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July 31, 2009

Bills For Blunders Part II

The House today moved quickly to add $2 billion we don’t have to “Cash for Clunkers,” a program in which the government gives people free money to buy cars.

Slated to run though the end of September, the original $1 billion we don’t have that had been allocated to the program was all but gone by yesterday, surprising those who supported the program.

As Senator Debbie Stabenow noted, “It is amazing that 'Cash for Clunkers’ would be this successful this quickly.”

Truly, the popularity of free money took many by surprise including us.  Back in March, when we first addressed the issue we suggested a number of similar programs however now that we understand what is truly inviting about the program we figure we can just cut to the chase, eliminate the middleman, and propose the government adopt the Planet Moron:

“Throw Money Out The Back Of A Van Program”

Our program would consist of two interrelated elements:

  1. Drive vans around.
  2. Throw money out the back of them.

While seemingly simple in concept, the program is in fact quite sophisticated incorporating not only a Keynesian fiscal stimulative effect but, depending on Federal Reserve involvement,  a potentially monetary liquidity event as well.

But mostly, it’s just throwing money out the back of a van.

Our program has a number of advantages:

1) Eliminates the paperwork involved in “Cash for Clunkers.”

2) Like Cash for Clunkers, would increase auto company sales as the government purchases a fleet of vans.

3) Creates jobs for van drivers.

4) Creates jobs for money throwers (we’re thinking laid-off Wall Street workers).  Sure, these jobs are all short term, but we’d still get to count them!

5) Gets money into economy quickly, depending on how fast it can be thrown out the back of a van.

6) Does not involve all the messy, boring, economic gobbledygook of “unintended consequences,” “Bastiat’s broken window fallacy,”  “market distortions,” and so on.  Hey, it’s just throwing money out the back of a van!

There is one disadvantage.  By throwing money out the back of a van, the government loses control over what people will do with it.  Why, instead of purchasing an economical hybrid they might buy a Dodge Ram! Or NASCAR tickets or give money to their church!

Yuck!

Still, it is fully in the spirit of the already successful Cash for Clunkers program and will allow Congress to yet again take credit for promising people free stuff, which probably won’t hurt their re-election prospects.

“When I suggested we throw money out the back of a van my opponent said no!  He is part of the party of no!   No to free health care!  No to free cars!  No to free money!”

We look forward to our elective representatives looking into our plan to throw money out the back of vans.

And if that doesn’t work?

We go have another talk with Helicopter Ben.

J.

July 31, 2009 at 04:28 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 30, 2009

Sometimes You Have To Spend Money To Not Spend Money. Or Something

President Obama believes we absolutely must pass health care reform if we really want to “help get our exploding deficits under control” and bring down spiraling costs.

How can you tell his health care reform will help get our exploding deficits under control and bring down spiraling costs?

Because Congress had to come up with a half a trillion dollars in new tax increases to help pay for it.

Or as Vice President Joe Biden put it:

“Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt? The answer is yes, that's what I’m telling you.”

Really, that’s what he’s telling you.

In fact, to fund Obama’s cost-lowering, money-saving, deficit-reducing health care plan, we’re going to have to spend another $820 billion.

Hey, if you were Joe Biden, that would make perfect sense.

But then, if you were Joe Biden, you would be suffering from severe short-term memory loss.

Naturally, we want to help, but how?

Well, we were so inspired yesterday by the ingenuity and seriousness of purpose demonstrated by the cuts President Obama’s Cabinet Secretaries agreed to make, that we decided to employ the very same innovative approaches and outside-of-the-box thinking to health care reform and produce our own list of groundbreaking cost-saving measures:

1) Use both sides of the tongue depressor.  It’s silly to throw away a perfectly good tongue depressor when only one side of it has been used.  (Hint: You're really going to want to get that first appointment of the day). Projected savings: $1 million.

2)
Turn off the ECU heart monitors at night. Projected savings: $1 billion (including savings on expensive, and suddenly moot, end-of-life care). Projected savings: $1.5 billion.

3)
Replace expensive surgical scalpels with the Miracle Blade III!  Projected Savings: $1.5 billion.

4)
And if Congress acts before the end of the hour, we’ll get the Original Quick Chop, great for preparing tissue cultures, absolutely free! (No wonder Obama is in such a rush.) Projected savings: $2 million.

