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Archive for June, 2009

I’m thankful that Rich Karlgaard wrote this op-ed in this morning’s Forbes. This simplifies what the Democrats are attempting to do. It’s obvious that Pelosi’s Democrats can’t pass basic math:

In the U.S., electricity is produced from these sources. If you are reading this on a handheld and can’t read Wikipedia’s wonderful pie chart, here is the breakdown:

48.9% — Coal
20% — Natural Gas
19.3% — Nuclear
1.6% — Petroleum

Got that? A tick over 88% of U.S. electricity comes from three sources: coal, gas and nuclear. Petroleum brings the contribution of so-called “evil” energy–that is, energy that is carbon- or uranium-based–to almost 90%.

Despite the fact that the overwhelming amount of electricity is created through fossil fuels or through nuclear power, Pelosi’s Democrats want to destroy the United States’ ability to generate electricity. Let’s remember that President Obama said that he was perfectly comfortable with bankrupting coal-powered power plants:

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

How can a thinking person attempt to bankrupt coal-powered power plants? What priorities is such a man setting? What type of people vote for these radical policies? HINT: Blue Dog Democrats like Collin Peterson vote for such things.

QUESTION: Rep. Peterson, was it worth those thirty pieces of silver, aka concessions, to betray your constituents?

The Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House on Friday by a 219-212 margin will punitively tax energy sources that contribute 90% of current U.S. electricity (or 71% if you want to leave out nuclear). The taxes will be used to subsidize the 10% renewable contributors (but really just 3% after you leave out hydro).

In other words, Waxman-Markey is betting the future of U.S. electricity production on sources that now contribute 3% or supply 10 million Americans with electricity. That’s enough juice for the people in Waxman’s Los Angeles County. Or, if you prefer, for Nancy Pelosi’s metro San Francisco plus Markey’s metro Boston.

Well, what about electricity for the other 295 million? You can’t get there from here with Waxman-Markey. At very best, solar, wind and cellulosic ethanol will make 20% contributions by 2025. The smart money would bet on 10%.

What bunch of geniuses would pass a bill that would put the vast majority of power plants on life support? Here’s a better question to ask: Why would anyone think that we’d be able to build the infrastructure needed to dramatically increase production from alternative energy sources?

Meanwhile, traditional sources of electricity that are progressing in the direction of cleaner and more efficient are being ignored (or dissed by Waxman-Markey). Here are two must reads–the first on clean coal by Gregg Easterbrook, the second on fission energy by Robert Metcalfe. Study them if you take electricity production seriously.

Bottom line: There is no way the U.S. economy can enjoy future prosperity without the big three electrical energy sources of clean coal, natural gas and nuclear.

It’s time we took this simple math seriously. Its time that we didn’t put our stock in Pelosi’s pie-in-the-sky projections.

Finally, it’s time that we changed directions away from Pelosi’s special interest-driven energy policies and towards a serious energy policy.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Dane Smith, of the Growth and Justice liberal special interest group, has an op-ed in this morning’s St. Cloud Times that’s just perfect for fisking. Let’s have at it, starting here:

Minnesotans have been told frequently by Gov. Tim Pawlenty that it would be wrong and unusual, if not just plain crazy, to raise tax revenues in the midst of a recession, even on those high-income households that are most able to afford it.

I’ll agree with Mr. Smith that Gov. Pawlenty has said that raising taxes during the biggest recession of the last half century is “just pain crazy.” I’ll heatedly argue that Gov. Pawlenty has said that it’s unusual to raise taxes when states are confronted with a deficit. Anyone beyond the age of toddler knows that Democrats gleefully and frequently attempt raising taxes. In fact, the DFL will raise taxes, whether we’re experiencing times of prosperity or whether we in a deep recession.

What the DFL won’t do is think about reforming government or setting intelligent priorities that help state government live within its means.

