Category: Economy


Critical Care

That’s the name of a Star Trek: Voyager episode first aired November 1, 2000, right before the election.

It was recently rerun on Spike TV and it’s quite interesting in this day and age.

The Doctor’s Holographic Emitter that allows him to interact outside the sickbay or holodeck is stolen and sold to the administrator of an alien hospital. The Doctor is activated on Level Red, a dark, crowded level with many patients and few doctors. Many of these patients are dying for want of medication, but The Allocator – a computer program that decides who gets what – found that the Red Patient’s TC (treatment coefficient) was too low.

The Doctor did what he could for the patients on Level Red, so well that The Allocator reassigned him to Level Blue, where the TC per patient was much higher (Government workers vs laborers) and the doctor/patient ratio was one to one. These patients were more valuable don’t you know.

The Level Blue patients were being given a medication to slow arterial aging. Totally unnecessary to their health, was just supposed to help extend the life of the Level Blue patient. Kind of like a Botox injection for purely cosmetic reasons versus a Botox injection that would kill a tumor and save a life. Only there’s only so many injections and The Allocator has decided that the Level Blue people are more worthy than the Level Red people.

Of course the Doctor steals some of the medication from Level Blue and brings it to Level Red to treat the patients there and the hospital administrator comes down to chew him out. The doctor infects the Administrator with the disease so as to blackmail him into getting medication for those who really need it on Level Red.

This is where we are headed people. Because the government won’t be able to fund full health care for everyone, the government will have to find its own version of “The Allocator” that will use some kind of extremely complicated formula to determine who gets the necessary surgeries and who gets to take an aspirin, who gets medication and who will just have to do without.

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Tea Party Photos!

Click to embiggen – There are more on Flickr

We met Anne of Backyard Conservative – she got a shot of us with our signs:

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I am not that short, I was sitting on my Rollator rolling walker thingy that has a seat. I wouldn’t have been able to stand that long, but sitting right next to the stage was fine.

Stimulapalooza

For an emergency bill why is most of the “spending” set for years in the future? If it’s in the future, then why does it need to be in this “emergency” bill?

See what happened in Kentucky (and is still happening) and see what’s happened before in many different areas of the country, a good choice for infrastructure spending would be on upgrading the electric grid. Get the lines underground. I think it was the summer of 2003 when a squirrel on an electric line disprupted power to nearly the entire eastern seaboard.

Getting the lines underground will protect them from weather, ice storms, tornados, etc. As a side benefit, getting the electric (and telephone and cable) lines underground will remove an eyesore and will save trees. How many times have you seen a tree that’s been utterly butchered to remove branches that may endanger lines?

We also need an upgraded electric grid to cover all the plug-in electric vehicles that we’re all supposed to buy. The current grid can barely handle the capacity it needs to now, let alone when all these electric cars are sitting in our driveways. Rolling blackouts, anyone?

Any new or rebuilt road contracts should include trenching for utilities where poles are.

And for all these “shovel ready” projects: we have to guarantee that they aren’t “Big Digs” and that they are “St. Anthony Falls Bridge Rebuilds”. On a road near where I live, all last summer was spent completely tearing up the road in the eastbound lanes and rebuilding it. In the fall, before construction was suspended for the winter, the east bound lanes were ready for travel, and they closed off the middle so eastbound is on brand new 18 inch thick concrete and westbound is still on 8-11 year old rebuilt concrete with massive asphalt patches.

You read that right. A road that was completely rebuilt 8-11 years ago is again being rebuilt. Only a few years after the road was first rebuilt, large (lane wide and 4-20 feet long) asphalt patches were required. A large portion of the road was cut out and replaced by asphalt and now the entire fairly new road is being totally removed and replaced. This is a main east/west artery. The road work is causing nightmares for commuters, slowing down traffic, extending each worker’s commute, increasing pollution…

If they’d put fly ash, a byproduct of coal power production, into the concrete mix, the road could last for 5 decades or more. That would decrease construction delays, decrease pollution from vehicles, save people time, and put a byproduct of coal power production to good use – another decrease in pollution. And think of the savings in taxpayer money if the road doesn’t have to be completely rebuilt every few years.

Generating public sector (government) jobs will not grow wealth or the economy. Only private sector jobs can do that. Public sector jobs don’t create anything. There is no manufacturing, no sales. Sure they consume a lot of stuff.  But what do they show for it?

Government can encourage or discourage the private sector. At the moment they are discouraging the private sector. Government wants to increase entitlements and increase government jobs. But if everyone is on the goverment teat with entitlements or employment, where does the money come from? Will government pay it’s employees with one hand and take from them with the other to pay the entitlements?

Without private sector business growing wealth and jobs, the money supply will decrease. Then, because government needs more and more money to pay for all they want to pay for, government will infuse more cash into the system, devaluing the dollar. It could, indeed, get to the point where we get in line to pay $300 for a left shoe because that’s all the government run shoe factory produced this month…

Wealth is not a zero sum affair. There isn’t only so much wealth around and no more. Business creates wealth. But they can’t create wealth if government taxes eat up too much. If there’s a de facto penalty for creating more profit, creating wealth. It will end up that all the money flows from and to the government and that will be a zero sum affair.