5)
Eliminate unnecessary heart transplants: $1 billion.

6) Replace wasteful halogen operating room lights:

Operating Room Light









With a single compact fluorescent:

Operating Room CFL








Projected Savings: TBD.

7) Transfer costs associated with ambulances to the Department of Transportation.  Projected Savings: $5 million.

8)
Replace the hopelessly outdated paper now used to cover examination tables and use iPhones instead. (It sounded techy in the brainstorming session.) Projected Savings: Negative $3 billion.

9)
Improve efficiencies: Projected Savings:$20 billion.

Okay, so we still have a ways to go. But that's not the point

The point is that the non-spending-$820-billion status quo is simply unacceptable.  If we don't add $820 billion in health care spending over the next ten years we'll never reduce the government's burdensome health care spending.

Having trouble understanding that?  You know where to find the answers.

Vice President Joe Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

J.

July 30, 2009 at 05:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 29, 2009

A Penny Saved Is Still Just A Penny

The White House late Monday released the list of cuts the President had demanded from his Cabinet Secretaries back in January, beating his $100 million goal by $2 million.

As has been noted by others, some cuts demonstrated real sacrifice, while others, well, not so much.

But then, as OMB Director Peter Orszag noted in a memo to the President (PDF), “This variety of proposals reflects your guidance that even small savings can add up to make an extraordinary difference.”  And by “Variety” he means “more than half from the Defense Department (PDF)," and by “extraordinary difference” he means .001% of their budgets.

We’ve reviewed the full document (PDF) and have recreated below what the final meeting of Cabinet Secretaries must have been like as they discussed their contributions. 

The dialogue is imagined, the cuts and figures, however, are all 100% genuine:

Secretary Hilda L. Solis, Department of Labor: Look guys, this was really painful but we at the Department of Labor wanted to demonstrate how seriously we take the President’s commitment in tackling the budget deficits, so we’ve agreed to eliminate the Employment Standards Administration, along with an Assistant Secretary position and two Deputy Assistant Secretary positions.  The department has been around nearly four decades, but tough times call for extreme measures.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Department of Justice: You know what, I wasn’t going to offer this up.  I told the guys they were crazy even to think of it, but Hilda has inspired me.  We’re going to start turning our computers off at night.
Solis: What?
Holder: Yep.  And no, you can’t talk me out of it! Don’t even try, don’t you even try!
Solis: Turn your computers off?
Holder: At night, yes.
Solis: That’s your contribution.
Holder:
Look, we’re going to have to wait around while they boot up every morning. 
Solis: I eliminated an entire department and fired an Assistant Secretary.
Holder: You know we’re using Windows Vista, right?
Solis: And two Deputy Assistant Secretaries.
Holder: Hey, I’m not done.  We’re also going to set up the copy machines to print on both sides of the paper.  Happy now, Lizzie Borden?
Solis: What did you call me?

Secretary Raymond L. LaHood, Department of Transportation:
Okay, okay, settle down, I’ve got something you’re going to like. I sure hope I don’t regret this.  But we’re going to convert our Daily Clips news service from paper to electronic.
Solis: You were still using paper?
LaHood: Yep, that’s a cool $1,000 savings.  And that’s just this year.  It’s another grand next year, so it’s kind of an ongoing thing. It’s not like this is just a one time thing.  It adds up.

Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Department of the Treasury:
Heck, even I can do better than that.  How does $8 million in savings grab you?
Solis: How are you going to save $8 million?
Geithner: By improving operations.
Solis: How?
Geithner: You know, do stuff better, that kind of thing. 
Solis: How do you know it’s going to add up to $8 million if you don’t even know what you’re going to do?
Geithner: I ran it through TurboTax.
Solis: How about you, Lisa, I’m sure you have something.

Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency:
Absolutely.  We are going to go to the next generation of lighting innovations and replace our old-fashioned compact fluorescent light bulbs with LEDs.  That should save 30% in energy!
Solis: How much in dollars?
Jackson: Well, we haven’t determined that yet because the savings from the pilot project we're running are too small to measure.
Solis: So how do you know the 30% figure is any good?
Jackson: At the EPA, we don’t like to pay attention to data. We prefer to focus on the estimates our models create.  That reminds me, have you read my latest report on global warming?
Solis: What else do you have?
Jackson: You mean other than the theoretically energy saving LED project?
Solis: Yes.
Jackson: Nothing.
Solis: You have one item, and it doesn’t work.
Jackson: My, you’re in a glass-is-half-empty mood today.

