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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Commentary Snippets #2

With all the political posturing, blather and prevarication on the Hill these days, let’s not forget how we can best significantly reduce healthcare costs without adversely affecting the quality of care or adding to the deficit: 1) reject Obamacare and all its awful fed-centric permutations; 2) implement tort reform to reduce cost of malpractice insurance and to eliminate costly defensive medicine; 3) encourage the health care industry to create a low cost plan for low income people to cover routine doctor visits vs costly emergency room care; 4) encourage less costly private sector operated walk-in clinics/properly staffed drugstores for routine medical care; 5) incentivize private whistleblowers to reduce fraud and waste; 6) eliminate arbitrary interstate barriers to healthcare insurance competition; 7) create a special fund to either subsidize catastrophic and pre-existing health treatments or to subsidize the private purchase of catastrophic and pre-existing health coverage. And these are but a smattering of the mulitiplicity of commonsense ways to reduce costs and ensure quality care without a government takeover.

On the heels of an IAEA leak over the weekend that Iran was much further along with its nuclear program than had been previously opined and that Iran now has all the necessary scientific know-how to design a nuclear weapon, the threat of an Israeli pre-emptive attack is unambiguous. Add to this the involvement of Russian scientists and engineers in Iran’s nuclear program, then the reason for Iran’s rapid development shouldn’t be all that surprising. Who did the leaking and the tactical reasons for doing so, while interesting, underscores why Tehran and, yes, both Russia and China, need to more fully grapple with how dangerously close we ALL are to a catastrophy in the Middle East. To prevent a disaster, Moscow and Beiping must constructively cooperate to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat—now. Sadly, Iranian perceptions of Obama as weak and vascillating does nothing to encourage constructive Russian and Chinese engagement or Iranian compliance. Another avoidable perfect storm is now brewing.

Creeping EPA regulation of carbon-emitting power plants, factories and oil refineries will lead to painful spikes in energy costs for all consumers, both rich and poor. The Heritage Foundation estimates that the Waxman-Markey bill (HR 2454) will increase energy costs for the typical family by $3,000/year, and gasoline and electric prices by 58% and 90% respectively. However, what Cap ‘n Trade can’t yet do to stifle economic growth, the imperious EPA bureaucracy is hard at work doing just that.

WARNING: Americans should carefully vet Cap‘n Trade and Healthcare bills, among others, for what could be a $trillion+ “global tax” add-on which will affect American taxpayers. In a recent G-20 communique from Pittsburg, the IMF was tasked with studying the implementation of a global tax (aka “fair and substantial contribution”, “innovative sources of finance” and “solidarity levies”) on unsuspecting Americans and taxpayers of other developed countries. The idea is to levy transactional fees of up to 0.5% on the trillions of dollars exchanged daily on the global market to meet UN foreign aid demands. Of course, the cost would be passed on to consumers. Since passage of the Global Poverty Act which would have involved the transfer of $845 billion directly from US taxpayers to meet UN “millennium development” goals failed, the IMF Global Tax now appears to be the fallback approach for American progressives and their transnational socialist allies in the world to facilitate the global redistribution of wealth. Forewarned is forearmed. Their menacing assault on free enterprise and liberty remains ruthless and unrelenting.

A sobering stat from the Alliance Defense Fund: 55 million people were killed during war years 1939 – 1945. Since 1967 in Britain and the USA alone, 57 million unborn babies have been killed. When a civilization so cavalierly destroys its children in such gigantean numbers, can that civilization long endure? Nope.

Without legislative language to work with, the CBO yesterday tempered its favorable scoring of the currently "conceptual" Baucus Bill by describing it as a "preliminary analysis" only. But, of course, hardpressed Democratic cheerleaders will do all they can to convince the public that the CBO scoring is anything but preliminary; that it proves the deficit neutrality of the Senate's healthcare bill. The shameless charade and obfuscation continues.