Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Golden Opportunity

In fumbling through what he thought would be a slam dunk ad for his healthcare proposals, Barack Obama has presented us with a golden opportunity. He had, as Ed Morrissey on labeled it, a “Dukakis Moment.” He has given us his true opinion of his own healthcare plan. Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher, notes that politicians often propose cost cutting measures that limit tests and treatments that are available to the general public, knowing that those same limitations won’t really apply to them. He asked if Obama would subject his wife and daughters to the same limitations the public will face and not seek services not available to you or me. Obama wouldn’t make that promise. That speaks volumes. Obamacare is good enough for you and me, but not for his family. The mask slipped for a moment and we must leap at the opportunity. Don’t let him sweep this moment of honesty under the rug. Keep this in the news. Keep it in people’s minds. It’s okay to limit your coverage, but not Sasha's, Malia's or Michelle’s.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ACORN: Don't You Forget About Me

Our friends at ACORN have decided to change their name to the much less memorable name of Community Organizations International. It seems that ACORN feels that it has somehow acquired a bad reputation. I can't imagine how that has happened. It couldn't possibly be the 14 states where voter registration fraud has been investigated? It couldn't be financial mismanagement or embezzlement? How about the lawsuits against whistleblowers and those shining the light on ACORN's fraud? ACORN is trying to make people forget their actions so they can turn around and do it all again. Don't let them slip between the cracks. Remember the name and remind others that Community Organizations International=ACORN every chance you get or we'll be repeating this same game in 2012.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obama's New Healthcare Ally?

President Obama has been saying for months that you can’t fix the economy without first fixing healthcare. Originally a supporter of single-payer government healthcare, Obama states that he now believes private insurance should remain, but in competition with a public government-run option. Obama has a very interesting partner in pushing his plan: ABC News.

On June 24, if you tune in to ABC, the news will be broadcasting from the White House, followed by a primetime special “Prescription for America.” This program will be a townhall style question and answer session with the President. ABC claims this program will present both sides of the healthcare debate. However, the only party who will be answering questions and using prime network time to sell his views will be Barack Obama.

Faced with a seemingly one-sided sales event for Obama’s healthcare agenda, Ken McKay, Chief of Staff for the Republican National Committee wrote to the head of ABC News. He requested the opportunity to share the Republican’s healthcare reform ideas. He was rebuffed.

ABC News claims that the audience who will question Obama on his healthcare agenda will be chosen exclusively by ABC. ABC suggests that this will somehow present both sides of the issue. ABC fails to realize that asking a challenging question of the President is not the same as having the opportunity to answer that question and the time to persuade Americans that government healthcare is what we need.

Considering the government takeover of GM and the President’s desire to expand the Fed to take over companies whose survival it deems necessary, it should come as no surprise that the media, already carrying water for Obama since day one, now seems to be serving as his propagandists. Conservatives need to call their congressmen, write to their local newspapers and talk to friends and family. All we can do is fight when the media appears to have taken sides.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Yet another of Barack's little plans goes awry. When they say hundreds are protesting in Bermuda, that's about half the population, right? Kidding. So, this little plan to dump a few detainees managed to snub the British and anger the citizens of Bermuda. Bravo, Mr. President.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Entitlement Mania

Is there something about our culture that makes an ever growing number of Americans feel that they should be getting everything they want, with no real effort on their part? What happened to the values of working hard and saving, starter homes and delayed gratification? It seems they’ve disappeared from the landscape and it’s a trend that should concern us all.

Once upon a time, actions had consequences. If you didn’t have the money to buy a house, you didn’t buy a house. Then along came your friendly neighborhood government and made lenders give you money because everyone should be able to buy a house, no matter their financial situation. Fannie and Freddie loaned with abandon. People put no money down, took out variable rate mortgages and the loan defaults began. Everyone now has to pay for that pandering error in judgment with lower housing values and harder to get credit.

Social Security is another program that leads to government dependence. It was created at a time when the life expectancy was much shorter and it was a safety net, not a retirement plan. It has now become for many their only retirement plan. Why save for your golden years when you can spend now and the government will provide you a paycheck when the time comes.

