Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Cash for Clunkers" Program Suspended

Apparently, the quickest way to spend $1 billion is to dribble it out to car buyers at $4500 a pop. Less than a week after the scheme to give people $4500 vouchers to turn in their old "gas guzzling" cars and buy new ones half of them can't afford began, the program is out of money:

Washington -- The Transportation Department is preparing to suspend the $1 billion "Cash for Clunkers" program at midnight, industry officials and congressional aides said Thursday.

Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association, said the group believes the program would be suspended at the end of Thursday.

"This is the responsible thing to do," said Wood, who believed that all deals consummated by the end of today would be honored by the program.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called key members of Congress to notify them that the government's program to stimulate car and truck sales was being tapped out -- less than one week after it kicked off. Officials were holding meetings looking for ways to continue the program, but that was unlikely.

Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, who called on congressional leaders Wednesday to boost funding, called for emergency action.

"There can be no doubt that the Cash for Clunkers program is a complete success given the fact that the entire $1 billion allocated to the program was expended in less than a week. This is simply the most stimulative $1 billion the federal government has spent during the entire economic downturn. The federal government must come up with more money, immediately, to keep this program going," Miller said.

Forget the fact that it's not the federal government's job to rebate Americans on their purchase of a new vehicle, the government's got to come up with more money to keep doing it. By Obama's third year in office (will this country even be able to survive two and a half more years of this?) we'll have another auto "stimulus" -- this one to bail out the people who are defaulting on their now-old cars because they can't afford them.

Read more!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What's a "Green Job"? If You Find Out, Let Obama Know

Turns out even Obama's lapdog liberal media brigade can't tell you. Newsweek attempted to find out to no avail:

President Obama devoted nearly $60 billion of his stimulus package to building a new green-based economy rich in renewable energy and strategies to cut carbon. But despite the price tag, not one green job yet exists. It comes down to a problem of etymology. No one can yet agree on what a green job actually is. The working definition paints a broad stroke: a job that's good for the economy while simultaneously healing the earth. But that leaves lots open to interpretation—natural gas is technically a cleaner fuel than crude oil, but it's still unsustainable—making it difficult, if not impossible, to measure whether eco-based jobs are being created and whether, as the administration has claimed, they're the saviors of a sagging economy.
This is a pretty damning assertion coming from the lapdoggyest of the lapdog liberal media magazines.

So among all the other lies told by the liberal's Messiah we have this whopper -- that we're creating millions of "green jobs". We'll tell you just how many millions when we figure out just what the hell a "green job" is.

Here's "Green Czar" (communist/anarchist/social agitator) Van Jones's attempt at a definition:

Well, we still don't have a unified definition, and that's not unusual in a democracy. It takes a while for all the states and the federal government to come to some agreement. But the Department of Labor is working on it very diligently. Fundamentally, it's getting there, but we haven't crossed the finish line yet.

That's 55 words to say: We don't have a definition for what a "green job" is. What is unusual in a representative republic -- we don't have a democracy, Comrade Jones, but I wouldn't expect an avowed communist to be able to correctly characterize the nature of our federal government (or at least what it's supposed to be) -- is to have three dozen unaccountable "czars", most of them with extreme radical socialist bents, and all their staffs, in the executive branch of the federal government. And I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of them are no better able than Jones to define what they are supposed to be in charge of. Your tax dollars and mine at work to fund a shadow government of nobody socialists doing nothing productive.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

The Race-Baiters, the Cop, and the Beer

As more information dribbles out about the professional Harvard race-baiter, we find out that this whole situation is one about a race baiter with a bully pulpit (Harvard University and its skulls full of mush), a race-baiter with a bigger bully pulpit (The White House and the glaring spotlight of the liberal media) and a cop who was just trying to do his job.

All of the witnesses (regardless of race), the audio of the call, the police report and the police report of the officers who came on the scene all coroborate Sgt. Crowley's version of the events. None of the witnesses (regardless of race), none of the audio of the call and neither of the police reports even remotely match Henry Loius (Skip) Gates' version of the events.

What does this all add up to?

