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Archive | June, 2011

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Obamacare Still an Awful Idea

Posted on 14 June 2011 by Jason Hart

If you’ve not read about the recent McKinsey & Company study investigating the likelihood of businesses dropping employee health coverage due to Obamacare, The Weekly Standard has all the gory details.

The study finds that, “Overall, 30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering ESI [employer-sponsored insurance] in the years after 2014… Among employers with a high awareness of reform, this proportion increases to more than 50 percent.”

You didn’t actually believe President Obama when he promised you could keep your current coverage, did you? This particular mandate, of course, isn’t mandatory for government medicine’s loudest proponents, as summarized fiendishly by Karl Rove’s minions at Crossroads GPS -

Cato Institute writer Michael F. Cannon opines about one of Obamacare’s central cost-saving schemes, and why it’s destined for failure:

Inefficient providers have effectively killed nearly every pilot program that previous administrations promised would make Medicare more efficient. Suppliers of wheelchairs and other medical equipment have blocked efforts to reduce the inflated prices Medicare pays them. The industry has killed or sabotaged at least four federal agencies dedicated to researching which medical treatments don’t work.

Cutting costs is sort of a big deal, with unfunded Medicare obligations already totaling $24.8 trillion before Obamacare’s shady accounting and expanded entitlements kick in. Another Obamacare stick, Comparative Effectiveness Research, might reduce the cost of health care… while gravely damaging its effectiveness:

CER can be beneficial if used solely to inform doctors and patients to guide decision-making. However, the new law lays the groundwork for bureaucrats to use CER in Medicare to make coverage decisions and otherwise compel physicians to treat patients not according to what is best for the individual but according to what the evidence shows is best in most cases.

Back at The Weekly Standard, numbers from a Rasmussen poll of likely voters don’t look good for fans of socialized medicine.

By a margin of more than 2 to 1 (48 to 20 percent), likely voters think Obamacare would reduce, rather than improve, the quality of health care. By a margin of more than 3 to 1 (53 to 15 percent), they think it would raise, rather than lower, health costs. By a margin of 4 to 1 (56 to 14 percent), they think it would raise, rather than lower, deficits.

To paraphrase Nancy Pelosi’s immortal words: the more that we find out what’s in Obamacare, the more appalled we are that you passed it.

Bigger, more expensive, more intrusive government is not the answer to big government’s past and current failures in the health care industry. As responses to Paul Ryan’s budget remind us, Washington leftists have no connection to fiscal reality, no interest in personal freedom, and certainly no concern for the will of the voters.

Have you signed a petition supporting the Health Care Freedom Amendment yet?

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted from that hero.

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Unions and Democrats, Joined at the Hippie Hip

Posted on 13 June 2011 by Jason Hart

Though it’s nonsense to pretend public unions funding the campaigns of Democrats they hope to bargain against isn’t a systemic conflict of interest, it’s not exactly true that the unions run the Ohio Democratic Party – or that the Democratic Party runs the unions. Which is a relief, since government unions tout their indifference to partisan politics as a key reason for their existence:

The public is best served by public employees whose first loyalty is to their job, not to a political party. In the public sector, collective bargaining insulates employees from politics and patronage.

But – you knew there was a but coming, right? – explain statements like this one from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 8:

Rather than move forward on a solution, Rep. Camp and his colleagues pulled a stunt to show that they’ll only pass a debt limit increase if it includes damaging cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, like those contained in Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget.

Like nearly every other position staked out on AFSCME Council 8′s website, this debt ceiling commentary sounds mysteriously like… a certain political party’s. As does anti-budget railing from the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association:

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate rejected 40-57 a house budget plan that included a controversial provision to overhaul Medicare. The dangerous budget plan, the brainchild of conservative U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), would have ended Medicare as we know it, an outright attack on seniors, children, [Ed: and kitties, and babies, etc. etc.]

And complaints about voter ID reform from the Ohio Association of Public School Employees:

“No matter what the Republicans say, this legislation limits the rights of voters and will negatively impact the poor, the elderly and students, among others,” said Randy Weston, OAPSE director of political action and legislative affairs.

And encouragement from the Ohio Education Association (OEA) to turn children into lobbyists for green energy boondoggles:

Perhaps, the most important thing our schools can do is to teach our students to be active in petitioning local and state governments to do more to save our environment [...]

The unions don’t need to control the Democratic Party, and vice versa: both slam any (non-defense) spending cut as “extreme,” offer (non-specific) tax increases as the solution to every problem, and insist all conservative arguments are driven by vicious racism because they think the same way. The Ohio Democratic Party and Ohio’s public unions are lead by like-minded Progressives who believe a few benevolent eggheads should define “fair” boundaries for the rest of us. And they’ve got just the benevolent eggheads for the job!

That’s why the AFSCME and OEA attack Republican proposals with the ferocity of beaten pit bulls, and tinkle like excited puppies when a Democrat speaks. It’s also why Progressive dweebs parrot union talking points as if the unions had a monopoly on their favorite crackers, however weak the union position or compelling the arguments against it.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted from that hero.