This past winter, the DFL’s cherrypicked testimony tour visited St. Cloud. After listening to approximately an hour of people like Kirsty Smith exhort the legislators to “have the courage to raise taxes”, I turned to Luke Yurczyk, the chairman of the SD-14 Republicans, and asked whether he’d heard the DFL’s activist allies call for reform. He confirmed what I’d suspected, that the DFL activists hadn’t called for rethinking how we did things.

The fatal flaw in the DFL’s, and Dane Smith’s, thinking is that it doesn’t include setting priorities or rethinking the way government delivers services or whether it’s important that government should be delivering services.

Why shouldn’t Minnesota’s taxpayers demand that our legislators and governor determine first whether they’re spending money efficiently and whether they’re spending money on essential things before proposing raising taxes? Why shouldn’t Minnesota’s taxpayers demand that the legislature first examine whether there aren’t better ways of delivering essential services before raising taxes?

After all, don’t they work for us, not vice versa? Doesn’t the Declaration of Independence say early in its text that governments get their power by the consent of the governed? Here’s a little refresher course on that principle:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

According to the first of our Founding Documents, government is limited to those things that We The People give it permission to do. The U.S. model is the direct opposite of the European model.

As of now, of those 20 states with the worst budget problems, only Louisiana, Georgia and Minnesota have failed to raise revenues to meet their budget-balancing obligation. (Louisiana, in particular, is hardly a role model for good governance, and it also happens to be the home of Gov. Bobby Jindal, another anti-tax conservative who may be seeking the White House.)

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING REWRITE: As of now, of those 20 states with the worst budget problems, only Louisiana, Georgia and Minnesota have refused to raise taxes until their legislatures have enacted serious reforms that would protect their state’s taxpayers’ wallets. Louisiana isn’t hospitable to free-spending liberal Democrats because Gov. Bobby Jindal is intent on reforming how Louisiana provides services to its citizens.

Gov. Pawlenty tried pushing a series of reforms, all of which were either ignored or defeated by the DFL. That’s unforgivable at a time when Minnesota taxpayers’ wallets are stretched thin and can’t afford another tax increase.

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Predictably, President Obama said today that he’s confident that the U.S. Senate will pass National Energy Tax legislation. Meanwhile, House GOP Leader John Boehner criticized the Waxman-Markey legislation for killing jobs and increasing taxes on the middle class.

Obama said House members who narrowly voted to pass the climate bill on Friday had put progress before petty Washington politics, and urged Senators to do the same ahead as they embark on a rocky road to their own vote.

“The House of Representatives came together to pass an extraordinary piece of legislation,” Obama said, at an event in the White House announcing new plans to improve energy efficiency across the United States. “In the months to come, the Senate will take up its version of the energy bill. And I am confident that they, too, will choose to move this country forward.”

What the 219 representatives did wasn’t to put progress ahead of petty politics. They voted to increase taxes on the middle class, the working poor and small businesses.

This isn’t “an extraordinary piece of legislation.” It’s a huge job-killing tax increase that will kill jobs in hard hit places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky. Here’s House GOP Leader Boehner’s response to President Obama:

Americans need real solutions to create jobs, lower energy prices, and clean up the environment, but Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax is a recipe for driving up prices for middle-class families and small businesses and shipping more American jobs overseas. The President repeated his claim that this bill will create jobs, but independent analysts suggest it’s a job killer, while one of his prominent supporters, Warren Buffett, calls it a huge, regressive tax.

Republicans believe there is a better route to more jobs, reliable energy, and a cleaner, healthier environment. Our all-of-the-above plan will increase American energy production in an environmentally-safe way, encourage the use of alternatives such as nuclear and clean-coal energy, and promote new technologies and efficiencies. Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress and the Administration have chosen to go it alone with their costly, jobs-killing national energy tax scheme. Middle-class families and small businesses struggling during this recession won’t support it. It’s time for Democrats to work with Republicans on real solutions to create jobs and pave the way for a cleaner, more reliable energy future.

