Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

The Children in the White House and Congress

February 28, 2013

President Barack Obama’s approach to the spending cut issue is like a child who suggests that if his family needs to reduce expenses it should stop buying fruits and vegetables while continuing to purchase cookies and potato chips. Obama and his playmates in Congress have responded to the issue of cutting spending by proposing elimination of essential spending such as meat inspectors instead of nonessential spending such as grants to local governments for purely local matters.

Instead of trying to work with Congress to arrange some type of compromise, Obama is running around like a chicken with its head cut off squawking for somebody to do something. Obama needs to be taking care of business in Washington instead of outside of Washington giving speeches.

Both Obama and Congressional Republicans are ignoring the nature of the budget problem. They remind me of a beer commercial except instead of crying “great taste” or “less filling” they are crying “more spending” and “less taxes”.

The solution to the budget deficit will require a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. At the very least congress should suspend all tax credit programs and all non-education or highway construction grants to state and local governments. Tax credit programs are of dubious constitutionality because they allow individuals to spend what is essential federal tax revenue without congressional approval of specific spending decisions.

Most grants to state and local programs are of limited economic value. Intercity highway construction provides significant economic benefits as does education spending.

Layoffs in agencies such as meat inspectors and air security would hurt the economy and reduce federal tax revenue which would make the deficit worse. However, layoffs in regulatory agencies such as the EPA wouldn’t hurt the economy. Layoffs at EPA might benefit the economy considering the EPA’s continuing efforts to eliminate jobs in the coal industry.

Congress should eliminate funding for climate research. The people claim that carbon dioxide causes global warming insist that climate science is settled. If that is so then there is no need to spend money on further research. Congress should only fund research to learn new things. The only justifiable reason to fund climate research is to find

Congress cannot cut enough money from the budget to eliminate the deficit without adversely affecting the economy. Tax increases will also be needed. The easiest way to increase taxes would be to have the payroll tax apply to all income received from an employer up to and including the million plus salaries of corporate CEO’s and professional athletes and entertainers.
Republicans claim that the rich would use excess income to create jobs. However, only business owners would use their money in that way. Increasing taxes on corporate employees won’t affect job creation because employees don’t use their incomes to create jobs.

Our system of government depends upon the President to provide leadership. Unfortunately, President Dunseld seems incapable of providing the leadership necessary to deal with the budget crisis. To use and expression from the sixties: “Obama is part of the problem rather than part of the solution. [NOTE: “Dunseld” is a term used at Starfleet Academy to describe a part with no useful function.]

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Congress Can Avoid Fiscal Cliff

December 12, 2012

A year and a half ago President Barack Obama and members of Congress signed a suicide pact that they would lead the nation over a “fiscal cliff” if they couldn’t agree on deficit reducing measures by the end of the Mayan calendar. The crackpots agreed to a measure that could impose taxing and spending changes that would be so drastic they could cause economic problems that would INCREASE the deficit by another trillion dollars. [Note: because of Congressional procedures and a desire for a Christmas break, members would need to reach an agreement by the date the Mayan calendar ends in order to get the legislation to President Obama by the end of the year.]

We don’t need to go over the fiscal cliff. Congress cannot pass legislation that Congress cannot change. If there are any sane members of Congress left, they should introduce legislation to repeal the measure requiring a deficit agreement by the end of this year or at least extend the deadline for another year. If past Congresses could violate agreements they reached with the Cherokee and the Sioux, the current Congress can rescind an agreement reached among its members during a period of collective insanity.

The main obstacle to an agreement is that Obama wants to increase taxes and spending and Republicans want to reduce both. Our system is based on compromise. Each side needs to give in on one issue. Obama should agree to let Republicans reduce spending in exchange for Republicans giving Obama a tax increase on those who can afford to pay higher taxes.

