An avalanche of bad news 1

The essential messiness of socialist thinking is demonstrated by the Health Care Act. Obamacare was a mess in its conception, in its drafting, in its passing through Congress; and now it’s making a mess in the real world as its implementation becomes a desperate exercise in warding off disaster.

Wreckage of Obamacare is the title of an article by Grace-Marie Turner at Critical Condition, the National Review Online’s health-care blog:

The Obama administration is refusing to accept the disastrous dynamics it has set into play with its monstrous health-overhaul law.

Instead of recognizing the economic reality of what they’ve done, officials are railing at the companies and industries that are responding in perfectly rational ways to the incentive structures they have set up.

But the result is an avalanche of bad news for consumers who surely will not “be able to keep the coverage” they have:

840,000 Midwesterners to lose policies. The Principal Group announced its plans to drop health insurance from its roster of products, which the New York Times calls “another sign of upheaval emerging among insurers as the new federal health law starts to take effect.”

The Iowa-based company provides coverage to about 840,000 people who receive their insurance through an employer.

Principal is just the latest in a long list of insurers to announce plans to drop coverage. It may have done so anyway, but Obamacare undoubtedly accelerated the decision.

30,000 retail workers at risk of losing coverage — and likely millions more. The Wall Street Journal broke the story about 30,000 hourly workers of McDonald’s who are likely losing their insurance “as the law ripples through the real world.”

McDonald’s  have since been granted a one-year waiver. So have dozens of other companies, as the New York Times reports here, explaining –

“The waivers have been issued in the last several weeks as part of a broader strategic effort to stave off threats by some health insurers to abandon markets, drop out of the business altogether or refuse to sell certain policies.”

Commenting on which, Peter Wehner has a good piece here. He says, in part:

This action highlights one of the great dangers of ObamaCare, which is that every health-care decision now has to run through the federal government. Private companies have to bow before its throne, asking for waivers and massively complicating their own lives. The federal government is now in a much stronger position to pick winners and losers and rig the game. This is the kind of expansion of federal power that many people feared and warned about – and it’s happening within weeks of the law taking effect.

The waivers are also the Obama administration’s attempt to minimize the negative impact of ObamaCare less than a month before the midterm election. It’s now clear that the new health-care law was very poorly constructed and is having enormous implementation problems. To issue waivers to undo the damaging effects of a new law is a very bad sign.

The avalanche is building. Grace-Marie Turner  continues –

Millions more policies are at risk for employees of Home Depot, Disney, CVS, Staples, Blockbuster, etc., the Journal reports.

22,000 New England seniors can’t keep the coverage they have. Harvard Pilgrim announced this week that it is getting out of the market for Medicare Advantage in response to the massive cuts coming to this popular program. …

Child-only policies vanishing: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is angry with a number of insurers for announcing they plan to stop offering child-only insurance policies. But does she really not get it? If you tell companies they must sell to anyone who applies, even if the children are already sick, then it simply is not a sustainable insurance or business model.

And when one company in an area announces its plans to stop offering the policies, that creates instant adverse selection for other companies that remain in the market, setting off a cascade of dropped policies.

The cascade began just a few days after Obamacare was signed into law when AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere, Verizon and several other large employers said the law would take a bite out of their future earnings. They were about to be hauled before the House of Representatives to explain their disloyalty until it became clear that they were likely to testify that they also are considering dropping employee coverage.

After that, we learned that retiree medical coverage was in jeopardy. Next, there was another casualty of Obamacare — the fledgling insurance company in Virginia, nHealth, that shut down after investors concluded it wasn’t possible to navigate the maze of new regulations and succeed.

And then Sebelius railed at insurance companies for explaining that the Sept. 23 mandates will indeed increase the cost of premiums for customers. …

Do they not understand that the wreckage is the result of Obamacare? This is only the beginning as thousands and thousands more pages of regulation will further disrupt virtually every aspect of our health sector.

