites and all we got was this lousy 404. "Government has a long history of spending money unnecessarily. But in an age when the U.S is home to the world’s largest, most successful Internet companies, how is it possible that we can’t even manage to build a functional website without blowing through hundreds of millions of dollars?"

Tech experts: Health exchange site needs total overhaul.  According to USA Today, the Healthcare.gov website is in far worse shape than anyone in the administration is admitting.  The level to which it's been botched is looking to be truly spectacular.  According to their sources, Healthcare.gov was built by an incompetent IT company using badly outdated ten-year-old technology.

ObamaCare Is Raising Insurance Costs. One of the most important feature of any health plan is its "network"—the group of doctors and hospitals that agree to serve the plan's enrollees. Doctors can limit the number of patients they take with exchange insurance if they can't handle any more patients. With the Narrow plans out there you are looking at shortages!

How Obamacare Dramatically Increases The Cost of Insurance for Young Workers.  President Obama, too, touted the bill’s ability to “bend the cost curve,” repeatedly promising that the law would “bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.” But that was then. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber now says that Obamacare will increase premiums by 19-30 percent.

Consider this Liberals: “What would you say if Bush had done it?”

In the case of ObamaCare, the lesson might be the most poignant.

I found these questions on a discussion board, and decided this time, it was worth the comparison: if ObamaCare were BushCare what would the repercussions and responses be?

So ask yourself these questions, and then question if ObamaCare would be deader than disco.


1. If Republican George Bush made it mandatory that every American buy health insurance.

2. If Bush said if you don’t buy it, you will be fined.

3. If Bush said he would employ the IRS to collect the fine from you for non-conformance.

4. If Bush took the “public option” out of the bill, in order to please the private health insurance companies.

5. If Bush created a health care plan where the average cost was $328 dollars a month.

6. If Bush totally ignored all of the polls that said most Americans were against the health care bill.

7. If during the first 2 weeks of Bush’s health care plan rollout, the website crashed and hardly anybody could sign up.

8. If Bush gave Corporate America a one-year delay joining, but refused to do the same for poor people.

If George Bush did these things, he’d be the most unpopular president in history, especially among blacks.

October 04, 2013


Even when it comes to something as basic, and apparently as simple and straightforward, as the question of who shut down the federal government, there are diametrically opposite answers, depending on whether you talk to Democrats or to Republicans.
There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.
This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the congressional record.
As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that congressmen there have a right to decide whether they want to spend money on a particular government activity.
Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.
ObamaCare is indeed “the law of the land,” as its supporters keep saying, and the Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality.
But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.
The hundreds of thousands of government workers who have been laid off are not idle because the House of Representatives did not vote enough money to pay their salaries or the other expenses of their agencies — unless they are in an agency that would administer ObamaCare.
Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who — if anybody — “wants to shut down the government.” But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare.
The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he wants a “clean” bill from the House of Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word “clean” like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid everything he wants?
If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run ObamaCare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility.
You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want. And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the government.
When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those who control the money to try to change government policy by granting or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie. You can check the history of other examples of “legislation by appropriation” as it used to be called.
Whether legislation by appropriation is a good idea or a bad idea is a matter of opinion. But whether it is both legal and not unprecedented is a matter of fact.
Perhaps the biggest of the big lies is that the government will not be able to pay what it owes on the national debt, creating a danger of default. Tax money keeps coming into the Treasury during the shutdown, and it vastly exceeds the interest that has to be paid on the national debt.
Even if the debt ceiling is not lifted, that only means that government is not allowed to run up new debt. But that does not mean that it is unable to pay the interest on existing debt.
None of this is rocket science. But unless the Republicans get their side of the story out — and articulation has never been their strong suit — the lies will win. More importantly, the whole country will lose.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.