Don’t Cut Wall Street Bums’ Taxes

December 11, 2010

The Wall Street bums who demanded bonuses for wrecking their companies and the U.S. economy, don’t deserve a tax cut. Congress should even consider raising taxes on them and other members of upper income groups to replace the money that would otherwise be collected from those earning far less.

Republicans who argue that cutting taxes for the upper income group would allow small business owners to create new jobs, ignore the fact that most of those who make over $250,000 a year don’t own small businesses. Executives of Wall Street and other large corporations aren’t going to reinvest their money to expand their business. If they invest in stocks, it will be to bid up the prices of existing stocks.

Neither overpaid athletes nor entertainers.are likely to use their money to create jobs.

Congress can encourage small business owners to invest in new jobs without giving everyone else a tax cut. All Congress has to do is authorize small business owners to deduct investment in buildings and equipment immediately instead of requiring them to spread out the deduction over several years through depreciation.

Congress has already “rewarded” the Wall Street bums by giving them bonuses for wrecking their companies and the economy. It shouldn’t reward them again by cutting their taxes.

Republicans Better than Democrats at Jobs

October 21, 2010

Some Democrats are complaining that Republicans have no new ideas. So what. Neither do the Democrats.

When Obama took office he suggested implementing programs like those used by Franklin Roosevelt during the Depression Obama ignored the fact that Roosevelt’s programs didn’t end the Depression.

New ideas would be desirable, but we won’t get them from either major party. Thus we should consider which party’s “old ideas” are better.

Political activists like to treat the economy as if the President was controlling it from his magical White House by figuratively pulling levers and pushing buttons. However, Congressional action may affect the economy more than the President’s actions, because the President depends upon Congress to implement his recommendations and Congress can introduce its own programs.

An examination of unemployment Labor Department statistics over the last 20 years indicates unemployment was lower when Republicans controlled Congress than when Democrats controlled Congress.

Unemployment was 5.2% when Republicans took control of Congress in January, 1995. Unemployment dropped to 3.9% just before the small recession that began at the end of the Clinton administration due to the failure of many Internet companies — The Dot Com Bust.

Unemployment rose to 5.0% by the time 9/11 occurred. After 9/11 unemployment began a slow rise to 6.3% in June, 2003 and then fell back to 4.4% in December, 2006, just before control of Congress shifted to the Democrats.

During the 1st year of Democratic control of Congress unemployment rose back up to 4.7% and continued to rise in 2008 reaching 6.1% by August. Unemployment continued to rise through 2009. It has stabilized above 9.5%.

The last Republican Congress was able to get unemployment back down after it rose. The current Democratic cannot.

If Democrats had any ideas about how to get unemployment back down they would have implemented those ideas. It’s time to see if the Republicans’ “old ideas” can do any better.

The combination of a Republican Congress and a Democratic President worked well in the nineties. It’s time to try it again even though Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.

Symbolic Recall of Obamacare Supporters

January 7, 2010

The U.S. Citizens Association is attempting to do the impossible by petitioning to recall Senators who voted for Obamacare. Although recalling those members of Congress who want to wreck the health care system might be desirable, it isn’t authorized by the Constitution. http://www.uscitizensassociation.com/

The best voters can do is to sign symbolic petitions that would authorize recall of Senators or Representatives if such a option were available.

States have the authority to authorize the recall of state officials because state constitutions determine the method of removing those holding offices defined by state constitutions. However, the U.S. Constitution defines the selection procedures and qualifications for elected federal officials along with their terms of service and the methods for removing them from office.

Incidentally, the U.S. Citizens Association says its mission is “To educate the voters on critical issues driving governmental policy, and why capitalism and individual liberty are vital to a robust economy (and to educate on how failures of Statist policies have led us into the economic catastrophe we now face);…”

Voters may not have to recall members of Congress to get them to change their approach to health care. A symbolic, or virtual, recall would be easier to conduct and be more likely to succeed at demonstrating voter displeasure. The same basic petition form could be used in all states because a symbolic recall wouldn’t require adhering to procedures established by different state laws, including definition of the grounds for recall. An actual recall could be held up by the courts for a significant time. A symbolic recall could take place immediately.