And, don’t forget welfare or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families as it's more politely called. People used to take care of each other in hard times. We relied on family and church if things were dire. Then along came welfare and people learned that the more children you had the more money you received. Clinton tried to end that downward spiral by reforming the system, but the truth of the matter is that many life-long welfare recipients moved to Social Security in the form of means tested Social Security Insurance benefits (SSI.) They are deemed disabled, and there is little monitoring of their continued eligibility. Others spend their time and energy trying to find new ways to stay on benefits rather than using the assistance as a step up to independence. Welfare creates very few success stories. The cost of this program continues to expand, with no end in sight and no new reforms in the wings.

Finally, since it seems we haven’t learned that entitlements drain the life out of both their recipients and the economy, we have our President eager to dabble in healthcare reform. Rather than consider the example of Medicare, a program that grows more and more expensive each year, the President appears to subscribe to the idea that a government run option will reduce healthcare spending. He has already expanded SCHIP, the health insurance program for children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. He will likely offer a government insurance option. Soon, to cut costs, rationing would start and again those entitled to this “free” insurance would suffer. Soon, so would the rest of us in the form of higher taxes and fewer and fewer private options until we are all in the same boat, our lives subject to what the government tells our doctor is appropriate treatment.

Social Security, welfare, misguided housing reforms have all trained people to look to the government for what they should provide for themselves. As our country’s entitlement programs grow ever larger and Obama seeks to add yet another large bureaucratic monstrosity in the form of healthcare reform, we must remember that entitlements depend on taxpayers to fund them. But what Congress and the President fail to realize is that the more they hand out to people, the fewer people will be out there working and paying the taxes that fund their "voter outreach." Entitlements will become unsustainable. It’s better to pull the plug now, while the patient still has a chance on his own.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Problem of Government Expansion

As General Motors entered bankruptcy to trim its girth in the hope that it will survive to build happy environmentally friendly cars that no one wants, President Obama claimed 60% of the shares of GM stock for the government. Obama described this move as temporary and expressed, yet again, his reluctance to insert the government into the day to day decision making of America’s automotive industry. But, is this reluctance sincere, or the first step in Obama’s plan to grow government’s control over our lives?

First they came for the banks. Banks were forced to take bailout money and all the strings those came with, namely the government’s desire to control wages and determine bonuses for executives. Banks who received bailout funds are now limited in their ability to attract talent with financial incentives.

Then they promised stimulus, but it came with conditions. States who accept stimulus funds have to agree to the conditions that are wedded to those fund. For example, California is facing a budget crisis and needs to make deep cuts after a ballot measures to cut the deficit failed, but if they cut too deeply, they can lose access to stimulus funds they desperately need. So, they have to spend money they don’t have to get money?

Government Motors? Will Obama be hands off as he claims? Doubtful. First he fired GM CEO Rick Wagoner and replaced him with Fritz Henderson. Then Obama’s team pushed GM to drop a few brands. Finally, they pushed them into bankruptcy. Whether this was the best decision for GM (and I believe this should have happened earlier and without wasted bailout funds and attempts to salvage the company) or not, this all came at the behest of our leader. Obama forced bond holders to take huge losses, but required minimal bending from the United Auto Workers. Obama states that GM will be governed by its board of directors, not by him or by Congress. However, with Obama’s team selecting all but two of the new members of the board of directors the difference is negligible at best. Obama’s hands-off approach also seems to include a command to produce environmentally friendly, low emission compact cars. No, he’s not involved at all.

Finally, Obama is now rubbing his hands together at the prospect of going into the healthcare business. After all these successful maneuvers to bloat government, why not one more? Obama will likely build on Medicare, which is a wasteful mess, creating a similar program for those under 65 years who do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP and do not have private insurance (or are not satisfied with their coverage). Launching the government further into the insurance business creates a new entitlement which will inevitably become permanent and will surely grow.

President Obama continues to deny that he wants government to run the banks, run GM, run healthcare, but his actions speak louder than his words. As government expands, so does it’s control over our lives, breeding dependence and wasteful spending. Criticism of Obama is coming from the Right as expected, but as time passes and these temporary interventions become permanent, hopefully Americans will remember their small government roots and call for the government to get out of our lives and our businesses.