With government in charge it does mean that some will have to have a smaller piece of the pie in order for someone else to have a larger piece, or a piece at all.

With business creating wealth, it’s easy to just make more pie.

This administration has just gotten its beloved SCHIP expansion passed. The administration is going to pay for this by increasing the federal cigarette tax. Many adults in the families that SCHIP is supposed to help the most are smokers. So, government is paying for the expansion of SCHIP with taxes on a product used by people in families SCHIP is supposed to help. Then too, an increase in the cigarette tax will encourage many people to quit so as to avoid the added expense. Thereby reducing the revenue stream just as expenses for SCHIP will be inevitably increasing. Many will drop private insurance in order to take advantage of SCHIP. Why pay for something when you can get it for free?

On The Bailout

Today on Fox News Grover Norquist had a most excellent analogy:

It’s like if Obama, Pelosi, and Reid went to one side of a lake and each took a bucket of water and then went to the other side of the lake and held a press conference and made a big deal out of putting the water into the lake.

If you think the lake has any more water in it than it had at the beginning of the exercise…

Record High Close

The Dow closed at 12,011.97 today, closing above 12,000 for the first time in history.

Vote GOP November 7th

The Economy Has To Be Bad

On Fox News Live this morning, they were talking about polls, the upcoming elections, and taxes. If the Democrats win control, the tax cuts will be reversed. Jon Scott is the host, the guests are Leslie Marshall and Mark Williams.

Jon Scott: Joining us now are radio talk show host for Westwood One Radio Network, Leslie Marshall and Sacramento radio talk show host Mark Williams. Leslie, now that those budget numbers are out, I am expecting you have already emailed a congratulatory note to the White House, right?

Leslie Marshall: {laughs} No, but Jon, you’re supposed to ask me, “Leslie, how would things change if Democrats take over the House and Senate?” {laughs}

Jon Scott: How would it change? More taxes, more spending?

Leslie Marshall: So that I can have this answer just to start our morning out wonderfully. The first thing I do know Democrats won’t do when [emphasis Leslie’s] they take over the House and Senate is that they will not be blaming Bill Clinton every time there is a problem. [ed note: non sequitur. Why would they blame Bill Clinton for anything?]

Jon Scott: No, but they would probably blame George W. Bush, wouldn’t they?

Leslie Marshall: I hope not. I hope not. Because one of the things that we see in the polls Jon is regardless of political party, American people want their leaders to take personal responsibility. A little PR. And one of the things that Republicans are personally responsible for is a huge amount of spending, as a matter of fact more spending in this administration than in the history of any administration in this nation. [ed: She’s right about spending being high (I don’t know about her statement that it’s the highest ever though) but she’s wrong about it being just a Republican problem. Have the Democrats done anything to reduce spending (other than for Defense)? Have the Democrats done anything to try to reduce entitlement spending? Discretionary spending? Pork Barrel spending? I think both parties are equally to blame for the high spending.] So one thing Democrats would have to do would have to reduce spending and get rid of some of the frivolous items such as the $20 million they’ve put aside for a victory party after we win the war in Iraq. [ed: that is frivolous – who put it in the budget and who voted for it?] Secondly they need to listen. And Republicans have not been listening, nor has this President, to the American people, to their constituents. The American people are saying, 1.) We want to come home from Iraq, we want NATO to take over peacekeeping in Afghanistan, we want you to pay attention to domestic issues, we have a problem with health care, with Medicare more than Social Security, with jobs being outsourced, and certainly we have a problem with violence in our schools and in our communities.

Jon Scott: You have teed up so much for Mark to take on. {laughter} He’s chomping at the bit. Mark…

Mark Williams: Did I hear Leslie say Democrats would have to cut spending?[emphasis Mark’s]

Leslie Marshall: Yes, Democrats will cut spending.

Mark Williams: That’s like saying to Bill Clinton and Mark Foley, “Hey, put down that intern.” [ed: bad taste Mark.]Ain’t gonna happen. The first thing that will happen under the Democrats is that the Golden Goose will be slaughtered. I mean tax revenues are pouring in even though spending is at an all time high – which is distressing – but tax revenues are pouring in because the people in Washington came around to the notion that, “Geez, if we let people keep some of what they work hard for, they’ll work even harder to get more.” and revenues will go up.

Leslie Marshall: That’s not true. The reason they have more tax revenues is…

Mark Williams: …put a gun to his head and go boom…

Leslie Marshall: The reason they have more tax revenues – and you know this – and honestly we’re going through this right now personally – they hired thousands of auditors to go after the small business owner because of the millions of people that didn’t pay their taxes in the tax years 2003 and 2004. So the small business owners – and you all know who you are out there – my husband’s one of them – they’re all writing checks to make up for the big spending of the Republicans so that today it looks like a lovely, lovely bonus that we should have to thank, you know, George W. Bush because November 7th‘s just around the corner. [ed: Did she really just say that we were able to reduce the deficit by half, three years early, just by auditing two years of small business tax returns? Yes, I think she did. Wow, at that rate we could get a surplus again if we just audited more people for a few more tax years.]

Jon Scott: You’ve managed to find the dark cloud to put in front of the silver lining? {laughter} I mean, really.

Leslie Marshall: Call me Polly the … This is not a silver lining. This is not a silver lining. You need to look, we need to look at the facts. When we go to the gas pump, when we look at the people who are unemployed and how many jobs are being outsourced, and when we call a company late at night and we get Calcutta, that is not a silver lining. [ed: prices at the pump are down, oil prices per barrel are down. 4.6% unemployment is “full employment” and is better than during the Clinton administration with the tech bubble. As to outsourcing, Amercians are adaptable. If that particular job is gone, there’s a new one to replace it. That’s how we are keeping the job creation numbers up while keeping unemployment low.]

Mark Williams: Oh my good Lord. With hundreds of thousands of new jobs every month. I mean even {unintelligible} gas is under $2 a gallon.

Leslie Marshall: Where? Where?

Mark Williams: Good grief. A record Dow…

Leslie Marshall: Really, in Michigan where Ford has just written a check to thousands of people where are the jobs?

Mark Williams: Democrats will have us into an isolationist, economic disaster.

Jon Scott: Leslie…

Leslie Marshall: Mark, I love you, but where are the jobs? You tell me so my listeners can go who are complaining to me that can’t feed their families, that they can’t….

Mark Williams: The tax revenues are not all coming from small businesses. The tax revenues are coming from people making money and getting a chance to keep some of what they make. The big thing that the Democrats would like to do is “hey, if you work hard, we’re going to take what you’ve earned” so why work? [ed: add to this that those that aren’t working and aren’t paying taxes are taking entitlements from the government adding to the deficit as the government taxes more, receives less and give away more entitlements…viscious cycle]

Dow Reaches New All-Time High

The Dow reached a closing high of 11,727.34. The intraday high was 11,758.95.

The economy is doing quite well, thank you very much Mr. Bush for those tax cuts!

MSM Covering the Wilting Trees

If reality doesn’t assist in the war against Bush, simply ignore it. That’s been the MSM’s method of reporting since Bush took office, well one of the methods. The media has been portraying our economy as “sagging”, “sluggish”, “slowing” for years now. They’ll cover every individual facet of negativity they can find and report it ad nauseum. How many times have you seen gas prices highlighted in the news? They take any tree in the forest they can find which shows things are bad, but what they won’t do is report on the forest itself, at least not honestly.

The fact is, America is going through one of its greatest periods of economic growth in its history. Check out Kudlow’s recent article: Employment, which under the Clinton administration appeared to be the hallmark of economic health, is at historically high levels. Growth has been astounding. Most importantly, the economic expansion reveals an underlying trend of flexibility. When one area retracts, others rebound.

But rather than reporting on a healthy and vibrant forest, the media will report on whatever wilting trees it can find in order to create the impression that Bush’s policies are failing.

The problem for old media is that I just read an article that completely belies its preferred storyline. And then I passed it on to you folks through this blog.

UPDATE: Right on cue is the NYT headline: “Jobs Data Indicates Economy is Slowing”.

Slowing? The MSM skips right past the fact that it was/is fast and moves right into slowing. Just to put this in persepctive: the fact that the recent US economic growth was equal to China’s entire economic output ISN’T newsworthy, but that fact that it may be slowing (which given its torrential pace, a slowing down period was certain to come about) IS newsworthy.

The Budget & the VA

Being a service-connected disable veteran I am very interested in the VA portion of the budget. The Washington Times yesterday had an article on the budget. I excerpt the VA portion here:

VETERANS AFFAIRS
Spending: $33.4 billion, up 2.7 percent
The president’s plan would raise medical care spending from $21.6 billion to $22.4 billion, as well as upping funding by $240 million on inpatient care for veterans with problems related to mental illness, including alcohol and drug use.

After four years of increases in the agency’s budget, Mr. Bush wants veterans to start picking up more of the tab. He asks veterans who have the highest incomes among those seeking VA health care and who do not have service-connected illnesses or injuries to pay a $250 annual fee. Mr. Bush also wants to increase prescription drug co-payments for such veterans from $7 to $15 for a 30-day drug supply. More than 2 million veterans could be affected.

The fees make up much of the increase in medical care spending.

Mr. Bush has made similar requests in previous budgets, only to be soundly rejected by members of Congress. But the environment is different this year with new House and Senate veterans affairs committee chairmen, at least one of whom has been supportive of the president’s efforts to focus resources on certain veterans.

This seems very reasonable to me. Of course, as a service-connected disabled veteran, I wouldn’t have to pay the $250 annual fee. I don’t have co-pays for meds relating to my disability, but I do have the copay for meds that aren’t related such as Flonase. The above points out that more than 2 million veterans could be affected. That’s could be affected. I would believe that most of the wealthier vets, or those without a service-connected illness or disability don’t use the VA system for health care anyway.

Captain Ed has more on this here.