Secretary Janet A. Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security:
I’ve got something.  Nearly $4 million in savings by transferring some operations to the GSA.
Solis: How does that help the deficit?  You just transferred it from your agency to somewhere else.
Napolitano: Hey, it's not fair to change the rules in the middle of the game.

Secretary Gary F. Locke, Department of Commerce:
Maybe this will make you feel better.  At the Commerce Department, we’ve agreed to place a moratorium on unnecessary office renovation.
Solis: Why were you doing office renovations if they weren’t necessary?
Locke: What do you mean?
Solis: What is an unnecessary office renovation?
Locke: One that isn’t necessary.  And, we’re cutting those.
Napolitano: Gary has a point, Hilda.  We’re saving over a million dollars by “eliminating excess expenses.” Maybe you should have thought of that before you started mowing down your staff like something out of Full Metal Jacket.
Solis: I’m going to leave now.

Holder: Well, I think this worked out really well!
Jackson: Yes, a very productive meeting.
LaHood: Do you think we’ll have to do this again next year?  That was hard. You should have seen the look on the face of the guy who cuts out the newspaper articles…

J

July 29, 2009 at 10:20 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 28, 2009

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth A Pound of Cure. But We’ll Take The Pound Of Cure, Too.

You may not be aware of this, but you and The National Cancer Institute (NCI) have something very much in common:

Neither one of you has cured cancer.

There is one important difference, however.

You didn’t spend over $100 billion not doing it.

Okay, we are being a little hard on the NCI.  Cancer research has made great strides.  Seventy years ago, if you were diagnosed with cancer, you were sure to die of it.

Today, you’ll still die, but more slowly.

To be fair, we readily concede that dying more slowly is a worthy goal and in fact a major Planet Moron endeavor. That is why we eat right, exercise, and take vitamins.

The drinking?  That’s in case Plan A doesn’t work.

Still, despite the progress in detection and treatment, there is some disappointment in having not achieved more (say, curing cancer) after such a vast commitment of resources and time to cancer research.

Some contend that the lack of dramatic progress is a result of NCI favoring timid approaches to research and so funding low-risk studies in which grants are awarded to researchers as a kind of scientist-full-employment act that will at least provide some interesting data but has little hope of creating major breakthroughs.

Consider the recently awarded grant for “Neurobehavioral Predictors of Diet Adherence” a study that endeavors to explore “Mounting evidence from the fields of neuroscience and behavioral science [that] indicates that the pleasure and reward associated with palatable food play a substantial role in the etiology of obesity and may interfere with the ability to refrain from palatable, energy-dense foods while dieting.”

In other words, people who like food that tastes good might have more trouble controlling their weight than people who don’t.

Or at least there is mounting evidence to that effect.

This kind of research is an element of NCI's extensive campaign against obesity, part of an effort to prevent people from getting cancer in the first place.

Similarly, the NCI devotes considerable resources and numerous grants to smoking cessation programs.  Of course, seeing to it that fewer people smoke does mean fewer people getting cancer and that is all well and good and noble to a point.

But it doesn’t cure cancer.

Imagine if NASA had devoted large portions of its budget to “moon shot cessation programs” in which it tried to convince the public of the many dangers involved in taking up space travel.

Instead of going to the moon.

Sure, astronaut deaths would be way down, and we probably never would have had to choke down Tang as children, but we also would have never flown to the moon.

Or, put another way, let’s say that your air conditioning goes out on a Sunday afternoon when it’s 95 degrees out with 95% humidity (a situation we here in Washington DC refer to as “August”), and you call the HVAC person.  You really aren’t all that interested in a lengthy discourse on how you could have extended the life of your system with regular filter replacements. You just want the guy to fix it.

This is not to impugn the motives of the many dedicated scientists working towards a cure for cancer. Curing cancer is hard.  That’s why we’ve spent over $100 billion not doing it.  

