Posts Tagged ‘Socialized medicine’
by Ross Mackenzie
Up In his marvelous book “Decision Points,” former President George W. Bush cites the comment of a general during a review of flagging American policy in Iraq. Bush quotes the general as saying, “Don’t get stuck on stupid.” U.S. strategy there, he said, needed changing to something different and more successful.
The Democratic Congress is now embarked on a lame-duck session that ought to be history’s last.
This is the same Congress that gave the nation a program of socialized medicine it doesn’t want and various “stimulus” measures that haven’t worked — spending measures that hardly have nudged the needle on unemployment or economic recovery.
It is the same feckless Congress, boasting lopsided Democratic margins, that during the regular session failed to pass a single appropriation bill for the fiscal year that began more than two months ago.
And it is the same Democratic Congress that declined to address the expiring Bush tax cuts before the November 2 electoral firestorm because its leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, explained, the fate of the Bush tax cuts could be resolved more easily in the elections’ aftermath.
Polls on election day and throughout November have been unequivocal: If there were national referendums, ObamaCare would be (in the words of one poll) “repealed and replaced” and the Bush tax cuts would be extended for all income brackets. But President Obama and the tin-eared congressional lame-duckers are already stuck on stupid.
Here, for instance, is The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel:
“According to (Nevadan Harry Reid), Senate Democrats are going to confirm judges, rewrite immigration law, extend unemployment insurance, fix the issue of gays in the military, reorganize the FDA, forestall tax hikes, re-fund the government, and ratify a nuclear arms treaty — all in two, maybe three, weeks. This is the same institution that needs a month to rename a post office.”
And if the Democrats cannot get their game together and extend the Bush tax cuts (in both houses they have ample majorities to do so), nearly 100 taxes will rise come January 1.
A MONTH ago, the nation’s voters did not cast their ballots the way they did because (as the president said the day after) they were victims confused by Obamian rhetoric falling short of Ronald Reagan’s “Great Communicator” model. Rather, they were angry about a federal administration taxing too much, spending too much, and too much an intruder in their lives.
That’s angry. They understood his and the Democratic Congress’ policies only too well. Less than a year after putting a Republican in the Kennedy Senate seat in Massachusetts, they put a Republican in Obama’s Senate seat in Illinois.
If Obama was not on any ballot, public sentiment toward his policies definitely was. The voters gave a massive, emphatic thumbs-down. And in appraising the results, if Obama is not a good communicator, he is not a good listener, either. Or maybe he just doesn’t get it.
He and Nancy and Harry are pressing on with making the Republicans’ day. Let’s see how the Democrats — most notably Obama himself — fare in 2012 campaigning on (a) higher taxes, (b) anti-growth tax policies, (c) even less stable exchange rates, (d) a $5 trillion annual budget $1 trillion in deficit, (e) open homosexuals in the military, and (f) an ObamaCare not kinder and gentler but meaner and tougher.
The Democratic lame-duckers ought to pass their appropriation bills and extend the Bush tax cuts across the board — and get out of town.
Come January and the new year, when California and Illinois (etc.) may well follow Greece and Ireland (etc.) into bankruptcy, the augmented Republican cohort in Congress — with a majority in the House — will have its opportunity.
The Republicans might build on their anti-earmarks stance by regaining the public trust with pledges to — e.g.: limited government, balanced budgets, capitalism and free markets, lower (and more understandable) taxes, term limits, an undiminished military, victory over islamofascism, secure borders, a stable dollar, and family first.
Republicans also might commit to measures requiring (1) that members of Congress be subject to every law now on the books or to every new law they pass. (2) That they may not participate in programs unavailable to the populace at large, such as the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan. And (3) that they may not exempt themselves from any federal program covering the general citizenry — such as Social Security and Medicare.
Oh, and — to prevent the next Congress from going lame and getting stuck on stupid — as author and New York state’s former lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey suggests:
When John Boehner (becomes) speaker…in January, he should introduce a bill providing that Congress will not meet between the November 2012 election and January 3, 2013. That simple change in the law will put the voters back where they always belong: in charge.
Fools Rush in Where Europe Rushes Out
By Jonah Goldberg
As of this writing, France is paralyzed. By the time you read this, it might be in flames.
In Britain, where politics is more polite but the problems are perhaps just as dire, the government is proposing budget cuts on a scale not seen for nearly a century.
In Greece, well, the less said about Greece the better.
All of these countries — and many more — are going through painful retrenchments because they spent too much money, made too many promises and expected too little from their own citizens. The era of European austerity is upon us, because the Europeans — or at least those in charge — understand the mess they’ve made of their economies.
This should present a real problem for Barack Obama and the vast (though shrinking) chorus of experts, editorialists and activists who support his agenda. In broad terms, all of the policies Obama and the Democrats have pushed are the sorts of policies the British, the French and other Europeans had for years, even decades.
As far as I am aware, no one has asked President Obama a simple question: If your philosophy is so great, how come the countries that have embraced it for generations are so much poorer than us?
Nor have they asked: If guaranteed health care for everyone will make us so much more “competitive,” how come we’ve been doing so much better than our “competitors” who already have socialized medicine, high tax rates and lavish pensions?
Nor has the president been queried about the incongruity of saying his policies have laid a “new foundation” for economic growth and job creation when the countries he’s trying to emulate are trying to dismantle the very same foundations in order to survive.
If you want evidence for all this, you don’t need to look to Europe. You need only look to America. We’ve had the weakest recovery from a recession in memory. In Gerald Ford’s first year as president, the country rebounded at a rate of 6.2 percent. Under Reagan it was 7.7 percent. Even Clinton’s recovery rate was over 4 percent from 1993 to 1994 (and grew from there). Obama’s recovery has not only been anemic and sputtering at around 3 percent, it hasn’t made a dent in the unemployment rate because employers have no confidence that we’ll have reliable growth or that Obama isn’t waiting to bring the hammer down with more Euro-style policies and taxes.
Obama supporters will respond that he has, in fact, “created” jobs, but just not enough to climb out of the massive hole created by the financial crisis and former President Bush’s evil policies. The White House insists that it’s not remotely responsible for the 3.2 millions jobs (2.9 million in the private sector) that have disappeared on Obama’s watch, but is completely responsible for every single new job that has been created or “saved” since then.
Forget the “saved” part since that has always been so much Bidenesque frippery. (Though for the record, I drink scotch because it keeps away vampires and ensures the moon doesn’t catch fire. You can thank me later).
But consider this about the relatively few new net jobs the economy has created under Obama. As my National Review colleague Rich Lowry recently noted, half of all the new net jobs created in the United States (from August 2009 to August 2010) were created in Texas. According to White House logic, Obama must simply love Texas, since he’s the one creating all of those jobs. You have to wonder what he has against New York or California — you know, the states that actually share Obama’s economic vision and are descending into an economic abyss as we speak. Why reward low-tax, pro-growth Texas with all of these jobs?
The contrast with Europe is stunning. The streets there are clogging with protestors who desperately want to keep perks and pensions that are driving their countries into insolvency, while responsible leaders do everything they can to impose fiscal sanity before everything comes crashing down. In America, protestors (aka the Tea Parties) have taken to the streets to keep our irresponsible leaders from going in the same direction. In response, Obama says America’s irrational fear has made voters stupid.
But what’s irrational about saying that we shouldn’t be rushing into a condemned building everyone else in the developed world is rushing out of?
Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online.