In an actual recall some voters might be reluctant to remove a member of Congress because of concern about who the replacement would be. A symbolic recall would allow voters to demonstrate that they want Senators and Representatives to take a different approach to health care or other issues than the one currently being considered.

A recall effort might have a bigger impact on members of the House of Representatives who voted for Obamacare because all of them will be up for reelection this year. They might decide to change their votes to keep a symbolic recall from becoming a movement to replace them. People carrying recall petitions might later encourage voters to support an opponent in the election. A recall effort could encourage stronger candidates to seek to replace Obamacare supporters.

Voters have already scared two Obamacare Senators into retiring, perhaps they can scare others into abandoning Obamacare.

Will Congress Wreck Health Care?

October 18, 2009

The most important rule in health care is “first do no harm”.  Unfortunately Congressional Democrats seem totally oblivious to this rule.

Many  Democrats are so egotistical that they think anything they do will  be an improvement.  They seem incapable of understanding  that changes can make a situation worse instead of better just like giving a patient the wrong medical treatment can worsen the patient’s condition.  The wrong medical treatment can kill.   Making the wrong changes in the health care system can reduce  access to health care and reduce the quality of health care.

In one of my favorite episodes of M*A*S*H*   Captain Hawkeye Pierce is appointed the unit’s chief surgeon.   Major Frank Burns complains to a general when Hawkeye decides not to immediately operate on  a badly wounded soldier who comes in.   When the general arrives Hawkeye has been playing cards while the man was receiving a blood transfusion, etc. to stabilize his condition.   Hawkeye tells the general he can now safely operate because the patient has been stabilized.  Operating too soon would have jeopardized the patient’s chances of  survival.

Congressional Democrats continue to push a health care plan substantially similar to the one adopted by Massachusetts which is a failure according to the Boston Globe

The program has failed to provide the universal care it was supposed  to guarantee.  Coverage is not affordable.  The cost  of the subsidized program has gone from $630 million in 2007 to $1.3 in 2009.    High deductibles mean people who buy compulsory coverage may not be able to afford to use it.

Low income families aren’t the only ones who have trouble affording health insurance.   Many with incomes well above the poverty level like Ron Norton of Worcester, Mass.,  make  too much to qualify for government assistance but not enough to afford insurance.

The key to successful medical treatment is an accurate diagnosis.   The problem with American health care is the high cost of health care rather than lack of insurance.  High costs make it difficult for persons to afford insurance.

Doctors take x-rays or run tests as appropriate before choosing treatment for any major medical problem.  Congress needs to do the same with health care.  Congress needs to determine the specific causes of high costs to see if they are unnecessary.

For example, are doctors, hospital administrators, insurance executives, etc. receiving higher incomes than patients can afford to provide them?   Are hospitals or other medical facilities making excessive profits by overcharging insurance companies?  Are so called non-profit hospitals or clinics actually functioning as if they were profit making organizations?   Are the uninsured including illegal aliens really responsible for high costs or are they being used as scapegoats by the health care industry to cover up the real cause?  Are courts forcing unnecessary costs on the industry?

This is breast cancer awareness month so perhaps a breast cancer analogy is appropriate.  Thirty years ago the treatment for all forms of breast cancer was usually  a complete mastectomy.  Today some, but not all, forms of breast cancer can be  successfully treated with a  simple lumpectomy that  removes only  the small tumors, provided the cancer is detected early enough.

Thirty years ago toxic chemicals were used to treat breast and other cancers.  Today a growing number of  cancers can be treated  with milder chemicals that  may attack only the cancer cells  without  damaging other  healthy cells.  In some cases radiation can be targeted to cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

The American health care “problem” doesn’t require radical surgery or toxic chemicals.  Improving American health care only requires  a lumpectomy  and mild chemicals.