In fact, we fully hope that by the time we get cancer, they will have cured it, along with liver disease, excessive ear hair growth and the inexplicable attraction of watching House Hunters. (Seriously, it's a show where you watch other people look at houses with their real estate agent. We're just waiting for the inevitable spin-offs, "Window Treatment Trappers" and "Waiting In Line At The DMV To Get Your Address Changed Challenge.") But it is useful to point out that large institutional bureaucracies with monopoly, or near-monopoly mandates, are likely to, over time, turn inward and look after their own interests and the interests of their supporters at the expense of other considerations.

And that maybe, dealing with rising health care costs by turning over our most intimate decisions regarding personal health along with one-fifth of the economy to large institutional bureaucracies with monopoly or near monopoly powers might not necessarily be the absolute best solution.

J.

July 28, 2009 at 01:17 PM in Health & Fitness | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 26, 2009

We Also Hear That Very Few Small Businesses Can Afford A Private Jet

Barack Obama this weekend cited a new White House study that found that small businesses pay more per employee for health care than do large companies.

This is clearly a bombshell development. Prior to this landmark study it was widely assumed that the ability of large companies to gain efficiencies through quantity discounts and bulk purchases produced no savings whatsoever. However, it turns out that small businesses are taking it on the chin for no greater crime than merely purchasing in extremely small quantities and spreading costs over a handful of employees.

As Barack Obama said, that’s simply “unsustainable — it’s unacceptable.”

This was the most shocking revelation we here at Planet Moron had this weekend. (Okay, second-most shocking.  The most shocking was that the liquor store doesn’t open until 1 PM on Sundays meaning we are in very real peril of running out of tequila.)

To our dismay, this strange, wholly unfamilair concept of “economies of scale” goes far beyond health care.  In fact, we found:

Small companies pay more for office supplies!

Printer paper, pens, notepads, Post-It notes, push pins, motivational posters about TEAMWORK with pictures of streams and some rocks (that you never quite figured out what had to do with teamwork), you name it, and small businesses are getting crushed by these skyrocketing costs.

Unable to qualify for the pallet rebates and full truck load discounts that large multinationals can afford, small businesses are often left with little choice but to make emergency runs for toner cartridges at one of our nation’s already overburdened Staples or Office Depot service providers where naturally the costs are much higher.

And who pays those higher costs?

You do, every time you pick up your dry cleaning, have your hair done, or get an estimate for replacing the ceiling after you put your fist through it following a particularly painful football loss (for just a totally random example). 

How should we address this?

The answer is obvious: We suggest nothing less than a complete overhaul of our nation’s office products infrastructure.

Today, we have thousands of providers offering a confusing array of options and choices.

Have you tried to purchase a pen lately?  There are literally thousands of alternatives making it nearly impossible to compare features and costs to ensure you are getting the most value for your dollar..  Clicker or cap?  Ballpoint or felt tip?  Standard or comfort grip?

And the incentives can work against you.

Let’s say for instance that you come in and you need a Bic Clic Stic, or your child needs one. The Staples clerk may look at his bonus schedule and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I sell this guy a Uni-ball Jetstream RT.’”

That’s the kind of thing we need to put an end to.

Our proposed office products reform would instead reduce these choices to a manageable few by determining ahead of time, what kinds of office supplies best fit your needs.  You only think you need the gel comfort grip.  You really don’t.  Or won’t, anyway.

Our plan would also ensure that “best practices” stationery management would be identified and that information made available throughout the system.

After all, if there's a blue pen and a red pen, and the blue pen is half the price of the red pen and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that's going to make you write just as well?

And don’t worry, if you like the printer paper you’re using now, you can keep using it.  No one will make you change.  As long as it’s on the approved list.

Our proposal would also include a public option for office supplies.  Because the only way to keep private businesses honest is to require that they compete with a government entity that has taxing powers, no need to raise capital, show a profit, or run efficiently, and is immune from lawsuits.  The downside?  About half the public option stores will end up being located in Representative John Murtha's district.

We figure that if we’re going to make the case that close government regulation and control of an industry will result in more choice, higher quality, and lower cost than a system in which numerous private providers compete based on the wants, needs and individual preferences of millions of individuals, then there’s no reason why we shouldn’t get the full benefits of such an approach and replicate it throughout our nation.

Although you might want to start stocking up on those Uni-balls.

J.

