Friday, April 15, 2011

Obama's Budget Plan: Class-Warfare Tax Policy and Bureaucrat-Controlled Health Care.... by Dan Mitchell..

Obama's Budget Plan: Class-Warfare Tax Policy and Bureaucrat-Controlled Health Care

by Dan Mitchell

President Obama didn't offer a budget plan yesterday. The White House hasn't released anything beyond a set of talking points.

But that's not terribly surprising since his speech was really the opening salvo of his 2012 reelection fight. And it's clear that a central theme of his campaign will be class warfare.

But if we translate his campaign-style demagoguery into the overall budget framework, we get something like this fiscal continuum. Obama, for all intents and purposes, has taken the moderately left-wing proposal crafted by his Fiscal Commission and moved it significantly in the wrong direction by adding class-warfare tax policy. As such, he is close to the left end of the line, which represents "Statism."

The Ryan plan, by contrast, is the moderately right-wing mirror image of the Fiscal Commission. But rather than cementing in place bigger government, as proposed by Simpson and Bowles, Ryan's budget slowly shrinks the fiscal burden of government. As such, it is on the "Liberty" side of the continuum.

America's Founding Fathers had the right idea, of course, They envisioned a very limited central government, and for much of our nation's history, the federal budget consumed about 3 percent of GDP. Unfortunately, the Hoover-Roosevelt policies began the process of moving America in the wrong direction, and federal spending now consumes nearly one-fourth of America's economic output.

But enough history.

Let's revisit Obama's speech and the accompanying talking points. In addition to the class warfare (more on that below), we also see an explicit call to reduce the growth of Medicare spending by "strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board."

In other words, Obama wants to use his control of the purse strings to give bureaucrats more ability to decide what kind of care seniors can receive. It's politically incorrect to call this type of entity a "death panel," so I'll simply contrast Obama's top-down bureaucratic approach with the Ryan plan, which is based on giving vouchers to future seniors so they can pick the health plans that best fit their needs (people over 55 would be stuck with the current system). And since this is very similar to the system used to provide health care for Members of Congress and their staff, you know it must work reasonably well.

Let's briefly return to the tax side of the fiscal equation. I'll have more to say about this in a separate post giving a behind-the-scenes look at what Democrats really hope to achieve in the area of tax policy, but I want to offer a basic explanation of why the soak-the-rich approach is doomed to fail. There are five reasons in this video to reject class warfare, including a very important warning that high tax rates on the rich almost always are a tactical move to facilitate higher taxes for the rest of us.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Barack Obama Fully Embraces Death Panels (by Erick Erickson)

Barack Obama Fully Embraces Death Panels

While everyone else was focused on Barack Obama bashing Paul Ryan, I noticed that he took full ownership of death panels yesterday. Naturally, Obama did not call them death panels. He called them "an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers." But his description hits dead on with what his death panels will do.

According to Barack Obama yesterday, the death panels "will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services seniors need."

We already know what they'll recommend as "the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending". Barack Obama's own advisers have told us. They will prioritize giving health care to healthier people and let sicker people die. At end of life, they will deny people life sustaining treatment because, after all, they're going to die anyway. Note his phrasing: "protecting access to the services seniors need." Dying people, according to Obama's advisers, need hospice not hope. They certainly do not need expensive treatments that may buy them time to see the birth of a new grandchild or other reasons.

"We will change the way we pay for health care – not by procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. . . . If we're wrong, and Medicare costs rise faster than we expect, this approach will give the independent commission the authority to make additional savings by further improving Medicare," Obama said. At a time Democrats are saying Republicans want to starve old people to death, Democrats are intent on embracing a cost savings model for Medicare that incentivizes doctors to encourage people to die and, when all else fails, gives a death panel "the authority to make additional savings by" ensuring the dying elderly die quickly.

"Our approach lowers the government's health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself," Obama said. Really? The only way that will happen is by rationing. You may not like the use of the phrase "death panel," but make no mistake about it — at the end of your life, in Barack Obama's America, his death panel will throw you under the bus in a way much closer to reality than metaphor.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Rev.Wright Admits Black Liberation Theology and Socialism the Same, Atta...

Baca (D-Rialto) Supports Ontario Airport Transfer (Press Enterprise~Business) March 16, 2011

Baca (D-Rialto) supports Ontario Airport transfer

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Amid all of the recent Ontario Inernational Airport back-and-forth between the city of Ontario which wants to control the airport and the city of Los Angeles which currently owns and manages it, I missed a letter that Inland Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) sent to the city's chief administrator.

On Feb. 24, not long after state Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) introduced Bill 446 that would establish the Ontario International Airport Authority to usurp control of the Inland airport from the city of Los Angeles, Baca wrote a letter to the City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana to support transferring the management of Ontario airport to a local authority.

"I believe that under local operating control, ONT can recover from the the economic downturn of the past several years while positioning itself for long-term growth," he wrote.

Baca's letter follows one from the Southern California Association of Governments that also supported transferring the airport to local control. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation has also said the city of Los Angeles should look at giving up management control of the airport, although the group didn't say who should manage it. An editorial from The Los Angeles Times questioned why the city of Los Angeles' control of an airport so far away.