Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: August 25, 2010

Well, who knew?

Most of us, that’s who. And that’s why, as soon as it was uttered, President Obama came under criticism.  

I’m talking about his decision to announce the a troop withdrawal, in a speech he made at West Point some months ago, even while he was announcing a surge of troops (which, btw, is supposed to finally be complete this month).

Marine General James Conway talked about that announcement yesterday at a Pentagon press conference:

"In some ways we think right now it’s probably giving our enemy sustenance. We think that he may be saying to himself, in fact we’ve intercepted communications that say, ‘Hey, we only have to hold out for so long,’" Gen Conway told a Pentagon news conference.

"I honestly think it will be a few years before conditions on the ground are such that turnover will be possible for us," he said of Marines in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.

I’m sure the general will receive the obligatory counseling session and make some sort of retraction – after all, the only area in government where there is actual accountability seems to be the military.

But, as with most of what this administration has done which runs counter to common sense, this was entirely predictable.  When you announce something like a drawdown, your enemy adapts to the new announcement.  It also turns on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ironic, isn’t it, that of all the promised “hope and change” by this administration, the group benefiting the most is the Taliban.

As for staying on longer, Conway isn’t the first to say that will probably be the case.  Petraeus has also been saying the same thing.  Whether or not it is true – i.e. the administration bows to the reality on the ground and extends the timeline – it is obvious, for the reasons stated, that the generals want the enemy to think it is true.

Hell of a thing when you have to go behind your CiC cleaning up the mess he’s made, isn’t it?

~McQ

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Wow – how “unexpected”

OK, not really.  After all as our Speaker of the House said, “we have to pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it”, or words to that effect.  And sure enough, as we actually read the result of rushed monstrosity called ObamaCare, we keep finding more and more goodies hidden within.

For instance:

Colleges and universities say that some rules in the new health law could keep them from offering low-cost, limited-benefit student insurance policies, and they’re seeking federal authority to continue offering them.

Their request drew immediate fire from critics, however, who say that student health plans should be held to the same standards that other insurance is.

Among other things, the colleges want clarification that they won’t have to offer the policies to non-students.

Without a number of changes, it may be impossible to continue to offer student health plans, says a letter that the American Council on Education sent Aug. 12 to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, signed by 12 other trade associations that represent colleges.

I can certainly understand the point of the critics, can’t you?  “If we make an exception for those guys … etc”.  Heh.  My guess is this piece of garbage will add another 2500 pages of “exceptions” before this is all said and done.  And somewhere in there our lawmakers will find a way to exempt themselves as well.

Meanwhile the rush to sign up for ObamaCare has been incredible:

Just two people in New Jersey will begin receiving coverage Monday under new plans created by federal health care reforms.

NJ Protect plans are available to those who have been without insurance for at least six months and submit evidence of pre-existing health conditions.

Yup, just busting down the doors:

Vincz says more than 600 applications were downloaded and 268 information kits were sent out following the program’s announcement on Aug. 1.

~McQ

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Stimulus spin

This is being pointed to as a validation of the “stimulus” plan:

The oft-criticized stimulus plan boosted the economy in the second quarter by as much as 4.5%, the Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.

In a report published the same day as Minority Leader John Boehner’s criticism of President Obama’s economic policy, the CBO said the stimulus law boosted the economy by between 1.7% and 4.5%, lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points and increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.

Of course it boosted the GDP by a sizeable amount.  When you pour almost a trillion dollars out of the government bucket and that is part of the calculation of GDP, then naturally the GDP is going to be “boosted”.

The question is, what good did it do.  Claims of “increasing the number of people employed” is, as is obvious, a guess cranked out by an economic model. 

But look around you.  When what the bucket has dumped out drains away, what do we have?

9.5% unemployment – at least at an official level – 1.5% higher than what was promised if the “stimulus” wasn’t passed.

A stagnant economy. 

Businesses neither expanding nor hiring.

Car sales – down.

Housing sales – way down.

Consumer confidence – in the tank.

Expanded regulation, increased taxation and a war on business.

Policies that have been described as an “economic Katrina.”

So let the left and the media try their best to make this more than it is – the effect on GDP calculation that absurd levels of governmental deficit spending will have.

Take that out and there isn’t much to shout about, is there?

In practice, that means the stimulus plan is the main reason the U.S. economy grew during the second quarter. The Commerce Department estimates the economy grew 2.4% in the second quarter, a figure most economists expect to be sharply revised lower in a report due Friday.

Uh, no, there isn’t.

One last little point:

The CBO also upwardly raised the cost of the stimulus plan to $814 billion from $787 billion.

Nice.

~McQ

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