July 26, 2009 at 11:55 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 24, 2009

Organization Controlled by Barack Obama Supports Barack Obama

On this last day of Planet Moron’s Health Care Week, we take a look at the “Organizing for America” web site’s effort to promote Obama's health care reform.

Organizing for America is sponsored by the Democratic National Committee and exists as a kind of brand extension of Obama, sort of like Snickers Ice Cream bars, only not as good for your health.

From the site:

Stand with the President on Health Care


Declare Your Support

For those of you who detect a quasi-martial air to the use of the medical Caduceus stabbing into the global “O” symbol as supportive throngs mill in the background like union organizers monitoring a close organizing vote, we understand. In fact, the Terran Empire symbol from the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror looks disturbingly at home:

Stand With The President

Declare your allegiance!  Er, we mean support.  Declare your support! 

It’s Time

It's Time


Time to run attack ads against members of your own party for, we presume, showing support for the President that has been deemed insufficient.  (In order for support to be deemed sufficient, it helps if it is total and unquestioning. Fawning woudn't hurt either.)

Powered by Hope

Powered by Hope

And paid for by politicians.

Paid for By

Login to MyBO

Login to MyBO

You know what?  We’re going to take a pass.  You want to log into his BO, you go right on ahead.

Obama Everywhere!

Obama Everywhere

Threat? Promise?  Clearly a feature created for those who believe they haven’t seen nearly enough of President Obama lately. Note that the social networking list is fully inclusionary, with sites for Latinos, African-Americans, and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgenders.  Remember, it’s not who you are that counts, it’s what ethnic group you belong to, who you like to have sex with, who you would like to have sex with, and what sex you would like to be while you have sex with whomever you have sex with.  Also, baby boomers.

“I’m asking you to believe.”

I'm asking you to believe

Good, we’re asking you to believe too.  Believe that when most of us oppose the health care reform you are asking us to support, the problem isn’t with the news cycle, or with the GOP, or even with the Blue Dog Democrats.

It’s with you.

J.

July 24, 2009 at 06:49 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 23, 2009

The Planet Moron Post-Press-Conference FAQ

Having not turned in one of his best performances last night, you probably still have a lot of questions about President Obama’s health care reforms.  That is why we present:

The Planet Moron Post-Press-Conference Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are we really in a health care crisis?
A: Absolutely.  Just look at the figures: 84% of Americans are satisfied with their health care.
Q: That doesn’t sound like a crisis.
A: Let us finish: Only 43% approve of the way President Obama is handling health care. Every day we delay passing health care reform, another 14,000 people lose confidence in the President's ability to deal with health care.  The time to act is now. We cannot delay. As the President said, "This has to get done."
Q: We hear it’s been delayed until the fall.
A: That’s okay too.  Whatevs. It’s not like he really wanted it to get done in August, he was just making like he did to make you jealous.
Q:
That makes no sense.
A: Look, you want to play those tired old political games, fine.  As the President pointed out during the Q&A, he is not going to sit round blaming Republicans for holding things up when there is important work to do.
Q: But the President blamed two Republicans for holding things up right in his opening statement.
A: You want to live your whole life in the past, that’s your problem.

Q: So who’s going to pay for all this?
A: Millionaires.
Q: Just millionaires?
A: Mostly millionaires.
Q: That’s not the same as just millionaires.
A: Mostly it is.

Q: Will I be able to keep my current plan if I like it?
A: We're glad you brought that up. We hear this concern a lot, so let us be perfectly clear: No.

Q: How much will this thing cost?
A: $1 trillion over ten years
Q: That’s a lot of money.
A: Or maybe $4.5 trillion
Q: What?!
A: Either, or. The President isn’t really a details guy. He’s more big picture.

Q: You know, the more I hear about the President’s health care reform, the less I like it.
A: Say, how about those Cambridge police?
Q: What about them?
A: Are they stupid or what?
Q: Wait, we were talking about…
A: Stupid!  If we had the choice of talking to a bag of rocks, or the Cambridge police, let's just say it’s a tossup.
Q: Okay, okay, I get it…
A: You know why the Cambridge Police never went to Harvard?
Q: Why?
A: They can’t figure out how to spell “SAT.”
Q: We’re done here…
A: How many Cambridge police officers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Q: Good night…
A: One. But he’s a racist…

J.

