Donald Trump – wow, how did we get here? How do we get to the point where Donald Trump is polling as a serious candidate for President of the United States?
Right out of the gate, “The Donald” would not have been my first choice for a Presidential candidate, or second choice, or, wait, my choice ever. I question his commitments to conservative values, I question his loyalty to smaller government, there’s a whole list of things about him I question, including being a Republican (not that that means much these days anyway). He’s a flamboyant showman. Once I would have ruled him out completely, utterly, as nothing more than a modern P.T. Barnum putting on a show.
Well, that was up until 2015 and my watching Washingtonian showmen for about 50 years. Now he’s certainly starting to sound sensible when he talks about national topics the squishes in the GOP Gentry have been completely talking around, or just plain lying about.
I stood at the sink this morning cleaning the scrambled egg bits out of the cast iron fry pan and it hit me – why the hell not? For a while now I’ve been thinking the whole sordid kleptocratic oligarchy needed to be brought down like the Hindenburg, so why not give Trump a shot at it. The usual critics on both sides have been yelling about how he’s everything I said above and more, implying, sometimes openly saying, only emotional, angry, STUPID, dangerous, low information voters will support him.
I mean, he could…what? Then it hit me. WHAT?????? What was he going to do that was worse than what I already have? – and worse yet, some of which I helped create in voting for people who think they can lie to me every day and I won’t notice.
Could he do a worse job than Barack Hussein Obama has done? Could he be hated by the world and the Democrats more than George W. Bush? Would he be more likely to pocket cash and grant favors and have Oval office sex (not with each other you understand) than Bill and Hillary Clinton? Could he in fact run a more corrupt/lawless government than the one we have at the moment?
Pause for a second.
Ask yourself, is he a bigger joke than the current Democratic candidates? A former governor no one knows or talks about? An avowed Socialist. Or the leader of ‘em all, a woman whose sole accomplishment is notoriety derived from being married to the former Philanderer in Chief of the United States. A woman who shrugs like a 10 year old and pretends the whole secret and secure Secretary of State server/government documents thing is beneath her or too much trouble or too complicated or too inconvenient or just too confusing for her widdle brainy brain. And that’s not even starting on the plethora of pay for play glad-handing arrangements her ‘charity’ is probably involved in and also manages to completely ignore the scandals from a time when her job description was chief cuckquean of Little Rock Arkansas and Washington DC. Exactly what was it again that qualified her to be a US Senator or a Secretary of State aside from her last name?
Has Trump less real world experience than the Marxist constitutional scholar who has worked diligently and consistently over his two terms to degrade the standing of the United States in the world while he invents new Presidential powers? A guy who’s busy using his EPA to screw up something as intrinsic as our electrical grid and our coal production and stops us from achieving full energy independence from the Middle East. The President whose prior positions were largely achieved thru hatchet jobs on his competitors and whose chief qualifications seem to be an affection for golf and the ability to read a teleprompter and speak at the same time without falling over. Do you think Trump is going to go out and disrespect our allies and long standing international friends? Will he appoint tax cheats to head Treasury? Maybe run guns to Mexico? Create the most opaquely transparent administration EVER? Is he going to tell NASA their new job is making casino owners feel better about themselves and their contributions to space travel? Insert himself into local incidents where people with comb overs are involved in altercations with the police?
Think about it! The current President is going to be a tough act to follow! From Lois “the logjam” Lerner in the IRS holding up 501c Non-profit designations, through the alphabet soup Obama government agency thugs to Eric “the Enforcer” Holder in the Justice Department, what would Trump do that was worse? Is Trump going to strong arm us into another National Health Care plan? Screw up the implementation, move the goalposts on it and lie about how well it’s going? Is he going to sign a nuclear treaty with Iran, chief Islamic terrorist enabler in the Middle East? Will he agree to let them inspect their own weapon sites to see if they’ve been working on proscribed weapons? Will he lead from behind in deposing weak foreign governments to curry favor with Islamic fundamentalists?
Is Trump worse than that?