Why would Democrats even think about bankrupting fossil fuel-burning power plants? Why would they want to kill the economies of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and Kentucky while we’re in the midst of a terrible economy? Is it that Democrats don’t care about the blue collar workers in those states? Is it because they’re so blinded by their ideology that they refuse to rethink things? Or, perhaps, is it because they can’t afford to ignore the environmental extremists because they’ll need their campaign contributions?

I think it’s most of the above. I think they’re blinded by their ideology and I think they can’t afford to bite the hand that writes the campaign contributions. (You’ve noticed that they didn’t give consideration to doing what’s right for the country, right?)

The White House certainly will try justifying their actions with clever spin. The bad news for the Obama administration is that people are tired of the spin. The worst news for the Obama administration is that people are tired of his administration not producing cost-effective solutions.

Thus far, the Obama administration hasn’t shown that they’re problem solvers. Thus far, the only thing they’ve proven is that they’re world class ideologues.

That won’t cut it when people’s wallets are stretched to the breaking point.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Supreme Court just overturned Judge Sotomayor’s ruling regarding a set of New Haven, CT firefighters:

The Supreme Court has ruled that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.

The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide, potentially limiting the circumstances in which employers can be held liable for decisions when there is no evidence of intentional discrimination against minorities.

This ruling isn’t likely to keep Judge Sotomayor from becoming the next associate justice but it’s bound to open up a great line of questioning for Republicans serving on the Judiciary Committee. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask her what her reasoning was in reaching that ruling.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Last week, I got word that the EPA and the Obama administration appears to be suppressing dissent within the career professional ranks at EPA. I finally found time to post about it. Here’s a portion of Joe Barton’s press release on the subject:

EPA has not yet released the final, suppressed report that was written by career EPA staffers Dr. Alan Carlin and Dr. John Davidson, an MIT Ph.D. economist and a University of Michigan Ph.D. physicist, respectively. But here’s some of what they write in the 80-page draft report:

We have become increasingly concerned that EPA and many other agencies…have paid too little attention to the science of global warming. EPA and others have tended to accept the findings reached by outside groups, particularly the IPCC and CCSP, as being correct without a careful and critical examination of their conclusions and documentation.

…we believe our concerns and reservations are sufficiently important to warrant a serious review of the science by EPA before any attempt is made to reach conclusions on the subject.

After reviewing uncertainties, they note, at page 62:

Hence it is not reasonable to conclude that there is any endangerment from the changes in GHG [greenhouse gas] levels based on the satellite record, since almost all the fluctuations appear to be due to natural causes and not human-caused pollution as defined by the Clean Air Act…

There is strong possibility that there are some other natural causes of global temperature fluctuations that we do not yet fully understand and which may account for the 1998 temperature peak… This possibility needs to be fully explained and discussed in the DRAFT TSD [EPA’s technical support document].”

Resolving the remaining uncertainties would appear to be of great importance before significant expenditures are made on the assumption that the GHG only hypothesis is correct…The currently favored GHG only hypothesis does not explain a number of aspects of the available data so it appears unlikely to be the sole explanation. There is an urgent need to update and improve on the IPCC reports by taking an independent perspective and including new information not included in their reports concerning all the factors summarized.

Why was Dr. Carlin’s opinion not noted in the EPA’s report? Why was Dr. Davidson’s opinion not noted in the report? These gentlemen are career EPA people. Their opinions and their questions should be noted.

I’d further suggest that EPA Administrator Jackson isn’t interested in the facts being presented. Let’s remember that she tried selling the National Energy Tax as a jobs bill, only to get discredited by Rep. Steve Scalise’s questioning:

REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-La.: Administrator Jackson, in your opening statement you talked about the jobs that would be created, green jobs that would be created under a cap-and-trade bill. Can you quantify how many jobs you estimate would be created under this legislation?
MS. JACKSON: I believe what I said, Sir, is that this is a jobs bill and that the discussion draft bill in its entirety is aimed to jumpstart our move into the green economy.
REP. SCALISE: And I think you quoted President Obama saying that it was his opinion that he would, that this bill would create millions of jobs. I think you used the term “millions.” Is there anything that you can base your determination on how many jobs will be created?
MS. JACKSON: EPA has not done a model or any kind of modeling on jobs creation numbers.

I suspect that Administrator Jackson is making this stuff up as she goes. She’s willing to make any statement that she thinks will sell this gigantic tax increase. It isn’t a stretch to think that she’ll omit statements that she thinks hurt this bill’s passage. It’s certainly provable that she made a flimsy argument to strengthen this bill’s support. At this point, why should people trust anything she says?

Rep. Barton empties both barrels in this section:

The agency gave the authors only a few days to comment on the agency’s science basis for its proposed endangerment finding. No one understands the rush on such an important topic, but the authors outline six important developments in climate research and climate observations that cut against the IPCC view and warrant EPA’s own close examination:

1. Global temperatures have declined significantly
2. IPCC global temperature projections look increasingly doubtful
3. Consensus on past, present, and future Atlantic hurricane behavior has changed
4. There have been changes in the outlook of Greenland’s ice sheet
5. Long-term water vapor feedback may be negative – thus dampening climate response to greenhouse gases
6. Greenhouse gas contributions to global warming may be much smaller than alleged by the IPCC and others, due to recent understanding related to solar influence and cycles of ocean-climate cycles (like El Nino).

Administrator Jackson’s behavior isn’t surprising. It’s quite predictable, actually. Anything or anyone that doesn’t agree with the environmental extremists’ views are either ignored or publicly ridiculed. In this instance, the extremists tried ignoring Dr. Carlin and Dr. Davidson.

Thankfully, bloggers won’t let this get buried. Thankfully, bloggers like myself and Powerline and others will hold the EPA’s feet to the fire.

Here’s the conclusion of Rep. Barton’s letter:

By all indications to date, the administration had reached a politically viable judgment on endangerment and preferred to suppress dissent from within the ranks of its professional staff rather than take the time to consider the professional staff’s views.

It isn’t a stretch to think that the EPA started with a verdict, then went in search of proof that fit their pre-determined verdict. Not only isn’t it a stretch; I’d say that’s what likely happened. Now they’ll have to dine on an entree of crow.

That’s what happens when bureaucrats try playing politics with scientific issues.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Last Friday, I did a breakfast interview with Dave Borgert. Dave is the director of Government Relations at CentraCare Health System here in St. Cloud. For over 90 minutes, Dave fielded my questions and King’s questions. The wealth of information I gained from this interview left me overwhelmed. Processing that much information is difficult enough. (Storing that much information takes it to an entirely different level.)

Several things must be shared with you so you can better understand the health care debate.

1. When Medicare decides how much they’re paying for a procedure, it doesn’t have anything to do with whether that payment covers the cost of that procedure. The principle of supply and demand doesn’t play a significant role in determining payments. Medicare totals up how many angioplasties were done, how many MRIs were done, etc. Then they look at how much money Congress appropriated for Medicare. Once the Medicare budget is set, then a cost per procedure is established.

2. The ‘Medicare is more efficient than private insurance’ meme is a myth. Dave said that the way that Medicare can say that only 2% of the Medicare budget is spent on administrative costs is because billing is the only thing that’s counted as an administrative costs. Things like processing referrals, doublechecking what was done, whether it’s dispensing medication or IVs or whatever, are counted as patient care.

While it’s true that dispensing medication or IVs genuinely is patient care, having an administrator verify what supplies were used shouldn’t be counted as patient care. The best way to describe the administrative cost comparisons is that it’s an apples to green beans comparison. They’re that dissimilar.

3. The way that CanadaCare works is that each province is given a “global budget.” Their global budget doesn’t all go to patient care and administration. Part of their budget goes to nursing and medical schools. Another part goes to research grants. There are other things that must be paid for from this global budget, too. After these things have been paid for, what’s left is what’s actually spent on patients.

When the MRI budget reaches zero, the rest of the people needing MRIs are put on a waiting list until the next budget is appropriated.

QUESTION: How many people think that waiting 2-3 months to start chemotherapy is the type of system we should aspire to?

4. CanadaCare doesn’t include a perscription drug benefit. Let’s repeat that; CanadaCare doesn’t include a perscription drug benefit. While it’s true that perscription drugs are cheaper in Canada, it’s equally true that they’re paid for by the patient or by their supplemental insurance policy.

That’s something that you won’t hear President Obama or Ted Kennedy or other single-payer advocates talk about. You won’t hear them say that CanadaCare doesn’t pay for perscriptions. I don’t think Ted Kennedy or Max Baucus would write legislation that didn’t include perscriptions. It’s just that that’s another thing that will run up the cost of ObamaCare.

5. Medicare doesn’t negotiate prices. It sets prices. Here’s the definition of negotiate:

to arrange for or bring about by discussion and settlement of terms

Medicare tells pharmaceutical companies what they’ll pay for perscriptions. The pharmaceuticals accept this because they know that they can charge a much higher price to people with private insurances. That’s where cost-shifting starts. (The VA hospitals essentially operates the same way.)

If you want the perfect real-life illustration of what happens when a ‘public option’ or single-payer plan is implemented, just read Ed’s post about the baby that was born 14 weeks premature:

A critically-ill premature-born baby from Hamilton is all alone in a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital after she was turned away for treatment at local facility and transferred across the border without her parents, who don’t have passports.

Ava Stinson was born Thursday at St. Joseph’s Hospital, 14 weeks premature. A provincewide search for an open neonatal intensive care unit bed came up empty, leaving no choice but to send the two pound, four ounce baby to Buffalo.

Her parents Natalie Paquette and Richard Stinson couldn’t follow their child because as of June 1, a passport is required to cross the border into the United States. They’re having to approve medical procedures over the phone and are terrified something will happen to their baby before they get there.

Ed’s commentary is spot on:

But why wasn’t there a NICU bed for the child in the entire nation of Canada? The government of Canada won’t pay for more. They don’t exist to expand supply to meet demand; their single-payer system exists to ration care as a cost-saving mechanism. In a free-market system, supply expands to meet demand, which is why Canada could subcontract out to a US hospital for capacity. Michael writes that paragraph as if it was mere luck that an NICU bed happened to be open in the US, but that’s a function of the system, and not luck. These parents are separated from their child at the moment through the fault of Canada’s government and not the US.

As I mentioned earlier, Medicare’s payment system doesn’t care about supply and demand. They’re just interested in keeping costs down by utilizing a low-profile const control system. Medicare can’t afford to start paying according to the principles of supply and demand; their cost controls won’t allow them to consider supply and demand principles.

Our health care system can’t function in a price control world because there wouldn’t be an incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in R & D. The minute that that incentive disappears, then the race to the bottom is just an eventuality.

That’s a race that’s best not run.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

It’s a good thing I was sitting down when I read this Strib article. If I hadn’t been sitting down, I might’ve been knocked over by a feather.

Though much of the stimulus plan was sold on the strength of road and highway investments, records released by Congress last week show that only 37 transportation and infrastructure projects were underway in Minnesota as of May 31, creating or sustaining 124 jobs.

Thank God we spent $787,000,000,000 to jumpstart this economy. Praise the Lord for all those shovel-ready jobs. Without all that money getting spent, those 124 people wouldn’t have a job right now.

Here’s where the bottlekneck is located:

To see where the hopes and realities of the mammoth federal stimulus plan intersect, look to St. Cloud. Three months after Vice President Joe Biden stopped there to promote the $787 billion spending package by visiting a plant that’s expected to supply 29 Twin Cities buses funded by stimulus cash, the deal is still moving through the federal bureaucracy.

Imagine that. The bureacracy is the bottleneck. It’s a good thing that VP Joe Biden’s on the case cuz “nobody messes with Joe.”

Simply put, that bill was never meant to jumpstart our economy. It was meant to (a) pay off the Democrats’ political allies and (b) permanently increase federal spending.

At this point, the bulk of the $4.8 billion in stimulus money slated to pass through state agencies over the next two years won’t start flowing until this week, with the July 1 start of the state’s 2010 budget year.

Let’s see. ARRA passed on Friday, Feb. 13, thanks to the Democrats flying Sherrod Brown back from his mother’s wake to cast the 60th vote. President Obama immediately signed the bill into law yet that night so that the billions of dollars could be spent so we’d avert an economic catastrophe. (That’s sorta true: Sherrod Brown was flown in from his mother’s wake.)

President Obama didn’t immediately sign the bill because he’d left Washington for a big weekend vacation with his family. He eventually signed the bill in Denver on Tuesday, Feb. 17th.

The American people should demand that the money that isn’t spent on infrastructure be rescinded from the budget ASAP.

Let’s remember that the DFL’s plan to balance the budget relied heavily on stimulus money:

DFLers are pinning much of their hope for short-term relief on a national stimulus package coming out of Washington, suggesting the money can be used to fund infrastructure and construction projects that bring immediate job opportunities.

Based on the information from this article, it’s safe to say that the DFL’s plan is fatally flawed, partially because of the ‘bureaucracy bottleneck’ that’s now being reported on. It’s fair to ask why the DFL plan relied so heavily on ARRA’s spending. The DFL railed against Gov. Pawlenty for relying on one-time money” while they’re relying heavily on one-time money to create jobs.

Thanks to the DFL’s plan, we’ve now saved or created 124 jobs while heaping millions of dollars of debt onto the next several generations. That isn’t a wise investment.

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When you strip away all the peripheral stuff, health care reform comes down to choosing what our priorities are. Would we put a higher priority on good accessability and great quality in health care or do we prefer a system that features universal coverage and price controls. We know that President Obama chose the high quality option:

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it’s not provided by insurance.

Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn’t seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he’s proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.

The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if “it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.

President Obama has said that it’s important to have a public option to “keep insurance companies honest.” Greg Makiw skewers that argument in this NYTimes op-ed:

Even if one accepts the president’s broader goals of wider access to health care and cost containment, his economic logic regarding the public option is hard to follow. Consumer choice and honest competition are indeed the foundation of a successful market system, but they are usually achieved without a public provider. We don’t need government-run grocery stores or government-run gas stations to ensure that Americans can buy food and fuel at reasonable prices.

Simply brilliant point.

I’m convinced that President Obama isn’t interested in true competition but rather that he’s just playing word games with the American people. I’m betting that President Obama knows that the words government-run are toxic. I’m further betting that he knows that if he sounds disinterested in market-based solutions, that this type of legislation doesn’t have a chance of getting enacted.

Here’s what happens when people opt for the universal coverage model:

A critically-ill premature-born baby from Hamilton is all alone in a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital after she was turned away for treatment at local facility and transferred across the border without her parents, who don’t have passports.

Ava Stinson was born Thursday at St. Joseph’s Hospital, 14 weeks premature. A provincewide search for an open neonatal intensive care unit bed came up empty, leaving no choice but to send the two pound, four ounce baby to Buffalo.

Her parents Natalie Paquette and Richard Stinson couldn’t follow their child because as of June 1, a passport is required to cross the border into the United States.
They’re having to approve medical procedures over the phone and are terrified something will happen to their baby before they get there.

The Canadian blogger who wrote about this made this statement:

I won’t get into the relative merits of the American and Canadian health-care systems here. Suffice it to say that there obviously need to be more neo-natal intensive care unit beds up here. Thankfully, and this doesn’t mean that the American system is better (after all, at least the couple and their baby are guaranteed care up here, thanks to our public system, even if it’s not perfect), there was an opening south of the border.

The fact that the government “guarantees” health care to everyone certainly didn’t mean that they’d guarantee that they had the capacity to deal with all possibilities. It isn’t uncommon for babies to be born 1-2 months premature. The Canadian government’s single-payer system didn’t do this couple a bit of good.

That’s because their system is built on the premise that health care costs are kept low artificially because they set a “global budget”, which includes a pricing table. This pricing table isn’t about whether it covers the cost of an MRI or EEG or other procedure. It’s simply a figure that the government pays.

Whichever way you slice it, that’s government-mandated price controls. Everytime that I’ve seen them used, price controls didn’t just fail, they failed in such a way that they turned bad situations into terrible situations. If they’re the cure, I’d rather deal with the disease.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Politico.com is reporting that the House of Representatives passed a “climate change bill.” It didn’t do anything of the sort. It passed a gigantic tax increase. Now the bill goes to the Senate where alot of Democrats will try avoiding it like they’d avoid giving a straight answer.

Democrats narrowly passed historic climate and energy legislation Friday evening that would transform the country’s economy and industrial landscape.

But the all-hands-on-deck effort to protect politically vulnerable Democrats by corralling the minimum number of votes to pass the bill, 219-212, proves that there are limits to President Barack Obama’s ability to use his popularity to push through his legislative agenda. Forty-four Democrats voted against the bill, while just eight Republicans crossed the aisle to back it.

Politico.com says that this is historic climate and energy legislation in these paragraphs, then undercuts that claim here:

Despite the tough path to passage, the legislation is a significant win for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) and the bill’s two main sponsors, House Energy and Commerce committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) and Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey (D), who modified the bill again and again to get skeptical members from the Rust Belt, the oil-producing southeast and rural Midwest to back the legislation.

In other words, they threw environmental considerations aside when it fit their needs. Collin Peterson’s early dissent was bought off by a tiny smattering of meaningless trinkets. I’ve said repeatedly that the National Energy Tax was a tax increase masquerading as environmental policy. Tonight, I’m adding that this bill’s intent was to control people’s lives with government regulations and exhorbitant taxation.

The Heritage Foundation has a chart showing the economic damage that this legislation would’ve caused in each congressional district. Here’s a brief summary of what the chart will show:

The table below lays out six congressional district specific data points:

1.Gross State Product Loss in 2012: This number is the amount of economic destruction that will occur in that district in the first year of the cap-and-trade regime.
2.Average Gross State Product Loss, 2012-2035: Same as above, only it is the average economic destruction in the district for the bill’s first 24 years.
3.Personal Income Loss in 2012: This number represents the reduction in consumer spending power in a district in the first year of the cap-and-trade regime.
4.Average Personal Income Loss, 2012-2035: Same as above, only it is the reduction in consumer spending power in the district for the bill’s first 24 years.
5.Non-Farm Job Loss in 2012: Jobs are jobs, and in the first year of the cap-and-trade regime, each district will have significantly less than they otherwise could.
6.Average Non-Farm Job Loss, 2012-2035: This number is crucially important because it demonstrates that no district gains jobs, even in the long run; the increase in “green jobs” does not outweigh the decrease in jobs elsewhere.

The NRCC is poised to go after Blue Dog Democrats that caved to Speaker Pelosi on this legislation. This will be the undoing of many Democrats that sit in swing districts. Voting against Waxman-Markey won’t help Southern Democrats much either.

Fred Krupp’s quote is mostly hyperbole:

“The American Clean Energy and Security Act is the most important environmental and energy legislation in our nation’s history,” said Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “Today’s vote is a huge achievement for the country and the climate.”

This bill has nothing to do with the environment. It’s always been a huge tax increase, nothing more. That isn’t my opinion. It’s what Rep. John Dingell said about it:

Then Candidate-Obama said this about his National Energy Tax bill:

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

In addition to this bill’s being a major tax increase, possibly the biggest in U.S. history, it’s also about killing jobs and destroying our economy at a time when it’s in bad shape. Before the House passed the stimulus bill without reading it, President said that the U.S. economy was headed for a catastrophe if his bill wasn’t enacted. If this bill becomes law, it will be a catastrophe of his own making.

If this bill becomes law, it might well be the end of Speaker Pelosi’s reign of terror. We can only hope.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Sen. Chuck Wiger deserves a little credit for stating several truths in his op-ed on unallotment. Here’s one thing he said that I wholeheartedly agree with him on:

His plan is a result of his refusal to work with the Legislature on any revenue increases.

I’d strongly encourage Sen. Wiger to keep preaching that gospel wherever he goes. He’s spot on exactly right. The DFL started this session with a desire to raise taxes. The DFL didn’t start this session with a thirst for reform. As a result, the DFL was left with few options. Their special interest allies wouldn’t let them set intelligent priorities.

Because the DFL refused to say no to their special interest allies, they were forced to attempt to raise taxes.

Gov. Pawlenty and the House GOP stood in the way of the DFL’s tax increases because Minnesotans are already overburdened with taxes. Gov. Pawlenty and the House GOP stood in the way of the DFL’s plans for raising both progressive and regressive taxes.

Here’s something else Sen. Wiger got right:

The governor’s proposed $2.7 billion unallotment is larger than all four of the previous unallotments combined and nearly 10 times more than the largest.

That’s absolutely true. Unfortunately, this was necessary because the DFL tried forcing a special session so they could additional pressure on Gov. Pawlenty to raise taxes. The DFL’s plan failed because Gov. Pawlenty outsmarted them. To those of us who’ve paid attention to these fights, the outcome was totally predictable.

I also appreciate Sen. Wiger’s admission that property taxes won’t automatically rise as a result of Gov. Pawlenty’s unallotments:

As a result, Minnesotans may see property taxes and college tuition rise, hospitals and nursing homes’ budgets being cut even further, and school districts possibly being forced to borrow to make ends meet.

Contrast that statement with Tarryl Clark’s statement on the effects of unallotment:

And make no mistake the Governor’s cuts will cost us jobs across the state, jobs in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and colleges. Police and fire will be reduced and libraries and parks will not be spared. And in the end the cuts alone won’t be enough. This year for the first time Minnesotans will pay more in property taxes than income taxes. That is a direct result of this Governor’s policies and the Governor’s unilateral cuts will only make it worse.

Let’s contrast Wiger’s statement with Matt Entenza’s statement on the effects of unallotment:

Local Government Aid to cities has been cut by almost 50 percent in the six years that Pawlenty has been in office, said Entenza, most recently the head and founder of the Twin Cities progressive think tank Minnesota 2020. Cities have responded with higher property taxes.

“Yet he has insisted he’s not raising taxes,” said Entenza, the first DFL gubernatorial candidate out of the chute to travel the state to lambaste Pawlenty’s unilateral budget decisions. “The reality is, in budget after budget, fees and property taxes are forced up by the direct action of Gov. Pawlenty,” Entenza said.

Tarryl Clark’s and Matt Entenza’s statements deliver the same unequivocal message: Gov. Pawlenty’s decisions force property tax increases. There’s no admission on their part that cities have the option of setting better priorities or spending less on wants. In Entenza’s and Clark’s world, the thought of reforming things isn’t often considered.

Sen. Wiger’s statement merely suggests that raising property taxes is a possibility, not a guarantee. Sen. Wiger should be applauded for that burst of intellectual honesty.

This line must’ve been focus grouped because it’s in Sen. Wiger’s op-ed and in Tarryl’s e-letter update:

Unallotment is a tool that’s designed to be a scalpel, not an ax.

What Sen. Wiger and Sen. Clark won’t admit is that the DFL leadership’s refusal to put a coherent, balanced budget together until there was only scant minutes left in the session forced Gov. Pawlenty to make the hard decisions that the DFL refused to make.

In February, I said that the DFL’s leadership was MIA. In May, the DFL proved me right by refusing to set priorities that strengthen Minnesota. Now that they’ve been exposed as caring more about placating their special interest allies than they care about holding taxes down, the DFL is whining about Gov. Pawlenty. It’s time that the DFL took a long look in the mirror.

It’s long past time for them to admit that their thirst for tax increases while forsaking reforms isn’t strengthening Minnesota’s economy.

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