July 23, 2009 at 10:45 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2009

Obama Press Conference Bingo

Before we get started, we have a few additional Obama-favored rhetorical devices to add to yesterday’s piece:

The Impromptu Filibuster: Obama “really does go on a bit” at times, offering long, complex answers to most questions.  (Did you ever notice how few words it takes to just say what really happened: “I got drunk last night and slept on the lawn.” As opposed to something that sounds better: “It’s like this, I had no idea the other guys were going to go to the second bar and I hadn’t brought my own car so what I tried to do was… “) Tip: The more someone says when answering a question, the less they want to answer it.

The Truth-Challenged Response:  As when the President insists you’ll be able to keep your current health care plan under his reforms. But only if it still exists. Which it won’t.  (It’s like when you lie, only more challenging.)

Hypertechnical Phrasing: 
As when the president pledges he won’t sign a health care bill that increases the deficit.  Over the next decade.   (That’s like promising you’ll give up drinking. Through Friday morning. And can you get these grass stains out?)

Unsupportable Bombast: 
This usually involves making pledges that can only be fulfilled if others act, such as signing a health care bill by year’s end.  (It’s usually not wise to “guarantee” your son’s little league team is going to win.  Particularly if you don’t consult them first.)

And there you have it.  Obama Press Conference Bingo.  Tonight at 8PM.

Obama Press Conference Bingo

Think we'll have a winning card?

J.

UPDATE:  Based on these excerpts released by the White House, we might have BINGO! before we even get to the Q&A.

UPDATE 2: Our Score-

8:03 "Moving the Goalposts"

8:05 "Truth-Challenged"

8:06 "Hyper-Technical Phrasing"

8:10 "Unsupportable Bombast"

BINGO!

That was quick.

July 22, 2009 at 01:41 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 21, 2009

Obama Press Conference Preview

Barack Obama has had success using certain rhetorical devices in the first six months of his presidency, the most prominent ones being:

Highlighting the Insignificant: Shining a spotlight on minor initiatives, such as when he overplayed his call on cabinet secretaries to find $100 million in cuts in the face of a $1.8 trillion deficit. (You’ve probably used this yourself, such as pointing out how much money you saved by re-using a paper towel the day after you bought a Jet Ski.)

Cherry Picking:  An early favorite of the President’s, this technique was often used in the budget debate as when he claimed he will cut the deficit in half in his first four years neglecting to mention that he doubles it in his first eight. (This should be familiar to anyone who has ever had to explain his or her answers on an online dating questionnaire: “That’s a fungus. A fungus is NOT a disease.”)

Straw Man Arguments: A real favorite in which the President makes such claims as, “The opponents of health insurance reform would have us do nothing,” even though opponents have offered many alternatives, from Republicans in Congress, to Libertarians to Liberals. (A personal corollary would be along the lines of, “You don’t like my tuna casserole?  Fine, if you don't like any of my cooking, I guess I'll just never cook for you again.”)

Moving the Goalposts:  A device that has really started to become popular with the President in which he maintains his new goals are the same as his original ones, such as his most recent claims that the stimulus bill was never about stimulating, but rather stabilizing. (You know you’ve done this too: “When I said I'd 'do' the laundry, I never meant I'd actually fold the clothes. Or dry them.  Or wash them, you know, this week...”)

False Urgency:  An approach that proved highly successful with the Stimulus, er, we mean, Stabilizing bill, the President is using it again to try to push health care reform, arguing that overhauling one-fifth of the US economy really needs to be wrapped up in the next few weeks. (“Look, if we don’t buy this riding mower right now, I can’t be held responsible for how the lawn looks in 2027...”)

Add to this, a new feistiness, as the President goes off-teleprompter to ad lib in a clearly combative fashion, as he did this week when answering Republican calls to take personal ownership of the economy saying, “That’s fine, give it to me.”

How might all this affect his health care press conference tomorrow night?  We offer a sneak preview of what to expect:

Chip Reid, CBS News:
Mr. President, there is growing concern that your health care proposals simply cost too much.  How do you respond?
Obama:  Let me answer your question this way.  Just this morning, I received a commitment from CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, to offer the American people double coupons on alternate Wednesdays.  That means, if you have a fifty-cents-off coupon for a 100-count bottle of Advil, you get $1.00 off.  That’s double.  And if you like the caplets you’re currently using, you can keep using them.  No one will force you to get the liquigels if you don’t want them.  Jake?