One good effect of all this is that the failure of Obama’s attempt at socializing health care is now starkly obvious.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act must be repealed.


Certainty of decline, probability of catastrophe 0

Read only a few pages of HR3200,The Affordable Health Care Choices Act 2009, and once you’ve got the gist of what they’re saying let your eye wander over a hundred or so more, and you’ll know beyond all doubt that you are now owned by the government. The link:

http://thomas.loc.gov/

To put it bluntly, this act has changed the USA into the USSA – the United Socialist States of America:

Here is part of Mark Steyn’s must-read article on the immediate and future costs of it:

On the day President Barack Obama signed Obamacare into law, Verizon sent an e-mail to all its employees, warning that the company’s costs “will increase in the short term.” And in the medium term? Well, U.S. corporations that are able to do so will get out of their prescription drugs plans and toss their retirees onto the Medicare pile. So far just three companies – Deere, Caterpillar and Valero Energy – have calculated that the loss of the deduction will add a combined $265 million to their costs. There are an additional 3,500 businesses presently claiming the break. The cost to taxpayers of that 28 percent benefit is about $665 per person. The cost to taxpayers of equivalent Medicare coverage is about $1,200 per person.

So we’re roughly doubling the cost of covering an estimated 5 million retirees.

Now admittedly the above scenario has not been, as they say, officially “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office, by comparison with whom Little Orphan Annie singing “The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow” sounds like Morrisey covering “Gloomy Sunday.” Incidentally, has the CBO ever run the numbers for projected savings if the entire CBO were laid off and replaced by a children’s magician with an assistant in spangled tights from whose cleavage he plucked entirely random numbers? Just a thought.

This single component of “health” “care” “reform” neatly encompasses all the broader trends about where we’re headed – not just in terms of increased costs (both to businesses and individual taxpayers) and worse care (for those retirees bounced from company plans into Medicare), but also in the remorseless governmentalization of American life and the disincentivization of the private sector. As we see, even the very modest attempts made by Congress to constrain the 2003 prescription drug plan prove unable to prevent its expansion and metastasization. The one thing that can be said for certain is that, whatever claims are made for Obamacare, it will lead to more people depending on government for their health arrangements. Those 5 million retirees are only the advance guard. And, if you’re one of those optimistic souls whose confidence in the CBO is unbounded, let’s meet up in three years’ time and see who was correct – the bureaucrats passing out the federal happy juice, or the real businesses already making real business decisions about Obamacare.

Can we afford this? No. Even on the official numbers, we’re projected to add to the existing $8 trillion in debt another $12 trillion over the next decade. What could we do? Tax those big bad corporations a bit more? Medtronic has just announced that the new Obamacare taxes on its products could force it to lay off 1,000 workers. What do those guys do? Well, they develop products such as the recently approved pacemaker that’s safe for MRI scans or the InterStim bladder control device. So that’s a thousand fewer people who’ll be working on new stuff. Well, so what? The public won’t miss what they never knew they had. So, again, the effect is one of disincentivization – in this case, of innovation.

If existing tax structures can’t cover the costs, what can we do? Start a new tax! The VATman cometh. VAT is Euro-speak for “value added tax.” … This is yet another imposition on businesses, taking time away from wealth creation and reallocating it to government paperwork. If the Democrats hold Congress this fall, I would figure on VAT sooner rather than later.

All of the above is pretty much a safe bet. What about the imponderables? Even Obama hasn’t yet asked the CBO to cost out, say, what happens to the price of oil when the Straits of Hormuz are under a de facto Iranian nuclear umbrella – as they will be soon, because the former global hyperpower, which now gets mad over a few hundred housing units in Jerusalem, is blasé and insouciant about the wilder shores of the mullahs’ dreams. Or suppose, as seems to be happening, the Sino-Iranian alliance were to result in a reorientation of global oil relationships, or the Russo-Iranian friendship bloomed to such a degree that, between Moscow’s control of Europe’s gas supply and Tehran’s new role as Middle Eastern superpower, the economy of the entire developed world becomes dependent on an alliance profoundly hostile to it.