We have an elder professor of "Black Studies" (I challenge anyone to find any course of study on any U.S. university campus anywhere entitled "White Studies") who has, by virtue of his speeches, writing and teachings, been a racist for his entire adult life. We have a younger president of the United States who has a lifelong history of admiration for such racists, communists, Socialists, Marxists, terrorists and others of ill repute. Both of these men, despite their overwhelming successes and the successes of millions of other Black Americans, still see this country through the prism of race, are looking for any hint of a slight against their race and if they can't find one will invent one as they did here. Then, they pompously proclaim that in this racial firestorm they poured gasoline on there is a lesson for the rest of us to learn about race.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is that Black racists are just as much racists as White racists are except for the fact that we give Black racists a pass due to their race and social standing (as Gates told Sgt. Crowley "you don't know who you're messing with" or words to that effect). Now the Black Racist In Chief hopes that a couple of beers will just make it all go away so he can get back to pressing for the destruction of our health care system.

If I were Sgt. Crowley, my message to the President of the United States, with all due respect, would be "hell no!"

Read more!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

More Bad News For Obama Health Plan

And as we all know, bad news for Obama's Health Plan is good news for all of us.

Yeah, I know it's the House Health Plan, but Obama owns it since he's been out there pushing it even though he doesn't know what's in it. And he recently had a meeting with Doug Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, to strong-arm him into shutting up about how bad this plan is. Apparently it didn't work:

President Obama continued his campaign on behalf of health-care reform Saturday by focusing his radio and Internet address on the impact of insurance costs on small businesses.

The president said that many small businesses are forced to offer less generous plans, drop coverage or shut their doors because they cannot afford the rising cost of care.

"This is unsustainable, it's unacceptable, and it's going to change when I sign health insurance reform into law," he vowed.

At the same time, the administration received mixed news from the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan group that estimates the cost of legislation.

The CBO concluded that an administration-backed proposal to give a new commission power to ratchet down what Medicare pays doctors and hospitals would save just $2 billion over the next decade. Democrats had hoped the proposal would score higher savings that could help provide coverage for about 47 million uninsured Americans.

First of all, we know the 47 million uninsured number Obama loves to use is bogus. As far as the "savings" goes, to put this into perspective, the total cost of the Obama/House plan is projected at $1.6 trillion over ten years -- which, given the government's propensity to vastly underestimate the actual cost of their services, is probably very low. But given this low number, $2 billion is a mere 1/800th of the total cost. Imagine if you were to buy a house for $150,000 from one realtor because they promise to save you a like amount over ten years. That amount would be about $20 a year -- about enough to take a family of four out to McDonald's once a year provided one of you got a Happy Meal. That's not what you could actually call "savings". What you could call it is the equivalent of finding six cents a day in the sofa.

But what the Obama/House plan lacks in savings it makes up for in a whole lot of bad provisions that would transform the best health care system in the world into a bureaucratic mess. The more time people who are actually inclined to read Obama's bill have to read it, unlike Obama and the House Democrats who are more interested in getting it passed than actually knowing what's in it, the more bad stuff they find.EconomcPolicyJournal.comhas referenced a list posted on Twitter of the worst provisions of the bill "tweeted" by Peter Fleckenstein, a guy who is actually reading the bill. It's a long list, but here are some of the highlights:

Pg 22 of the HC Bill MANDATES the Govt will audit books of ALL EMPLOYERS that self insure!!

Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC bill - THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benes u get

Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill - YOUR HEALTHCARE IS RATIONED!!!

Pg 42 of HC Bill - The Health Choices Commissioner will choose UR HC Benefits 4 you. U have no choice!

PG 50 Section 152 in HC bill - HC will be provided 2 ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise

Pg 58HC Bill - Govt will have real-time access 2 individs finances & a National ID Healthcard will b issued!

As you can see, the references cited in the actual bill show that any pretense of "choice" is BS, we're going to provide free health care to illegal aliens, the bill calls for direct debits from American's bank accounts to pay for services AND everyone will have an national ID healthcard. Sounds just peachy keen doesn't it?

And if you thought that this wasn't going to be voted on before the Washington Weasels leave July 31st, think again. This could end up being one of those Friday afternoon fiascos just like Cap and Tax was:

July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Democratic leaders will try to push a health-care overhaul bill through its final House committee next week to clear the way for a floor vote even as clashes within the party leave the measure’s passage in doubt.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said “significant and positive progress” occurred yesterday when some Democrats agreed to add to the bill a plan to curb the growth of Medicare spending.

Still, the accord didn’t fully satisfy a group of self- described fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats who could block the measure’s approval by the Energy and Commerce Committee. Panel chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat and a Blue Dog leader, said they will try to work out disagreements on several matters next week.

Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said leaders believe that most House Democrats won’t want to see President Barack Obama’s top legislative priority fail, and that the pact on Medicare will attract more support for the bill.

“I am confident that based on that, we can resolve these other differences and get a bill out of committee,” Hoyer said. He said the House may stay in session beyond July 31, when it is scheduled to begin a month-long recess, to consider the legislation.

This means we can't let up on our calls, emails and faxes to the 52 Blue Dog Democrats who are holding fast against the leftist leadership of their party. This outrage has to be stopped or our country as we know it will never be the same.

Read more!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Obama's Not Sorry

For the mess he caused by calling a Cambridge, Mass. police officer who was doing his job stupid:

"This has been ratcheting up, and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up," Obama said of the racial controversy. "I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department and Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could've calibrated those words differently."

The president did not back down from his contention that police had overreacted by arresting the Harvard professor for disorderly conduct after coming to his home to investigate a possible break-in. He added, though, that he thought Gates, too, had overreacted to the police who questioned him. The charge has been dropped

And then there was the non-apology, apology:

"I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department and Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could've calibrated those words differently."

Just how do you "calibrate" words? The Messiah said Sgt. Crowley "behaved stupidly". What is this if not "maligning the Cambridge Police Department" and Sgt. Crowley specifically? But as we've all come to know from following liberal politicians and as is a daily occurrence in the Administration, we're supposed to ignore the actual meanings of words and let the liberals tell us, above and beyond all facts and reason, what their words mean. In other words Obama's words have no meaning until Obama tells us what meaning they have.

If you read the police report, you can tell that Skip Gates had a chip on his shoulder from the moment the officer made contact with him. Witness accounts and apparently, audio of the incident, back up Sgt. Crowley's version of the events. The only person who made a race issue out of this incident was Gates himself and the President of the United States fanned the flames into a bonfire with his ignorant commments. If I were Sgt. Crowley, there'd be no beer at the White House until a got an actual apology from The Messiah - and from his big buddy Skip Gates as well.

Read more!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama Says He Can Wait Until Fall for Health Care "Overhaul"

In a pretty clear indication that The Messiah's powers of persuasion just aren't what they used to be, the overhaul of the health care system that absolutely had to happen yesterday is off at least until fall -- and he's all of a sudden okay with that:

President Obama on Thursday brushed off the news that Congress was putting the brakes on his health care reform push, saying it's "OK" if lawmakers need additional time to work out complex details of the package.

That was after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said for the first time that the Senate will not vote on the legislation until after the August recess. "It's better to have a product based on quality and thoughtfulness rather than try to jam something through," Reid said.

The decision means Congress will not meet Obama's ambitious goal for both chambers to pass out a bill by the summer break.

Well, well, well. Whatever happened to "we are closer than ever before to the reform that the American people need, and we're going to get the job done" and other more strident rhetoric? It met with strong opposition from rational Democrats (I know this is an oxymoron for the most part) who are being reminded of the facts by millions of their constituents:

1. The Messiah is pushing hard for a bill that he hasn't even read.

2. The Messiah claims this massive outlay is "revenue neutral" out of one side of his mouth and admits he doesn't know exactly how it will be funded out of the other side of his mouth.

3. The Messiah claims that the health care plan he hasn't even read will "cut costs" even though no government health plan to date has ever met a budget and in fact every one of them is bankrupt and running trillions in unfunded liabilities.

4. Given the facts in #3, there is no rational reason to believe that the world's biggest entitlement program -- national health care for 300+ million people -- will do anything other than run massively over budget, run up trillions in unfunded liabilities and end up bankrupting us all.

5. The Messiah is creating all of this uproar and turmoil claiming that we have a health care crisis when, in fact 80+% of Americans are happy with their coverage and happy with the quality of their care.

6. The free market and what remains of the free market in health care in 2009 is chiefly responsible for making the American health care system the best in the world. Turning it into a larger version of the British and Canadian health care systems at a cost of trillions and trillions of dollars makes absolutely no sense.

7. Obama was pushing Congress to get this passed early next month exactly because the whole plan makes no sense and if people actually find out how nutty it is, they will sink the plan. We knew, others found out, and we sank the plan -- for now.

Obama failed last night not only because he did a lousy job, but because we did a good job of opposing this massive assault on our liberties and our rights to obtain health care in the beat health care system in the world created and sustained in a quasi-free market. Just because he failed in ram-rodding this plan that he hasn't even read through by the August recess doesn't mean he won't be back at it just as hard in September. This has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with Obama's legacy and control over society. We have to re-group and fight just as hard after the break as we did before to stop this massive assault on our liberties.

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New York Times Disputes Obama's Health Care Claims

When the house organ of the Obama Administration posts a story that directly contradicts their Messiah, immediately after Obama muddles through his defense of an indefensible health care plan he hasn't even read, you know it's getting bad, folks:

WASHINGTON — President Obama showed great fluency in the intricate details of health policy at his news conference on Wednesday night, but experts said some of his points were debatable.

Mr. Obama said doctors, nurses,hospitals, drug companies and AARPhad supported efforts to overhaul health care.

While it is true the American Medical Association has endorsed a bill drafted by House Democratic leaders, a half-dozen state medical societies have sharply criticized provisions that would establish a new government-run health insurance plan.

And the criticism gets better from here. When even the New York Times is trying to uncover the fact that national health care is a bad idea, you know it's a bad idea.

Read more!

Osama bin Laden's Son Killed in Pakistan

Thank God our brilliant and brave fighting men and women
can continue to do the job of keeping the world safe for democracy despite having as Commander in Chief a Marxist anti-military moron:
Sa'ad bin Laden, the son of arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, has been killed by a US drone attack in Pakistan, US officials told the National Public Radio station (NPR) in a report aired on Wednesday.

The report quoted a senior US counterterrorism official, who said that while Sa'ad bin Laden was active in al-Qaida, he was not a major figure in the terror organization, and was not important enough to target personally. It was therefore assumed that he was simply "in the wrong place at the wrong time," the official said.

While the report of his death was "80 to 85 percent certain," the official said that no body had yet been found. The report did not detail what facts led the US to make the assumption that he was killed.

Expect Secretary of State Mrs. Bill Clinton to issue a statement of apology by the end of the day, pull out a red button, push it and vow to re-set relations with al-Qaida.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Bending the Cost Curve" on Health Care at Both Ends

I don't know about you, but I'm about sick of the idiotic phrases liberals use to blunt the hard cold reality of their agenda items. For example, spending billions of dollars in "stimulus" to fill potholes and build bridges to nowhere -- the very definition of paying someone to dig holes and paying someone else to fill them in -- is called "shovel ready jobs". The only thing "shovel ready" about this is the BS liberals use to justify it.

Another of the little lefty phrases that has gained favor with Dear Leader Chairman Maobama (Mike Church's name for The Messiah, not mine) recently is "bending the cost curve" when it comes to cutting medical costs. Bending the cost curve! Bending the cost curve! Bending the cost curve! Bending the cost curve! Bending the cost curve!!!??? Just what the hell does this ridiculous lefty phrase mean? The answer to that can be found in pages 425-430 of the House Health Bill, the deceptively-named "Affordable Health Choices Act".

What is contained on these pages? Well, let's just call it "death counseling" for seniors -- required every five years for every senior and more often depending on how sick you are. Yes seniors, Obama and the House lefties want you to die like a man (or woman, as the case may be), to get you out of the way so the Stalinist bureaucracy can allocate the resources that might have been used to prolong your life to someone who is more worthy. Or as Zeke (love that name!) Emanuel, Rahm Emanuel's brother and an Obama health care advisor puts it in his dissertation "Principles for allocation of scarce medical interventions":

The complete lives system discriminates against older people.81,82 Age-based allocation is ageism.82 Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age.8,39 Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years.16 Treating 65-year olds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not.

Leaving aside the third-grade brilliance of a phrase like "even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years", it's hard to imagine this guy, 69-year-old George Amundson, who recently competed in a triathlon to honor his grandson, William Amundson, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004, needing to have counseling in "end of life" care. Yet, if this Stalinist piece of garbage were to become law, he would be forced to sit through "an explanation by a practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services" every five years about how he could better kick the bucket to save resources for a younger person who might be more worthy.

Granted, George is the exception -- one I hope to follow. However, literally millions of people well over the age of 65 lead extremely vital lives and don't need to have some bureaucratic death counselor tell them their options for kicking the bucket.

And what of the seniors who might not be in the best of health?

My wife's grandmother lived with congestive heart failure, kidney failure and diabetes for the last six years of her life until she died last summer at the age of 86. She went to dialysis three days a week for the last five years of her life when they told her she wouldn't last on dialysis more than six months. Another 80-year-old may have chosen to not make use of such care. She did and lived to see the birth of three great-great grandchildren, saw several great-grandchildren graduate from high school and enriched the lives of her entire family for six years she wouldn't have had without modern medical care. Under the Immanuel, Obama, Pelosi "complete lives system" these resources would have been allocated to someone else. Under our current health care system it was her choice to live as it should be in a free country.

But if you think Obama just wants to "bend the cost curve" on the tail end of life (isn't that hideous enough), you'd have another think coming. Because, you see, you don't have to pay for health care for some people if you pay to have them aborted before they are born:

Washington D.C., Jul 22, 2009 / 05:48 pm (CNA).- As speculation persists about whether President Obama’s push for a health care bill has ramifications for abortion funding, the Population Research Institute is warning that the plan as “one of the clearest and most decisive attacks against the pro-life cause” since Roe v. Wade.

PRI claims the president’s favored bill, HR 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act,” would include abortion in the minimum benefits of every health care plan and would require every taxpayer and insurance holder to pay for every abortion.

His healthcare plan, in PRI’s view, would discriminate against practitioners who refuse to perform abortions, possibly leading to their unemployment.

However, such claims rest on whether abortion is defined as essential health care. Amendments explicitly forbidding abortion funding have been proposed and defeated, but the status of abortion is not explicitly defined.

As far as that last paragraph goes, we know that killing babies is more that just "essential health care". For the commie lib heathens currently in power it's a religious sacrament that they aren't about the exempt from their health care plan.

Yes folks: The next time you hear The Messiah utter the words "bending the cost curve" in regards to his health plan, think about your mother in the nursing home or that unborn baby he wants to "bend the cost curve" over.

Read more!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TARP Watchdog Says Taxpayer Liabilities Could Reach Nearly $24 Trillion

Neil Barofsky just issued this report which will probably make him the next inspector general to be fired by the Obama Administration.

So much for "transparency" and "fiscal responsibility". But I guess Obama is just following his Dufus Vice President's advice: You've got to spend money to keep from going bankrupt. .

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Obama a Communist? Says Who?

Says the head of the Communist Party USA, Sam Webb:

I make no attempt to be comprehensive in these remarks. My aim is much more modest, as you will see.

Let me begin with a simple observation: If the last 30 years were an era of reaction, then the coming decade could turn into an era of reform, even radical reform. Six months into the Obama presidency, I would say without hesitation that the landscape, atmosphere, conversation, and agenda have strikingly changed compared to the previous eight years.

In this legislative session, we can envision winning a Medicare-like public option and then going further in the years ahead.

We can visualize passing tough regulatory reforms on the financial industry, which brought the economy to ruin.
For better than a year now us rational conservatives have been telling you that Obama is a Communist, Marxist, Socialist -- everything he's done in the last six months is right out of the Communist Manifesto and Saul Alinsky's rules for radicals. Now you don't have to take our word for it. Just ask Sam Webb.
Hat tip: Mark Levin, Randall Hoven, the American Thinker

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to Obama's Clout Cuckoo Land

It seems clear to most conservatives now that we no longer operate under the kind of government we all grew up believing the USA was.

There are at least two schools of thought as to what we have become. One faction, subtly at first, and in whispers—but now openly and with great intensity—claims we have become a near-socialist nation, and are well on our way to communism. Another school of thought contends that we are merely experiencing a president who is the consummate politician, well-versed in political arm-twisting he learned from the masterful practitioners of it with whom he came up politically in the City of Big Shoulders.

I agree with both. We are living in a delusional dictatorship—a new kind of government that meshes the two, which I call “Clout Cuckoo Land.”

For those not versed in ancient Greek Utopian dramatics (wait? aren't we all?), "Cloud Cuckoo Land" is a term that comes from Aristophanes' play, "The Birds," wherein two characters construct a Utopian world in the clouds and give it that name. The plot is too complex to go into here. Suffice to say it now refers to any intellectual worldview that is unrealistically hopeful and ultimately proves delusional.

“Clout,” of course, is that uniquely Chicago form of corruption and graft that makes the political machine run smoothly. Politicians have clout. So do some media people. High-powered lawyers and many real estate moguls. You don’t sit on a board or get a foundation grant when you don’t have it. You don’t have to explain where the money went when you do have it (unless someone outside the system peeks in, like federal prosecutors--who have an unfortunate habit of swooping in every so often and catching a netful of felonious fish). It’s the purely Chicago mix of political influence and elitist amorality that gets both potholes and parking tickets fixed, because you know the right people, and you ask in the right way.

President Obama’s core world view (the Cuckoo Land he’s trying to build with our tax money) is the most idealistic form of communism, the global equality of outcome and redistributive justice that political science students stay up all night discussing and dreaming about, wishing for the day that they can implement it for themselves. (And “for themselves” is exactly how the dreams of utopian idealists always turn out.)

Born to a mother whose free-spirited Universalism knew few bounds, mentored as a child in Hawaii by (to coin a phrase) “unrepentant” Communist Frank Marshall Davis, with whom his grandfather (to coin another phrase) “palled around,” befriended in college by “radicals” and “structural feminists,” and finally as an adult living in the same neighborhood as Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Louis Farrakhan, Obama’s vision of an ideal world where equality of outcome is assured by state fiat was never challenged by those he respected. Leftists all, they fed his communist idealism. Educationally and economically privileged for the most part, they never tested it in the crucible of reality.

Barack’s community organizing stints were difficult for him. As is usually the case for leftists, actual contact with “the people,” the experience of having to live among them was frustrating. He told his Harvard friends that he didn’t really know how to explain community organizing. “It’s about change,” he would say.

That sounds familiar.

And he didn’t go back there, either. Instead, armed with a law degree and a book contract, he wrote a book and joined law firms. Eventually, Obama chose to become a politician, essentially helping people from afar. He might appear in a neighborhood now and again, but essentially he voted on their lives without interacting with them, and went home every night to a house that could have been sold to rebuild whole city blocks full of the people he was supposedly working so hard to help.

As President, he now has the ultimate clout with which to recreate the nation as he wants it to be. Make no mistake: he doesn’t want to rebuild it, or reform it, or reclaim it. He aims to “re-make” it. He doesn’t like it the way it is, and the truth is that he has never liked it the way it was originally planned to be, either. Though he calls himself a capitalist, his every move is to dismantle the capitalist system, as his socialist allies around the world urge him to do. He is a capitalist in the way that pro-choice “recovering” Catholics urging the Pope to ordain women are “Catholics.” Love the social programs, hate the doctrine. Like them, given the power to do so, he aims to remake the system into something more to his liking. Something based on economic redistribution and equality of outcome.
Something, in other words, that is nothing like capitalism.

The egalitarianism of Communism and the elitist corruption of Chicago machine politics don't mesh well together, in pure form. Communism doesn't admit to that sort of favoritism, though it always appears when the system is actually run. Call it a bug. And the clout system is supposed to run exclusively to the advantage of the political elites. Otherwise, they wouldn’t want to play anymore, and they might just tear the sucker down and start a new system. So far, in Chicago, they haven’t. That’s because the clout system insures maximum reward for minimal effort, as long as you are willing to behave in an absolutely amoral fashion, doing whatever is best for the machine at any given moment; in that aspect, it is just like communism, because the only real interest protected is that of the state. The difference is that, in Chicago, the clouted politician is the state.

This is the way that communism always, inevitably develops. Look at Cuba, run by the Castro brothers as a "people's paradise" by a "benevolent" dictatorship. Have the wrong ideas, and the system crushes you--not because you have violated the rules, but because you have offended the ruler. Look at the old Soviet Union (as distinguished from the "new" Russia, though not by much.) When the economy was in dire straits (which was, basically, for the seventy years of its existence), everyone was supposed to wait in the same long lines for the same commodities they equally could not afford. But that's not how it went. How it went was that the people with the keys to the kingdom (and their relatives, friends, hookers, and drug suppliers, or anyone that pleased them at the moment) got first pick, and then the equal distribution began.

The communist program is supposed to run on equality and justice, redistributing everything to make us all equal. But, then, just like in Animal Farm, some pigs end up "more equal" than other pigs.

Obama's upbringing and education taught him the virtues of communism and nurtured in him a desire to see it realized. His time in Chicago taught him the means by which it just might be achievable.

Welcome to Clout Cuckoo Land.

In it, we can save the nation from bankruptcy by bludgeoning the taxpayers to shell out more money, billions of which is already being disproportionately redistributed to states that voted heavily for Barack Obama.

In it, we can maintain our integrity and have the strictest ethical rules in all of history, while following the same old rules of engagement in the awarding of ambassadorships, even providing more of them than usual to political cronies.

In it, we can promise more transparency and oversight and regulation and openness—and then brazenly fire an independent Inspector General when he gets too close to the corrupt secrets of a tax-funded charitable institution.

It is the perfect match of hopity-changeitude with the realistic bare-knuckle politics of the same-old, same-old.

It is the new system, and you will like it. Just relax. It won’t hurt a bit.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

The "Cash for Clunkers" Swindle

Perhaps you've heard of 'cash for clunkers" -- that Obama stimulus program where he takes your money and mine -- up to $4500 per car -- and gives it to people to buy a brand-new more fuel efficient car. Sounds great doesn't it? Get rid of your "gas guzzler" and the taxpayers pay $4500 of the cost of a new one for you. You get a new car and the taxpayers get screwed.

Ostensibly, this new program is designed to get "clunkers" that get poor gas mileage off the road and get you into a car the government deems more "environmentally friendly". Aside from the fact that it's none of the government's damn business what you or I choose to drive and it's not the government's business to incentivize one type of car at the expense of another, what's wrong with this program? Simply, the utter unconstitutionality of it all and the fact that the government appears to be gaming the numbers to create qualifying "clunkers". And these "clunkers" happen to be the types of vehicles the lefties hate other people to drive -- SUVs and minivans.

Case in point: The two of the three vehicles in my household, both of which are minivans. If you visit it describes in detail how this scam works. The Cliff's Notes version is that you can get up to $4500 in government credits taken directly off the price of a new car for turning in your "clunker" that gets an EPA average 18 MPG or less in combined city/highway driving. The dealer that gets your "clunker" is then required to destroy it. You can find out what the EPA average for your current car is by visiting and looking up your car. The scam is that the EPA has "new estimated mileage rates" that appear to vastly underestimate a "clunker's" actual mileage.

For the first example, the EPA rates for my 1996 minivan -- 17 MPG -- are a good three MPG less than the actual reported mileage, putting my 13-year-old minivan solidly in the "clunker" category. The owner reported average -- 20.2 MPG -- puts this same vehicle well over the mileage that would rate "clunker" status. Which is more accurate, actual owner experience or the 2008 EPA estimate for a then-12-year-old vehicle? I have every reason to believe that the average reported by 5 owners for the vehicle in question is absolutely accurate. Why? Because it matches the overall average of my 125,000-mile experience with this vehicle almost exactly. So the only conclusion I can come to is that the EPA is rigging the numbers in order to entice owners with the taxpayers $4500 in cash for their approximate $2,000 vehicle, get them off the road and destroy them.

This is only one vehicle right? The mileage estimates for others are probably a lot more accurate. Not for my 2004 minivan with 135,000 miles on it. In all those miles, the mileage calculator usually sits right around 20 MPG. The history since it was last re-set in January -- winter, spring and summer driving conditions; stop and go traffic, trips of 400+ miles -- is 19.9 MPG. The EPA "new 2008 estimate"? 18 MPG -- low enough to qualify it as a "clunker" if the resale value wasn't already far more than $4500. In a few years, they'll be paying owners of perfectly good Dodge Grand Caravans $4500 to have them destroyed on the taxpayer dime -- 6-disc premium sound DVD changer and all. Again I ask you, which is a more accurate "estimate" of the gas mileage you get out of a 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 20th Anniversary Edition? The EPA's "new estimate" or 135,000 miles of real-world experience in all driving conditions in all kinds of weather? (After all, I live in Iowa where it's 20 below in the winter and 90+ above in the summer.)

Just to make sure there wasn't some kind of anomaly involving 1996 Mercury Villagers and 2004 Dodge Grand Caravans on, I checked a few other cars -- ones that I've owned in the past and ones that family members own now. Every single one of them was rated a good 2-3 MPG below the actual mileage the owner was getting out of that car. Most of these mileage figures were skewed low enough to put the vehicle in the "clunker" category and qualify it for destruction even though the vehicles were perfect serviceable and will be for years to come. My 13-year-old Villager with 175,000 miles on it is good for another 175,000 miles and I'm certainly not going to send the taxpayers a $4,500 bill to have it destroyed and replaced with a brand-new car and a car payment to go with it. Would that be any way to treat the most reliable vehicle I've owned in my 30+ years of driving?

Am I detecting a trend here? Just what is the agenda of the EPA's "new mileage estimate'? If I didn't know better, I'd say that the it's goal is to get old cars off the road and replace them with tiny little boxes of crap that hold four people in extreme discomfort and get 40 MPG. Never mind that my 13-year-old van will carry six people and all their luggage across country in relative comfort at 70 MPH and get 24-25 MPG -- a feat that makes it more economical that the two tin boxes of crap that would be required to transport the same six people and all their luggage across country. No my relatively economical vehicle is considered a "clunker" by skewing the mileage numbers down so that the feds can remove one of the cars they don't approve of from the road and saddle some poor sap with a car payment they can't afford for a "brand-new" car they didn't really need in the first place.

The Messiah will tell you I'm being cynical. This program is meant to "stimulate the economy" and "revive the auto industry". But if this were the only goal, why destroy perfectly good cars that could be viable and economical transportation alternatives for lower wage earners who can't afford brand-new cars? In general, most cars built after the late-80s and early-90s -- fuel injected, computerized, distributor-less ignitions -- will last for several hundred thousand miles if properly maintained. And it's a hell of a lot cheaper to maintain an older high-mileage car than it is to make the payments on a new one.

Which brings us to another fact: The "clunkers" in question are already the "niche" vehicle for lower-income households. Do you think the folks who can actually afford a car payment are driving 13-year-old cars with nearly 200,000 miles on them? If they are they are like me: Most are driving this car as a second car while making payments on a newer car and most have the good sense NOT to take on a second car payment. Those that do take on that second car payment -- even with the $4,500 credit for buying a brand-new car -- are probably overextending themselves. After all, those of us who live in rural areas and drive the living snot out of our cars can have 150,000 miles on a "brand-new" car before it's even paid off. That's where I'm at right now. So the primary market for these older high-mileage vehicles on the EPA's "clunker" list is as the one and only car for lower income households and young people with lower incomes -- the exact people who can't afford to buy a brand-new car regardless of whether or not they get $4,500 back from the taxpayers. With the average price of a new car at better than $20,000, even $15,500 is a big chunk of money for a lower-income family to pay of even over a period of 72 months.

This is exactly why this "cash for clunkers" program is hardly an economic stimulant. Many folks who live paycheck to paycheck are going to be enticed into taking on a car payment they can't afford by turning in their old car to be destroyed for a $4,500 credit and a car payment. Now we're stuck with a bunch of newer cars these folks can't afford and a drastic reduction in the supply of good older cars that they can afford. Kind of the auto version of the housing crash created by the Community Reinvestment Act. Just another ill-conceived "stimulus" created by liberals -- and another huge bill for the taxpayer.

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