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Sherrod Doesn’t Share Your Priorities

Posted on 10 June 2011 by Jason Hart

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, as intelligent and forthright as Sherrod Brown is ignorant and dishonest, has a plan for the biggest issues concerning Ohio voters. Ryan’s ongoing video series explaining his budget plan manages the rare feat of being both sharp and blunt:

Naturally, although Sherrod Brown has no plan of his own he’s happy to repeat his all-purpose demagogic response:

In the twenty-first century, we cannot afford to take from the poor to give to the rich.

Sherrod Brown’s response to every problem – unemployment, entitlement spending, gas prices, you name it – is bigger government and higher taxes. Have you passed your deficit-reduction suggestions along to Harry Reid, Senator? Maybe your sage advice could break your party’s years-long case of budget writer’s block!

Watch Paul Ryan explain the GOP budget, and look for a reply from Sherrod Brown that’s not lazy, naked class warfare. When that reply never comes, ask yourself: does Sherrod share my priorities?

It’s hard to imagine a conclusion other than this: Ohio needs a senator much more like Paul Ryan, and much less like Sherrod Brown. November 2012 will be here sooner than you think!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted from that hero.

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Does Sherrod Share Your Priorities?

Posted on 08 June 2011 by Jason Hart

Proving once again my amateur partisan hack status, I’m only now getting to a Sherrod Brown “news” item from mid-March. Early this year Senator Brown’s staff posted a survey on the web for Ohioans to tell Sherrod their priorities. Though a web form is an unscientific thing, I doubt Team Brown loved the results:

“Federal Deficit” isn’t a worry Sherrod Brown wants voters to have going into the 2012 election cycle. “Protecting Medicare and Social Security” is a winner for Brown, but only if the GOP is totally inept. Same goes for “Affordable Health Care.”

Visit the Issues section of Senator Brown’s website, and you’ll notice there’s no issue page for the deficit or the budget. Make of that what you will. Here’s a highlight from the generically titled “The Economy” issue page:

Ohio’s middle class will benefit from economic policies that promote our state’s clean energy manufacturers and push our nation to implement fair trade policies.  Ohio’s families and small businesses will benefit from health insurance reform that reduces costs for family budgets and improves the sustainability of our national economy.

Green energy boondoggles, trade protectionism, and the government-first fiscal madness of Obamacare. Great. Here are some of Senator Brown’s employment initiatives:

In June 2009, the increase in the federal minimum wage to $7.25 took effect, representing a major step in the right direction for Ohio families.

Yes, a higher federal minimum wage means more pay… for the low-income folks who can find work in an economy where politicians determine the price of labor. But that’s not all!

We must do a better job of providing training and retraining to Ohio workers and matching those workers to jobs that need to be filled. The federal government needs to be fully engaged in this effort, and I am working to strengthen Workforce Investment Act programs that help workers prepare for and obtain good-paying jobs in our state.

I’m sure a 48th federal job training program would be as effective as the existing 47. Sherrod also knows how helpful unions are at creating jobs:

While this legislation has stalled in the Senate, I am working with my colleagues on developing strong labor law reform that ensures employers and workers have a safe, predictable environment to ensure free choice in forming a union.

If legislating “free choice in forming a union” by killing secret-ballot union elections passes for “Jobs” policy in Sherrod Brown’s mind, I shudder to think of his approach to the survey respondents’ other priorities!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted from that hero.

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Mean King Kasich and the Local Leaders, Part 2

Posted on 07 June 2011 by Jason Hart

Governor Kasich got bored one day and decided to cut local budgets just for fun, and that’s why school districts around Ohio can’t make ends meet!

So say the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE – also known as AFSCME Local 11). Coincidentally, OEA and OAPSE bargain for unsustainable pay, benefits, and automatic increases with local politicians they helped elect… then turn around and spend millions in member dues demanding more from the rest of us.

Now mean King Kasich – who sneaked Senate Bill 5 through with no opportunity for Democrat amendments – is seeking input on merit pay, allegedly to ensure it’s a well-designed cost saving tool for local governments. The unions are not enthused:

“I don’t think you have to look too deep underneath the surface to say when is somebody genuinely interested in talking to us when is somebody kind of paying lip service, said Scott DiMauro, president of the Central OEA.

“Unfortunately, what the governor has talked about doing and what other people talk about with merit pay, you’ve got to question is it really about improving student achievement or is it about trying to save money,” he asked.

Kasich requests suggestions for an obvious need that will be a challenge to implement, and the OEA simply pouts that cost savings and quality are mutually exclusive.

Anyone who’s ever had more than one teacher knows some teachers are better than others. If the OEA and OAPSE cared about effective, affordable public education, they would jump at the chance to incorporate merit into salary formulas. Even a cynic would expect the unions to realize schools can’t be effective for long if they aren’t affordable… and can’t be either if bad teachers are paid big bucks.

But the unions can’t admit bad teachers exist, because the union business model says all members are beautiful, unique snowflakes who deserve raises just for hanging around. Pay your dues, and you’re subject to the same condescending treatment and byzantine rules as everyone else. Last in, first out screws young teachers but works great for the unions. Step increases suck for taxpayers but work great for the unions. Who do you think the unions are looking out for?

Though it would be unprecedented, there’s a possibility I’m wrong! Maybe a forever-increasing flow of taxpayer dollars is what school districts and local governments need to excel. After all, that’s worked wonders at the Department of Education

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted from that hero.

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