How about the pseudo conservative side then –
Is Trump going to campaign on and then betray conservative values any more so than the 2014 Republican Congress has? Is he likely to be worse than the many RINO clowns in the Republican controlled House and Senate? The guys who said they were going to rein in government, rein in spending, rein in the imperial pen and phone Presidency, if only we’d elect them. Remember they were going to FIX immigration? They were going to dismantle Obamacare? The guys who in fact had hardly convened the new year in Congress before they started acting like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi? John Boehner, Mitch McConnell? King of the WackoBird Hobbits John McCain?
Is Trump going to, as George Will seems to fret over, single handedly launch nukes at the first country that comments disrespectfully about his comb over? As an aside, does super intelligent George Will really understand how the whole nuclear arsenal checks and balances thing works or is he just confused about Presidential powers these days because no one puts a stop to Preznit Precious when he starts using his pen?
Is Trump going to lead a party that will sabotage its conservative wing with underhanded politics and throw its support to its opponents rather than see an honestly or even pseudo-honestly conservative candidate get the job, will he actively try and break the back of genuinely conservative voting efforts and ‘crush’ their candidates so he can ensure the jobs go to squishy GOP gentry office holders.
Will Trump grant amnesty to millions of people who broke our laws because enforcing those laws is toooo haaaaarrrrdddd and the New York Times columnists, reporters and editorial staff will say Republicans are mean!? Will Trump NOT build the wall that 40 years of previous administrations promised they’d build? Will Trump NOT enforce the laws? Or will he just selectively enforce the laws, as we do now, making sure to punish people who piss him off while rewarding his cronies? Is Trump going to use his position to increase his wealth like the insider traders in the House and the Senate and the former Secretary of State? Will Trump allow himself to be bought by the cool megarich?
Is Trump worse than that?
How about the man on the street –
Is Trump more ignorant than the people who twice elected the current disaster? The people who bought into ‘hope and change’ as if they were tangibles and without any evidence apart from an Olympian Temple stage set? Does Trump know less about the economy than an army of government appointees and workers that lie about unemployment every quarter and seem actively engaged in keeping us locked in a recession they pretend we’ve been out of for years? Is Trump less wise than pundits and people who think Hillary is a good candidate, who think Barack Obama has no scandals, who believe we can trust Iran, who think unemployment really IS only 5.3% and that the economy is beginning to surge?
What about the Republican Presidential candidate circus?
If you are hoping for Scott Walker, or Ted Cruz, about the only 2 Republican candidates who I might trust in this crop, forget it. The GOP Gentry have been bought and paid for. They have a donor empire to protect even if it means opening the borders to everyone in Central and South America and spending every last dime in your pockets and your kid’s pockets on ever larger versions of ‘small’ government. By many indications Walker and Cruz are likely to try and do some of the really conservative things they claim they want to do. That isn’t going to be permitted.
So if it’s not Walker, or Cruz, and the GOP Gentry will do its damnedest to make sure it’s not… who will it be?
Carson? Drone strikes on our border? And George Will thinks Trump is dangerous?
Immigration flip flop Rubio?
“Act of love” Jeb Bush?
“Skinny dip” Biden?
Is Trump worse than that?
The more I watch this ignorant populist desire to raise the minimum wage (as far as I’m concerned, the minimum wage is $0) to $15 dollars, the more I wonder why people don’t actually think about the issue and its ramifications before staking out a position “for” the hike.
Oh, wait … think. Yeah, never mind. It simply doesn’t happen anymore. And by the way, the thinking one must do isn’t rocket brain surgery. It’s pretty much common sense. So, given the local burger flipper wants $15 bucks an hour to keep flipping those burgers, what is at risk. Well, mostly, his or her job:
Many chains are already at work looking for ingenious ways to take humans out of the picture, threatening workers in an industry that employs 2.4 million wait staffers, nearly 3 million cooks and food preparers and many of the nation’s 3.3 million cashiers.
Of course they are. Why?
“When I first started at McDonald’s making 85 cents an hour, everything we made was by hand,” Rensi said — from cutting the shortcakes to stirring syrups into the milk for shakes. Over the years, though, ingredients started to arrive packaged and pre-mixed, ready to be heated up, bagged and handed out the window.
So what does that mean?
Crowded. That’s how Ed Rensi remembers what life was like working at McDonald’s in 1966. There were about double the number of people working in the store — 70 or 80, as opposed to the 30 or 40 there today — because preparing the food just took a lot more doing.
That’s right, as automation and packaging and pre-mix advanced, fewer workers were needed. It had nothing to do with wages, per se, it had to do with efficiency. What produced the most money for the work involved.
How does one make a profit? Well one way is by being efficient. I.e. producing product at a lower cost than your competition. So how is the fast food business doing in that department? Not so hot.
The market research company IBISWorld has calculated that the average number of employees at fast-food restaurants declined by fewer than two people over the past decade, from 17.16 employees to 15.28. And restaurants tend to rely more on labor than other food outlets: According to the National Restaurant Association, dining establishments average $84,000 in sales per worker, compared with $304,000 for grocery stores and $855,000 for gas stations.
So, raise double the wage and what happens to the already poor efficiency? Right, it goes down.
Then add to that the fact that no manager is going to work for the same wages as his employees. So if management is earning $15 an hour now, what does that have to go to in order to keep good people (it is one of the primary reasons unions back all minimum wage increases – because they get an increase too)? And what does that do to the price of a burger?
It makes it skyrocket.
Given that, what will employers in an already inefficient market likely choose to do? Well right up at the top of the list is a note to reduce staff. And then there’s “introduce efficiencies” to keep costs down.
The labor-saving technology that has so far been rolled out most extensively — kiosk and tablet-based ordering — could be used to replace cashiers and the part of the wait staff’s job that involves taking orders and bringing checks. Olive Garden said earlier this year that it would roll out the Ziosk system at all its restaurants, which means that all a server has to do is bring out the food.
Robots can even help cut down on the need for high-skilled workers such as sushi chefs. A number of high-end restaurants use machines for rolling rice out on sheets of nori, a relatively menial task that takes lots of time. Even though sushi chefs tend to make more than $15 an hour, they could be on the chopping block if servers need to make $15 an hour, too.
A service contract is much less costly than payroll benefits and there’s no sick leave or missed days involved.
As technology advances, even more jobs will be eliminated. Not necessarily because employers want to eliminate them, but because bird-brained idiots want to force them to pay $15 for a $5 job. Who gets hurt? 2.4 million wait staff, 3 million cooks and 3.3 million cashiers. Yes, that’s right, the stupidly conceived push for a $15 minimum wage will jeopardize 8.7 million jobs.
And as we’ve been asking for a long time, what is $15 x 0?
I found this interesting:
Chinese policy makers seem unwilling to accept that downturns are perfectly normal even for economic superpowers, as the U.S. has often demonstrated. Over the past century the U.S. economy experienced a dozen recessions and a Great Depression even as it remained the world’s leading economy. But Beijing has little tolerance for business cycles and is now reviving efforts to stimulate sectors that it had otherwise wanted to see fade in importance, from property to infrastructure to exports. Given the over-investment in these areas and the cloud of debt that still hangs over the Chinese economy, these efforts are unlikely to lead to a sustained upturn. While China reported that its GDP grew exactly in line with its growth target of 7% in the first and second quarters this year, all other independent data, from electricity production to car sales, indicate the economy is growing closer to 5%.
That leaves the global economy perilously close to recession territory. In the first half of 2015, global economic output expanded by barely 2%, making it the weakest two-quarter period since the expansion began in mid-2009. Industrial production and world trade growth were flat, developments that in the past have corresponded with global recessions.
Funny how that “5 year plan” reporting hasn’t changed a bit. And, of course, we too get that sort of reporting from out government too. Don’t believe it? Just ask Bernie Sanders about the real unemployment rate.
Yup, if it comes to a global downturn again, as with the last time, it will be caused by … government.
In a formula as old as government itself, we see a government created problem (it takes over student loans, college costs inflate, college debt burden increases) and now Hillary Clinton, in the guise of future government, offers a solution. Let’s make college affordable again (or, in other words, shift $350 billion of the cost to taxpayers).
Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce a $350 billion plan Monday to make college affordable and relieve the burden of student debt for millions of Americans, drawing on popular tenets of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. …
At the heart of the plan, dubbed the New College Compact, is an incentive program that would provide money to states that guarantee “no-loan” tuition at four-year public universities and community colleges. States that enroll a high number of low- and middle-income students would receive more money, as would those that work with schools to reduce living expenses. Because Pell grants, a form of federal aid for students from families making less than $60,000, are not included in the no-debt calculation, Clinton anticipates lower income students could use that money to cover books, as well as room and board.
This is like Obamacare … just a step toward “free” college. Obviously, an estimate of $350 billion is likely to be woefully short of the real cost (they always are). And when the program crashes and burns, well, the next logical step (at least to “progressives” who have no clue about economics) will be to make college “free”, like many other “progressive” countries. Because, you know, wish it to be so and it will be so!
C. Ronald Kimberling analyzes the initiative:
Hillary’s plan for higher education violates so many principles of the Constitution, federal law, and economic common sense that it takes the breath away. In a nutshell, she would spend $350 billion a year to support public (i.e., governmental) colleges and universities with the proviso that a two-year associate’s degree would be “free” to students and a four-year degree would cause no one to have to incur student loan costs. In exchange for direct federal subsidies to the public colleges, states would be required to appropriate more funds for such colleges, Pell Grants could be used only for student living expenses, interest rates on existing student loans would be reduced to eliminate federal “profits” on such loans, and for-profit colleges would be subjected to even stronger regulations than at present.
Her plan is significantly more expensive than the ideas put forward by self-described socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Constitutionally, this violates the 10th Amendment, and it also violates the Department of Education Organization Act. It also runs counter to fifty years of bipartisan tradition, stemming from the Higher Education Act of 1965, which settled a 1950s-60s debate about whether federal aid to higher education should focus on direct subsidies of higher education institutions or on portable, voucher-like assistance to students in favor of the latter alternative. It places unfunded mandates on the states, and it enhances a public higher education monopoly of government-run colleges over private non-profits and for-profits, both of which are completely excluded from this federal largesse. All this takes place at a time when technology and disruptive innovation are creating more alternatives to traditional post-secondary education than we ever had before. In short, she takes President Obama’s regulatory approach toward enhancing a public sector monopoly and puts it in warp drive. Even I am flabbergasted by the audacity and scope of this proposal.
Again, looking at Obamacare, we know Constitutional or legal limits are hardly an obstacle. She might have a bit of difficulty getting through a Republican Congress but that assumes a Republican Congress. Given their performance these last 2 years, you have to wonder. And you certainly have to wonder about the Supreme Court, if it ever got to that stage. They’d likely find a “right” to higher education somewhere in some mythical document (certainly not the Constitution) with John Roberts being the 5th vote for.
Sanders, of course, plans on taxing “Wall Street transactions” to pay for his plan. Clinton just plans to “close loopholes” – the catch all phrase for tax hikes. Most likely, they’d end up borrowing it.
One might wonder why, when we borrow 40% of the money the federal government spends, that we’re discussing a $350 billion plan at all for anything except defense. But if the government wants to spend money on education, perhaps a better target would be primary education, and a better plan would be school choice to better prepare students for higher education down the road. Perhaps we can teach them the real definition of affordable somewhere along the way, too.
Oh … and perhaps we can get the government out of the loan business and make it a competitive sphere again?
Yeah, that’s going to happen.
As you’ll see it’s as unachievable and utopian as all the other “clean energy” plans we’ve heard. In fact, IBD calls it a “farce”. And rightfully so.
Why? Well here are the basics:
Clinton says she has two big goals that she’ll start working on “day one” to combat climate change. First is to expand solar energy supplies by 700% by installing half a billion solar panels by 2020. Second is to power “every home in America” with renewable energy by 2027.
She describes these as “bold national goals.” The more appropriate label is “expensive pipe dream.”
Again, the latter description is more apt. Consider the goal of half a billion solar panels by 2020. That’s 5 years from now, folks. We all know that solar panels are a) expensive and b) don’t live up to their billing as to making us energy independent (well unless we are willing to carpet every sun touched surface on our house and property with them). So how will she accomplish this goal? Well, with your tax dollars (or borrowing) of course. Subsides, tax credits, outright grants, subsides to solar panel manufacturing and big government projects that install millions of panels in desert areas (Environmental impact? Only pipelines have that.).
My goodness, haven’t we done this before? And what’s that popular definition of “insanity”?
Also consider that perhaps the cleanest renewable energy, one that has contributed most to the use of renewable energy, is hydroelectric energy (46%). That source has been in decline due to pressure from environmental groups. We have less hydroelectric power now than we did in 2000. And that trend is likely to continue.
Biomass comes in second (9%) and is also in disfavor with environmental groups (greenhouse gasses).
That leaves three “renewable” sources – geothermal, solar and wind. Between the three, they currently contribute just “6.7% of the nation’s electricity capacity, according to the Energy Department.” In total, we have about 15% of our energy from all renewable sources. So you get an idea of how small the contribution of these three really are.
While Clinton didn’t say much about the other two, wind is a favorite of the renewable energy crowd. The problem with both wind and solar is the usual – powerful environmental groups oppose both. Especially groups concerned with the negative impact on wildlife they’ve demonstrated. It is no secret that both wind installations and large solar instillations are abattoirs for wildlife, especially birds.
So how likely is a President Clinton to see this bit of campaign positioning come to fruition? Well thankfully not very. It’s a slapdash bit of campaign nonsense. It is pure pandering with no hope of realization. It is the usual political campaign “policy” making that is all talk with no walk. It has no possibility of being realized and is just thrown out there to feed the base and keep them happy. It is the underpants gnomes in action.
It doesn’t even stand up to casual scrutiny. But don’t worry, her base has no reason for even casual scrutiny. If she said it, they believe it and that ends it.
Meanwhile, upon finishing her delivery of this devilish clever energy plan, she boarded her private jet and smoked off to her next destination.
My guess is most of us would agree that America seems to be in decline, but not for the reasons TIME magazine does. Much of the decline is centered in the politics and policies of the governing party.
But TIME is pretty sure that, given the study that they cite, the reason is … capitalism. Here’s the “it was great, but” reason:
“We looked at very broad measures, and at individual measures, too,” said co-author Hershey H. Friedman, a business professor at Brooklyn College – City University of New York. The most dangerous sign they saw: rising income and wealth inequality, which slow growth and can spark instability, the authors say.
“Capitalism has been amazingly successful,” write Friedman and co-author Sarah Hertz of Empire State College. But it has grown so unfettered, predatory, so exclusionary, it’s become, in effect, crony capitalism. Now places like Qatar and Romania, “countries you wouldn’t expect to be, are doing better than us,” said Friedman.
I wish those who opine about this sort of thing would begin to delink capitalism and “crony capitalism”. Because as soon “crony” is added, “capitalism” is no longer evident. Instead you have powerful corporate/social/political constituents helping write laws that raise bars to entry in a markets to impossible heights. You have the same entities suggesting regulations which have the same effect. Capitalism, in its barest essence, is a voluntary transaction between two free people which ends profitably for both. That’s it. When government begins intruding with regulations and laws designed to limit and protect certain constituencies, from corporations to unions, that’s not capitalism, whether you stick “crony” in front of it or not.
It is certainly cronyism. The government attacks, for instance, on Uber are rampant cronyism. They’re designed by government to protect an existing constituency that doesn’t like the competition (and has had a government granted monopoly for decades). Of course, in the end, it is the consumer – i.e. the citizen – who is hurt by this sort of cronyism.
And it appears that cronyism has gotten worse and worse over the past few years. So while America may be in decline, it isn’t because of capitalism.
It’s because of cronyism, government favoritism, or whatever catch word or phrase you wish to tag the phenomenon with. But leave capitalism out of it.
We’ve recently seen how multiple jurisdictions openly ignoring the law resulted in circumstances that led in the death of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco last week. Why? Because, ideologically, they’re opposed to the law as it stands and are refusing to consider its validity, much less enforce it. The results are inevitable. Steinle’s death is just a symptom of a much more wide-spread threat to our nation. The left’s contempt for laws that don’t fit their ideology. Victor Davis Hanson says:
Ultimately, no nation can continue to thrive if its government refuses to enforce its own laws. Liberal “sanctuary cities” such as San Francisco choose to ignore immigration laws. Imagine the outcry if a town in Utah or Montana arbitrarily declared that federal affirmative action or gay marriage laws were null and void within its municipal borders.
Once an immigrant has successfully broken the law by entering and residing in the U.S. illegally, there is little incentive for him to obey other laws. Increasing percentages of unnaturalized immigrants are not showing up for their immigration hearings — and those percentages are higher still for foreign nationals who have been charged with crimes.
The general public wonders why some are selectively exempt from following the law, but others are not. If federal immigration law does not apply to foreign nationals, why should building codes, zoning laws or traffic statutes apply to U.S. citizens?
And that’s the threat. That’s the danger. If our political leadership can ignore the laws at will or only enforce them when the whim strikes them or it is to their political advantage to do so, why should the ordinary citizen follow laws he or she doesn’t like?
If you can’t count on government enforcing the laws on its books, why should one obey those it disagrees with? As Hansen points out, there’s little incentive to do so. And, eventually, you end up with … Greece. Or Mexico. Or any of a number of third world countries who seem to be on the verge of collapse.
There is a process for changing laws one doesn’t like or think need improvement. The fact that the process takes time, leadership and energy doesn’t mean one can arbitrarily ignore laws that aren’t politically useful at the time. But that’s precisely what is happening with immigration laws in this country.
Then there’s the lack of accountability that runs rampant within government circles. Hillary Clinton knew perfectly well that setting up a private email server as Secretary of State was ethically wrong if not illegal. Yet she really had no fear of being held accountable. She merely shrugs the controversy away and cruises along as a potential presidential candidate. She is indicative of an outlaw government, that, we’re finding out, saw the IRS, FBI and other agencies actively meet with an eye to prosecuting political enemies. During the time of this investigation, the IRS has consistently obstructed the investigation, stonewalled and refused cooperation. Has anyone been yet held accountable? Will anyone? If I were a betting man, I’d lay long odds on it ever happening.
Hanson concludes by saying, “Civilizations unwind insidiously not with a loud, explosive bang, but with a lawless whimper.” He’s precisely right. And, given the propensity of this administration to enforce laws by whim or not at all, that’s exactly where we’re headed.
Almost half of all Federal criminal charges are made in 5 southern border districts, but we don’t have a border security or illegal immigration problem
41.7% of all Federal criminal charges come from 5 districts that are on the US southern border. In one district, West Texas, the US attorney filed 5,832 cases. That’s more than all the cases filed for the entire length of the US norther border (5,257). The southern district of Texas ranked 2nd, followed by Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California.
“In addition to criminal cases brought before United States district judges, the United States Attorneys also handle a considerable criminal caseload before United States magistrate judges,” explained the U.S. attorneys’ statistical report for fiscal 2013. “The utilization of magistrate judges varies from district to district in response to local conditions and changing caseloads.”
“Magistrate judges are authorized by statute to perform a variety of duties as assigned by the United States district judges, including presiding over misdemeanor trials, conducting preliminary hearings, and entering rulings or recommended dispositions on pretrial motions,” said the report.
In fiscal 2014, according to the Table 2B, 67,401 criminal defendants were determined to be guilty in magistrate proceedings. Of those, 63,253 — or 93.8 percent — were in the five districts along the U.S.-Mexico border.
And yet this administration has, for its entire tenure, ignored the crisis on the border and even encouraged illegal immigrants to enter the country. While some may buy into the argument that the fault lies with Congress (and, more specifically the GOP) for not passing immigration reform legislation, the problem at the border is a law enforcement problem.
Law enforcement is not a Congressional duty, but instead, the job of the Executive branch. However, despite their being laws on the books concerning illegal immigration, this administration refuses to enforce them and has, in fact, has defied them. Compound that with blue cities offering sanctuary to illegals (again, in defiance of existing law) and you have a situation out of control.
While it is certainly true that some form of immigration reform needs to be legislated, that doesn’t excuse the lax or non-existent enforcement of existing laws by the administration. It is clear to most that this crime wave that has engulfed the southern border is squarely the responsibility of the Obama administration, and no amount of attempted blame shifting will change that.
Apparently they’re no longer a judicial body which weighs the arguments, compares them against the law and finds for the intent of the Constitution. Or said another way, the real Constitution is dead – long live the “living Constitution” that is full of goodies for which others pay.
How do I know this? Easy:
Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the words must be understood as part of a larger statutory plan. “In this instance,” he wrote, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”
Or said another way, to hell with law and the Constitution, the 6 of us have decided this is a good thing and we’ll read it any way we want too. Pay up, suckers.
I saw where someone said the court finally moved left.
Folks the court moved left 10 years ago with Kelo.
It’s just taken a while for some people to realize that.
As the delegates left the building, a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got?”
With no hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Not a democracy, not a democratic republic. But “a republic, if you can keep it.”
And, we couldn’t.
Forget the Supreme Court ruling that may gut it, the program is failing all on its own as it is unable to keep or deliver on any of its promises. Include with that the financial disaster it has become and you have the perfect vehicle for defining “a failure”:
ObamaCare’s supporters would like everyone to believe that with Healthcare.gov now functioning, everything is just fine and dandy. Contrary to what the conservative press (which I guess would include me) has been saying about the many problems of ObamaCare, Vox‘s Ezra Klein declared last September that “in the real world, it’s working.” In February, his fellow Voxland inhabitant Sarah Kliff rattled off eight ways in which the law had proved its critics wrong.
But has it? Not really.
For starters, the exchanges have enrolled about 3 million fewer people than the Congressional Budget Office projected in 2010. And far fewer of the enrollees are from the ranks of the uninsured than hoped. Medicaid enrollment is lower too, for the simple reason that states refused to expand the program.
Ezra Klein hasn’t visited the “real world” in years (Dale and I asked him once if he’d visited a VA hospital after he waxed enthusiastic about how good the VA was. Of course, he hadn’t). And, as expected, the government’s predictions, which were used to justify Obamacare, were woefully wrong. No surprise to some of us.
The core of President Obama’s sales pitch to America was that the program, which he called the Affordable Care Act, would “bend the health care cost curve” and save an average family $2,500 on their premiums each year. How would it accomplish this feat? Essentially, he said, by forcing uninsured “free loaders” who show up in the emergency room to obtain free care to either buy (subsidized) coverage on the insurance exchange or sign up for the expanded Medicaid program. The point was that if they had coverage, they’d get cheaper care sooner in a doctor’s office rather than more expensive care later in a hospital emergency room.
Things don’t seem to be working out that way. ObamaCare is indeed bending the cost curve — but up, not down.
In fact ER visits are up under Obamacare, not down (another supposed justification for the law). As for rates? They continue to go through the roof:
Every year, companies selling coverage through ObamaCare’s exchanges have to ask state regulators to approve their premiums for the following year — a practice more appropriate for the Soviet Union than an allegedly free-market economy. And this year, according to several news reports, some are requesting increases of over 50 percent.
In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6 percent in premiums for 2016. The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3 percent increase. In Maryland, market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates 30.4 percent across its products. Moda Health, the largest insurer on the Oregon health exchange, seeks an average boost of around 25 percent.
Some states are even higher.
The reason is called “economics”. It is a fairly simple concept to grasp. When you subsidize millions who don’t pay full price or any at all with the money those who do pay full price pay, the cost curve for those paying has nowhere to go but up. Surprise, that’s precisely what is happening, despite promises to the contrary (which we here knew were full of hot air when they were first uttered).
And there are more hikes on the horizon:
What’s more, these hikes are likely just a prelude to far bigger ones in future years. Why? Because two programs — risk corridor and reinsurance — that were meant to “stabilize” rates in ObamaCare’s first few years so that insurers could obtain the right mix of enrollees are set to expire next year. (The risk corridor program slaps a fee on insurance companies that have lower-than-expected medical losses, and compensates those that have more. The reinsurance program imposes a fee on insurance policies and funnels it to insurers with high-risk individuals.) With these programs gone, the challenge of maintaining a balanced risk pool will become even harder.
The expanded Medicaid program is no picture of robust health, either. It has produced no cost-saving decline in emergency room visits, nor has it contributed to hospital profitability, as was hoped.
What a freakin’ mess. So?
So, to recap: ObamaCare has fallen short of its enrollment target, hiked insurance premiums, failed to cut down on ER visits, and flopped in its attempt to improve hospitals’ bottom line.
But its real problem is the lawsuit? Maybe treatment for delusions is covered under ObamaCare!
Hey, like I said, some people think the VA system is the cat’s meow. There is no hope for them.