President Obama at his most recent town hall was mystifyingly quoted saying that, “UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.” Aside from the fact that the president has, in pitching his government-run health care initiative, presented one of the best examples of myopic government-run programs, another thought sprang to the forefront of this conservative’s conscience. The presidents remarks didn’t stir deep within my soul the desire to nationalize our medical industry, as it might for some of my neo-marxist friends within the left-er nether regions of the Democrat Party. In fact, it actually brought to mind the opposite notion. The United States should privatize the U.S. Postal Service. Read the rest of this entry »
Are Americans finally coming off the prolonged binge of spending and government intrusion characterized by the first six months of the Obama administration? Recent polls indicate that as the nation tackles a host of policy issues, with health-care at the forefront, perhaps we have entered a collective hangover with the noticeable symptoms of guilt and utter confusion. Far be it from this timid conservative to triumphantly declare victory. But let’s hope that last night – or the past six months of trillion-dollar spending sprees, rather – was simply a one-night-stand, and that the next time we’re feeling a bit drunk and lonely – or we as a nation confront uncharted economic and political territory – we don’t resort to the same failed tactics of government encroachment and spending.
Curiously, despite the political weakness of the Republican Party as well as the sheer popularity of the President, Americans are heavily skeptical of another supposed “fix” that contradicts fundamental principles of equity, fiscal prudence, and free market economics. A $787 billion stimulus bill, hundreds of billions in TARP funds, and billions more in auto bailouts have taken their toll on the American public. They have been burned by this administration’s penchant for spending now while asking questions later.
A Wall Street Journal poll from last week found 58% of respondents believe government should keep the deficit down even if it slows economic growth. Unfortunately for those advocating a massive health-care restructuring, Americans understand any type of restructuring will likely be permanent. It will also grow as benefits are added and costs skyrocket, as has been the case with nearly all public programs.
Health-care reform emanating from both the Senate finance and health committees do not meet the Congressional Budget Office measurements of being revenue neutral over the course of the next decade or reducing country’s long-term health care burden. Even bi-partisan plans such as the Wyden-Bennett plan, which would eliminate the tax exemption on employer-provided health benefits (it is worth noting that Obama has reversed his campaign rhetoric that denounced McCain’s support of such a plan as the largest middle-class tax hike in history) have met political resistance. Unions are feeling mighty after their electoral triumph in November and subsequent financial triumph in the Detroit bailout/bankruptcy. They are not quite ready to relinquish hefty benefits packages that would be affected by the Wyden-Bennett plan.
While compelling, many other arguments against liberal health-care reform have fallen flat. Nevermind that 17 million uninsured Americans live in households with income greater than $50,000; or that 40 percent of the uninsured are between the ages of 18 and 34 (a demographic where health care is not a necessity); or that nearly 14 million uninsured Americans are already eligible for taxpayer-funded insurance. Similarly hollow are the calls from the nation’s leading health-care experts such as the American Medical Association. They have opposed aspects such as the public option due to glaring shortcomings in Medicaid and Medicare, which they fear would be duplicated. Under those programs, which like the current debate began with promise of a hybrid public-private model – private plans were engulfed by government plans. Reimbursements have also shrunk as bureaucrats look for ways to trim the bloated operating costs of a government monopoly.
However, these arguments have not resonated with the American public. Thus far, opposition to health-care expansion and a public option has proven most effective when targeting Americans uneasy with any further deficit spending and the nation’s rapidly-expanding debt. It is certainly encouraging to see the nation responsibly recuperate from its spending hangover with a more modest approach to health-care reform. In addition to the stimulus package, bailouts of Wall Street and Detroit are costing Americans trillions for years to come. Many are finally ignoring the annoying friend who maintains “the only way to cure a hangover is to drink more,” or in this case the Paul Krugmans who insists “the only way to overcome a deficit or achieve any policy goal is to spend your way out.”
StairwaytoKevin hides behind his anonymity because he fears reprisals from tie-dye-wearing teacher’s Unions, and because he is a coward beyond measure. He can be reached by comment on this article.
The Following is an Open Letter to President Barack Obama:
My name is David Teesdale. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your historic election to the office of President of the United States of America, and upon your swift legislative victories in your first sixty days in office.
Among these victories, the economic stimulus bill, aimed, as the Congressional Budget Office states, to “boost economic activity during periods of economic weakness by increasing short-term aggregate demand.” This, the largest single government expenditure in American history, is intended to “save or create” 3.5 million jobs (your advisers only expect a 2.1 million increase in jobs), at a cost of $789 billion. This means the government is spending roughly $225,000 per job created or “saved.”
The public is poignantly aware that the government never comes in under budget. The Capitol Visitors’ Center was just completed at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., late and over budget. Ground was broken in 2000 and the project was slated to cost $71 million. Completed in late 2008, the building cost a stupefying $621 million. At this rate, the “stimulus,” programs expected to break ground in 2010-11 should begin somewhere around 2020 and should actually cost around $9 trillion.
Even if we use the conservative estimates of the Congressional Budget Office, which peg the true cost of servicing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR 1) at $3.27 trillion, the cost per job will ring in at $9.3 million per job.
I don’t mean– by any stretch–President Obama, to sound at all disrespectful, but this seems like a terrible waste of public tax dollars. I have the utmost regard for your desire for good stewardship of Americans’ dollars, so I have confidence you will find the following proposal much more palatable.
You’re a pretty smart guy, O. Can I call you O? Anyway, you’re pretty smart, and I am pretty smart too. I recently graduated with a degree in Political Science from Syracuse University and interned at the White House, before you took up residence there. I’m not Ivy bred, but I am strongly confident that I can create–yes, create, not save–jobs for you at a rate below $9.3 million per. In fact, I am confident that I could create jobs at a rate under one million dollars per.
In fact, O–I mean Mr. President–all I ask is to be provided with 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of the stimulus bill’s $789 billion dollar price tag. Roughly $79 million, tax-free, low-denomination, unmarked bills, preferably in little black briefcases. With this much tax money, I can assure the creation of hundreds or thousands of jobs, or I will pay back every red (no commu-puns intended) cent.
As a driven and hard working recent graduate, I feel I can bring youth and energy to the stimulus package. Even by any Keynesian measure, you’ll be getting more bang for your buck than the $600 million used on digital TV converters, $50 million for cemetery repair work, $1.7 billion for the National Parks Service, $2 billion for groups like ACORN and $300 million to fund cars for bureaucrats in the Federal government.
I assure you that the businesses that I create will be much more effective in creating lasting jobs, even if those jobs are as my housekeeper and butler (though, I will need a bigger house to accommodate more servants–which should probably cost no more than $1 million dollars–but will create one landscaping, and two housekeeping jobs at the very least). This plan is clearly what America needs right now, especially in my home city of Knoxville, TN, where unemployment is becoming a problem.
If I can’t, I won’t even ask for a bailout.
I am sure you, Mr. President, as a person who can see a great deal when it is presented to him, can see the virtue in my plan. I save the government money, I make a whole bunch of money, and I save the government further embarrassment when the public finally realizes that government cannot create wealth it can only spend it (First Law of Government Dynamics).
You may call my office (leave a message after the beep if you can’t get through, I screen calls from the ‘202’ area code) with any questions you or your 40 person economic team at Treasury may have, or if you wish to see a business model.
All the Best,
David E. Teesdale
David Teesdale, delights in poking at millions of dollars of sliced ham subsidies as part of the economic stimulus. Comment here or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org