Which is to say that right now the future lies somewhere between the certainty of decline and the probability of catastrophe. What can stop it? Not a lot. But now that your “pro-life” Democratic congressman has sold out, you might want to quit calling Washington and try your state capital. If the Commerce Clause can legitimize the “individual mandate,” then there is no republic, not in any meaningful sense. If you don’t like the sound of that, maybe it’s time for a constitutional convention.

Are we saved? 0

At last we atheists believe in the existence of a Savior of Mankind. We don’t know his name. We only know he’s a simple hacker.

He’s saved us from incalculable harm.

Or at least we hope he has.

When short-sighted capitalists and blind communist ideologues meet next week in Copenhagen, will they yet succeed in impoverishing and enslaving us in the name of saving the planet from global warming? Even though the hacker has revealed that the ‘science’ is fraudulent?

From Canada Free Press:

The upcoming Copenhagen meeting sponsored by the United Nations had hoped for a global redistribution of wealth over the next 20 years of between $6 trillion and $10.5 trillion, according to the draft treaty, to “Compensate for damage to the less developed countries’ economy and also compensate for lost opportunities, resources, lives, land and dignity, as many will become environmental refugees.” Third world governments see dollar signs.

In the U.S., the Treasury Department estimates that the president’s cap-and-trade approach would “generate federal receipts on the order of $100- to $200 billion annually.” The Congressional Budget Office reports that a 15 percent CO2 reduction would cost an average household $1,600 a year.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a bureaucrat’s paradise that exists solely to perpetrate the myth, while enjoying frequent meetings at exotic venues throughout the world.

Many governments maintain bureaucracies just to “study” the myth. In the U.S., it’s the Global Change Research Program. NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association], the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the National Climate Change and Wildlife Center of the USGS [US Geological Survey], and the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] are just a few other federal agencies feeding at the trough.

Over the last 20 years, the US government spent $32 billion on climate research, yet has failed to find any evidence that carbon dioxide emissions significantly affect temperature or represent a danger. Government agencies, the private sector, and universities were the recipients of this money. These organizations have a vested interest in maintaining the myth.

The feds also spent another $36 billion for development of climate-related technologies in the form of subsidies and tax breaks. Solar and wind-power generation of electricity can be a supplemental supply, but these methods could not compete with fossil fuels without a subsidy. These industries have a vested interest in maintaining the myth.

The ethanol industry is founded solely on the myth that we must reduce our use of fossil fuels, even though the U.S. has abundant supplies.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Bailout bill) contained $3.4 billion for research and experimentation in the area of carbon sequestration – burying carbon dioxide generated by fossil fuel plants. There are also, really wild schemes for geoengineering, schemes to block the sun with mirrors, or seed the atmosphere with sulfur to produce more clouds.

On the world commodities market, trading carbon credits generated $126 billion in 2008, and big banks are collecting fees, and some project a market worth $2 trillion. Al Gore’s venture capital firm, Hara Software which makes software to track greenhouse gas emissions, stands to make billions of dollars from cap-and-trade regulation. If the myth is destroyed, this market will evaporate.

Back in 2007, a coalition of major corporations and environmental groups formed the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) to lobby for cap & trade. The companies planned to profit (at least in the short term) from either the cap-and-trade provisions or from selling high-priced, politically-favored (if not mandated) so-called “green” technology to the rest of us — whether we need it or not, and regardless of whether it produces any environmental or societal benefits.

Corporate USCAP members include: Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar Inc., Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, DuPont, FPL Group, Exelon, General Electric, Lehman Brothers, John Deer & Co, PG&E Corporation, and PNM Resources. …

The vested interests are strong and many. Is the global warming industry “too big to fail?” It remains to be seen whether those interests, and [collectivist] political ideology will triumph over truth and common sense.