Jake Tappper, ABC News:
Mr. President, critics of your approach to health care reform note that it does not make health care more affordable or improve care.  How do you answer them?
Obama: Let me tell you what my health care plan does do.  It provides for pathways.  Miles and miles of pathways.  You can bicycle, you can walk, you can rollerblade, you can run.  That’s the kind of health care plan the American people want, and that’s the kind of health care plan they can expect from me as President of the United States.  Chuck?

Chuck Todd, NBC News:
Mr. President, your health care plan has been heavily criticized by your opponents.  Do you feel you are losing the battle?
Obama:  Look.  We are offering the American people a plan for the future.  All our opponents are offering is to take the 46 million Americans without health insurance today, put them to death, and use their lifeless corpses as landfill for a new I-95 Connector.  That is unacceptable.  As long as I am President, no American will be summarily executed and used for infrastructure projects.
Chuck Todd:  Um… What?
Obama: Jeff? Is Jeff here?

Jeff Zeleny, New York Times: Mr. President, During these first 180 days of the health care debate, what has surprised you the most about the debate? Enchanted you the most? Humbled you the most? And troubled you the most?
Obama: I would say I’m most surprised that you asked that question again.  Ed, You’re next.

Ed Henry, CNN: Mr. President, you’ve said you don’t want a health care bill that adds to the deficit, and yet the bills currently under consideration do exactly that.  Your response?
Obama:  I want to be very clear.  I will not sign a health care bill that adds to the deficit though June 17th of 2010.  It would be irresponsible and as your President, I simply won’t do it. 
Ed Henry: Did you say 2010?
Obama: Major?  You have a question?

Major Garrett, Fox News: Mr. President, there are those who suggest that you are rushing health care reform.  How do you answer them?
Obama: Look.  I did not come to Washington to carefully consider complex pieces of legislation in a measured approach to ensure that we get it right.  I came to Washington to pass legislation really quickly before anyone has had a chance to read it.  The Medicare trust fund goes broke by 2017.  Sure, we could put off reform.  We could wait until September, October, even.  But then where would we be?  We’d have only 95 months to pass health care reform instead of 96.  That’s not what I was elected to do.
We’re going to get this done no matter what. We’re going to get this done. I’m going to go the distance.  That’s all I need to do is go the distance!
Major Garrett: Okaaayy…
Obama: Cut me , Gibbs!  Cut me!
Robert Gibbs, Press Secretary: I really don’t think that’s…
Obama: Cut me!
Robert Gibbs: Thank you everyone, that’s all…

J.

July 21, 2009 at 02:02 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2009

Occam's Entire Toiletry Bag

One of the key goals of the Obama Administration’s health care reform initiative is to “improve quality and efficiency” and in so doing “bring our deficits under control.”

No doubt you are wondering how they plan on making the health care system more efficient.

The United States Chamber of Commerce (presented via Cato@Liberty) prepared a set of charts to help you better visualize the organizational changes the federal government plans on making:

Current Horribly Inefficient Health Care System

Current Health Care System

1
New, Vastly Improved Extremely Efficient Government-Controlled Health Care System


Proposed Health Care System

As you can see, it’s only by creating an impenetrably complex series of regulations administered by multiple layers of bureaucracy designed to constrain individual choice and initiative through a labyrinth of rules and edicts that we can ever expect to reign in the waste and inefficiency of our current system.

If you’re like most Planet Moron readers, you’re probably wondering to yourself, “Do they still make Marshmallow Fluff?  Because I could really go for a fluffernutter right now.”

Also, “Is there any way I could make my own life more efficient and of higher quality by imposing upon it an elaborate set of governmental dictates?

You bet there is.  Take for instance, mowing the lawn.  Your current system is most likely similar to this:

Current Inneficient Law Mowing System


Current Mowing


1
New and Improved Efficient Mowing System

Efficient Mowing  
Think of all the time you've been wasting not creating extensive reporting requirements, codifying your actions and answering to innumerable authorities while seeking permission for your every move and navigating a dense thicket of stipulations, guidelines and ordinances?

We can't wait to see how super-efficient the government is going to make the automobile companies.

J.

July 19, 2009 at 04:55 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack