Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

ObamaCare and the Big Lie

Peter Morici gives a little ground truth to the hyperbole of the left who’ve decided the best defense of ObamaCare is … to lie about it.

With 8 million Americans enrolled in health insurance through federal and state exchanges, President Obama has declared the Affordable Care Act a success. That’s disingenuous and big changes are needed to make the law work well.

Overall, the ACA’s goals were to provide reasonably priced medical care to the 45 to 50 million uninsured and slow health care cost increases. It is hardly clear those goals will be accomplished.

[…]

Many of the 8 million enrolled to replace individual and small business policies, canceled thanks to ACA rules, or to obtain federal subsidies only available through the exchanges.

So if the goal was to proved care to the ’45 or 50 million’ uninsured, how does enrolling 8 million, many of whom had lost their insurance due to the ACA, constitute success?

Well in the real world it doesn’t.  Only in Oz or Fantasyland do the rules of reality not apply (even if they really do and what those living there do is deny it) and allow them to make these claims with a straight face.

It’s election prep.  We’ve seen it countless times before.  It is an attempt to make lemonaide out of the lemons this abomination of a law has handed its creators.

This is just another version of the Big Lie that this particular administration has raised to an art form.  And with a compliant media to help them along (a media that seems without curiosity at the most important times) the Big Lie gets plenty of press.

Of course now that the press has helped spread the lie, the Dems will point to those media stories as “the truth” and use them to assure the usual left leaning low information voters that a) they need to turn out because ObamaCare is a “good thing” and b) if they don’t those mean old Republicans will take it away.

You can just see it coming.

Meanwhile, for most of America, the really bad stuff is being unilaterally put on hold until after the election – the most blatant display of partisan politics I’ve seen in some time:

The ACA requires health insurance policies to pay for a wider and more expensive scope of services than many individual and small business policies covered prior to the law.

In many counties, only a few insurers chose to offer policies on exchanges. Absent competition, insurers lacked incentives to bargain as hard as before with hospitals and other providers, further raising premiums and out of pocket costs.

The bronze, silver and gold policies offered by exchanges mostly vary in their deductibles. Folks selecting bronze and silver plans with high deductibles are now paying the full cost of doctor visits that only set them back a $20 or $30 dollar co-pay prior to the ACA.

Simply, for many families the ACA raises the combined cost of premium and out-of-pocket expenses.

About 50 percent of Americans are eligible for premium subsidies, but taxpayers are footing the bill and the burden of health care on the economy — already 50 percent higher than in Germany and Japan — is making it tougher for American businesses to compete and destroying jobs — something the Congressional Budget Office doesn’t bother to calculate.

But then, this was all predicted prior to passage and only a few bothered to listen.

Now we get to live with the “success”.

~McQ

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Lighten Up Francis…

During my usual effort to get good and stressed before sunrise, I was reading the news this morning –

President campaigns for Health Care Enrollment

Where I came across this photo, which I proceeded to doctor and make mock of.     I thought it was from the White House Easter Egg ceremony of 2014 – and then found out it was from 2009.

Hardly current.   Buggers.

I wandered back to the real 2014 gallery to find some others.  Maybe there was another photo that my hostile imagination could play with.

Heh.

Who needs to play with things when the real thing is so much more entertaining.

The real White House egg hunt photos from 2014.   Step right up, this is the real thing folks, accept no substitutes.

So now we can all try and figure out what kind of people think this is funny enough to make part of the National history of what should be a lighthearted thing for kids.

Here’s the caption “Our heavily armed snipers are dressed in kid-friendly bunny attire”.

Oh, ha ha ha.   You kidders, your heavily armed snipers are kid friendly heavily armed snipers.

Swell.

This made me to wonder if we’ve ever lightheartedly made jokes about needing snipers on the White House roof before.

The gallery of previous years, even post 9/11, seem remarkably short of references of this kind.  You know, no cute photos of MANPAD equipped agents dressed as Harvey the Pooka who will magic Easter Jihadi’s out of the air  (to cascade down in flaming bits over the streets and buildings of the capital, but I digress while expressing thanks that I have neither the job of pulling the trigger or the job of giving the command to do so…).

All in all the previous years have been pretty tame, except for this alligator display there in 2008….don’t be trying to find and eat these eggs kids.

But the real prize for this year goes to this one -with the caption – “Colorful Easter eggs are tossed off the White House roof at special targets below.”

Special targets?    Honestly people.

Given the death from above philosophy I think this humor a little macabre as well.

How about some nice photo shots of the kids and people at the parties as we did in previous administrations?    No?

Readers can feel free to tell me to “lighten up Francis,” I won’t mind.

If it were new behavior from this administration, I’d just think it was a little weird.  As it is, I’ve come to accept this kind of thing as fairly normal.

That is to say, bizarre.

If you’re at all inclined to go look you might want to do so before some adult becomes aware and sanity takes hold and they clean this, yet another, clueless, tone deaf, gawdawful mess up.


UPDATE – 2014-04-21 – 15:00 Central Time

😯    If you go to the White House web page I linked to, you’ll see a bunch of little eggs floating around the screen, and…..a fly.     A fly?    A fly walking around the screen?

The Easter Fly?   Is this some tradition I don’t know about?

A FLY? Easter? The Easter Fly? What?

Does someone need to remind these people this is the White House or what?   The Residence of the President of the United States of America…

Yeah yeah, I know, lighten up Francis.

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Economic Statistics for 17 Apr 14

Weekly initial jobless claims fell 4,000 to 300,000. The 4-week average fell 4,250 to 312,000. Continuing claims fell 11,000 to 2.739 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 2.8 points to -29.1 in the latest week.

The Philadelphia Fed Survey rose from 9.0 to 16.6 in April.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $39.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.284 trillion. Total reserve bank credit rose by $39.7 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose $41.5 billion in the latest week.


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Gallup says only 4% “newly insured”

To make it even worse, of those 4%, only 2.1% got them through exchanges:

All of this … mess … for 2.1% (the rest likely got theirs when they found a job)?  All of this intrusion and incompetence and frankly, fascism (see IRS involvement in the ‘new’ system) for a percentage that is essentially insignificant.  We would have gotten off a lot cheaper and disrupted a few million less lives if we’d have just paid for it (I’m not suggesting we should have, just pointing out how ridiculous the “solution” was/is).

Makes one want to pound their head on something, doesn’t it?

Oh, and probably the most unsurprising thing about the “newly insured?”

All of the newly insured are more likely to identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party than the overall national adult population. Those who signed up through exchanges are the most likely to tilt Democratic and not Republican.

I’m shocked, shocked I tell you …

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 16 Apr 14

The Fed’s Beige Book today continued to characterize US economic growth as “modest” or “moderate”, i.e. below-trend.

The Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations report projects year-ahead inflation of 1.9%.

Industrial production rose 0.7% in March, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories rose 0.4% to 79.2%.

Housing starts rose a less-than-expected 2.8% to a 0.946 million annual rate.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 4.3% last week. Purchases rose 1.0% and re-fis rose 7.0%.


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When you’re getting trashed because of what you did, change the subject – play the race card

That seems, according to James Taranto and many others, what Democrats have decided to do since they can’t conceivably defend their horrific record for the mid-terms.  Scare the low-information voters again, this time using the race card:

This column probably isn’t the first to notice a recent intensification of liberal and Democratic rhetoric about race. Last month Paul Ryan was the object of a Two Minutes Hate for some comments on the culture of poverty “in our inner cities,” which, as The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial, were no different in substance from things President Obama had recently said.

This Sunday, as Politico notes, Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN’s Candy Crowley that “to a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism.” He did allow that “not all” House Republicans are racist, though he didn’t specify how many or which ones he thinks are.

Last Wednesday Eric Holder, in a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, complained that he had faced “unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity,” ABC News reports. “Look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

Although Holder didn’t specifically accuse his adversaries of racial motives, others, including Crowley, assumed that was what he meant. Politico reports that in her interview with Israel, “Crowley said that Holder believes ‘the treatment he has received in the House . . . would not have happened if he were not African-American.”

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, appearing on Sharpton’s MSNBC show, went so far as to suggest that Republicans had been soft on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius because she’s white, as the Daily Caller reports incredulously.

For this rise in the racial temperature we blame not global warming but political cooling. As November approaches, Democrats face not only an unfavorable election map but an increasingly chilly electorate. From last month’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza pulled presidential approval numbers for four key Democratic constituencies. Obama was below 50% among three of those groups: single women (48%, to 45% disapproval), Hispanics (49% to 46%), and voters under 30 (45% to 48%). Only among blacks was approval still strong, 78% to 12% disapproval.

By way of comparison, in 2012 Obama won the votes of 67% of single women, 71% of Hispanics, 60% of under-30 voters and 93% of blacks. It’s reasonable to surmise that the racial appeals are a reaction to this desperate political situation, an effort to minimize Democratic losses by motivating the party’s base to turn out.

Affordable Care Act?  Let’s talk about those racist Republicans instead?  Fast and Furious?  Are you serious?  Look how our black AG (as contemptible and politically driven human being as you’ll find in DC, and that’s saying something) is being treated. Why, why, you’d think he was George Mitchell. Or Alberto Gonzales for heaven sake! Wait, they weren’t black were they?

Why they’d never treat an AG that wasn’t black like they treated Mr. Eric “You don’t want to go there, buddy” Holder. I mean, he was soooo respectful of their offices, wasn’t he?

For Democrats, it’s time to change the subject and time to play the old formerly bedrock reliable race card – Republicans are racist, even though the KKK was founded by Democrats, Bull Conner was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and Democratic governor Orville Faubus stood in the door of Little Rock High to keep black students out (and Republican President Eisenhower used federal troops to ensure they gained entry).

Forget history. That’s for those who actually pay attention. To stir up the base (apparently a history deficient base), or at least try too, the old demonization technique – with the aid of the media – is the way to go. And in the past the race card was always the best way of doing that.

But it may be wearing a little thin. The citizens of this country haven’t been hurt by “racist Republicans”. They’ve been ground under by incompetent and arrogant Democrats. Democrats who lied to them, rammed a monstrosity through Congress without a single Republican vote, and now are reaping the whirlwind.

Nancy Pelosi isn’t black. Harry Reid isn’t black. But they’re both Democrats. And they and their Congressional Democratic brothers and sisters are who put us in this awful mess. And all the hyperbole and nonsense about race won’t change that a single minute.

That’s what Republicans need to remind voters of in the near future.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 15 Apr 14

ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales fell -0.3%, and were up 2.3% on a year-over-year basis. Redbook reports a 2.6xx% increase in retail sales over last year.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% in March, both at the headline and core level. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 1.5% at the headline level, and 1.6% at the core.

The Housing Market Index came in unchanged at 47 for April.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey fell from 5.61 in March to 1.29 in April, while the new orders index is actually negative, at -2.77.

Foreigners became big buyers of long-term US securities in February, as net foreign demand came in at $85.7 billion.


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Painting over the rot

I’ve been watching the media circus surrounding the resignation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.   If a more inept bureaucrat ever lived, the best they could do is hope to tie with her for last place.  Yet we have so-called “jounalists”, or at least those who would like to be thought of as journalists, so engaged in spin it is almost unseemly.  Well it is unseemly.  In fact, it’s nauseating.

And who would I designate as “head clown?”  None other than Ezra Klein.  As James Taranto points out, Klein is shameless in his attempt to paint over the rot that is ObamaCare:

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein hails the success of the Five Year Plan: “Obamacare has won. And that’s why Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius can resign.” If Sebelius had quit during what Klein calls the “catastrophic launch”–see what we mean?–it would have been a sign of White House “panic” and “made it harder to save the law,” Klein argues.

It’s surely true that the immediate political risk of Sebelius’s resignation is considerably less now than it would have been then. In October it might have emboldened vulnerable Senate Democrats to abandon ObamaCare or at least press for serious legislative fixes. It’s late for that now. By maintaining party unity this long, Obama probably bought enough time to assure that Congress won’t threaten what is invariably called his “signature legislative achievement” this year.

“In other words,” Klein writes, “the law has won its survival.”

Has it?  Has it really?  There’s nothing to this point that assures the “law has won its survival”, and, as we’ve been warned constantly, the worst is yet to come – that is when the President quits arbitrarily delaying the “worst”.

I mean, Klein’s nonsense is reminiscent of Baghdad Bob’s assurances that the Iraqis were winning, for heaven sake.

We discussed it on the podcast this week and we’ve mentioned it over and over again … we are terribly ill served by our “journalists” and the “news” media in general.  Where once upon a time they actually inspected what government did and helped ensure that it didn’t get outside the lines, it now aids and abets it straying beyond those boundries. We now, literally it seems, have a class of “journalists” who think it is their job to hide the truth in order to advance their political agenda.

Ezra Klein is one of those.  Anyone who ever takes anything the man says seriously again, is a fool.

~McQ

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